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List of Russian rulers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monarchy of Russia
Lesser CoA of the empire of Russia.svg
Император Николай II.jpg
Last Monarch
Nicholas II
1 November 1894 – 15 March 1917
Details
StyleHis/Her Imperial Majesty
First monarchRurik (as Prince)
Last monarchNicholas II (as Emperor)
Formation862
Abolition15 March 1917
ResidenceWinter Palace
AppointerHereditary
Pretender(s)Disputed:
Maria Vladimirovna
Andrew Romanov
Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen

This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Russia. It includes titles Prince of Novgorod, Grand Prince of Kiev, Grand Prince of Vladimir, Grand Prince of Moscow, Tsar of All Rus'(Russia), and Emperor of All Russia. The list started with a semi-legendary Prince of Novgorod Rurik sometime in the mid 9th century (862) and ended with the Emperor of All Russia Nicholas II who abdicated in 1917, and was executed with his family in 1918.

The vast territory known today as Russia covers an area that has been known historically by various names, including Rus', Kievan Rus',[1][2] the Grand Duchy of Moscow, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, and the sovereigns of these many nations and throughout their histories have used likewise as wide a range of titles in their positions as chief magistrates of a country. Some of the earliest titles include Kniaz and Velikiy Kniaz, which mean "Prince" and "Great Prince" respectively but are often rendered as "Duke" and "Grand Duke" in Western literature; then the title of Tsar, meaning "Caesar", which was disputed to be the equal of either a king or emperor; finally culminating in the title of Emperor. According to Article 59 of the 1906 Russian Constitution, the Russian Tsar held several dozen titles, each one representing a region which the monarch governed.

The Patriarchs of Moscow, who were the head of Russian Orthodox Church, also have acted as the leaders of Russia from time to time, usually in periods of political upheaval as during the Polish occupation and interregnum of 1610–13.

