Chapter 20 Section 2

Series of monarchs called czars• Comes from a variant of the title “Caesar”
(Tsar); ruled as complete absolutists
• In 1613 Romanovs began their rule and
would remain on the throne for 300 years
Peter the Great- assumes the
throne in 1694 and attempts to
• Creates the first Navy for Russia and
modernizes the army
• Implements new styles of dress and
appearance to look more European
Catherine the Great (late 1700s)
expanded Russian control farther
to west into Poland and Ukraine
• Catherine was heavily influenced by
Enlightenment leading to her
establishment of an education system
in Russia
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte
invaded Russia w/ 600,000 men
and laid siege to Moscow,
however Russia’s bitter winter and
his depleting supply lines forced
him to leave only 30,000 made it
back to France
Social structurefeudalism still remained
where servants were tied
to the land and their
owners in everyway
England freed its last serf in
1574; Russia did not abolish
serfdom until 1861
23 million serfs in Russia
when it was abolished
compared to 4 million
slaves in the United States
Increase in dissatisfaction w/ czars, defeats in WWI and severe
food shortages caused the czar to abdicate - give up his powers
• Nicholas II: wanted to retain his powers, Rasputin, “Bloody Sunday”
Revolution of 1917 - revolutionaries
inspired by the socialist ideas of Karl
Marx persuade rioters from a factory,
as well as, the military to join them
• A Provisional Government assumes authority,
but are then overthrown by the Bolsheviks
who are led by Vladimir Lenin
• Lenin issues the murder of the Romanov
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) composed of republics and
each republic had its own soviet –
governing council
Soviet Union had a command economy – controlled what was
produced and where it would be sold
• Famine strikes when grain quotas are too much to fill (3-4 million people starve)
Life was hard under communist regime – Joseph Stalin assumes
control after Lenin
• Fear tactics used to keep citizens faithful to the party; purges all over the union to rid
those not committed to Stalin
• In 1937, 71 of the 85 commanding officers of the military are killed or sent to Gulags
Agriculture – land is organized into state farms where workers
collectively work together and share the land
International Conflicts- June 1941 German troops attacked Soviet
• Even though the Soviet Union had an initial pact with Nazi Germany, Hitler still
planned a three pronged attack (Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad)
• Harsh winter and the Red Army going on the offensive at Stalingrad lead to their first
victory of the war; they continue on the offensive all the way into Berlin
Cold War – period after WWII
• The Soviet Union establishes their “sphere of influence” over much of Western
Europe including East Germany; created an east vs. west (capitalists vs.
• Competed for power w/ U.S.- nearly came to nuclear war during 1960s, and
End of Communist Rule
• 1980s new leader, Mikhail Gorbachev began radical reforms- policy of
• glasnost- “openess” wanted to hear the people and report to them issues
facing the union, although Chernobyl goes for two weeks without being
reported by the government
• Perestroika- the gradual change from the command system to private
• 1991 Russia participated in first democratic election
• Elected Boris Yeltsin as president
• In 2000 Vladimir Putin became president