Russian Empire (English)
Россійская Имперія (Pre-reform)
Российская империя (ru-Cyrillic)
Rossiyskaya Imperiya (translit)
Timeline: Rise of the South (Map Game)
OTL equivalent: Russian Empire
Flag of Russia 1721 - Present
Flag of the Russian Empire (black-yellow-white).svg Lesser Coat of Arms of Russian Empire.svg
Coat of arms
S nami Bog!

Съ нами Богъ!

"God with us!"

Imperial Anthem:
Bozhe, Tsarya khrani!
Боже, Царя храни!
"God Save the Tsar!"

Anthem of the russian empire

Russian Empire (orthographic projection).svg
  Anachronous map of the Russian Empire
  Spheres of influence
CapitalSt. Petersburg
Official languages Russian
Regional Languages Finnish, Swedish, Polish, German, Romanian
Ethnic groups  Russian


Demonym Russian
Religion Russian Orthodox 69.34%

Muslim 11.07%
Roman Catholic 9.13%
Jewish 4.15%
Lutherans 2.84%
Old Believers and others split from Pravoslavs 1.75%
Armenian Gregorians and Armenian Catholics 0.97%
Buddhists, Lamaists 0.34%
Other Protestants 0.15%

Karaites 0.01%
Government Absolute monarchy by divine right
 -  Emperor Alexander II The Liberator
 -  Coronation of Ivan IV 16 January 1547 
 -  Time of Troubles 1598-1613 
 -  Russo-Polish War 1654-1667 
 -  Great Northern War 1700-1721 
 -  Treaty of Nystad 10 September 1721 
 -  Empire Proclaimed 22 October 1721 
 -  Decembrist Revolt 26 December 1825 
 -  Abolition of Feudalism 3 March 1861 
 -  Total 22,800,000 km2 
Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". sq mi 
 -   estimate 85,600,000 
Currency Ruble

The Russian Empire (Pre-reform Russian orthography: Россійская Имперія, Modern Russian: Российская империя, translit: Rossiyskaya Imperiya) is a state that was established in 1721 as a successor state to the Tsardom of Russia. It is currently the worlds largest nation with more than 28,000,000 sq km. The Russian Empire is currently a superb landmass, only surpassed by the Mongol Empire. It currently spans across Europe, Eurasia, and North America.


See: History of Russia and Russian Colonialism

The Eighteenth Century

See: History of Russia (1721–1796)

Peter I the Great (1672-1725) introduced autocracy in Russia which introduced the Russian Empire to the European state system. However, Russia during the time period only had a population of 14 million within its vast borders, many of which were farmers. Only a small portion of the population during the time period lived in towns. The class of kholops, close to the class of slave remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter I converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them into poll taxation. Russian agriculture kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in the year of 1679.

Peter reorganized the government of Russia based on the most latest political models at the time, molding Russia into an absolutist state. He replaced the old boyar Duma (Council of Nobles) with a nine-member senate, in effect a supreme council of state. The Russian countryside was soon divided into new provinces and districts. Peter told the senate that its mission was to collect tax revenues and increase the income from tax. In turn tax revenues tripled over the course of his reign. As part of the government reform the Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the government's administrative system, thus making it a tool of the state. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the Holy Synod, led by a government official. Meanwhile, all vestiges of local self-government were removed. Peter continued and intensified his predecessors' requirement of state service for all nobles.

When Peter I the Great took power his first military efforts were against the Ottoman Empire. His attention soon turned into the north. Russia at the time still lacked a secure northern sea port, except at Archangel on the White Sea. However, nine out of twelve months every year the body of water surrounding Archangel would freeze, rendering trade from the north impossible and dangerous. The ability to access the Baltic Sea was blocked by Sweden, whose territory enclosed it on three sides. Peter's ambition to for "a window to the sea" lead him into making an alliance with Kingdom of Saxony, Denmark, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War. The war ended in 1721 when Sweden asked Russia for peace. Peter I acquired four provinces south and east of the Gulf of Finland. The wanted access to sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, St Petersburg to replace Moscow which has been Russia's long time cultural center.

Peter der-Grosse 1838

Peter the Great was the first Emperor of the Russian Empire which he established in 1721 after renaming the Tsardom of Russia. He instituted the sweeping reforms and turned Russia into a major European power.

Peter I the Great died in 1725, leaving an unsettled succession within Russia. Catherine I soon took reign as Empress of the Russian Empire, which was short-lived. The crown then passed to Empress Anna who slowed down reforms of the Russian Empire and led a successful war against the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish war of 1735–1739. This brought significant weakening of the Ottoman vassal Crimean Khanate, a long term Russian adversary. 