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Transcription

For thousands of years, the lands known today as Russia and Ukraine were inhabited by nomadic tribes and mysterious Bronze Age cultures. The only record they left were their graves. In the great open grasslands of the south, the steppe, they buried their chieftains beneath huge mounds called kurgans. The Ancient Greek historian Herodotus called these people 'Scythians'. Their lands were overrun by the same nomadic warriors who brought down the Roman Empire. The land was then settled by Slavs. They shared some language and culture, but were divided into many different tribes. Vikings from Scandinavia, known in the east as Varangians, rowed up Russia's long rivers on daring raids and trading expeditions. According to legend, the East Slavs asked a Varangian chief named Rurik to be their prince and unite the tribes. He accepted and made his capital at Novgorod. His dynasty, the Rurikids, would rule Russia for 700 years. His people called themselves the Rus, and gave their name to the land. Rurik's successor, Oleg, captured Kiev, making it the capital of a new state, Kievan Rus. A century later, seeking closer ties with the Byzantine Empire to the south, Vladimir the Great adopted their religion, and converted to Orthodox Christianity. He is still venerated today as the man who brought Christianity to Ukraine and Russia. Yaroslav the Wise codified laws and conquered new lands. His reign marked the golden age of Kievan Rus. It was amongst the most sophisticated and powerful states in Europe. But after Yaroslav's death his sons fought amongst themselves. Kievan Rus disintegrated into a patchwork of feuding princedoms... just as a deadly new threat emerged from the east. The Mongols under Genghis Khan had overrun much of Asia. Now they launched a great raid across the Caucasus Mountains, and defeated the Kievan princes at the Battle of the Kalka River, but then withdrew. 14 years later, the Mongols returned. A gigantic army led by Batu Khan overran the land. Cities that resisted were burnt, their people slaughtered. The city of Novgorod was spared because it submitted to the Mongols. Its prince, Alexander Nevsky, then saved the city again, defeating the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of the Ice, fought above a frozen lake. He remains one of Russia's most revered heroes. The Mongols ruled the land as conquerors. Their new empire was called the Golden Horde, ruled by a Khan from his new capital at Sarai. The Rus princes were his vassals. They were forced to pay tribute or suffer devastating reprisal raids. They called their oppressors 'Tatars' - they lived under 'the Tatar yoke'. Alexander Nevsky's son, Daniel, founded the Grand Principality of Moscow, which quickly grew in power. 18 years later, Dmitri Donskoi, Grand Prince of Moscow, also defeated the Tartars... at the great Battle of Kulikovo Field. After years of infighting, the Golden Horde now began to disintegrate into rival khanates. Constantinople, capital and last outpost of the once-great Byzantine Empire, fell to the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Some hailed Moscow as the 'Third Rome', the seat of Orthodox Christian faith, now Rome and Constantinople had fallen. Meanwhile, the Grand Princes of Moscow continued to expand their power, annexing Novgorod, and forging the first Russian state. At the Ugra River, Ivan III of Moscow faced down the Tatar army and forced it to retreat. Russia had finally cast off the 'Tatar yoke'. Under Grand Prince Vasili III, Moscow continued to grow in size and power. His son, Ivan IV, was crowned the first Tsar of Russia. He would be remembered as Ivan the Terrible. Ivan conquered Tatar lands in Kazan and Astrakahan, but was defeated in the Livonian War by Sweden and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Ivan's modernising reforms gave way to a reign of terror and mass executions, fuelled by his violent paranoia. Russia was still vulnerable. Raiders from the Crimean Khanate were able to burn Moscow itself. But the next year Russian forces routed the Tatars at Molodi, just south of the city. Cossacks now lived on the open steppe, a lawless region between three warring states. They were skilled horsemen who lived freely, and were often recruited by Russia and Poland to fight as mercenaries. Ivan the Terrible's own son, the Tsarevich, fell victim to one of his father's violent rages - bludgeoned to death with the royal sceptre. The Cossack adventurer Yermak Timofeyevich led the Russian conquest of Siberia, defeating Tatars and subjugating indigenous tribes. In the north, Archangelsk was founded, for the time being Russia's only sea-port linking it to western Europe, though it was icebound in winter. Ivan the Terrible was succeeded by his son Feodor I, who died childless. It was the end of the Rurikid dynasty. Ivan's advisor Boris Godunov became Tsar. But after his sudden death, his widow and teenage son were brutally murdered, and the throne seized by an impostor claiming to be Ivan the Terrible's son. He too was soon murdered. Russia slid into anarchy, the so-called 'Time of Troubles'. Rebels and foreign armies laid waste to the land, and the population was decimated by famine and plague. Polish troops occupied Moscow; Swedish troops seized Novgorod. The Russian state seemed on the verge of extinction. In 1612, Russia was in a state of anarchy. They called it 'The Time of Troubles'. The people were terrorised by war, famine and plague – up to a third of them perished. Foreign troops occupied Moscow, Smolensk and Novgorod. But then, Russia fought back. Prince Pozharsky and a merchant, Kuzma Minin, led the Russian militia to Moscow, and threw out the Polish garrison. Since 2005, this event has been commemorated every 4th November, as Russian National Unity Day. The Russian assembly, the Zemsky Sobor, realised the country had to unite behind a new ruler, and elected a 16 year old noble, Mikhail Romanov, as the next Tsar. His dynasty would rule Russia for the next 300 years. Tsar Mikhail exchanged territory for peace, winning Russia much-needed breathing-space. His son, Tsar Alexei, implemented a new legal code, the Sobornoye Ulozheniye. It turned all Russian peasants, 80% of the population, into serfs – effectively slaves - their status inherited by their children, and with no freedom to travel or choose their master. It was a system that dominated Russian rural life for the next 200 years. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Nikon, imposed religious reforms that split the church between Reformers and 'Old Believers'. It's a schism that continues to this day. Ukrainian Cossacks, rebelling against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, recognised Tsar Alexei as overlord in exchange for his military support. It led to the Thirteen Years War between Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russia emerged victorious, reclaiming Smolensk and taking control of eastern Ukraine. A revolt against Tsarist government, led by a renegade Cossack, Stenka Razin, brought anarchy to southern Russia. It was finally suppressed: Razin was brought to Moscow and executed by quartering. The sickly but highly-educated Feodor III passed many reforms. He abolished mestnichestvo, the system that had awarded government posts according to nobility rather than merit, and symbolically burned the ancient books of rank. But Feodor died aged just 19. His sister Sofia became Princess Regent, ruling on behalf of her younger brothers, the joint Tsars Ivan V and Peter I. After centuries of conflict, Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth signed a Treaty of Eternal Peace. Russia then joined 'the Holy League' in its war against the Ottoman Empire. Sofia's reign also saw the first treaty between Russia and China, establishing the frontier between the two states. At age 17, Peter I seized power from his half-sister, Sofia. Peter became the first Russian ruler to travel abroad. He toured Europe with his 'Grand Embassy', seeking allies for Russia's war against Turkey, and learning the latest developments in science and shipbuilding. The war against Turkey was successfully concluded by the Treaty of Constantinople: Russia gained Azov from Turkey's ally, the Crimean Khanate, and with it, a foothold on the Black Sea. Peter made many reforms, seeking to turn Russia into a modern, European state. He demanded Russian nobles dress and behave like Europeans. He made those who refused to shave pay a beard tax. Peter built the first Russian navy; reformed the army and government; and promoted industry, trade and education. In the Great Northern War, Russia, Poland-Lithuania and Denmark took on the dominant power in the Baltic, Sweden. The war began badly for Russia, with a disastrous defeat to Charles XII of Sweden at Narva. But Russia won a second battle of Narva... Before crushing Charles XII's army at the Battle of Poltava. On the Baltic coast, Peter completed construction of a new capital, St.Petersburg. The building of what would become Russia's second largest city among coastal marshes was a remarkable achievement, though it cost the lives of many thousands of serfs. The Great Northern War ended with the Treaty of Nystad: Russia's gains at Sweden's expense made it the new, dominant Baltic power. Four years before his death, Peter was declared 'Peter the Great, Father of His Country, Emperor of All the Russias'. Peter was succeeded by his wife Catherine; then his grandson Peter II, who died of smallpox aged just 14. Empress Anna Ioannovna, daughter of Peter the Great's half-brother Ivan V, was famed for her decadence and the influence of her German lover, Ernst Biron. During Anna's reign, Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer in Russian service, led the first expedition to chart the coast of Alaska. He also discovered the Aleutian Islands, and later gave his name to the sea that separates Russia and America. After Anna's death, her infant grand-nephew, Ivan VI, was deposed by Peter the Great's daughter, Elizabeth. Ivan VI spent his entire life in captivity, until aged 23, he was murdered by his guards during a failed rescue attempt. Elizabeth, meanwhile, was famed for her vanity, extravagance, and many young lovers. But she was also capable of