Timeline of Important Events in Russian History! By: Ivy Phillips The Russian Revolution. It marked the end of the reign of Czar Nicolas II. Was the beginning of communism. Stalin takes control of the Communist Party. 1917 1929 1922 The U.S.S.R. is established. Josef Stalin becomes General Secretary of the Communist Party. Stalin dies; collective leadership rules the USSR; Georgi Malenkov becomes chairman of Council of Ministers; Khrushchev becomes head of the Communist Party 1953 1939 USSR & Germany sign nonaggression pact; The two countries invade Poland, beginning WWII; USSR invades Finland. USSR and USA sign treaty to limit production of nuclear weapons because of the Cold War. Yeltsin launches free-market reforms; devaluation of ruble ensues; millions become private property owners as state-owned assets are sold off 1972 1961 Berlin Wall built; Yuri Gagarin becomes first man in space. 1992 1987 Gorbachev institutes reforms in voting, allows Soviet citizens to vote for people other than Communist Party members; Communist Party of the Soviet Union suffers minimal loss in elections, but still hold vast majority of seats 1996 Yeltsin narrowly defeats the communists in the 2nd presidential election Kaufman, Burton . "Cold War." World Book Student Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2011. <www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar 122880&st=cold+war+in+russia>. Marrin, Albert. "Joseph Stalin." World Book Student Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2011. <www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar5 28360&st=joseph+stalin+takes+over>.