Catherine the Great
Like Peter the Great before her, Catherine II cared for strengthening of the statehood. Her policy was named enlightened absolutism. Catherine carried out a number of reforms in the field of state governance, education, army and many others. Catherine waged two wars against Turks. As a result Russia took possession of northern Black Sea region and the Crimea. It was the time of the Transcaucasia voluntary annexation (1783), exploration of Russian America, Alaska, and fort Ross. Doing the Turkish military campaigns Alexander Suvorov, one of the most glorious military commanders in the world’s history, showed his skills. His victories displayed the power of Russia for the rest of the world. Later Suvorov added to his victories the brilliantly fulfilled Italian and Swiss military operations dealing which the Russian army crossed the Alps. The same years saw the magnificent victories on the sea won by the outstanding naval commander, Fyodor Ushakov.
The exploitation of peasants and the growth of rate resulted in the number of rebellions. The most significant was the peasant movement of Emelyan Pugachev (1773 – 1775). The war was lost by the rebels. After it was over there began the second stage of Catherine II reign, which was especially despotic.