As a true daughter of the great Russian reformer, Elizabeth (1741-61) relegated the German element to a subordinate position in the administration and gave her confidence to genuine Russians like Bestuzhev, Vorontsov, Razumovski (her morganatic husband) and the Shuvalovs.
The Zaporozhian Cossacks colonized the steppes farther E., towards the Don, where they met with a large population of Great Russian runaways, constituting the present Don Cossacks.
In the midst of the Northern War, shortly after the great Russian victory of Poltava (1709), the sultan, at the instigation of Swedish and French agents, determined to recover Azov, and made great military preparations for that purpose.
The next great tributary is the Oka, which comes from the southwest after having traversed, on its course of 950 m., all the Great Russian provinces of central Russia.
In 1871-1873 the great Russian explorer, Nicolai Prjevalsky, crossed the Gobi desert from the north to Kansu in western China.