A time-line of the Russian Revolution

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(Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi)


See the timeline of Russia for the events preceding the revolution

TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
Feb 1917: Strikes and riots in St Petersburg, and mutiny of soldiers
March 1917: Bending to riots by women, striking workers and defecting soldiers, tsar Nicholas II abdicates, thereby ending the Romanov dynasty ("february revolution")
March 1917: The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' Deputies is formed
April 1917: Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik party in exile, returns to Petrograd
May 1917: Leon Trotsky returns to Petrograd from exile
June 1917: The Bolsheviks win the majority in the Petrograd soviet
July 1917: Aleksandr Kerensky is appointed by the Duma as prime minister of the provisional government
September 1917: The Bolsheviks win the majority in the Petrograd soviet and Trotsky is appointed chairman of the Petrograd Soviet
September 1917: The Duma declares Russia a republic
October 1917: Russia recognizes Poland's independence
November 1917: Bolsheviks overthrow the Kerensky government and install Lenin as leader of Russia ("october revolution") against the will of the Mensheviks and of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries (only two communists oppose Lenin's coup: Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev)
November 1917: The elections for the Constituent Assembly are won by the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries (40% against 24% for the Bolsheviks)
November 1917: Ukraine declares its independence from Russia
Nov 1917: Muslims declare Turkestan independent
Nov 1917: Vasily Bellavin, "Tikhon", is elected patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church
December 1917: Lenin creates the secret police Cheka under the command of Feliks Dzerzinisky
December 1917: Lithuania declares independence
December 1917: Finland declares its independence from Russia
December 1917: The Bolshevik government deprive the Cossacks of their special status
1918: Nestor Makhno forms the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine or "Anarchist Black Army"
January 1918: Poland declares war on Bolshevik Russia
January 1918: Lenin dissolves the Constituent Assembly and declares the separation of state and church
February 1918: Russia adopts the Gregorian calendar
February 1918: Estonia, supported by Germany, declares its independence from Russia
February 1918: The Transcaucasian Federation (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbajan) declares its independence from Russia
Feb 1918: Russia reconquers Turkestan
March 1918: Britain invades Murmansk with Lenin's approval, later joined by troops from the USA, France and Serbia
March 1918: Menshevik leader Julius Martov publishes an article exposing the Bolsheviks as ordinary criminals
March 1918: The Cossacks led by Ataman Krasnov join Denikin's "White Army" in the Don
March 1918: Lenin changes the name of the Bolshevik party to Russian Communist Party
March 1918: Russia moves the capital from Petrograd to Moskow
March 1918: The Bolshevik government signs a peace treaty (Brest-Litovsk treaty) with Germany and accepts territorial losses, while Germany accepts to grant independence to the conquered lands of Poland, Ukraine, and Baltic regions
March 1918: Trotsky is appointed head of the "Red Army"
March 1918: Belarus, backed by Germany, declares independence
April 1918: Lenin orders the secret police to arrest and/or kill the anarchists
April 1918: Germany invades Finland and installs a White government that kills and imprisons thousands of Reds
April 1918: Britain and Japan invade Vladivostok
April 1918: Germany installs a friendly government in Ukraine
May 1918: The Czechoslovak legion revolts against the Bolshevik government
May 1918: Lenin dispatches Joseph Stalin to the Lower Volga region, and Stalin orders the execution of many former Tsarist officers in the Red Army
May 1918: the Transcaucasian Federation collapses and Georgia (a multiparty democracy ruled by Mensheviks and allied with Germany), Armenia (that has not been independent since 1375) and Azerbaijan (that had never been independent and allied with Britain), proclaim their independence
May 1918: Germany invades Rostov
May 1918: Pyotr Krasnov declares an independent republic in the Don with help from Germany
May 1918: Lenin expels opposition parties from the Central Executive Committee
June 1918: The Bolshevik government introduces a policy of food requisition and peasant revolts break out throughout Russia
June 1918: The Bolshevik government nationalizes all large industry
July 1918: Nicholas II, his wife and their children are killed by the secret police of the Bolsheviks
