Russia / Soviet Union and Ukraine (also Baltic States and Caucusus); key historical events
Also Karl Marx and origins of Communist Movement
Page last modified 16/8/2020
See also Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan listed here)
See also Eastern Europe (Index here for Eastern European countries)
See also Romania (Moldova listed here)
See also Poland
See below for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia.
Ukraine conflict 2013-?
Putin era 2000-2024?
Perestroika era 1985-1996
Russian Revolution 1917-1922
Marx and start of Communism
Conflict with Sweden 1700-1723
Click here for map of St Petersburg 1700 – pre development.
Click here for map of St Petersburg 1721, Source, pp.208-9, Great City Maps, ed Sam Atkinson, Dorren Kindersley, London 2016
Click here for map of St Petersburg 1885, Source p.211, Great City Maps, ed Sam Atkinson, Dorren Kindersley, London 2016
Click here for map of St Petersburg 1897, Source p.33, The World-Wide Atlas, Johnston, London, 1897.
10/3/2020, The Russian Duma approved a measure that would allow Vladimir Putin to serve a further two 6-year terms when his current term expires in 2024. If he wins the elections, he could then remain President until 2036, by which time he will be 83 years old.
25/11/2018. Russia temporarily blocked the Kerch Strait, linking the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. This interrupted access to two major Ukrainian ports. Russia had previously annexed Crimea from Ukraine, and built a bridge over the Kerch Strait linking eastern Crimea to Russia. The blockade was lifted later that day but not before Russia had seized two Ukrainian boats and 23 sailors, with six of them injured.
18/3/2018, Vladimir Putin easily won a fourth six-year term as President of Russia. However the elections were rather less than free and fair; no candidate with a real chance of success was allowed to stand against him, and there were several instances of ballot box stuffing.
4/3/2018, Soviet double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the UK city of Salisbury by a nerve gas agent, likely Novichok, which is Russian in origin.
3/4/2017, An Islamist terrorist bomb exploded on the St Petersburg metro system; a second bomb was defused. 14 were killed and 50 injured. The bomber was from Kyrgyzstan.
24/11/2015, Turkey shot down a Russian jet fighter that was taking part in Russia’s pro-Assad campaign in Syria, against both ISIS and non-ISIS rebels. Turkey said the aircraft had transgressed into Turkish airspace, and was warned several times. Russia denied the warnings, and it appeared the jet had at most been in Turkish airspace for 2 or 3 seconds as it (might have) crossed a finger of Turkish territory jutting into Syria.
30/9/2015, Russia began airstrikes in Syria, against anti-Assad rebels.
27/2/2015, The Russian opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated in Moscow; born 9/10/1959 he was aged 55. In the late 1990s Nemtsov was a close associate of Yeltsin, who put him in charge of economic reforms, although the economic crash of 1998, in which many ordinary Russians lost everything, severely dented his credibility. Nemtsov was a co-founder of the Union of Rightists, which won 8.6% of the vote, 6 million votes, in the Russian elections of 1999, and became Deputy Speaker of the Russian Parliament in February 2000, a month after Putin became President. However Nemtsov’s party was perceived as having confused policies in the face of stronger leadership by Putin and in 2003 the Union of Rightists failed to meet the threshold for qualifying for any seats in the Duma. Outside the political arena, Nemtsov became more critical of Putin, who in turn attempted to undermine Nemtsov’s business interests. Nemtsov continued to criticise Putin and government corruption generally, also censuring Putin’s involvement in the Ukraine, the shooting down of a Malaysian aircraft, and Russian annexation of the Crimea, whilst Putin was trying to publically distance himself from ‘Ukrainian rebel forces’ in eastern Ukraine. Nemtsov had been organising an anti-Ukraine-war march in Moscow for 1/3/2015 and this march became his silent memorial procession by tens of thousands of Russians. The Kremlin, in order to prevent the bridge where Nemtsov had been killed from becoming a memorial to him, hosted a celebration of the annexation of Crimea there later in March 2015.
1/9/2014, Russian-backed separatists took control of Luhansk Airport, and of Novalsk, eastern Ukraine.
28/8/2014, Pro-Russian rebels took the Ukrainian town of Novoazovsk.
13/8/2014, The UN estimated that a total of 2,086 people had been killed in the Ukraine conflict so far, double the toll from 2 weeks earlier. In mid-August, Ukrainian forces were making headway against rebel Russian backed forces.
12/8/2014, Nearly 300 Russian lorries laden with ‘aid’ for the rebels in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, set off from Moscow. The Ukrainian Government in Kiev attempted to halt the convoy.
30/7/2014, The EU imposed more sanctions on Russia for its backing of Ukrainian rebels.
26/7/2014, The death toll in the Ukraine conflict reached 1,129; 799 of them were civilians.
17/7/2014, A Malaysian airliner, flight MH17, with 298 on board was shot down 30 kilometres west of the Ukraine-Russia border with no survivors, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
13/7/2014, Russia warned of severe consequences after a Ukranian shell was fired across the border and killed a Russian.
12/7/2014, Ukraine sent war jets into Donetsk, and claimed to have killed 500 rebels.
5/7/2014, Pro-Russian rebels abandoned the Ukrainian town of Slavyansk after heavy fighting.
24/6/2014, Rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter, killing 9. The UN estimated that over 420 had died in the conflict so far.
20/6/2014, Ukrainian President Poroshenko declared a week-long truce.
16/6/2014, Russia cut gas supplies to the Ukraine.
14/6/2014, Pro Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian warplane.
6/6/2014, Putin and Poroshenko called for an end to violence in the Ukraine.
4/6/2014, US President Obama condemned Russian ‘aggression’ in Ukraine.
25/5/2014, Petro Poroshenko was elected Ukrainian President.
11/5/2014, The Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence after referendums.
2/5/2014, Pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian factions clashed in Odessa; 42 people died.
15/4/2014, Kiev began ‘anti-terrorist’ operations in eastern Ukraine.
7/4/2014, Pro Russian gunmen seized government buildings in eastern Ukraine.
18/3/2014, Russian President Putin signed a Bill to absorb the Crimea into Russia.
16/3/2014, Russia organised a widely-discredited referendum in the Crimea which proiduced an alleged 97% vote in favour of the region leaving the Ukraine and (re)joining Russia.
1/3/2014, The Russian Parliament approved Vladimir Putin’s request to deploy the Russian military in the Crimea.
28/2/2014, Pro-Russian gunmen seized government buildings in Simferopol, capital of the Crimea. The Crimea was originally part of Russia until transferred to Ukraine in 1954, and in 2014 still had a large Russian population.
27/2/2014, In Russia, Viktor Yanukoyvitch insisted he was still legitimate leader of the Ukraine. The Ukrainian Government had issued a warrant for his arrest on 24/2/2014.
22/2/2014, In the Ukraine, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukoyvitch fled after snipers killed protestors in central Kiev, and rival Yulia Tymoshenko was freed. The Ukraine now seemed as if it was about to fall into the Western / EU camp and Putin therefore moved quickly to annex the Crimea.
20/2/2014, 88 died in riots in the Ukraine.
18/2/2014, In Ukraine, 26 died and hundreds injured in clashes between pro-government and pro-western factions.
28/1/2014, The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, resigned as anti-protest laws were repealed by the government.
25/1/2014, Violent protests in Ukraine continued between pro-EU and pro-Moscow factions.
22/1/2014, Police in Kiev, Ukraine, shot dead two anti-government protestors.
21/11/2013, The Ukrainian Government moved closer to Russia, sparking popular protests. Russia had been pressuring the Ukrainian President not to move too close to the EU and the West.
4/3/2012, Vladimir Putin was elected for a third Presidential term (now six years).
24/1/2011, Islamist terrorists from the north Caucasus blew themselves up in the International Arrivals Hall of Domodedovo Airport, Moscow, killing dozens of people.
7/1/2009, In a dispute over energy prices, Russia shut off all gas supplies to Europe.
5/11/2008, On Russian television, President Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke against NATO missile defences in Poland and the Czech Republic. Medvedev threatened to put Russian missiles in the enclave of Kaliningrad and install radio scramblers to foil NATO’s missile defence system.
27/8/2008, David Milliband, from the UK, visited Kiev to reinforce the Ukrainian ambitions to align itself with the West.
15/8/2008, The Russian military expressed anger at a US-Polish agreement to set up missile defences on Polish territory. The US said it was against rogue states like Iran. The Russians said it was against them and one general said it made Poland a target for a nuclear strike.
2/3/2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected President of Russia. Putin was constitutionally barred from standing for a third term. Putin became Russian Prime Minister.
5/6/2007, Russia was chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, at Sochi.
24/11/2006, Mr Litvinenko's family released a statement, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of involvement in his death.
23/11/2006, Russian dissident and former KGB bodyguard Alexander Litvinenko died a slow and painful death in a London hospital after drinking tea laced with Polonium 210. He fell out with Vladimir Putin in the late 1990s when they worked together in the Russian security forces. Britain suspected former KGB agent Andrei Luovoi of administering the poison and demanded his extradition form Russia. The denial of this extradition led to the expulsion of four Russian diplomats from Britain.
21/11/2006, The Kremlin dismissed as 'sheer nonsense' claims that the Russian government was involved in the poisoning of Litvinenko.
17/11/2006, Litvinenko’s condition deteriorated and he was transferred to University College Hospital in central London.
1/11/2006, Mr Litvinenko met Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun at the Millennium hotel in London's Mayfair. Mr Litvinenko was admitted to a hospital in north London several hours later, complaining of feeling sick.
7/10/2006, Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in her Moscow apartment on October 7. Mr Litvinenko began to investigate her murder.
3/9/2004, The Beslan siege ended violently. Terrorists fired rocket propelled grenades at the Russians and Russian Special Forces (Spetznaz) moved in. The school was blown up by the terrorists.
2/9/2004, Negotiations between the Russian authorities and the terrorists at Beslan failed, however use of force to rescue the hostages was ruled out. 26 women and children were released.
1/9/2004, Chechen gunmen seized Middle School No. 1 in the town of Beslan, in Ossetia, near Chechnya, holding more than 1,000 teachers parents and pupils hostage, on the first day of the new school year. Explosives had previously been hidden under the floorboards during renovation work carried on during the summer holidays. Russian troops stormed the school, and there was a shootout and a deadly fire, as mines were set off. 330 people, half of them children, died in the chaos.
9/5/2004, Akhmad Kadyrov, President of Chechnya, was killed by a landmine placed under a VIP stage during a WW2 memorial parade in Grozny.
14/3/2004, Presidential elections in Russia. Vladimir Putin easily won a second term.
25/10/2003, In Russia, oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a potential political challenger to Vladimir Putin, was arrested and jailed.
5/6/2003, A female suicide bomber killed 16 Russian soldiers at Mozdok, a staging post for troops in Chechnya.
23/10/2002. Fifty Chechen armed gunmen and women took over a theatre in Moscow, demanding that Moscow withdraw its forces from Chechnya. The audience of 850 was held as hostage. On 26/10/2002 Russian special forces pumped noxious gas into the theatre then stormed it. Most of the terrorists were killed whilst unconscious from the gas. However, whereas the Chechens had only shot two hostages, some 130 of them were killed by the gas, and a similar number required hospital treatment. Criticism of the operation was deflected by Putin, who asked how Russia could be expected to support the West’s ‘War on Terror’ if they did not back Russia when dealing with Islamic terrorism in its own country.
16/7/2001, China and Russia signed a treaty of friendship.
10/1/2001, Authorities in Moscow banned the Salvation Army, seeing it as a threat to the Russian State.
20/8/2000. The Russian navy said there was almost no hope of finding survivors from the nuclear submarine Kursk. She sank on 12/8/2000, and all 118 crew died. Recovery of the wreck, minus its stern, was on 8/10/2001.
7/5/2000, Putin was inaugurated for his first 4-year term as President of Russia.
6/2/2000, The city of Grozny, Chechnya, fell to Russian troops.
31/12/1999, Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia and was replaced by Vladimir Putin. Putin, 47, was elected President on 26/3/2000.
26/8/1999, Russia began the Second Chechen War following the invasion of Dagestan.
12/5/1997 The Russian-Chechen peace treaty was signed.
27/5/1996, Russian President Boris Yeltsin met Chechnya rebels for the first time and negotiated a ceasefire.
28/2/1996. Russia became a member of the Council of Europe.
9/1/1996. Chechen insurgents seized 3,000 civilian hostages.
30/6/1995. Military accord to end fighting in Chechnya.
26/3/1996, The International Monetary Fund approved a US$ 10.2 billion loan to Russia for economic reforms.
19/1/1995. Russian troops seized the Presidential palace in Grozny, Chechnya.
11/12/1994, Boris Yeltsin ordered troops into Chechnya.
29/11/1994. Russian aircraft bombed the Chechen capital, Grozny.
22/6/1994. Russia joined NATO’s ‘partnership for peace.
27/5/1994, Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia.
28/12/1993. The Russian government announced that nearly 50% of the economy had been privatised.
14/12/1993. The Russian elections produced a move to the Right. Around 50% voted for Conservative-Nationalist parties with Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democrat) emerging as overall leader. Yeltsin remained President of Russia. The Baltic States feared revenge from Zhirinovsky for their precipitating the collapse of the old USSR.
4/10/1993. Russian rebels surrendered at Moscow ‘White House’. Troops loyal to President Yeltsin opened fire on rebels in the White House who wanted a return to old-style Communism. 146 people died in the conflict; Yeltsin pardoned the ringleaders.
21/9/1993, In Russia, President Yeltsin suspended the Constitution and scrapped Parliament.
13/7/1993. Rolls Royce opened its first showroom in Russia.
3/1/1993. President Bush of the USA and Yeltsin of the USSR signed the START II (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) Treaty.
14/10/1992, The Russian KGB handed over documents to Poland’s Lech Walesa revealing that the Russians killed Polish officers in 1940 in the Katyn Forest Massacre. The Kremlin had previously insisted it was the Germans who had done this.
21/4/1992, Vladimir Romanov, the Pretender to the Russian throne, died aged 74.
3/3/1992, Russian troops began withdrawing from Lithuania.
31/1/1992. Boris Yeltsin, leader of Russia, made a speech at the UN calling for America and Russia to develop a joint ‘star wars’ shield against missiles from rogue nations.
12/1/1992, Russia and Ukraine agreed to divide the Black Sea fleet.
25/12/1991, Above the Kremlin, Moscow, the old Soviet flag was lowered and the new Russian flag was raised.
20/12/1991, President Boris Yeltsin said he wanted Russia to join NATO.
12/12/1991, The Russian Parliament voted to replace the USSR with a looser confederation to be known as the CIS or Confederation of Independent States.
8/12/1991. The leaders of the republics of Russia, Byelorussia (Belarus), and Ukraine formed a commonwealth of independent states (CIS), after the dissolution of the USSR, see 5/9/1991.
