Known as the "Tsar Liberator", he was a reformist who emancipated the serfs. Ultimately this new-found freedom was used to assassinate him in 1881.
Tsar Alexander III
03/13/1881 - 11/01/1884
During his reign as Tsar he set about undoing the reforms of Alexander II after seeing him assassinated first-hand. He died of natural causes.
Tsar Nicholas II
11/01/1884 - 03/15/1917
A weak ruler who said he knew nothing of the business of ruling. He oversaw a number of revolutions, the failed Russo-Japanese war, and ultimately the end of Tsarist Russia following the February 1917 revolution which led to the execution of himself, his wife, his five children, his doctor, and 3 more of his servants.
Russian Provisional Government
03/15/1917 - 11/07/1917
Formed following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II after the February Revolution, this was a government led by Georgy Lvov to rule Russia but was dissolved following the Bolshevik Revolution 4 months after its formation.
11/08/1917 - 01/21/1924
Leader of the Bolsheviks who later became Communist, he first had to win the Russian Civil War before he had complete power. He was a dictator who made Russia the first constitutionally socialist state in the world.
01/21/1924 - 1929
Following Lenin's death of a heart attack in 1924, there was a power struggle between Stalin, Trotsky, and 5 others. Eventually Stalin won after hiding Lenin's testament which, although it did not name a successor, said that Stalin should not take over.
1929 - 03/05/1953
After winning the power struggle with the "Great Purge", Stalin became a fiercely repressive dictator who saw both friendship with the USA during the Second World War, and the Cold War including the Berlin Blockade and the Korean War. Estimates of the number of deaths due to his repression vary, with some estimates as high as 20 million. However, official records of only 3 million have been found, although these are believed to be inaccurate and/or incomplete.
03/05/1953 - 02/27/1956
Following Stalin's death there was a period of "Collective Leadership" until Khrushchev asserted a moral leadership and is elected President of the Politburo
02/27/1956 - 10/14/1964
Khrushchev became leader following Stalin's death and began a period of de-Stalinisation. However, following events such as Russia's humiliation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, hard-liners forced Khrushchev to retire and he was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev.
Emancipated the serfs of Russia so that they were no longer owned by the nobles.
Nicholas II created the Duma, a form of government, in response to the 1905 revolution. There were 4 different Dumas between its creation in 1906 and the Revolution of 1917. Many of those serving in the fourth and final Duma went on to form part of the Provisional Government.
End of the Crimean War
A war between the Russian Empire, and the combined forces of the French Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia. Russia lost in 1856 when Alexander II signed the Treaty of Paris.
The Russo-Japanese War
01/08/1904 - 09/05/1905
A war with Japan intended to increase patriotism in Russia which backfired when the Russians lost due to its lack of effective organisation.
01/22/1905 - 06/16/1907
A failed revolution following the events of Bloody Sunday and the defeat at the hands of Japan. Involved worker strikes, peasant unrest and military mutinies. Led to Nicholas II passing the October Manifesto.
A march took place to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to present to the Tsar a petition asking for help with the poor living standards of the Russian peasants. However it was met by the army. 92 were killed and several hundreds injured. This sparked the 1905 revolution.
Russia in the First World War
08/01/1914 - 03/03/1918
Russia entered the war under Nicholas II. However, it can be considered to be a major contributory factor towards the revolution. The provisional Government led to confusion both at home and on the front line. Then came the Bolshevik Revolution, who started peace talks with the German Empire. They initially rejected the German's conditions, but once the German Army began to march unopposed across Ukraine, Russia accepted a peace offer in which a large amount of territory was ceded to the Germans.
Russian Civil War
11/07/1917 - 10/1922
A Civil War in Russia between the Red Army of socialists including the Bolsheviks, and the White Army, an alliance of anti-Bolsheviks, who were also allied with an Allied intervention, which include forces from the British Empire, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, USA, France, Estonia, Romania, Serbia, Italy and China. Eventually the Red Army won and set up Soviet Russia.
World War 2
09/01/1939 - 11/02/1945
Russia fought on the Eastern front and suffered heavy losses. It looked like it would lose until the tide turned with the Battle of Stalingrad and the Russians pushed the Germans back, becoming the first army to reach Berlin out of the two fronts. This cemented Stalin as a dictator who was not to be crossed.
Battle of Stalingrad
08/23/1942 - 02/02/1943
One of the bloodiest battles in history, this was a turning point both on the Eastern front and in the whole war. It was eventually won by the Soviets who then went on to push the Germans right back to Berlin until their unconditional surrender.