Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Russia timeline

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.

Christ the Saviour Cathedral
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour - a Moscow landmark
Moscow population: 10.2 million

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.

Russian Orthodox worshippers
Orthodox church's influence in post-atheist Russia is growing

1853-57 - Crimean war.

1861 - Emancipation Edict ends serfdom; rapid industrialisation leads to growth of working class movement and 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

1917 October - Bolsheviks overthrow provisional government of Alexander Kerensky, with workers and sailors capturing government buildings and the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, and eventually taking over Moscow.

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

1918-22 - Civil war between the Red Army and White Russians, or anti-communists, who were aided by Britain, France and the US.

From Soviet rule to Yeltsin era

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.

Suffered health problems
Flawed founder of Russian democracy died in April 2007

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

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.

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

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

1997 - Border treaty signed with Lithuania.

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 Chernomyrdin for prime minister.

Policemen and map of Moscow metro
Moscow Metro: An inexpensive way of travelling around the capital

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

1999 May - Yeltsin sacks Primakov, replacing him with Sergey Stepashin.

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

Yeltsin sacks Stepashin and replaces him with 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.

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.

Russian sailors honour the dead
Nuclear sub became an underwater tomb for 118 sailors

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

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

2002 January - Russia's last independent national TV station, TV-6, is forced by the authorities to stop broadcasting, sparking fresh concerns about free speech. It is later awarded a new licence after journalists team up with Kremlin-backed managers and goes back on air in June with the new name TVS.

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.

Woman lays flowers
130 died in raid to end siege by Chechen rebels

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 March - Russians hail Chechen referendum vote in favour of a new constitution stipulating that the republic is part of the Russian Federation. Human rights groups, among others, are strongly critical of Russia for pushing ahead with referendum before peace has been established.

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.

St Basil's Cathedral looms over Red Square
St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow - built by Ivan the Terrible

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 July - Suicide bomb attack at rock festival just outside Moscow kills at least 15, including two bombers. Russia sees passport found on one attacker as evidence of Chechen link.

2003 August - Suicide bomb attack on military hospital at Mozdok, near Chechen border, kills 50 people.

2003 September - Kyrgyzstan grants Russia military base at Kant. It will house new Russian rapid reaction force intended to combat terrorism. It is first military base opened by Russia abroad in 13 years of independence.

2003 October - Border dispute with Kiev after Russia embarks on building causeway across Kerch Strait between Russian coast and Ukrainian island of Tuzla. Strait separates Black Sea from Azov Sea. Ukraine sends troops to Tuzla.

Critical of Putin, accused of fraud
Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Russia's richest man fell foul of Kremlin

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 - More than 40 people killed in bomb attack on passenger train in southern Russia.

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

President Putin, President Kuchma of Ukraine sign agreement on joint use of Kerch Strait and status of Azov Sea. Kremlin denies that island of Tuzla featured in talks.

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

President Putin sacks government of Mikhail Kasyanov.

Putin's second term

2004 March - Mikhail Fradkov becomes prime minister.

Mr Putin wins second term as president by landslide.

Late Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov - killed in bomb attack
Moscow-backed Chechen president, killed in 2004

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

2004 June - Dozens killed in southern republic of Ingushetia in attacks said to have involved hundreds of gunmen. President Putin blames Chechen rebels led by Aslan Maskhadov.

Maskhadov's spokesman says operation was led by Ingush commander who fought under Maskhadov in Chechnya and acknowledges participation of Chechen volunteers. Spokesman blames Russian forces for provoking attacks.

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

Two passenger aircraft crash within minutes of each other after take-off from Moscow, killing all 89 passengers and crew. Investigators find traces of explosives in the wreckage of both planes and blame terrorists.

At least 10 people killed in explosion outside Moscow underground station. Group sympathising with Chechen separatists issues statement saying it carried out the attack.

Beslan siege

2004 September - More than 330 people, many of them children, killed when siege at school in North Ossetia ends in bloodbath. President Putin blames international terrorists with links to Chechen separatists. Their leader Aslan Maskhadov condemns the seizure but says it was carried out by "madmen" motivated by a desire to seek revenge for Russian actions against their own loved ones in Chechnya.

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

About 330 pupils and adults died in explosions, gun battles.

Flowers cover the floor of the school gym, Beslan
About 330 pupils and adults died in Beslan siege

2004 December - State oil firm Rosneft buys Yuganskneftegaz.

2005 January - At least 20 die in violent incidents in North Caucasus republics of Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria as Russian security forces raid houses in what they describe as operations to capture Chechen separatist fighters. Some observers blame heavy-handed tactics for the deaths.

Changes to the benefits system spark protests by thousands of pensioners in many parts of Russia.

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.

Government is embarrassed by but easily survives confidence vote called by communist and nationalist opposition over its handling of benefits reform.

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 in operation by Russian forces.

Killed in operation by Russian forces
Late Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov

2005 May - Billionnaire former Yukos oil boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky is sentenced to nine years in prison over charges including tax evasion and fraud. He appeals but succeeds only in having sentence cut by a year. He is later sent to serve it in a Siberian penal colony.

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

Russia withdraws from border treaty signed with Estonia after the Estonian parliament introduces reference to Soviet occupation before ratifying.

At least 10 Russian servicemen die in bomb blast in Dagestani capital, Makhachkala.

