Russian Studies                                                                                                                   




Peter the Great : Reading Guide 2.0


Read the Shcherbatov piece with an eye to understanding how some could (and would continue to) look upon Peter’s reforms as deeply subversive and regrettable.


Spend more time on the Zitser piece which continues our exploration into the impact of Peter on the direction of Russian history.


Skim all but the last sentence of the first paragraph but then pay close attention to the argument carried forward in the next paragraph.  Follow the distinction made between organic and forced change, and Anderson’s assessment of Peter’s impact on change in Russia.

Structural/organic historical forces (Hegel) vs. Intentional/forced change from the top down


Follow the distinction between “psycho-historical” and “geopolitical” explanations for Peter’s motivations.

What are the key “psycho-historical” elements noted here? 


What is the “geopolitical” explanation?


            Why is Zitser skeptical about this theory?


            Note that Zitser prefers Oliva’s view of Russia’s relationship with the West.


Note the two reasons why some find Peter’s legendary status appealing.



                        Why does Anderson object to the second and more serious source of appeal?

Peter was not a revolutionary pursuing an articulated social ideal.


                        Why does Zitser agree with Anderson but disagree with his reasoning?


Do you like Peter?