Russia: 1861-1917


The Edict of Emancipation

19th February 1861

The Edict of Emancipation was a liberal reform put in place by Tsar Alexander II, abolishing serfdom and allowing the proletariat to purchase and own property, albeit at a steep price

Formation of the Zemstvos


The Zemstvo was a form of provincial or local government tasked with developing and enforcing laws specific to their own population

Formation of Narodnaya Volya (The People's Will)


Narodnaya Volya, translating directly to "The People's Will" in English, was a revolutionary organization best known for the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881

Assassination of Tsar Alexander II

13 March 1881

The Tsar is assassinated by a young member of the social agitation group known as Narodnaya Volya. Two explosions leave the Tsar, along with several Cossacks, dead

Death of Alexander III

1 November 1894

Tsar Alexander III, celebrated ruler of Russia and father of Nicholas II, passes away after a battle with terminal kidney disease

Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II

26 May 1896

After the untimely death of his father, Alexander III, the Tsar is reluctantly thrust into power, beginning what would be a tumultuous reign

Khodynka Tragedy

30 May 1896

1,389 civilians are killed in a stampede at Khodynka field after a celebration of the Tsars coronation

Formation of Russian Social Democratic Labour Party

1 March 1898

The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was a political organization established by Vladimir Lenin. The group would eventually split into two separate organizations, The Bolsheviks and The Mensheviks, the former of which would come to eventual power

Formation of The Socialist Revolutionary Party


The Socialist Revolutionary Party was a socialist organization established by Viktor Chernov promoting an overthrow of autocratic regime

Lenin Publishes "What Is To Be Done?"

Approx. 1902

"What Is To Be Done?" is a pamphlet written and published by revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. Within it, he discusses and proposes the ideas that would later form the basis of Marxist Leninism as employed by the USSR

RSDLP Splits

November 17 1903

The Russian Democratic Labour Party splits into two factions: The more radical Bolsheviks (meaning "majority" in English) and the conservative Mensheviks (meaning "minority" in English). The Bolsheviks pursue a communist state for Russia, whereas the Mensheviks lean toward a democratic state. Both factions coexist but are naturally distrustful of eachother

Russo-Japanese War

8 February 1904 - 5 September 1905

The Russo-Japanese War took place over imperialist ambitions by both Russia and Japan, fighting over Manchuria, a Chinese satellite state. The war was a source of great distress for the Russian people, who experienced a decisive defeat and mass casualties in late 1905. Approx. 70,000 Russians soldiers and seamen perish

Putilov Incident

December 1904

Four workers at the Putilov Steel Works are fired for association to revolutionary activity and organizations. As a result, the entire workforce strikes, destabilizing economic output in St. Petersburg and garnering several copycat incidents

Bloody Sunday

22 January 1905

Workers in St. Petersburg, disillusioned by poor working and living conditions, march peacefully to the Winter Palace lead by Father Gapon to reason with the Tsar. The Tsar, however, is elsewhere and the protestors are fired upon by Cossacks. Casualty counts range from 132 people to in excess of 4,000

Revolution of 1905

22 January 1905 - 16 June 1907

The proletariat begin a chain of revolutionary activity leading to a set of political and constitutional reforms including the introduction of the Duma's and the multi-party system

Battle of Tsushima

27 May 1905

After 6 months of sailing around the coast of Africa to reach the Straits of Tsushima, the entire Russian naval fleet is annihilated despite outnumbering Japanese forces 38-4. When news of the defeat reaches the Tsar, he is forced to withdraw from the war and admit defeat for fear of sparking unrest

The October Manifesto

17 October 1905

The October Manifesto was a constitutional document issued by the Tsar in an effort to quell revolutionary activity. It guaranteed civil liberties for all members of the Russian general population as well as the installment of the Duma, a democratically appointed legislative body, theoretically transferring some political power to the people, limited as it may be

Fundamental State Laws

April 23 1906

The Tsar issues a set of Fundamental State Laws that secure his position as "Supreme Autocrat". He reserves the right to veto any decisions made by the Dumas as well as the ability to disband them at any time

First Duma

April 27 1906 - 8 July 1906

The First Duma is enacted with little success as the Tsar is reluctant share power. It is disbanded after 73 days

Russian Constitution of 1906

6 May 1906

Enacted by the Tsar, the constitution ratifies changes made in the October Manifesto; for the first time, a Russian Tsar officially shares his autocratic rule

Second Duma

20 February 1907 - 2 June 1907

The Second Duma is enacted and lasts 103 days. President Stolypin fails to develop a functioning relationship with many of organizations and delegates present. It is dissolved after Stolypin requests revisions to be made to remove several legislative seats

Change in Electoral Laws

June 4 1907

The Tsar and Stolypin make a series of changes to the electoral laws, placing more power in the hands of the Bourgeoisie and limiting the polling power of the peasantry, in doing so violating the fundamental state laws he had enacted a year earlier

Third Duma

7 November 1907 - 9 June 1912

The Third Duma was the first to serve its full period. It did so, however, with little political progress in the interest of the proletariat.

Lena Goldfields Massacre

4 April 1912

Harsh working conditions and a low pay rate on the Lena Goldfields leads to mass worker strikes. The strike committee was subsequently arrested for revolutionary activity and the workers fired upon by the Russian Imperial Army. An estimated 270 workers were killed and another 250 were wounded, sparking a wave of protests and strikes across the country

Fourth Duma

15 November 1912 - 6 October 1917

The Fourth Duma was one of little legislative change; the Tsar maintained a watchful eye on proceedings and did not shy away from interjecting and vetoing anything deemed too progressive, even suggesting that the Duma be reduced simply to a consultive body. The Duma's were discontinued by the provisional government following the abdication of the Tsar in 1917

Russia Enters WWI

August 1914

Russia is drawn into the conflict of WWI along with allied Germany & Austria-Hungary

Tsar Nicholas Takes Command of Army

5 September 1915

Faced with growing discontent amongst troops and losses on the battlefield, the Tsar, who was militarily trained from childhood, travels to the Eastern Front to take personal command of the Russian armies in an effort to boost morale and support. This backfires, however, as the Tsar becomes personally responsible for any failures or issues encountered by the military

February Revolution

February 23 1917 - 3 March 1917

The February Revolution was the first of two revolutions in 1917, contributing to the forceful overthrow of autocratic rule. A chaotic affair, it served as the culmination of decades of political unrest and a growing sense of discontent from the public. There were mass demonstrations and protests throughout St. Petersburg, with much of the events being supported by mutinous Russian forces. There is no evidence of formal planning or leadership

Petrograd Soviet Order No. 1

1 March 1917

The Petrograd Soviet Order No. 1 was the first decree of the The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, designed to undermine and cripple what little power autocracy and it's supporters still had

Abdication of Tsar Nicholas II

2 March 1917

Faced with unrelenting criticism and unrest amongst the people of Russia, the Tsar was forced to abdicate his throne, leaving it to his brother Grand Duke Michael. Michael declined however, leaving the decision to a Constituent Assembly for the continuance of the monarchy or a republic. The assembly voted in favor of the latter, leading to the formation of a provisional government

1917 Revolution

8 March 1917 - 7 November 1917

The 1917 revolution led to the forceful overthrow of Russian Autocracy after over 300 years of Romanov rule

Execution of the Romanov Family

17 July 1918

Faced with the incoming White Guard suspected of intentions to rescue the Tsar and reinstall Autocratic regime, the Tsar and his family were executed in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg by Bolshevik troops