Catherine the Great: Enlightened Empress?

Simon Henderson places a key figure into the context of modern Russian history.

Isabel de Madariaga, Catherine's greatest biographer, has written, 'Since I first took Catherine seriously as a ruler, some forty years ago, I have grown to like her very much.' Yet many historians have not allowed the Empress to grow on them. She has elicited strong and passionate condemnation. It is only recently that historians have sought to resurrect her image, replacing contempt with praise and understanding.

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