Catherine The Great
- By Alex Brown
- Photo Courtesy of HBO
Long before Putin and the Soviet Union, there existed a Russia that we know through the eyes of Russia’s unrivaled artists like Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy. Ruled by seemingly invincible czars—like Alexander the Great and Ivan Terrible—who lived in unimaginable wealth, and who wielded unchecked power, these names live in history as symbols of an empire that spanned two continents. But one of the most venerated among these emperors wasn’t an emperor at all, but an empress—Yekaterina Velikaya, or, Catherine the Great.
A woman before her time, Catherine oversaw an expansion of the Russian empire the effects of which we still feel today. Look to Ukraine’s current border skirmishes with Russia along the Black Sea to see the marks she left on that nation. And now, HBO is bringing her story to life in a new miniseries styled in a way that only HBO could deliver.
The immortal Helen Mirren plays Catherine herself, and Jason Clarke her storied lover, Grigory Potemkin. The miniseries centers on Catherine’s iron grip on power and how she is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to hold on to it. In a world ruled by men, Catherine rises to become one of history’s most notable leaders, and an architect of modern Russia.
“Catherine the Great” premieres October 21 on HBO.