Russia profile

A chronology of key events:

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

Moscow river scene Moscow has a population of more than 10 million people

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

1581 - Cossacks begin conquering Siberia.


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

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

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

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

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

1853-57 - Crimean War.

1861 - Emancipation Edict ends serfdom but keeps peasants tied to the land through continuing labour obligations; rapid industrialisation leads to growth of a small working class and the spread of revolutionary ideas.

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

1877-78 - Russian-Turkish war.

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

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

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

The revolution
Russian revolutionary Lenin Lenin, who masterminded the Bolshevik take-over of power in Russia in 1917

1917 October - Bolsheviks overthrow provisional government of Alexander Kerensky.

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

1918-22 - Civil war between the Red Army and anti-communist White Russians, aided by Britain, France, Japan and the US. Defeat in war with Poland ends Soviet expansion westwards until the Second World War.

From Soviet rule to Yeltsin era
Hammer and sickle symbol taken down in Russia End of an era: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia abandoned Communism, symbolised by the hammer and sickle

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

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

Chechnya declares unilateral independence.

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

Price controls lifted.

Internal wars

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

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

Constitutional crisis

Army assault on parliament in Moscow

A dispute between MPs and President Yeltsin in 1993 ended when the army shelled parliament

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

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

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

Russia joins Nato's Partnership for Peace programme.

Russian troops invade the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

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

1996 - Yeltsin re-elected for another term.

Yeltsin signs a peace treaty with Chechnya and agreement on cooperation with Nato.

Russia admitted to the G-7 group of industrialised countries.

Grozny reduced to rubble

Civilians move through the devastated city of Grozny

Thousands of lives were lost in Russia's bid to prevent Chechnya from becoming independent

Yeltsin's twilight years

1998 March - Yeltsin dismisses Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and appoints Sergey Kiriyenko in his place.

1998 August - Rouble collapses and government gives notice of intention to default on foreign debts. Kiriyenko sacked. Parliament rejects Yeltsin's nomination of Mr Chernomyrdin for prime minister.

1998 September - Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov chosen as compromise prime minister and appoints two Communists as ministers.

1999 May - Yeltsin replaces Mr Primakov with Sergei Stepashin.

Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin

Flawed founder of Russian democracy died in April 2007

1999 August - Militants from Chechnya invade the neighbouring Russian republic of Dagestan.

Yeltsin sacks Mr Stepashin and replaces him with ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

1999 September-October - Putin sends Russian troops back into Chechnya in the wake of a series of bomb explosions in Russia which are blamed on Chechen extremists. His tough line increases his popularity among Russians.

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

Putin takes the reins

2000 March - Putin elected president.

2000 August - Kursk nuclear submarine sinks in the Barents Sea with the loss of all its crew.

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

2001 July - Friendship treaty signed with China during President Jiang Zemin's visit to Moscow.

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

Russian and Nato foreign ministers agree on the establishment of the Nato-Russia Council in which Russia and the 19 Nato countries will have an equal role in decision-making on policy to counter terrorism and other security threats.

Chechnya in headlines

2002 August - At least 115 people killed when military helicopter crashes in Chechen minefield. Russian military accuses Chechen fighters of shooting it down. Reports suggest overcrowding could have been a contributing factor in the high death toll.

2002 October - Chechen rebels seize a Moscow theatre and hold about 800 people hostage. Most of the rebels and around 120 hostages are killed when Russian forces storm the building.

2002 December - Suicide bombers attack the headquarters in Grozny of the Moscow-backed Chechen government. More than 50 people are killed. Separatist rebels claim responsibility.

2003 May - Over 50 people killed in suicide bombing of Chechen government building in the north of the republic. Just two days later, Chechen administration chief Kadyrov has narrow escape in another suicide attack which leaves over a dozen dead.

2003 June - Suicide bomber blows up bus carrying military personnel stationed at Mozdok in North Ossetia, Russia's military headquarters for operations in Chechnya. Around twenty people killed.

