Catherine the Great’s Russia: 1762–1796
With the ascension of Catherine II (“The Great”), a true leader came to the throne. Catherine considered herself the executor of Peter the Great's reforms.Her greatest achievements were in adding territory and people of different cultural groups to Russia's empire. She directed two wars against the Turks, extending the Russian border to the Black Sea. Her troops occupied the Crimean Peninsula in 1783, followed by Odessa on the Black Sea in 1789. The western border of Russia was established along the Dniester River in Ukraine. Catherine instigated three partitions of Poland and by 1795, Poland was no longer an independent country. The period between 1796 and 1801, when Russia was ruled by Paul I, the son of Catherine, was one of political unrest.