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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Russian Language: Timelines

Chronology of Russian History


A detailed Chronology of Russia from the Bucknell University website lists the 4 major periods in Russian history, and providing in-depth timelines for each period: the Kievan and Appanage Periods from 860-1698, the Imperial Period from 1698-1917, the Soviet Period from 1917-1991, and the Post-Soviet Period from 1991-present day offers a chronology in Russian.  This chronology is very detailed and can be viewed by century, by clicking on any of the century or decade links seen at the top of the page:


Timeline for the Russian exploration of Siberia, text in both English and Russian, starts with the establishment of a trading center in Novgorod in 1286, for the export of furs to the Ural Mountains to Ivan IV's conquering of the Kazan in 1552, the founding of Iakutsk in 1632,and the Great Northern Expedition (1737-1743) of the North Pacific leading to the sighting of Alaskan mainland in 1741.

If you are interested in the exploration of Siberia, there is also a book based on the Czarist explorer Владимир Клавдиевич Арсеньев  (Vladimir Klavdievich Arseniev), who went on several Siberian scientific expeditions between 1902 and 1930 and reported on geographical, geological, and ethnographic data, in journals which have been likened to those of Lewis and Clark, combining observations with personal narratives.  Arseniev describes three expeditions of the Taiga in eastern Siberia between 1902 and 1907 during which he encounters the trapper Dersu Uzala.  The character Dersu in the book, however, combines some myths and legends of acts of heroism by the local inhabitants.  In 1975, Japanese director Akira Kurosawa came out with a movie rendition of the book, which has become a classic film of the Soviet era.

BBC Timeline

A briefer, yet well detailed chronology of key events is provided on the BBC News website, starting from the 1237 invasion of Russia by the Mongolsand continuing to present day events.

Some key events from the timeline:

1237-40 - Mongols invade Russia, destroying all of its main cities except Novgorod and Pskov; Tatars establish the empire of the Golden Horde in southern Russia.

1552-56 - Ivan the Terrible conquers the Tatar khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan and establishes Russian rule over lower and middle Volga.

1581 - Cossacks begin conquering Siberia.


1613 - National council elects Michael Romanov as tsar, heralding the Romanov dynasty which ruled Russia until 1917 revolution.

1689-1725 - Peter the Great introduces far-reaching reforms, including creating a regular conscript army and navy, subordinating the church to himself and creating new government structures.

1772 - 1814 - Russia acquires Crimea as well as parts of Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia

1798-1814 - Russia intervenes in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars in France, defeating Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and participating in his overthrow.

1834-59 - Caucasian war in which Russian forces face determined resistance to their bid to annex North Caucasus.

1853-57 - Crimean war.

1861 - Emancipation Edict ends serfdom; rapid industrialisation leads to growth of working class movement and spread of revolutionary ideas.

1864-65 - The area of what is now the Central Asian republics annexed

1877-78 - Russian-Turkish war.

1897 - Social Democratic Party founded and in 1903 splits into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.

1904-05 - Russian expansion in Manchuria leads to war with Japan - and the 1905 revolution, which forced Tsar Nicholas II to grant a constitution and establish a parliament, or Duma.

1914 - Russian-Austrian rivalry in Balkans contributes to outbreak of World War I, in which Russia fought alongside Britain and France.

The revolution

1917 October - Bolsheviks overthrow provisional government of Alexander Kerensky, with workers and sailors capturing government buildings and the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, and eventually taking over Moscow.

1918 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk brings war with Germany to an end, but at the cost of Russia ceding large tracts of territory; Tsar Nicholas killed; Baltic states, Finland and Poland cede as the Russian Empire collapses.

1918-22 - Civil war between the Red Army and White Russians, or anti-communists, who were aided by Britain, France and the US.

From Soviet rule to Yeltsin era

1922-91 - Russia part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

1991 - Russia becomes "independent" as the Soviet Union collapses and, together with Ukraine and Belarus, forms the Commonwealth of Independent States, which is eventually joined by all former Soviet republics except the Baltic states.

Chechnya declares unilateral independence.

1992 - Russia takes up the seat of the former Soviet Union on the United Nations Security Council.

Internal wars

1993 September - President Boris Yeltsin suspends parliament and calls for new elections following differences with MPs. MPs barricade themselves inside the parliament building.

1993 October - Yeltsin orders the army to attack parliament, which is recaptured following a bloody battle.

1993 December - Russians approve a new constitution which gives the president sweeping powers.

Communists and ultra-nationalists make large gains in elections to the new legislature, the State Duma, which replaces the former parliament, the Supreme Soviet.

1994 - Duma pardons participants in anti-Gorbachev coup of August 1991 and parliamentary rebellion of 1993.

Russia joins Nato's Partnership for Peace programme.

Russian troops invade the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

1995 - Communist Party wins largest share of vote in parliamentary elections, giving it more than one-third of seats in Duma.

1996 - Yeltsin re-elected for another term.

1999 Yeltsin sacks Foreign Minister Stepashin and replaces him with Vladimir Putin.

1999 Yeltsin resigns and is replaced by Putin as acting president.

2000 March - Putin elected president.

2000 December - Soviet anthem reintroduced to replace the one brought in by Yeltsin. New words are written for it by poet Sergey Mikhalkov who penned the Soviet version as well.

2002 January - Russia's last independent national TV station, TV-6, is forced by the authorities to stop broadcasting, sparking fresh concerns about free speech. It is later awarded a new licence after journalists team up with Kremlin-backed managers and goes back on air in June with the new name TVS.

2002 May: Russia and the USA announce a new agreement on strategic nuclear weapons reduction. The two sides are to cut their nuclear arsenals from over 6,000 missiles apiece to about 2,000 each in the next 10 years.

2004 March - Mikhail Fradkov becomes prime minister.

Mr Putin wins second term as president by landslide.

2008 May - Dmitry Medvedev takes over as president from Vladimir Putin, who becomes prime minister.