Timeline Description: The timeline below highlights key Russian leaders. Russia is a monarchial government until 1912, a republic for a brief period between 1912 and 1917, and was under communist rule as the Soviet Union for much of the 20th century. Today, Russia operates as a democratic republic; however, the government is rather authoritarian.
|January 1, 1462||Ivan the Great
Ivan the Great ended the rule of the Mongol Golden Horde in Russia and united Russia into a single large country. He is sometimes called the gatherer of the Russian lands.
|January 1, 1533||Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible was the first Russian ruler to be crowned tsar. He increased the total land of the Russian empire; however, was prone to rages and paranoia, leading to his title, Ivan the Terrible.
|January 1, 1613||Michael Romanov
Michael Romanov was chosen to be tsar, rather than inheriting the title. His descendants held control of Russia from 1613 until 1912.
|May 7, 1682||Peter the Great
Peter the Great initiated a number of Western-style reforms in Russia, established schools, and increased the Russian navy and trade. He also built the city of St. Petersburg.
|July 9, 1762||Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great was a German princess who became Empress of the Russians. She ran an educated court, initiating additional reforms in her court, and participating fully in the intellectual life of Europe.
|March 3, 1855||Alexander II
Alexander II implemented broad reforms, including a modern judicial system and mandatory military service. During this period, he held control of both Finland and Poland, and sold Alaska to the United States.
|January 1, 1894||Nicholas II
Nicholas II was the last tsar of Russia. He lost control of the country, but was, along with his family, still killed to eliminate the Romanov dynasty.
|July 1917||Alexander Kerensky(July-November 1917)
Kerensky, a moderate socialist led the interim Russian government, the Russian Provisional Government, for a brief period following the renunciation of the tsar and prior to the October Revolution.
|November 9, 1917||Vladimir Lenin
Following the November Revolution, Lenin, as the leader of the Communist Party, took power in Russia. Russia was now called the Russian Soviet Federalist Socialist Republic.
Stalin informally held power as early as 1922, following Lenin's stroke. He formally took power over the Soviet Union in 1924, holding power until his death. He consolidated power over the Soviet Union through violent means during the early years of his regime.
|January 1, 1953||Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev led the Soviet Union following Stalin's death and through much of the Cold War. Khrushchev denounced the violence of Stalin, but reform measures were largely ineffective and did not help the Russian people.
|January 1, 1985||Mikhail Gorbachev
Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union. Under his rule, the Soviet Union dissolved, bringing a final end to the Cold War.
|June 12, 1991||Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin was the first elected president of Russia. He oversaw significant reforms, including financial, social and political.
|December 31, 1999||Vladimir Putin
Putin, a conservative, was elected in December 1999. He held office for several years as President, serving as Prime Minister thereafter.
|March 2, 2008||Dmitri Medvedev
In March 2008, Medvedev was elected and served a term as president of Russia. Medvedev favored policies of liberal reform.
|May 7, 2012||Vladimir Putin
Re-elected in 2012, Putin favors conservative policies and has caused political strife with a number of other nations during his term. Medvedev serves as his Prime Minister.