Some of the elements of Peter the Great's modernization of Russia were his modernization of the military, centralization of government, cultural reforms and updating of domestic and foreign policy. These reforms took Russia out of its previous somewhat static state, helping it to become a major player on the world stage.
Before Peter the Great's time, Russia was far behind other European powers in the areas of culture and technology. Peter's first journey to Europe inspired him to instate a variety of changes back home. These included having men shave their beards and adopt Western clothes, allowing greater freedom for women, creating a modern navy, fostering the arts inspired by western Europe and providing a greater emphasis on education.
Russia's military became powerful under Peter's rule. He established a prominent shipbuilding industry and even employed British men in his military. Unfortunately, his thirst for power and change caused him to persecute some of Russia's religious individuals. He sought to gain absolute control over the Russian churches and, upon the death of Patriarch Adrian, put the Russian church under the control of a government department called the Monastyrskii Prikaz. This led to a long-term union of church and state in the empire.