Rulers of Russia Since 1533
The Tsars and Emperors of All the Russias (and their successors)
The oldest known royalty in Russia were the Rurik dynasty who ruled the Kievan Rus, a kingdom of Norse and Russian people centered on Kiev.
The country of Russia, as we know it today, took form in the late 1400s in the Grand Duchy of Muscovy (Moscow). Muscovy was an autonomous state that ran independently, at a time when most of Russia was conquered by the Mongol Golden Horde. Its rulers, Grand Dukes Ivan I through Ivan III, started out as enforcers and tax collectors for the Horde--some say that Ivan III was the wealthiest man in all of Europe. They used their wealth and influence to overthrow the Tatars (and other Russian states like the Novgorod Republic). They consolidated the former Tatar territory by cracking down on dissent and taking away the powers of the boyars, the local nobility.
Through the reign of Ivan III, the rulers of Russia were called the Grand Princes. Upon the rise of Ivan the Terrible, they took the title Tsar of All the Russias (Tsar or Czar coming from Caesar). The Russias in the name refer to different ethnic Russian regions, today usually equated with Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. We've listed all of the rulers beginning with the first Tsar.
We've also included the Time of Troubles in the list, despite it not being a ruler. The Time of Troubles was a period where the rule of Russia was interrupted, and Catholic Poland-Lithuania had a puppet ruler installed instead. This ended with the execution of the Polish sponsored royal family, and the rise of the Romanov dynasty.
Tsardom of Russia
|Ivan IV the Terrible||1533–1584||1530|
|Basil IV Shuiski||1606–16103||?|
|“Time of Troubles”||1610–1613||—|
After Russia's victory against Sweden in the Great Northern War, Peter the Great adopted the title of Emperor. Peter was greatly concerned with modernizing Russia, and raising its cultural prestige--at the time, despite its strength, Russia was seen as a fairly backwater country. This marked a turning point in the art and culture of Russia, and in its stark class divides. The most glaring gap between Russia and the rest of imperial Europe was the continued use of serfs, which had been abolished elsewhere by Napoleon.
|Peter I the Great4||1682–1725||1672|
|Catherine II the Great||1762–1796||1729|
After the overthrow of the Tsar in the February Revolution, there was a short-lived government put in place that tried to transition the country to Western liberal democracy. The government was crushed beneath accusations of corruption and greed, and was swiftly overthrown in the October Revolution.
|PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT (PREMIERS)|
|Prince Georgi Lvov||1917–1917||1861|
Political Leaders of the USSR
Many political groups, especially the Communist-aligned Bolshevik party, fought for control after the fall of the Tsar. The Bolsheviks succeeded, and created the Soviet Union. This marks a distinct break in Russian history in terms of size, policies, and global politics. The USSR would become one of the world's two superpowers, counter to the United States.
|POLITICAL LEADERS OF USSR|
|Vladimir Ilyich Lenin||1917–1924||1870|
|Georgi M. Malenkov||1953–1955||1902|
|Nikolai A. Bulganin||1955–1958||1895|
|Nikita S. Khrushchev||1958–1964||1894|
|Leonid I. Brezhnev||1964–1982||1906|
|Yuri V. Andropov||1982–1984||1914|
|Konstantin U. Chernenko||1984–1985||1912|
|Mikhail S. Gorbachev||1985–1991||1931|
Presidents of Russia
Although the USSR was dissolved nearly thirty years ago, there have only been 3 presidents. Boris Yeltsin, the first, and Vladimir Putin. Putin left office in 2008 due to term limits, but resumed his presidency after one term leading the legislature. His presidency is expected to continue for several more years.
|PRESIDENTS OF RUSSIA|