July 1918: The Soviet Union enacts a constitution according to which only workers, peasants and soldiers can vote for the soviets, whereas propertied classes, tsarists, nationalists, priests are de facto banned from politics
August 1918: Lenin orders the execution of hostages in villages that do not deliver grain
August 1918: USA troops invade Vladivostok to help the British contingent
August 1918: Lenin institutes the first concentration camp in the province of Penza
September 1918: Following the assassination of the head of the Cheka, Mikhail Uritskii, the Bolshevik government issues the decree "On Red Terror" and 10,000 people are executed in the first month
Sep 1918: Azerbaijanis kill tens of thousands of Armenians
September 1918: Turkey invades Azerbaijan
November 1918: Bela Kun founds the Hungarian Communist Party
November 1918: Bela Kun founds the Greek Communist Party (later renamed KKE)
November 1918: The Red Army invades Estonia to install a communist government
November 1918: World War I ends with the defeat of Germany, Austria and Turkey, Germany withdraws its soldiers from Ukraine, Turkey withdraws from Azerbaijan, but Britain occupies Azerbaijan and France the Black Sea coast of Ukraine
December 1918: The Bolsheviks only control the province of Muscovy, surrounded by Anton Denikin's "White Army" in the Don (allied with the Cossacks of Ataman Krasnov), by Kolchak's "White Army" in the northwest, by the Ukrainian army in the west (allied with the Germans) and by Czechoslovak legion along the Trans-Siberian railway in the east
December 1918: Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht found the German Communist Party (KPD)
1918: Lenin nationalizes the factories, collectivizes the farms and outlaws the church
January 1919: The Bolshevik government enacts a policy of extermination of the Cossacks (8,000 are executed in the next two months)
January 1919: The Bolshevik troops are repelled by Estonia
January 1919: The KPD starts an insurrection in Berlin
February 1919: The Soviet Union arrests Maria Spiridonova, leader of a peasant revolt
March 1919: The Cheka begins persecuting the Social Revolutionaries
March 1919: The first congress of the Third International convenes in Moscow
March 1919: A peasant army carries out a two-month insurrection in the provinces of Samara and Simbirsk (5,000 rebels are killed)
March 1919: Strikes all over Bolshevik-controlled territory, notably in Astrakhan (4,000 strikers killed)
March 1919: Bela Kun's Communist Party seizes power in Hungary
March 1919: The Comintern (or "Third International") is founded in Moscow with Grigorii Zinoviev as chairman, with the aim of spreading the revolution all over the world
April 1919: More than 200 peasant revolts rock Russia
April 1919: The KPD starts an insurrection in Munich
April 1919: The Yugoslav Communist Party is founded and joins the Comintern
May 1919: The Bolshevik government orders the creation of a concentration camp in each province
July 1919: The "White Army" carries out pogroms in Ukraine that kill 150,000 people in six months
August 1919: Bela Kun's Communist Party loses power in Hungary
December 1919: China invades Mongolia
November 1919: Britain withdraws from Russia
December 1919: The Cheka has arrested 500,000 deserters in 1919
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January 1920: Strikes spread throughout Russia
January 1920: Most European governments lift sanctions against Russia and open trade
February 1920: The Bolsheviks reconquer Ukraine
February 1920: The Bolsheviks complete the occupation of Cossack lands
February 1920: The "Pitchfork Rebellion" rages for two months from the Volga to the Urals
February 1920: The Bolshevik government recognizes the independence of Estonia with the treaty of Tartu
April 1920: Poland and Ukraine ally to fight Russia
April 1920: The USA leaves Vladivostok
April 1920: The Soviet Union reconquers Azerbaijan
April 1920: Poland invades Russia
June 1920: The Kholmogory concentration camp under the command of Mikhail Kedrov begins drowning political prisoners en masse
August 1920: Peasant insurrection in Tambov, the largest ever, led by Aleksandr Antonov
August 1920: Poland (Jozef Pilsudski) defeats the Soviet army at the Battle of Warszaw
September 1920: The Soviet Union reconquers the Bukhara khanate (western Uzbekistan)
September 1920: Martov feels to Germany
November 1920: The Soviet Union reconquers Turkestan (Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) defeating the army of Islamic volunteers led by Enver Pasha
Nov 1920: The British evacuate the Crimea and 150 thousand Russian refugees flee to British-controlled Istanbul
December 1920: The Soviet army finishes off the White Army in the Crimea (50,000 are killed)
December 1920: The Soviet Union reconquers Armenia, whose independence has lasted only two years, expelling Turkey that is trying to invade
