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maanantai 28. joulukuuta 2015

Kyrgyztan, Cool Facts #87

<= 86. Tajikistan                                                                                                       88. Uzbekistan =>

1. Epic of Manas

Manas is the mythical national hero of Kyrgyzstan, who allegedly united the forty tribes of Kyrgyzstan to fight against the Uyghurs and Mongols. The forty rays of sun in the flag refer to these original forty Kyrgyz tribes.

The epic of Manas is twenty times longer than Ilias and Odyssey together and two and half times longer than the Indian epic Mahabharata. The people who recite the parts of the epic are called the Manaschi and the people who remember all the half a million poetic lines are called the master-manaschi.

Epic of Manas

2. Turkestan Soviet Republic

Kyrgyzstan became a part of the Imperial Russia in 1876, when the Uzbek Khanate of Kokand was annexed to Russia and Kyrgyzstan at the same time as Kyrgyzstan was ruled by Kokand from the beginning of the 1800s. After the October Revolution in Russia a civil war erupted, which was then won by the Bolsheviks who defeated the Imperial government of Russia. 

As a result the Tsarist autocracy was dismantled and the socialists started ruling Russia. Central Asia was split into two Russian states, Kirgizistan and Turkestan, in the year 1918. Later in 1924 Turkestan was split into four separate Soviet states to relief the ethnic tension in the Turkestan area. 

Kirgizistan = current Kazakhstan
Turkestan = current Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

3. Tian Shan Mountains

The Tian Shan mountain range covers about 80% of the land in Kyrgyzstan. So only 8% of the land is cultivated and mainly in the Fergana Valley. The highest point of Kyrgyzstan is the 7439m high Jengish Chokusu peak and it's considered the northernmost peak over 7000m in the world.

The mountain lake of Issyk-Kul in the Tian Shan mountains is the second largest mountain lake in the world after Lake Titicaca.

Kyrgyzstan is the farthest country from any sea or ocean in the world.

Tian Shan mountains
Issyk-Kul lake

4. Ideal Location for Santa Claus

The Swedish engineering company Sweco calculated that the ideal spot for Santa Claus would be in Kyrgyzstan. According to the demographics of the world the distance from Kyrgyzstan to every single home in the world would be the shortest. 

Also the high elevation of Kyrgyzstan would be an advantage when the Santa Claus could easily take off with his reindeers from the high peaks of Kyrgyzstan. One peak was even named Mount Santa Claus and the government of Kyrgyzstan tried to promote tourism with this action.

5. Horseback Riding Culture 

Horseback riding is an important part of the Kyrgyz culture. There are different horseback sports in Kyrgyzstan, which are very popular there and in the other Central Asian countries.

Ulak Tartysh = two teams of riders wrestle for possession of headless goat carcass and attempt to deliver it across the opposition's goal

At Chabysh = long distance horse race, sometimes even more than 50km

Jumby Atmai = while galloping the contestants try to shoot a bar tied to a pole and break it

Kyz Kuumay = a girl gallops away as a man chases her trying to win a kiss from her, if the man isn't successful the girl can turn around and chase the man attempting to beat him with a horsewhip

Oodarysh = two contestants wrestle while riding a horse trying to throw the other one from his horse

Tyin Emmei = the contestants try to pick up a coin from the ground at full gallop

Ulak Tartysh
Kyz Kuumay


840 The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uyghur Khaganate
1207 The Kyrgyz became part of the Mongol Empire peacefully
1685 The Mongol Oirats start ruling the Kyrgyz areas
1758 The Manchu Qing Dynasty of China starts ruling the Kyrgyz areas
1800s The Uzbek Khanate of Kokand rules the Kyrgyz areas
1876 Kokand ruling the Kyrgyz areas is attached to Russia
1916 Uprising against the Russians covering the whole Central Asia. The soldiers of the Tsar defeated it by force and as a result of that one third of the Kyrgyz fled to China
1917 A civil war followed the October Revolution in Russia and after that Central Asia was split into two Soviet states Kirgizistan, later renamed as Kazakhstan and Turkestan, which included the current Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (Kara-Kyrgyzstan)
1924 Turkestan is split into four separate Soviet states of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kara-Kyrgyzstan
1930s The Basmachi national movement in Turkestan continued guerrilla war against the Soviet Union
1985 The leader of Kyrgyzstan, Turdakan Usulbalijve was fired and replaced by Absamat Masalijev
1990 Disputes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek people erupt in southern Kyrgyzstan
1991 Kyrgyzstan becomes independent and Askar Akajev the first president of Kyrgyzstan
2000 Military agreement with USA, where Kyrgyzstan promised to give USA the Bishkek airport for the US operations in Afghanistan
2005 Fraudulent parliament elections lead to the Tulip Revolutions. Kurmanbek Bakijev becomes the president as Akajev flees to Russia
2010 Bakijev is overthrown in April Revolution and Rosa Otumbajeva becomes the first female president in a Central Asian country
2012 The interim president Otumbajeva steps down like planned and Almazbek Atambayev becomes the 4th president of Kyrgyzstan


tiistai 22. joulukuuta 2015

Tajikistan, Cool Facts #86

<= 85. Belarus                                                                                                           87. Kyrgyztan =>

1. Dushanbe Flagpole

Between the years 2011-2014 Tajikistan had the world's highest flagpole. The flagpole was erected for the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan's independence. The 3,5 million dollar flagpole succeeded the Baku Flagpole as the world's tallest flagpole with a height of 165 meters.

The flag itself was 1800 square meters big and weighed 350 kg. In 2014 the Jeddah Flagpole in Saudi Arabia displaced the Dushanbe Flagpole as the tallest flagpole in the world with a height of 170 meters.

Tajiks have Persian roots, which can be in the green-white-red stripes of their flag. It's told that the word Tajik comes from the word "tajvar" crowned, so the golden crown symbolizes that fact. The number seven is the number of perfection and luck and that's why the amount of the stars is seven.

Dushanbe Flagpole

2. Tajik people

Unlike the Uzbeks, Turkmens, Kazakhs and Kirghiz the Tajiks belong to the Iranian people and not Turkic like the people in the other Central Asian countries. The Tajik language is a variety of the modern Persian. As a difference to the Iranians, Tajiks are Sunna Muslims instead of Shia.

The interesting fact is that there are large Tajik population groups in the neighboring countries, because the borders of the Soviet states didn't follow the natural borders of the different ethnic groups.

For example in Afghanistan there are between 9-12 million Tajikistanis, which means that there are more Tajikistanis in Afghanistan than in Tajikistan itself with its 6,8 million strong population.

3. Pamir and Altai Mountains

One of the world's highest mountain ranges Pamir and Altai cross Tajikistan. Hundreds of canyons split the mountains and on the bottom of them there are flowing rivers, which merge into river valleys, where the majority of the population lives.

Almost half of the Central Asian waters flow from the mountains of Tajikistan, so the water is definitely the country's most important resource. Tajikistani mountain ranges got the name the "Roof of the World" already in the Victorian times.

Pamir Mountains
Roof of the World in Tajikistan

4. Water Disputes with Uzbekistan 

Tajikistan built the world's second highest dam, Nurek, in 1972 and the constructions of an even bigger dam, Roguna, were started in the Soviet era already. The development of hydropower in Tajikistan is a threat to Uzbekistan.

The cotton production in Uzbekistan is highly dependent on its water supply and this is the cause of the dispute. Uzbekistan feels that the dams built in Tajikistan might threaten Uzbekistan's access to water supplies.

Nurek Dam, 304m

5. Afghan Heroin 

One of the hardest problem in Tajikistan is the connection to the Afghan drug production. About 33% of the GDP consists of drug trafficking. The multi-billion dollar smuggling business of heroin from Afghanistan to Russia has brought wealth to the poor country. 

Drug route through Tajikistan


330 BC Tajik areas belonged to Persia until Alexander the Great destroyed and conquered it
0-200 The Persian Sassanid Empire ruled Tajikistan
700s The Arab conquerors spread Islam to the area
1200s The Mongols conquer Tajik areas
1300s Timur Lenk aka Tamerlane created the Timurid Dynasty
1500s The Khanate of Bukhara started ruling Tajikistani areas
1700s Afghan Pashtuns expands their Empire to the Tajik areas
1868 The Bukhara Empire became a Russian protectorate
1918 Tajikistani areas in the north are occupied the Russian bolsheviks and attached to the Turkestan Soviet republic and a few years later the southern areas are attached as well when the resistance in Bukhara was suppressed
1924 Tajikistan was an autonomic part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
1929 Tajikistan became a separate Soviet Republic
1930s The Basmachi movement awoke again as the population resisted collectivization of farms
1970s Anti Russian Islamic demonstrations in Dushanbe protesting the Soviet Union intervention in Afghanistan
1985 As the opposition was allowed to operate, Islamic parties started arising
1990 Muslim nationalistic demonstrations against the conservative government
1991 Tajikistan becomes independent and Rahmon Nabijev becomes the first president
1992 The five years lasting civil war begins caused by the clan disputes, Emomali Rahmonov rises into the leader of Tajikistan
1994 Rahmonov becomes the president of Tajikistan
1997 Peace Treaty in the civil war mediated by Russia and Iran
2003 Change in constitution to allow Rahmonov participate the next two following presidential elections
2006 Rahmonov won the presidential elections overwhelmingly


