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During this time, Russian society was plagued by organized crime and great instability with many people having left the country.
Russia was also at war with Chechen separatists, which were largely created out of religious fanatism funded by international terror groups.
One of Russia's most charismatic and forceful leaders, Peter built the foundations of empire on a centralized political culture and promoted "westernization" of the nation.
World War I strained Imperial Russia's governmental and social institutions to the breaking point of Revolution in 1917.The Soviet Union reached its military, diplomatic, and economic peak during the closing years of Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982).But increasing slowdown in economic growth marched inexorably to a crisis that eventually led General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-91) to introduce glasnost (openness) and perestroika (economic transformation- literally: rebuilding).The occasional attempts by the Romanovs and the privileged classes to reform society and ameliorate the condition of the underclasses invariably ended in failure.Russia entered World War 1 in the union of the Triple Entente; like other European Empires with catastrophic results for itself.
Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, proved to be feckless, weak, and distracted by personal tragedies and the burdens of the war.