December 1920: More than 300,000 Cossacks are expelled from their lands in 1920
December 1920: The ruble has lost 96% of its pre-war value
December 1920: The Cheka has arrested 800,000 deserters in 1919
December 1920: Industrial production has fallen to 10% of its 1913 level
December 1920: The Cheka is 15 times bigger than the Tsarist secret police by 1920 (250,000 people) and has already administered 50,000 death sentences
December 1920: The French communist party is founded (SFIC, later renamed PCF)
1921: The civil war ends with Lenin's victory (millions have died of starvation, the population of Petrograd has dropped from 2.5 million in 1917 to 0.6 in 1920)
January 1921: Peasants revolt in western Siberia
January 1921: Palmiro Togliatti and others found the Italian Communist Party (PCI)
February 1921: The mortality rate increases dramatically due to a famine largely caused by government requisitions of food
Feb 1921: Peasant riots and worker strikes spread in the Soviet Union
February 1921: The Soviet Union reconquers Georgia and Lavrenti Beria is appointed in charge of the Cheka to suppress the nationalists
February 1921: Remnants of the "White Army" help Mongolia repel the Chinese invasion
February 1921: Demonstrating workers clash with police in both Moscow and Petrograd demanding the end of the Bolshevik dictatorship and free elections (thousands are arrested by the Cheka)
February 1921: Dzerzinisky orders the immediate arrest of all anarchists, Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries
Mar 1921: following the insurrection of sailors at Kronstadt, Lenin enacts the New Economic Policy (NEP)
March 1921: Under the peace treaty of Riga, Poland annexes western Ukraine and western Belarus
March 1921: Britain and the Soviet Union sign a trade agreement that reopens foreign trade
March 1921: The Comintern engineers a communist revolt in Saxony, Germany
March 1921: Sailors at Kronstadt stage an insurrection that the Cheka quells killing thousands
March 1921: Lenin enacts the New Economic Policy
May 1921: Soviet troops led by general Tukhachevsky end the Tambov insurrection using poison gas to exterminate the rebels
June 1921: To increase production, the Coal Ministry orders the expulsion from mining villages of anyone not working in the mines
July 1921: While the famine is killing millions, Lenin orders to bolster food requisitions
August 1921: The Red Army defeats Makhno's Black Army and Makhno goes into exile
Aug 1921: Persecuted by the authorities, the poet Blok dies
September 1921: 70,000 people are held in concentration camps
November 1921: The Partido Comunista de Espana is founded
December 1921: Dzerzinisky is sent to Siberia as a plenipotentiary to collect taxes
December 1921: The Soviet Union reconquers Dagestan
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February 1922: The Soviet government orders the confiscation of valuables from churches
February 1922: The Cheka is abolished and replaced by the GPU
March 1922: Soviet troops shoot on crowds of church supporters
March 1922: Lenin cracks down on dissent within the Communist Party during the 11th party congress
April 1922: Stalin is appointed general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
May 1922: The Soviet government establishes a special commission to identify intellectuals to be arrested or expelled
May 1922: Lenin suffers the first of three strokes
June 1922: A new penal code allows the Soviet government to quickly dispose of political dissidents
June 1922: In a large public trial leaders of the Social Revolutionaries are forced to "confess"
August 1922: The Bolsheviks find and kill Enver Pasha
December 1922: The Soviet Union is created by uniting Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbajan) with the right of any republic to declare independence
December 1922: Five million people have died during two years of famine, mostly in the lower Volga
December 1922: The anti-religious campaign has killed 2691 priests, 1962 monks and 3447 nuns in 1922
March 1923: Lenin suffers a third stroke and is de facto removed from power, opening a power struggle
April 1923: Stalin speaks out against the right of republics to declare independence
July 1923: The concentration camp of Solovetski is inaugurated on the White Sea
October 1923: The Comintern engineers a communist revolt in Hamburg, Germany
January 1924: Lenin dies and is succeeded by the triumvirate of Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev
January 1924: The Soviet Union establishes the autonomous Volga German Republic, mainly populated by ethnic Germans
January 1924: The Communist Party denounces Trotsky and his ideology
February 1924: Petrograd is renamed Leningrad
August 1924: More than 10,000 people are killed in an uprising in Georgia
October 1924: Trotsky reveals that Zinoviev and Kamenev opposed the "October Revolution"