1/12/1991. The Ukraine voted in a referendum to leave the USSR.
27/11/1991, Yeltsin refused to recognise the declaration of independence by Chechnyia from Russia, under Dzhokar Dudayev; Dudayev was a former Air Force General in the Soviet military. Yeltsin immediately sent armed forces to Chechnyia to quell the independence movement there. Chechnyia had been absorbed into Russia in 1859, and during World War Two Stalin accused the Chechens of collaborating woth Germany, exiling the entire population to Kazakhstan. The Chechens were only allowed home in 1957, 4 years after Stalin’s death.
6/9/1991, Leningrad reverted to the name St Petersburg.
5/9/1991. The USSR ceased to exist as the Congress of People’s Deputies voted to give the republics their independence.
21/8/1991. The Soviet hardline coup collapsed and Gorbachev was restored as President. On 25/8/1991 Gorbachev resigned as leader of the Communist party, and the Party prepared to dissolve, ending 70 years of Communist supremacy.
20/8/1991, Estonia voted for independence,
19/8/1991. Soviet hardliners toppled President Gorbachev.
28/6/1991 The Warsaw Pact was disbanded.
23/6/1991, The International Monetary Fund agreed to offer associate membership to Russia.
13/6/1991. First free Presidential election in the USSR. Boris Yeltsin was elected President.
12/6/1991, The citizens of Leningrad voted 55% to 43% to return to the name St Petersburg.
3/6/1991. Soviet troops sealed off the centre of Vilnius, Lithuania.
20/5/1991, The USSR passed a law allowing people to leave the country free of all restrictions.
17/3/1991, Russia held an election to decide whether to remain as the USSR or break up into Republics.
3/3/1991. Estonia and Latvia voted to secede from the USSR.
25/2/1991. Warsaw Pact military alliance dissolved.
19/2/1991, In the USSR, Boris Yeltsin, Russian President, called on Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet President, to resign. Yeltsin accused Gorbachev of dictatorship.
11/2/1991,The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent a letter to all Warsaw Pact government leaders proposing the disbandment of the military pact on 1/4/1991. The Pact was formed one week after a re0armed West Germany joined NATO in 1955.
10/2/1991. In a poll in Lithuania, in which 85% of the electorate voted, 90% were in favour of independence from Moscow. Only 6% voted against independence. The Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, declared the poll illegal.
24/1/1991. Soviet troops opened fire on traffic outside Vilnius, 1 person was killed.
20/1/1991. A crowd of over 100,000 protested in Moscow against military violence in the Baltic Republics.
14/1/1991, Valentin Pavlov become Prime Minister of the USSR
13/1/1991. (+16,686) Soviet troops fired on crowds in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania; 13 died. The EC threatened to halt aid to Russia unless troops withdrew. Estonia and Latvia also made moves for independence. On 20/1/1991 Soviet ‘Black Beret’ elite troops stormed Riga, killing 4 and injuring 9. Lithuania had lost its independence to Russia in 1939 under a pact between Hitler and Stalin.
8/1/1991, In Lithuania, the government of Kazimiera Prunskiene resigned over price increases.
2/1/1991, Soviet troops seized the Communist Party headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, sparking massive protests.
12/12/1990, US President George Bush agreed to send US$ 1,000 million food aid to the Soviet Union.
21/11/1990. A declaration of the end of the Cold War was signed in Paris.
25/9/1990, Gorbachev was given sweeping new powers to control the economy of the USSR, which was suffering from accelerating inflation.
14/7/1990. Boris Yeltsin left the Communist Party.
29/6/1990. Lithuania announced it would suspend its declaration of independence for 100 days.
12/6/1990, Russia emerged as an independent state, from the former USSR.
24/5/1990, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, visited the USSR. This was the first official British Royal visit since 1917.
8/5/1990, Estonia affirmed its independence, reviving its 1938 Constitution.
4/5/1990. The Latvian Parliament voted for independence from the USSR.
20/4/1990, President Mikhail Gorbachev cut of 85% of Lithuania’s gas supplies, in retaliation for Lithuania declaring independence. The European Union hesitated to help Lithuania, fearing to destabilise Gorbachev.
18/4/1990, The Soviet Union cut off oil supplies to Lithuania.
12/4/1990. The Soviet Union finally admitted it had massacred up to 15,000 Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. See 26/4/1943.
30/3/1990, Estonia suspended the Soviet Constitution within its territory.
25/3/1990, The Soviet Union sent tanks into Lithuania, to discourage the secessionists.
13/3/1990. The Soviet Congress voted to abolish the political monopoly of the Communist Party.
12/3/1990, Dr Vitautis Landsbergis was elected President of Lithuania.
11/3/1990. Lithuania declared itself independent from the USSR. On 16/3/1990 President Gorbachev issued an ulltimatum to rescind this declaration.
28/2/1990. The USSR passed a bill allowing individuals to privately own land for the first time since the 1920s.
7/2/1990. The Soviet Communist Party voted to end its monopoly of power.
27/1/1990. The city of Tirasopol in the Moldavian SSR briefly declared independence.
13/1/1990,(1) The break up of the USSR began as the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania prepared for secession. In Lithuania, 200,000 demonstrated for independence.
(2) President Gorbachev told Lithuania that all Soviet republics will get the right to secede.
4/1/1990. Soviet President Gorbachev told Lithuania’s Communists that they were free to leave the Soviet Communist Party.
19/12/1989. Lithuania called for independence from the USSR.
18/12/1989, The EEC signed a 10-year trade pact with the USSR.
14/12/1989, Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov died.
3/12/1989. The East German leader Egon Krenz and the politbureau resigned. A USSR-USA summit was held in Malta. The Cold war was declared over at 12.55pm that day.
1/12/1989. The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope John Paul II met in Rome, ending 70 years of hostility between the Roman Catholic Church and the Soviet Union.
4/11/1989, See 7/10/1989. Pro-democracy rallies sparked by Gorbachev’s visit to East Germany resulted a a million-strong protest in East Germany.
7/10/1989. On a visit to East Germany, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev urged the East German government to introduce reforms. See 4/11/1989.
31/8/1989. The Soviet Republic of Moldavia’s Parliament voted to make Moldavian, not Russian, the official language.
23/8/1989, 2 million Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians formed an uninterrupted 600 kilometre human chain to demand independence from Moscow. Hungary removed all border restrictions with Austria.
17/7/1989. Soviet miners went on strike.
13/6/1989, Mikhail Gorbachev and Chancellor Kohl agreed that East and West Germany should be reunited.
3/6/1989. Liquid gas stored beside a railway in Chelyabinsk, USSR, exploded, killing 800.
2/5/1989, The Iron Curtain began to break down. Hungary dismantled 150 miles of barbed wire fence, opening its border to Western Europe.
8/4/1989, 40 soviet submariners died when a nuclear powered Mike class submarine caught fire, and refused assistance from Western merchant ships.
7/4/1989. President Gorbachev of the USSR visited Britain, and invited Queen Elizabeth II to visit Moscow.
26/3/1989. The first free elections were held in the USSR. Pro-reform candidates won many seats.
8/1/1989, The Soviet Union promised to eliminate its chemical weapons.
3/1/1989, The first commercial advertisement appeared in the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
7/12/1988. Gorbachev cut the Red Army by 10%.
16/11/1988, The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR declared that Estonia is ‘sovereign’, adopting their own constitution, but stopped short of declaring independence.
26/10/1988, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev promised to free all political prisoners by the end of the year.
21/9/1988, State of Emergency proclaimed in Nagorno-Karabakh.
3/8/1988, Matthias Rust was freed from prison in Russia. He had served 14 months of a 4-year sentence for flying a plane from Germany to land in Red Square, Moscow.
11/5/1988. Soviet spy Kim Philby died in Moscow aged 76.
29/4/1988. McDonalds announced plans for 20 restaurants in Moscow to sell the ‘Bolshoi Mac’.
4/2/1988, The Soviet Union posthumously rehabilitated Nikolai Bukharin and 9 other Soviet leaders executed or imprisoned after the 1938 show trials.
See Iran & Afghanistan for Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent withdrawal under Gorbachev
8/12/1987. Gorbachev and Reagan signed an arms reduction treaty, to eliminate medium range nuclear missiles from Europe.
12/11/1987, President Gorbachev sacked Boris Yeltsin as head of the Communist Party after Yeltsin criticised him for the slow pace of perestroika (reconstruction).
4/9/1987, Matthias Rust was sentenced to four years in a Soviet labour camp, however he was released on 3/8/1988. See 28/5/1987.
28/5/1987, A 19-year-old West German, Mathias Rust, evaded Soviet air defences and landed a light plane in Red Square, Moscow, from Helsinki, Finland. He was immediately detained, and released on 3/8/1988.
14/4/1987, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev out-manoeuvred the White House by proposing sweeping arms cuts, beyond those envisaged by US President Reagan.
10/2/1987, In the USSR, 140 political dissidents were released.
27/1/1987, In the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed reforms including secret ballots for electing party officials.
11/10/1986, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavik to discuss intermediate arms limitations. The talks ended in failure.
25/2/1986. President Gorbachev of the USSR first used the term ‘Perestroika’ (restructuring) in a speech to the 27th Congress of the Communist Party.
11/2/1986, As Gorbachev continued to liberalise the USSR, political prisoners including Anatoly Scharansky and Yuri Orlov were released and allowed to leave the country.
21/11/1985, Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev ended their meeting with an agreement to reduce their nuclear arsenals by a mutual 50%.
19/11/1985. Reagan and Gorbachev met in Geneva, the first such meeting for 6 years.
8/11/1986, Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet politician, died.
11/3/1985. In the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev (54 years old) succeeded Konstantin Chernenko, who died on 10/3/1985. See 13/2/1984.
10/3/1985, Death of Konstantin Chernenko, General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party since 1984.
7/3/1984, Donald Maclean, British Foreign Office official and Soviet secret agent who fled to the USSR in 1951, died aged 70.
13/2/1984. Konstantin Chernenko became the leader of the USSR. See 11/3/1985. Yuri Andropov had died on 7/2/1984. Andropov came to power in 16/6/1983.
9/2/1984, Yuri Andropov, Soviet leader, died after only 15 months in office. He was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko.
26/9/1983, The Soviet Union’s early warning system appeared to show missiles had been fired from the USA. However the officer in charge, Stanislav Petrov, chose to delay any response. In fact satellites had spotted reflections of sunlight from the ground.
20/8/1983, US President Reagan lifted the ban on exports of pipe-laying equipment to the USSR.
16/6/1983. Andropov was elected Soviet leader of the USSR. However he died on 7/2/1984.
23/5/1983, Radio Moscow announcer Vladimir Danchev praised Afghan Muslims for standing up to Russia; he was removed from the air. After some 6 months in a psychiatric hospital, he returned to work.
26/3/1983, Anthony Blunt, the Queen’s former art adviser, and Soviet spy, died.
2/2/1983. The US and USSR began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) in Geneva.
10/11/1982, (1) Leonid Illyich Brezhnev, Soviet leader for 18 years, died of a heart attack aged 75. He was succeeded by Yuri Andropov.
(2) Geoffrey Prime was jailed for 15 years for spying.
29/12/1981, President Reagan of the US introduced economic sanctions against the USSR for forcing Poland to adopt martial law.
30/11/1981. The US and USSR began arms talks in Geneva.
20/11/1981, The USSR contracted to supply natural gas to West Germany.
18/12/1980, Death of Soviet statesman Alexei Kosygin, Prime Minister of the USSR 1964-80.
23/10/1980, The Soviet leader, Alexei Kosygin, resigned due to illness.
20/8/1980, The USSR jammed Western radio broadcasts for the first time in seven years, to block news of Polish strikes.
13/6/1980, Car manufacturing workers in the USSR went on strike.
18/6/1979. US President Carter and USSR President Brezhnev signed the SALT 2 (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) in Vienna.
21/5/1979, Elton John became the first Western rock star to perform in the Soviet Union.
1/6/1978. Bugging devices were found at the US embassy in Moscow.
18/5/1978, Yuri Orlov, Soviet human-rights campaigner, was sentenced to 7 years in a labour camp.
6/9/1976, Soviet air force pilot Viktor Belenko landed his MiG-25 jet fighter at Hakodate in Hokkaido and requested political asylum in the USA.
27/7/1976, The Soviet chess champion Korchnoi defected to the West.
21/1/1976. The Financial Times and New York Times went on sale in the USSR.
9/9/1975. The Czech tennis player Martina Navratilova defected to the West.
4/9/1975, Ivan Maisky, Soviet politician, died aged 91.
24/2/1975, Nikolai Bulganin, Soviet Prime Minister from 1955 to 1958, died.
18/6/1974, Georgi K Zhukov, Soviet statesman, died aged 77.
13/2/1974. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian author and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1970, was expelled from the USSR. This was a result of the publication of his work, The Gulag Archipelago, a study of the Stalinist prison camp system. Solzhenitsyn himself had spent time in these camps between 1945 and 1953.
3/10/1972, The US and USSR signed SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) accords, limiting submarine based and land based missiles.
29/5/1972. Brezhnev and Nixon signed SALT-2 (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty).
4/4/1972, The USSR refused a visa to the Swedish Academy Official due to deliver the Nobel Prize for Literature to Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
8/10/1971, The USSR expelled 5 Britons and refused another 13 entry in rataliation for the expulsions of 24/9/1971.
24/9/1971, Britain expelled 90 Soviet diplomats after a KGB defector, Oleg Lyalin, passed information to British Intelligence. See 8/10/1971. The UK had also granted asylum to the Soviet defector and space expert Anatol Fedoseyev in June 1971.
11/9/1971, Nikita Kruschev, President of the USSR from 1958 to 1964, died aged 77 near Moscow.
17/12/1970. The Soviet paper Pravda attacked writer Solzhenitsyn as ‘hostile’.
9/10/1970, The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, dissident Soviet writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, declined to attend the ceremony in Stockholm in December for ‘personal reasons’. It was unclear whether the Soviet authorities had prevented him from leaving, or had threatened nit to readmit him if he went.
11/6/1970, Alexander Kerensky, Russian political leader overthrown by the Bolsheviks in 1917, died in New York City aged 89.
2/3/1969. Soviet and Chinese troops clashed on their border. Chinese troops attempted to occupy Damiansky island, one of the Ussuri river islands ceded by China to Tsarist Russia in 1860. China now maintained that the concession had been unfairly extracted and revoked it. Russia drove off the Chinese invasion.
12/1/1968, Soviet dissidents Yuri Galanskov and Alexander Ginsburg were sentenced in Moscow to hard labour.
9/3/1967, Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Joseph Stalin, defected to the West, requesting political asylum at the US Embassy in India..
7/10/1966, The USSR expelled all Chinese students.
5/11/1964, Zhou Enlai, Prime Minister of China, visited the USSR for a summit meeting of Communist States.
19/5/1964, The US lodged a complaint with Russia over microphones found at its Moscow Embassy.