decisive leadership: in alliance with France and Austria, Elizabeth led Russia into the Seven Years War against Frederick the Great of Prussia. The Russian army inflicted a crushing defeat on Frederick at the Battle of Kunersdorf, but failed to exploit its victory. Meanwhile in St.Petersburg, the Winter Palace was completed at vast expense. It would remain the monarch's official residence, right up until the Russian Revolution of 1917. Peter III was Peter the Great's grandson by his elder daughter Anna Petrovna, who'd died as a consequence of childbirth. Raised in Denmark, Peter spoke hardly any Russian, and greatly admired Russia's enemy, Frederick the Great - so he had Russia swap sides in the Seven Years War, saving Frederick from almost certain defeat. Peter's actions angered many army officers. And he'd always been despised by his German wife, Catherine. Together they deposed Peter III, who died a week later in suspicious circumstances. His wife Catherine became Empress of Russia. Her reign would be remembered as one of Russia's most glorious... In the early 1700s, Peter the Great's reforms put Russia on the path to becoming a great European power. But it was his grandson's German wife, Catherine, who deposed her husband to become Empress of Russia, who oversaw the completion of that transformation. Like Peter, she too would be remembered as 'the Great'. Catherine was a student and admirer of the French Enlightenment, and even corresponded with the French philosopher Voltaire. She reigned as an 'enlightened autocrat' – her power was unchecked, but she pursued ideals of reason, tolerance and progress: Catherine became a great patron of the arts, and learning. Schools and colleges were built, the Bolshoi theatre was founded, as well as the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, while her own magnificent collection of artwork now forms the basis of the world-famous Hermitage museum. Catherine encouraged Europeans to move to Russia to share their expertise, and helped German migrants to settle in the Volga region, where they became known as 'Volga Germans'. Their communities survived nearly 200 years, until on Stalin's orders, they were deported east at the start of World War 2. Catherine's reign also saw enormous territorial expansion. In the south, Russia defeated the Ottoman Empire, winning new lands, and the fortresses of Azov and Kerch. But then Catherine faced a major peasant revolt led by the renegade cossack Yemelyan Pugachev. The rebels took many fortresses and towns, and stormed the city of Kazan, before they were finally defeated by the Russian army. Catherine then forcibly incorporated the Zaporozhian Cossacks into the Russian Empire, and annexed the Crimean Khanate – a thorn in Russia's side for 300 years. Russia's new lands in the south were named Novorossiya - 'New Russia'. Sparsely populated, they were settled by Russian colonists under the supervision of Prince Potemkin, Catherine's advisor and lover. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, exhausted by war and at the mercy of its neighbours, was carved up in a series of partitions, with Russia taking the lion's share. Poland did not re-emerge as an independent nation until 1918. Russia inherited a large Jewish population from Poland, who, Catherine decreed, could live only in the so-called 'Pale of Settlement', and were excluded from most cities. In France, the French Revolution led to the execution of King Louis XVI. Catherine was horrified, and in the last years of her reign, completely turned her back on the liberal idealism of her youth. Three years later, Catherine died, ending one of the most glorious reigns in Russian history. She was succeeded by her son, Paul, a man obsessed by military discipline and detail, and opposed to all his mother's works. Russia joined the coalition of European powers fighting Revolutionary France. Marshal Suvorov, one of Russia's greatest military commanders, won a series of victories against the French in Northern Italy, but the wider war was a failure. Meanwhile, Paul's reforms had alienated Russia's army and nobility, and he was murdered in a palace coup. He was succeeded by his 23 year old son Alexander, who shared his grandmother Catherine's vision for a more modern Russian state. His advisor, the brilliant Count Mikhail Speranksy, reformed administration and finance, yet the Emperor refused to back his plans for a liberal constitution. Ultimately, it was war with France that would dominate Alexander's reign... France had a new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, who inflicted a series of defeats on Russia and her allies at Austerlitz, Eylau and Friedland. But at Tilsit in 1807, the two young emperors met, and made an alliance. Russia attacked Sweden, annexing Finland, which became an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. But then, in 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia. At Borodino, French and Russian armies clashed in a gigantic battle, one of the bloodiest of the age. Napoleon emerged victorious, but the Russian army escaped intact. Napoleon occupied Moscow, which was destroyed by fire. And when Alexander refused to negotiate, the French army was forced to make a long retreat through the Russian winter, and was annihilated. Napoleon had been dealt a mortal blow. And Russia, alongside Prussia, Austria and Britain, then led the fight back, which ended in the capture of Paris and Napoleon's abdication. At the Congress of Vienna, as part of the spoils of war, Alexander became 'King of Poland'. Then, with Austria, and Prussia, he formed 'The Holy Alliance', with the aim of preventing further revolutions in Europe. Meanwhile, in the Balkans and Caucasus, Russia had been waging intermittent wars against the Ottoman Empire, Persia and local tribes. The frontier had been pushed south to incorporate Bessarabia, Circassia, Chechnya, and much of modern Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. But the peoples of the Caucasus bitterly resisted Russian rule. Russia's attempt to impose its authority on the region led to the Caucasian War, a brutal conflict, fought amongst the mountains and forests, that would drag on for nearly 50 years. Alexander was succeeded by his brother Nicholas, a conservative and reactionary. But parts of Russian society had now developed an appetite for European-style liberalism – including certain army officers, who'd seen other ways of doing things during the Napoleonic Wars. They saw Nicholas as an obstacle, and the new Emperor's first challenge... would be military revolt. 1825. Victory over Napoleon had confirmed Russia's status as a world power. But there was discontent within Russia amongst intellectuals and army officers, some of whom had formed secret societies, to plot the overthrow of Russia's autocratic system. When Emperor Alexander was succeeded not, as expected, by his brother Constantine, but by a younger brother, Nicholas, one of these secret societies used the confusion to launch a military coup. But the Decembrist Revolt, as it became known, was defeated by loyalist troops, and the ringleaders were hanged. Others were sent into 'internal exile' in Siberia. This was to become a common sentence for criminals and political prisoners in Tsarist Russia. Nicholas went on to adopt an official doctrine of 'Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality' – the state was to rest on the pillars of church, Tsar, and the Russian national spirit - a clear rejection of the values of European liberalism. In the Caucasus, border clashes with Persia led to a war which ended in complete Russian victory. The Treaty of Turkmenchay forced Persia to cede all its territories in the region to Russia, and pay a large indemnity. Russian support for Greece in its War of Independence against the Ottomans, led to war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Russian victory brought further gains in the Black Sea region. A Polish revolt, led by young army officers, was crushed by Russian troops. Alexander Pushkin, Russia's greatest poet, was shot in a duel, and two days later died from his wounds. Nicholas sent troops to help put down a Hungarian revolt against Austrian rule. The Emperor's willingness to help suppress liberal revolts won him the nickname, 'the Gendarme', or policeman, of Europe. Russia's first major railway was opened, connecting St.Petersburg and Moscow. Alexander Herzen, a leading intellectual critic of Russia's autocracy, emigrated to London, where he continued to call for reform in his homeland. He'd later be described as 'the father of Russian socialism'. The Ottoman Empire, now known as 'the sick man of Europe', reacted to further Russian provocations by declaring war. The Russian Black Sea Fleet inflicted a crushing defeat on the Turks at the Battle of Sinope. But Britain and France - alarmed at Russia's southern expansion, and potential control of Constantinople – declared war on Russia. The Allies landed troops in Crimea and besieged the naval base of Sevastopol, which fell after a gruelling, year-long siege. In the Baltic, British and French warships blockaded the Russian capital, St.Petersburg. Russia was forced to sign a humiliating peace, withdraw its forces from the Black Sea, and put on hold plans for further southern expansion. Nicholas I was succeeded by his son, Alexander II. The Crimean War had exposed Russia's weakness – the country lagged far behind its European rivals in industry, infrastructure and military power. So Alexander, unlike his father, decided to embrace reform. The most obvious sign of Russia's backwardness was serfdom. According to the 1857 census, more than a third of Russians were serfs, forced to work their masters' land, with few rights, restrictions on movement, and their status passed down to their children. They were slaves in all but name. In 1861, Alexander II abolished serfdom in Russia. He was hailed as 'The Liberator'. But in reality, most former-serfs remained trapped in servitude and poverty. Alexander's reforms would continue, with the creation of the zemstva - provincial assemblies with authority over local affairs, including education and social welfare. In the Far East, Russia forced territorial concessions from a weakened China, leading to the founding of Vladivostok, Russia's major Pacific port. Another uprising by Poles and Lithuanians against Russian rule was once more crushed by the Russian army. In the Caucasus, Russia's long and brutal war against local tribes came to an end, with their leaders swearing oaths of loyalty to the Tsar. In Central Asia, the Russian Empire was gradually expanding southwards. Russian armies defeated the Emirate of Bukhara, and the Khanate of Khiva, and by the 1880s, Russia had conquered most of what was then called Turkestan – today, the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Imperial rivalry in Central Asia between Russia and Britain led to 'the Great Game' – a 19th century version of the Cold War. Centred on Afghanistan, diplomats and spies on both sides tried to win local support, extend their own influence, and limit the expansion of their rival - while avoiding direct military confrontation. Russia decided to sell Alaska to America for 7.2 million dollars. Many Americans thought it was a waste of money – gold and oil were only discovered there much later. Leo Tolstoy's 'War & Peace' was published, still regarded as one of the world's greatest works of literature. The late 19th century was a cultural golden age for Russia: a period of literary greats, and outstanding composers. Russia, in support of nationalist revolts in the Balkans against Ottoman rule, went to war with the Ottoman Empire once more. Russian troops crossed the Danube... then, with Bulgarian help, fought to secure the vital Shipka Pass. Then they launched a bloody, five-month siege of Plevna, in Bulgaria. Russia and her allies finally won victory, with their troops threatening Constantinople itself. But at the Congress of Berlin, Russia bowed to international pressure, and accepted limited gains, in a settlement that also led to independence for Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and later, Bulgaria. Meanwhile, within Russia, radical political groups were increasingly frustrated by Alexander II's limited reforms. There were several failed attempts to assassinate the Emperor. But as he prepared to approve new constitutional reforms, he was killed in St.Petersburg by a bomb thrown by members of the People's Will – one of the world's first modern terrorist groups. This act of violence would lead only to a new era of repression. In 1881, Russian Emperor Alexander II was assassinated by left-wing terrorists in St.Petersburg. Today, the place where he was fatally wounded is marked by the magnificent Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. Alexander II had been a reformer, hailed as 'the Liberator' for freeing Russia's serfs. But his son and successor, Alexander III, believed his father's reforms had unleashed dangerous forces within Russia, that ultimately led to his death. As Emperor, he publicly vowed to reassert autocratic rule, declaring that, 'in the midst of our great grief, the voice of God orders us to undertake courageously the task of ruling, with faith in the strength and rightness of autocratic power.' The Tsar's secret police, the so-called 'Okhranka', was ordered to infiltrate Russia's many revolutionary groups. Those found guilty of plotting against the government were hanged or sent into 'internal exile' in Siberia. Alexander III was a pious man, who supported the Orthodox church, and the assertion of a strong Russian national identity. Russia's Jews became victims of this policy. They'd already been targeted in murderous race riots known as 'pogroms', after false rumours were spread that they were responsible for the assassination of the emperor. Now the government expelled 20,000 Jews from Moscow, and many who could began to leave the country. Over the next 40 years, around two million Jews would leave Russia, most bound for the USA. Concerned by the growing power of Germany, Russia signed an alliance with France, both sides promising military aid if the other was attacked. Sergei Witte was appointed Russia's new Minister of Finance. His reforms helped to modernise the Russian economy, and encourage foreign investment – particularly from its new ally, France. French loans helped Russia to develop its industry and infrastructure: Work began on the Trans-Siberian railway. Completed in 1916, it remains the world's longest railway line, running 5,772 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok. Alexander III was succeeded by his son Nicholas II. His coronation was marred by tragedy, when 1,400 people were crushed to death at an open-air celebration in Moscow. China granted Russia the right to build a naval base at Port Arthur. When China faced a major revolt known as the Boxer Rebellion, Russia moved troops into Manchuria, under the pretext of defending Port Arthur from the rebels. This brought Russia into conflict with Japan, who also had designs over Manchuria, and Korea. The Japanese made a surprise attack on Port Arthur, then defeated the Russian army at the giant Battle of Mukden. Russia's Baltic Fleet, meanwhile, had sailed half way around the world to reach the Pacific... where it was immediately annihilated at the Battle of Tsushima. Russia was left with no option but to sign a humiliating peace, brokered by US President Theodore Roosevelt. Meanwhile the Tsar faced another crisis much closer to home. In St.Petersburg, a strike by steel-workers had escalated, and plans were made for a mass demonstration. Tens of thousands of protesters marched to the Winter Palace to present a petition to the Tsar, asking for better workers' rights and more political freedom. But instead, troops opened fire on the crowds, killing more than 100. 'Bloody Sunday', as it became known, led to more strikes and unrest across the country. The crew of the battleship Potemkin mutinied, killing their officers and taking control of the ship. To defuse the crisis, Nicholas II reluctantly issued the October Manifesto, drafted under the supervision of Sergei Witte. It promised an elected assembly and new political rights, including freedom of speech, and was welcomed by most moderates. Russia's first constitution was drafted the next year. For the first time, the Tsar would share power with an elected assembly, the state duma – though the Tsar had the right to veto its legislation, and dissolve it at any time. Sergei Witte finally lost the Tsar's confidence, and was dismissed. The Tsar's new Prime Minister, Stolypin, introduced land reforms to help the peasants, while dealing severely with Russia's would-be revolutionaries. So much so, that the hangman's noose got a new nickname - 'Stolypin's necktie'. But having survived several attempts on his life, Stolypin was shot and killed by an assassin at the Kiev Opera House. Meanwhile, Grigori Rasputin, a Siberian faith healer, had joined the Imperial family's inner circle, thanks to his unique ability to ease the suffering of the Tsar's haemophiliac son, Alexei. Despite sporadic acts of terrorism, Russia now had the fastest growing economy in Europe. Agricultural and industrial output were on the rise. Most ordinary Russians remained loyal to the Tsar and his family. Russia's future seemed bright. In 1914, in Sarajevo, a Slav nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, sparking a European crisis. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Emperor Nicholas ordered the Russian army to mobilise, to show his support for a fellow Slav nation. Austria-Hungary's ally, Germany, saw Russian mobilisation as a threat, and declared war. Europe's network of alliances came into effect, and soon all the major powers were marching to war. World War One had begun. Russia experienced a wave of patriotic fervour. The capital, St.Petersburg, was even renamed Petrograd, to sound less German. An early Russian advance into East Prussia ended with heavy defeats at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes. There was greater success against Austria-Hungary, but that too came at a high price. Russian losses forced the army to make a general retreat in 1915. In 1916, Russia's Brusilov Offensive against Austro-Hungarian forces was one of the most successful Allied attacks of the war. But losses were so heavy, that the Russian army was unable to launch any more major operations. In Petrograd, Rasputin, whose alleged influence over the Tsar's family was despised by certain Russian aristocrats, was murdered, possibly with the help of British agents. The war put intolerable strains on Russia. At the front, losses were enormous. While in the cities, economic mismanagement led to rising prices and food shortages. In Petrograd, the workers' frustration led to strikes and demonstrations. Troops ordered to disperse the crowds refused, and joined the protesters instead. The government had lost control of the capital. On board the imperial train at Pskov, senior politicians and generals told the Emperor he must abdicate, or Russia would descend into anarchy, and lose the war. Nicholas accepted their advice, and renounced the throne in favour of his brother, Grand Duke Michael, who, effectively, declined the offer. 300 years of Romanov rule were at an end. Russia was now a republic. A Provisional Government took power, but could not halt Russia's slide into economic and military chaos. Meanwhile, workers, soldiers and peasants elected their own councils, known as 'soviets'. The Petrograd Soviet was so powerful, it was effectively a rival government, especially as discontent with the Provisional Government continued to grow. The Bolsheviks, under Vladimir Lenin, attracted growing support, with their radical proposals for an immediate end to the war, the redistribution of land, and transfer of power to the soviets. In October, they launched a coup, masterminded by Leon Trotsky. Bolshevik Red Guards stormed the Winter Palace, where the Provisional Government met, and arrested its members. Lenin and the Bolsheviks were now in charge. Russia had been thrown upon a bold and dangerous course - under a Marxist-inspired revolutionary party, it would now seek to create the world's first communist state. But first, it would have to survive the chaos and slaughter of one of history's bloodiest civil wars. Thank you to all our Patreon supporters who made this video possible. Please click the link to find out how you can support the channel, and help us choose future topics.

