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Wherever you turn, problems, enigmas, the solution of which may be given by a poet only. The whole crux of Russian life is there. It seems to me that nothing will come out of my preparations. I am studying and agitating myself too much."

The more he studied the subject the greater were the obstacles confronting him when trying to describe it; and in the end—in the summer of 1873—he abandoned those studies altogether.

According to A. S. Behrs, the reason of this was:

"Tolstoy found that his personal opinion on Peter the Great was diametrically opposed to that of the general public, and the whole epoch appeared to him unsympathetic. Tolstoy asserted that the personality and activity of Peter showed no greatness, and that, on the contrary, all his qualities were bad. His so-called great reforms were not adopted for the good of the State, but for his personal profit. The old, high aristocracy being in opposition to his reforms, Peter founded a new capital, (St.) Petersburg, in order to separate himself from them and to be able to pursue his personal, immoral life. The nobility at that time played a rôle of great importance, and consequently were dangerous to him. His reforms and ideas were borrowed from Saxony, where the code of laws was