15/7/1964, Anastas Mikoyan succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as President of the USSR.
27/4/1964, Greville Wynne, British businessman sentenced in Moscow in 1963 for spying, was exchanged at the Berlin border for Gordon Lonsdale, KGB agent sentenced in London for espionage in 1961.
22/4/1964, British businesswoman Greville Wynne who had been imprisoned in the USSR for a year on spying charges was exchanged for the Soviet agent Gordon Lonsdale.
3/2/1964. China challenged the USSR for leadership of the Communist world.
31/8/1963, The ‘hot line’, linking the Kremlin and the White House, went into operation.
30/8/1963, Guy Burgess, Cambridge spy who worked for the Soviet Union, died.
30/7/1963. The ‘third man’, Kim Philby, turned up in Moscow after escaping arrest in Britain for spying. He had defected to Russia on 23/1/1963.
1/7/1963, Kim Philby, British spy, was revealed as the ‘third man’.
20/6/1963. The White House and the Kremlin agreed to set up a ‘hot line’.
13/4/1963, Gary Kasparov, Russian world chess champion, was born.
9/2/1963, In Russia, the former head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and Archbishop of Lvov, was released after 18 years imprisonment, which began when the Ukrainian Catholic Church was forcibly united with the Russian orthodox Church.
23/1/1963, Kim Philby was officially reported as ‘missing’ after failing to meet his wife at a dinner party in Beirut. Formerly a high-ranking British intelligence officer, he had been accused of spying for the USSR in 1955 but had been exonerated by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan. Philby’s accomplices Guy Burgess and Donald McClean had fled to Moscow in 1951; MacMillan insisted there was no ‘third man’.
1/6/1962, The Soviet Union raised the price of consumer goods by more than 25 percent in order to cover higher operating expenses for the U.S.S.R.'s collective farm program. Butter was up 25%, and pork and beef by 30%. In protest, workers walked off of the job at the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Factory and the strike soon turned into an uprising.
10/2/1962. The USA exchanged a Soviet spy for the captured pilot Gary Powers. The exchange took place in the middle of a bridge linking the American and Soviet sectors of Berlin.
10/11/1961. The USSR renamed Stalingrad as Volgograd.
1/11/1961, In the Soviet Union, a ‘de-Stalinisation’ programme resulted in Stalin’s body being removed from the Red Square mausoleum where it had lain next to Lenin since his death in 1953. Even Stalingrad, with its great significance regarding World War Two, was renamed Volgograd.
24/10/1961, Bertrand Russell protested to the Soviet Embassy in London about the resumption of nuclear tests by the Russians. The Russian response that it must be ready for an attack from the USA did not impress him.
31/8/1961, After failure of the Geneva Conference, the USSR announced it would resume nuclear weapons testing.
16/6/1961. Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union whilst in Paris, travelling with the Leningrad Kirov Ballet.
7/11/1960, Missiles first appeared on the Red Square military parade.
12/7/1960, President Khrushchev of the USSR asserted that the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was no longer valid; this would legitimate Soviet interference in the Caribbean. On 14/7/1960 the US confirmed that the Monroe Doctrine was still in operation.
1/5/1960. A US spy plane, the U-2, piloted by Gary Powers, was hit by an SA2 missile and shot down over the USSR near Sverdlovsk. He had been on a flight path from Pehsawar air base, Pakistan, over the USSR to Greenland. On 8/7/1960 Gary Powers was indicted as a spy; he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released after 18 months in exchange for Soviet agent Rudolf Abel.
27/3/1959, Soviet fighter aircraft buzzed US aircraft in the air corridor connecting West Berlin to West Germany.
21/2/1959, Harold MacMillan, British Prime Minister, and Selwyn Lloyd, Foreign Secretary, visited the USSR.
7/9/1958, Nikita Kruschev stated that any attack by the US on China would be regarded as an attack on the USSR.
10/8/1958, Khrushchev opened what was then the largest hydroelectric project in the world, on the Volga near Kuibyshev. The dam contributed to a fall in the level of the Caspian Sea.
31/5/1958, The Kremlin and Washington agreed to hold talks on a ban on atmospheric atom bomb tests.
15/2/1957, In the USSR, Andrei Gromyko replaced Dmitri Shepilov as Foreign Minister.
7/1/1957. President Khrushchev of the USSR welcomed China’s Prime Minister Chou En Lai. Behind the scenes, however, there was rivalry between the two countries. The USSR supported Manchurian and Vietnamese Communists, and there were differences on how Communism should be enforced. However Chou En Lai supported the USSR’s crackdown in 1956 in Hungary.
1/6/1956, In the USSR, Vyacheslav Molotov was replaced as Foreign Minister by Dmitri Shepilov.
14/5/1956, A British diver disappeared whilst bugging the underside of Soviet President Kruschev’s warship in Portsmouth.
18/4/1956, The Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev, along with Nikolai Bulganin, visited the UK.
18/3/1956, At the 20th Party Congress, Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s crimes.
22/11/1955, A Tupolev Tu-16 dropped the first Soviet nuclear bomb, RDS-37, in Siberia.
12/10/1955, The Soviet Navy made a goodwill visit to Portsmouth, UK, and the British Royal Navy made a goodwill visit to Leningrad (St Petersburg), Russia.
18/9/1955, Four years after they fled to Russia, the British Government officially confirmed that Donald McLean and Guy Burgess were Soviet spies.
7/5/1955, The USSR annulled treaties with Britain and France in retaliation for the setting up of the Western European Union, which included Germany.
5/6/1955, The Warsaw Pact was founded.
14/5/1955. Eastern bloc countries signed the Warsaw Pact.
8/2/1955, Soviet Prime Minister Malenkov resigned. He was succeeded by Bulganin, who reaffirmed ties between the USSr and China, and appointed Zhukov as Minister of Defence.
15/4/1954, Ulo Altermann, Estonian soldier and forest brother, died (b. 1923).
31/3/1954. The USSR offered to join NATO.
20/3/1954. In the USSR, Khrushchev became First Secretary of the Communist Party.
19/2/1954, Russia transferred Crimea to Ukraine, to mark the 300th anniversary of the Russo-Ukrainian Union.
23/12/1953, The dismissed Soviet Minister of Internal Affairs, Beria, was shot as a traitor.
16/9/1953, The wife of former British Foreign Office official and Soviet spy Donald McLean disappeared, two years after her husband fled to Russia with Guy Burgess.
10/7/1953, The Soviet Minister of Internal Affairs, Lavrenti Beria, wasd dismissed.
5/3/1953. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin died aged 74 of a brain haemorrhage at his dacha.. He was born in 1879 in Georgia, the son of a shoemaker. In the months before his death Stalin became paranoid, and in January 1953 the discovery of a ‘Doctor’s Plot’, involving 9 Jewish physicians. Stalin died before the trial of these 9 doctors could be staged, but it was believed they were to be the scapegoats to precipitate a major purge of the Soviet Communist Party. Later in 1953 Pravda announced the doctors were innocent and their confessions had been obtained under torture.
7/10/1952, Vladimir Putin, who was elected Russian president in 1999, was born.
6/10/1952, In the USSR, the 19th Congress of the Communist Party adopted the directives of the Fifth Five Year Plan. Industrial production was to rise by 70% by 1955 over the 1950 figure, also a large increase in agricultural output.
17/8/1952, A large Chinese delegation, led by Zhou Enlai, visited the USSR for discussions.
25/5/1951. British diplomats Burgess (1910 – 1963) and MacLean (1913 – 1983) were first reported missing. They had defected to Moscow. They had been recruited by the Soviets whilst working at MI5 during the 1930s. Burgess did not like life in Moscow and died in 1963 of alcohol poisoning and kidney failure.
8/3/1950. The USSR claimed to have the atom bomb.
12/1/1950. The death penalty was re-introduced in the USSR.
25/11/1947. The USSR demanded war reparations from Germany.
15/3/1946. The USSR began its 4th 5-Year Plan.
5/3/1946. Winston Churchill referred to an “Iron Curtain” descending across Europe, in a speech at Fulton, USA. The first public acknowledgement that the Cold War had begun. See 12/3/1947.
14/8/1945. The Soviet Union concluded a Treaty of Friendship with Nationalist China. This included handing over Manchuria, which the Soviets had conquered from Japanese forces, to China. However before the Soviets moved out, they stripped the region of all the military and industrial equipment they could move, and took this, along with many Japanese PoWs, back to Russia to support their own industrial reconstruction.
26/4/1943. The mass grave of 4,000 Polish officers was found in the Katyn forest. Germany accused Russia of the murder. The Soviet Union finally admitted carrying out the 1940 massacre, of up to 15,000 Polish officers, on 12/4/1990.
8/1/1943, German forces began to retreat from the Stalingrad area, leaving some of their compatriots under siege in Stalingrad itself.
31/1/1943. The German 6tb Army under Field Marshal Paulus surrendered at Stalingrad after five months of fighting. The last Germans fighting in Stalingrad surrendered on 2/2/1943. Hitler had refused to countenance an attempted German breakout from Stalingrad and insisted his troops hold on, despite, from December 1942, increasing shortages of food, ammunition, and medical supplies. The Luftwaffe tried to drop supplies by air to the besieged city but often failed in this task. The Stalingrad Campaign cost the lives of 479,000 men from November 1942; German deaths amounted to 147,000, with a further 91,000 troops captured (many to be worked to death as Stalinpferde, Stalin horses, in Soviet labour camps).
28/6/1942. The Germans launched Operation Blue, an offensive to capture the Russian Caucasus oilfields and secure the Volga River. The Soviets responded by concentrating resistance at Stalingrad, threatening the northern flank of this Operation. On 23/7/1942 Hitler ordered General Paulus to capture Stalingrad at all costs. Meanwhile Stalin could not let go the city that bore his name.
See France-Germany (from 1/1/1870) for more events of World War II in Europe
22/6/1941. (1) Germany invaded Russia. Hitler expected the war in Russia to be over by Christmas 1941, saying “We only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down”. Hitler calculated that Stalin’s purges of the officer class had badly weakened the Red Army.
The invasion plan, called Operation Barbarossa had been announced by Hitler to his generals on 30/3/1941 in a speech to 200 senior army officers. At 3.am on 22 June the greatest offensive in history was launched. Three million men poured across a front nearly a thousand miles long. Hitler had said that the Communists must be not only beaten but annihilated, or ‘in 30 years we shall have to fight them again’. By the end of World War Two, four million Russians had died in battle and a further 3.5 million had been taken captive. 97% of these died in captivity; Hitler had decided that the Geneva Convention did not apply to them, or to millions more captured later. 17,000 Russian villages were wiped off the map by the Germans.
Stalin had not believed Germany would attack, despite troop movements on the frontier in the weeks before the invasion.
The German invasion was to have begun on 15/5/1941, but the need to intervene in the Balkans against Greece and Yugoslavia delayed the Russian invasion by seven (crucial) weeks. The original plan was for German forces to have reached a line from Archangel to the Volga by autumn 1941. Russian resistance was greater than Hitler anticipated, and Hitler’s orders to try and capture Moscow whilst Leningrad was already besieged, whilst simultaneously taking tanks from the Moscow front to the southern front gave a respite to the defence of Moscow.
The Germans correctly estimated Russian military strength in the west at 150 divisions but thought the Soviets had just 50 further divisions in reserve; in fact the Red Army summoned up over 200 reserve divisions. Unexpected July rains turned unsurfaced Russian roads into mud whilst the scorched earth policy meant roads, bridges, railways and factories were destroyed before the Germans advanced. The Russians also destroyed the railway rolling stock and because the Russian gauge was different from the German one, the Nazis could not use the Russian rail network.
(2) Romania joined in with Germany in attacking Russia. Rumania was led by Ion Antonescu (born 2/6/1882 in Transylvania). Antonescu was pro-Nazi, and during a period of serious internal disorder in Rumania, King Carol of Rumania was compelled to offer Antonescu the Premiership on 5/9/1940. Antonescu then demanded the abdication of Carol. In 1944 Russia counterattacked into Rumania and King Michael I, who had succeeded Carol, arrested Antonescu. Antonescu was convicted of war crimes on 17/5/1946 and executed near the Rumanian fort of Jilava on 1/6/1946.
See China-Japan-Korea for events of World War Two in Pacific
13/4/1941. Stalin signed a neutrality pact with Japan; Russia was concerned that Japanese conquests in Manchuria had brought Japanese forces up to Russian territory.
18/12/1940, Hitler signed the directive for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia.
20/8/1940. Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Coyoacan, Mexico, where the exiled Bolshevik leader had fled to. He was struck several blows on the head with an ice pick by Ramon Mercader del Rio, one of Stalin’s agents. Aged 61, he had been outmanoeuvred for power by Stalin in 1923.
3/8/1940, Latvia officially joined the Soviet Union.
21/7/1940. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, occupied by the USSR since June 1940, voted to become part of the USSR.
14/7/1940. The Soviet Union annexed Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.
27/6/1940. The USSR invaded Bessarabia.
26/6/1940. The USSR demanded that Romania cede Bessarabia, and also northern Bukovina as ‘compensation for Romanian misrule in Bessarabia’. The Romanian government had to submit and on 28/6/1940 Russian troops marched into these areas. In July 1941 Romania entered the war as Germany’s ally and recaptured Bessarabia. The Russians re-occupied Bessarabia during 1944 and in February 1947 Romania again had to cede Bessarabia and northern Bukovina..
See France-Germany (from 1/1/1870) for main European events of World War Two
17/6/1940, The Soviet Union occupied Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
16/6/1940. The Soviet army invaded the Baltic Republics, starting with Lithuania, on the pretext that these countries were planning to attack the USSR. 200 Soviet tanks crossed the Lithuanian border and seized the capital, Kaunas.
12/3/1940. Finland signed a peace treaty with the USSR, surrendering large areas of territory on the Karelia Peninsula. See 30/11/1939. The Finns had lost over 20% of their fighting force in 3 months. Finland surrendered over 10,000 square miles of territory to the USSR. The border was returned to roughly where it had been drawn by Peter the Great in 1720. In the hope of recovering these lands, Finland sided with Germany when Hitler attacked the USSR on 22/6/1941.
See also Scandinavia for Russia-Finland conflict 1939-40
23/12/1939. Stalin sacked General Meretzkof, as Finnish successes against Russia continued.
14/12/1939. The USSR was expelled from the League of Nations, for its aggression against Finland.
11/10/1939. The USSR signed a pact ceding the former Polish city of Vilna to Lithuania.
30/9/1939. Germany and the USSR signed a pact agreeing on the partition of Poland.
29/9/1939, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed ‘mutual assistance’ pacts with the USSR.
22/9/1939, Russian forces took Lvov, Poland.
21/9/1939, Germany and Russia declared that Poland no longer existed.