Contents

Princes of Rus', 862–1547

The land that is today known as Russia was populated by various East Slavic peoples from before the 9th century. The first states to exert hegemony over the region were those of the Rus' people, a branch of Nordic Varangians who entered the region occupied by modern Russia sometime in the ninth century, and set up a series of states starting with the Rus' Khaganate circa 830. Little is known of the Rus' Khaganate beyond its existence, including the extent of its territory or any reliable list of its Khagans (rulers). Traditionally, Russian statehood is traced to Rurik, a Rus' leader of Holmgard (later Novgorod, modern Veliky Novgorod), a different Rus' state. Rurik's successor Oleg moved his capital to Kiev, founding the state of Kievan Rus'. Over the next several centuries, the most important titles were those of the Grand Prince of Kiev and Grand Prince of Novgorod whose holder (often the same person) could claim hegemony. By the early 11th century the Rus' state had fragmented into a series of petty principalities which warred constantly with each other. In 1097, the Council of Liubech formalized the federal nature of the Russian lands. By the 12th century, the Grand Duchy of Vladimir became the dominant principality, adding its name to those of Novgorod and Kiev, culminating with the rule of Alexander Nevsky. After Alexander Nevsky, the region once again broke up into petty states, though the Grand Duchy of Moscow, founded by Alexander Nevsky's youngest son Daniel, began to consolidate control over the entire Russian territory in the 15th century. Following the Mongol conquests of the 13th century, all of the Russian principalities paid tribute to the Golden Horde, effectively operating as vassals of the Mongol state. The Russians began to exert independence from the Mongols, culminating with Ivan the Great of Moscow ceasing tribute to the Horde, effectively declaring his independence. Last Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan the Terrible assumed the title Tsar of All the Russias in 1547.

Princes of Novgorod

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Rurik I
  • Рюрик
Unknown (around year 830) – 879862879Founder of Rurik DynastyRurikids
Oleg of Novgorod
  • Олег
855 – 912879882Relative of Rurik and regent of Rurik's son, Prince Igor of KievRurikids

Grand Princes of Kiev

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Askold and Dir
  • Haskuldr and Dýri
9th century842[3][4] or 862882Askold and Dir were Rus chieftains and members of Rurik's army
Askold was a descendent of the Kyi Dynasty
Kyi Dynasty (Askold)
Oleg of Novgorod
  • Олег
855 – 912882Autumn 912He was successor of Askold and Dir as a regent of Rurik's sonRurikids
Igor I
  • Игорь
878 – 945879 (in Novgorod as an heir of Rurik), 913 (as a successor of Rurik after Oleg's regency)Autumn 945Son of RurikRurikids
Olga of Kiev
  • Ольга
890 – 969945962Wife of Igor I and regent of Sviatoslav IRurikids
Sviatoslav I
  • Свѧтославъ
942 – 972Autumn 945March 972Son of Igor I and Olga of KievRurikids
Yaropolk I
  • Ярополк I Святославич
950 – 980March 97211 June 980Son of Sviatoslav I and PredslavaRurikids
Vladimir I
  • Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь
958 – 101511 June 98015 July 1015Son of Sviatoslav I and Malusha
Younger brother of Yaropolk I
Rurikids
Sviatopolk I
  • Свѧтоплъкъ
980 – 101915 July 1015Autumn 1016Son of Yaropolk I
During his reign, Kievan Rus' was conquered by Poland
Rurikids
Yaroslav I
  • Ꙗрославъ Володимировичъ Мѫдрꙑи
978 – 1054Autumn 1016Summer 1018Son of Vladimir I and Rogneda of PolotskRurikids
Sviatopolk I
  • Свѧтоплъкъ
980 – 101914 August 101827 July 1019RestoredRurikids
Yaroslav I
  • Ꙗрославъ Володимировичъ Мѫдрꙑи
978 – 105427 July 101920 February 1054RestoredRurikids
Iziaslav I
  • Ізяслав I Ярославич
1024 – 107820 February 105415 September 1068First son of Yaroslav I and Ingegerd OlofsdotterRurikids
Vseslav of Polotsk
  • Всеслав Брячиславич
1039 – 110115 September 106829 April 1069Great-grandson of Vladimir I
Usurped the Kievan Throne
Rurikids
Iziaslav I
  • Ізяслав I Ярославич
1024 – 10782 May 106922 March 1073RestoredRurikids
Sviatoslav II
  • Святослав Ярославович
1027 – 107622 March 107327 December 1076Third son of Yaroslav I and Ingegerd OlofsdotterRurikids
Vsevolod I
  • Всеволод I Ярославич
1030 – 10931 January 107715 July 1077Fourth son of Yaroslav I and Ingegerd OlofsdotterRurikids
Iziaslav I
  • Ізяслав I Ярославич
1024 – 107815 July 10773 October 1078RestoredRurikids
Vsevolod I
  • Всеволод I Ярославич
1030 – 10933 October 107813 April 1093RestoredRurikids
Sviatopolk II
  • Святополк Ізяславич
1050 – 111324 April 109316 April 1113Son of Iziaslav IRurikids
Vladimir II
  • Володимѣръ Мономахъ
1053 – 112520 April 111319 May 1125Son of Vsevolod I and Anastasia of ByzantiumRurikids
Mstislav I
  • Мстислав Володимирович Великий
1076 – 113220 May 112515 April 1132Son of Vladimir II and Gytha of WessexRurikids
Yaropolk II
  • Ярополк II Владимирович
1082 – 113917 April 113218 February 1139Son of Vladimir II and Gytha of Wessex
Younger brother of Mstislav I
Rurikids
Viacheslav I
  • Вячеслав Владимирович
1083 – 2 February 115422 February 11394 March 1139Son of Vladimir II and Gytha of Wessex
Younger brother of Mstislav I and Yaropolk II
Rurikids
Vsevolod II
  • Всеволод II Ольгович
1084 – 11465 March 113930 July 1146Grandson of Sviatoslav IIRurikids
Igor II
  • Игорь II Ольгович
1096 – 19 September 11461 August 114613 August 1146Grandson of Sviatoslav IIRurikids
Iziaslav II
  • Ізяслав Мстиславич
1097 – 115413 August 114623 August 1149Son of Mstislav I and Christina Ingesdotter of SwedenRurikids
Yuri I
  • Юрий Владимирович
1099 – 115728 August 1149Summer 1150Son of Vladimir II and Gytha of Wessex
Younger brother of Mstislav I, Yaropolk II and Viacheslav I
Rurikids
Viacheslav I
  • Вячеслав Владимирович
1083 – 2 February 1154Summer 1150Summer 1150RestoredRurikids
Iziaslav II
  • Ізяслав Мстиславич
1097 – 1154Summer 1150Summer 1150RestoredRurikids
Yuri I
  • Юрий Владимирович
1099 – 1157August 1150Winter 1151RestoredRurikids
Iziaslav II
  • Ізяслав Мстиславич
1097 – 1154Winter 115113 November 1154RestoredRurikids
Viacheslav I
  • Вячеслав Владимирович
1083 – 2 February 1154Spring 11516 February 1154RestoredRurikids
Rostislav I
  • Ростислав Мстиславич
1110 – 11671154January 1155Son of Mstislav I and Christina Ingesdotter of Sweden
Younger brother of Iziaslav II
Rurikids
Iziaslav III
  • Изяслав III Давидович
12th centuryJanuary 11551155Grandson of Sviatoslav IIRurikids
Yuri I
  • Юрий Владимирович
1099 – 115720 March 115515 May 1157RestoredRurikids
Iziaslav III
  • Изяслав III Давидович
12th century19 May 1157December 1158RestoredRurikids
Mstislav II
  • Мстислав Изяславич
1125 – 117022 December 1158Spring 1159Son of Iziaslav IIRurikids
Rostislav I
  • Ростислав Мстиславич
1110 – 116712 April 11598 February 1161RestoredRurikids
Iziaslav III
  • Изяслав III Давидович
12th century12 February 11616 March 1161RestoredRurikids
Rostislav I
  • Ростислав Мстиславич
1110 – 1167March 116114 March 1167RestoredRurikids
Vladimir III
  • Владимир III Мстиславич
1132 – 1173Spring 1167Spring 1167Son of Mstislav I
Younger brother of Iziaslav II and Rostislav I
Rurikids
Mstislav II
  • Мстислав Изяславич
1125 – 117019 May 116712 March 1169RestoredRurikids