Government cites financial reasons for axing last remaining nationwide independent TV channel, TVS. Liberal observers criticise the move as the latest Kremlin bid to curb media freedom.

2003 September - Kyrgyzstan grants Russia military base at Kant to house a new rapid-reaction counter-terrorism force. It is Russia's first new military base abroad in 13 years.

2003 October - Billionnaire Yukos oil boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrested and held in custody over investigations into tax evasion and fraud. Mr Khodorkovsky had supported liberal opposition to President Putin.

2003 December - President Putin gains almost total control over parliament after elections in which Putin-backed United Russia wins landslide.

2004 February - Suspected suicide bomb attack on Moscow underground train kills about 40 people.

Putin's second term

2004 March - Mikhail Fradkov replaces Mikhail Kasyanov as prime minister as Mr Putin wins second term as president by landslide. Mr Kasyanov moves steadily into the liberal opposition camp.

2004 May - Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov killed in a bomb blast in Grozny.

2004 August - Russian authorities seize assets of Yuganskneftegaz, the key production unit of oil giant Yukos, to offset the latter's reported tax debts.

Beslan siege

2004 September - More than 330 people, many of them children, killed when siege at school in North Ossetia's Beslan ends in bloodbath.


Beslan survivors remember siege

Survivors commemorate the school siege in which more than 330 people died

How the siege unfolded

Mr Putin announces scrapping of direct election of regional governors and plan for them to be Kremlin appointees.

2004 December - State oil firm Rosneft buys Yuganskneftegaz.

2005 February - Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov calls ceasefire and urges the Russian authorities to agree to peace talks. The official Chechen leadership dismisses his overtures and says he should give himself up.

Moscow and Tehran sign agreement by which Russia will supply fuel for Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor and Iran will send spent fuel rods back to Russia.

2005 March - Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov killed by Russian forces.

2005 May - Billionaire former Yukos oil boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky is sentenced to nine years in prison on charges including tax evasion and fraud. He serves his sentence in a Siberian penal colony and in a prison camp near the Finnish border.

2005 June - State gains control of Gazprom gas giant by increasing its stake in the company to over 50%.

2005 September - Russia and Germany sign major deal to build gas pipeline under Baltic Sea between the two countries. Gazprom gains overwhelming control of Sibneft oil company by buying out businessman Roman Abramovich for 13bn dollars.

Caucasus clashes

2005 October - Dozens are killed during clashes between police and militants in Nalchik, the capital of the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev issues statement saying he was in overall command of rebel forces.

2006 January - Russia briefly cuts supply of gas for Ukrainian use in row over prices. Moscow says its reasons are purely economic but Kiev says they are political.

Putin signs controversial law giving authorities extensive new powers to monitor the activities of non-governmental organisations and suspend them if they are found to pose a threat.

2006 March - President Putin visits Beijing and signs range of economic agreements, including deal on future supply of Russian gas to China.

2006 July - Rouble becomes convertible currency.

Russia's most-wanted man, Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, is killed in what the security services describe as a special operation.

Georgia tensions

2006 September-October - Amid tension over Georgia's breakaway regions and its ties with Nato, Moscow's relations with Tbilisi deteriorate sharply when four Russian army officers are briefly detained there on spying charges. Russia imposes sanctions and expels hundreds of Georgians whom it accuses of being illegal immigrants.

Critic falls silent

Posters of Anna Politkovskaya

Murdered reporter Anna Politkovskaya exposed Chechnya abuses

2006 November - Former Russian security service officer Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin living in exile in London, dies there after being poisoned by a radioactive substance.

2006 December - After tense negotiations during which Moscow threatened to cut supplies to Belarus, new gas deal signed with Minsk more than doubling the price and phasing in further increases over next four years.

2007 March - Dozens detained as riot police break up St Petersburg protest by demonstrators accusing President Putin of stifling democracy.

2007 May - Russia test fires a long-distance missile. President Putin talks of a new arms race, with the US planning to expand its missile defences into Eastern Europe.