17/9/1939. Soviet troops invaded Poland. The German army reached Brest Litovsk in Poland. De Valera said Ireland would remain neutral in the War. Australia and New Zealand took sides with Britain straightaway. The Canadian debated the issue for three days then voted to join the War with one vote against. In South Africa the prime Minister General Hertzog wanted to stay out of the war; he was forced to resign and replaced by General Smuts who immediately took Britain’s side.
23/8/1939. Hitler and the USSR concluded a 20 year non-aggression pact, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This left Hitler free to invade Poland. Hitler believed the German-Soviet pact would lead France and Britain to withdraw their guarantees of assistance to Poland. When instead Britain reaffirmed its support for Poland on 25/8/1939, Hitler postponed the attack on Poland, originally scheduled for the night of 25-26/8/1939. Diplomatic moves with Britain failed to dislodge UK support for Poland, and Hitler invaded on 1/9/1939.
4/5/1939, Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov succeeded Litvinov as Soviet Foreign Minister.
15/3/1938, Stalin’s purges reached a crescendo with the execution of 18 senior statesmen, many of them friends of Lenin. Amongst those confessing, at Lubyanka Prison, to improbable plots to overthrow the Soviet State was Nikolai Bukharin.
21/10/1937. Stalin killed a further 62 in his purges.
23/1/1937, More ‘show trials’ in Moscow as Stalin purged party members deemed to be disloyal.
28/6/1937, In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin had 36 ‘confessed’ German spies shot.
12/6/1937. Stalin’s purge extended to the Red Army; 12 top generals were executed.
25/8/1936, Stalin executed 16 senior Communists.
13/7/1935, The USSR and USA made a trade pact.
2/5/1935. France and the USSR signed a mutual defence pact in case of attack. See 7/3/1936.
9/3/1935. In the USSR, Nikita Krushchev was elected chief of the Communist Party.
1934, The Red Army began to suppress the Buryat culture around Lake Baikal, Siberia, along with their Lamaist Buddhusm. Over a two-year period their datrsans (monasteries) were destroyed and some 10,000 Buryat massacred or worked to death.
18/9/1934. The USSR joined the League of Nations in an anti-Nazi move.
15/5/1934, Karlis Ulmanis became dictator of Latvia.
16/11/1933, The USA established diplomatic relations with the USSR for the first time since the Russian Revolution.
18/4/1933, Russia staged a show-trial of three Britons accused of espionage.
22/1/1933, The USSR launched its Second Five Year Plan. This envisioned the growth of heavy industry but also the production of more consumer goods.
29/11/1932. The USSR and France signed a non-aggression pact.
25/7/1932. The USSR, Poland, and Japan signed a non-aggression pact.
6/2/1932. The Fascists staged a
successful coup in
10/1/1931. Molotov announced the collectivisation of USSR agriculture. In the Ukraine a famine was politically created to destroy the peasant kulaks; an estimated 5 – 6 million people died as a result.
19/6/1931. The second Five Year Plan was announced in the USSR. This was to begin in 1933; the main aim was now not industrial expansion but improvement in living conditions.
1/6/1931. The USA was to help build 90 steel plants in the USSR.
2/3/1931. Birth of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He was born in Stavropol, in the north Caucasus.
1/2/1931, Boris Yeltsin, Russian leader, was born.
4/8/1930. Soviet troops killed 200 striking workers in Odessa – city of irony, see 1905.
21/7/1930, Maxim Litvinov became Soviet Foreign Minister.
26/6/1930, Stalin was ‘purging undesirables’ from the Soviet Union administration.
25/4/1930, In the USSR, the Gulag (Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-Trudovykh Lagerey, or Main Administratin of Corrective Labour Camps) Agency was created to run the penal camps.
24/2/1930. Reports out of the USSR claimed that 40 kulaks a day were being murdered by Stalin’s agents.
7/1/1930, The Soviet government ordered all agricultural land to be collectivised.
30/11/1929, Soviet planes bombed the Manchurian town of Pokutu.
1/10/1929, Britain resumed diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia.
24/9/1929. Workers in the USSR were given 2 days off a week.
29/7/1929, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur Henderson, had talks with his Soviet counterpart about restoring Anglo-Soviet diplomatic relations.
1//7/1929. Britain refused Leon Trotsky asylum.
11/4/1929. Germany refused asylum to Leon Trotsky.
21/2/1929. France refused asylum to Leon Trotsky, Stalin’s most feared opponent, now exiled from the USSR.
31/1/1929. Leon Trotsky was expelled from Russia by Stalin. He found asylum in Mexico.
1/10/1928. Stalin’s first Five Year Plan began. The idea was for rapid industrialisation of the USSR, especially in coal, iron, oil, steel, and machine building. Output of consumer goods was also to rise sharply. Agriculture was to be collectivised, which meant disempowering the wealthy rural peasantry, or Kulaks (‘fists’ in Russian, as in ‘tight-fisted’). On 5/1/1930 Stalin sent thousands of government agents to the Russian countryside to persuade the Kulaks to join the new collectives. Under Stalin’s scheme, every poor farmer who turned his land over to the collective would be allowed to own a house, stable, garden, and one car, and to keep the income from any sales of garden vegetables. The Soviet secret police (Ogpu) crushed any dissent.
25/1/1928, Edvard Shevardnadze, Soviet Foreign Minister under Gorbachev, was born.
10/1/1928. Stalin purged his opponents. Many were arrested by his security police, the OGPU, and sent to exile in Siberia. Trotsky was exiled from the USSR.
15/11/1927, Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the Communist Party, USSR.
14/11/1927, The Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party voted to expel both Trotsky and Zinoviev from membership, along with 81 of their associates. The resolution became effective on December 2, when the Fifteenth Congress of the CPSU purged 93 other Party members associated with the "Trotsky-Zinoviev faction".
9/11/1927, Rebellion in the Lithuanian city of Tauragé by citizens dissatisfied with President Antanas Smetona, 209 people were convicted of charges arising from the insurrection, and eleven were executed.
29/10/1927, Russian archaeologist Peter Kozlof discovered the tomb of Genghis Khan.
24/5/1927. Britain severed relations with the USSR amid allegations of subversion and espionage throughout the British Empire. On 9/6/1927 the USSR executed 20 people accused of being British spies.
8/11/1926, Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci was jailed. He had started the Italian Communist Party in 1921, and by 1924 was party leader and heading the fight against Mussolini’s Fascism. He was imprisoned as part of a fascist crackdown on its opponents, and in 1928 Gramsci’s prison term was extended to 28 years. In prison in Rome he wrote Prison Notebooks, detailing his theory of cultural hegemony, the process whereby the working class take on the values and interests of the middle and upper classes. Gramsci argued that the working class needed to develop its own distinctive culture before a true Communist revolution was possible, this process requiring intellectuals from the working class to create this culture. He died in prison in 1937 and his sister in law, Tatiana, smuggled his works out of the prison and sent them in a diplomatic bag to Moscow. His writings were not published until after World War Two had ended.
23/10/1926, In Russia, Leon Trotsky and Zinoviev were ousted from the Politburo.
24/4/1926. Germany signed a friendship treaty with the USSR.
2/6/1926, Jonas Staugaitis was elected head of the Seimas in Lithuania.
12/10/1925, Germany and the USSR signed a commercial treaty.
1/12/1924, Communists staged a failed coup attempt in Estonia.
26/11/1924. The Communist party of the USSR denounced Trotsky.
28/10/1924. France recognised the USSR.
7/2/1924, Italy recognised the USSR.
1/2/1924. Britain’s Labour Government recognised the USSR.
26/1/1924. Petrograd was renamed Leningrad.
21/1/1924, Vladimir Illitch Lenin died, aged 53. The middle-class lawyer who made a revolution on behalf of the workers died of a series of debilitating strokes. A power struggle then ensued between Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin, who won.
8/5/1923, Britain protested to Russia about their anti-British propaganda.
9/3/1923. Vladimir Illitch Lenin retired from the Bolshevik leadership of the USSR because of a second stroke.
30/12/1922. Soviet Russia was officially renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR.
17/11/1922, Siberia voted for union with the USSR.
25/10/1922, The last Japanese troops left Vladivostok. With all anti-Bolshevik forces gone, Soviet rule was established there.
25/5/1922, Lenin was disabled my a major stroke.
24/5/1922, Russia signed a trade agreement with Italy.
16/4/1922. Germany restored relations with the USSR, signing the Second Treaty of Rapallo. Secretly, the USSR agreed to let Germany build and test weapons in Soviet territory that were forbidden within Germany under the Treaty of Versailles.
3/4/1922, Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party.
1/3/1922, Russia signed a trade agreement with Sweden.
1921, Gosplan, the State Planning Commission of the USSR, was established. Charged with State and Regional planning, and turning plans inti reality, it proved to be a liability as its excess bureaucracy was a brake on economic growth.
18/10/1921. Russia granted independence to the Crimea.
13/10/1921, Turkey, Russia, and the Caucasian Republics signed a treaty in Kars. Turkey retained Kars, Ardahan, and Artvin, and Russia took Batum.
4/10/1921. League of Nations rejected Russian entry.
4/8/1921, Lenin asked the world for help in overcoming the famine in Russia.
27/5/1921. Anti-Bolshevik forces took Vladivistok.
25/3/1921, The USA refused to restart trading with Russia.
21/5/1921, Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist and human rights campaigner, was born.
18/3/1921, The mutiny at Kronstadt naval base, Petrograd, Russia, which began on 7/3/1921, was suppressed.
16/3/1921, Britain and Russia signed a trade agreement.
7/3/1921, Following a mutiny of Russian sailors at Kronstadt naval base near Petrograd, military forces attacked the base. The mutiny was suppressed on 18/3/1921.
5/2/1921. Anti-Soviet sailors mutinied at Kronstadt naval base, outside Petrograd. The rebellion was crushed by Red Army troops on 17/3/1921.
22/12/1920, The Soviet Congress adopted an ambitious plan for the electrification of Russia.
19/11/1920, 100,000 White Russian refugees from the Crimea arrived in Constantinople.
16/11/1920. The Bolsheviks defeated the White Russians in the Crimea, so ending the Russian Civil War. The white Russian General, Baron Wrangel, fled with his men to Turkey.
14/11/1920, Sebastopol was captured by the Red Army.
1/11/1920, White Russian forces under Baron Wrangel were pushed southwards into the Crimea by the Communists.
11/8/1920, A Latvian-Soviet peace treaty gave Latvia independence from Soviet Russia.
27/7/1920, The Red Army took Pinsk.
12/7/1920, A peace treaty between Russia and Lithuania; Russia recognised Lithuanian independence,
27/5/1920, Leonid Krassin, Soviet trade delegate, arrived in London.
19/5/1920. The Red Army invaded northern Iran.
7/5/1920. Polish and Ukrainian troops seized Kiev from the Red Army. Poland wanted to bring the Ukraine under its influence, to weaken Russia.
28/3/1920, Novorossiysk, on the Black Sea, was taken by the Red Army.
20/2/1920. The Red Army captured Archangel.
8/2/1920. The Bolsheviks captured Odessa.
7/2/1920. The Bolsheviks executed the White Russian, Commander Koltchak.
2/2/1920. Estonia proclaimed its independence from Russia.
9/1/1920. Bolshevik troops defeated White Russians under Admiral Koltchak.
8/1/1920, The White Army under Alexander Koltchak was defeated by the Bolsheviks at Krasnoyarsk.
5/1/1920. Poles and Letts captured Dvinsk (now Daugavpils, Lithuania) from the Bolsheviks.
16/12/1919, German troops left
13/12/1919, Soviets captured Kharkov from the White Russians under Anton Denikin.
28/11/1919. Latvia declared war on
15/11/1919. The Red Army captured Omsk.
12/10/1919. British troops pulled out of Murmansk, Russia.
2/9/1919, White Russian forces under Denikin captured Kiev, and came within 250 miles of Moscow, with backing from the UK. However a Red Army counter attack in December 1919 forced Denikin out of Kharkov and eventually back to the Caucasus, where he held on until March 1920. Denikin had a narrow Russophile view, and failed to see the need to link with Ukrainian and Polish anti-Bolshevik forces; he even blockaded Georgia and Azerbaijan, fearing these states would set up independent Republics.
9/6/1919, Red Army troops took Ufa.
3/6/1919. More British troops arrived at Archangel, Russia.
20/4/1919, A Polish army under Pilsudski took the city of Vilnius, Lithuania, from the Soviets.
8/4/1919. The Red Army invaded the Crimea.
1/4/1919, British troops supporting White Russian troops defeated a Bolshevik force.
4/3/1919, The Comintern was formed. This was the ‘Communist International’, to spread Communism worldwide.
22/1/1919, The Red Army occupied Kiev, capital of the Ukraine.
11/1/1919. Soviet forces entered Vilnius, Lithiania.
3/1/1919, Part of the Latvian Army defected to the Communists and Communist forces occupied Riga, capital of Latvia.
27/11/1918, The Soviet Red Army invaded Narva, Estonia.
18/11/1918. Latvia gained independence from Russia, then ruled by Lenin and soon to be known as the USSR.
1/11/1918, In Lvov, the last Austrian Governor, Count Huyn, armed the Ukrainians who proclaimed an independent Republic of West Ukraine, in opposition to the Bolsheviks.
25/7/1919, The Soviet Assistant Foreign Commissar, Leo Karakhan, issued the Karakhan Manifesto. This renounced all former Tsarist rights and privileges in China. Although Russia did not hand over the Chinese eastern Railway (it in fact sold it to the Japanese in 1935), this Manifesto did much to convince the Chi9nese radicals that Soviet Russia was their only ally.
17/7/1918. The last Tsar, Nicholas II, was murdered by the Bolsheviks along with his entire family, his daughters Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia, and his son Alexis, and domestic staff, and even his dog, in the cellar of a house in Ekaterinburg. Their bodies were thrown down a disused mineshaft, then later recovered and buried in a shallow grave. The Bolshevik government was afraid that anti-Bolshevik White Russians or Czechoslovak troops would liberate the Romanov family and restore them to power. Western European powers such as Britain were afraid to give the Romanovs sanctuary (even if they could have been physically extricated from Russia) for fear of sparking workers’ uprisings in their own territories.
10/7/1918. A provisional government of Siberia was set up.
26/6/1918. The Bolshevik government in Russia faced enemies on all; sides. In the south, General Anton Denikin had seized large parts of the Caucasus and Ukraine. In the north bands of anti-Bolsheviks roamed at will. Former Czech prisoners of war had organised themselves into the Czech legion and had seized Osmk on the Trans-Siberian railway. Over 100 British marines had landed at Murmansk to keep the Bolsheviks out of that port.
26/5/1918, The short-lived Transcaucasian Republic broke up.
9/4/1918. Latvia declared its independence.
6/3/1918, In Russia, at the 7th Party Congress in Moscow, the Bolshevik Party was renamed the Communist Party.
5/3/1918. Moscow was declared the new capital of Russia, in place of Petrograd.