In 1169 Vladimir-Suzdal troops took Kiev. This act underlined the declining importance of that city.[according to whom?]

Grand Princes of Vladimir

The state of Vladimir-Suzdal (formally the Grand Duchy of Vladimir) became dominant among the various petty principalities to form from the dissolution of the Kievan Rus' state. The title of Grand Prince of Vladimir became one of the three titles (along with Kiev and Novgorod) possessed by the most important rulers among the Russian nobility. While Vladimir enjoyed hegemony for a time, it too disintegrated into a series of petty states. The most important of these became Grand Duchy of Moscow, which itself eventually evolved into the Tsardom of Russia.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Andrey I
  • Андрей Боголюбский
1110 – 117415 May 115729 June 1174Son of Yuri IRurikids
Mikhail I
  • Михаил
12th century1174September 1174Son of Yuri I
Younger brother of Andrey I
Rurikids
Yaropolk III
  • Ярополк Ростиславич
12th century117415 June 1175Grandson of Yuri IRurikids
Mikhail I
  • Михаил
12th century15 June 117520 June 1176RestoredRurikids
Vsevolod III
  • Все́волод III Ю́рьевич Большо́е Гнездо́
1154 – 1212June 117615 April 1212Son of Yuri I and Helene
Younger brother of Andrey I and Mikhail I
Rurikids
Yuri II
  • Ю́рий II
1189 – 1238121227 April 1216Son of Vselovod III and Maria ShvarnovnaRurikids
Konstantin of Rostov
  • Константи́н Все́володович
1186 – 1218Spring 12162 February 1218Son of Vsevolod III and Maria Shvarnovna
Elder brother of Yuri II
Rurikids
Yuri II
  • Ю́рий II
1189 – 1238February 12184 March 1238RestoredRurikids
Yaroslav II
  • Яросла́в II Все́володович
1191 – 1246123830 September 1246Son of Vsevolod III and Maria Shvarnovna
Younger brother of Yuri II and Konstantin of Rostov
Rurikids
Sviatoslav III
  • Святослав III Всеволодович
1196 – 3 February 125212461248Son of Vsevolod III and Maria Shvarnovna
Younger brother of Yuri II, Konstantin of Rostov and Yaroslav II
Rurikids
Mikhail Khorobrit
  • Михайл Ярославич Хоробрит
1229 – 15 January 1248124815 January 1248Son of Yaroslav IIRurikids
Sviatoslav III
  • Святослав III Всеволодович
1196 – 3 February 125212481249RestoredRurikids
Andrey II
  • Андрей Ярославич
1221 – 1264December 124924 July 1252Son of Yaroslav II
Elder brother of Mikhail Khorobrit
Rurikids
Alexander Nevsky
  • Алекса́ндр Яросла́вич Не́вский
1220 – 1263125214 November 1263Son of Yaroslav II and Rostislava Mstislavna, daughter of Kievan Rus' Prince Mstislav Mstislavich the Bold
Elder brother of Mikhail Khorobrit and Andrey II
Rurikids
Yaroslav III
  • Ярослав Ярославич
1230 – 127212641271Son of Yaroslav II and Fedosia Igorevna
Younger brother of Alexander Nevsky, Andrey II and Mikhail Khorobrit
Rurikids
Vasily of Kostroma
  • Василий Ярославич
1241 – 12761272January 1277Son of Yaroslav IIRurikids
Dmitry of Pereslavl
  • Дмитрий Александрович
1250 – 129412771281Son of Alexander NevskyRurikids
Andrey III
  • Андрей Александрович
1255 – 13041281December 1283Son of Alexander Nevsky
Younger brother of Dmitry of Pereslavl
Rurikids
Dmitry of Pereslavl
  • Дмитрий Александрович
1250 – 1294December 12831293RestoredRurikids
Andrey III
  • Андрей Александрович
1255 – 130412931304RestoredRurikids
Michael of Tver
  • Михаил Ярославич
1271 – 1318Autumn 130422 November 1318Son of Yaroslav III and Xenia of TarusaRurikids
Yuri III
  • Юрий Данилович
1281 – 132513182 November 1322Grandson of Alexander NevskyRurikids
Dmitry of Tver
  • Дми́трий Миха́йлович Тверcко́й
1299 – 1326132215 September 1326Son of Michael of Tver and Anna of KashinRurikids
Alexander of Tver
  • Александр Михайлович Тверской
1281 – 133913261327Son of Michale of Tver and Anna of Kashin
Elder brother of Dmitry of Tver
Rurikids
Alexander of Suzdal
  • Александр Васильевич Суздальский
14th century13281331Grandson of Andrey IIRurikids
Ivan I
  • Ива́н I Дании́лович Калита́
1288 – 1340133231 March 1340Grandson of Alexander Nevsky
Son of Daniel of Moscow
Rurikids

After 1331, the title of the Grand Princes of Vladimir was assigned to the Princes of Moscow.

