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Ruler: Peter I Romanov
The Tsardom of Russia has long been an agricultural and technologically backward state, but all that has begun to change with the rule of Peter I. Desperate for an ice-free port in the north to supplement the frequently frozen harbor of Arkhangelsk and hemmed in to the west by the powerful Kingdoms of Sweden and Prussia, Peter I committed aggressively to the northern alliance begun by his grandfather Michael I, sending poorly trained but massive armies to assist in the continental wars against France and Spain. In exchange, Sweden ceded Russia a portion of the Murman Coast, and Peter built a new northern capital and seaport at St. Petersburg at the ice-free Kola Bay on the Arctic ocean. This gave Russia free access to the North Sea throughout the year, and lead to a substantial increase in Russian shipping and shipbuilding.
At the same time, Peter expanded Russia eastward. Cossack explorers had already reached the Pacific coast by year of Peter’s birth in 1672, and Peter sent new, larger waves of settlers along the arctic coast to swell the populations of these eastern lands.
The Tsardom of Russia is the newest colonial power in Europe, having recently emerged as a fledgling naval power. Given their control of a massive population as well as the vast lands of Siberia, Russia has no need for additional population or land. Instead, the early Russian colonies have focused on the rapid exploitation of natural resources that require minimal infrastructure to extract, notably furs and ivory.