Peter the Great (1673-1725)
Having resolved to transform Russia in the model of the West ,a delegation including himself under an assumed name of ‘Peter Mikhailov’set out from Moscow in March 1697.
His curiosity was prodigious. He inspected saw mills, grist mills and factories of all kind. He asked questions and sent samples of all sorts of machines and tools back to Russia. He hired engineers and artisans and sent them to Russia with promise of good wages. Latest innovations in the fields of shipbuilding, medicine, surgery were looked into.
In Amsterdam he happened to see a dentist at work. Dentists were unknown in Russia. Peter took the man to his rooms and learned how to use his tools and bought them from him. Thereafter he practiced the craft on many members of his party, pulling out both sound and decayed teeth indiscriminately.
While in continent he came to hear of a barbarous method of executing criminals on the wheel. The Czar wanted to see how this was done. When told that there were no criminals on hand for execution, he became impatient. “Why be concerned for one human life?” he asked, “ Take one of my servants for the purpose.”