Grand Princes of Moscow

Alexander Nevsky, Grand Prince of Vladimir, placed his youngest son Daniel in charge of the territory around Moscow, and establishing the state of Muscovy, originally a vassal state to Vladimir-Suzdal. Daniel's son Ivan I assumed the title of Vladimir himself, establishing Muscovy as the premier principality among the various Russian states. Later rulers of Muscovy consolidated power, culminating with Ivan III who threw off the Mongol yoke and conquered most of the other Russian states. His son Vasili III completed the task of uniting all of Russia by eliminating the last few independent states in the 1520s. Vasili's son Ivan the Terrible formalized the situation by assuming the title Tsar of All the Russias in 1547.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Daniel of Moscow
  • Даниил Александрович
1261 – 4 March 130312834 March 1303Son of Alexander Nevsky and MariaRurikids
Yury of Moscow
  • Юрий Данилович
1281 – 21 November 13254 March 130321 November 1325Son of Daniel
Elder brother of Ivan I
Rurikids
Ivan I
  • Ива́н I Дании́лович Калита́
1288 – 134021 November 132531 March 1340He was a successor of Alexander of Suzdal as Grand Prince of Vladimir and a successor of Yury of Moscow as Grand Prince of MoscowRurikids
Simeon of Moscow
  • Семён Иванович Гордый
7 November 1316 – 27 April 135331 March 134027 April 1353Son of Ivan I and HelenaRurikids
Ivan II
  • Иван II Иванович Красный
30 March 1326 – 13 November 135927 April 135313 November 1359Son of Ivan I and Helena
Younger brother of Simeon of Moscow
Rurikids
Dmitry of the Don
  • Дми́трий Ива́нович Донско́й
12 October 1350 – 19 May 138913 November 135919 May 1389Son of Ivan II and Alexandra Vasilyevna VelyaminovaRurikids
Vasily I
  • Василий I Дмитриевич
30 December 1371 – 27 February 142519 May 138927 February 1425Son of Dmitry I and Eudoxia DmitriyevnaRurikids
Vasily II
  • Василий II Васильевич Тёмный
10 March 1415 – 27 March 146227 February 142530 March 1434Son of Vasily I and Sophia of LithuaniaRurikids
Yury of Zvenigorod
  • Ю́рий Дми́триевич
26 November 1374 – 5 June 143431 March 14345 June 1434Son of Dmitry I and Eudoxia Dmitriyevna
Younger brother of Vasily I
Rurikids
Vasily Kosoy
  • Василий Юрьевич Косой
1421 – 14355 June 14341435Son of Yury of ZvenigorodRurikids
Vasily II
  • Василий II Васильевич Тёмный
10 March 1415 – 27 March 146214351446RestoredRurikids
Dmitry Shemyaka
  • Дмитрий Юрьевич Шемяка
15th century144626 March 1447Son of Yury of ZvenigorodRurikids
Vasily II
  • Василий II Васильевич Тёмный
10 March 1415 – 27 March 146227 February 144727 March 1462RestoredRurikids
Ivan III
  • Иван III Васильевич
22 January 1440 – 6 November 15055 April 14626 November 1505Son of Vasily II and Maria of BorovskRurikids
Vasily III
  • Василий III Иванович
25 March 1479 – 13 December 15336 November 150513 December 1533Son of Ivan III and Sophia PaleologueRurikids
Ivan IV
  • Ива́н Васи́льевич
    Ivan the Terrible
25 August 1530 – 28 March 1584Grand Prince: 13 December 1533
Tsar: 26 January 1547
Grand Prince: 26 January 1547
Tsar: 28 March 1584
Son of Vasily III and Elena GlinskayaRurikids

Tsars of Russia, 1547–1721

From the rule of Ivan III, the Grand Duchy of Moscow effectively became the dominant Russian state, overthrowing the Golden Horde, consolidating all remaining Russian principalities under itself, and conquering lands far from its roots in the city of Moscow. While Ivan III became effective ruler over the entirety of Russia, the situation was not formally recognized until his grandson Ivan IV assumed the title Tsar in 1547, when the state of Russia (apart from its constituent principalities) came into formal being.

Dates are listed in the Old Style, which continued to be used in Russia until the revolution.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Ivan IV
  • Ива́н Васи́льевич
    Ivan the Terrible
25 August 1530 – 28 March 1584Grand Prince: 13 December 1533
Tsar: 26 January 1547
Grand Prince: 26 January 1547
Tsar: 28 March 1584
Son of Vasily III and Elena GlinskayaRurikids
Simeon Bekbulatovich
  • Симеон Бекбулатович
16th / 17th centuries15751576Muslim-born Khan of Qasim Khanate
Proclaimed Grand Prince of All Rus' in 1575 and abdicated within a year
Qasim
Feodor I
  • Фёдор I Иванович
31 May 1557 – 17 January 159828 March 158417 January 1598Son of Ivan IV and Anastasia RomanovnaRurikids

Time of Troubles

Following the death of the Feodor I, the son of Ivan the Terrible and the last of the Rurik dynasty, Russia fell into a succession crisis known as the Time of Troubles. As Feodor left no male heirs, the Russian Zemsky Sobor (feudal parliament) elected his brother-in-law Boris Godunov to be Tsar. Devastated by famine, rule under Boris descended into anarchy. A series of impostors, known as the False Dmitriys, each claimed to be Feodor's long deceased younger brother; however, only the first impostor ever legitimately held the title of Tsar. A distant Rurikid cousin, Vasili Shuyskiy, also took power for a time. During this period, foreign powers deeply involved themselves in Russian politics, under the leadership of the Vasa monarchs of Sweden and Poland-Lithuania, including Sigismund III Vasa and his son Władysław IV Vasa. As a child, Władysław was even chosen as Tsar by the Seven Boyars, though he was prevented by his father from formally taking the throne. The Time of Troubles is considered to have ended with the election of Michael Romanov to the throne, who established the Romanov dynasty that would rule Russia until the Russian Revolution of 1917.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Boris Godunov
  • Бори́с Фёдорович Годуно́в
ca. 1551 – 13 April 160521 February 159813 April 1605Brother-in-law of Feodor I
Chosen by Zemsky Sobor
Godunov
Feodor II
  • Фёдор II Борисович
1589 – 20 June 160513 April 160510 June 1605Son of Boris Godunov and Maria Grigorievna Skuratova-Belskaya
Murdered.
Godunov
False Dmitriy I
  • Дмитрий Иванович
ca. 1581 – 17 May 160610 June 160517 May 1606Claiming to be son of Ivan IV, he was the only imposter to actually sit on the throne of a major power
Backed by Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Murdered.
Rurikids
(claimed)
Vasily IV
  • Василий IV Иванович Шуйский
22 September 1552 – 12 September 161219 May 160617 July 1610
(deposed)
Ninth generation descendant of Andrei II in the male lineShuysky
Vladislav
  • Władysław IV Waza
9 June 1595 – 20 May 16486 September 1610November 1612
(deposed)
14 June 1634
(resigned his claim)
King of Poland
Son of Sigismund III Vasa and Anne of Austria, Queen of Poland
Vasa

House of Romanov

The Time of Troubles came to a close with the election of Michael Romanov as Tsar in 1613. Michael officially reigned as Tsar, though his father, the Patriarch Philaret (died 1633) initially held the real power. However, Michael's descendants would rule Russia, first as Tsars and later as Emperors, until the Russian Revolution of 1917. Peter the Great (reigned 1682–1725), a grandson of Michael Romanov, reorganized the Russian state along more Western lines, establishing the Russian Empire in 1721.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Michael
  • Михаи́л Фёдорович Рома́нов
12 July 1596 – 12 July 164526 July 161312 July 1645Founder of Romanov Dynasty
First cousin once removed of Feodor I
Romanov
Alexis
  • Алексе́й Миха́йлович
9 May 1629 – 29 January 167612 July 164529 January 1676Son of Michael I and Eudoxia StreshnevaRomanov
Feodor III
  • Фёдор III Алексеевич
9 June 1661 – 7 May 168229 January 16767 May 1682Son of Alexis I and Maria Ilyinichna MiloslavskayaRomanov
Sophia Alekseyevna (regent)
  • Со́фья Алексе́евна
17 September 1657 – 3 July 170417 May 168227 August 1689Daughter of Alexis I and Maria Miloslavskaya
Elder sister of Feodor III
She ruled as a regent of Ivan V and Peter I
Romanov
Ivan V
  • Иван V Алексеевич
6 September 1666 – 8 February 16962 June 16828 February 1696Son of Alexis I and Maria Miloslavskaya
Younger brother of Sophia Alekseyevna and Feodor III
He "ruled" jointly with Peter I, but in fact had no power.
Romanov
Peter I
  • Пётр Вели́кий
    Peter the Great
9 June 1672 – 8 February 1725Tsar: 2 June 1682
Emperor: 2 November 1721
Tsar: 2 November 1721
Emperor: 8 February 1725
Son of Alexis I and Natalya Naryshkina
Younger brother of Sophia Alekseyevna, Feodor III and Ivan V
He ruled jointly with Ivan V
Regarded as one of the greatest Russian monarchs
Romanov