Month? 1924: The Soviet Union adopts a constitution based on the dictatorship of the proletariat
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1925: Volgograd is renamed Stalingrad
January 1925: Trotsky is forced to resign as head of the Red Army
April 1925: Nikolai Bukharin introduces the thesis of "Socialism in One Country" that is adopted by Stalin against Trotsky's "Permanent Revolution"
April 1925: A terrorist attack by Bulgarian communists blows up the Cathedral of Sofia and kills 140 dignitaries
August 1925: Thousands of people are killed in an uprising in Chechnya
Nov 1925: The poet Esenin commits suicide
December 1925: Kamenev demands that Stalin be fired from the position of general secretary
January 1926: Italian communist leader Palmiro Togliatti is forced into a Russian exile by Mussolini
July 1926: Zinoviev and Kamenev form the "United Opposition" against Stalin, who forms an alliance Nikolai Bukharin and Alexei Rykov, while Trotsky remains neutral
July 1926: Dzerzinisky dies
September 1927: The Soviet Union launches a compaign of eradication of Islam
November 1927: Trotsky and Zinoviev are expelled from the Communist Party
December 1927: Kamenev is expelled from the Communist Party
January 1928: Trotsky is exiled to Alma Aty
January 1928: Stalin launches a new persecution of kulaks (the second "peasant war") that causes more than one thousand riots in two years
Mar 1928: Stalin launches a class war against enemies of the Communist Party
April 1928: Industrial managers of Shakhty are arrested and publicly tried in the first show trial since the 1922 trial of the Social Revolutionaries, the beginning of a purge of "specialists" (engineers, technicians, professors) accused of "sabotage"
May 1928: Engineers are put on trial, accused of sabotage
December 1928: The Solovetski concentration camp has 38,000 prisoners while new camps have been established in the region
February 1929: Bukharin attacks Stalin but loses, while Trotsky is deported to Turkey
April 1929: The Soviet Union launches the first Five-Year Plan for rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union
June 1929: All prisoners condemned to more than three years of prison are sent to work camps
April 1929: The Soviet Union announces a plan of "mass collectivization"
April 1929: The government begins an anti-religious campaign
August 1929: The government institutes a six-day week (five days of work and one of rest) to disrupt sunday's mass
October 1929: The Pravda calls for "total collectivization", signaling the definitive end of the NEP
November 1929: Stalin calls for full collectivization and orders the persecution of "kulaks" (rich farmers), a campaign that will cause the deportation of 15 million peasants to the Arctic regions and the death of 6.5 million peasants
December 1929: 1,778,000 people are convicted of crimes in 1929
Dec 1929: Stalin orders the persecution of "kulaks" (capitalist farmers), 15 million peasants are deported to the Arctic regions and 6.5 million die
Dec 1929: The Soviet Union's industrial production passes the 1913 record
January 1930: Peasants stage more than 400 peasant revolts against collectivization (mostly Western Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Northern Caucasus)
January 1930: A purge of engineers begins in the Donbass (by June 1931 almost half of all engineers are fired)
January 1930: The government launches a campaign against entrepreneurs
February 1930: Peasants stage more than 1,000 peasant revolts against collectivization and more than 20,000 people are arrested in the Ukraine alone
March 1930: Peasants stage more than 6,500 peasant revolts against collectivization with thousands of people killed
March 1930: Another uprising in Chechnya is repressed by the NKVD
April 1930: The GPU establishes the "GULAG" (Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies) to handle prisoners in labor camps
June 1930: Maurice Thorez is elected leader of the French Communist Party
July 1930: The Gulag manages 140,000 prisoners
July 1930: Maxim Litvinov, a Jew, becomes foreign minister
August 1930: The GPU launches a wave of arrests of "specialists" accused of "sabotage" (i.e., criticism of the Five Year Plan), claiming conspiracies by a Peasant Workers' Party led by physicist Nikolai Kondratyev and by an Industrial Party led by physicist Leonid Ramzin
September 1930: 48 civil servants are executed for "sabotage" after a show trial
December 1930: Stalin dismisses prime minister Rykov and replaces him with Molotov
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1930: More than 20,000 people are sentenced to death in the Soviet Union in 1930
1930: 1.8 million peasants are deported in 1930-31, about 300,000 die and more than 100,000 are used in labor camps to contribute to the economy (railways, canals, mines, construction...)
