Russia and the USSR

Timeline of Russia and the USSR. Depth Study IGCSE



1890 - 1899

Russian economic growth. This economic expansion was assisted by a world-wide boom in the 1890s. It was followed by a recession, which led to high unemployment.

Sergei Witte - Minister of Finance

1893 - 1903

Tsar Nicholas II

October 20, 1894 - March 2, 1917

Russian Social Democratic Party (RSDLP)


Created in 1898, divided in 1903

Sergei Witte - Prime Minister

1903 - 1906

RSDLP splits


RSDLP splits into the Bolsheviks (minority) and the Mensheviks (majority)

Peter Stolypin -Prime Minister

1906 - 1911

He abolished yearly land payments (past slaves to former owners) and helped peasants get their own lands. He used a 'CARROT AND STICK' approach to Russia's problems.
He was assassinated in 1911


April, 1906 - July, 1906

It had no say in government matters, contained many critics. It was dissolved by Stolypin on July. Included Social Revolutionaries and Constitutional Democrats.


1907 - 1913

Increase in Russia's national wealth. Even though there was less unemployment and the situation started to improve, high inflation and lagging wages continued to simmer.


1907 - 1912

Dominated by gentry, landowners and businessmen.


February, 1907 - June, 1907

It was dissolved on June by a ukase (imperial decree. Included members against the October Manifesto, Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.

Social Revolutionaries split

December, 1917

Social Revolutionaries split into Left and Right. Left SRs joined the Bolsheviks in a coalition government.

The New Economic Policy (NEP)


It meant a partial return of Capitalism, as even though railways, mines and large factories remained nationalised, peasants were able to send their extra grain privately, once a certain amount had been sold to the State.
The Congress also decided to ban other parties and the operation of factions within their own party.

Lenin died

January, 1921

The struggle for power-
Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin joined together and became the 'Triumvirate' to prevent Trotsky becoming the new leader.
Trotsky and his supporters were known as Left Opposition.

The Kronstadt Rebellion

March, 1921

Sailors and workers in the important naval base at Kronstadt rose up in protest. They demanded the end of War Communism and the restoration of full soviet democracy. In the end Trotsky ordered to crush the rising.

Stalin - General Secretary of the Communist Party


This gave him the power to control Party membership and appointments.

Treaty of Rapallo


Treaty between Germany and Russia. Germany gave Russia modern technology and technical assistance in exchange of weapons.



This set up a federal system which established greater control over the different republics and Russia became known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)

Trotsky forced to leave his powerful position


Zinoviev and Kamenev ->Trotsky. Stalin->Bukharin and Right SRs

April 1926

Trotsky Zinoviev and Kamenev joined forces- The United Opposition, which objective included restoring the Party and Soviet Democracy.
Stalin and Bukharin joined forces were able to out-vote the United Opposition.

Britain broke diplomatic relationship with with the USSR



1927 - 1928

Stalin: 'Revolution from above'

1927 - 1930

Ended private ownership of the land, forced collectivisation programme.

First Five-Year Plan

1928 - 1932

Focused on heavy industry



Bukharin and his supported were defeated in 1928 and Trotsky expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929

Treaty of Berlin


Extended Treaty of Rapallo

Second Five-Year Plan

1932 - 1937

Focused on transport and mining

France and the USSR promised not to attack each other


After German politics begun to move to the Right.

USSR allowed to join the League of Nations


In 1933 the USA recognised the USSR and allowed them to join the League.

Great Terror and Show Trials

1936 - 1939

Purges in the Red Army and Industries. Show Trials- those who were arrested were forced to openly admit their 'crimes'.

Third Five-Year Plan

1938 - 1941

Focused on light industry and consumer goods, interrupted by Nazi invasion in 1941.

1905 Revolution


January 22, 1905 - January, 1906

Started after the 'Bloody Sunday' and ended when the Tsar ordered soldiers to close down revolutionary soviet workers' council.

'Bloody Sunday'

January 22, 1905

Defeats on land and sea (Russo-Japanese War), food shortages and price rises led to a mass protest on the 22nd of January, 1905. The crowd was shot by soldiers, and the event became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. It sparked a revolution, where middle clases, the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries demanded changes.

General Strike

October, 1905

Organized by revolutionary workers who demanded shorter working hours and increased wages.

