Portrait of Peter the Great
Emperor Peter I Alexeyevich (1672–1725) – Peter the Great – was the younger son of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. He became Tsar in 1682 (ruling jointly with his brother Ivan V until 1696). From 1721 he was the first Emperor of All the Russias. His foreign and domestic policies were conducted with the aim of integrating Russia into the international European system. He was the first Russian monarch to go on a lengthy journey to Western Europe. On his return he began carrying out reforms in the Western (Protestant) style with his decree about shaving off beards and wearing Western clothes. Under Peter the Great, reforms were carried out in all spheres of public life: the government, the Church, the army, education, everyday culture. He founded the Russian Navy. He waged wars with Turkey, with the aim of gaining an outlet to the Black Sea, and with Sweden for an outlet to the Baltic, so as to provide Russia with a waterway to Western Europe. The transfer of the capital from Moscow to St Petersburg in 1712 became the symbol of the change of Russia from a medieval to a modern European cultural space.