Russia: A Short History Quotes.

1. "Gargantuan figure. Almost seven feet tall, he had great physical strength and remarkable manual dexterity, and his interests were astonishingly broad. He claimed to have mastered fourteen trades as well as surgery and dentistry. When courtiers and servants took sick they tried to conceal it from Peter, for if he thought that medical attention was needed he would gather his instruments and offer his services. Among his personal belongings Peter left a sackful of teeth, testimony to his thriving dental practice. Peter was also a man with a strong sadistic streak. He delighted, for example, in forcing all his guests, including the ladies, to drink vodka straight – the way he liked it – and in large quantities. Johann Korb, the secretary of the Austrian embassy in Moscow from 1698 to 1699, described a particularly gruesome incident at one of these festive occasions: ‘Boyar Golowin has, from his cradle, a natural horror of salad and vinegar; so the Czar directing Colonel Chambers to hold him tight, forced salad and vinegar into his mouth and nostrils, until the blood flowing from his nose succeeded his violent coughing."
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

2. "Although the Mongols dominated Russia for close to two and a half centuries, from 1240 to roughly 1480, there is still no consensus among scholars about the extent to which they influenced the course of Russian"
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

3. "possession of the provinces of Livonia, Estonia, Ingria, and a part of Karelia. Thus consolidated, Russia’s position as a major European power has survived to the present day."
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

4. "PAUL I The forty-two-year-old Paul who ascended the throne was neither unintelligent nor uneducated, but he lacked the temperament to serve as a ruler. Filled with hatred for his mother, he often pursued policies simply because they differed from hers. But in addition his personality made him unsuitable for leadership. He was impetuous, highly irascible, vindictive, and utterly inconsistent. To be sure, he subscribed to some lofty ideals and did, in fact, introduce some significant reforms, but at the same time he believed"
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

5. "These festivities took place not in the Kremlin, but in Peter’s new capital, St Petersburg, which he called his ‘paradise’ and ‘darling’. Three considerations prompted him to build a city in the swamps at the head of the Gulf of Finland near the mouth of the Neva river: his love for the sea, a desire to perpetuate his memory, and hatred for the Kremlin. For twenty years beginning in 1703 the royal coffers were ransacked to create this ‘great window"
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

6. "Russia as a Great Power, 1801–55 During the first half of the nineteenth century, the status of the Russian empire in the international arena changed dramatically. After 1812 it reached the pinnacle of prestige and influence, but in the mid 1850s Russia endured a military defeat that exposed the internal weaknesses of the country, throwing into doubt its viability as a great power. Tsars Alexander I (1801–25) and Nicholas I (1825–55) reveled in Russia’s enhanced status, but both seemed to sense that political and social changes would be necessary to retain that status. From time to time, they actually contemplated a wide range of reforms and they even implemented a"
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

7. "official capital of Russia in 1718 and remains to this day one of the world’s most beautiful cities."
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

8. "the reign of a person who was in many ways the most impressive and innovative tsar in Russian history. Peter the Great, as he came to be known, contended that if Russia was to develop into a powerful and enlightened nation many ancient customs and traditions would have to be abandoned and extensive reforms of the country’s institutions on the Western European model would have to be implemented. It was a worthy and even noble vision of modernization and Westernization, but unfortunately for Russia, Peter had little understanding of human nature, and it never occurred to him that he might be able to persuade his people, many of them, to be sure, ignorant and superstitious, of the desirability of rapid change by means other than raw compulsion. In the end, his attempt to ‘civilize Russia with the Knout’ failed and he did not succeed in ‘binding together a nation lacking in cohesion’. Nonetheless, it must be said that hardly an institution of national significance remained unaffected by his initiatives. He laid the foundations of modern Russia."
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

9. "Terrible (whom he greatly admired), was molded largely by traumatic childhood"
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

10. "Moscow. Between 1238 and 1368 the city was sacked only once, in 1293; no other city in northern Russia escaped enemy attack for as long a time. It was during this period, in 1263, that Daniel, the youngest son of the highly effective ruler of Vladimir, Alexander Nevsky, became the ruler of Moscow, which was now the capital of a permanent principality. Daniel is considered the founder of the princely house of Moscow."
- Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History

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