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Peter and Catherine the Great – these Tsars conquer parts of Northern Europe, the Crimea, and the Caucasian region by force. Their successors defend the empire against Napoleon and establish Russia among the great powers. Nikolas II however incites the downfall of the empire and his dynasty by brutally repressing protests against his warmongering, as Simon Sebag Montefiore observes: “He already had a bad reputation for being a loser. But now he also added the reputation for being a butcher.”