Government and Politics

The Romanov Dynasty


The Romanov family ruled Russia from 1613 until 1917, when Nicholas II (1868–1918) was overthrown by the Russian Revolution (1905–17). The dynasty was established by Michael Romanov, grandnephew to Ivan the Terrible, who ruled from 1533 to 1584. There were 18 Romanov rulers, including the much-studied Peter the Great, who ruled from 1682 to 1725, and Catherine the Great, who ruled from 1762 to 1796.

As the last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, who ruled from 1894 to 1917, likely suffered not only the recrimination that was due him, but the public hostility that had accumulated over centuries of ruthless Romanov leadership. Nicholas’s difficulties came to a head when he got Russia involved in World War I (1914–18), which produced serious hardships for the Russian people and for which there was little public support. Once Tsar Nicholas was overthrown (and later killed) in the Russian Revolution (1905–17), Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) set about extracting Russia from the conflict by agreeing to sever concessions to Germany. Oddly enough, the Romanov family had, in the fourteenth century, originated with a German nobleman, Andrew Kobyla, who had emigrated to Russia.


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