The discontent over the dominant positions of Baltic Germans in Russian politics brought Peter I's daughter Elisabeth on the Russian throne as Empress of the Russian Empire. Elisabeth supported the arts, architecture and the sciences. However, she did not carry out significant structural reforms. Her reign, which lasted nearly 20 years, is also known for her involvement in the Seven Years' War. It was successful for Russia militarily, but fruitless politically against Great Britain, Portugal, and the Holy Roman Empire.

Catherine II the Great, was a German princess who married Peter III, the German heir to the Russian crown. After the death of Empress Elisabeth of the Russian Empire, she came to power, when her coup d'état against her unpopular pro-Prussian husband succeeded. She contributed to the resurgence of the Russian nobility that began after the death of Peter the Great. State service was abolished and ridden of, and Catherine delighted the nobles further by turning over most state functions in the provinces and districts to them.

Catherine the Great extended Russian political control over the lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Her actions included the support of the Targowica confederation, although the cost of her campaigns, on top of the oppressive social system that required serfs to spend almost all of their time laboring on their owners' land, provoked a major peasant uprising in 1773, after Catherine legalised the selling of serfs separate from land. Inspired by a Cossack named Pugachev, with the emphatic cry of "Hang all the landlords!", the rebels threatened to take Moscow before they were ruthlessly suppressed and killed. Instead of the traditional punishment of being drawn and quartered, Catherine issued secret instructions that the executioner should carry the sentence out quickly and with a minimum of suffering, as part of her effort to introduce compassion into the law. She also ordered the public trial of Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, a member of the highest nobility, on charges of torture and murder. These gestures of compassion garnered Catherine much positive attention from Europe experiencing the Enlightenment age, but the specter of revolution and disorder continued to haunt her and her future successors.

First Half of the Nineteenth Century

See: History of Russia (1796–1855)

During the Napoleonic Conquests, Napoleon Bonaparte of France launched an invasion of the tsar's realm in 1812. The campaign and the invasion was a catastrophe claiming the lives of more than 380,000 French, Polish, Austria, and Prussian soldiers and destroying more than half of Napoleon's Grande Armée. Although Napoleon's Grande Armée made its way to Moscow, the Russians' scorched-earth strategy prevented the invaders from living off the country. Due to the harsh weather of the Russian mainland, thousands of Napoleon's troops were killed by attrition, as well as being killed by peasant guerrilla fighters. As the Grand Armée retreats back across Europe, Russian troops have managed to storm the gates of Paris, and end the Napoleonic Conquests. After Russia and its allies defeated France, Tsar Alexander I became known as the "savior of Europe", also presiding over the redrawing of the map of Europe during the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

Although the Russian Empire is a great power in the world, Russia lagged behind in technological development. While most nations during the time were going through the Industrial Revolution, it created problems for Russia. This status concealed the inefficiency of its government, the isolation of its people, and its economic backwardness.

Fort Ross inside

Fort Ross was an early 19th-century colony within North America in California.

On the 1 December 1825 the liberal Tsar war replaced by his younger brother Nicholas I (1825-1855), who ruled the Russian Empire for thirty years. At the beginning of his reign Nicholas I was confronted by the. The revolt started due to many well-educated officers traveling in Europe during military in the course of military campaigns, where their exposure to the liberalism of Western Europe encouraged them to seek change on their return to autocratic Russia. The result of this uprising sparked the Decembrist Revolution (December 1825). However, this revolt was easily crushed, leading Nicholas to turn away from modernization of the Russian Empire which begun by Peter the Great. Instead Nicholas I has chosen to champion the ideology and the doctrine of Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality.

The retaliation for the revolt made the day of "December Fourteenth" a day long remembered by later revolutionary movements. In order to repress further revolts, censorship was intensified, including the constant surveillance of schools and universities. Textbooks were strictly regulated by the government. Police spies were planted everywhere. Would-be revolutionaries were sent off to Siberia. Under the reign of Nicholas I hundreds of thousands were sent to Katorga which was a prison camp located in Siberia.

Second Half of the Nineteenth Century and Present Time

See History of Russia (1855–Present)
1867 Moscow panorama megapanorama
Panoramic View of Moscow in 1867

Flag of the Russian Empire (black-yellow-white).svg
Flag of the Russian Empire for "Celebrations" from 1858 to present times. However, this was not as popular as Peter the Great's tricolour, the white-blue-red flag.
Imperial Standard of the Emperor of Russia (1858–1917).svg
The Imperial Standard of the Emperor of the Russian Empire which is used from 1858 to the present date.