3/3/1918. The Bolshevik government in Russia assigned the Treaty of Brest Litovsk with the Germans. Lenin insisted on signing, against the wishes of Trotsky. Trotsky wanted the Communist Revolution to spread throughout Germany, but Lenin feared the rapid advance of German troops into Russia, approaching Petrograd.
Russia lost heavily in terms of land and industry (Russia lost 56 million inhabitants, 79% of its iron, and 89% of its coal production), but the Bolsheviks needed peace at any cost before their new and shaky administration was overthrown, by Germany or by anti-Bolshevik White Russians and Czechoslovak troops. Under this Treaty, Finland regained its independence from Russia. The Baltic Republics were ceded to Germany. Communists recruited from Finnish labourers joined Red Guards to try and re-establish Communist control in Finland. Germany moved in to repulse them. See 6/4/1918. Turkey regained territories lost to Russia even in 1877.
24/2/1918. Estonia declared its independence.
16/2/1918, Lithuania declared its independence from Russia.
28/1/1918. Lenin created a Red Army and the Cheka, a security police force.
22/12/1917. The Bolsheviks opened peace talks with Germany and Austria. The Allies accused Russia of betrayal.
6/12/1917. As the Russian Army disintegrated after the October Revolution into bands of raiders, Romania and Russia signed an armistice.
5/12/1917. Russia signed an armistice with Germany, at Brest-Litovsk.
20/11/1917. The Republic of the Ukraine was declared.
19/11/1917. A Revolutionary Council was established in Petrograd, with Leon Trotsky as leader.
16/11/1917. Bolshevik troops took Moscow.
8/11/1917, In Russia, The People's Commissars gave authority to Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin.
7/11/1917 (25/10 in Russia). The Bolshevik Revolution, which led to the world’s first Communist Government under Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov Lenin. Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky’s government was overthrown. See 6/3/1918.
22/10/1919, The Bolshevik Red Army defeated a White Russian army under Nicolai Yudenich near Petrograd. Yudenich retreated into Estonia.
9/10/1917, Stalin joined the Bolshevik Committee.
30/9/1917. The ex-Tsar and family were exiled to Siberia.
15/9/1917. Russia was declared a Republic with a provisional government, by Soviet Party Prime Minister Aleksandr Kerensky.
29/7/1917, Taking advantage of Revolutionary chaos, the Finns declared their independence from Russia.
16/7/1917. The provisional government in Petrograd, Russia, crushed the Bolshevik uprising. The Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, fled to Switzerland. However on 7/11/1917 Kerensky, leader of the Russian provisional government, was ousted by Lenin.
29/6/1917. Ukraine declared its independence.
16/6/1917. The first pan-Soviet Congress opened in Petrograd.
18/5/1917. Trotsky returned to Russia from the USA
17/5/1917, Kerensky became head of the Soviet interim government.
17/4/1917. On his return to Russia (from Zurich) with the other Bolshevik leaders, Vladimir Illyich Lenin demanded a transfer of power to workers Soviets.
13/4/1917, Stalin was released from exile in Siberia (imposed 1913).
3/4/1917, Vladimir Illyich Lenin returned to Moscow from exile.
21/3/1917. Ex-Tsar Nicholas II and his family were arrested.
16/3/1917, An interim Soviet Russian government was set up.
15/3/1917. Czar Nicholas II abdicated in Pskov. The 300-year Romanov dynasty ended (see 8/3/1917).
12/3/1917, Izvestia, the official daily newspaper of the USSR, was founded.
10/3/1917, A Soviet, or council, of workers and soldiers was set up in Russia.
8/3/1917. The Russian ‘February’ (old style calendar) Revolution began at Petrograd. Widespread demonstrations were sparked by food shortages; more ominously for Tsar Nicholas II, soldiers refused to open fire on the crowds. The Russian army had suffered severe casualties against the Germans and was more on the people’s side. Soldiers were defecting and joining the demonstrators. See 15/3/1917
9/1/1917. The Russian Prime Minister, Aklexander Trepov, resigned in the face of strikes, food shortages, and anti-war protests. He was succeeded by Dimitri Golitzin.
31/12/1916, By the end of 1916, Russia had seen some 3,600,000 of its citizens killed or wounded in the Great War, and a further 2,000,000 taken prisoner by the Central Powers.
30/12/1916. In Russia, Gregory Rasputin, the infamous Siberian ‘seer’ and miracle worker, was murdered, aged 44.
22/2/1916. Tsar Nicholas II opened the Duma (Parliament).
For main events of World War One see France-Germany, from 1/1/1870
30/4/1915. Germany invaded the Russian Baltic provinces.
31/8/1914. St Petersburg was renamed Petrograd.
15/6/1914, Yuri Andropov, Russian President, was born in the village of Nagutskyoye, north of the Caucasus Mountains.
5/5/1912. The first issue of Pravda, meaning Truth, appeared in Russia.
17/4/1912, The Lena massacre: Russian soldiers fired into a crowd of gold miners, who had gone on strike in Siberia to demand a reduction in the workday and improved food and sanitation. According to official figures, 270 miners were killed and another 250 wounded, and the dead were buried in a mass grave. This incident was a key landmark in the unrest leading to the 1917 Revolution.
1/1/1912. Harold ‘Kim’ Philby, the British traitor who spied for Soviet intelligence, was born.
24/9/1911, Konstantin Chernenko, Soviet politician, was born.
14/9/1911, Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin was assassinated when a police double agent shot him at the opera in Kiev; he died on 18/9/1911. He had held the post for 6 years; his predecessor managed only one year, in the turmoil of Russian politics. He was ruthless and simply crushed any opposition, which made him unpopular and he fell out with the Tsar, Nicholas, also his Council of Ministers and the Duma (Parliament).
9/3/1910, Madame Ekaterina Breshkovskaya, 66, sometimes referred to as the "Grandmother of the Russian Revolution" was convicted on charges of conspiracy and sentenced to exile in Siberia, but her co-defendant Nikolai Tchaikovsky was acquitted.
6/7/1909, Andrei Gromyko, President of the USSR, was born near Minsk, to a peasant family.
19/11/1908, A court in St Petersburg was adjourned when the prosecuting council refused to deal with Russia’s first female barrister.
9/6/1908, King Edward VII of Britain met Tsar Nicholas II of Russia at Reval, Russia. The Tsar agreed to introduce social reform in Macedonia (which was still nominally under Ottoman Turkish control).
31/12/1907. 167 Duma (Parliament) deputies jailed for treason in Russia. See 14/10/1907.
14/12/1907, In St Petersburg, 38 soldiers were sentenced to life imprisonment for surrendering to the Japanese at Port Arthur.
14/11/1907, The Third Duma met in Russia; it sat until 1912. Elected on a restricted franchise, it suppressed revolutionary activities.
14/10/1907. Third parliament (Duma) formed in St Petersburg. See 31/12/1907.
31/8/1907, The UK and Russia agreed an entente, defining spheres of influence in Persia, Tibet, and Afghanistan. There was an implicit agreement that Britain would not allow Russia to control the Bosporus, and the entente opened up the London money markets to Russia, allowing it to recover from the Japanese defeat of 1904/5. France was also part of this agreement, forming a Triple Entente to contain the newly unified Prussian-dominated Germany.
16/6/1907. The Russian parliament (Duma) was dissolved by Tsar Nicholas II on grounds of treason after reactionary parties attempted to force concessions. An electoral reform in Russia increased the representation of the propertied classes, and reduced the representation of national minorities.
5/3/1907. Second Parliament (Duma) met in St Petersburg.
3/1/1907, The Prefect of St Petersburg was assassinated at the Institute of Experimental Medicine.
19/12/1906. Birth of Leonid Brezhnev. He was born in Kamenskoye (now Dneiprodzherzhinsk), in the Ukraine.
22/11/1906, Stolypin introduced agrarian reforms in Russia.
2/11/1906. The Jewish revolutionary Leon Trotsky was exiled for life to Siberia.
5/10/1906. In Russia, 1,000 prisoners a day were being exiled to Siberia.
21/7/1906. In Russia, the Duma (Parliament) was dissolved and martial law set up. The Cadets withdrew to Finland where they issued the Viborg manifesto, calling on Russians to refuse to pay taxes.
21/6/1906. The Russian Parliament, the Duma, was exiled. On 23/6/1906 it called on Russians to refuse to pay taxes.
11/6/1906, Isvolsky became Russian Foreign Secretary.
28/5/1906. The Russian government decided to redistribute 25 million acres of land to peasants.
24/5/1906. Czar Nicholas II granted universal suffrage but refused an amnesty for political prisoners as suggested by the Duma.
12/5/1906, The Russian Duma and the Tsar disputed over the release of political prisoners.
10/5/1906. The first Russian Parliament, or Duma, met in St Petersburg. There was deadlock as the Cadet’s party opposed the Fundamental Laws.
6/5/1906, Tsar Nicholas II promulgated the Fundamental Law of the Russian Empire, reaffirming autocratic rule.
5/5/1906, In Russia, Count Witte was replaced by the more conservative Ivan Goremykin.
4/4/1906, Elections were held for the first Duma (Parliament) in Russia.
20/3/1906. Russian army officers were killed by soldiers in a mutiny at Sevastopol, Crimea.
2/3/1906, Tsar Nicholas II ceded some power to the Russian Parliament.
7/12/1905. Russian revolutionaries occupied the fortress at Kiev, Ukraine.
1/12/1905, 20 Russian army officers and 230 guards were arrested at St Petersburg after a plot to kill the Tsar was uncovered.
30/10/1905. Czar Nicholas II of Russia, on advice from Sergei Yulevitch Witte, issued issued a decree to turn his country from an absolute aristocracy into a semi-constitutional monarchy in an attempt to quell growing popular unrest, issuing the October Manifesto. However by the end of 1906 Czar Nicholas, with the opposition divided as to the acceptability of his reforms, was able to resume autocratic rule again.
25/10/1905, The first meeting of the Soviet (Council) of Workers Deputies met in St St Petersburg. There was widespread disorder across Russia, with a train strike preventing the British Ambassador leaving St Petersburg.
21/10/1905, A railway strike began in Russia, which became nation-wide by 25/10/1905. By the end of October this had become a general strike across Russia.
25/8/1905, The mutineers from the battleship Potemkin were sentenced. Eight were condemned to death. Heavy taxation, Russia’s defeat by Japan, and the Czar’s opposition to constitutional government were causing resentment.
24/7/1905, Kaiser William of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia signed the Treaty of Bjorko at a meeting in Finland. This proposed a mutual defence pact between the two countries if either was attacked by another European power. However the Russian Foreign Office opposed the Treaty because it threatened Russia’s relationship with France, upon whom Russia was dependent for aid. The German Chancellor, Von Bulow also opposed the Treaty, and Franco-German tension over the Morocco crisis left the Treaty dead in the water.
8/7/1905. The crew of the battleship Potemkin surrendered to the Romanians after a mutiny. Romania refused to extradite them back to Russia because it said the mutiny was a political act. The mutiny began as the battleship was watching the rioters in the city of Odessa. A sailor complained about bad food and was shot. The crew mutinied, on 27/6/1905, and threw the captain and several officers overboard; the remaining 8 officers joined the mutiny. A steamer laden with coal was seized and the coal transferred to the Potemkin.
3/7/1905. Russian troops killed more then 6,000 people in Odessa to restore order after a general strike.
27/6/1905, Mutiny on the Russian battleship Potemkin, see 8/7/1905.
23/6/1905, Tsar Nicholas II broke his promise regarding an elected assembly.
3/6/1905. Cossacks charged at rioting crowds in St Petersburg.
30/4/1905, Tsar Nicholas II guaranteed freedom of conscience and freedom of worship in Russia.
9/3/1905, Russia agreed to pay £65,000 compensation for the Dogger Bank incident of 1904.
3/3/1905, Czar Nicholas II agreed to form a Consultative Assembly.
17/2/1905, Grand Duke Sergei was killed in Moscow by an assassin’s bullet.
25/1/1905, Czar Nicholas II promised reforms.
22/1/1905. Bloody Sunday in St Petersburg when 140,000 striking workers were fired on and 105 killed as they marched on the Winter palace to protest peacefully at Tsar Nicholas II’s regime. The workers movement had begun on 16/1/1905 as a local strike but soon grew to encompass over 100,000 workers. They planned to present to the Tsar a petition calling for universal suffrage, equality for all classes, an 8-hour day, civil liberties and release of political prisoners. The workers were led by priest Georgi Gapon. Workers in St Petersburg elected a ‘Soviet’ (‘Council’ in Russia), to debate matters such as pay and working conditions. This event sparked the Russian Revolution.
19/1/1905. 75,000 Russian workers went on strike amid growing civil disturbances, and anti-monarchist sentiments, fuelled by defeats by Japan.
16/1/1905, In Russia the Putilov Works was hit by a strike in support of four workers who had been dismissed. See 22/1/1905.
26/12/1904, After months of unrest and riots in Russia, Tsar Nicholas II made decrees to improve the lot of the peasants.
22/10/1904, The ‘Dogger Bank’ incident nearly caused war between Britain and Russia. The Russian Baltic fleet sank two Hull trawlers on the Dogger bank. The Russian Commander, Admiral Rozhdestvensky, later claimed he thought they were Japanese torpedo boats, sent under false flags to attack, but there was widespread disbelief and indignation in Britain. The Russians were fearful of Japanese attack and on edge, guns ready; they suddenly found themselves surrounded by a flotilla of small boats. However when they realised their mistake they did not stop tin help but steamed off into the night. The people of Hull were furious and demanded the British navy chase after the Russians to ‘teach them a lesson’. Only French diplomatic intervention prevented the incident from escalating further. The Russian fleet was on its was to fight the Japanese navy in the Pacific. Russia expressed regret and provided compensation.
For Russo-Japanese war 1904 see China-Japan-Korea
16/8/1904, Britain protested to Russia about attacks on neutral merchant shipping.
20/2/1904, Alexei Kosygin, Soviet Communist leader and Prime Minister, was born in Leningrad.
1903, Josef Stalin (born 1879) joined the Bolshevik Party.
17/11/1903. Vladimir Lenin emerged as leader of the Bolsheviks within the Russian Social Democratic party. A walk-out by disgruntled Jewish Social Democrats gave him the slight majority he needed. The opposition Mensheviks (minority) feared Lenin would suppress free debate and institute a one man dictatorship.
3/7/1903, The UK and Japan demanded that Russia withdraw from Manchuria.
15/5/1903, British Foreign Secretary Lord Lansdowne announced that Britain would strongly resist the establishment of any fortified base by another power on the Persian Gulf. This was aimed at countering expansionist plans by Russia.
22/9/1902. Czar Nicholas II abolished the nominal independence of Finland and appointed a Russian Governor-General.
3/7/1902. After riots in Russia which killed several thousand people, Czar Nicholas II offered to talk to the people.