Row with Britain

2007 July - Diplomatic row between London and Moscow over Britain's bid for the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi, an ex-KGB agent accused of Mr Litvinenko's murder.

Putin as president

President Putin earned praise for restoring stability but has also been accused of authoritarianism

  • Born 1952 in Leningrad (now St Petersburg)
  • Studied law and economics before joining the KGB
  • Served as KGB agent in East Germany 1985-90
  • Won presidential elections in 2000, 2004 and 2012

2007 August - Russia mounts an Arctic expedition apparently aimed at expanding its territorial claims and plants a flag on the seabed at the North Pole.

2007 November - President Putin signs law suspending Russia's participation in the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty that limits the deployment of heavy military equipment across Europe.

2007 December - President Putin's United Russia party wins a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, which critics describe as neither free nor democratic.

2008 January - The British Council, which promotes ties between Britain and other countries, suspends work at two offices amid ongoing tension between London and Moscow.

Russia revives Soviet-era Atlantic navy exercises in neutral waters in the Bay of Biscay off France, in what is seen as a demonstration of resurgent military muscle.

2008 March - Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev wins presidential elections as Mr Putin cannot serve a third consecutive term.

Putin becomes PM

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

Russian, Georgian war

Russian tanks during conflict with Georgia

Russia's intervention in South Ossetia led to tension with the West

2008 August - Tensions between Russia and Georgia escalate into a full-blown military conflict after Georgian troops mount an attack on separatist forces in South Ossetia. Russia drives Georgian forces from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, then recognizes them both as independent states, drawing further protests from the West and Georgia.

Credit crunch

2008 September/October - Share prices fall dramatically at the Moscow stock exchange as Russia is hit by the world financial crisis and a sudden fall in oil prices.

2008 October - The Russian parliament approves a $68bn package of measures to help banks hit by the global credit crunch.

2008 November - Parliament votes overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that would extend the next president's term of office from four to six years.

2009 January - Russia stops gas supplies to Ukraine after the collapse of talks to resolve a row over unpaid bills and gas prices. Supplies to southeastern Europe are disrupted for several weeks as a result of the dispute.

2009 April - Russia ends its operation against separatist rebels in Chechnya, a month after President Medvedev said life there had largely returned to normal.

Thaw with US

2009 July - President Medvedev and Barack Obama, on his first official visit to Moscow, reach an outline agreement to cut back their countries' stockpiles of nuclear weapons, in a move aimed at replacing the 1991 Start 1 treaty.

2009 September - Russia welcomes the US decision to shelve missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

2009 October - Opposition parties accuse the authorities of rigging local elections as the governing United Russia party wins every poll by a wide margin.

2010 March - Thirty-nine people are killed and more than 60 injured in two suicide bomb attacks on the Moscow Metro, which the government blames on Muslim militants from the North Caucasus.

2010 April - President Medvedev signs a new strategic arms agreement with the US. The new Start deal commits the former Cold War foes to cut arsenals of deployed nuclear warheads by about 30 percent.

Spy scandal

2010 June - Presidents Medvedev and Obama mark warming in ties on the Russian leader's first visit to the White House. Obama says the US will back Russia's World Trade Organisation accession, and Russia will allow the US to resume poultry exports.

Arrests of 10 low-level Russian spies in the US.

2010 July - A customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan comes into force despite Belarusian complaints about Russia retaining duties on oil and gas exports to its neighbours.

2010 August - A spate of wildfires triggered by a severe heat wave kills dozens of people and devastates crops. Russia - in 2009 the world's third largest wheat exporter - imposes a ban on grain exports, pushing up worldwide wheat prices.

2010 September - Russia and Norway sign an agreement to delineate their Arctic maritime border, thereby opening up the possible exploitation of oil and gas fields on the sea bed.

2010 October - President Medvedev sacks the powerful mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, after weeks of criticism from the Kremlin. Mr Luzhkov had been in office since 1992.

2010 December - Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, already serving a sentence for tax evasion imposed in 2005, is found guilty of embezzlement and money-laundering in a trial that critics say is politically motivated.

