945. Treaty of Igor with Byzantium (Constantinople) establishes first claim to government in the many lands of Russia, known as the many "Russias."
1237. Mongol tribesmen, invading from the East, conquer Russia and impose foreign rule for over 240 years.
1565-72. Ivan the Terrible's "reign of terror" establishes a precedent of strong, unaccountable central government.
1802. Formation of the first government ministries, establishing a strong principle of government control of the private economy.
1864-85. Conquest of Central Asia.
1891. Beginning of the Trans-Siberian railway.
1906. First Duma (parliament) established; first written constitution adopted.
1914. World War I begins.
1917. Russia pulls out of World War I; Bolsheviks take power and begin communist era.
1918. The period of "war communism" with emphasis on administrative direction of the economy is introduced.
1921. Retreating from tight control of the economy, the government introduces the "New Economic Policy" (NEP). The policy favors market-based economic relations in lieu of administrative measures.
1928. Return to communism and top-down direction of the economy as the first "Five-Year Plan" is adopted. Joseph Stalin (Iosef Dhugashvili) assumes control of the communist party organization. Agriculture is collectivized. A massive industrialization campaign begins.
1932-33. A severe famine in Ukraine is testimony to the effects of the agricultural collectivization program.
1937-41. The Stalin-era purges of political opponents take place.
1941. German invasion of USSR (June 22) and Second World War.
1957. First Soviet "Sputnik" (satellite) is launched. The "space race" begins.
1973. United States and the USSR embrace "Détente," a policy of relaxation of tensions, and adopt a new bilateral trade agreement, but implementation is not successful.
1979. In December, Soviets invade Afghanistan. This futile war drains Soviet resources and creates negative sentiment toward communist party rule. This eventually plays an important role in the collapse of communism.
1985. Mikhail Gorbachev becomes communist party leader, calling for economic reforms ( perestroika ) and greater openness ( glasnost ).
1986. 26 April disaster at Chernobyl nuclear generating station debunks myth of Soviet technological superiority.
1989. Political reforms begin in Central Europe; Berlin Wall comes down.
1991. On 19 August, a group of Communist Party hardliners announces takeover of the Soviet government. The takeover fails. Boris Yeltsin emerges as the most popular politician.
1991. On 21 December, 11 high leaders of USSR meet in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, to sign the "Alma-Ata Declaration" ending the USSR and establishing the "Commonwealth of Independent States" (CIS).
1992. On 2 January, Russian prime minister frees prices; ruble value plummets; prices skyrocket.
1992. On 1 October, voucher privatization begins in Russia.
1993. On 21 September President Yeltsin dissolves the parliament. On 22 September a breakaway parliament appoints Vice President Alexander Rutskoi as president. On 4 October, government forces loyal to Yeltsin storm the parliament building and arrest Rutskoi and the disloyal parliament.
1998. Following a massive sell-off of Russian bonds, securities, and rubles, the prime minister announces a ruble devaluation; financial markets are paralyzed by liquidity shortages, and share prices plunge. Unable to pay its creditors, Russia defaults on foreign loans.
1998. Yeltsin fires the prime minister and the entire government cabinet. He appoints Victor Chernomyrdin as interim prime minister, but parliament refuses to confirm him.
1999. After months of political turmoil, Yeltsin appoints Vladimir Putin as prime minister.
2000. On 31 December, Yeltsin resigns the presidency (with a full pardon), leaving Vladimir Putin as head of state.
2000. Vladimir Putin is elected president.