Was Catherine the Great ... great?

Jan 2009
British North America
Catherine the II, was able to capitalize on the weakened Poland, after years of tartar invasion, the Swedish deluge and the eventual corruption and bureaucratic irresponsibility by the Polish nobility. She was able to gain a massive territory of the former Grand Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by offering small change to the few unpatriotic Polish nobles.

The first, second and third partitions which divided the land amongst the Russians, Prussians and Austro-Hungarians, was quite a feat, especially since the former Commonwealth was conquered without without any real use of force.

While Catherine, did indeed help to bring about some improvements to Russia; I don't think it can be claimed that she successfully oversaw the initial industrialization of Russia, since the tsarist country remained largelly fuedal even after the Russian Revolution. She was also an antagonist in ensuring the continuing persecution of the Russian Jewish population, which progressed eventually with the creation of the Pale.