In 1855 Tsar Nicholas I has passed away with his ideology heavily disputed within the Russian Empire. One year earlier, Russia had became involved with the Crimean War, conflict within the Crimean Peninsula with multiple belligerents from across Europe, including the British Empire, Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and Bulgaria. The Crimean War ending by the Treaty of Paris of 1856 has exploited and confirmed Tsar Nicholas I failures, leading the Russian Empire to lose its territory it had been granted at the mouth of the Danube, Russia was forced to abandon its claims to protect Christians in the Ottoman Empire in favour of France, Russia lost its influence over the Romanian principalities, which, together with Serbia, were given greater independence, and in the long run the war marked a turning point in Russian domestic and foreign policy. Russian intellectuals during this time period used the defeat to demand fundamental reform of the government and social system. Russian signatories of the Treaty of Paris were Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov and Philipp von Brunnow. Since playing a major role in the defeat of Napoleon, Russia has been regarded as militarily invincible, but, once opposed against a coalition of the great powers of Europe, the reverses it suffered on land and sea exposed the decay and weakness of Tsar Nicholas' regime.

When Alexander II ascended the throne in 2 March 1855, desire for change and reform was widespread among a large portion of the populace. Growing humanitarian movements such as the Abolitionists of the United States of America before the American Civil War, attacked Serfdom. In 1859 more than 23 million serfs were living within the borders of the Russian Empire, most of which living in conditions worse than peasants in other nations across Europe on 16th-Century manors. Alexander II made up his own mind to abolish serfdom from above, rather than wait for it to be abolished from below in a revolutionary way.

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Russian troops taking Samarkand, June 8, 1868

In 1861 the emancipation of the serfs has begun and considered as one of the most important parts of 19th-Century Russian history to the current date. This was the beginning of the end for the landed aristocracy's monopoly of power. The emancipation has also made the current emperor known as Alexander the Liberator. Emancipation brought free labor to the cities and urban areas across Russia, stimulating the industry, thus growing the middle-class in size and influence at exponential rates. However, instead of former serfs receiving their lands as a gift, the freed peasants had to pay a special tax for what amounted to their lifetime to the government, which in turn paid the landlords a generous price for the land that they had lost. In most cases, peasants would gain very small portions of land. All the property turned over to the peasants was owned collectively by the mir, a village community, which divided the land among the peasants and supervised household belongings. Although serfdom was abolished its abolition was achieved on unfavorable terms to the peasants, revolutionary tensions were not abated, despite Alexander II's intentions and efforts. Revolutionaries believed that the newly freed serfs which were now peasants were merely being sold into wage slavery in the onset of the industrial revolution, and that the bourgeoisie had effectively replaced landowners.


As of this date Russia is currently the largest nation of the world spanning over 28,000,000 sq km, a little more than 1/6 of the Earth's landmass. A majority of the population is currently living within European-Russia in the western portion of the empire. Hundreds of ethnic groups currently live within the Russian Empire, including Ukrainians, Finnish and Polish.

Government and Administration

The Emperor

In Peter the Great changed his name from Tsar in 1721, when he was declared Emperor of all Russia. The emperor of the Russian Empire rules as an absolute monarch with only two limits to his power. Both of which are intended to protect the current system and maintain a stable regime. The Emperor and his consort must both belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, and he must obey the laws of succession that were established by Paul I. Beyond this, the power of the Russian Autocrat was virtually limitless.

Most Holy Synod

The Most Holy Synod (established in 1721) was the supreme organ of government of the Orthodox Church in Russia. It was presided over by a lay procurator, representing the Emperor, and consisted of the three metropolitan cities of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kiev, the archbishop of Georgia, and a number of bishops sitting in rotation.


The Senate (Pravitelstvuyushchi Senat, i.e. directing or governing senate), originally established during the Government reform of Peter I, consisted of members nominated by the Emperor of the Russian Empire who was/is currently in power. Its wide variety of functions were carried out by the different departments into which it was divided. It was the Supreme Court of Causation; an audit office, a high court of justice for all political offences; one of its departments fulfilled the functions of a heralds' college. It also had supreme jurisdiction in all disputes arising out of the administration of the Russian Empire, notably differences between representatives of the central power and the elected organs of local self-government. Lastly, it promulgated new laws, a function which theoretically gave it a power akin and similar to that of the Supreme Court of the United States, of rejecting measures not in accordance with fundamental laws.

Judicial System

The judicial system of the Russian Empire, existed from the mid-19th century, was established by the "tsar emancipator" Alexander II The Liberator of the Russian Empire, by the Judicial reform of statute of 20 November 1864 (Sudebny Ustav). This system based partly on English and partly on French models, which was built up on certain broad principles: the separation of the judicial and administrative functions, the independence of the judges and courts, the publicity of trials and oral procedure, and the equality of all classes before the law. Moreover, a democratic element was introduced by the adoption of the jury system and so far as one order of tribunal was concerned the election of judges. The establishment of a judicial system on these principles constituted a major change in the conception of the Russian state, which, by placing the administration of justice outside the sphere of the executive power, ceased to be a despotism.