perjantai 18. joulukuuta 2015

Belarus, Cool Facts #85

<= 84. Kazakhstan                                                                                                     86. Tajikistan =>

1. Belarus in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages Belarus was a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Later Lithuania and Poland formed a personal union which eventually evolved in 1569 into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Belarusian people rebelled against the Polish landowners during this time when the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a powerful state in Europe. This era ended in 1795 when Poland was partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Belarus was attached to Russia.

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1620

2. Belarussian people 

In 1860 slavery was abolished in Belarus, which caused the migration of the freed slaves to other countries to flee the poverty. In the turn of the 1900s about 1,5 million Belarusians moved abroad, mainly to USA and Siberia.

Belarus was occupied by Germany during the first world war but after the  end of the war Belarus was declared independent in 1918 but the independence didn't last long as it became a part of Russia in 1919 and later Soviet Union when it was established in 1922 between Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasia.

Belarusian traditional costumes

3. President Lukashenko 

Alexander Lukashenko has been the president of Belarus since 1994 and Belarus under his rule is described as the last dictatorship in Europe by some Western medias. Lukashenko was the only deputy to vote against independence from the Soviet Union. 

As the president Lukashenko has retained in Soviet policies, which include things like having still mostly state owned key industries refusing to privatize the economy. Lukashenko is known for suppressing his opposition to continue in power. 

Alexander Lukashenko

4. Economy of Belarus

As the majority of industries are state owned, the economy is almost totally under president Lukashenko's control. Market reforms have been conducted really slowly during the independence. 
Belarus is highly dependent from Russia, which exports cheap energy to Belarus. Agriculture, mechanical engineering and forest industry are important sectors in the Belarusian economy. The Chernobyl accident in Ukraine affected Belarus economically and caused severe health problems as well. A lot of land was abandoned as it became radioactive and that had a negative impact on agriculture.

5. Death Penalty 

Belarus is the last European country that still uses the death penalty. The human rights situation in Belarus isn't good. Political opponents are imprisoned and there is no real freedom of speech. Belarus is isolated from the outside world but Russia is one of it's few allies giving it political protection.

Countries with death penalty 2015


800s Belarusian areas become part of the Kiovan Rus, an east Slavic state ruled by the Rurikid dynasty
1200-1300 Belarusian areas become part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
1386 Lithuania and Poland formed a personal union and later in 1569 created the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
1648-54 The Belarusian people rebelled against the Polish landowners
1795 In the end of the century Poland vanished completely from the map with the partitioning of Poland by imperial Russia, Prussia and Austria. The Belarusian areas were attached to Russia
1860s Slavery abolished in Belarus, the freed slaves flee the poverty to abroad
1900s About 1,5 million Belarusians moved abroad, mainly to USA and Siberia
1910s Germany occupies Belarus during the world war
1918 After the end of the world war Belarus is declared an independent republic
1919 Bolshevik revolution spread to Belarus, which was declared as a Soviet republic eventually
1920 The current western border of Belarus was settled in the Versailles Treaty but the unsatisfied Poland started a war and forced Russia to abandon the western parts of Belarus. The Soviet Union took the area back in 1939 with the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement
1922 Belarus is one of the four founders of the Soviet Union with Russia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia
1940s During the second world war Belarus becomes occupied by Germany between 1941-1944, the country had tens of concentration camps
1945 Belarus is one of the founding members of the UN
1991 Belarus is declared independent as the Soviet Union falls, physicist Stanislav Shushkevich becomes the first president of Belarus. Stanislav made Belarus abandon nuclear weapons
1994 Shushkevich loses the elections to Aleksandr Lukashenko
1995 The flag of Belarus was changed
2001, 2006, 2010, 2015 Lukashenko re-elected 