15/4/1902, In Russia, socialist revolutionaries assassinated the Interior Minister, Sipyagin. He was succeeded by Viacheslav Plehve, who suppressed the peasants revolt and attacked the Armenian Church.
1/3/1902, Lenin published a pamphlet entitled “What is to be Done”, outlining his ideas for liberating the working masses through a Communist Revolution.
8/1/1902, Georgi Malenkov, Soviet politician, was born in Orenburg.
2/4/1901, A proposed agreement between Russia and China for Russian occupation of Manchuria was cancelled by China, after Chinese appeals for support from Britain, Japan and Germany. For details see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchuria
3/1901, Students and workers protested across major cities; several Russian provinces were placed under martial law.
17/3/1901. Anti-Czarist protests by students in St Petersburg were broken up by Cossack troops.
27/2/1901, The Russian Propaganda Minister was assassinated after his repression of student agitators.
29/1/1901, Joseph Gourko, Russian General, died (born 15/11/1828).
14/1/1901, Russia ceased exiling criminals to Siberia.
1900, The average size of a peasant’s landholding in Russia had shrunk to 8 acres, from 13 in 1860, because of rising population. However Russia was beginning to industrialise, in the cities.
1/11/1900, Tsar Nicholas II fell ill with typhoid fever, precipitating a crisis in the Russian Empire for the entire month.
23/9/1900, The fifth Congress of the Socialist Second International met in the Salle Wagram in Paris. Of the 1,300 delegates, 1,000 were French; the second biggest contingent, 95, came from Britain. Just 6 were from the Americas and the only Japanese delegate was unable to afford the boat fare. Opinion was divided as to whether the working class should gain power through revolution or through campaigning for universal suffrage.
16/7/1900, Lenin and his wife left Russia to begin a 5-year exile in Switzerland.
29/1/1900, Lenin returned from three year’s exile in Siberia.
1898, Lenin, whilst in exile in Siberia, published his book ‘The Development of Capitalism in Russia’.
1/3/1898, The first Communist Party meeting in Russia; the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party met in Minsk.
13/12/1897, Russia occupied Port Arthur.
5/8/1895. Engels died in London, aged 74. He was an immigrant businessman who, along with Marx, founded the political philosophy called communism. Marx was the better of the two at theory but Engels could communicate these ideas better to the public.
1/11/1894, Alexander III, Tsar of Russia, died (24/10). Nicolas II became Tsar of Russia.
17/4/1894, Nikita Kruschev, Soviet leader, was born in Kalinovka, near Kursk.
10/2/1894, Germany signed a commercial treaty with Russia.
4/1/1894, Russia and France signed a treaty of mutual defence. Despite huge differences between their political systems, both countries felt threatened by encirclement. France felt threatened by a rare entente between Germany and Britain. Russia saw itself threatened to the south and east by the British Empire in central and eastern Asia.
1893, The city of Novosibirsk was founded. In 1891 a survey party located a site for the Transiberian Railway to cross the River Ob. At the site they selected there was just a village called Krivoshchokovo (‘crooked creek’). Work began on the railway bridge in 1893; by the time the railway through here was complete, the rail workers settlement on the right bank of the Ob had a population of 7,832. By 1925 the town was knwn as Novonikolaevsk and had over 100,000 inhabitants; in that year it changed name to Novosibirsk.
17/8/1892. Russia and France signed a military convention.
8/5/1891, Helena Blavatsky, Russian theosophist, died in London (born at Ekatirnoslav 31/7/1831).
9/3/1890, Molotov, Soviet politician, was born in Kukaida under the surname Skriabin.
1889, The Second International (working men’s association, see 1876), also lnown as the Socialist International, was founded in Paris.
18/3/1889, Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria, Russian secret police chief from 1938 and one of the most feared men in the USSR until his execution in 1953, was born.
1/11/1888, Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky, Russian explorer, died.
4/1/1884. The Fabian Society was founded, to promote socialist ideals.
27/5/1883, Alexander III was crowned as ‘Tsar of all the Russias’.
17/3/1883, Karl Marx was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London.
14/3/1883. Karl Marx, born 5/5/1818, died. He was aged 64, and was buried at Highgate cemetery, London. He had lived in London since his expulsion from Prussia and Paris in 1849. Marx and Engels drew up the Communist Manifesto in January 1848, calling for workers of all lands to unite. He published Volume One of Das Kapital in 1867. He, his wife Jenny, and their children lived in poverty in two rooms in Soho, while Marx studied economic history in the British Museum.
11/3/1883, Alexander Gorchakov, Russian statesman, died (born 16/7/1798).
7/7/1882, Michael Skobiev, Russian general, died (born 29/9/1843).
13/3/1881, Alexander II, Tsar of Russia since 1855, aged 62, died from injuries sustained when a bomb was thrown at him near his palace, by a Polish student. The assassination was devised by a group of Nihilists headed by Sophia Perovskaya. He was succeeded by his 36-year old son, Alexander III, who reacted to the assassination with great severity, determined to root out sedition in Russia. He also authorised a systematic campaign against Russian Jews, imposing severe restrictions on their worship from 5/1882 onwards. Millions of Jews emigrated from Russia over the next three decades.
2/12/1881, Karl Marx’s wife Jenny died.
17/2/1880, Tsar Alexander II narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Nihilists as a bomb exploded outside the Winter Palace, St Petersburg.
21/12/1879, Joseph Stalin was born in Gori, Georgia, as Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, son of a shoemaker.
26/10/1879, Leon Trotsky was born in Yanovka, Ukraine, as Lev Davidovich Bronstein.
23/1/1878, In Moscow, a trial of nearly 200 revolutionaries ended in acquittals. However the Russian police arrested most of them afterwards and sent them to Siberia anyway.
18/11/1877, In the Caucasus, Russia captured the fortress of Kars from Ottoman Turkey.
13/11/1877, A demonstration by socialist marchers in Trafalgar Square led to violent clashes with mounted police and guardsmen.
1876, The ‘First International’ (working men’s association) broke up after severe ideological splits. See 28/9/1864 and 1889.
13/6/1876, Mikhail Bakunin, Russian anarchist (born 1814) died in Bern,
1875, Russia completed its colonisation of Sakhalin. Sakhalin was a Chinese dependencey until ca. 1800. The Japanese occupied southern Sakhalin until 1875, when it was ceded to Russia. In 1905, following the Russo-Japaanese war, southern Sakhalin was returned to Japan. Japan occupied northern Sakhalin in 1920 during the Siberian Intervention but returned that portion of the island in 1925. Southern Sakhalin was taken again by the USSR in August 1945, a few days before Japan’s surrender. See also China-Japan.
13/1/1874, Conscription was introduced in Russia.
15/9/1873, Alexis Fedchenko, Russian explorer of central Asia, died (born 7/2/1844).
1872, Marx’s Das capital was first published in Russia. It got past the censors because it was considered too dull to have much impact.
9/6/1872, Peter I, Tsar of Russia, was born.
5/3/1871, Rosa Luxemburg, German Socialist leader and founder of the left-wing Spartacus movement, was born.
22/4/1870, Vladimir Illyich Lenin, Russian Communist leader, was born in Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk), as Vladimir Ilyitch Ulyanov, the son of a schools inspector.
8/1/1869, Russian priest Grigory Rasputin was born, to parents Yefim and Anna in Pokrivskoe.
18/5/1868, Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, was born, the son of Alexander III.
26/7/1867. Russia formed the governor-generalship of Turkestan, having moved into the area to prevent Muslim incursions into their territory.
28/9/1864, Socialist radicals in London formed an International Workingmen’s Association to help unite the world’s workers in revolution. led by Marx and Engels. See 1876.
3/3/1861. Russian serfs were emancipated by Czar Alexander II as a part of a programme of modernisation. 20 million serfs, about a third of the population, were given the right to own the land they cultivated. But they had to pay for this right, both to the government and the former landowner so many serfs remained un-free.
28/5/1858. Russia acquired from China the territory on the left (north) bank of the middle and upper River Amur, along with the territory on both sides of the lower Amur. This was under the Treaty of Aigun.
2/7/1858. Czar Alexander II of Russia ordered all serfs working on imperial land to be freed.
22/1/1858, Beatrice Webb, founder member of the Fabian Society, was born.
30/3/1856. The Treaty of Paris ended the Crimean War. Russia agreed to demilitarise the Black Sea, demolishing its naval bases at Sevastopol and three other locations. It also renounced its claim to protect the Holy Places in Palestine. Russia ceded a part of Bessarabia, forcing it back from the Danube River. The Treaty also stipulated that the Aland Islands should not be fortified, by the army or navy. This allayed British fears over threats to its trade in the Baltic, see Russia-1854.
1/2/1856, Russia agreed to preliminary peace conditions for ending the Crimean War.
11/9/1855. During the Crimean War, the Russian Black Sea port of Sevastopol fell to Anglo-French forces after an 11 month siege. The Russians demolished the fort as they abandoned it. However the Allies were unable to occupy the port facilities before winter set in and British troops faced a second winter in the Crimea.
16/8/1855, Battle of Chermaia, in the Crimean War. The Russians were defeated by a combined force of British troops and Piedmontese soldiers sent by Count Cavour of Savoy.
28/6/1855, Lord Raglan, British Army officer and commander of the expeditionary force in the Crimea, died.
2/3/1855, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia died during hostilities during the Crimean War. His successor, Alexander was more disposed to make peace with Britain, but negotiations broke down.
1854, During the Crimean War, Anglo-French forces attacked and destroyed the Russian fortress of Bomarsund, which the Russians had erected in the 1830s on the Aland Islands (see 17/9/1809). At the time, Palmerston had protested against this fort, without effect, because it potentially threatened British trade in the Baltic.
5/11/1854. The combined English and French armies defeated the Russians at the Battle of Inkerman, in the Crimean War. British forces now spent their first winter in the Crimea, poorly supplied. Public opinion in Britain began to turn against the war, outraged by daily reports in The Times from war correspondent W H Russell.
25/10/1854. Battle of Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade, led by Lord Cardigan. The Russians were attacking a combined force of English, French, and Turks, who were themselves besieging Sevastopol. Of the 607 who rode out, only 198 returned. In poor visibility, Lord Raglan noted that the Russians, at the north end of a valley, were attempting to move some guns, and ordered the Light Brigade to capture them; he was unaware of other Russian artillery along the valley. However the British and French won the battle in the end.
17/10/1854. The Allies (French and British) laid siege to the Russians at Sevastopol.
20/9/1854. The Allies, on the banks of the River Alma, gained a major victory over a 40,000 strong Russian force in the Crimean War; 2,000 British casualties.
14/9/1854, Allied French and British troops landed in the Crimea.
8/8/1854, Britain and France put forward the Vienna Four Points they considered essential for a peace settlement with Russia in the Crimean War. These were, firstly guarantees of the independence of Serbia, secondly free passage for vessels along the Danube, thirdly a revision of the Straits Convention, and fourthly that Russia abandoned its claim to a protectorate over the Sultan of Turkey’s Christian subjects. Russia rejected these terms.
27/3/1854. Crimean War began; Britain and France declared war on Russia. On 12/3/1854 the British and French formally allied with Turkey. See 30/11/1853. The ostensible cause of the Crimean War was a dispute between Russia, France, and Turkey over control of the Christian Holy Places in Turkish-controlled Palestine. The Turks refused Russia’s demands and Russia marched into the Turkish vassal states of Wallachia and Serbia. This threatened Russian occupation of Istanbul and hence Britain’s communications with its Indian Empire, so Britain entered the war against Russia.
20/3/1854, Russia sent troops southwards across the Danube, threatening Ottoman Turkey. Ultimately this posed the threat of Russia on the Mediterranean, putting communications between Britain and India at risk, and so was unacceptable to the UK.
6/2/1854, Russia broke off diplomatic relations with Britain and France.
4/10/1853. The Russians refused to withdraw from the Danubian Principalities, and Turkey declared war on Russia. On 23/10/1853 the Turks, under Omar Pasha, crossed the Danube into Wallachia. See 30/11/1853.
31/5/1853, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia despatched troops to protect Christian minorities in Ottoman-ruled Moldavia and Wallachia.
24/8/1849, Karl Marx moved from France to England.
4/7/1848, The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels, was published.
21/2/1848, The Communist Manifesto was first published.
8/12/1847. In Britain, an international convention of the Communist League adopted Karl Marx’s principles of the overthrow of the middle classes and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
1/6/1847. The Communist Party, then called the League of the Just, met at a congress in London organised by Joseph Moll. The purpose of the meeting was to secure the co-operation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in formulating the Party programme. Marx did not attend because of the cost of travel from Brussels. The Party aims were the downfall of the bourgeoisie, the rule of the proletariat, and the establishment of a new society without class or private property. The first Russian Communist meeting was at Minsk on 1 – 3 March 1898, where 9 delegates met. All were subsequently arrested and none played a significant role in later politics.
10/3/1845, Alexander III, Emperor of Russia, second son of Alexander II, was born (died 1894).
1/2/1845. Karl Marx settled in Brussels after being expelled from France.
28/8/1844, Karl Marx met Friedrich Engels in Paris; their lifelong collaboration began.
7/2/1844, Alexis Fedchenko, Russian explorer of central Asia, was born (died 15/9/1873).
19/6/1843, Karl Marx married Jenny von Westphalen, daughter of a Prussian aristocrat.
1841, Czar Nicholas I forbade the auctioning of serfs.
13/7/1841, The Straits Convention, signed by the five great European powers, guaranteed Ottoman sovereignty and closed the Bosporus and Dardanelles to all foreign warships. This was directed at preventing Russian expansion.
1843, Engels published ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England.
21/4/1834, Count Aleksei Arakcheev, Russian soldier and statesman, died (born 1769).
1833, Czar Nicholas I forbade the spltting up of families by the sale of serfs.
31/7/1831, Helena Blavatsky, Russian theosophist, was born at Ekatirnoslav (died in London 8/5/1891).
12/7/1831, Vasily Golovnin, Russian Vice-Admiral, died. He was given the mission, accomplished 1817-19, of sailing a Russian ship around the world. He was born on 20/4/1776.
27/6/1831, Pavlovich Constantine, Grand Duke of Russia, died (born 27/4/1779).
10/6/1831, Hans Karl Diebitsch, Russian Field Marshal, died (born 13/5/1785).
26/5/1831, The Russians defeated the Poles at the Battle of Ostrolenska.
25/2/1831, The Poles halted the Russian advance at the Battle of Grochow.
15/11/1828, Joseph Gourko, Russian General, was born (died29/1/1901).
26/12/1825, The Decembrist Army Revolt in St Petersburg was crushed; it had begun on 1/12/1825. Young men inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution had attempted to overthrow the Tsarist rulers. Five rebels were hanged and 121 were exiled to Siberia.
18/12/1825, Tsar Nicholas I became ruler of Russia.
13/12/1825, Tsar Alexander I died in agony, aged 47, after eating poisonous mushrooms in the Crimea. He was succeeded by his 21-year-old brother, Nicholas I.
1824, Russia gained control over the fortresses of Abkhazia. However the general population was not subdued until 1864.
4/9/1821, Czar Alexander declared that Russian influence in Alaska extended as far south as Oregon and closed Alaskan waters to foreigners.
27/11/1820, Friedrich Engels, German socialist and associate of Karl Marx, was born in Barmen.
21/5/1820, Nicholas Giers, Russian statesman, was born (died 26/1/1895).
5/5/1818, Karl Heinrich Marx, father of Communism, was born in Trier, Germany, son of a Jewish lawyer.
29/4/1818, Alexander II, Tsar of Russia, was born.
26/11/1812, The Battle of Berezina. The Russians won; French plans to over-winter at Smolensk had been thwarted.
18/11/1812, Russian forces closing in on the retreating French in western Russia won the Battle of Polotsk.
16/11/1812, French troops retreating from Moscow successfully broke through a Russian roadblock at Krasnoi.
3/11/1812, French troops retreating from Moscow successfully broke through a Russian roadblock at Vyazama.
24/10/1812, Battle of Maloyaroslavets. The French had planned a retreat from Moscow through undamaged terrain, white they might gather sustenance. However the Russians positioned artillery to cover the bridges over the River Luzha, which the French had to cross to achieve this planned retreat. After a series of fierce battles, the French did capture the town, but the Russian artillery still commanded the bridges. The French now had no choice but to attempt a retreat through the devastated terrain they had previously advanced through.
19/10/1812, Napoleon’s forces began their retreat from Moscow.
18/10/1812, Russian forces defeated the French at the Battle of Tarutino, south of Moscow.
14/9/1812. Napoleon entered Moscow, which had been abandoned and burned by the Russians in their scorched earth policy. This denied Napoleon’s army much-needed winter quarters. Winter was approaching (see 9/11/1812) and Napoleon was forced to retreat. Napoleon failed to persuade Czar Alexander to come to terms, and his army began to leave Moscow to return to France on 19/10/1812.
7/9/1812. Napoleon’s forces marching to Moscow defeated the Russians under Kutzov at the Battle of Borodino, 70 miles west of the city. Each side lost some 40,000 men.
16/8/1812, The Battle of Smolensk began. The Russians initially defended the city with a tenacity that the French had not anticipated, then managed to withdraw to avoid encirclement. The Russians destroyed all buildings and bridges as they fell back, leaving Napoleon’s forces having captured nothing but ruins.
24/6/1812. Napoleon began his conquest of Russia. France and Russia had been allies but relations had deteriorated between them. This day La Grande Armee crossed the River Niemen into Russia. On 28/6/1812 he captured Vilnius, capital of Poland. Napoleon headed the biggest army ever assembled up to that time, 614,000 men of at least 20 different nationalities. Within 6 months, 90% of them would be dead. Napoleon wanted Russia under Tsar Alexander I to join the French blockade of Britain. Napoleon’s army was welcomed as he entered Lithuania and Poland, as liberators from the Russians, who had taken control of these countries in 1795.
For main events of Napoleonic Wars see France-Germany
17/9/1809, In February 1808 Tsar Alexander invaded Finland, then part of Sweden, without a declaration of war. On this day the Treaty of Fredrikshamn ended the war; Sweden ceded Finland and the Aland Islands to Russia. Sweden was unable to secure an undertaking by Russia not to fortify the Aland Islands, which were close to Stockholm, but see 30/3/1856.
21/2/1808. Russia occupied Finland, which was formerly under Swedish domination.
11/3/1801, Paul I, Tsar of Russia, was strangled in a scuffle with his officers, who were conspiring to compel him to abdicate.
6/4/1799, Aleksander Bezborodko, Grand Chancellor of Russia, died in St Petersburg (born in Gluchova 14/3/1747).
16/7/1798, Alexander Gorchakov, Russian statesman, was born (died 11/3/1883).
6/11/1796. Death of Czarina Katherine the Great of Russia. She died at Czarskoye Selo (The Czar’s Village) near St Petersburg, aged 67. She had been Empress of Russia since 1762. She was succeeded by her 42-year old son, Paul I.
6/7/1796, Nicholas, Tsar of Russia, was born.
28/3/1795, The Duchy of Courland was incorporated into the State of Russia.
9/11/1794, Russian forces entered Warsaw, ending the Polish rebellion.
10/10/1794, The Polish army, 7,000 men under Tadeusz Kosciusko was heavily defeated by the Russians, 16,000 men, at Maciejowice, and its leader taken prisoner. Kosciusko was released by Czar Paul in 1796, and died on 15/10/1817 when his horse fell over a precipice.
25/3/1793. By the Treaty of London, Russia joined the coalition against France.
23/1/1793, Prussia signed a treaty with Russia. Poland was partitioned, with Prussia obtaining Danzig, Thorn, Posen, and most of Great Poland. Russia received Minsk, Pinsk, and the frontier on the Zbrucz. Austria received promises of help in re-conquering Belgium, as well as some Polish territories.
18/5/1792. Russian troops invaded Poland.
30/9/1788, Lord Raglan, the Field Marshall responsible for the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, was born at Badminton, Gloucestershire.
1785, Katherine II of Russia introduced the Charter of the Nobility. It was a device to enrich the Russian nobles, at the exoense of the peasants, so as to ensure their continued loyalty to her. Under this Charter, the Russian nobles were freed from tax and military service oblicagions, and had no duties except to keep the serfs subdued. The civil condition of the peasants worsened, and many were now virtual slaves to their noble, forced both to slave for him and fight in the Russian Army when required. This Charter made inevitable the future Communist Revolution in Russia.
1783, Russia conquered the Crimea, from the Tatars.
3/5/1783. Katherine II of Russia, who was thought of as an enlightened monarch by Europeans, officially introduced serfdom in the Ukraine.
27/4/1779, Pavlovich Constantine, Grand Duke of Russia, was born (died 27/6/1831).
23/12/1777. Tsar Alexander I, who defeated Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, was born.
20/4/1776, Vasily Golovnin, Russian Vice-Admiral, was born. He was given the mission, accomplished 1817-19, of sailing a Russian ship around the world. He died on 12/7/1831.
27/7/1774, Samuel Gmelin died whilst exploring the Caspian area.
16/7/1774. The Russians and Turks signed the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji, ending their six-year war. Moldavia and Wallachia were returned to Turkey and the Crimea became independent. Russia gained control of much of the northern Black Sea coast. The Sultan was allowed to remain spiritual leader of the Crimean Moslems; however Russia gained the right to build and protect an Orthodox church in Istanbul. Russian merchants were to have unrestricted access to the Black Sea and Mediterranean across Ottoman territories. This gave Russia a pretext to intervene in Turkish internal affairs.
28/12/1772, Ernst Biren, Russian, died.
21/4/1768, Alexius Bestuzhev-Ryumin, Grand Chancellor of Russia, died (born in Moscow 1/6/1693).
5/7/1764, Ivan II, Tsar of Russia, was murdered.
12/9/1762, Catherine II The Great was crowned Empress of Russsia.
17/7/1762, Peter III, Tsar of Russia, was murdered. He was about to divorce his wife of 17 years, Catherine; she struck first, with the help of her lover Orlov, by rallying the support of the army and church, and had herself proclaimed Empress.
The Seven Years War; Russia against Prussia
The Seven Years War; Russia against Prussia
1/10/1754, Paul I, Tsar of Russia, was born.
14/3/1747, Aleksander Bezborodko, Grand Chancellor of Russia, was born in Gluchova (died in St Petersburg 6/4/1799).
1743, Russians reached the Taymyr Peninsula, the northernmost point of Asia.
23/1/1743, Russia and Sweden began negotiations to end their conflict.
19/12/1741, Vitus Bering, Danish born explorer of Russia, who gave his name to the Bering Strait and Bering Sea, died of scurvy on Bering Island after being shipwrecked. On earlier expeditions he had mapped the Bering Strait and much of the coast of Siberia.
6/12/1741, Elizabeth Petrovna became Empress of Russia in a coup.
8/11/1739, Vasily Dolgoruki, Russian politician, was executed (born 1672).
30/6/1737, The Russians attacked the Ottoman fortress of Ochakov, Romania.
14/4/1737, Dmitry Golitsun, Russian statesman, born 1665, died in prison after being denounced for anti-monarchical sentiments.
19/6/1736, The Russians took Azov, Romania, from the Ottomans.
30/1/1730, Peter II, Tsar of Russia, died of smallpox aged 14. This day he was to have married Catherine, second daughter of Alexis Dolgoruki. He was succeeded by Anna of Russia.
2/5/1729, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Germany (died 1796). She became ruler of Russia in 1762 in a coup in which her husband Peter III was assassinated.
14/8/1728, Danish explorer Vitus Bering discovered that the Bering Strait was the easternmost limit of Siberia.
21/2/1728, Peter III, Tsar of Russia and grandson of Peter the Great, was born in Kiel.
16/5/1727, Katherine I of Russia died aged 44. She was succeeded by her 12-year-old son Peter, who reigned until 1730.
8/2/1725. Katherine I became Empress of Russia on the death of her husband Peter the Great.
28/1/1725. Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia from 1682, died in St Petersburg. Aged 53, he had established Russia as a major European power.
30/8/1721, Conclusion of the Peace of Nystad. Peter the Great obtained Swedish lands including Estonia, and an outlet to the Baltic and the West.
4/8/1717. A treaty of friendship was signed between France and Russia.
1716, The city of Omsk was founded as a fortress.
18/10/1715, Peter II, Tsar of Russia, was born.
6/8/1714, Naval Battle of Gangut, in the Baltic; Russia defeated Sweden.
18/12/1709, Elizabeth Petrovna. Empress of Russia, was born (died 5/1/1762).
8/7/1709, The Battle of Poltava (in modern day eastern Ukraine). Peter the Great of Russia destroyed the Swedish army. Hanover and Denmark joined with Russia in attacking the Swedish Empire.
9/10/1708, Battle of Lesnaya; Russia beat Sweden.
4/7/1708, Battle of Holovsin; Sweden beat Russia.
2/7/1708, Battle of Kliszow; Sweden beat Russia.
1706, Russia occupied the Kamchatka Peninsula.
9/8/1704, The Russians under Tsar Peter I took Narva, (seaport, now in Estonia) by force from Sweden. Narva remained a Russian port until Estonia independence in 1918.
27/5/1703. Tsar Peter the Great founded St Petersburg and proclaimed it the new capital of Russia. The mouth of the River Neva was low lying, frozen for half the year, a misty swamp during summer. However it was a vital window for Russia onto the Baltic. Earth was piled onto the marches to raise their level, and then wooden pilings sunk to support the buildings. Stone was scarce so Peter demanded that every ship arriving carry at least 30 stone blocks, and every carriage arriving bring at least 3 paving stones. Even so, stone across Russia was so scarce that Peter forbade any other building in stone across all of Russia, on pain of confiscation and exile. 30,000 labourers died building the city, of malaria and dysentery.
13/4/1703, Battle of Pultusk; Sweden beat Russia.
18/7/1702, Battle of Hummelsdorf; Russia beat Sweden.
7/1/1702, Battle of Errestfer; Russia defeated Sweden.
20/11/1700, Sweden defeated the Russians at Narva.
20/12/1699, Peter the Great changed New Year’s day in Russia from September 1 to January 1.
29/11/1699, Patrick Gordon, Scottish-born Russian General, died (born 1635).
5/9/1698, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposed a tax on beards in an effort to move his country from Asiatic to European customs.
18/7/1696, The Fleet of Tsar Peter I of Russia occupied Azov, at the mouth of the River Don.
29/1/1696, Ivan V, Tsar of Russia, died. Peter the Great became Tsar. He decreed that all Russians should be clean – shaven, or pay a beard tax.
1/6/1693, Alexius Bestuzhev-Ryumin, Grand Chancellor of Russia, was born in Moscow (died 21/4/1768).
1691, Russians discovered the Kamchatka Peninsula.
19/2/1690, Alexius Petrovich, Tsarevich, was born (died 1718).
27/1/1689, Peter the Great of Russia married Eudoxia Lopukhina.
15/4/1684, Katherine I of Russia was born (died 1727).
27/4/1682, Theodore III, Tsar of Russia, died.
26/10/1673, Demeter Cantemir Prince of Moldavia was born. He acceded to the throne in 1710, but then joined forces with Peter the Great of Russia against Ottoman Turkey. The Turks were victorious, and Prince Cantemir emigrated to Russia.
30/5/1672. Peter the Great of Russia was born in Moscow. He was the son of Tsar Alexei.
31/1/1667, After eight years war between Russia and Poland, the Treaty of Andruszow between them divided up Ukraine between them, along the Dneiper River.
1664, The Russian postal service was inaugurated.
18/1/1654. The Ukraine came under Russian domination.
1652, The Siberian city of Khabarovsk was founded as a fortress by a Russian explorer of the same name.
1649, A new code of Russian laws legitimised the serfdom of peasants.
1648, Russians reached the Bering Strait, which was unnamed at the time.
12/7/1645, The Russian Tsar, Michael Romanov, died aged 49. He was succeeded by his 16-year old son, Alexis Mikhailovich (1629-76).
1643, Russians reached Lake Baikal.
1/3/1634, The Poles and Cossacks lifted the Russian siege of Smolensk.
1632, The Russians besieged Smolensk.
1632, The Siberian city of Yakutsk was founded by Russian fur traders.
9/3/1629, Tsar Alexis I of Russia was born (died 1676).
1621, Sweden seized Riga.
1619, Treaty of Delino ended the Russian-Polish war.
1614, The Romanovs defeated the Cossacks.
21/2/1613. Michael Romanov was elected Tsar of Russia, founding the House of Romanov, which ruled until the Revolution began on 12/3/1917.
1612, The Poles retreated from Russia,
12/3/1610, Swedish troops under Jacob de la Gardie took Moscow. Sweden was alarmed at a Polish-Lithuanian attempt to take over Russia.
1609, Tsar Vasili IV (1552-1612) massacred the Poles in Moscow and allied Russia with Sweden, This provoked a Polish invasion of Russia.
19/5/1606, Vasili IV became Tsar of Russia.
10/7/1605, Theodore II, Tsar of Russia, was murdered.
23/4/1605, Death of Tsar Boris Godunov (born ca. 1551).
1601,A famine began in Russia, lasting until 1603. Up to 2 million people, a third of the population,may have died. The Poles and Lithuanians, hoping to claim Orthodox Russia for the Catholic Church,and supported inside Russia by disaffected nobility,invaded the country.
21/2/1598, On the death of Tsar Fyodor, Boris Godunov was elected Tsar.
17/1/1598, Death of Tsar Fyodor I (born 31/5/1557).
1589, The Patriarchate of Moscow was established by Tsar Godunov; this was the basis for the Romanov Dynasty.