2011 January - Suicide bomb blast at Moscow's Domodedovo airport kills at least 35 people and injures 110 others. Chechen Islamist military rebel leader Doku Umarov claims responsibility.

Opponents of Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin has faced some vocal opposition

2011 September - Vladimir Putin is confirmed as the ruling United Russia party's candidate in the March 2012 presidential election, making his return to the Kremlin highly likely.

2011 November - Georgia and Russia sign a Swiss-brokered trade deal which allows Russia to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), ending Georgia's blockade of Russian membership since the 2008 war.

2011 December - United Russia suffers drop in share of the vote at parliamentary elections, but keeps a simple majority in the State Duma. Tens of thousands turn out in opposition protests alleging fraud, in first major anti-government protests since the early 1990s.

Putin's second presidency

2012 March - Vladimir Putin wins presidential elections. Opponents take to the streets of several major cities to protest at the conduct of the election, and the police arrest hundreds.

2012 May - Vladimir Putin is sworn in as president, appoints Dmitry Medvedev as his prime minister.

2012 July - Law goes into force requiring non-governmental organisations (NGOs) receiving funds from abroad to be classed as "foreign agents", in what critics say is part of a wider crackdown on dissent.

2012 August - US, EU and human rights groups condemn jail sentences imposed on three members of punk band Pussy Riot over an anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral. The women were sentenced to two years for hooliganism.

Russia formally joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) after 18 years of negotiations.

2012 December - Angered by a US bill blacklisting Russian officials in connection with the death in custody of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Moscow bans Americans from adopting Russian children and stops US-funded NGOs from working in Russia.

Crackdown continues

2013 July - Anti-corruption blogger and leading opposition activist Alexei Navalny is sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of embezzling money from a timber firm, in a trial he rejects as politically motivated. Opposition supporters protest against the verdict, and Western governments voice concern.

2013 September - Mr Navalny comes second in the Moscow mayoral election after being released pending appeal, coming close to forcing the Kremlin's candidate into a run-off.

2013 October - Appeals court upholds Alexei Navalny's conviction for but suspends his jail sentence, allowing him to go free while barring him from standing for elected office. Fresh charges of money laundering are brought against him in a separate case.

2013 December - The Kremlin announces that the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti and the Voice of Russia radio station are to be restructured and placed under the control of a pro-Kremlin figure known for his extreme anti-Western views.

Mr Putin pardons his former political opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky on humanitarian grounds. Mr Khodorkovsky had spent 10 years in custody and was due to be released in August 2014.

Ukraine crisis

2014 February-May - After flight from Ukraine of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych, Russian forces take over Crimea, which then votes to join Russia in a referendum. This sparks biggest East-West showdown since Cold War, with the US and its European allies imposing sanctions and accusing Russia of stoking separatism in eastern Ukraine.

2014 May - Russia's Gazprom sign 30-year deal to supply the China National Petroleum Corp with gas, estimated to be worth over $400bn.

2014 June - US President Barack Obama condemns Russian "aggression" in Ukraine while speaking in Warsaw to mark 25 years since the fall of communism in Poland.

2014 July - Following the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in a suspected missile strike, Russia comes in for international criticism amid claims - denied by Moscow - that it supplied rebels with heavy weaponry.

The EU and US announce new sanctions against Russia. The IMF says Russian growth is slowing down to zero.

2014 October - Russia agrees to resume gas supplies to Ukraine over the winter in a deal brokered by the EU.

2014 November - Separatists in eastern Ukraine elect new leaders in polls backed by Russia and denounced by Kiev and the West.

Ukraine accuses Russia of sending a big column of tanks, artillery and troops into eastern Ukraine.

2014 December - The Russian begins to drop rapidly against the US dollar, losing about half its value in the next two months.

A Moscow court finds leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny guilty of fraud charges and imposes a suspended prison sentence.

2015 January - A public inquiry opens in Britain into the 2006 murder in London of former Russian intelligence officer and Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko.

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