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A collection of quotes by Catherine The Great of Russia about people, forgiveness, bravery, love, man, reward, praise, wit, wisdom, inspiration, war, peace, writing, books, power, opinion etc.

36 Catherine The Great Quotes That Still Have Relevance

Quick Facts

Famous As: Empress of Russia

Born On: May 2, 1729

Died On: November 17, 1796

Born In: Szczecin, Poland

Died At Age: 67

Catherine II of Russia who is also known as ‘Catherine the Great’ was one of the few female rulers of the time who ruled Russia for the longest period. She was one of the most influential rulers of Russia which helped in expanding Russian borders. Under her rule, Russian empire was extended to south and west which added territories including Crimea, Belarus and Lithuania. Being a social and political reformer, she organized the Legislative Commission to arrange Russian law and in the process modified Russia and had great influence in modernizing Russia. ‘The Catherine’ era was also known as the ‘Golden era of Russian Empire’ and Russian Nobility. During this period, she constructed mansions for the nobility, ‘The Freedom Manifesto of the Nobility’ was issued and Catherine approved to free Russian nobles from military services and thus changed the face of Russia. Catherine had great interest in education and culture. Reading was her favorite pastime. She also maintained a good relation with Voltaire and Diderot; two of the most prominent thinkers of that time. As a strong supporter of art, she supported the idea of ‘The Enlightment’ and it was during this time that the ‘Smolny Institute’ (the first stated financed higher education institution for women) was established. During her long rule, she spoke about various spheres of life and politics. We have curated some of the most relevant and famous quotes and thoughts buy Catherine the Great.

A great wind is blowing and that either gives you imagination...or a headache.

Catherine the Great

Power without a nation's confidence is nothing.

Catherine the Great

I am one of the people who love the why of things.

Catherine the Great

I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster.

Catherine the Great

Happiness and unhappiness are in the heart and spirit of each one of us: If you feel unhappy, then place yourself above that and act so that your happiness does not get to be dependent on anything.

Catherine the Great

One does not always do the best there is. One does the best one can.

Catherine the Great

I like to praise and reward in a loud voice and to scold in a whisper.

Catherine the Great

A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache.

Catherine the Great

I praise loudly. I blame softly.

Catherine the Great

If Russians knew how to read they would write me off.

Catherine the Great

I may be kindly, I am ordinarily gentle, but in my line of business I am obliged to will terribly what I will at all.

Catherine the Great

You should know our mania for building is stronger than ever. It is a diabolical thing. It consumes money and the more you build, the more you want to build. It's a sickness like being addicted to alcohol.

Catherine the Great

I have no way to defend my borders but to extend them.

Catherine the Great

Tell a thousand people to draft a letter, let them debate every phrase, and see how long it takes and what you get.

Catherine the Great

I shall be an autocrat: that's my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: that's his.

Catherine the Great

All this is only for the mice and myself to admire!

Catherine the Great

The more a man knows, the more he forgives.

Catherine the Great

Don't worry about things you cannot alter

Catherine the Great

You were in a mood to quarrel. Please inform me once the inclination passes.

Catherine the Great

Very early it was noticed that I had a good memory; therefore I was insistently tormented with learning everything by heart.

Catherine the Great

All punishments by which the human body might be maimed are barbarbarism.

Catherine the Great

The title of Queen rang sweet to my ears, child though I was. ... This idea of a crown began running in my head then like a tune, and has been running a lot in it ever since.

Catherine the Great

I sincerely want peace, not because I lack resources for war, but because I hate bloodshed.

Catherine the Great

You philosophers are lucky men. You write on paper and paper is patient. Unfortunate Empress that I am, I write on the susceptible skins of living beings.

Catherine the Great

The laws ought to be so framed as to secure the safety of every citizen as much as possible. ... Political liberty does not consist in the notion that a man may do whatever he pleases; liberty is the right to do whatsoever the laws allow. ... The equality of the citizens consists in that they should all be subject to the same laws.

Catherine the Great

God, grant us our desires, and grant them quickly.

Catherine the Great

If I may venture to be frank I would say about myself that I was every inch a gentleman ...

Catherine the Great

Nothing is more difficult, in my opinion, than to avoid something that fundamentally attracts you.

Catherine the Great

It is better to inspire a reform than to enforce it.

Catherine the Great

Your wit makes others witty.

Catherine the Great

In my position you have to read when you want to write and to talk when you would like to read.

Catherine the Great

Men make love more intensely at 20, but make love better, however, at 30.

Catherine the Great

For to tempt and to be tempted are things very nearly allied - whenever feeling has anything to do in the matter, no sooner is it excited than we have already gone vastly farther than we are aware of.

Catherine the Great

In politics a capable ruler must be guided by circumstances, conjectures and conjunctions.

Catherine the Great

Madame, you must be gay; only thus can life be endured. I speak from experience for I have had to endure much, and have only been able to endure it because I have always laughed whenever I had the chance.

Catherine the Great

Experience shows that the frequent use of severe punishment has never rendered a people better. The death of a criminal is a less effective means of restraining crimes than the permanent example of a man deprived of his liberty during the whole of his life to make amends for the injury he has done to the public.

Catherine the Great