1584, The port city of Archangel was founded by Ivan the Terrible. Originally known as New Kholmogory, the city was renamed after an earlier monastery in the neighbourhood.
18/3/1584. Czar Ivan IV, Ivan the Terrible, died aged 54, whilst about to play a game of chess. He may have died of grief for his son, whom he had killed in a mad fit of rage three years previously.
1582, Cossack troops under Yermak Timofeyevich defeated the Tatar ruler of Siberia. From now on, Russia imposed a tax on Siberians, paid in furs.
10/8/1582. After 25 years of conflict, Russia made peace with Poland and gave up its claim on the Baltic state of Livonia.
9/1581, Russian forces in Pskov were besieged by a Polish-Lithuanian army.The Russians subsequently gave up claims on Livonia.
1571, Tatar raids into Russia; 100,000 Russians captured as slaves.
5/1571, The Crimean Army under Devlet I started the Great Fire of Moscow.
25/7/1570, Ivan the Terrible had many of his advisers and ministers publicly executed in Moscow.
27/2/1557, The first Russian Embassy in London opened.
1556, Ivan the Terrible completed the conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan, paving the way for further expansion of Russia eastwards. Russian troops now stood on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
2/10/1552, Ivan the Terrible took the Tartar city of Kazan, using artillery to break down the city walls. The Volga became a Russian river.
20/8/1552, Ivan IV (The Terrible) began an attack on Kazan with an army of 150,000 men, after a faction in Kazan promised him the Khanate.
21/6/1547, Moscow was destroyed by a fire which consumed 25,000 of the city’s wooden houses. 1,700 people died and 80,000 were made homeless.
16/1/1547. Ivan the Terrible, first Russian to assume the title of Tsar, was crowned.
6/7/1535. Sir Thomas Moore was beheaded in London, for refusing to accept Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. Thomas More was born in 1477 in London. He published Utopia in 1515 which described a pagan, communist, city state in which the institutions and policies are governed entirely by reason. His ideas contrasted with the self-interest and greed for power seen in Europe’s Christian states.
1533, Basil III, Grand Duke of Muscovy, died aged 54 He was succeeded by his 3-year-old son who ruled until 1584 as Ivan IV (the Terrible).
25/8/1530, Ivan the Terrible of Russia was born. As Ivan IV, he killed over 3,000, including the royal heir.
8/9/1514, At the Battle of Orsha, a combined force of Poles and Ukrainians defeated the Russians.
27/10/1505. Ivan the Great (Ivan III), Czar of Russia, died aged 65. He was succeeded by his 26-year-old son who ruled as Basil III Ivanovitch until 1553.
30/10/1495, An explosion at Vyborg castle deterred Russian forces who were invading Sweden through Karelia.
6/1/1478, Novgorod was taken by Ivan III.
1480, Ivan III defeated the Tatars.
1471, Yaroslav, some 300 kilometres NE of Moscow, formerly an independent principality, was conquered by the Russians.
1462, Basil II, Grand Duke of Muscovy, died aged 47 after a 27-year reign marked by civil war. He was succeeded by his son, Ivan III,aged 22, who effectively became the first Russian monarch. Ivan III ruled for 23 years and greatly expanded Russian territory.
1389, Death of Prince Dimitri Donskoi (born 1350, Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1359). He defeated an invasion threat from Lithuania in 1375 and in 1370 recovered Tver for the Russians from the Golden Horde. Born as Dimitri Ivanovich, he took the surname Donskoi (of the Don).
1363, Algirdas of Lithiania defeated the Mongols; he extended Lithuanian territory as far as the Black Sea.
14/11/1263, Alexander Nevsky, Russian leader, died; on his death Russia fragmented.
5/4/1242. Russian troops defeated the Teutonic Knights at Lake Piepus, thwarting their planned invasion of Russia.
15/7/1240. Alexander Nevski defeated the Swedish army, led by General Briger Jarl, on the banks of the Neva.
1237, Tatar invasion of Russia.
1233, The city of Narva (now Estonia) was founded by Waldemar II, King of Denmark. It came under Russian rule in 1704.
1233, Mongol forces defeated the Rus State at the Battle of Kalka River.
2/2/1207, Terra Mariana, comprising present-day Estonia and Latvia, was established as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire.
1201, The city of Riga (now in Latvia) was founded.
8/2/1191, Yaroslav II, Grand Prince of Vladimir, was born.
1054, The Kievan Rus State, in existence since the 9th century, split into several smaller states.
4/10/1052, Vladimir Yaroslavich, Prince of Novgorod, died.
988, Vladimir, Grand Prince of Kiev, sent envoys to study the Jewish, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Islamic religions. He spurned Islam because it banned alcohol, but was impressed by the glory of Santa Sophia Cathedral in Coinstantinople. Therefore Greek Orthodox became the basis of the state religion of Russia.
913, Prince Igor became ruler of the Kievan Rus. He ruled to 945.
882, The Kievan Rus State was founded.
879, Prince Oleg, a Rus prince (reigned 882-912) turned on and defeated his rivals,Askold and Dir, and seized the city of Kiev for hiumself. He transferred his the capital to there from Novgorod.
863, The Cyrillic alphabet, used in Russia and Bulgaria, was invented by Cyril (36), a Macedonian missionary and his brother Methodius (35).
862, The city of Novgorod was founded by Prince Rurik. He stablished the Russian Royal Family which ruled until 1598.
1994, Ceasefire in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
1992, Armenia was admitted to the United Nations.
23/8/1990, Armenia declared independence from the USSR.
18/1/1990, Azerbaijan declared war on Armenia.
1922, Armenia became a Soviet Socialist Republic.
28/5/1919, Armenia declared independence.
22/4/1918, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan united to form the short-lived Transcaucasian Republic, see 26/5/1918.
See Turkey for Armenian massacres
5/9/1905, Hundreds died in clashes between Armenians and Tartars.
1878, Russia began the conquest of Armenia.
22/2/1828, Following the Russian capture of Tehran, Russia and Iran signed the Peace of Turkmanshai, ending their 2 year war. Russia acquired part of Armenia, including Yerevan. The region was divided between Persia to the south of the River Araks and Azerbaijan to the north.
1639, Armenia was partitioned between Turkey in the west and Persia to the east.
885, Armenia regained indeoendence, maintaining this until conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century.
628, Armenia became a province of Byzantium.
301, Armenia became the first nation to become officially Christian.
69-66 BCE, Armenia was conquered by the Romans under Lucullus. However they left the Armenian King, Tigranes, as ruler.
70 BCE, Under Tigranes, Armenian rule now extended from Mount Ararat to Tyre on the Mediterranean. Tigranes began construction of a new capital city, Tigranocerta, at the headwataers of the River Tigris.
95 BCE, The Armenian King Artavazd died and was succeeded by his son Tigranes. Tigranes began a 40-year reign under which Armenia became the most powerful state in the region.
190 BCE, Armenia regained its independence.
325 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered Armenia.
840 BCE, TheArmenian Kingdom of Urartu became powerful.
1994, Ceasefire in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
14/8/1993. Armenia launched a big offensive inside Azerbaijan near the Iranian border. Azerbaijan was also contending with another separatist movement, also near the Iranian border, at Lenkoran.
4/4/1993. Armenian forces now occupied a tenth of Azerbaijan. Armenia laid claim to the enclave of Nagorny-Karabakh and was occupying territory separating the enclave from Armenia.
19/1/1990. Soviet troops fired on an Azerbaijani crowd, killing many people. Thousands of Armenians fled Azerbaijan.
18/1/1990, Azerbaijan declared war on Armenia.
13/1/1990, 24 people died in riots in Baku, Azerbaijan.
2/3/1988. The Soviet Army was sent to Azerbaijan to quell unrest there. Tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia grew. Azerbaijan rejected a call for the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh to be returned to Armenian control; Karabakh had been part of Azerbaijan since 1921, although mainly populated by Armenians. Armenia invaded and occupied large parts of Azerbaijan lying between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
1/3/1988, Soviet troops enforced a curfew in Sumgait, Azerbaijan, following ethnic unrest.
20/2/1988, The Regional Soviet of Nagorny Karabakh voted to transfer the region from Azerbaijan to Armenia.
1945, Azerbaijan attempted to seize Azeri regions of Iran.
1930, Enforced collectivisation of agriculture in Azerbaijan.
27/4/1920, Soviet Russian troops invaded Azerbaijan, ending its independence (see 28/5/1918). On 28/5/1920 the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan was declared.
28/5/1918, Azerbaijan officially proclaimed its independence. See 27/4/1920.
22/4/1918, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan united to form the short-lived Transcaucasian Republic, see 26/5/1918.
22/2/1828. Following the Russian capture of Tehran, Russia and Iran signed the Peace of Turkmanshai, ending their 2 year war. Russia acquired part of Armenia, including Yerevan. The region was divided between Persia to the south of the River Araks and Azerbaijan to the north.
1728, The Treaty of Constantinople confirmed Ottoman Turkish control of the area, which Persia had disputed.
641, Muslims conquered the Azxerbaijan area.
9/8/2020, In an election widely held to have been flawed, Lukashenko won an implausible 80% of the vote. Tye Opposition leader, Ms Tikhahovskaya, was credited a tiny 9.9%. Popular protests against the ‘result’ were met by a heavy police crackdown. Lukashenko was backed by Russia and China.
10/2015, Lukashenko ‘won’ a 5th Presidential Term, however no Opposition candidate was allowed to compete.
7/2011, Widespread anti-Government ptotests in Belarus were met by a heavy-hended police crackdown.
4/2011, A terrorist bomb killed 15 on the Minsk Metro.
1/2011, Lukashenko was ‘elected’ for a 4th Term.
3/2006, Lukashenko won a 3rd Presidential term; however the election was disputed.
2004, Lukashenko succeeded in overturning the Constitutional ban on a 3rd Presidental term.
2001, Lukashenko won a second Presidential tern; however there had been a clampdown on the Opposition.
1997, Reunification was proposed between Belarus and Russia; however this initiative has lapsed.
1996, Lukashenko was awarded extended powers in reforms to the Constitution. He instituted an economic union with Russia.
1994, Alexander Lukashenko became President of Belarus. He promised an end to post-USSR dissolution chaos; he retained many many old Soviet symols and institutions such as the KGB
1991, A referendum in Belarus produced an 83% vote in favour of remaining unified with the USSR. However the USSR fell apart; instead Russia, Belarus and Ukraine established a Commonwealth of Independent States linking all three.
27/7/1990 Belarus declared its ‘sovereignty’, a step towards independence from the USSR.
1989, Belarusian was adopted as the official language.
1988, The nationalist Belarusian Popular Front (BPP) was formed, partly as a response to popular outrage when evidence of mass executions by the Soviets 1937-41 near Minsk emerged, in which over 100,000 people died.
1986, 70% of Belarus suffered radioactive contamination from Chernobyl.
1941-44, German occupation of Belarus. Two million people, including most of its large Jewish popualton, died.
1939, Western Belarus, taken by Poland in 1921, was restored to Belarus when the Soviet Srmy invaded Poland.
1929, Stalin began collectivisation of agriculture in Belarus.
1921, The Treaty of Riga awarded Poland a large area of western Belarus.
1919, In the chaos following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Poland invaded.
1882, Yanka Kupala, Belarusian national poet, was born.
1863, Uprising in Belarus against Russian rule, led by Kastus Kalinowski. The rebellion was suppressed and Kalinowski was executed.
1835, Czar Nicholas I decreed that Jews were allowed to reside in Minsk.
1772, 1795, After the Partition of Poland, Belarus came under Russian domination.
1324, The Grand Duchy of Lithuania now ruled the territory of Belarus.
1000, Emergence of the Polotsk Principality, which became modern Belarus.
2/9/2008, EU leaders began a mediation initiative with Russia over Georgia.
29/8/2008, Georgia cut all diplomatic relations with Russia and increased links to the USA.
25/8/2008, Both Russian Houses of parliament voted to recognise as independent states the breakaway regions of Georgia; South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
9/8/2008, Russian ships sailed from Ukrainian ports to mount a blockade of the Georgian coast.
8/8/2008, Russian forces backed South Ossetian fighters who were seeking secession from Georgia. 130,000 Georgians fled South Ossetia.
7/8/2008, Intense fighting erupted between Georgia and Russia. Russia backed the territory of South Ossetia, a Muslim area that had broken away from Georgia after Georgia declared independence as the USSR broke up. The USA backed Georgia.
2004, Mikhail Saakashvili became President after elections.
1/12/1993. Georgian and Abkhaz representatives met in Geneva to sign an accord to end their conflict.
18/11/1993, The Georgian President extended the country’s state of emergency indefinitely.
27/9/1993, Abkhaz separatists, backed by Russia, captured the Georgian city of Sukhumi, which they had been besieging.
28/9/1993. Abkhaz rebels took the Georgian Black Sea port and resort city of Sukhumi. Georgian President Eduard Sheverdnadze accused Moscow of helping the rebels.
6/7/1993. Georgia stepped up resistance to Abkhazian rebels, who were seeking their own Muslim state, around the Black Sea resort of Sukhumi.
3/9/1992, After Georgian forces had pulled out of the Gagra region, following an agreed ceasefire, Abkhaz forces under Shamil Basayev began an ethnic cleansing of the local Georgian population, killing 30,000 Georgians and causing many others to flee.
18/8/1992. After five days of fighting, Georgian forces took control of the separatist Abkhazian capital, Sukhumi.
14/8/1992, After Abkhaz Separatists wanting to secede from Georgia had attacked Georgian Government buildings in 6/1992, this day the Georgian police and National Guard entered the Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi, to restore authority. Georgian forces were bolstered by prisoners who had been offered freedom if they fought the Abkhaz.
9/4/1991. Georgia voted to secede from the USSR.
15/7/1989, Georgians and Abkhazians clashed in the Abkhazia region of Georgia; 11 were killed and 127 injured.
9/4/1989, Red Army soldiers massacred pro-independence Georgian demonstrators in Tbilisi’s main square, killing 20 people. Poison gas was allegedly used.
21/12/1967, Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia, was born.
2/10/1924, Trotsky took command of the Red Army in Georgia.
25/2/1921, The Red Army entered Tbilisi, Georgia.
23/5/1918. Georgia declared independence from Russia.
22/4/1918, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan united to form the short-lived Transcaucasian Republic, see 26/5/1918.
8/1/1792. The Ottoman Turks bowed to the inevitable and accepted Catherine the Great’s Russian sovereignty over Georgia. Britain feared further Russian expansion in the Black Sea as this could threaten British Mediterranean interests.
1453, The fall of the Byzantine Empire left Georgia isolated from Christian Europe.
1236, The Mongols conquered Georgia.
1014, King Bagrat III died. A ‘golden age’ under the reign of Queen Tamara, 1184-1213.
318, Georgia was converted to Christianity.
300 BCE, Earliest records of a Georgian Kingdom, called Kartli, which was conquered by Alexander the Great.