To add to Tom's answer which I voted for. Peter the Great was fascinated with the West from an early age. He was the first and only Czar of Russia to travel extensively across western Europe (March 9, 1697 to August 25, 1698). On his travels he studied western science and crafts, not only recruiting skilled labours for Russia but participating himself in learning skills. St. Petersburg and the modern Russian navy Peter is credited with building both came out of that Great Embassy.
Peter's primary ambition was a year round Port for Russia both in the North Atlantic (St Petersburg) and on the Black Sea which was dominated by the Ottoman Empire in Peters day. Once he had the access these water ways he wanted to not only keep that land but exploit it to modernize Russia. To do that he recognized he needed skills which Western Europe had developed.
Grand Embassy of Peter the Great
Peter visited the Royal Observatory, the Royal Mint, the Royal Society, the University of Oxford, as well as several shipyards and artillery plants. He studied the English techniques of city-building. He would later use that knowledge to great effect at Saint Petersburg. In Deptford's royal dockyards, he acquired skills that later helped him raise a Russian fleet; he studied in the Royal Observatory to improve Russian navigational skills; in Woolwich Arsenal he learned how to produce artillery. Although Peter had numerous opportunities to spend time with Isaac Newton, Christopher Wren, and Edmund Halley, he did not meet with them.
Instead, he concentrated on his goal of acquiring valuable technology that "had ultimately proved frustrating" in the Netherlands. The Dutch had one of the most sophisticated shipyard operations in Europe but most of their work method were not written down. Instead, in Peter's own words, they used "measure of intuition and unwritten custom that was difficult to codify". The decision to visit Britain was easily made when Peter heard that the British shipyard employed "art and science" practices that could be learned in a short time.