Grand Princes, Tsars, and Emperors

Kievan Rus

Riurik (late 800s)
Viking/Varangian, mythical ancestor of the Grand Princes of Kiev and Muscovy

Oleg (882-913)
Expands Kievan territory to the East

Igor (913-945)
Expands Kievan territory to the East

Olga (945-962)
Regularizes Kiev’s collection of tribute from conquered territories

Sviatoslav (962-972)
Conquers the Volga Basin for Kiev and unified the Eastern Slavs. Holds back invaders from the steppe, like the Pechenegs and Polovtsy.

Vladimir (980-1015)
Establishes the order of dynastic succession of Kievan princes. Converts the Rus to Orthodox Christianity.

Iaroslav the Wise (1019-1054)
Presides over Kiev’s “Golden Age.” Creates the Pravda Russkaya, Kiev’s first law code. Increases Kiev’s trade ties to the rest of Europe. His work is largely undone by fighting among his sons, between whom he divided his kingdom.

Yurii Dolgorukii (1149-1151, 1155-1157) *Moscow
Founds Moscow in 1147. Vies for the title of Grand Prince during an intense period of infighting. Briefly holds the title twice.

Vladimir Monomakh (1113-1125)
Last great Kievan Grand Prince. Reunifies Kiev for a brief resurgence.

Appanage Rus

Roman (1152-1205)
Unites Volynia and Galicia, but a generation later they are swallowed up by Poland.

Andrei Bogoliubsky (1157-1174) *Moscow
Grandson of Vladimir Monomakh, Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal, Grand Prince of Rus.

Alexander Nevsky (1219-1263)
Prince of Novgorod, Grand Prince of Rus. Defeats Teutonic Knights, strategically acquiesces to Mongol rule.

Daniil (1283-1303) *Moscow
Prince of Moscow, Grand Prince of Rus. Founder of the Danilovich line.

Iurii (1303-1325) *Moscow
Marries the Khan’s sister, claims the title of Grand Prince for the Muscovites.

Ivan I/Ivan Kalita [“Moneybags”] (1325-1340) *Moscow
Gains the right to collect tribute from all other principalities and bring it to the Khan.

Dmitrii Donskoi (1359-1389) *Moscow
Grandson of Ivan Kalita. Beats the Mongols at the Battle of Kulikovo on the Don River (1380).

Vasilii I (1389-1425) *Moscow
Refuses to pay tribute to the Mongols. They attack him and he backs down, but by giving gifts, not tribute.


Gediminas (1316-1341)
Unites the Lithuanians in order to combat the Teutonic Knights. Expands southeast into Kievan lands.

Algirdas (1345-1377)
Expands eastward into most of present day Ukraine and Belarus.

Vytautas (1392-1430)
Defeats the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grünwald (1410). Expands southward.

Jagailo, a.k.a. Władysław II Jagiello (1377-1434)
Marries Polish Queen Jadwiga, unites Poland and Lithuania.


Ivan III/Ivan the Great (1462-1505)
Grandson of Vasilii I. Ends Mongol rule by winning the “battle” (stand off) at the Ugra River (1480). Conquers Novgorod and Tver. Steals the veche bell from Novgorod. Marries Sophia Paleologina, daughter of the last Byzantine emperor, starts using title “tsar.” Writes a new law code (Sudebnik) in 1497.

Vasilii III (1505-1533)
Expands Muscovy and establishes diplomatic relationships with major European monarchies.

Ivan IV/Ivan the Terrible (1547-1584)
Has himself crowned tsar, claims divine right. Reforms and standardizes the Muscovite state structure. Writes a new law code (Sudebnik) in 1550. Creates the strel’tsy, the elite standing-army palace guard. Conquers the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Sibir, making Muscovy into a multiethnic empire. Fights and loses the Livonian War (1558-1583). Establishes trade relations with England. Creates the Oprichnina (1565-1572), which is massively destructive but also fully subordinates the boyars to Ivan’s authority.

The Time of Troubles

Fedor (1484-1598)
Intellectually challenged, follows the lead of his brother in law, Boris Godunov. Stabilizes Muscovite economy and society, increases trade ties to England and the Hanseatic League. Dies without producing a male heir, which ends the Rurikid line.

Boris Godunov (1598-1605)
Elected by boyar council to succeed the childless Fedor. Presides over drought, famine, epidemics, and increasing rebellion among the Cossacks and peasants.

First False Dmitrii (1605-1606)
Claims to be Ivan the Terrible’s deceased youngest son. Leads an army of Cossacks and Polish mercenaries to reclaim “his” throne from Boris. Succeeds in claiming the throne after Boris Godunov dies unexpectedly.

Vasilii Shuisky (1606-1610)
Claims the throne after leading a coup against the First False Dmitrii. Withstands a rebellion led by the Cossack Ivan Bolotnikov. Defeats the Second False Dmitrii with the help of Sweden. Overthrown by a Moscow rebellion.

Prince Władysław of Poland (1610-1612ish)
Invades Muscovy at the head of the Polish army and claims the throne for himself. Not recognized by any Muscovite constituencies. Overthrown by a national army led by Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitrii Pozharskii.

The Romanovs

Mikhail (1613-1645)
Great-nephew of Ivan the Terrible’s first wife. Elected by a zemskii sobor after the national army defeats the Poles.

Alexei Romanov (1645-1676)
Son of Mikhail Romanov. Asserts strong state control over Russia and imposes high taxation. This leads to the eventual Cossack Rebellion. -Katie Ruffing

Fedor Romanov (1676-1682)
Abolishes mestnichestvo which allows him to appoint people as he wishes. -Katie Ruffing

Ivan Romanov(Senior Tsar) and Peter Romanov(Junior Tsar) (1682-1696)
The sons of Alexei Romanov. From 1682-1689 their half sister Sophia Romanov acted as regent until she attempt to assert herself as sole ruler of the state, and was sent to live in a convent. After that their mother, Natalia, acted as regent until her death in 1694. Peter continued to co-rule with his brother until Ivan’s death in 1696. -Katie Ruffing

Peter Romanov (1696-1725)
Greatly reformed Russia in attempts to modernize and westernize the state. Peter was greatly influenced by the west and explores that by creating the Grand Embassy which he leads abroad. Established the Table of Ranks which would allow people from lower classes to rise up. Reforms and encourages education throughout the state. Establishes the 12 colleges, which acted as traditional branches of government for the Russian state. -Katie Ruffing