King of Kings - by Lewis Lavoie
Panel #192
Catherine the Great
Empress of Russia
June 28, 1762 – November 17, 1796
25 December 1761 – 28 June 1762
May 2, 1729
6 November 1796 (aged 67)
Wikipedia: The reign of Catherine the Great saw the high point of the Russian nobility. Peter III, under pressure from the nobility, had already augmented the authority of the great landed proprietors over their muzhiks and serfs. In spite of the duties imposed on the nobles by the first "modernizer" of Russia, Tsar Peter I, and despite her friendships with the western European thinkers of the Enlightenment, Catherine II found it impractical to improve the lot of her poorest subjects, who continued to suffer (for example) military conscription. The distinctions between peasant rights on votchina and pomestie estates virtually disappeared in law as well as in practice during her reign.

Catherine's main interests were in education and culture. She read widely and corresponded with many of the prominent thinkers of the era, including Voltaire and Diderot. She was a patron of the arts, literature and education and acquired an art collection which now forms the basis of the Hermitage Museum.

Catherine died in St Petersburg on 17 November 1796 and was succeeded by her son Paul.