March 1931: The Andreev commission is put in charge of rationalizing the system of "work colonies" (labor camps)
June 1931: Stalin denounces equality of wage and skilled worker get higher wages
November 1931: Work begins on the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal (Belomorkanal), the first major project that employed forced labor (the 100,000 prisoners of the Belbaltlag camp)
December 1931: The Soviet government destroys the Christ the Savior Cathedral
December 1931: The Soviet government requests 41% of agricultural production in Ukraine, 47% in Northern Caucasus and 49.5% in Kazakhstan
1932: One million people in Kazakhstan die of famine (caused by forced collectivization), and two million emigrated (1.5 million to China and 500,000 to Central Asia)
1932: The Dneprostroi hydroelectric power station on the Dnieper River begins working
1932: Since 1929 the police have deported 540,000 kulaks to the Urals, 375,000 to Siberia, 200,000 to Kazakhstan, 130,000 to the Arctic regions
March 1932: Jose Diaz is elected leader of the Spanish Communist Party and adopts the Stalinist ideology
April 1932: The Sevvostlag camp is set up to provide workforce for the Kolyma region
April 1932: A third uprising in Chechnya is repressed by the NKVD
September 1932: Work on the Moskow-Volga Canal starts, employing forced labor
October 1932: A commission led by Vyacheslav Molotov travels to Ukraine and Northern Caucasus to speed up the process of requisition of agricultural products
November 1932: The Molotov commission launches a campaign against "saboteurs" in the Northern Caucasus and Ukraine (tens of thousands are deported)
December 1932: The domestic passport is introduced and a number of cities are declared "closed" (Moskow, Leningrad, Kiev, Odessa, Minsk, Kharkiv, Rostov, Vladivostok)
December 1932: Britain cuts off trade with the Soviet Union, accused of dumping cheap goods during the recession
1932: The GPU hands down 240,000 convictions in 1932
January 1933: Mass starvation in Ukraine ("Holodomor") caused by Stalin's forced collectivization kills five million people in 1933
January 1933: Stalin orders that people be forbidden to leave the areas affected by the famine
June 1933: At least 203,000 people are held in labor camps in Siberia
June 1933: Mass deportation of Gypsies from Moskow to Siberian work colonies
July 1933: City dwellers are rounded up and deported to the countryside to help with the harvest
August 1933: The White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal (Belomorkanal) is inaugurated (it cost the lives of more than 10,000 Gulag prisoners)
November 1933: The USA recognizes the Soviet Union
May 1934: The Soviet Union establishes the Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan near the border with China
July 1934: The GPU is renamed NKVD and the Gulag is reorganized
October 1934: The Soviet Union joins the League of Nations
December 1934: Stalin's collaborator Sergey Kirov is assassinated and blame is placed on Trotsky, prompting Stalin to begin the "Great Terror" to annihilate the Communist Party's left and right wings, led respectively by Leon Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin
December 1934: More than 500,000 people are held in the Gulag
January 1935: Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev are arrested, tried, forced to confess "moral complicity" in the Kirov assassination and sent to prison
January 1935: The Gulag of the GPU contains 965,000 prisoners and each camp is assigned to some economic tasks (Solovetski's 45,000 prisoners provide wood, Ukhpechlag's 51,000 prisoners extract coal and oil, Western Siberia's 63,000 prisoners work in the mines of Kuzbassugol, Steplag's 30,000 prisoners in Kazakhstan cultivate the steppes, Dmitlag's 196,000 prisoners build the canal from Moskow to the Volga, Sevvostlag's 36,000 prisoners extract gold in Kolyma)
January 1935: Work begins on the Baikal-Amur Magistral railroad, employing the 150,000 prisoners of the Bamlag camp
March 1935: 10,000 Finns are deported from Karelia to Siberia and Kazakhstan
April 1935: The NKVD rounds up street kids and deports them to work colonies (more than 150,000 between 1935 and 1939)
