List of Russian Leaders in Chronological Order

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Here's a quick list of all the most important Russian leaders in chronological order either to refresh your studies of Russian history or to familiarize yourself with it in the fastest possible way.

To make is easier to digest only the most important ones are mentioned. If you see 'Yadi yadi yada' written in between any two leaders, it means that in that period the country was run by someone who didn't deliver a lasting impact to the general direction in which the country was headed even before him/her or that they didn't hold that power for long enough to make much difference or to become a world famous historical personality.

Every picture has a very quick description of what that person did and what he became most famous for.

So here we go:

Count Rurik Image
Rurik (ruled 862-879). The first recorded leader of Russia or, as it was called back then, Rus'.

Yadi yadi...

Vladimir the Great Image
Vladimir the Great (ruled 980-1015). The leader that adopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity as the official state religion of Russia.

...Yada yada...

Yuri Dolgorukiy, Prince of Kiev, Image
Yuri Dolgorukiy (ruled 1149-1151). The man under whom the first recorded mentioning of the city of Moscow appears.

...yada yadi...

Alexander Nevskiy Image
Alexander Nevskiy (ruled: first half of 13th century). The man who fought Swedish teutonic knight invasion during the oppression of the country by the Mongols.

...yadi yada...

Dmitriy Donskoy Image
Dmitriy Donskoy (ruled: 1359-1389). The man who achieved the first military victory against the Mongols in 1380.

...yadi yadi...

Ivan III of Russia Image
Ivan III (ruled: 1462-1505). The man who broke the pact obliging Russia to pay tributes to the Mongols setting the country free from 200-year period of oppression and uniting all Russian lands into one country with the capital in Moscow.

...yada yada...

Ivan IV The Terrible of Russia Image
Ivan IV 'The Terrible' (ruled: 1547-1584). Grandson of Ivan III. The man who started the process of annexing Siberian lands from the Tatar-Mongol Empire while killing thousands of people around him that he suspected of treason in the process.

...yada yadi...

Boris Godunov of Russia Image
Boris Godunov (ruled: 1585-1598). A political advisor of Ivan The Terrible's son that eventually died without a successor allowing Boris to take his throne. Tried to establish a new dynasty but didn't. Led the country into a period of deep political chaos that would be used by Poland to eventually invade Russia.

...di yadi yadi yada...

Michael I of Russia Image
Michael I (ruled: 1613-1645). The first Tsar of the newly elected royal dynasty, Romanovs, that was chosen by an assembly of noble people after successful victory of Russia over Polish invaders. Grand nephew of Ivan The Terrible.

Alexis I of Russia Image
Alexis I (ruled: 1645-1676). Son of Michael I, father of Peter I.

Peter I The Great Image
Peter I 'The Great' (ruled: 1682-1725). The man who radically changed Russia by forcing upon it European fashion, architecture and lifestyle. Founded Saint Petersburg. Change the official name of the country to Russian Empire and his own official title to Emperor.

...da yada ya...

Elizabeth I of Russia Image
Elizabeth I (ruled: 1741-1762). Daughter of Peter I who didn't want to have kids and had to look for a successor among her nephews.

Peter III of Russia Image
Peter III (ruled: January 1962 - July 1962). German-born and bread nephew of Elizabeth I who she though would make a great Russian Tsar. Peter wasn't really too excited about that opportunity and, even though eventually conceded to the inevitable, preserved heavy pro-German views that gradually alienated everyone from him.

Catherine II The Great Image
Catherine II 'The Great' (ruled: 1762-1796). Wife of Peter III that was brought to him also from Germany to make him start acting like an adult. Seeing that the husband was loosing popularity by day, decided that she would make a better empress, instigated a coup against him and ruled to over 30 years having, technically, nothing to do with the Romanov bloodline.

...da yadi...

Alexander I of Russia Image
Alexander I (ruled: 1801-1825). Grandson of Catherine II. Famous for fighting Napoleon during his invasion of Russia.

Nicholas I of Russia Image
Nicholas I (ruled: 1825-1855). Youngest brother of Alexander I. Famous for being an authoritarian leader and potentially having an affair with Alexander Pushkin's wife as well as wives of half of all noblemen of that period.

Alexander II of Russia Image
Alexander II (ruled: 1855-1881). Son of Nicholas I. Famous for abolishing slavery (called here 'serfdom') in Russia and yet being assassinated afterwards by revolutionaries anyway.

Alexander III of Russia Image
Alexander III (ruled: 1881-1894). Son of Alexander II, who was really upset about his father's murder that turned him into yet another authoritarian leader for Russia. Repressions against any potential opposition and a very strong focus on nationalism.

Nicholas II of Russia Image
Nicholas II (ruled: 1894-1917). Son of Alexander III, the last Romanov Tsar. Saw a major revolution against his government at the end of the WWI. Was forced to abdicate and was imprisoned. Democratic provisional government in his stead half a year later was overthrown once again by the communists.


Vladimir Lenin Image
Vladimir Lenin (in office: 1917-1924). The leader of the revolutionary communist party called 'Bolsheviks' that eventually takes control over Russia and makes it the first officially socialist country on the planet that in 1922 takes the name of USSR.

Joseph Stalin Image
Joseph Stalin (in office: 1924-1953). Close friend of Lenin that takes power after his death. Carries through a radical program of industrialization for which labor of millions of people in toiling in forced labor camps (GULAGs) is used. Pulls the country through the WWII annexing Eastern European countries to the Soviet Union at the end of the conflict.

Nikita Khrushchev Image
Nikita Khrushchev (in office: 1953-1964). Stalin's successor that decided to 'dismantle the cult of personality of Stalin' and ordered all the statues and images of him to be removed all over the country thereby setting the course towards general liberalization of the country in the decades to come. GULAGs are oficially closed. The countyr enjoys its successes in space exploration with the first satellite and the first man there.

Leonid Brezhnev Image
Leonid Brezhnev (in office: 1964-1982). Khrushchev's successor that, essentially, played a role of a 'bad cop' (where Khrushchev was a relatively good one) turning the country slightly more towards dictatorship and leading the economy to deep stagnation.

...yada yadi...

Michael Gorbachev Image
Michael Gorbachev (in office: 1985-1991). The last leader of the USSR. Embarked on the program of radical liberalization of Soviet economy and media to solve an economic crisis. Which slightly got out of control and lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Boris Yeltsin Image
Boris Yeltsin (in office: 1992-2000). The first president of modern Russia after the dissolution of the USSR. Lead the country through a tough period of wild west capitalism that had devastating consequences to Russian economy and well-being of an average Russian citizen.

Vladimir Putin 2000 Image
Vladimir Putin (rule: 2000-2008). A very much unknown KGB officer, who through the efforts of big money and some backdoor shenanigans was trampolined to the post of the President from out of nowhere with the hope of making a good puppet president. Something that he turned out to be pretty bad at kicking all political opposition to Siberia of out of the country and imposing his own vision of the future upon Russia, according to which the greatness of the country was to be restored at any cost.

Vladimir Putin 2018 Image
Vladimir Putin (reign: 2012-2024). Around 2010 people started joking saying, 'Imagine that Putin switched places with his Prime-Minister friend just to circumvent constitution's presidential term limitations and is planning to return back in 2012? - Ha-ha... yeah, that would be crazy'. Putin, apparently, heard that and decided, 'Imagine how fun would it be if I actually do?' And... he did. On this picture you can see him kind of incidentally telling us all, 'I did it for LULZ!'

And this will wrap it. Thank you for reading till the end. Please, share this article everywhere you can online if you liked it.