October Manifesto

October, 1905

A precursor to the Constitution which created the Duma and gave the right to form Political Parties.
The liberal middle clases formed the Constitutional Democrats (Kadets) and workers organized revolutionary soviets in the major cities

Fundamental Law

April 23, 1906

A constitution, that reflected the promises made in the October Manifesto, is created.

Wars and Treaties

Russo-Japanese War

February 8, 1904 - September 5, 1905

Treaty of Portsmouth

September 5, 1905

Japan-Russia Treaty of Peace.

First World War

July 28, 1914 - November 11, 1918

Tsar makes himself commander-in-chief of the army


He left the government in hands of the Tsarina, who relied heavily on the advice of Rasputin, who was assassinated in 1916.


March, 1918

Russia was forced to pay 300 million gold roubles, give up its richest areas on farmland and population and over 75% of its coal and iron mines to Germany.

Russo-Polish War

March, 1920 - March, 1921

Poland invade Russia with weapons and troops supplied by France and Britain, in order to gain more land. The Red Army could push them back, but Lenin ordered them to overthrow the military dictator of Poland. The Red Army was defeated and a ceasefire was agreed in October 1920.

Treaty of Riga

MArch 1921

Ended the Russo-Polish War and gave Poland a large area of Russian land

The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

May 1939

Molotov negotiated with Germany, they arranged the division of Poland and its invasion.


September 1939

Second World War

September 1, 1939 - September 2, 1945

The 1917 Revolution

The February(March) Revolution

february 23, 1917 - february 27, 1917

A demostration to mark International Women's Day in Petrograd soon spread and developed a general strike. The soldiers defending Petrograd ended up joining the Revolution and after serious fighting between the demonstrators and the Cossacks, the Tsar abdicated.

The Tsar abdicated

march 2, 1917

Duma set up a Provisional Government, with Prince Lvov as Prime Minister

march 2 1917 - July, 1917

Lenin's 'April Theses'

April, 1917

Urged the Bolsheviks to take a more revolutionary position.

'The July Days'

July, 1917

Soldiers and anarcho-syndicalists tried to overthrow Kerensky's government, but he was able to stop them due to the support from the army. He then banned the Bolsheviks

Kerensky heads coalition government of Kadets and Social Revolutionaries.

July, 1917 - October, 1917

The provisional had been moved further to the right, and experienced one political crisis after another. Lvov resigned and his liberal Kadet government fell in early July.

Kornilov tried to overthrow Kerensky's government

August, 1917

With the support of the army, Kornilov tried to overthrow Kerensky's government, but he released the Bolsheviks, and their Red Guards stopped Kornilov's troops.

Bolsheviks won majority seats in Petrograd, Moscow and other cities.

September, 1917

The October (November) Revolution

25 October 1917

Bolsheviks took control of the main buildings in Petrograd and Kerensky escaped. The power to rule Russia was handed over to the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets.

Congress- declared to be the ruling body of Russia.

November, 1917

Other parties in the Soviet opposed Kerensky's overthrow, so they walk out of the Congress in protest.
The Congress elected a purely Bolshevik government called the Council of People's Commissars or 'Sovnarkom'.

The Civil War

'War Communism'


Economy measures introduced by the Communists, which included the nationalisation of the factories and it was forced that peasants handed over surplus food

Constituent Assembly's First Meeting

January 1918

They met in January-mostly Right SRs and a few Left(before Kenerenky fell he arranged elections for it)- and they immediately refused to accept the new soviet government, and some begun to take military action against Sovnarkom. Lenin then ordered the Red Guards to close the Assembly.


1918 - 1921

The Communist(Bolsheviks changed their name in March, 1918) were known as the Reds and they were against the Whites, which included supporters of the Tsar, Kerensky's supporters, several army leaders, various national separatist and anarchist movements(Kadets, SRs).
It ended in 1921, mainly because the Communists controlled the central part of Russia and held the main industrial cities, while the Whites were geographically and ideologically separated. Also, the Communists had the support of the peasants, who believed that the communists were the only ones who could force rich landlords to return their land.

The Reds killed the Tsar and his family

May, 1918

When the Whites took control of the Trans-Siberian railway, the Reds executed the Tsar and his family so the Whites couldn't rescue them.