1462-1505 - Ivan III liberates the Russians from the Mongols who had ruled it from 1240-1480, stops paying tribute and becomes the first Tsar.
1533-1584 - Ivan IV "The Terrible" First Grand Duke of Moscow to be called Tsar. He doesn’t want Russia to turn into Poland.
1552 – Ivan T. T. conquered Kazan from the Tatars.
1553 – Richard Chanellor from England arrives in Moscow from Archangel on the White Sea. Archangel is only inlet from West through which military materials can be imported. English want to trade goods from Persia.
1589 – Russians set up independent Russian patriarchy
1598 - Death of Tsar Theodor, last of Rurik dynasty. Start of the Time of Troubles.
1598-1605 - reign of Boris Gudonov - see opera of the same name by Modest Mussorgsky
1604-1613 – “Time of Troubles” nobles (boyars) electd tsars, compare to HRE and Poland.
1613 - Founding of Romanov Dynasty by Tsar Michael. Repress representative institutions such as the Duma, a national assembly similar to Estates General with limited powers.
1649 - Code of Laws establishes serfdom in Russia
1650's- Take-off point. Russia is ALMOST, but not quite, at Baltic and Black Seas.
- Russian Patriarch undertakes reforms, especially mistakes in the translation of the Bible. Reforms forced through by government and army. Those who reject them are OLD BELIEVERS.
1667 - Uprising of serfs and Cossacks led by Stephen Razin. He was caught and put to death in 1671.
1675 – Lords can sell peasants without land.
1682 - Peter The Great becomes "joint Tsar." In his youth he went to Holland and England. Visits Europe between 1697-1698. Impressed with importance of BOATS! Brings in foreign knowledge and expertise.
1689-1725 - Reign of Peter the Great
Peter TG was six foot eight, or thereabouts. He was impressed by the industry and culture of the West, especially the French. After traveling to France in his youth he returned to Russia to westernize his country. Among his accomplishments were building the modern Russian navy, assuming state control over the Orthodox church through the office of the Procurator of the Holy Synod and forcing the Russian nobility to dress like Westerners and to shave their beards. His reforms were, for the most part, short lived, because the nobles were not behind him. Peter favored top down reforms including state service, meritocracy. It’s the King vs. the Nobles one more time.
1698 – rebellion of streltsi – old army elite. They were “liquidated.”
GREAT NORTHERN WAR 1700-1721
1700 – 8,000 Swedes defeat Peter and the 40,000 Russians at Narva. Russian expansion reaches the Berin Sea. Peter puts the ROC under control of the state. Appoints no new patriarch, begins governance of the church through the Procurator of the Holy Synod, a state office.
1703 - Founding of St. Petersburg “A Window on the West.”
1709 - Russians rout Swedes at Poltava, in Ukraine. Another victory for General Winter and his aide-de-camp, Lt. Col. Jack Frost.
1721 Great Northern War ends in Peace of Nystadt.
MEANWHILE serfdom becomes industrial as well as agricultural.
middle class is composed of civil service bureaucrats and state employed managers in state factories. Risktaking not favored. Limited entrepreneurialism
1725-27 - Catherine I
1725-1730 - Peter II
1730-1730 - Anna Ivanova
1730-1741 - Ivan IV. He is deposed by military revolt and succeeded by
1741-1762 - Empress Elizabeth
1762-1796 - Catherine II, "The Great." She marries Peter III, heir to the throne, then murders him.
Catherine thinks she is an "Enlightened Despot" because she admires French culture and is the patroness of Diderot - buying his library when he was strapped for funds and then letting him keep it. She doesn't do anything to "westernize" the Russian economy, which is the part of Russia that really needs Westernization.
One of her numerous lovers is Potemkin, for whom the famous "Potemkin villages" are named.
1772 - First Partition of Poland, between Russia, Prussia and Austria. The idea is to avoid conflict in the Balkans between Russia and Austria-Hungary, both slobbering over the area left vulnerable to conquest by the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans are artificially propped up by Europe to maintain the Balance of Power and to avoid a war over the spoils. Everybody gets a piece of Poland to placate the land hungry eastern powers.
1773-1775 - Peasant uprisings led by Cossack Pugachev. Convinces Catherine that freedom for the serfs - heartily opposed by the nobles - is really a bad idea.
1793 - Second Partition of Poland (between Russia, Prussia and Austria.)
1795 - Third Partition of Poland (same players.)
1796 - Catherine dies. Succeeded by Paul I
1801-1825 - Alexander I, the so-called "liberal" Tsar. Participates in Congress of Vienna. Converted to arch-conservatism by Metternich. He forms the so-called "Holy Alliance" with Prussia and Austria.