May 1935: The Moskow subway is inaugurated
June 1935: The Norilsk camp is set up to provide the labor force for a nickel production center in the Arctic Circle
August 1935: the miner Aleksej Stakanov becomes a Soviet hero for his amazing productivity (he extracts 102 tons of coal in 5h45')
November 1935: The "Conference of the Avantgarde Worker" endorses Stakhanovism
December 1935: The Gulag has 800,000 prisoners in camps and 300,000 in colonies
1935: The GPU hands down 267,000 convictions in 1935
January 1936: Stalin criticizes avantgarde art
1936: Isay Berg invents the "gas van", a mobile gas-chamber
February 1936: The Popular Front, comprising the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), wins the elections in Spain
April 1936: 50,000 Poles and Germans are deported from Ukraine to Kazakhstan
April 1936: Only 17 thousand priests are left of the 112,000 who operated in 1914
June 1936: More than 14,000 industrial manages are arrested for sabotage in the first half of 1936 alone
July 1936: The fascists under Francisco Franco start a civil war against the Popular Front in Spain
August 1936: Accused of a conspiracy led by Leon Trotsky against the Soviet government, Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev are executed ("Trial of the Sixteen")
August 1936: The Soviet Union helps organize "International Brigades" to fight in Spain against Franco
September 1936: Nikolai Yezhov/Ezhov becomes the head of the NKVD (secret police) at the peak of the Great Terror
September 1936: The Soviet Union decides to send military aid and advisers (more than 2,000) to help the communists in Spain
1936: The GPU hands down 274,000 convictions in 1936
January 1937: Trotsky moves to Mexico
March 1937: Stalin launches a campaign against "deviationism" that leads to the arrest of thousands of intellectuals (including scientists such as Andrei Tupolev and Sergei Korolev and writers such as Isaac Babel and Osip Mandelstam)
April 1937: Georgy Malenkov, the deputy to Nikolai Ezhov in the NKVD, launches a campaign to finish off both the Christian and Islamic infrastructures
May 1937: More than 170,000 Koreans are deported to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan from may to october
May 1937: Stalin begins the purge of the Red Army (in 18 months 3 out of 5 marshals, 13 out of 15 army generals, 8 out of 9 admirals and a total of 35,000 officers are liquidated) including national hero Tukhachevsky
May 1937: Communist agents instigated by the NKVD (renamed Grupo de Informacion) under the command of Alfredo Hertz assassinate political enemies of the Left (POUM) in Spain
June 1937: Trial of Red Army generals, including general Mikhail Tukhachevsky
June 1937: The leader of the Polish Communist Party, Julian Lenski, is liquidated in Moskow
June 1937: Hungarian communist leader Bela Kun is accused of Trotskyism and deported to the Gulag (and later executed)
July 1937: Stalin orders the immediate arrest of all kulaks with quotas for each region of how many must be deported and how many executed (260,000 are arrested and 73,000 executed in the next four months and in the following months the quotas are increased)
July 1937: The Moskow-Volga Canal is inaugurated
July 1937: Purges of local party officials are carried out by Andrei Zdanov (Leningrad, Tatarstan, etc), Nikita Krushev (Ukraine), Andreev (Northern Caucasus), etc
July 1937: Trotskyist agent Rudolf Klement is liquidated in France
August 1937: Stalin orders the liquidation of several ethnic groups (Germans, Poles, Japanese, Finns, etc)
September 1937: Trotskyist agent Ignaz Reiss is liquidated in Switzerland
November 1937: Stalin orders a great purge of the Polish communist party
December 1937: 285,000 Greeks living in Russian cities are deported to Siberia and to the north
March 1938: Bukharin and Rykov are tried, forced to confess and executed in a show trial ("Trial of the Twenty One")
1938: More than 90,000 people die in labor camps that now count 1,360,000 prisoners
1938: Krushev is appointed first secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party
1938: Almost 700,000 people have been executed by the state in just two years
September 1938: Trotsky founds the Fourth International
November 1938: Lavrenti Beria replaces Nikolai Ezhov as head of the secret police (NKVD), an event that ends the "Great Terror" (1.5 million people have been arrested in two years, 680 thousand have been executed, and more than 100 thousand have died in camps)
March 1939: The Popular Front loses the civil war in Spain
March 1939: End of the Great Terror
May 1939: A border incident triggers the battle of Khalkin Gol between the Soviet Union and Japan
May 1939: Litvinov is replaced by Molotov as foreign minister
August 1939: Led by general Georgy Zhukov, the Soviet Union defeats Japan in the battle of Khalkin Gol
August 1939: The Soviet Union and Germany sign a non-aggression pact including the partition of Poland (and assigns Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Romania's Bessarabia to the Soviet Union, and Lithuania to Germany)
September 1939: Germany invades Poland and starts World War II
September 1939: The Soviet Union invades Poland a few days after Germany and annexes the territories lost in 1921 (12 million Belarussians, Ukrainians and Poles)
September 1939: The Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine triggers a Ukrainian war of resistance led by the OUN
October 1939: The Soviet Union invades Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
November 1939: The Soviet Union invades Finland
December 1939: The Gulag has 1.3 million prisoners in camps and 350,000 in colonies (Bamlag is the largest camp with 260,000 prisoners)
December 1939: According to the census, there are 1.4 million Germans living in the Soviet Union
January 1940: The Gulag contains 1,670,000 prisoners distributed in 53 camps and 425 colonies
February 1940: Nikolai Ezhov is executed
February 1940: The Soviet Union begins the deportation of Poles to Siberia and Kazakhstan (381,000 by June 1941)
February 1940: Stalin arrests 570 German communists and delivers them to the Gestapo
February 1940: Stalin begins deportation of Poles to Siberia
March 1940: The Soviet Union executes 25,700 Polish nationalists ("Katyn Massacre")
March 1940: Finland surrenders to the Soviet Union
May 1940: 4400 Polish prisoners are shot in Katyn, 3896 Polish prisoners are shot in Kharkiv, 6287 Polish prisoners are shot in Kalinin, 3405 Polish prisoners are shot in Ukraine and 3880 Polish prisoners are shot in Belorussia
May 1940: Stalin appoints Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko marshall of the Soviet Union
June 1940: The Soviet Union introduces draconian work laws (including a seven-day work week)
July 1940: Only the Communist Party is allowed to present candidates at the parliamentary elections in the Baltic states
August 1940: The Soviet Union admits Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
August 1940: The Soviet Union annexes Bessarabia from Romania and splits it between Ukraine and the newly proclaimed republic of Moldova, while 43,000 people are deported from those territories
August 1940: Trotsky is assassinated in Mexico and Stalin is the only survivor of the six members of the original Politburo of the October Revolution (the other five having been executed or assassinated)
January 1941: The Gulag has 1,930,000 prisoners (the Sevvostlag camp alone has 190,309 prisoners)a, and 500,000 people from the newly acquired territories have been deported
June 1941: More than 80,000 people are deported from the Baltic states, Moldavia, Belorussia, Western Ukraine to Siberia and Kazakhstan
June 1941: Germany invades Russia (190 German divisions, 10 Romanian divisions, 9 Romanian and 4 Hungarian brigades) and immediately seizes the Baltic states
June 1941: The NKVD executes 13,000 prisoners
July 1941: Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Finland declare war on the Soviet Union
July 1941: A radio address by Stalin launches the "Great Patriotic War" against Germany
July 1941: German troops seize Smolensk
August 1941: More than 90,000 Germans and Finns are deported from the Leningrad area
September 1941: More than 440,000 Germans of the Volga Republic and other regions are deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia
September 1941: German troops seize Kiev, capital of Ukraine
October 1941: More than 100,000 Germans of the Caucasus and Crimea are deported
October 1941: German troops begin the 900-day siege of Leningrad
October 1941: The USA begins sending military aid to the Soviet Union
October 1941: The Soviet Union dismantles factories and moves them to the east
November 1941: German troops take Rostov
December 1941: After successfully defending Moskow, general Georgy Zhukov launches a counteroffensive against the Germans
December 1941: 101 thousand prisoners have died in 1941 in prison camps
December 1941: Almost 900,000 Germans have been deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia in 1941
December 1941: by the end of 1941 the Soviet Union has relocated 162 camps with 750,000 prisoners to the east
February 1942: The Greek communists set up a Liberation Army (ELAS)
March 1942: Jose Diaz is assassinated in the Soviet Union
April 1942: The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee is established
July 1942: German troops take Rostov-on-Don and occupy the Caucasus
July 1942: German troops take Sevastopol (Crimea)
July 1942: Georgy Zhukov defends Stalingrad/Volgograd from the German attack
July 1942: Taken prisoner by the Germans, general Andrei Vlasov creates an army for the liberation of Russia
December 1942: 249 thousand prisoners have died in 1941 in prison camps
February 1943: Georgy Zhukov's troops defeat the German troops at Stalingrad/Volgograd (the bloodiest battle of all times, having killed 1.5 million people in less than one year)
May 1943: The Comintern is dissolved
July 1943: The battle of Kursk is the first battle almost entirely fought by tanks
November 1943: Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet at the Tehran Conference
December 1943: Accused of collaborating with Germany, 93 thousand Kalmyks are deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kirgizstan
December 1943: Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz "Tito" founds the Liberation Army AVNOJ
December 1943: 167 thousand prisoners have died in 1941 in prison camps
January 1944: Georgy Zhukov ends the siege of Leningrad
January 1944: Soviet troops push the Germans back to the Polish border
February 1944: Accused of collaborating with Germany, 521 thousand Chechens are deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kirgizstan
April 1944: Soviet troops liberate Odessa
May 1944: Accused of collaborating with Germany, 170 thousand Tatars of Crimea are deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kirgizstan
May 1944: Soviet troops liberate Sevastopol
June 1944: Accused of collaborating with Germany, 37 thousand Bulgars, Greeks and Armenians of Crimea are deported
July 1944: Soviet troops liberate Belarus and Western Ukraine
July 1944: The Soviet re-occupation of Western Ukraine triggers a second Ukrainian war of resistance led by the OUN under Roman Shukhovic
July 1944: Accused of collaborating with Germany, 90 thousand Kurds and Turks of Georgia are deported to Kazakhstan and Kirgizstan
July 1944: Accused of collaborating with Germany, the Greeks, Bulgars, Armenians, Kurds and Turks are deported from Crimea and Caucasus to Siberia and Kazakhstan
August 1944: The Soviet Union invades Romania
September 1944: The Soviet Union invades Bulgaria and Estonia
October 1944: The Soviet Union invades Yugoslavia
November 1944: The Soviet Union invades Slovakia
November 1944: When the metropolitan of Ukraine dies, the Soviet Union forces a union of the Ukrainian church with the Russian Orthodox Church
February 1945: Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin hold a conference in Yalta
February 1945: The Soviet Union invades Hungary
January 1945: The Soviet Union invades Poland
April 1945: Georgy Zhukov captures Vienna and Berlin
May 1945: Germany surrenders after 30 million people have died on the "Eastern Front"
August 1945: The Soviet Union attacks Japan in Manchuria, taking Sakhalin and the Kuril islands
See the timeline of Russia for the events following the war
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(Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi)