Territorial evolution of Russia
Territorial changes of Russia happened by means of military conquest and by ideological and political unions in the course of over five centuries (1533–present).
Russian Tsardom and Empire
The name Russia for the Grand Duchy of Moscow started to appear in the late 15th century and had become common in 1547 when the Tsardom of Russia was created.
For the history of Rus' and Moscovy before 1547 (see Kievan Rus' and Grand Duchy of Moscow). Another important starting point was the official end in 1480 of the overlordship of the Tatar Golden Horde over Moscovy, after its defeat in the Great standing on the Ugra river. Ivan III (reigned 1462–1505) and Vasili III (reigned 1505–1533) had already expanded Muscovy's (1283–1547) borders considerably by annexing the Novgorod Republic (1478), the Grand Duchy of Tver in 1485, the Pskov Republic in 1510, the Appanage of Volokolamsk in 1513, and the principalities of Ryazan in 1521 and Novgorod-Seversky in 1522.
After a period of political instability, 1598 to 1613 the Romanovs came to power (1613) and the expansion-colonization process of the Tsardom continued. While western Europe colonized the New World, the Tsardom of Russia expanded overland – principally to the east, north and south.
This continued for centuries; by the end of the 19th century, the Russian Empire reached from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and for some time included colonies in the Americas (1732–1867) and a short-lived unofficial colony in Africa (1889) in present-day Djibouti.
Expansion into Asia
The first stage from 1582 1650 so I North-East expansion from the Urals to the Pacific. Geographical expeditions mapped much of Siberia. The second stage from 1785 to 1830 looked South to the areas between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The key areas were Armenia and Georgia, with some better penetration of the Ottoman Empire, and Persia. By 1829, Russia controlled all of the Caucasus as shown in the Treaty of Adrianople of 1829. The third era, 1850 to 1860, was a brief interlude jumping to the East Coast, annexing the region from the Amur River to Manchuria. The fourth era, 1865 to 1885 Incorporated Turkestan, and the northern approaches to India, sparking British fears of a threat to India in The Great Game.
Table of changes
Russian Soviet Republic
After the October Revolution of November 1917, Poland and Finland became independent from Russia and remained so thereafter. The Russian empire ceased to exist, and the Russian SFSR, 1917–1991, was established on much of its territory. Its area of effective direct control varied greatly during the Russian Civil War of 1917 to 1922. Eventually the revolutionary Bolshevik government regained control of most of the former Eurasian lands of the Russian Empire, and in 1922 joined the RSFSR to Belarus, Transcaucasia, and Ukraine as the four constituent republics of a new state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (or Soviet Union, USSR), which lasted until December 1991.
- Crimean People's Republic, 1917–1918
- Republic of Aras, 1918–1919
- Alash Autonomy, 1917–1920
- Kingdom of Lithuania (1918), 1918
- Ukrainian People's Republic, Ukrainian State, 1917–1921
- Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1918), 1918
- First Republic of Armenia, 1918–1920
- Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, 1918–1920
- Kingdom of Finland (1918), 1918–1919
- Belarusian People's Republic (1918), 1918-1919
- Balagad state, 1919–1926
- North Caucasian Emirate, 1919–1920
- Republic of Latvia (1919–1940), 1919–1940
- Republic of Central Lithuania, 1920–1922
- Centrocaspian Dictatorship, 1918
- Democratic Republic of Georgia, 1918–1921
- Idel-Ural State, 1917–1918
- Moldavian Democratic Republic, 1917–1918
- Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus, 1917–1920
- North Ingria, 1919–1920
- Republic of Oirat-Kalmyk, 1920
- Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, 1918
By the end of World War II the Soviet Union had annexed:
- West Belarus and West Ukraine from the Second Polish Republic (see Territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union), annexed in September–October 1939
- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, occupied in August 1940
- Bessarabia (Moldova), Hertza, and part of Bukovina, given up by Romania under threat of force in 1940
- Karelia, occupied in 1941, Pechengsky Raion (Petsamo), in 1944, and parts of Salla, ceded in 1945 from Finland, and a 50-year lease on the naval base at Porkkala
- Carpathian Ruthenia, formerly in Czechoslovakia and occupied in 1944
- Tuva (independent 1921–1944; previously governed by Mongolia and by the Manchu Empire)
- East Prussia (now Kaliningrad Oblast) from Germany, in 1945
- The Klaipėda Region, annexed to Lithuania in 1945
- The Kuril Islands and southern Sakhalin from Japan, occupied in 1945
Of these, Pechenga, Salia, Tuva, Kaliningrad Oblast, Klaipėda, the Kurils, and Sakhalin were added to the territory of the RSFSR.
In 1919, northern Mhlyn, Novozybkiv, Starodub, and Surazh counties (povits) of Ukraine's Chernihiv Governorate were transferred from the Ukrainian SSR to the new Gomel Governorate of the Russian republic. In February 1924, Tahanrih and Shakhtinsky counties (okruhas) were transferred from the Donetsk Governorate of Ukraine to Russia's North Caucasus krai.
Meanwhile, territories were removed from the Russian SFSR, including Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in 1924, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 1936, and Karelo-Finland from 1945 to 1956. The Crimean oblast and city of Sevastopol were transferred to Ukraine on February 19, 1954 (later annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014).
There were numerous minor border changes between Soviet republics as well.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union has led to the creation of independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian SFSR declaring its independence in December 1991 and changing its name to the Russian Federation.
The Russian Federation has been involved in territorial disputes with several its neighbours, including with Japan over the Kuril Islands, with Latvia over the Pytalovsky Raion (settled in 1997), with China over parts of Tarabarov Island and Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island (settled in 2001), with its coastal neighbours over Caspian Sea boundaries, and with Estonia over the adjoining border. The RF also had disputes with Ukraine over the status of the federal city of Sevastopol, but agreed it belonged to Ukraine in the 1997 Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty, and over the uninhabited Tuzla Island, but gave up this claim in the 2003 Treaty on the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.
The Russian Federation has also used its armed forces, illegal armed formations, and material support to deny neighbouring states their sovereignty, establishing the breakaway pseudo-state of Transnistria in Moldova, and two more republics after a 2008 war in Georgia. In 2008, shortly after announcing the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev laid out a foreign policy challenging the US-dominated "single-pole" world order and claiming a privileged sphere of influence in states bordering the RF and farther abroad.
In 2014, when after months of protests in Ukraine, pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled his post, Russian troops occupied Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, and after a hasty referendum the Kremlin announced that it had enlarged itself by the annexation of the Crimean republic and Sevastopol. The annexation was not recognized by Ukraine or most other members of the international community. A few weeks later, an armed conflict broke out the Donbas region of Ukraine, in which the Kremlin denies an active role, but widely considered to be fuelled by soldiers, militants, weapons, and ammunition from the Russian Federation.
- Geography of Russia
- History of Russia
- History of Ukraine
- History of the administrative division of Russia
- Chechen–Russian conflict
- Foreign policy of the Russian Empire
- Internal colonialism
- Near abroad
- Moscow, third Rome
- Foundations of Geopolitics
- Transnistria War
- Post-Soviet conflicts
- Kaliningrad question
- Karelian question
- Soviet Empire
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