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[[File: Karl XII i Ystad 1715, målning av Johan Heinrich Wedekindt från 1719.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left| Tsar Peter the Great]]
The failed invasion of Russia by Hitler and Napoleon are well known. Less well-known is invasion of Russia by the Swedes under their most famous king, Charles XII. Sweden in 1700 was the greatest Northern European power and this provoked the jealousy of its neighbours. This led to the Great Northern War. The culmination of this war was the Swedish monarch’s invasion of Russia and his subsequent defeat by Tsar Peter the Great at Poltava (1709). The failed invasion of the Russian Empire by Charles XII has been largely forgotten but had he succeeded the fate of Europe could have been different. This article discussed the background the Swedish invasion, the military campaign and the defeat of Charles and his army at Poltava. It demonstrates that the failure of the Swedish army’s invasion was due to the geography of Russia, bad luck and the dogged stubbornness of the Russian people.