The ideology of Peter the Great's rule
As a young man Peter I accepted the Protestant model of existence in a pragmatic world of competition and personal success, which largely shaped the philosophy of his reformism. He perceived the Russian people as a coarse, unreasonable, stubborn child, an apprentice slacker. Like his contemporaries of the West, P. I. gave great importance to the role of the State in public life, considered it an ideal tool to achieve the lofty goals, and regarded it as a universal institution of transforming people, by means of violence and fear, into educated, conscious, law-abiding and useful subjects for the whole society. He introduced the concept of monarch's duties into the autocrat's power concept. He believed it was necessary to take care of his subjects, protect them from enemies, and work for their benefit. He put the interests of Russia above everything. He saw his mission in building the power equal to that of the Western countries and he made his own life and the life of his subjects subject to the fulfillment of this idea. Gradually P. I imbued with the idea that the task should be solved by means of reforms, which would be carried out according to the will of the autocrat, who does good and punishes evil. P. I regarded the morality of the statesman separately from the morality of a private man and believed that the sovereign in the name of state interests can go for murder, violence, forgery and deception. Through persistent work, courageous behavior Peter I showed his subjects a personal positive example, showing how to act, entirely giving himself to duty and service to the Fatherland.
The beginning of an independent reign of Peter I
One of the first independent steps of the tsar was a construction, by his order, in 1693-94 of a large merchant ship "St. Apostle Paul" on the Solombala Island, near Arkhangelsk, then the main sea port of the Russian State. P. I. went through military and naval service starting from the lower ranks: bombardier (1695), captain (1696), colonel (1706), chautenacht (1709), vice-admiral (1714), admiral (1721). He got his first military experience in the Azov campaigns of 1695-96, which he undertook during the Russian-Turkish War of 1686-99 in continuation of Sophia Alekseyevna's policy. He took into account lessons from the first of them, unsuccessful campaign, as well as unsuccessful Crimean campaigns (1687, 1689) under command of boyar prince V. V. Golitsyn. Since January 1696 he began the construction of the Azov Fleet. 1696] and in the same year in the second Azov campaign it won its first victory over his serious enemy - the Osman Empire and Crimean Khanate.
The foreign policy of Peter I.
It was Peter the Great's initiative to keep the anti-Turkish "Holy League" (the Russian Empire joined it after the "Eternal Peace" was signed in 1686 with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), get new allies and reinforce his own army by buying arms. The Russian State joined the Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686 (which the Russian State joined in 1686 by signing the "Eternal Peace" with the Rzeczpospolita) to buy new allies and strengthen its own army by buying armaments and hiring foreign specialists. The tsar, who was a member of the delegation formally incognito, got acquainted with factories, shipyards, arsenals, museums, etc. and learned shipbuilding (in Amsterdam, at the Ost-Indian shipyard, he received a patent of a shipmaster). He was forced to interrupt his trip abroad because of the Streltsy uprising in 1698, which he perceived as a new attempt of Sofia Alekseyevna to ascend the Russian throne. Upon his return to Russia P. I. resumed investigation of the rebellious Streltsy units, which had already been pacified by A. S. Shein, in autumn 1698 and winter 1699 took part in their tortures and executions, ordered to disband the Streltsy units (the process of their liquidation continued for some years). In October. 1698 Sophia Alekseyevna was tonsured a nun. The visit of P. I in Vienna (June - July 1698) showed the futility of attempts to maintain a single anti-Turkish coalition. He managed to strengthen allied relations only with Rzeczpospolita, during his personal meeting in July/August 1698 with Saxon Elector of Poland and the new King of Poland. 1698 with the Elector of Saxony and the new King of Poland Augustus II the Strong, but these relations changed their direction against Sweden. From autumn 1698 P. I. started diplomatic preparation for the war with Sweden. He conducted secret negotiations with the diplomats of Denmark and Saxony on creation of the anti-Swedish coalition (the agreements were signed in November and November of 1699 respectively; see in the article Nordic Union 1699-1721). At the same time P. I tried to lull the vigilance of the Swedish king Karl XII (in 1699 the Cardis Peace Treaty of 1661 was ratified for the second time in Moscow; boyar F. Alekseyevich Golovin assured the Swedish embassy in the invariability of Russian-Swedish friendship). Then Peter I. hurried E. I. Ukraintsev with the signing of the peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire (see Constantinople Peace 1700), to ensure its neutrality. At the same time P. I. intended to continue the Azov campaigns started in 1695-96. The Russian move to the South Sea - the Black Sea (which was interrupted by the unsuccessful Prut campaign against the Ottoman Empire in 1711) and the Caspian Sea (the successful Persian campaign of 1722-23 with the personal participation of P. I. ended with the St. Petersburg treaty of 1723). From 1706, after the death of Golovin, P. I. personally headed the foreign policy of Russia. He gave to the country's military doctrine an openly offensive character.
The beginning of the Northern War 1700-21 against Sweden was marked by a crushing defeat of the Russian Army in the Battle of Narva in 1700. Before the battle P. I. realized that the defeat from stronger enemy was inevitable, he decided not to risk his life in vain, and together with F. A. Golovin and A. D. Menshikov escaped to Novgorod. Subsequently he proved himself a talented military leader more than once in victorious battles for Russia (most notably in the Battle of Poltava in 1709), and he regarded his state and military activity during the Northern War as a kind of education, which lasted 21 years in the "bloody and very dangerous school" and ended with getting a "certificate" - the signing of Nystadt Peace Treaty in 1721 with Sweden, which lost the war. The victory over it achieved for Russia wide access to the Baltic Sea. At the final stage of the war, when the military success of Russia was defined, in 1716-17, P. I. visited Prussia, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands, where he soon signed the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1717, which became an important step in the diplomatic activity of P. I. and an indicator of the increased importance of Russia on the international arena.