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  • 7th c. B.C. Scythian tribes settle lands in what is now Russia.
  • 862 Viking Rurik establishes state at Novgorod.
  • 888 Monks Cyril and Methodius invent Cyrillic alphabet.
  • 988 Prince Vladimir adopts Orthodox Christianity for Russian lands.
  • 1326 Russian capital moved to Moscow. Muscovite prince achieves first major defeat of Mongols at Kulikovo Pole.
  • 1480 Ivan III (the Great) ejects Mongol Tatars, freeing Russia from "the Mongol Yoke."
  • 1547 Ivan IV (The Terrible) named first czar of all Russians.
  • 1605-13 "Time of Troubles."
  • 1613 Mikhail Romanov crowned czar.
  • 1703 Peter the Great founds St. Petersburg, and later moves the capital there from Moscow.
  • 1755 Russia's first university, Moscow University, established.
  • 1780s Catherine the Great expands Russian lands to Crimea, Georgia, deeper into Siberia.
  • 1805-07 First war with Napoleon.
  • 1812 Napoleon reaches Moscow but leaves in defeat.
  • 1814 Triumphant Russians reach Paris.
  • 1825 Decembrist uprising by progressive generals quashed by Nicholas I.
  • 1853-56 Crimean War pits Russia against Britain, France, and Turkey.
  • 1850s Caucasus Wars end with Russian armies subduing Chechnya and other mountain regions.
  • 1861 Czar Alexander II abolishes serfdom.
  • 1881 Czar Alexander II assassinated by revolutionary.
  • 1880s-1903 Series of pogroms against Russian Jews.
  • 1904-05 War with Japan.
  • 1905 Striking workers revolt, forcing czar to allow first elected parliament.
  • 1914 Russia joins World War I against Germany; St. Petersburg residents change the city's name to the less-German-sounding Petrograd.
  • 1916 Royal favorite Rasputin murdered.
  • 1917 February Revolution; Czar Nicholas II abdicates; in October, Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks storm St. Petersburg's Winter Palace and depose provisional government.
  • 1917-19 Civil war ravages Russia, ending in victory for Lenin; capital is moved back to Moscow.
  • 1922 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) officially founded, eventually growing to 15 republics.
  • 1924 Death of Lenin.
  • 1930s Stalin's collectivization kills millions; purges of party and military leadership take place.
  • 1939 Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact divides eastern Europe into spheres of influence.
  • 1941 Hitler's army invades the Soviet Union; Nazi siege of Leningrad begins, lasting 900 days.
  • 1943 Battle at Stalingrad proves turning point in World War II.
  • 1945 Soviet army liberates Auschwitz; Hitler defeated; war ends; Yalta conference.
  • 1948 Soviets develop atomic bomb.
  • 1953 Death of Stalin.
  • 1956 Nikita Khrushchev denounces Stalin's policies in a secret Politburo speech; Hungarian uprising crushed.
  • 1961 Soviets send first man into space (Yuri Gagarin); Berlin Wall built.
  • 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • 1968 "Prague Spring" quashed by Soviet troops.
  • 1979 Soviet forces invade Afghanistan; war against U.S.-funded Islamic guerrillas lasts 10 years.
  • 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party; launches glasnost and perestroika.
  • 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor explodes in world's worst nuclear accident.
  • 1989 Berlin Wall falls.
  • 1990 Baltic states declare independence; Boris Yeltsin elected president of the Russian Federation, the biggest Soviet republic.
  • 1991 Hard-liners attempt a coup against Gorbachev but fail; Leningrad residents vote to change the city's name back to St. Petersburg; Yeltsin and the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus declare the USSR defunct; Gorbachev resigns.
  • 1993 Opposition lawmakers revolt against Yeltsin, who attacks them with tanks.
  • 1994 Yeltsin sends troops into Chechnya to quash rebellion; 20 months later, Russian troops withdraw in humiliation and Chechnya enjoys semiautonomy.
  • 1998 Russia's reviving economy hit by global financial crisis; government defaults on debt and ruble crashes.
  • 1999 Russian army reenters Chechnya and remains there today.
  • Dec. 31, 1999 Yeltsin unexpectedly resigns, appointing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin his successor.
  • 2000 Putin easily wins election.
  • 2004 Putin easily wins reelection.
  • 2006 Critical journalist Anna Politkovskaya and former spy Alexander Litvinenko killed, casting shadow on Putin's Kremlin.
  • 2008 Elections for successor to Putin.

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