"Maailman maat liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen

keskiviikko 9. joulukuuta 2015

Kazakhstan, Cool Facts #84

<= 83. Russia                                                                                                                   85. Belarus =>

1. Soviet Kazakhstan 

Kazakhstan was the last state to abandon the Soviet Union in 1991. Kazakhstan had the largest Russian population from the Central Asian Soviet states. Kazakhstan was the location of the space center Baikonur Cosmodrome and Soviet Union's nuclear weapons. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nursultan Nazarbaev has been the president of Kazakhstan.

There was a confusion with Kazakhstan's name in the beginning of the Soviet era. Kazakhstan was called the Kirghiz ASSR and Kyrgyztan was called Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast. Later in 1925 Kazakhstan was renamed Kazakh SSR and in 1926 Kyrgyzstan became Kirghiz ASSR. 

Nursultan Nazarbaev
Baikonur Cosmodrome
2. Ancient Kazakhstan 

Since the 500s Göktürks Turkic nomad empire flourished until the 700s in the current Kazakhstan and other countries.

Göktürk Empire, split into eastern and western parts
After the fall of the Göktürk Empire an Uyghur Empire started growing in the eastern parts of the fallen Göktürk Empire. The Uyghur Empire survived until the 1200s when the Mongols conquered it among many other areas creating the second biggest empire of all times.

Uyghus Empire
In 1456 the first Kazakh state, Kazak Khanate, was established as the Mongols lost their power in the region. Kerei Khan was the first leader of the first Kazakh state. The blue flag of Kazakh Khanate dated back to the Göktürk Empire times.

The flag of the Great Horde of Kazakhs

In 1718 the last leader of the Kazakh Khanate, Tauke Khan, died and the Empire was split into three different Khanates, called Great jüz, Middle jüz and Little jüz. At the same time Russia was expanding and in 1731 it made a protection agreement with Little jüz and later with the other two Khanates which all eventually lost their independence and were merged into Russia. Finally the Russian Tsar rejected renaming new Khans to the Khanates and in 1847 the Kazakh Khanates were disestablished by the Russian Empire.

Areas of the three jüzes 

3. World's Longest Continuous Border 

Kazakhstan and Russia have the longest continuous border between two countries with a length of 7591 km. Both of the countries are huge, Russia is overwhelmingly the biggest country in the world and Kazakhstan is the biggest landlocked country and 9th biggest in the world.

The US-Canadian border is 8891 km long which is the longest total border length of two countries. 2475km of this border is between Alaska and Canada. 

4. People of Kazakhstan 

About 63% of the population are Kazakhs 
About 23% of the population are Russians
The rest are Uzbeks, Ukrainians and Germans 

Kazakhs are a Turco-Mongolian tribe whose language hasTurkic origins and they are Moslems 

Kazakhstan was the place where German people from Ukraine, Volga and Belarus were forced to move during the second world war as well as Crimean Tatars, Koreans and other minority ethnicities 

People of Kazakhstan in traditional clothing
Kazakhstan scenery

5. Natural resources 

Kazakhstan is the richest country in Central Asia. This is largely due to Kazakhstan's vast natural resources like oil, gas and different minerals. Kazakhstan produces a lot of copper, coal and oil. It's the world's biggest uranium exporter, although some other countries have bigger uranium reserves. Kazakhstan is also one of the leading grain exporters with its 14 million hectares of wheat fields.

