Timeline History of Russia 1533-1991



 The Russian Empire, covering over one-sixth of the world, is 
governed by the sovereignty of Czar Ivan the Terrible. The feudal
system oppresses every man, woman and child as the Czar releases "Tax 
Collectors" to maintain support for the nobles in the land. Brigands 
and financial extortionists persecute any lower class citizen who 
refuses to help contribute to the Czar's regime.


 Under Czar Peter I (Peter the Great), the Russian Empire begins 
to flourish with traces of traditional social structure modifications 
in the country. Observing the radical advances of western 
civilizations, Peter orders the modernization of the army, creation of 
a navy, encourages mercantilism and foreign trade, and gives women 
more rights. Nevertheless, the Empire remains stricken in poverty over 
slow reforms and the overbearing presence of feudalism. 1825-1861

 The feudal system begins to fail when the goals and desires of 
the common peasant cannot be achieved through such an archaic 
doctrine. Various successive Czars attempt social reforms which do not 
leave an impact on the country's well-being. In December of 1825, an 
uprising from the populace occures when they demand changes to the 
economic system. With the development of the American, French and 
Spanish constitutions, the serfs now demanded the abolishment of the 
monarchy dictatorship, communal ownership of land and many other civil 
and social reforms. Unfortunately, their rebellion was quickly
dismantled by the Czar's military faction and the system remained in 


 Czar Nicholas II finally realized that his current economic 
monarchy was holding back the development of the empire. He therefore 
created a parliamentary system in 1905 which would decrease the number 
of strikes and violent outbursts generating from the peasants. This 
representative assembly (called a Duma) was convened a total of four 
times during the first World War and gave legitimacy to other 
political factions within the empire and would hopefully increase 
civil rights. 


 World War I led to the abdication (resignation) of the Czar as 
the people revolted against his useless monarchy. Famine, disease and 
death were spreading like wildfire as the Russians aided France 
against the militia of Germany during World War I. The population lost 
its faith in the monarchy and installed a provisional government that 
would keep the country from disintegrating. However, this government 
refused to intervene during the fragile years of the war and lost its 
power to a communist party called the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks, led 
by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Nikolai Lenin), overthrew the provisional 
government and implemented their style of authority to the empire. 
Their objectives were to lead the Russian empire into prosperity while 
utilizing Karl Marx's proposed doctrine for a communal, classless 
environment where the workers will be using their abilities to satisfy 
their own needs. The Union was now born and the Communist Manifesto 
was finally going to be activated. The C zar and his family were 
captured and executed, thus ending the oppressive autocracy that had 
befallen the empire for hundreds of years. Eventually, the central 
government was overtaken by Lenin and his military leaders, Leon
Trotsky and Josef Stalin. Although a minority party, the Bolsheviks 
decided to implement capitalistic modifications to the fragile
economy in order to aid the communistic backlash that would follow. 
The New Economic Policy (NEP) created by Lenin would allow peasants to 
keep a certain amount of profit for themselves, rather than having the 
government subsidize all of it. Unfortunately, Lenin died just as his 
policy had started to work. 


 The two apparent heirs to Lenin's regime were Josef Stalin and 
Leon Trotsky. Although Trotsky was better suited for the position 
(with his strong political inclinations towards reasonable social 
adaptability), Josef Stalin assumed controlled and subsequently 
ordered the exile of all apposing cabinet ministers, including 
Trotsky. Anyone in the Union who objected to his decisions was sent to 
Siberian prison camps or murdered. He now had full control without any 
intervention from other liberal or moderate parties. He decided to 
concentrate on improving military strength and building on improving 
the Soviet economy, rather than follow Lenin's revolutionary goal of 
dominating the world. In order to obtain the immense amount of money 
needed to maintain his militia, he began a series of five year 
programs which would force the average farmer to meet a quota by the 
end of the harvest and then have the state subsidize all of the 
production. This system, aptly named collectivization, reprimanded all
of the average worker's liberties and created great suffering during 
the Stalin regime. Such suffering was magnified during an anti-war 
treaty that Stalin had signed with Hitler's Germany in an effort to 
avoid a confrontation with the Nazi military. However, Hitler violated 
this treaty in an effort to dominate all of Europe and was denied at 
the expense of millions of Soviet lives who fought for freedom against 
his tyranny. Not only did this lead to millions of deaths and a severe 
decrease in productivity. Stalin eventually passed away in 1953, and 
the conservative trend would now shifted to a more liberal form.


 Nikita Krushchev, a dedicated liberal leader, managed to become 
the leader of the Soviet Union after a conservative mogul by the name 
of Malenkov could not gather enough support from the Political Bureau. 
Krushchev proceeded to moderately alter the rigid, despotic structure 
of the Union and dealt vigorously with other foreign countries. The 
improvement in foreign relations, outer space developments and 
housing/employment allowed Krushchev to improve the Soviet economy. In 
1964, he became the first leader ever to lose power when the Political 
Bureau (Politburo) ousted him due to his extreme radical policies.


 Brezhnev had now assumed control of the Union. A rigid Stalinist 
with hard-line ethics, Brezhnev's goal was to make the USSR into one 
of the strongest political superpowers in the world. The military was 
richly funded and the authoritative influence of Brezhnev could be 
felt in the asperity of the population. When Brezhnev died in 1982, he 
left behind an empire with one of the world's strongest military 
sectors, but weakest population morale. The Soviet Union was an empty 
superpower with crumbling financial, social and political sectors. 


 In the following years, the Union witnessed very little 
political reform in terms of enhancing social and production factors. 
Yuri Andropov died early before he could establish any noticeable 
reforms and Konstantin Chernenko was inefficient as the leader of the 
KGB and the Union. At age 54, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev emerged to 
inherit the economically devastated Union and began establishing 
political reforms that the world had not encountered since the 
Bolshevik revolution of 1917. With radical ideologies such as Glasnost 
(Openess) and Perestroika (long-range capitalistic restructing), along 
with improved foreign trade and diplomatic association with the United States (elimination of most ballistic nuclear missiles), the reformist 
had arrived to change the face of his dominion. Gorbachev's economical 
strategies had transformed the Soviet Union from a desolate oppressed 
wasteland to a socially liberated jungle. Such radical policies and 
reforms not only encouraged the development of a revolution, but the 
global transformation of Europe as we know it. As the hard-line coup 
was formed in early 1991, Gorbachev managed to hold on to power thanks 
in part to his liberal nemesis, Boris Yeltsin. In return, he had lost 
all popularity and support from the people and eventually witnessed 
the destruction of the Union and the death of communism in Russia. 


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