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Catherine is often better remembered for her romantic liaisons than her many accomplishments. Historians have also criticized her for not improving the lives of serfs, who represented the majority of the Russian population. Still, Catherine made some significant contributions to Russia, bringing forth educational reforms and championing the arts. As leader, Catherine also extended the country's borders through military might and diplomatic prowess.
Catherine the Great
Biography and paintings depicting Catherine the Great.
How did Catherine the Great’s reign shape Imperial Russian history?
Catherine has often been squeezed out between the myth of Peter as Zeus-like transformer and Alexander II, the Tsar Reformer who emancipated the serfs. Her ‘enlightened’ educational reforms, urban planning, extensive policing, changes to the estate system and creation of imperial propaganda amounted to permanent contribution.