9th-11th centuries. Early Slavs, ancestors of present-day Russians,
were first recorded in the 9th century A.D. between the Carpathians
and the Don River. Cyrillic writing was developed ca. 863. The culture
was influenced by the Greek Orthodox church and the Byzantines.
Khazars, Turks of the Volga steppes between the Caspian and Black
Seas, traded with Baghdad. Kievan Rus in the late 9th century traded
furs, wax and slaves along the Dnieper River Valley. The Russkaya
Pravda, the first code of laws, was enacted in the 10th and 11th
12th-15th centuries. In the 13th century, Russia was
conquered by the Mongol Golden Horde (left).
The city of Novgorod ascended to prominence in western
Russia from the 12th-15th centuries (below).
1547-1584. Ivan the
became first tsar of
Muscovy. He killed
his oldest son and
died in 1584 of
1682-1725. Peter the
Great (above) updated
Russia's legal system
and westernized Russia.
the Great (above),
Empress of Russia,
reigned the longest of
1917. The Russian Revolution deposed the tsars and led
to the establishment of a Communist economy.
1917-22. Vladimir Lenin (above) masterminded the
Bolshevik take-over, becoming head of the USSR.
1922-53. Joseph Stalin, a dictator, killed millions
through forced collective agriculture, rapid
industrialization and harsh punishment for dissenters.
1941-42. German infantrymen (left) on
the Eastern Front during Hitler's
invasion of Russia. Like Napoleon
before him, Hitler failed to appreciate
the strength of Russian winters.
1945-91. The Cold War (right) was a
period of tension and enmity between
the United States and the USSR. The
balance of power between the two
nations led to paranoia but prevented
the use of force by either side.
In 1991, the Soviet Union and the final
symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin
Wall, were dismantled.
1999-. Vladimir Putin (below) has led Russia
since 1999. He has allowed some
demonstrations, like the large one in 2011
(left) and repressed others. History will judge
the sort of leader he is for Russia.
1812. Ignoring advice, Napoleon
marched his huge army into
Russia, underestimating its size
and overextending his supply
lines. He was defeated, not in
battle, but by cold, starvation and