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Who was Peter the Great?

It is well known that Peter the Great was an outstanding statesman and a great commander. Каков же был сам Петр? (But who was the man behind the Tsar?)

Peter the Great


Physically Peter the Great был очень высокого роста (was very tall), круглолицый (chubby), темноглазый (with dark eyes) and темноволосый (dark hair). У него была необычайная физическая сила (he had an extraordinary physical strength) and could easily roll a silver plate into a tube, straighten a horseshoe with his own hands or cut a ribbon thrown in the air with his sword.

Peter the Great has been an enthusiastic learner all his life. His education and skills were very versatile: “То академик, то герой, то мореплаватель, то плотник…” (he was alternatively an academician, a hero, a navigator, a carpenter…) said Pushkin about him.

Peter himself разбирался в строительных (was interested in construction), военных, юридических и многих-многих других делах (military strategies, juridical business and much more). He was also concerned about education, culture and architecture. У него была огромная энергия (he had a great energy), сильная воля (strong will) and талант организатора (a real talent as an organiser). He was able very good to find assistance and associates in all his affairs.

Он мог быть строгим и жестоким (he could be stern and severe), as well as добрым, внимательным (kind and considerate). Whenever he would consider that an opponent is worthy, he would not hesitate to let him free.

Here is a description of the Tsar by A.S. Pushkin in one of his poem “Петр I перед боем” (Peter the great before the fight):

Из шатра, Толпой любимцев окружённый, Выходит Петр. Его глаза Сияют. Лик его ужасен. Движенья быстры. Он прекрасен, Он весь, как божия гроза.

From the shelter of the tent, Surrounded by the crowd of his favorites, Peter goes out. His eyes Are shining. His countenance is terrible. His movements are quick. He is beautiful, Resembling the God of thunder.

According to the book. “The history of the USSR,” Auth. Akademik Nechkina, P. Leybengrub, MA, 1973