|Timeline on Russian History
(to World War II)
860 Rus' attack on Constantinople (one of the earliest records of Rus')
988 Vladimir converts Rus' to Orthodox Christianity
1237-41 Invasion and conquest of Rus' by Golden Horde (Mongols)
1547 Ivan IV becomes first Muscovite Grand prince to be crowned "Tsar"
1552 Muscovite conquest of the Islamic Khanate of Kazan
1649 New law code completes enserfment of peasantry
1682-1725 Reign of Peter I ("the Great") and westernization of Russia
1730 Anne becomes Empress; "conditions" on Autocrat rejected
1772-95 Incorporation of Poland into Russian Empire
1812-14 Russian victory over Napoleon
1830-31 Polish revolt; termination of Polish constitution
1861 Emancipation of ca. 19 million serfs
1863 Interior Ministry Peter Valuev's plan reform plan submitted
1879 Bulgarian constitution (under Russian auspices)
1881 Interior Ministry Loris-Melikov's reform plan
Assassination of Alexander II; rejection of L-M's reform plan
1904-05 Russo-Japanese war ending in Russian defeat
1905-07 The "Revolution of 1905"
1905 Nicholas II grants the October Manifesto granting civil rights & parliament (Duma)
1906 New Fundamental Law issued
1907 Revision of Duma's electoral law (Peter Stolypin's "coup")
1914 Outbreak of World War I (against Germany, Austria-Hunary, & Ottoman empire)
1917 February: abdication of Nicholas II, creation of Provisional Government
October: the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks
1918 Creation of first Soviet constitution (for RSFSR)
1918-21 Russian civil war ("Reds" vs. "Whites")
1921 Introduction of New Economic Policy (lasting until 1928)
1922 Formation of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
1924 New Soviet constitution, reflecting creation of USSR
Death of Lenin
1928 Joseph Stalin solidifies power as dictator of USSR
1928-31 The "Stalin Revolution": collectivization & rapid industrialization
1936 New Stalin constitution
1941 Nazi invasion of the USSR begins World War II for the Soviet Union
1991 Collapse of the USSR, creation of 15 new independent states
Major Russian Rulers
Ivan IV ("the Terrible") 1533-1584
Peter I ("the Great") 1682-1725
Catherine II ("the Great") 1762-1796
Alexander I 1801-1825
Nicholas I 1825-1855
Alexander II 1855-1881
Alexander III 1881-1894
Nicholas II 1894-1917
Vladimir Lenin 1917-1924 (as leader of the Bolsheviks)
Joseph Stalin 1928-1953
Short Biographical Information
Key Figures in Russian History
Alexander II (1818-1881). Emperor & Autocrat of Russia, 1855-1881; known as "Tsar Liberator" for both his emancipation of the serfs (1861) and the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule (1878). Assassinated by radical revolutionaries in 1881.
Anna (empress). Ruled Russia 1730-40. A central figure in the government crisis of 1730, which might have established certain limitations on the autocrat in favor of a Supreme Privy Council.
Lenin (Ul'ianov), Vladimir (1870-1924). Radical revolutionary Marxist, founder and leader of the Bolshevik faction of Russian social democracy; led the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 and the leading figure in the Soviet government from then until a series of strokes in 1922-23 incapacitated him.
Loris-Melikov, Michael (1824-1888). Interior minister in Imperial Russia, 1880-1881; author of a project to establish a consultative assembly for the participation of society in government (project was rejected after the assassination of Alexander II in 1881.
Nicholas II ( -1917). Last Emperor of Russia. Granted October Manifesto in 1905 and abdicated the throne on behaf of himself and his son in February 1917. Executed by Bolsheviks in 1918.
Peter the Great (1672-1725). Ruled Russia in 1682-1725; famous for aggressive and extensive policy of Russia's westernization and for defeating Sweden, the major power in the Baltic Sea at the time, in the Northern War.
Stalin (Jugashvili), Joseph (1879-1953). A native of Georgia, one of the inner circle of Bolsheviks. A specialist on nationality affairs., Stalin used his significant organizational skills to establish his supremacy within the Communist Party and Soviet government by late 1920s.
Stolypin, Peter (1862-1911). Interior minister and crime minister of Imperial Russia, engineer of a "coup" of 3 June 1907, which changed the electoral law of the Duma in order to minimize the number of delegates hostile to the government. Assassinated in 1911.
Trotsky (Bronstein) Lev (1879-1940). Prominent revolutionary who joined the Bolsheviks in 1917. Served as commissar for foreign affairs (1917-18) and then organized the Red Army for the civil war. Expelled from the USSR in 1929 and assassinated by Stalinist henchmen in 1940.
Valuev, Peter (1815-1890). Interior minister of Imperial Russia (1861-68), author of a plan of 1863 designed to introduction greater participation of Russian society in politics (because of growing unrest and crisis in the government that plan was never put into effect).