Peter the Great's Westernization of Russia .
In 1689, Tsar Peter I forced his way into power in Russia. Better known as Peter the Great, he overthrew his half-sister's regime and took control of the state. At this time, Russia was dealing with rapid expansion, yet it was still a very backwards country compared to the rest of Europe. Russia was also dealing with economic woes. Peter loathed this backward condition and devised a plan. Within ten years of gaining power, he began to travel through western Europe in search of skilled workers. On his tour of western Europe, Peter met kings, scientists, craft workers and ship builders. He even worked undercover in a Netherlands shipyard in hopes of learning better methods of crafting vessels. Eighteen months later Peter returned to Russia and began to use this new wealth of knowledge to "westernize" his nation. His idea of westernization was the modernization of Russia. He wanted to "turn Russia to the west". .
Peter the Great adopted many of the ideas used by Ivan the Terrible in the fifteenth century. He ruled as a tyrant and held himself above the law. Peter alarmed the nobility and churchmen with his new objective. He snipped off the beards of the Boyars, land-owning men of influence and wealth, and ended their sway in government. Peter was determined to "civilize" nobility and even composed a book of manners. This book forbid such actions as spitting on floors and eating without utensils. He also promoted courtly discussions between men and women. Eventually he ended up increasing their power over the serfs, the countryside peasants. Next, Peter fortified Russia's army and navy to ensure a strong military, established a modern iron industry to promote production, and expanded and added additional roads and canals for the purpose of stimulating trade. Farming and manufacturing were also encouraged by the tsar. Unfortunately for the serfs they were not only burdened with the task of mandatory labor for the state, but they were left to deal with steep taxes as well.