Modern Russian identity and historical experience has been largely shaped by Russia's imperial past. The Russian Empire 1450-1801 surveys how that empire was assembled and governed. It describes the Russian empire as a 'politics of difference' or 'Eurasian empire': the center controlled the most important areas - defense, criminal law, taxation, and mobilization of resources - but otherwise tolerated local religions, languages, cultures, elites, and
institutions. This volume gives significant attention to those many religious and ethnic communities, while it surveys the government's strategies of governance - centralized bureaucracy, military reform, and a
changed judicial system. It gives particular attention to the dissemination of a supranational ideology of legitimacy, particularly in the visual form of architectural styles that represented the center around the realm. It tracks the emergence of an 'Imperial nobility' and a national self-consciousness that was, by the end of the eighteenth century, distinctly imperial, embracing the empire's many peoples and cultures.