Did Cathrine the great actively seek and promote new knowledge for the empire’s well being?
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The short answer is "yes". Much like Peter the Great, Catherine brought in ideas from the West to help build and improve Russia's infrastructure whether it was in bringing it out of bankruptcy, building up a national education system, or in corresponding with many of the leading writers and thinkers from France, Germany, or England as examples to give her ideas on how to better the lives of her countrymen.
She wanted to be seen as an enlightened ruler and, in many ways, succeeded in bringing Russia to the table as a respectable superpower (although her military victories in expanding Russia's borders likely did more in that regard).