Russia Timeline

Peter the Great leading up to WW2.


Peter the Great

1689 - 1725

Peter the Great took control of the government at age 17. He had several successful wars and greatly expanded the empire. His main goal was to westernize and make Russia into a modern nation.

Peter the Great westernizes


Peter the Great wanted to westernize his country. He hired a group of experts from Europe to help him achieve this. Such experts included, teachers and soldiers who he recruited. He really pushed for new modern ways through social and economic reforms. If people were resisting, he showed little mercy in his actions.

The Great Northern War


Russia did not have any warm water ports, they were frozen for nine months of the year. Peter began a war against Sweden in 1700. In the beginning of the war, Sweden defeated a Russian army that was five times its size. This caused Peter to rebuild his army and shaping it after European ones. This paid off. In 1709, Peter defeated Sweden and took control of a territory along the Baltic Sea.

Catherine 1

1725 - 1728

Peter the Great's second wife ruled Russia after his death. She lead a powerful group of officials, who mainly ruled Russia. She became a watch to these a officials and wasn't a strong political power.

Peter II

1728 - 1730

The son of Peter I, ruled after his mother's death. He banned serfs going into the military, which would allow them to escape from serfdom.

Anna of Russia

1730 - 1740

Peter the Great's niece, she was made empress after Peter II died. She used security policy. She established Cadet Corps within the first year of her reign. She gave powerful government positions to Baltic Germans, having mistrust in Russian nobles. Her reign was the mark of expanding into Central Asia territories.

Ivan IV

1740 - 1741

Ivan took the throne at two months old after Anna died. He was then overthrown the next year.

Elizabeth I

1741 - 1761

Came into power at age 32. She exiled the previous German officials that were making decisions in her country. She brought Russia into two major wars, including the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War.

Peter III

1761 - 1762

Took the throne the day Elizabeth died. He was only in power for six months and was very unpopular. Introduced new reforms to help Russia during his time but was overthrown on June 28th, 1762, which was led by his wife. He died on July 7th, 1762.

Catherine the Great takes the throne


Catherine the Great came into power after her husband was killed. She wanted to westernize the culture, just like Peter the Great did. She was a major part in the Enlightenment. But, Catherine was an absolute monarch and she shut down anyone who tried to rebel. She took action against serfdom and this caused conditions for peasants to get worse.

Catherine the Great's reign

1762 - 1796

Catherine the Great was an absolute monarchy. She ruled for over thirty years in a critical time of Russian history.

Catherine takes part of Poland


Russia, Prussia and Austria divided up Poland to avoid fighting one another, this was in 1772. Catherine took a part of eastern Poland, which was home to many Russians. It would be cut up even more in 1793 and become final in 1795.

Catherine gained a warm water port


Similar to Peter the Great, Catherine the Great wanted a warm water port. She gained a warm water port on the Black Sea.

Paul I

1796 - 1801

He was the son of Peter III and Catherine the Great. Declared himself Emperor on the day Catherine died. He was not very popular and was suffocated by conspirators which led to his death. The most important thing that he did was adopt the laws of succession to the Russian throne.

Alexander I

1801 - 1825

He ruled after his father, Paul I died. His time as emperor was during the Napoleonic Wars. At the beginning of his reign he wanted liberal reforms, but as time went on this changed and he started to believe that early reforms were the best. After breaking a treaty, France invaded Russia in 1812. This was a turning point for the emperor. After this, his actions became more conservative.

Nicholas I

1825 - 1855

Tsar Nicholas I ruled Russia with political reforms in mind. He initiated the Crimean which began 1853. He emphasized Russian culture and nationalism. During this time, arts and literature became a part of society.

Crimean War

1853 - 1856

This war did not end well for Russia. They had a combined alliance of Britain, Turkey, France, Austria, Prussia. They all feared Russian expansionism towards the Mediterranean. The war was fought in Russia in the Crimean province. It ended with peace in Paris in 1856. It was hosted by Napoleon III and required Russia to demilitarize the Black Sea.

Alexander II

1855 - 1881

Alexander II was the King of Poland and the Grand Prince of Finland, he was in power for awhile but his greatest act was the Emancipation of serfs in 1861.

Emancipation of serfs


After the Crimean War, reforms were made. He made that act that wherever there was serfdom, emancipation committees would be placed.

Alaska is sold


Alexander II sold Alaska to the United States for $7 million dollars, which is equal to about $200 million today.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

1870 - 1924

His brother was executed when he was 17, this caused his family to be named a threat to the government. He spread ideas of Marxism among socialists and other factory workers. He set up a group of elite citizens to rise up against the government. He believed that only revolution could spark change. But in 1895, he was exiled. But this did not stop him. At his death in 1924, power struggles surfaced. This was mainly between Stalin and Trotsky.

Alexander III

1881 - 1894

Alexander the Peacemaker he was often nicknamed as, was the Emperor of Russia, King of Poland and the Grand Prince of Finland. He changed some reforms that were created by his father. He wanted to remain true to Russian Orthodox.

Nicholas II

1894 - 1917

Nicholas was the last Emperor of Russia. While he was in rule, Russia was defeated in the Russo-Japanese War and Russia joined World War I, which killed 3.3 million Russians. He was abdicated in the February 1917 Revolutions, which led him and his family to imprisonment. As WWI continued, so did Nicholas' reign. It slowly spiraled down, leading to his abdication.

300th Anniversary of the Romanov dynasty


The 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, Russians honored the tsar and his family.

Start of WW1


With the beginning of the war, Russians felt a deep sense of nationalism and pride. But, as the war went on, deaths increased and by 1915, two million were dead.

Beginning of Revolutions


In March of 1917, the first of the revolutions would affect the Romanov dynasty and start radical changes. In November, another revolution broke out. During this revolution, Lenin's group overthrew the government with little struggle. The Bolsheviks then came into power, Moscow then becoming their capital. They ended up with private ownership of land and distributed it to peasants. The Bolsheviks were then renamed the Communists.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk


To gain peace with Germany, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was created. In order to gain peace, Russia gave up a huge part of its land and population. This was a high price, but to the Communists, it was worth it.

Civil War

1918 - 1921

The civil war continued for three years against the Reds (communists) and the Whites (counterrevolutionists). The Reds organized the Cheka, which was a secret police form similar to the Tsar's. It killed innocent citizens who they thought might have the slightest action against them. They set up a policy known as "war communism." They took over banks, mines, factories and railroads. Peasants were forced to give their crops to feed soldiers and those suffering with hunger in the cities.


Forced Labor Camps


The communists set up networks of forced labor camps, which grew beneath Stalin.

New Economic Policy


Small businesses were reopened to private profit. They stopped taking grain from peasants. And by 1928, the food and industrial production came back to prewar levels.

USSR creation


Lenin's communist government brought together the old Russia empire to create the USSR or the Soviet Union. They created a democratic and socialist constitution. It set up an elected legislature, called the Supreme Soviet and gave citizens over 18 a right to vote. The Soviet Union made all people equal, except this was not reality. The communist party reigned the Soviet Union.

Stalin comes to power


Stalin was a political figure and behind the scenes organizer. Lenin doubted his ambitious ways and this turned out to be true. Stalin proved himself to be ruthless in order to gain dictatorship. Stalin wanted to build socialism in Russia. But, Stalin had Trotsky to compete with. Stalin isolated Trotsky, which led to him fleeing the country in 1929. Stalin had Trotsky killed in 1940 in Mexico.

Five-Year Plans


Stalin proposed the five year plans which wanted to build heavy industry, improve transportation and increase farming output. This intent was to strengthen and grow the economy. Russia used a command economy, which allowed officials to make all basic economic decisions. But, free market determined most economic decisions. This plan set high production goals, pushing managers and workers to meet these expectations. Over an eleven year span, large factories, hydroelectric power stations and industry complexes dominated the Soviet Union. This caused the standard of living to be very low. With consumer products scare, wages were low and workers' movements were forbidden.



Kulaks were wealthy farmers in the Soviet Union. Stalin believed that they were behind resistance in the USSR. He took action right away. The government took their lands and they were send to labor camps, Thousands died or were murdered at such camps. This caused peasants' anger to rise. They began to grow only enough to feed themselves. The government took action and produced enough to sustain the industry, but not enough to feed the peasants. This led to a famine in 1932 called the Terror Famine.

The Great Purge


As Stalin's reign went on, so did absolute ruling and power. He was ruthless to his own people and showed little mercy. He sent people to the Gulag, which was a network of labor camps, this was similar to a death trap.

Russification and other policies


Russification was the policy in creating the culture more Russian. In 1936, the USSR included 11 Soviet Socialist Republics. The government made it an official state policy to believe in no god, or atheism. Priests and religious figures were killed during the time of this. All religions were discouraged and many religious figures and people were killed or sent to camps. The government replaced their religion with their own ideas. Having texts by Marx and Lenin becoming sacred. There were shrines in their honor.