Kazakhstan exports


500s Göktürk Khanate ruled inner Asia
700s The Turkic Khanate is destroyed and overthrown by the Uighurs
1200s Uighur Kingdom is destroyed by the Mongol conquests
1456 The Kazakhs establish the state of Kazak Horde with Kerei Khan as their leader
1500s Kazak Horde covers the whole southern Siberia
1718 Kazak Horde splits into three Khanates after the death of Tauke Khan: Great jüz, Middle jüz and Little jüz
1731 Little jüz became a Russian protectorate being followed by the two other Khanates, which all lost their independence
1820s Russian Tsar rejected appointing new Khans to the Khanates
1840s The Kazakhs start uprising against Russia with the lead of Kenesary Khan
1847 Kenesary Khan is defeated and the Kazakhs lose the rest of their autonomy
1861 After freeing the slaves in Russia about million Russians and Ukrainians move to Kazakstan taking the grazing lands belonging to the Kazakhs
1916 Discontent against Russia escalates into a rebellion, which is suppressed violently as 150,000 people die
1917 After the Russian Revolution Alash Horde party demands for independence but Russia's White army defeats the Alash Horde
1919-20 After the civil war the Bolsheviks get the power in Russia and make Kazakhstan a part of the coming Soviet Union
1925 The country's name is changed into Kazakhstan
1930s Over million people died as the grazing lands and farms were collectivized
1986 Violent demonstrations in Alma-Ata after the Russian Gennadi Kolbin had become the leader of the Kazakh communist party
1989 Nursultan Nazarbaev replaces Kolbin as the leader
1991 Soviet Union is dissoluted and Kazakhstan becomes independent
1992 Kazakhstan got a new flag
1997 The capital city is transferred from Alma-Ata to Astana in the north
2011 Violent demonstrations in the Zanaozen oil areas in the north
2011 Kazakhstan joined a customs union with Russia and Belarus

"Maailman maat liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen 

lauantai 5. joulukuuta 2015

Russia, Cool Facts #83

<= 82. Monaco                                                                                                         84. Kazakhstan => 

1. Russian Expansion 

Russia covers nowadays 11 time zones. The most widely separated points in Russia are 8000 km apart from each other. How did Russia get so big ? It started when the Grand Duchy of Moscow started growing and annexing other areas to itself.

In 1478 Moscow annexed Novgorod Republic
In 1485 Moscow annexed the Grand Duchy of Tver

1613 After a period of political instability the Romanovs step into power, during this time the Tsardom of Russia expanded overland to the east, north and south when at the same time western European countries colonized the Americas and later Africa. Eventually the Russian Empire became the third biggest empire in the history by total area.

Russian expansion

Russian Empire in 1866

Soviet Union

2. Double-Headed Eagle 

The double-headed eagle on Russia's coat-of-arms comes originally from the Byzantium Empire, which was the Eastern Roman Empire after the partition of Rome. Constantinople fell in 1453, which meant the end for the Byzantium Empire.

Later in 1472 Russia's Grand Duke Ivan III married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI. Thus Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Byzantium Empire and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own symbol, which eventually became Russia's coat-of-arms.

Byzantine Palailogos Dynasty symbol
Russian Federation coat-of-arms

3. Russia's 160 Ethnicities 

Russia has a population of about 143 million people, the population has declined from the peak 148 million from the year 1991 when the Soviet Union fell. Over 80% of the population are ethnic Russians and the rest are other ethnicities. The biggest minorities in Russia are Tatars, Ukrainians, Bashkirs and the Chuvashes. 

The different ethnicities in one country have caused some clashes and wars before so this is why there are 22 autonomous republics out of the 85 federal districts in Russia to give the different ethnicities power to make decisions about the areas they are inhabiting. 

22 Russian Republics: 

1. Adygea
2. Altai
3. Bashkortostan
4. Buryatia
5. Dagestan
6. Ingushetia
7. Kabardino-Balkaria
8. Kalmykia
9. Karachay-Cherkessia
10. Karelia
11. Komi
12. Mari El
13. Mordovia
14. Sakha (Yakutia)
15. North Ossetia-Alania
16. Tatarstan
17. Tuva
18. Udmurtia
19. Khakassia
20. Chechnya
21. Chuvashia
22. Crimea

4. States of Soviet Union 

The Soviet Union was established in 1922. Soviet Union is not Russia. The Russian Federation was only the dominating state of the Soviet Union, which consisted of 15 separate states. 

The Russian Federation became also the legal successor of the Soviet Union after its dissolution in 1991, which meant that Russia received Soviet Union's seats in different organizations. 

Russia was the first country to leave the Soviet Union, the other states followed Russia and in December 26, 1991, The Soviet Union stopped existing. 

States of the Soviet Union:

1. Russia
2. Ukraine
3. Uzbekistan
4. Kazakhstan
5. Belarus
6. Azerbaijan
7. Georgia
8. Tajikistan
9. Moldova
10. Kyrgystan
11. Lithuania
12. Turkmenistan
13. Armenia
14. Latvia
15. Estonia

Soviet Union states

5. Russian Explorers

In the 1600s Russia grew a lot through exploration and colonization of vast areas in Siberia. In 1648 Fedot Alexeyev and Semyon Dezhnyov were the first people after the native Americans to cross the Bering Strait between Asia and North America.

The colonization continued to the 1800s when Russia colonized Alaska and founded settlements even in California like Fort Ross. It's also reported that a Russian expedition with Vostok and Mirny ships sighted Antarctica for the first time in history.

Bering Strait
Vostok and Mirny ships near Antarctica


300s Goths from the west established a kingdom in Central Russia, which was conquered by the Huns and Avars in the following centuries
500s Eastern Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, Bielorussians) arrived to Central Russia from southern Poland
600s Khazars establish a kingdom, which ruled the area for 300 years from Dnepr to the Caspian Sea
842 Viking Rurik established Novgorod, which was the central areas of the Rus people
882 Rurik's successor Oleg conquered Kiova
988 Kiova's ruler Vladimir The Great turns into Orthodox faith, Russian church is attached to the Patriarchate of Constantinople
1100s Kiova's power diminishes as the kingdom is divided into small principalities
1230s Kiova gets destroyed permanently after the Mongol conquests. Genghis Khan's son Batu established the Golden Horde Khanate, with Sarai as the center near the current Volgograd. The Golden Horde Khanate ruled the Russian principalities for 300 years
1396 Tatar army of Timur Lenk conquered the capital of the Golden Horde after which the Khanate separated into eight different Khanates: Sibir, Qasim, Kazan, Astrakhan, Kazakh, Uzbek, Crimean and Khiva Khanate 
1472 Ivan II married Sofia Palaigos, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own and eventually Russia's
1480 Russians defended themselves successfully as Great Horde attacked
1500s Tatar Khanates are one by one annexed under Moscow's rule
1584 Ivan IV dies and Russia is a regional superpower at the time
1598 The Rurik dynasty dies as Ivan's sons died
1600s Poland and Sweden take advantage the chaotic situation in Russia and conquer areas from Russia
1613 Mihail Romanov becomes the Tsar and starts the 300-year Romanov rule
1668 Tsar Alexei I built the first Russian warship and at the same time the Tsar accepted Russia's first official flag
1682 Peter the Great reformed the country and brought new technology as he stepped into power
1694 As the navy was inaugurated Peter the Great started using the white-blue-red tricolor flag, which he had designed
1700s During the Great Northern War Russia conquered Karelia and Ingria back from Sweden and also Estland and Livland. Russia also expanded to the American continent conquering Alaska
1713 Saint Petersburg becomes the capital of Russia
1700s In the end of the century during Catherine the Great Russia annexed West Ukraine, Belarus, Krim and areas from the Caucasus to Russia
1809 Russia conquers Finland from Sweden, making Finland an autonomic Grand Duchy
1850s Russia loses in the Crimean War to Turkey and its allies France and UK, nevertheless Russia continues expanding to Central Asia
1861 Alexander II freed the serfs
1867 Russia sells Alaska to USA with 7,2 million dollars
1904-05 Russia loses the war against Japan
1917 The Tsar is overthrown after the February revolution. Vladimir Lenin's bolsheviks take the power in the October revolution. Russia enters civil war.
1920 Bolshevik red army wins  the war against the anti-Communist White movement
1922 Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasia establish the Soviet Union
1924 Josef Stalin steps into power after the death of Lenin
1941 Germany attacked Soviet Union in the World War II
1945 About 20 million had died in Russia as the World War ended
1953 Stalin dies and Nikita Khrushchev becomes the new leader of Soviet Union
1955 Warsaw Union is established as a response for Nato
1964 Leonid Breznev becomes the leader of Soviet Union
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the last leader of Soviet Union
1991 Gorbachev is overthrown in a coup by conservative communists but they couldn't get the support of the army and KGB. With Jeltsin's lead the Russian Federation declares about its independence followed by all other states of Soviet Union.
1991 December 26 Soviet Union stopped existing, Boris Jeltsin becomes the first president
1990s As Russia shifted from communism to capitalism, the change caused chaos and poverty increased
1994 War in Chechen Republic which had declared independence 
1997 Russian troops withdraw from Chechen Republic
1999 Chechen guerrillas attack neighboring Dagestan and declare it as an Islamic Republic, this event is followed by the second Chechen War 
2000 Vladimir Putin followed Jeltsin as the president. Putin has restored the most important natural resources under the control of the state 

"Maailman maat liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen