Video Transcript

The BBC logo appears.

Lucy Worsley walks on the Red Square.

Lucy is in her early forties, with chin length wavy blond hair in a half do. She wears a red dress with black prints and a black belt.

Lucy says I'M MAKING MY
FIRST TRIP TO RUSSIA, A COUNTRY
I'VE BEEN WANTING TO VISIT FOR
YEARS.
BECAUSE IF YOU'RE FASCINATED
BY STORIES OF ROYALTY AND ROYAL
POWER, THERE'S NOWHERE BETTER
THAN THIS.
[clock chiming]
THIS IS RED SQUARE; IT'S A
VAST AND DIVERSE PLACE.
THIS IS THE HUGE, SCARY-LOOKING
FORTRESS OF THE KREMLIN; THIS
IS AN ABSOLUTELY GINORMOUS
DEPARTMENT STORE; AND OVER
THERE IS THE CATHEDRAL OF SAINT
BASIL.
RED SQUARE IS THE CENTRE OF A
COUNTRY THAT GOES ALL THE WAY
TO CHINA.

A map shows the location of Russia.

Lucy says NOW, HOW DO YOU RULE OVER A
PLACE THAT'S THAT ENORMOUS AND
THAT CONFUSING?
WELL, IN RUSSIA, FOR MORE THAN
300 YEARS, ONE FAMILY MANAGED
TO DO JUST THAT: THE ROMANOV
DYNASTY.
THAT'S AS IF IN BRITAIN, THE
STUARTS HAD HUNG ONTO POWER
RIGHT INTO THE 20TH CENTURY.

NOW, I'LL BE FOLLOWING IN THE
FOOTSTEPS OF THE ROMANOVS, THE
MOST POWERFUL MONARCHS IN
MODERN EUROPEAN HISTORY.
IT'S A ROLL CALL OF
EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTERS.
PETER THE GREAT, THE VISIONARY
WHO BUILT A NAVY FROM
NOTHING...

On an old vessel, Lucy spins the rudder and Vladimir says READY FOR ATTACK!

Lucy says AND TRANSFORMED A
COUNTRY INTO AN EMPIRE.

She walks inside a huge palace and says CATHERINE THE GREAT, EMPRESS
OF THE GLITTERING PALACES.
THE MINOR PRINCESS FROM
GERMANY WHO BECAME THE
MIGHTIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD.
ALEXANDER THE FIRST, WHO LED HIS
COUNTRY THROUGH ITS DARKEST
HOUR.

A clip shows a war re-enactment.

Soldiers say RAHHH!

Lucy says HE DEFEATED NAPOLEON,
AND TOOK THE TRIUMPHANT RUSSIAN
ARMY ALL THE WAY TO PARIS.
BUT BEHIND THE SPECTACULAR
FACADES LIE STORIES OF
INTRIGUE, BETRAYAL, SCANDAL,
EVEN MURDER.
AND FOR ALL THEIR EFFORTS TO
PLACE THEMSELVES AT THE
FOREFRONT OF MODERN EUROPE, THE
ROMANOVS FAILED TO CHANGE A
SYSTEM THAT KEPT MILLIONS OF
THEIR SUBJECTS IN MEDIEVAL
SERVITUDE...
UNTIL IT WAS FAR TOO LATE.
WHEN THEIR END CAME, IT WAS
ASTONISHINGLY BRUTAL.

A clip shows someone pulling a trigger.

[gunshot]

A picture of the Romanov family appears on screen.

Lucy says SLAUGHTERED BY THE REVOLUTION
THAT SHOOK THE WORLD.
TO UNDERSTAND THE END OF THE
ROMANOVS, YOU NEED TO
UNDERSTAND THEIR WHOLE STORY...
OF A ROYAL FAMILY WITH
UNPARALLELED CONTROL OVER THEIR
PEOPLE.
AND YOU MIGHT ASK YOURSELF WHAT
YOU WOULD HAVE DONE IN THEIR
SHOES WITH SUCH ABSOLUTE
PERSONAL POWER.

Russian music plays as Russian tsars and empresses’ portraits appear.


The name of the show reads "Empire of the Tsars. Romanov Russia."

The name of the episode reads "Part one: Reinventing Russia."

A clip from the Cold War era shows Russian tanks, soldiers, missiles, and planes parading in the Red Square.

Lucy says FOR ANYONE WHO GREW UP DURING
THE COLD WAR, IT'S HARD TO
SHAKE OFF THE IMAGE OF RUSSIA
AS INTIMIDATING AND
IMPREGNABLE, A BONA FIDE
SUPERPOWER UNDER THE IRON RULE
OF THE KREMLIN.
IMAGES OF MILITARY MIGHT ON
DISPLAY IN RED SQUARE HAVE BEEN
SEARED INTO OUR MINDS.
YET THE AGE OF THE ROMANOVS
BEGAN IN A POWER VACUUM.
AND IN THIS PROGRAM, WE'LL SEE
HOW IN LITTLE MORE THAN A
CENTURY, THIS DYNASTY TURNED
AROUND RUSSIA'S FORTUNES.
BACK IN 1613, RUSSIA WAS
LEADERLESS.
THERE'D BEEN YEARS IN ANARCHY
SINCE THE PREVIOUS ROYAL
DYNASTY, THE RURIKS, HAD
COLLAPSED.
THE COUNTRY WAS SO WEAKENED
THAT THE POLISH ARMY HAD
MARCHED RIGHT IN AND OCCUPIED
THE KREMLIN.
ONCE THE POLES HAD FINALLY BEEN
DRIVEN OUT, THE GREAT AND GOOD
OF RUSSIA REALIZED THAT THEY
NEEDED TO STOP SQUABBLING AND
UNITE AROUND A LEADER.
WHAT THEY WANTED, THE ROMANS
HAD CALLED A CAESAR, THE
GERMANS A KAISER, AND IN
RUSSIAN A TSAR.
THEY ARGUED FOR WEEKS ABOUT WHO
IT SHOULD BE, BUT FINALLY THEY
MADE THEIR CHOICE.
THE ONLY PROBLEM WAS THAT
NOBODY HAD ASKED THIS
PROSPECTIVE TSAR IF HE ACTUALLY
WANTED THE JOB.
A HIGH-POWERED DELEGATION SET
OUT FROM MOSCOW TO FIND THEIR
HOPED-FOR LEADER AND BRING HIM
THE GOOD NEWS.
THEIR NUMBER INCLUDED NOBLES
AND LEADING CHURCHMEN, THE
POWER BROKERS OF RUSSIA - OR
MUSCOVY, AS IT WAS ALSO KNOWN.
THEIR JOURNEY TOOK THEM MORE
THAN 200 MILES NORTH, ACROSS
COUNTRYSIDE THAT WAS STILL
DANGEROUS AND LARGELY LAWLESS.
AND THIS WAS THEIR
DESTINATION: THE IPATIEV
MONASTERY, OVERLOOKING THE
MIGHTY RIVER VOLGA.

A clip shows a white building with black roofs and gold onion domes.

[boat horn blowing]

Lucy says IT WAS STILL WINTER, AND WITH
NO BRIDGE BACK THEN, THE
DELEGATION HAD TO CROSS THE ICE
TO GET TO THE MONASTERY.
[choral music]

Lucy enters an intrinsically decorated church and says SHELTERING HERE WAS THE OBJECT
OF THE DELEGATION'S QUEST, A
16-YEAR-OLD BOY CALLED MIKHAIL
ROMANOV.
BUT ALTHOUGH THE ROMANOVS WERE
A WELL-KNOWN NOBLE FAMILY,
POWER WAS THE LAST THING THAT
HE WANTED.
IT'S SAID THAT WHEN MIKHAIL
ROMANOV WAS OFFERED THE CROWN,
HE BURST INTO TEARS.
HE DIDN'T FEEL EQUAL TO
ACCEPTING IT.
AND HIS MOTHER WAS FURIOUS WITH
THE DELEGATION.
SHE SAID, NYET - NO.
YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE OFFERED MY
SON SUCH A DANGEROUS
RESPONSIBILITY.
BUT THE DELEGATION SAID, IT'S
NOT UP TO US, IT'S NOT UP TO
YOU; IT'S GOD WHO WANTS YOU TO
DO THIS THING.
AFTER SEVERAL HOURS OF
DELIBERATION, MIKHAIL AND HIS
MOTHER CAVED IN; THEY ACCEPTED.
OF COURSE, REGARDLESS OF WHAT
GOD WANTED, OTHER
CONSIDERATIONS HAD PLAYED A
ROLE IN MIKHAIL'S SELECTION.

A caption reads "Sergei Bogatyrev. University College London."

Sergei is in his late forties, clean-shaven and with short wavy brown hair. He wears a white shirt and a dark gray blazer.

Sergei says MIKHAIL
ROMANOV CAME FROM A
WELL-ESTABLISHED NOBLE FAMILY.
THE FAMILY HAD LONG DYNASTIC
CONNECTIONS WITH THE PREVIOUS
DYNASTY.
HIS FATHER, PHILARET, WAS THE
NEPHEW OF THE LAST WIFE OF IVAN
THE TERRIBLE.
DURING THE ELECTION OF MIKHAIL,
PHILARET WAS IN POLISH
CAPTIVITY, SO DIFFERENT GROUPS
IN RUSSIAN SOCIETY WERE
SATISFIED WITH MIKHAIL'S
POSITION, WITH HIS SOCIAL
STATUS; AND AT THE SAME TIME
THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE EASY
TO MANIPULATE HIM BECAUSE HIS
FATHER, WHO WAS A VERY
INFLUENTIAL FIGURE, WAS NOT
AROUND.

Lucy says UNDER HEAVY
PROTECTION, MIKHAIL NOW
TRAVELLED TO HIS CORONATION IN
MOSCOW.
HERE, IN A LAVISH CEREMONY
BEFORE THE MASSED RANKS OF
RUSSIA'S NOBILITY AND
CHURCHMEN, HE WAS GIVEN THE
ALL-IMPORTANT DIVINE SEAL OF
APPROVAL AT THE KREMLIN'S
CATHEDRAL OF THE ASSUMPTION.
THIS IS THE RUSSIAN EQUIVALENT
OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
ALL THE TSARS AND EMPERORS CAME
HERE FOR THEIR CORONATIONS.
MIKHAIL ROMANOV WAS JUST SHORT
OF 17 WHEN HE WAS PRESENTED
WITH THE CROWN, THE ORB, AND
THE SCEPTRE, PRESUMABLY TO A
GREAT BIG SIGH OF RELIEF FROM
THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE.
[chorus singing in Russian]

Lucy says THE CORONATION CONFERRED
ABSOLUTE POWER ON THE TSAR.
ALTHOUGH THE DIFFERENT NOBLE
FAMILIES AND THE CHURCH WERE
KEEN TO INFLUENCE MIKHAIL, THEY
AGREED THAT A STRONG LEADER WAS
ESSENTIAL TO PREVENT THE KIND
OF CHAOS FROM WHICH RUSSIA HAD
JUST EMERGED.
AND THEY WERE PROVED RIGHT.
MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY OF
RELATIVE STABILITY AND
RECONSTRUCTION FOLLOWED, UNDER
MIKHAIL AND THEN HIS SUCCESSOR
HIS SON, ALEXIS.

A portrait of Alexis appears.

Lucy says THE IDEA THAT THE TSARS RULED
AS PART OF A DIVINELY ORDERED
SYSTEM HELPED JUSTIFY THEIR
IMMENSE POWER.
I'VE COME TO THE TRETYAKOV
GALLERY IN MOSCOW, TO SEE AN
ICON FROM THE REIGN OF ALEXIS
WHICH FEATURES THE TSAR
HIMSELF.
PAINTED BY AN INFLUENTIAL
RUSSIAN ARTIST, SIMON USHAKOV,
IT'S CALLED THE TREE OF THE
MUSCOVITE STATE.
SO, PHILIP, THIS PICTURE
REMINDS ME OF JACK AND THE
BEANSTALK BECAUSE WE'VE GOT AN
ENORMOUS TREE GROWING RIGHT OUT
OF THE CATHEDRAL, BECAUSE IT'S
PLANTED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
FORTRESS OF THE KREMLIN.

The caption changes to "Philip Taratorkin. Russian State University for the Humanities."

Philip is in his mid-forties, with short straight light brown hiar and a beard. He wears glasses, a gingham shirt and a black blazer.

Philip says YES, AND
THE ROOTS ARE COMMON.
YOU SEE, THERE'S A COMMON ROOT
FOR BOTH CHURCH POWER AND STATE
POWER.
THEY GROW TOGETHER, THEY ACT
TOGETHER, A VERY CENTRAL IDEA
FOR MEDIEVAL RUSSIA.

Lucy says AND HERE, WE'VE GOT
THE FIRST ARCHBISHOP OF MOSCOW
AND THE FIRST PRINCE OF MOSCOW
PLANTING THE TREE TOGETHER.
I'M MORE INTERESTED IN THIS
PERSON.

Philip says HERE'S
THE MONARCH, ALEXIS, OR ALEKSEY
IN RUSSIAN, AND THERE'S THE
TSARINA, HIS WIFE.
YES, HIS FIRST WIFE AND TWO
CHILDREN.
YES, TWO CHILDREN.

Lucy says WHERE DID POWER REALLY
LIE AT THIS POINT IN THE 17TH
CENTURY?

Philip says SYMBOLICALLY, IT WAS HAND IN
HAND WITH CIVIL POWER.
BUT IN REALITY, OF COURSE, THE
CIVIL POWER WAS MUCH STRONGER,
WHICH IS NOT DEPICTED HERE.

Lucy says SECRETLY, HE IS THE
MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE
PICTURE.

Philip says OF
COURSE, POLITICAL POWER
BELONGED TO THE TSAR.

[male voice singing in Russian]

Lucy says BUT SOMETHING ELSE
ABOUT THE PAINTING IS VERY
TELLING.
FOR ALL ITS BEAUTY, BY WESTERN
EUROPEAN STANDARDS, IT LOOKS
PRE-RENAISSANCE.
EVEN BY THE LATE 17TH CENTURY,
FOREIGN VISITORS CONSIDERED
RUSSIA TO BE ALMOST MEDIEVAL,
AND NOT JUST IN ITS ART AND ITS
RELIGIOUS PIETY.

(music plays)

Lucy says BEYOND THE WALLS OF MOSCOW LAY
A VAST, SPARSELY POPULATED,
BACKWARD COUNTRY.
RUSSIAN TERRITORY STRETCHED
FROM THE SOUTHERN STEPPES TO
THE ARCTIC.
AND THOUSANDS OF MILES EAST
INTO SIBERIA.
IN THE LATE 17TH CENTURY,
RUSSIA WAS 100 TIMES THE AREA
OF ENGLAND AND WALES, BUT IT
HAD LESS THAN TWICE THE
POPULATION.
AND THIS OVERWHELMINGLY RURAL
COUNTRY WAS HUGELY
UNDERDEVELOPED.
APART FROM CHURCHES AND
FORTIFICATIONS, STONE BUILDINGS
WERE VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN IN
RUSSIA.
PEASANT HUTS AND CLOTHES
BARELY CHANGED FOR HUNDREDS OF
YEARS.
AT THE MUSEUM OF WOODEN
ARCHITECTURE IN KOSTROMA,
THEY'VE PRESERVED SOME
EXAMPLES.
I'M MODELLING A TRADITIONAL
DRESS CALLED A SARAFAN.
WHILE VILLAGE LIFE LOOKS
IDYLLIC ON A SUNNY DAY, FOR
MOST OF THE YEAR IT WAS QUITE
THE OPPOSITE.
RUSSIA'S CLIMATE WAS
NOTORIOUSLY HARSH.
IMAGINE TRUDGING ALONG HERE
THROUGH THE MUD IN THE WET, OR
THE SNOW IN WINTER.
BUT DESPITE THE INHOSPITABLE
TERRAIN, THE MAJORITY OF
RUSSIANS RIGHT INTO THE 19TH
CENTURY HAD TO SCRATCH OUT A
LIVING FROM THE LAND.
THEY ALSO HAD TO COPE WITH THE
SOCIAL REALITY OF SERFDOM.
THIS WAS A PRACTICE THAT WAS
DYING OUT IN WESTERN EUROPE,
BUT IN 17TH CENTURY RUSSIA IT
WAS ACTUALLY ON THE RISE.
AND IF YOU WERE SOMEBODY'S
SERF, YOU WERE EFFECTIVELY
THEIR PROPERTY TO BE BOUGHT OR
SOLD.

Paintings show villagers working the land.

Lucy says AGRICULTURE WAS THE MAINSTAY
OF RUSSIA'S ECONOMY.
AND SERFDOM GUARANTEED THE
LANDOWNING NOBILITY A CAPTIVE
WORKFORCE.
THE PEASANTS COULDN'T JUST UP
AND LEAVE IN SEARCH OF BETTER
PAY OR CONDITIONS ELSEWHERE.

The caption changes to "Prof. Janet Hartley. London School of Economics."

Janet is in her fifties, with short slightly wavy gray hair and she wears a blue shirt and a necklace.

Janet says SERFDOM
LASTED AND INCREASED IN THE
17TH CENTURY, SIMPLY BECAUSE IT
WAS FOUND IN THE INTERESTS OF
BOTH NOBLES AND STATE TO DO SO.
THE NOBLES HAD ALREADY
ESTABLISHED THAT THEY NEEDED TO
HAVE CONTROL OVER THE MOVEMENT
OF THEIR SERFS, AND TO SOME
EXTENT IT WAS IN THE INTERESTS
OF THE STATE AS WELL: TO KEEP
PEOPLE IN ONE PLACE, TO TAX
THEM, TO CONTROL THEM, AND TO
REWARD THE NOBILITY FOR THEIR
SERVICE.
SO, SERFS WERE WEALTH IN A WAY
THAT THEY WEREN'T IN THE WEST.
BODIES WERE WEALTH.

A painting shows a nobleman holding a stick at a tied up serf on a carriage.

Lucy says BUT TOWARDS THE END OF
THE 17TH CENTURY, IT LOOKED
LIKE THINGS MIGHT CHANGE.
RUSSIA GAINED A NEW TSAR.
DRIVEN BY AN OBSESSIVE DESIRE
TO MODERNIZE THE COUNTRY, HE
WAS CONVINCED THAT RUSSIA'S
FUTURE DEPENDED ON IT LOOKING
WESTWARDS, TO EUROPE.

Lucy enters a room and says HEY HEY HEY HEY!
MEET PETER THE GREAT, OR AT
LEAST THE NEXT BEST THING,
BECAUSE THIS IS A SUPER
ACCURATE WAX EFFIGY MADE JUST
AFTER HIS DEATH, AND USING HIS
ACTUAL DEATH MASK FOR THE FACE.
THESE ARE PETER'S REAL CLOTHES,
AND THAT'S EVEN HIS REAL HAIR.
YOU MIGHT BE THINKING, IT MUST
BE LARGER THAN LIFE BECAUSE HIS
ARMS ARE SO FREAKISHLY LONG,
BUT NO, HE WAS SIX-AND-A-HALF
FEET TALL.
[choral music]
I THINK HE LOOKS PRETTY
TERRIFYING, AND IN REAL LIFE HE
WAS ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING.
BUT PETER THE GREAT WAS
RUSSIA'S MOST FARSIGHTED AND
HARDWORKING SOVEREIGN.
PETER'S RUTHLESSNESS WAS A
RESULT OF HIS TRAUMATIC
CHILDHOOD.
IN 1682, HIS ACCESSION TO THE
THRONE AT THE AGE OF NINE WAS
FOLLOWED BY A BRIEF BUT BLOODY
REVOLT.
A FACTION AT COURT REGARDED
PETER'S HALF BROTHER IVAN AS
THE RIGHTFUL TSAR.
WHEN RUMOURS SPREAD THAT IVAN
HAD BEEN KILLED, A MOB STORMED
INTO THE KREMLIN, AND THEY WERE
LED BY THE ROYAL GUARDS
THEMSELVES.
TO CALM THE SITUATION, PETER'S
MOTHER WALKED OUT ONTO THE
PALACE BALCONY AT THE TOP OF
THIS STAIRCASE.
SHE WAS HOLDING HANDS WITH BOTH
PETER AND IVAN, TO PROVE TO THE
MOB THAT THEY WERE VERY MUCH
STILL ALIVE.

A painting depicting the scene appears on screen.

Lucy says IT MUST HAVE BEEN A TERRIFYING
MOMENT FOR THE LITTLE BOYS, FOR
PETER AND HIS BROTHER.
BUT WHEN THE REBELS SAW THAT
THEY WERE STILL ALIVE,
EVERYTHING CALMS DOWN; IT
SEEMED TO WORK.
BUT THEN, A SECOND WAVE OF
VIOLENCE CAME SWEEPING THROUGH
THE PALACE.
THE REBELS CAME RUSHING UP THIS
STAIRCASE, AND WHEN THEY GOT TO
THE TOP, THEY SEIZED THE
FAMILY'S CLOSEST ADVISORS AND
LEADING NOBLEMEN, AND THEY
THREW THEM DOWN OVER THAT
BALUSTRADE SO THEY FELL AND
WERE IMPALED UPON THE SPEARS OF
THE GUARDS BELOW.
[ominous music]
EVENTUALLY THE REBELS AGREED A
COMPROMISE, BUT NOT BEFORE
THEY'D SLAUGHTERED TWO OF
PETER'S UNCLES.
PETER WOULD HAVE TO WAIT FOR
HIS REVENGE.
THE REVOLT LEFT PETER WITH A
LOATHING OF MOSCOW.
AS SOON AS HE COULD GET AWAY,
HE DID.
THIS IS LAKE PLESHCHEYEVO, 90
MILES NORTH OF THE CAPITAL.
AND IT'S ON THESE WATERS THAT
THE TEENAGE PETER FELT TRULY AT
HOME.

(music plays)

Sailing on a lake, Lucy says SO, WHERE DID PETER THE GREAT
GET HIS VERY UN-RUSSIAN PASSION
FOR SAILING?
WELL, HE DISCOVERED AN OLD BOAT
LYING AROUND ON ONE OF THE
ROYAL ESTATES NEAR MOSCOW.
BUT IN ORDER TO LEARN HOW TO
USE IT, HE HAD TO COME UP HERE
TO THE NICE BIG LAKE WHERE HE
COULD GET UP SOME SPEED.
AND IT WAS ON THE WATERS OF
THIS LAKE THAT A NEW VISION OF
THE FUTURE OF RUSSIA BEGAN TO
TAKE SHAPE IN PETER'S MIND.
PETER TOOK EVERY OPPORTUNITY
TO COME UP TO THE LAKE.
HE EMPLOYED FOREIGN EXPERTS TO
TEACH HIM NOT JUST HOW TO SAIL
THE BOATS, BUT HOW TO BUILD
THEM.

She walks around a boat in a museum and says THIS IS THE ONLY SURVIVOR OF
PETER THE GREAT'S FLOTILLA OF
LITTLE BOATS THAT HE HAD MADE
HERE ON THE SHORES OF LAKE
PLESHCHEYEVO.
HE AND HIS FRIENDS WOULD GO OUT
ONTO THE WATER AND AMUSE
THEMSELVES WITH MOCK SEA
BATTLES.
THE SMALL SHIPS BECAME KNOWN AS
PETER'S TOY NAVY, BUT HIS
AMBITION WENT MUCH FURTHER THAN
SIMPLY MESSING ABOUT WITH
BOATS.
PETER REALIZED THAT IF RUSSIA
WAS TO HAVE PROSPERITY,
SECURITY, AND INFLUENCE IN THE
WIDER WORLD, THEN IT NEEDED TO
BE POWERFUL AT SEA.
THERE'S A SAYING THAT A RULER
WITH AN ARMY HAS ONE HAND, BUT
A RULER WITH A NAVY HAS TWO.
WHETHER OR NOT THIS SAYING
REALLY WAS COINED BY PETER THE
GREAT, THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT
HE BELIEVED IT.
EUROPEAN POWERS, LIKE THE
ENGLISH AND THE DUTCH, WERE
MAKING FORTUNES FROM MARITIME
TRADE.
BUT DESPITE ITS SIZE, RUSSIA
WAS EFFECTIVELY LANDLOCKED.
IT HAD JUST THE ONE PROPER SEA
PORT IN THE FAR NORTH, AND THAT
WAS FROZEN UP FOR HALF THE
YEAR.
MORE URGENTLY, RUSSIA'S TWO
MOST THREATENING NEIGHBOURS -
SWEDEN TO THE WEST AND TURKEY
TO THE SOUTH - BOTH HAD
FORMIDABLE NAVIES.
RUSSIA NEEDED A FLEET OF ITS
OWN.
IT NEEDED MARITIME EXPERTISE.
IT NEEDED A MAJOR NEW SEA PORT
THAT COULD BE ITS GATEWAY TO
THE WORLD.
PETER THE GREAT MADE IT HIS
MISSION TO GET THESE THINGS FOR
RUSSIA.
AND TO FULFIL THAT MISSION, HE
TOOK AN EXTRAORDINARY STEP.
IN 1697, AT THE AGE OF 24,
PETER LEFT HIS KINGDOM IN THE
HANDS OF HIS ADVISORS, AND SET
OFF TO SPEND A GAP YEAR IN
EUROPE.
HERE, HE WAS TO STUDY
SHIPBUILDING AND THE LATEST
DEVELOPMENTS IN MARITIME
SCIENCE.
THE JOURNEY BECAME KNOWN AS
"PETER'S GRAND EMBASSY."
HE SPENT SEVERAL MONTHS IN
HOLLAND WORKING IN A SHIPYARD.
THEN, EARLY IN 1698, PETER AND
HIS ENTOURAGE PITCHED UP IN
LONDON.
AND ONE OF THE FIRST PLACES HE
VISITED WAS THE ROYAL
OBSERVATORY AT GREENWICH.

She looks through an old telescope and says HERE AT THE OBSERVATORY, PETER
THE GREAT WAS SHOWN AROUND BY
JOHN FLAMSTEED, THE FIRST
ASTRONOMER ROYAL.
TOGETHER, THEY LOOKED THROUGH A
TELESCOPE AT THE PLANET OF
VENUS.
BUT THIS WASN'T JUST
SIGHTSEEING; PETER WANTED TO
CHECK OUT BRITAIN'S FIRST
PURPOSE-BUILT SCIENTIFIC
RESEARCH FACILITY.
IT'S HARD TO THINK OF A
BUILDING THAT COULD HAVE
APPEALED TO PETER MORE.
IT HAD THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF
USING ASTRONOMY TO IMPROVE
NAVIGATION AT SEA.

(music plays)

Lucy says OVER THE COMING MONTHS, PETER
GORGED HIMSELF ON THE BEST OF
ENGLISH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
HE VISITED THE ROYAL SOCIETY,
THE ROYAL MINT, AND THE TOWER
OF LONDON, OXFORD UNIVERSITY,
AND THE CANNON FOUNDRY AT THE
WOOLWICH ARSENAL.
DURING HIS TIME IN LONDON,
PETER THE GREAT STAYED JUST
AROUND THE BEND IN THE RIVER
FROM GREENWICH AT DEPTFORD.
HE LIKED IT THERE BECAUSE IT
WAS NEAR THE SHIPYARDS, AND HE
WAS SPOTTED JOINING IN THE
WORK.
IT WAS SAID THAT THE TSAR OF
MUSCOVY WORKS WITH HIS OWN
HANDS AS HARD AS ANY MAN IN THE
YARD.
BUT PETER WASN'T YOUR REGULAR
SHIPBUILDER; HE WAS THE SPECIAL
GUEST OF KING WILLIAM THE THIRD, WHO
NOW GAVE HIM A SPECIAL GIFT.
IT WAS THE ULTIMATE BOY'S TOY,
A MODERN, HIGH-SPEED SHIP
CALLED 'THE ROYAL TRANSPORT.'
ONE OF SEVERAL ENGLISH ROYAL
YACHTS, THE SHIP WAS A FAIRLY
NAKED BRIBE.
WILLIAM SAW RUSSIA AS A
LUCRATIVE POTENTIAL TRADING
PARTNER.
PETER SOON BEFRIENDED THE
SHIP'S DESIGNER, THE MARQUIS OF
CARMARTHEN.
AND THIS MARQUIS ALSO SHARED
ANOTHER MUCH-LOVED HOBBY OF THE
YOUNG TSAR'S.
THIS MAN WHO DESIGNED THE SHIP,
HE AND PETER BECAME DRINKING
BUDDIES, DIDN'T THEY?

The caption changes to "Sarah Young. University College London."

Sarah is in her forties, with short straight brown hair. She wears a black top and a red leather jacket.

Sarah says I THINK THEY
REALLY FOUND SOME KINDRED
SPIRITS IN EACH OTHER; THEY
BECAME VERY CLOSE AND SPENT A
LOT OF TIME TOGETHER DURING
PETER'S VISIT.
AND YES, DRINKING WAS A BIG
PART OF THAT.

Lucy says WELL, I THINK WE KNOW
WHAT THEIR FAVOURITE TIPPLE
WAS.

Sarah says BRANDY LACED
WITH PEPPERS.

Lucy pours them some brandy and says THAT'S AN INTERESTING
IDEA; LET'S SEE WHAT THAT
TASTES LIKE.

She adds pepper grains to the glasses.

Sarah says PROBABLY FAIR
TO SAY THAT THE ENGLISH
COULDN'T TEACH THE RUSSIANS
MUCH ABOUT DRINKING.
BUT, AT THE SAME TIME,
CARMARTHEN DID ACTUALLY
INTRODUCE PETER TO THIS DRINK.

Lucy says SO, THIS IS THE
SPECIAL DRINK OF THE
SHIPBUILDERS OF DEPTFORD.

Sarah says INDEED.

Lucy says AND PETER THE GREAT
GOT A TASTE FOR IT.

Sarah says YES.

They toast and drink.

Lucy says OKAY, PEPPER-FLAVOURED
BRANDY.
OH, THAT'S FOUL.
THAT'S REALLY NOT VERY NICE AT
ALL.
OH, YOU - YOU SWALLOWED THAT.
[laughing]

Sarah says THAT'S NOT AS
BAD AS I WAS EXPECTING.
[Lucy laughing]

Lucy says SO, WHEN PETER AND HIS
FRIENDS WERE IN LONDON, THEY
WERE STAYING IN DEPTFORD ON THE
RIVER, THEY GOT UP TO SOME
OTHER NAUGHTY TRICKS, DIDN'T
THEY?

Sarah says THEY CERTAINLY
DID, AND THEY WERE DESCRIBED
BY ONE OF THE STAY'S COURT
SERVANTS, WHERE THEY WERE
STAYING, AS BEING "RIGHT NASTY
IN THEIR BEHAVIOUR."
THEY BASICALLY TRASHED THE
PLACE COMPLETELY.
THEY USED THE PORTRAITS AND
PAINTINGS AS TARGET PRACTICE,
THEY BURNT ALL THE CHAIRS AS
FIREWOOD, THEY DESTROYED THE
FURNITURE, TORE UP THE BEDS.
KNOCKED A HOLE IN THE WALL SO
THAT PETER COULD GET OUT TO THE
RIVER EASILY.
AND THEY USED TO RACE
WHEELBARROWS WITH PEOPLE INSIDE
THEM THROUGH THE HEDGES.

Lucy says IS THAT BECAUSE THEY
HADN'T SEEN WHEELBARROWS
BEFORE?

Sarah says EXACTLY RIGHT,
YES; THESE WERE ENTIRELY
NEW TO THEM AND SO THIS WAS
SEEN AS A GREAT SPORT.

Lucy says PETER IS BEGINNING TO
SOUND LIKE HE'S A COMPLETE MASS
OF CONTRADICTIONS; IS THAT
FAIR?

Sarah says I THINK IT IS.
WE SEE ON THE ONE HAND HIS
SCIENTIFIC INTERESTS, AND
ALONGSIDE THAT HE'S BEHAVING
LIKE A COMPLETE LUNATIC.

(music plays)

A clip shows images of London Tower Bridge.

Lucy says DURING HIS YEAR IN
EUROPE, PETER NOT ONLY ACQUIRED
A ROYAL YACHT, HE ALSO
PURCHASED SEVERAL SHIPLOADS OF
THE LATEST MARITIME EQUIPMENT.
AND WHO KNOWS, MAYBE A FEW
WHEELBARROWS TO REMIND HIM OF
GOOD TIMES IN DEPTFORD.
HE HIRED EUROPEAN SHIPBUILDERS
AND SAILORS TO BRING THEIR
EXPERTISE TO RUSSIA, AND TO
TEACH THE SKILLS THAT HE AND
HIS RETINUE HAD LEARNT FOR
THEMSELVES IN HOLLAND AND
ENGLAND.
PETER ALSO GOT A FEEL FOR LIFE
IN PROSPEROUS MODERN EUROPEAN
CITIES.
HE SAW HOW THEIR CITIZENS
BEHAVED, WHERE THEY LIVED, HOW
THEY DRESSED.
THE CONTRAST WITH HIS
SUPERSTITIOUS, CONSERVATIVE
HOMELAND COULDN'T HAVE BEEN
MORE MARKED.
AND AS IF TO UNDERLINE THE
POINT, IN AUGUST 1698 HE WAS
FORCED TO HURRY BACK TO MOSCOW.
THE PALACE GUARDS HAD REBELLED
AGAIN.
THE REVOLT WAS QUICKLY
CRUSHED, AND THIS TIME THERE
WERE NO DEALS OR COMPROMISES;
PETER WAS MERCILESS IN HIS
RETRIBUTION.

Paintings depicting scenes of the revolts appear.

Lucy says HE HAD MORE THAN 1,000 OF HIS
GUARDS BEHEADED OR HANGED.
HUNDREDS MORE WERE TORTURED,
FLOGGED, AND BANISHED.
THE FATE OF THE GUARDS - KNOWN
IN RUSSIAN AS THE STRELTSY - IS
DEPICTED IN THIS PICTURE BY
VASILY SURIKOV, ONE OF THE
GREAT RUSSIAN HISTORY PAINTERS
OF THE 19TH CENTURY.

Lucy stands before a large scale painting on a museum wall.

Lucy says THIS IS RED SQUARE ON THE
MORNING OF THE EXECUTION OF THE
STRELTSY.
YOU KNOW WHICH ONES THEY ARE
BECAUSE THEY HAVE IMMENSELY
LONG BEARDS, AND THEY'RE IN
THEIR SHIRTS BECAUSE THEIR
UNIFORMS HAVE BEEN STRIPPED OFF
THEM.
AND EACH OF THEM IS HOLDING A
LITTLE CANDLE; THAT'S HIS LIFE
THAT'S ABOUT TO BE SNUFFED OUT.
ALL THE REST OF THE PEOPLE HERE
AND THERE'S A HUGE MASS OF
HUMANITY - ARE THEIR FAMILIES.
HE'S GOT HIS WIFE WEEPING ON
HIS LAP, AND THAT MUST BE HIS
LITTLE BOY WHO'S CRYING ON HIS
KNEE.
THERE'S A HUGE AMOUNT OF
SUFFERING GOING ON.
YOU'D THINK THAT SOMEBODY WOULD
TAKE PITY, BUT NO.
HERE'S THE MAN IN CHARGE -
PETER THE GREAT - AND HE IS
IMPLACABLE; LOOK AT HIM.

Peter observes the scene on his horse, with a powerful posture and an angry look on his face.

He says HE IS SAYING, THIS LOT ARE
ABSOLUTELY GOING TO THAT
GALLOWS IN THE BACKGROUND.
AND THE REASON THAT PETER IS
SO DETERMINED IS THAT HE WAS
ONCE THE WEEPING LITTLE BOY
HIMSELF.
THESE ARE THE MEN WHO MURDERED
PETER'S OWN UNCLES.
BUT THE REAL MESSAGE OF THE
PICTURE IS THAT THE STRELTSY
REPRESENT THE OLD RUSSIA -
THEY'RE MESSY AND DIRTY AND
SUPERSTITIOUS - AND PETER THE
GREAT IS THE WIND OF CHANGE.
HE'S GOING TO SWEEP THEM ALL
AWAY.
PETER'S NEXT MOVE WAS TO QUASH
ANY LINGERING OPPOSITION TO HIS
RULE.
HE WAS CONVINCED THAT THE
REBELLION HAD BEEN ORCHESTRATED
BY HIS HALF-SISTER SOPHIA.
HE DIDN'T EXECUTE SOPHIA, BUT
HE DID WHAT WAS CONSIDERED THE
NEXT BEST THING.
HE FORCED HER TO BECOME A NUN,
AND SPEND THE REST OF HER LIFE
LARGELY IN SOLITARY
CONFINEMENT, HERE AT THE
NOVODEVICHY CONVENT IN MOSCOW.
BUT INITIALLY, AT LEAST, PETER
DID PROVIDE SOPHIA WITH SOME
COMPANY.
HE STRUNG UP THE CORPSES OF THE
STRELTSY REBELS RIGHT OUTSIDE
HER WINDOWS.
PETER NOW TURNED TO THE MOSCOW
ELITE.
THESE WERE THE SAME CLASS OF
PEOPLE WHO'D PUT THE ROMANOVS
ON THE THRONE NEARLY 90 YEARS
BEFORE.
BUT PETER CONSIDERED THEM TO BE
REACTIONARY AND LAZY; IT WAS
TIME THEY CAUGHT UP WITH THE
PRESENT DAY.
PETER DECIDED THAT THE BEST WAY
TO MAKE THEM BEHAVE LIKE MODERN
EUROPEANS WAS TO MAKE THEM LOOK
LIKE MODERN EUROPEANS.

At a studio’s costume department, Lucy tries on a red velvet hat with a fur band and says THIS IS RATHER GOOD, ISN'T IT?
A BIT TSARISH, A BIT FURRY, A
BIT VELVETY, TOO.
VERY NICE.
TO SEE JUST HOW REVOLUTIONARY
THIS WAS, I'VE COME TO THE
FAMOUS MOSFILM STUDIOS IN
MOSCOW.
MANY A HISTORICAL EPIC HAS
BEEN FILMED HERE, AND WHILE I
ADMIRE THE VAST COSTUME
DEPARTMENT, OUR TRANSLATOR
MISHA HAS VOLUNTEERED TO MODEL
SOME TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN
CLOTHES, TO SHOW WHAT PETER'S
NEW RULES ON DRESS ACTUALLY
MEANT.
MISHA, YOU'VE BEEN QUITE A LONG
TIME IN THERE; ARE YOU READY?

Inside the changing room, Mikhail says I THINK I
AM.

Lucy says LET'S HAVE A LOOK
THEN.
OH, LOOK AT YOU; COME OUT!
[laughing]
YOU LOOK LIKE A LOVELY LITTLE
TSAR.

Mikhail says WELL, I AM.

Mikhail is in his fifties, with short light brown hair and a long beard. He wears a furry hat, a yellow shirt dress, a green velvet sleeveless coat, orange trousers and brown leather boots.

Lucy says YOU'RE DRESSED FOR THE
17TH CENTURY.
YOU'RE WARM FOR THE MOSCOW
WINTERS, I GUESS.
AND, IS IT PRACTICAL?
CAN YOU MOVE ABOUT IN THIS ONE?

The caption changes to "Mikhail Smetnick."

Mikhail says WELL, OF COURSE
IT'S PRACTICAL, BECAUSE
THIS IS HOW PEOPLE WERE
DRESSED.
AND IT ALSO IS, WELL, A LITTLE
BIT, NOT REALLY EUROPEAN.

Lucy says LET'S SEE YOUR BOOTS!

Mikhail says MAYBE SOMEWHAT
ORIENTAL.

Lucy says SEXY, VERY NICE.

Mikhail says THANK YOU.

Lucy says YES, YOU DO HAVE A
TOUCH OF THE ORIENT ABOUT YOU,
I WOULD SAY, LOOKING AT YOU.

Mikhail says I WOULD SAY IT'S
OLD RUSSIAN STYLE.

Lucy says OLD RUSSIAN STYLE.

Mikhail says RATHER THAN
ORIENTAL; IT COULD HAVE SOME
INFLUENCE OF THE ORIENT, JUST
LIKE A LOT OF OLD RUSSIAN
ARCHITECTURE, FOR EXAMPLE,
DOES.
SO, THE CLOTHING ALSO MAY
REFLECT THAT.

Lucy says YES, YES.
SO, ALONG COMES PETER THE GREAT
AT THE END OF THE 17TH CENTURY,
AND HE DOESN'T WANT TO SEE HIS
SUBJECTS DRESSED LIKE THIS
ANYMORE; HE WANTS TO SEE THEM
AS EUROPEANS.
AND THE FIRST THING TO GO, I'M
SORRY TO SAY, IS...

She pulls down fake the beard.

Mikhail says DON'T!
NOW, DON'T, BECAUSE THE BEARD,
FOR EVERY OLD RUSSIAN, IS A
SACRED THING.
IT'S A VERY RELIGIOUS THING.
AND THE PEOPLE IN THOSE DAYS
SAID THAT THE MAN WITHOUT A
BEARD IS NAKED.

Lucy says BUT PETER THE GREAT,
HE'D BEEN TO EUROPE, HE'D SEEN
ALL OF THESE CLEAN-SHAVEN
PEOPLE, AND HE THOUGHT IT WAS
VERY IMPORTANT THAT HIS
SUBJECTS SHOULD LOSE THE BEARD.
SO, THERE'S STORIES OF HIM
RIPPING THEM OUT BY THE ROOTS.
IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Mikhail says WELL, YOU CAN TRY,
OF COURSE, BUT HE WOULDN'T...

Lucy says THAT'S GOING TO HURT
YOU.

Mikhail says HE WOULDN'T RIP
THEM OFF BUT HE'D CUT THEM WITH
AN AXE; THAT'S WHAT THE LEGEND
SAYS.

Lucy says NOW, I ACTUALLY KNOW
THE SECRET OF GETTING YOUR
BEARD OFF YOU.
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS, MISHA?

Mikhail says I DON'T KNOW.

Lucy says COME ON, TAKE IT LIKE
A MAN.

Mikhail says I... AM... AFRAID.

Lucy rips it off and says WHEE!

Mikhail says AH!
AH!

Lucy says YOU'RE LAUGHING.

Mikhail says NO, I'M LAUGHING;
I'VE STILL GOT MY MOUSTACHE SO
IT'S NOT THAT BAD YET.

Lucy rips the moustache off and says NO, YOU HAVEN'T.

Mikhail says AH, NO!
[laughing]

Lucy says NOW, WE'VE
EUROPEANIZED YOUR FACIAL HAIR.
PETER THE GREAT WOULD ALSO HAVE
WANTED TO CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES,
WOULDN'T HE?

Mikhail says YEAH, HE DIDN'T
STOP WITH THE BEARDS JUST; HE
WENT THE FULL WAY.

Lucy says GO ON, BACK INTO YOUR
CUBICLE.

Mikhail comes out of the dressing room in Empire style clothing and says TA-DAM!

Lucy says VERY GOOD, FANTASTIC!
OH, FANTASTIC.
SO, HERE YOU ARE ALL EUROPEANED
UP.
NOW, IT STRIKES ME THAT YOUR
SHOES ARE BETTER FOR DANCING,
BUT NOT SO GOOD FOR WALKING
ACROSS A SNOWY PLAIN.

Mikhail shows her black leather shoes with heels and a big buckle and says ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.
FOR SNOW, THIS IS HORRIBLE.
I WOULD FREEZE MY FEET OFF.

Lucy says AND HOW ARE YOU
FEELING ABOUT IT AS A RUSSIAN
NOBLEMAN?

Mikhail says I, FOR ONE, AM
EXTREMELY UNHAPPY BECAUSE I
WAS USED TO MY WARM, GOOD
RUSSIAN CLOTHES, WHERE I CAN
WANDER AROUND...

Lucy says IN THE SNOW?

Mikhail says IN THE SNOW WITHOUT
DOING A SINGLE THING.
JUST DIRECT MY HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF SERFS, AND DO
NOTHING.

Lucy says AND ARE YOU FEELING A
BIT DRAFTY IN THE CHIN
DEPARTMENT?

Mikhail says ABSOLUTELY NAKED,
LUCY.

Lucy says WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT
THIS AS AN EARLY 18TH CENTURY
NOBLEMAN?

Mikhail says WELL, THE THING IS
THAT THE NOBLEMAN HAD REALLY NO
CHOICE.
THE CLERGY AND THE PEOPLE IN
THE FIELDS - THE PEASANTS, AS
THEY WERE CALLED AT THE TIME -
THEY CONTINUED HAVING BEARDS.
THEY COULD ACTUALLY PAY FOR
THEIR BEARDS.
AND THERE IS A LITTLE TOKEN
HERE, AND IT SHOWS THAT I HAVE
PAID - OR WHOEVER - PAID A
BEARD TAX.
AND ONCE YOU WEAR IT AROUND
YOUR NECK TO SHOW THAT YOU HAVE
PAID FOR IT, YOU CAN HAVE YOUR
PROUD RUSSIAN BEARD.

Lucy says A TINY LITTLE BEARD ON
IT; LOOK AT THAT.
I THINK THAT THERE'S SOMETHING
THAT I OWE YOU, AS YOU'RE
CLEARLY A BEARD TAXPAYER.
YOU CAN HAVE YOUR BEARD BACK.

Mikhail says OH, THANK YOU.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Lucy says ENJOY YOUR FACIAL
HAIR.

Mikhail says DO SVIDANIYA!

Now Lucy applies in a traditional Russian ladies costume and a more European style dress.

Lucy says AND ALL THIS APPLIED
TO THE LADIES, TOO.
ALTHOUGH THEY'RE SAID TO HAVE
ENJOYED WEARING THEIR ELEGANT
EUROPEAN DRESSES RATHER MORE
THAN THE MEN DID.
PETER'S ASSAULT ON THE
TRADITIONS OF OLD MOSCOW LEFT
THE CAPITAL REELING.
BUT THE TSAR WAS ALREADY
PLANNING WHAT WAS TO BE HIS
BOLDEST MOVE YET.
IN 1703, PETER PACKED UP AND
LEFT MOSCOW ONCE AGAIN.

Lucy boards a train.

The announcer says DEAR
PASSENGERS, PLEASE PREPARE YOUR
TICKETS TO BE CHECKED AND
LISTEN TO THE INFORMATION
ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Lucy says PETER WAS LEADING A
MILITARY EXPEDITION WEST,
TOWARDS THE GULF OF FINLAND,
THE GATEWAY TO THE BALTIC SEA.
ON THE HIGH SPEED TRAIN IT
TAKES ME LESS THAN FOUR HOURS.
ON HORSEBACK, THOUGH, IT TOOK
PETER WEEKS.
HE WAS VENTURING INTO BARELY
CHARTED TERRITORY - SWAMPLANDS
WITH JUST A FEW ISOLATED
FISHING SETTLEMENTS.
MOST DANGEROUSLY OF ALL, THIS
WAS LAND CLAIMED BY SWEDEN, THE
MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE
BALTIC REGION.

A map shows the route from Moscow to the Gulf of Finland.

Lucy says IT WAS WHEN PETER REACHED THE
BANKS OF THE NEVA RIVER THAT
THE OBJECTIVE OF THE EXERCISE
BECAME CLEAR.
PETER HAD FOUND HIS GATEWAY TO
THE SEA, THE GROUND ZERO OF A
NEW, MARITIME RUSSIA.
LEGEND HAS IT THAT THIS IS
PRETTY MUCH THE EXACT SPOT
WHERE PETER THE GREAT GOT OFF
HIS HORSE AND DECLARED, "HERE
WILL BE A CITY."
LUCKILY, THERE WAS EVEN AN
EAGLE HOVERING OVER HIS HEAD AS
HE SPOKE, TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE
LIKE AN EPIC BIBLE STORY.
AND PETER DID HAVE PHARAOH-LIKE
POWERS OVER HIS SUBJECTS.
HE WAS ABLE TO BEND HIS SERFS,
HIS NOBLES, AND EVEN NATURE TO
HIS WILL.
AND SO, WITH FRIGHTENING SPEED,
WHAT HAD BEEN A MOSQUITO-RIDDEN
MARSHLAND OVER THERE WAS TURNED
INTO THIS GREAT CITY.
[somber Russian vocal music]

Lucy says PETER CHRISTENED HIS CITY
ST. PETERSBURG, AND IT WOULD
BECOME THE HOME OF THE ROMANOV
DYNASTY, ECLIPSING MOSCOW FOR
MORE THAN TWO CENTURIES.
THE FIRST BUILDING PETER
CONSTRUCTED WAS THE PETER AND
PAUL FORTRESS.
ST. PETERSBURG BEGAN AS A
MILITARY BASE, BECAUSE PETER
HAD DECLARED WAR ON SWEDEN.
THE TIMING SEEMED RIGHT.
SWEDEN HAD A NEW AND TEENAGE
KING, CHARLES THE TWELFTH, AND PETER
HOPED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
CHARLES'S INEXPERIENCE TO
ESTABLISH RUSSIA AS A BALTIC
POWER.

The caption changes to "Simon Dixon. Author, Modernisation of Russia."

Simon is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short straight white hair. He wears a blue suit, white shirt and polka dotted blue tie.

Simon says I THINK THERE
WAS THE THOUGHT THAT THE YOUNG
CHARLES THE TWELFTH MIGHT PROVE AN
EASIER TARGET THAN HIS MORE
CELEBRATED ANCESTORS HAD DONE,
BUT IT WAS STILL QUITE A RISKY
PROJECT TO TAKE ON.
THERE WAS NO SENSE THAT SWEDEN
WAS IN ANY SENSE A DECLINING
POWER, AND, OF COURSE, BEHIND
SWEDEN - THIS WAS THE CRUCIAL
SWEDISH ADVANTAGE - LAY THE
DIPLOMATIC POWER OF LOUIS THE FOURTEENTH,
THE GREATEST INTERNATIONAL
POWER OF ALL.
THE SWEDES WERE FRENCH CLIENTS
IN DIPLOMACY, SO IT WAS
CERTAINLY RISKY TO TRY ANYTHING
ON.

Lucy says WAR WITH SWEDEN GAVE
PETER THE EXCUSE TO FULFIL
PERHAPS THE LONGEST HELD OF ALL
HIS DREAMS.
WITH ITS EASY ACCESS TO THE
BALTIC SEA, ST. PETERSBURG
BECAME THE BASE FOR PETER'S
NEXT GRAND PROJECT, THE
BUILDING OF A NAVY.

Lucy climbs up a frigate and says HELLO!
ARE YOU CAPTAIN VLADIMIR?

A man with long gray hair and a beard wearing beige trousers and a white shirt helps her get on.

Vladimir says HELLO,
WELCOME ON BOARD 'SHTANDART.'

Lucy says AH, THANK YOU.
A FINE SHIP, THE 'SHTANDART.'
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Vladimir says PLEASE
COME ON BOARD.

Lucy says LET'S HAVE A LOOK.
GUNS, CANNONS, ROPES.
THIS IS A REPLICA OF PETER THE
GREAT'S FLAGSHIP FRIGATE, HIS
PRIDE AND JOY, THE 'SHTANDART.'
PETER SAILED IN THE 1703
ORIGINAL HIMSELF.
IT WAS MODELLED ON THE ROYAL
TRANSPORT, THE ENGLISH SHIP HE
WAS GIVEN BY WILLIAM THE THIRD.

Vladimir says STANDBY
FOR DEPARTURE.

The crew sets sail.

Lucy says THE 'SHTANDART' WAS
THE BIGGEST OF 10 SHIPS THAT
PETER MANAGED TO BUILD IN JUST
FIVE MONTHS.
AS THE WAR WITH SWEDEN
ESCALATED, THE FLEET HAD TO BE
CONSTRUCTED AT BREAKNECK SPEED.

A woman climbs up the shrouds to rearrange the sail.

Lucy says SHE'S BRAVE.
OH!
AH - WHAT'S THE WORD FOR
FANTASTIC?

Vladimir says FANTASTIC.

Lucy says FANTASTIC!
NOW PETER'S TIME IN THE
SHIPYARDS OF AMSTERDAM AND
LONDON REALLY PAID OFF.
HE SET HIS IMPORTED DUTCH AND
ENGLISH EXPERTS TO WORK,
ALONGSIDE RUSSIANS WHO'D LEARNT
SHIPBUILDING DURING THE GRAND
EMBASSY.
ABOVE ALL, IT WAS PROBABLY
PETER'S OWN HANDS-ON
INVOLVEMENT THAT ENSURED THE
'SHTANDART' WAS COMPLETED SO
QUICKLY.

