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Timeline (U3)

Modern History (Year 12) - Overview of Russia

Ben Whitten

The timeline of the unit is crucial knowledge, as it can get easy to get lost in the unit regarding the timing of events. Refer to this as needed.

Revolution (1917)

22-28 February

  • Workers strike in Petrograd, kickstarting the February Revolution.

  • The Provisional Government and Petrograd Soviet form.

2 March

  • Tsar Nicholas II abdicates as leader of Russia.

3 April

  • Lenin returns to Russia and delivers his April Theses.

18 June

  • The Kerensky Offensive takes place.

24-31 August

  • The Kornilov Affair.

25 October

  • The Bolsheviks seize power in the October Revolution.

26 October

  • The Council of People’s Commissars (SOVNARKOM) is established.


  • The Extraordinary Commission against Counter-Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation (Cheka) is created.

Civil War (1918-1921)

March 1918

  • The Bolsheviks sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to end Russian involvement in WWI.

  • The Bolshevik Party is renamed the Communist Party.

  • The capital is moved from Petrograd to Moscow.

  • The Russian Civil War begins (between the Red and White Armies).


  • War Communism is introduced.

July 1918

  • The Romanovs are murdered.

August 1918

  • Assassination attempt on Lenin.

March 1921

  • The Russian Civil War ends in Red victory.

Economic Turbulence (1921-1928)

March 1921

  • The Kronstadt Rebellion.

  • The New Economic Policy is introduced.

February 1922

  • The Cheka becomes the GPU.

March 1922

  • Joseph Stalin becomes General Secretary of the Communist Party.

April 1922

  • The Treaty of Rapallo is signed with Germany.

December 1922

  • The USSR is created.

  • Lenin dictates his Political Testament.


  • Lenin dies.

  • The Bolshevik power struggle begins.

  • Stalin announces Socialism in One Country.


  • Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev are expelled from the Politburo.


Stalin expels Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky from the Politburo, becoming the sole leader of the USSR.

Stalinism (1928-1939)


  • First Five Year Plan

  • Mass collectivisation begins.


  • Stalin’s Cultural Revolution begins.


  • Famine in Ukraine kills millions.


  • Second Five Year Plan.


  • The Stalinist Constitution is created.


  • Third Five Year Plan.


  • Several old Bolsheviks (such as Bukharin and Rykov) are publicly tried and executed as part of Stalin’s Great Terror.

  • Purges and show trials are common and ongoing throughout Stalin’s rule.

World War II (1939-1945)

23 August 1939

  • Stalin signs the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with Germany.

September 1939

  • Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II.

  • Later in September, the USSR invades East Poland in line with the conditions mapped out in the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.

November 1939–March 1940

  • The Russo-Finnish War.

June 1941

  • Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.

  • Stalin joins forces with the USA and Britain to form the Grand Alliance.


  • WWII ends in Allied victory.

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