According to early chronicles, Rurik, a Viking chieftain,
assumed control of Slavic kingdoms that came to be known as “Land of the Rus.”
Grand Prince Vladimir I of Kyyiv converted to Christianity,
and the new religion soon spread to other Russian principalities.
Mongol armies sacked Kyyiv, and Russia became a part of the
Mongol Empire called the Golden Horde.
Ivan III of Moscow freed Russia from Mongol control. Moscow
became the most powerful Russian city.
Ivan IV became the first czar of all of Russia. His despotic
rule earned him the nickname Ivan the Terrible.
Michael Romanov was elected czar, ending the Time of Troubles
and beginning over 300 years of Romanov rule of Russia.
Peter I (later known as Peter the Great) assumed full power as
czar and began transforming Russia into a world power.
Peter I founded the new capital city of Saint Petersburg in
order to increase ties with Europe. He introduced many elements of Western
culture into Russia in an attempt to modernize the country.
Napoleon I of France invaded Russia and advanced as far as
Moscow, but eventually was forced to retreat.
Russia was defeated in the Crimean War, slowing its expansion
into the Balkans.
Alexander II abolished serfdom in Russia.
Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Czar Nicholas
II agreed to establish a parliament after government troops massacred striking
workers protesting for greater reforms.
Russia entered World War I against Germany and Austria-Hungary
and suffered a series of crushing defeats.
A popular revolution removed the czar from power. A second
revolution then propelled the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, to power.
Russia withdrew from World War I and the Bolsheviks won
control of the country.
Russia was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
which was the most powerful Communist country in the world until its collapse
in 1991. Russia then became an independent nation.
President Boris Yeltsin used force to crush a resistance by
War erupted in Chechnya after Russian forces invaded the
republic to halt its moves toward independence.
An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale struck the
island of Sakhalin in far eastern Russia. The May quake leveled the town of
Neftegorsk, killing about 2000 people. The Communist Party gained control of
parliament in legislative elections held in December.
Yeltsin resigns on the last day of the millennium and Putin
becomes his successor.