Byron opens the canto by insisting that all of Europe owes Russia a big debt for booting the Turkish people out of Ismail.
Byron also shows his philosophical side when he says that in the end, everyone ends up dying anyway. In this sense, he undercuts the glory of the people who have won the wars of history.
Byron apologizes for another long and philosophical digression and tries to get back to the plot of his poem. But it isn't easy.
We now find Don Juan in St. Petersburg, Russia, where's he's being honored for his brave fighting against the Turks.
The leader of Russia at this point in history is Catherine the Great. She is an older woman and she instantly falls in love with DJ's youth and beauty. This leads her to shower DJ with all kinds of gifts and honors. This all buoys up DJ's pride and makes him feel pretty good about himself. Of course, many of the other soldiers get jealous of DJ's privileged position.