Emperors of Russia, 1721–1917

(Also Grand Princes of Finland from 1809 until 1917; and Kings of Poland from 1815 until 1917)

The Empire of Russia was declared by Peter the Great in 1721. Officially, Russia would be ruled by the Romanov dynasty until the Russian Revolution of 1917. However, direct male descendants of Michael Romanov came to an end in 1730 with the death of Peter II of Russia, grandson of Peter the Great. The throne passed to Anna, a niece of Peter the Great, and after the brief rule of her niece's infant son Ivan VI, the throne was seized by Elizabeth, a daughter of Peter the Great. Elizabeth would be the last of the direct Romanovs to rule Russia. Elizabeth declared her nephew, Peter, to be her heir. Peter (who would rule as Peter III) spoke little Russian, having been a German prince of the House of Holstein-Gottorp before arriving in Russia to assume the Imperial title. He and his German wife Sophia changed their name to Romanov upon inheriting the throne. Peter was ill-liked, and he was assassinated within six months of assuming the throne, in a coup orchestrated by his wife, who became Empress in her own right and ruled as Catherine the Great (both Peter and Catherine were descended from the House of Rurik). Following the confused successions of the descendants of Peter the Great, Catherine's son Paul I established clear succession laws which governed the rules of primogeniture over the Imperial throne until the fall of the Empire in 1917.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Peter I
  • Пётр Вели́кий
    Peter the Great
9 June 1672 – 8 February 1725Tsar: 2 June 1682
Emperor: 2 November 1721
Tsar: 2 November 1721
Emperor: 8 February 1725
Son of Alexis I and Natalya Naryshkina
Younger brother of Sophia Alekseyevna, Feodor III and Ivan V
He ruled jointly with Ivan V
Regarded as one of the greatest Russian monarchs
Romanov
Catherine I
  • Екатери́на I Алексе́евна
15 April 1684 – 17 May 17278 February 172517 May 1727Wife of Peter ISkowroński
Peter II
  • Пётр II Алексеевич
23 October 1715 – 30 January 173018 May 172730 January 1730Grandson of Peter I via the murdered Tsesarevich Alexei. Last of the direct male Romanov line.Romanov
Anna
  • Анна Иоанновна
7 February 1693 – 28 October 174013 February 173028 October 1740Daughter of Ivan VRomanov
Anna Leopoldovna (regent)
  • А́нна Леопо́льдовна
18 December 1718 – 19 March 1746)28 October 17406 December 1741Regent for her son Ivan VI
Deposed by Empress Elizabeth and Imprisoned
Brunswick-Bevern
Ivan VI
  • Иван VI
23 August 1740 – 16 July 176428 October 17406 December 1741Great-grandson of Ivan V
Deposed as a baby, imprisoned and later murdered
Brunswick-Bevern
Elizabeth
  • Елизаве́та
29 December 1709 – 5 January 17626 December 17415 January 1762Daughter of Peter I and Catherine I.Romanov
Peter III
  • Пётр III Фëдорович
21 February 1728 – 17 July 17629 January 17629 July 1762Grandson of Peter I
Nephew of Elizabeth
Murdered
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Catherine II
  • Екатерина Алексеевна
    Catherine the Great
2 May 1729 – 17 November 17969 July 176217 November 1796Wife of Peter III.Ascania, with Rurikid descent.
Paul I
  • Па́вел I Петро́вич
1 October 1754 – 23 March 180117 November 179623 March 1801Son of Peter III and Catherine II
Assassinated
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Alexander I
  • Александр Павлович
23 December 1777 – 1 December 182523 March 18011 December 1825Son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg
First Romanov King of Poland and Grand Prince of Finland
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Constantine Pavlovich
  • Константи́н Па́влович
27 April 1779 – 27 June 18311 December 182526 December 1825Son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg
Younger brother of Alexander I
Uncrowned (abdicated the throne)
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Nicholas I
  • Николай I Павлович
6 July 1796 – 2 March 18551 December 18252 March 1855Son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg
Younger brother of Alexander I and Constantine Pavlovich
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Alexander II
  • Алекса́ндр II Никола́евич
29 April 1818 – 13 March 18812 March 185513 March 1881Son of Nicholas I and Alexandra Feodrovna
Nephew of Alexander I
Assassinated
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Alexander III
  • Алекса́ндр III
10 March 1845 – 1 November 189413 March 18811 November 1894Son of Alexander II and Maria AlexandrovnaHolstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Nicholas II
  • Николай II
18 May 1868 (N.S.) – 17 July 19181 November 189415 March 1917 N.S.
(2 March O.S.)
Son of Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna
Abdicated the throne during the February Revolution
Executed by Bolsheviks
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov

Nicholas II abdicated in favour of his brother, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, but the next day, after a nominal reign of only 18 hours, "Emperor Michael II" abdicated, ending dynastic rule in Russia forever.[5] (He is not normally considered to be the last tsar.)

See List of leaders of Russia for the continuation of leadership.

Nominal Emperor of Russia, 1922

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Nikolai Nikolaevich6 November 1856 – 5 January 19298 August 192225 October 1922Grandson of Nicholas I
Proclaimed Emperor of Russia by the Zemsky Sobor of the Provisional Priamurye Government. His nominal rule came to an end when the areas controlled by the Provisional Priamurye Government were overrun by the communists.
Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov

See also

References

  1. ^ "Russian history: Kievan Rus". Russiapedia. RT. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  2. ^ Glenn E. Curtis (1996). "Kievan Rus' and Mongol Periods". Russia: A Country Study. Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  3. ^ Suszko, Henryk (2003). Latopis hustyński. Opracowanie, przekład i komentarze. Slavica Wratislaviensia CXXIV. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego. ISBN 83-229-2412-7; Tolochko, Oleksiy (2010). The Hustyn' Chronicle. (Harvard Library of Early Ukrainian Literature: Texts) ISBN 978-1-932650-03-7
  4. ^ according to the Tale of Bygone Years, the date is not clearly identified
  5. ^ Montefiore, Simon S. (2016) The Romanovs, 1613–1918 London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pp. 619–621

External links

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