World History

Russia Timeline and History Highlights

Russia Timeline Highlights


800 – Slavic peoples migrate to Ukrainian territory.

862 – King Rurik takes control of the region from the city of Novgorod. Those people are known as the Rus.

882 – King Oleg moves his capital to Kiev.

980 – The Kingdom of Kievan Rus expands and gains power under the reign of Vladimir the Great.

1015 – Yaroslav the Wise becomes king. Kievan Rus reaches the apex of power. A written code will be created.

1237 – The country was invaded by the Mongols. They will destroy many cities in this region.

1462 – Ivan III. Becomes Grand Duke of Moscow.

1480 – Ivan III. Free Russia from Mongols.

1547 – Ivan IV, also known as Ivan the Terrible, is crowned the first Tsar of Russia.

1552 – Ivan IV conquers Kazan and expands his kingdom.

1609 – The Polish-Russian War begins. Poland invades Russia.

1613 – Michael Romanov is elected Tsar and the Romanov dynasty begins. The Romanov dynasty ruled until his 1917.

1648 – Salt riots erupt in Moscow over the introduction of a salt tax.

1654 – Russia invades Poland.

1667 – Russia and Poland sign a peace treaty.

1689 – Peter the Great becomes emperor. He will establish Russia as a world power through reforms and the creation of a standing army.

1700 – The Great Northern War with Sweden begins.

1703 – Peter the Great establishes the city of St. Petersburg.

1713 – Saint Petersburg becomes the capital of the Russian Empire.

1721 – Russia wins the Great Northern War, gaining territories such as Estonia and Livonia.

1725 – Peter the Great dies, and his wife Catherine I reigns as Empress of Russia.

1736 – The Russo-Turkish War against the Ottoman Empire begins.

1757 – Russian troops enter the Seven Years’ War.

1762 – Russia ends the Seven Years’ War without acquiring any territory.

1762 – Emperor Peter III. was killed and his wife, Catherine II, assumed the throne. She will rule for her 34 years in the so-called Golden Age of the Russian Empire.

1812 – Napoleon invades Russia. His army was nearly destroyed by the Russian winter weather.

1814 – Napoleon is defeated.

1825 – Decembrist uprising in St. Petersburg.

1853 – The Crimean War begins. Ultimately, Russia was defeated by an alliance of France, the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, and Sardinia.

1861 – Tsar Alexander II introduced reforms and emancipated serfs.

1867 – Russia sells Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million.

1897 – The Social Democratic Party is founded. It then split into the Bolshevik and Menshevik parties.

1904 – Russia wages war against Japan in Manchuria and is defeated.

1905 – The 1905 revolution takes place. About 200 people were killed on Bloody Sunday.

1905 – Tsar Nicholas II was forced to accept the October Proclamation, which provided for a parliament called the House of Commons.

1914 – World War I begins. Russia is fighting on the side of the Allies. Russia invades Germany.

1917 – The Russian Revolution takes place. The Tsar government is overthrown. Communist Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, seize power in the October Revolution.

1918 – Russians withdraw from World War I with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. They abandoned Finland, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine.

1918 – Tsar Nicholas II and his family are executed by the Bolsheviks. “Red Terror” begins when Lenin introduces communism. A civil war breaks out in Russia.

1921 – Lenin declares a new economic policy.

1922 – The Russian Civil War ends. Soviet Union is established.

1924 – Lenin dies and Joseph Stalin becomes the new leader.

1934 – Stalin’s Great Purge begins. Stalin eliminates all opposition and up to 20 million people are killed.

1939 – World War II begins. As part of the agreement with Germany, the Russians invaded Poland.

1941 – Germany invades Russia. Russia joins the Allies.

1942 – Russian forces defeat German forces at the Battle of Stalingrad. This was the turning point of World War II.

1945 – World War II ends. The Soviet Union controls most of Eastern Europe, including Poland and East Germany. Cold War begins.

1949 – The Soviet Union detonates an atomic bomb.

1961 – The Soviet Union sends the first human cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, into space.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis occurs when the Soviet Union deploys missiles in Cuba.

1972 – U.S. President Richard Nixon visits the Soviet Union to ease tensions.

1979 – The Soviet-Afghan war begins. Soviet forces had little success against the Afghan rebels. They are defeated in 1989.

1980 – The 1980 Summer Olympics are held in Moscow. Many countries, including the United States, are boycotting the match.

1985 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected Secretary-General. He introduced freedom of expression and open government (glasnost) and economic restructuring (perestroika).

1991 – The Soviet Union is dismantled. Many countries gain independence. A country called Russia is created.

2000 – Vladimir Putin is elected president.

2014 – The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi.

Russia History Highlights:

The area that is now part of Russia has been inhabited for thousands of years. Russia’s first modern state was founded in 862 by King Rurik of Rus, who was appointed ruler of Novgorod. A few years later, the Rus’ conquered the city of Kiev and established the Kiev-Russia Kingdom. From the 10th century to his 11th century, the Grand Duchy of Kiev grew into a powerful empire in Europe, culminating under Vladimir the Great and Yaroslav his 1st wise.

In the 13th century, a Mongol army led by Batu his khan overran the region and destroyed the Grand Duchy of Kievan Rus. In the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Moscow came to power. It became the head of the Eastern Roman Empire, and Ivan IV the Terrible was crowned Russia’s first emperor in 1547. Tsar was another name for Caesar, as the Russians called their empire the “Third Rome”.

In 1613, Mikhail Romanov founded the Romanov dynasty and ruled Russia for many years. Under the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725), the Russian Empire continued to expand. It developed into a great power across Europe. Peter the Great moved his capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Russian culture reached its peak in his nineteenth century. Famous artists and writers such as Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy became famous all over the world.

After World War I in 1917, the Russian people fought against the tsarist leadership. Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik party in a revolution that overthrew the Tsar. In 1918 a civil war broke out. The Linen side won, and the communist state of the Soviet Union was established in 1922. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin seized power. Under Stalin, millions of people died of hunger and execution.

During World War II, Russia initially allied itself with Germany. But in 1941 the Germans invaded Russia. More than 20 million Russians died in World War II, including more than 2 million Jews killed as part of the Holocaust.

In 1949 the Soviet Union developed nuclear weapons. The so-called Cold War saw an arms race between Russia and the United States. The Soviet economy suffered from communism and isolationism. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and many member states declared independence. The rest of the territory became the Russian state.