Vladimir says AMIDSHIPS
NOW.

Lucy she spins the rudder and says YES, CAPTAIN VLADIMIR.
PETER'S NEW AND UNTESTED NAVY
WOULD BE LIKE DAVID TAKING ON
THE SWEDISH GOLIATH.
THE 'SHTANDART' HAD TO BE MORE
POWERFUL AND MORE MANEUVERABLE
THAN ANYTHING THE SWEDES COULD
MUSTER.
CAPTAIN VLADIMIR, IN 1703,
WHEN THE 'SHTANDART' WAS
COMPLETED, WAS SHE A VERY
STATE-OF-THE-ART VESSEL?

The caption changes to "Vladimir Martous. Captain, Shtandart."

Vladimir says FOR THAT
TIME, THE STEERING WHEEL WAS A
KIND OF TECHNOLOGICAL
INNOVATION VERY ADVANCED.
THE STEERING WHEEL COME ON THE
STAGE IN 1700, 1701.

Lucy says OH, NOT VERY LONG AGO.

Vladimir says IN 1703,
THE RUSSIAN FLEET WAS EQUIPPED
WITH A STEERING WHEEL WHICH
MAKE SHIPS VERY MANEUVERABLE
AND VERY WELL CONTROLLED.
SO, THAT WAS SOMETHING VERY
SPECIAL.
AND THE ARTILLERY, THE CANNONS
WERE VERY POWERFUL.
THEY WERE SIX-POUNDERS, AND FOR
THE SHIP OF THAT SIZE, THAT IS
QUITE POWERFUL CANNONS.

Lucy says WHAT WAS IT LIKE THEN
WHEN PETER THE GREAT AND HIS
CREW WERE SAILING?
WHO WOULD BE HERE?
WHAT WOULD BE HAPPENING?

Vladimir says 150
PEOPLE, 28 CANNONS, FOUR PERSON
PER CANNON.
SO, THEY WOULD BE STANDING BY
NEXT TO THE CANNONS.
AND THE SAILORS, THEY WOULD
HAVE TO CREATE ALL SAILS AT
ONCE.
SO, IN BATTLE DURING THE
MANEUVERS, THE SAILORS WOULD BE
STANDING BY ON LINES FOR
BRACING THE YARDARM, FOR
HOISTING SAILS, FOR SETTING
SAILS.

Lucy says PETER WAS GAMBLING
THAT HIS NEW SHIPS AND THEIR
CREWS WOULD GIVE THE SWEDES A
NASTY SURPRISE - AND THEY DID.

Vladimir says READY FOR
ATTACK!

Lucy says THE 'SHTANDART' SOON
SAW ACTION, EXCHANGING FIRE
WITH SWEDISH WARSHIPS WHILE
DEFENDING KRONSTADT, THE
RUSSIAN NAVAL BASE IN THE GULF
OF FINLAND.
OVER THE NEXT SIX YEARS, IN
WHAT BECAME KNOWN AS THE GREAT
NORTHERN WAR, PETER USED SEA
AND LAND FORCES TO CONSOLIDATE
HIS POSITION IN THE BALTIC
REGION.
AND ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, HE
LED HIS OWN MEN INTO BATTLE.
DO YOU ADMIRE HIM?

Vladimir says HE IS MY
HERO, AND THAT IS BECAUSE HE
WAS THINKING MORE ABOUT THE
COUNTRY, NOT ABOUT HIMSELF.
HIS OWN WEALTH WASN'T THAT
IMPORTANT.
HIS LIFE HAS A REALLY CLEAR
TARGET, A GOAL, A MISSION.

Lucy says THE GREAT NORTHERN WAR
DRAGGED ON FOR TWO DECADES, AND
IN THE EARLY YEARS PETER WAS
SORELY TESTED.
CHARLES THE TWELFTH OF SWEDEN MAY HAVE
BEEN YOUNG, BUT HE PROVED TO BE
A FORMIDABLE MILITARY
COMMANDER.

Sergei says CHARLES
WAS PREOCCUPIED WITH WAR; WAR
WAS HIS MAIN PASSION.
PETER WAS ALSO VERY INTERESTED
IN WAR, AND THERE IS AN
ARGUMENT THAT ALL REFORMS
INITIATED BY PETER WERE
ACTUALLY DICTATED BY HIS
INTEREST IN WAR.
SO, WE HAVE TWO FIGURES WHO HAD
VERY STRONG INTEREST IN WAR,
VERY DEEP SENSE OF INVOLVEMENT
IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, SO
THE CONFLICT WAS UNAVOIDABLE.

(music plays)

Lucy says DESPITE THE LENGTH OF
THE WAR, PETER'S DECISIVE
BATTLE WITH CHARLES CAME AS
EARLY AS 1709.
AND IT WASN'T AT SEA; IT WAS
HUNDREDS OF MILES INLAND AT
POLTAVA IN THE UKRAINE.
THE VICIOUSNESS OF THE
BATTLE IS CAPTURED IN THIS
18TH CENTURY MURAL IN
ST. PETERSBURG.
AS YOU GET CLOSER, YOU REALIZE
THAT IT'S A MOSAIC.
IT WAS PAINSTAKINGLY ASSEMBLED
FROM THOUSANDS OF TINY PIECES
OF STAINED GLASS BY AN ARTIST
AND SCIENTIST CALLED MIKHAIL
LOMONOSOV.
HERE IS PETER THE GREAT WITH
HIS VERY DISTINCTIVE MULLET
HAIRCUT, AND HE'S GOT HIS SWORD
OUT, READY TO CUT THE HEADS OFF
SOME SWEDES, AND HE'S LEADING
THE TROOPS IN PERSON, AS HE DID
IN 1709.
THE LEADER AT THE OTHER SIDE IS
KING CHARLES THE TWELFTH OF SWEDEN, UP
THERE.
HE'S RIDING IN A SEDAN CHAIR
BECAUSE HE'D HURT HIS FOOT
BEFORE THE BATTLE.
YOU MIGHT ALSO NOTICE THAT HE'S
MUCH, MUCH, MUCH SMALLER THAN
PETER THE GREAT IN THIS IMAGE.
AND IN THIS LITTLE SCENE, A
BLOOD-THIRSTY RUSSIAN SHOWING
HIS WHITE TEETH IS ABOUT TO
SKEWER THIS POOR SWEDE WITH HIS
SWORD.
IT WAS A DECISIVE VICTORY FOR
THE RUSSIANS, BUT NOT JUST
BECAUSE OF THEIR BRAVERY.
THEY ALSO COMPLETELY
OUTNUMBERED THE SWEDES.
[war cries and gunfire]
[swords clanging]

Lucy says POLTAVA WAS A PIVOTAL BATTLE
FOR PETER THE GREAT, BECAUSE IT
ALLOWED RUSSIA TO OVERTAKE
SWEDEN TO BECOME THE DOMINANT
POWER IN BALTIC EUROPE.
THE SECURITY OF ST. PETERSBURG
WAS NOW ASSURED.
AND IN 1712, JUST THREE YEARS
AFTER HIS VICTORY AT POLTAVA,
PETER MADE ST. PETERSBURG THE
NEW CAPITAL OF RUSSIA.
THE CITY HAD GROWN RAPIDLY IN
ITS FIRST DECADE.
LARGE NUMBERS OF NOBLES AND
WEALTHY CITIZENS HAD RELOCATED
THERE FROM MOSCOW.
NOT OUT OF CHOICE; PETER HAD
DEMANDED IT.
WITH ITS CANALS AND STONE
BUILDINGS RESEMBLING VENICE OR
AMSTERDAM, ST. PETERSBURG
PRESENTED FOREIGN VISITORS WITH
PETER'S VISION OF A MODERN,
EUROPEANIZED RUSSIA, ONE FULL
OF THRIVING COMMERCE AND
RATIONAL ORDER.
BUT THE GREAT IRONY WAS THAT
THE CITY ONLY EXISTED BECAUSE
OF PETER'S AUTOCRATIC AND
DESPOTIC POWERS.
AND BECAUSE OF THE MEDIEVAL
INSTITUTION OF SERFDOM, WHICH
HE ACTUALLY REINFORCED.
THOUSANDS OF SERFS AND FORCED
LABOURERS PERISHED WHILE
CONSTRUCTING HIS NEW CAPITAL.

Simon says IT'S FAMOUSLY
SAID, OF COURSE, THAT
ST. PETERSBURG WAS A CITY BUILT
ON HUMAN BONES, AND THERE'S
NO DOUBT THAT IT WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARY BUSINESS TO GET
IT OFF THE GROUND BECAUSE MOST
OF THE GROUND WAS TOTALLY
UNSUITABLE FOR BUILDING ON IT;
IT'S A SWAMP.
THE CLIMATE IS VERY SEVERE, THE
GROUND IS VERY DAMP, SO A VAST
EFFORT HAD TO BE PUT IN BY THE
STATE, BY THE TROOPS, AND BY
THE STATE PEASANTRY IN ORDER TO
ACHIEVE WHAT PETER WANTED TO
ACHIEVE.

