The strains of Peter's military expeditions produced another revolt. Invoking the name of populist rebel [[Stenka Razin]], another [[Cossack]] chieftain [[Kondraty Bulavin]] raised a revolt, ultimately crushed.
Peter reorganized his government on the latest Western models, molding Russia into an [[political absolutism|absolutist]] state. He replaced the old ''boyar'' [[Duma]] (council of nobles) with a nine-member senate, in effect a supreme council of state. The countryside was also divided into new provinces and districts. Peter told the senate that its mission was to collect tax revenues. In turn tax revenues tripled over the course of his reign. As part of the government reform, the Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the country's administrative structure, in effect making it a tool of the state. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the [[Holy Synod]], led by a lay government official. Meanwhile, all vestiges of local self-government were removed, and Peter continued and intensified his predecessors' requirement of state service for all nobles.
Peter died in [], leaving an unsettled succession and an exhausted realm. His reign raised questions about Russia's backwardness, its relationship to the West, the appropriateness of reform from above, and other fundamental problems that have confronted many of Russia's subsequent rulers. Nevertheless, he had laid the foundations of a modern state in Russia.
Nearly forty years were to pass before a comparably ambitious and ruthless ruler appeared on the Russian throne. [[Catherine II of Russia|Catherine II]], the Great, was a German princess who married the Russian heir to the crown. Finding him an incompetent moron, Catherine tacitly consented to his murder. It was announced that he had died of "[[apoplexy]]", and in [] she became ruler.
Catherine contributed to the resurgence of the Russian nobility that began after the death of Peter the Great. State service had been abolished, and Catherine delighted the nobles further by turning over most government functions in the provinces to them.
Catherine the Great extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with actions including the support of the [[Targowica confederation]], although the cost of her campaigns, on top of the oppressive social system that required lords' serfs to spend almost all of their time laboring on the lords' land, provoked a major peasant uprising in [], after Catherine legalized the selling of serfs separate from land. Inspired by another Cossack named [[Yemelyan Pugachev|Pugachev]], with the emphatic cry of "Hang all the landlords!" the rebels threatened to take Moscow before they were ruthlessly suppressed. Catherine had Pugachev drawn and quartered in [[Red Square]], but the specter of revolution continued to haunt her and her successors.