2005 July - About 15 people killed as armoured police vehicle blown up north of Chechen capital.

2005 August - Seven submariners rescued after their craft spends 76 hours trapped on the seabed. Russia thanks UK rescue team.

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 13 billion 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 gas dispute with Ukraine
Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine, citing market rules

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 February - At least a dozen Chechen rebel fighters and several members of Russian security forces killed in gun battle in village in Stavropol region, just across border from Chechnya.

Roof collapses at a food market in Moscow, killing up to 65 people. Many of the dead are Azerbaijani immigrants.

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

2006 June - Four Russian diplomats kidnapped and killed in Iraq by insurgents demanding Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. President Putin orders security services to find and "destroy" the killers.

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.

Yukos oil company mounts legal challenge as Russia's state oil firm Rosneft floated on London stock exchange.

Slain reporter Anna Politkovskaya
Murdered reporter Anna Politkovskaya exposed Chechnya abuses

2006 August - Russian plane crashes north of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, killing all 170 on board.

Three students charged with racially-motivated crime after bomb at Moscow market kills 11 people, mostly Central Asian.

2006 September - Bar brawl in Karelian town of Kondopoga in which two Russians die escalates into race riots with demands for eviction of all natives of the Caucasus.

25 die in fire at British-owned Siberian gold mine.

Senior officers among 11 killed as military helicopter goes down in North Ossetia. Russians blame pilot error. Islamist rebels say they shot it down.

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.

Major Russian oil and gas pipelines run through energy-dependent Belarus
Russia shut off oil supply to Europe during Belarus row

2006 November - Former Russian security service officer Aleksandr 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 January - Russia cuts supply along oil export pipeline through Belarus to Europe amidst row with Minsk over taxation and allegations of illegal siphoning of oil. The dispute is resolved after Belarus cancels a transit tax and Russia agrees to cut oil export duties.

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

2007 April - Police in central Moscow prevent opposition activists from holding a banned rally against President Putin.

Former President Yeltsin dies.

Row with Estonia after Estonian authorities relocate a Soviet World War II monument in the capital Tallinn.

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.

2007 June - President Putin suggests Russia and the US resolve their dispute over missile defence by developing a joint shield which would use the Qabala radar station in Azerbaijan.

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.

Former Russian President Vladimir Putin
President Putin earned praise for restoring stability, but also accusations 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
Elected president 2000

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 Western 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 - Dmitry Medvedev wins presidential elections.

2008 April - Russian-Georgian tension rises over Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Putin becomes PM

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

The UN backs a Georgian claim that Russia shot down one of its unmanned drones over Abkhazia.

Russian tanks near the Georgian town of Zugdidi in August 2008
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 says its citizens are under attack and pours thousands of troops into South Ossetia, ejecting Georgian troops. It also launches bombing raids on targets in other parts of Georgia, and moves troops deeper into Georgian territory.

After more than a week of hostilities, the two sides sign a French-brokered peace agreement. Russia withdraws its combat troops from Georgian territory outside Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

President Medvedev formally recognises the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, 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.

A Moscow court throws out most of a series of tax demands made against the British Council at the height of UK-Russian tensions over the killing of former intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

2008 November - President Medvedev, in his first annual state-of-the-nation address, says that Moscow will deploy short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave to counter America's proposed missile shield in central Europe.

Bombed St. Petersburg-Moscow express train
Dozens were killed in the 2009 train bombing near Tver

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.

Russia's military says it is halting plans to deploy short-rage missile to Kaliningrad enclave, in response to what it described as a change of US attitude under newly-inaugurated President Barack Obama.

2009 April - Russia ends "counterterrorism operation" against separatist rebels in Chechnya, one month after President Medvedev said life in the republic had "normalised to a large degree".

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 - President Medvedev welcomes the US decision to shelve controversial missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow mayor from 1992 to 2010
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov transformed Moscow in his 18 years in office

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

2009 November - Dozens are killed when a bomb blast causes the derailment of a Moscow-St Petersburg express train.

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

2010 April - President Medvedev signs a new strategic arms agreement with his US counterpart Barack Obama. 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.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hopes arrests of 10 alleged Russian spies in the US will not harm US-Russian relations.

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.

Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky at his second trial in December 2010
The jailed former tycoon has become a focus for opposition to Mr Putin

2010 September - Prime Minister Putin hints that he might stand for the presidency again in 2012 in comments to foreign reporters and scholars.

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 a sentence for tax evasion imposed in 2005, is found guilty of embezzlement and money-laundering in a trial 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.

Putin returns

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 October - The European Union formally invites Russia to take part in space missions to Mars in 2016 and 2018, in order to help fund them.

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 memnership since the 2008 war.

2011 December - United Russia suffers drop in share of the vote drops 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.

2012 January - Prominent opposition civic figures form the League of Voters to try to stop fraud in the March presidential election.

The only independent election monitoring group, Golos, says it is being expelled from its premises.

2012 March - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wins the presidential election in the first round with over 63% of the vote, beating veteran Communist opponent Gennady Zyuganov into second place on 17%. Mr Putin will serve an newly-extended six-year term, beginning in May.

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers report irregularities at a third of monitored polling stations. Opponents take to the streets of several major cities to protest at the conduct of the election, and the police arrest hundreds.

Print Sponsor

A chronology of key events
Historical highlights




Compiled by BBC Monitoring

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific