When I read and look upon Russia in the two centuries between the 1700's and 1800's, I can't help but divide it into three parts...
the apogee (enlighted, colorful, cultural, progressive),
the decline (conservative, grey, industrial and backward).
Now how much of this gut feeling is true? Or is it just a misenterpretation of Russia which I have received somehow by watching documentaries, seeing pictures, paintings and reading on Russia's history.
I must also admit that the 18th century Russia is much more inviting to read than the 19th century Russia.
What are your thoughts?