Janet says ST.
PETERSBURG WAS BUILT AT AN
ENORMOUS HUMAN COST, SO MUCH
SO THAT IT'S ALMOST OBSCENE TO
DISCUSS WHETHER IT WAS WORTH IT
OR NOT.
WE DON'T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE
DIED; IT COULD HAVE BEEN UP TO
100,000.
WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT EVERY
YEAR, 40,000 PEASANTS WERE
CONSCRIPTED TO WORK ON ST.
PETERSBURG.
NOW, SOME OF THEM MAY NOT HAVE
ARRIVED; THEY MAY HAVE FLED
BEFORE THEY GOT THERE, THEY MAY
HAVE FLED INTO THE FOREST ONCE
THEY WERE IN ST. PETERSBURG.
BUT THE POPULATION OF THE CITY
ITSELF ROSE VERY SLOWLY, SO I
THINK WE HAVE TO ASSUME THAT
MANY OF THOSE PEASANTS DIED.
[choral music]

Lucy says PETER'S RUTHLESSNESS
DIDN'T STOP AT THE PALACE
GATES.
WHEN HE GOT BORED OF HIS FIRST
WIFE, EVDOKIA, HE PACKED HER
OFF TO THE CONVENT IN MOSCOW.
[boisterous, festive music]
WITH HER LOVE OF HARD DRINKING
AND DWARF ENTERTAINERS,
EVDOKIA'S REPLACEMENT,
CATHERINE, WAS FAR MORE TO
PETER'S TASTE.
PETER'S ELDEST SON AND HIS
PUTATIVE SUCCESSOR, ALEXEI,
PRESENTED A MORE INTRACTABLE
PROBLEM.
NOW IN HIS TWENTIES, ALEXEI
SEEMED INCAPABLE OF, AND
UNINTERESTED IN, FOLLOWING
IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS.
PETER WAS WILLING TO GIVE
ALEXEI ONE LAST CHANCE.
HE WROTE HIM A LETTER FULL OF
ADMONITIONS, TELLING ALEXEI TO
GET HIS ACT TOGETHER.
AND IF ALEXEI FAILED, WELL,
THEN PETER HAD A THREAT TO
MAKE.
"I WILL CUT YOU OFF LIKE A
GANGRENOUS MEMBER.
FOR IF I HAVE NOT SPARED MYSELF
IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY,
WHY SHOULD I SPARE YOU?"
IN 1716, POOR OLD ALEXEI FLED
RUSSIA FOR VIENNA.
PETER WAS FURIOUS.
HE SUSPECTED A CONSPIRACY.
HE KNEW THAT ELEMENTS OF THE
NOBILITY RESENTED THE WAY HE'D
UNILATERALLY DECLARED WAR ON
SWEDEN, AND MOVED THE COURT TO
ST. PETERSBURG.
MIGHT THEY NOW BE RALLYING
AROUND HIS SON?
PETER ENTICED ALEXEI BACK TO
ST. PETERSBURG.
HE PROMISED HIM CLEMENCY.
BUT THEN, HE HAD HIM LOCKED UP.

(music plays)

Lucy says HERE AT THE FORTRESS, ALEXEI
WAS INTERROGATED UNDER TORTURE.
HE WAS WHIPPED, AND WHEN HIS
BACK WAS ALL COVERED IN BLOOD,
HE ADMITTED - AS ANYBODY WOULD
DO - THAT HE HAD CONSPIRED AND
PLOTTED AGAINST HIS FATHER.
A COURT SENTENCED POOR ALEXEI
TO EXECUTION, BUT BEFORE THIS
COULD HAPPEN, HE WAS DISCOVERED
MYSTERIOUSLY DEAD.
SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT THIS WAS
THE EFFECTS OF THE TORTURE,
OTHERS THAT HE'D BEEN POISONED
IN ORDER TO SPARE PETER THE
GREAT THE HUMILIATION OF HAVING
TO PUBLICLY EXECUTE HIS OWN
SON.
EVERY SINGLE DAY AT NOON, A
GUN FIRES FROM THE PETER AND
PAUL FORTRESS.
THIS TRADITION STRETCHES RIGHT
BACK TO THE EARLY DAYS OF
ST. PETERSBURG, WHEN CANNON
SHOTS SERVED AS A WARNING OF
FLOODS, OR MARKED IMPORTANT
STATE OCCASIONS.
[bell tolling]

Lucy says IN 1725, PETER THE GREAT HEARD
THE SOUND FOR THE LAST TIME.
[counting in Russian]
[cannon fires]

Lucy witness one of the cannon shots.

Lucy says HE TOOK ILL AND DIED ON
FEBRUARY THE 8TH.
AN AUTOPSY REVEALED THAT PETER
HAD GANGRENE OF THE BLADDER.
HE WAS JUST 52.
RUSSIA HAD LOST MORE THAN A
TSAR.
JUST THREE YEARS EARLIER ON THE
BACK OF HIS BALTIC CONQUESTS,
PETER HAD BEEN PROCLAIMED
EMPEROR.
THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE WOULD NOW
LAST AS LONG AS THE ROMANOV
DYNASTY ITSELF.

(music plays)

Lucy says IN LITTLE MORE THAN A CENTURY
OF ROMANOV RULE, RUSSIA HAD
UNDERGONE AN EXTRAORDINARY
TRANSFORMATION.
MIKHAIL I HAD INHERITED A
WAR-TORN BACKWATER, BUT HE AND
HIS SON ALEXIS USED THEIR
ABSOLUTE POWER TO BRING
STABILITY AND CONTINUITY.
BUT RUSSIA WOULD HAVE REMAINED
OBSCURE AND BACKWARD IF PETER
THE GREAT HADN'T DEVELOPED A
BOUNDLESS VISION, AND THEN LET
NOTHING STAND IN HIS WAY.
HE GAVE HIS COUNTRY A NAVY, A
NEW CAPITAL, AN EMPIRE, AND
ABOVE ALL, A FUTURE.
PETER REINVENTED RUSSIA, AND
THAT'S WHY THEY CALL HIM PETER
THE GREAT.
HALF A CENTURY AFTER PETER'S
DEATH, THIS STATUE WAS ERECTED
TO HIM IN ST. PETERSBURG.
IT WAS DESIGNED BY A FRENCH
SCULPTOR, BUT THE FACE WAS DONE
BY HIS 18-YEAR-OLD FEMALE
ASSISTANT, WHO MODELLED IT ON
PETER'S OWN REAL-LIFE DEATH
MASK.
THE ENORMOUS GRANITE BOULDER
ON WHICH THE BRONZE HORSEMAN
SITS IS SAID TO BE THE LARGEST
STONE EVER MOVED BY HUMAN
HANDS.
IT'S HARD NOT TO THINK OF ALL
THE BROKEN BACKS AND CRUSHED
LIMBS INVOLVED IN TRANSPORTING
IT.
BUT THEN, PERHAPS THAT'S
APPROPRIATE.
FOR ALL OF PETER THE GREAT'S
TREMENDOUS ACHIEVEMENTS, I
THINK IT'S HARD TO WARM TO HIM.
HE MAY HAVE DRAGGED RUSSIA
KICKING AND SCREAMING INTO THE
MODERN WORLD, BUT HE DID SO
WITH RUTHLESSNESS, AND
SOMETIMES WITH DOWNRIGHT
CRUELTY.
IT'S HARD TO THINK OF ANOTHER
SOVEREIGN WHO WORKED SO HARD
FOR HIS PEOPLE, YET WHO TREATED
THEM WITH SO LITTLE COMPASSION.
NEVERTHELESS, PETER CHANGED
RUSSIA FOREVER, AND HE SET THE
BENCHMARK AGAINST WHICH ALL
FUTURE ROMANOV RULERS HAD TO BE
MEASURED.
BUT ONE OF THEM WOULD
UNASHAMEDLY CLAIM PETER'S
MANTLE.
SHE WAS THE WOMAN WHO ERECTED
THIS MONUMENT TO HIM.
CATHERINE THE SECOND, ALSO KNOWN AS
CATHERINE THE GREAT.
BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THEIR NAMES
ON THE BASE OF THE MONUMENT,
YOU MIGHT THINK THAT
CATHERINE'S IS IN A SLIGHTLY
BIGGER FONT THAN PETER'S.
DOES THIS MEAN THAT SHE WAS
EVEN GREATER?

The caption reads "Petro Primo. Catharina Secunda. 1782."

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Presented by Lucy Worsley.

Executive Producer, Michael Poole.

Director and Series Producer, John Das.

A BBC Open University Partnership.

Arts production Bristol.

Copyright 2015, BBC.