The system established by the law of 1864 was significant in that it set up two wholly separate orders of tribunals, each having their own courts of appeal and coming in contact only in the Senate, as the Supreme Court of Causation. The first of these, based on the English model, are the courts of the elected justices of the peace, with jurisdiction over petty causes, whether civil or criminal; the second, based on the French model, are the ordinary tribunals of nominated judges, sitting with or without a jury to hear important cases.

Local Administration

Alongside the local organs of the central government in Russia there are three classes of local elected bodies charged with administrative functions:

  • The peasant assembly in the Mir and the Volost;
  • The zemstvos of the 65 current Governorates of the Russia Empire (Does not include the Kingdom of Poland and the Duchy of Finland);
  • The municipal dumas.

Municipal Dumas

Since 1870 the municipalities in European Russia have had institutions like those of the zemstvos. All owners of houses, tax-paying merchants, artisans, and workmen are enrolled on lists in a descending order according to their assessed wealth. The total valuation is then divided into three equal parts, representing three groups of electors very unequal in number, each of which elects an equal number of delegates to the municipal duma. The executive is in the hands of an elective mayor and an uprava, which consists of several members elected by the duma.

Baltic Provinces

The formerly Swedish controlled Baltic provinces of Courland, Estland and Livonia were incorporated into the Russian Empire after the defeat of Sweden in the Great Northern War. Under the Treaty of Nystad of 1721, the Baltic-German nobility retained considerable powers of self-government and numerous privileges in matters affecting education, police and the administration of local justice.


Mining and Heavy Industry

Output of mining industry and heavy industry of Russian Empire by region. (in percent of the national output).
Ural Region Southern Region Caucasus Siberia Kingdom of Poland
Gold 18% - - 81.2% -
Platinum 100% - - - -
Silver 36% - 24.3% 29.3% -
Lead 5.8% - 92% - 0.9%
Zinc - - 25.2% - 74.8%
Copper 54.9% - 30.2% 14.9% -
Pig Iron 19.4% 67.7% - - 9.3%
Iron and Steel 17.3% 36.2% - - 10.8%
Manganese 0.3% 29.2% 70.3% - -
Coal 3.4% 67.3% - 5.8% 22.3%

As of the current time period, the Russian Empire contains much of the worlds coal supply, as well as a large portion of the worlds platinum deposits.



The planning and construction of the railway network in Russia after the year of 1860 had far-reaching beneficial effects of the Russian Empire. The central authorities and the imperial elite made most of the key decisions, but local elites set up a demand for rail linkages, funding the construction of more rail systems. Often the elite had to compete with other cities. Local nobles, merchants, and entrepreneurs imagined the future from "locality" to "empire" to promote their regional interests and increase the efficiency of traveling across the empire.


The Russian Empire currently has 32 seaports, taking imports from other nations and exporting goods around the world. The current biggest seaports of the Russian Empire of visiting ships by tonnage is currently the capital of St. Petersburg, Riga and Odessa.


The state religion of the Russian Empire was that of the Russian Orthodox Christianity. Its head was the tsar, who held the title of supreme defender of the Orthodox Church. Although he made and annulled all appointments, he did not determine the questions of dogma or church teaching. The principal ecclesiastical authority was the Holy Synod, the head of which, the Over Procurator of the Holy Synod, was one of the council of ministers and exercised very wide powers in ecclesiastical matters. All religions were freely professed, except that certain restrictions were laid upon the Jews.

Religion Count of believers
Russian Orthodox 69.34%
Muslims 11.07%
Roman Catholics 9.13%
Jews 4.15%
Lutherans 2.84%
Old Believers 1.75%
Armenian Apostolics 0.97%
Buddhists and Lamaists 0.34%
Other Protestants 0.15%
Karaites 0.01%



The Russian Empire is a rural society spread over vast spaces across a large body of land. Much of the population remains as peasants.


Much of the population before Alexander II's reforms of 1861.

These household servants were merely set free after the reforms, many becoming poor peasants on the streets. However, landed peasants received their houses, orchards and allotments of arable land. Although they had to pay tax fees to the government for this land to repay the original land owners.


After the reforms of 1861 many serfs have fallen into this class. This formed the majority of the Russian Empire. Average peasants within the Russian Empire live in terrible conditions with many roaming around Russia in search of labor. Only one quarter of the peasants were farmers; the remainder were mere laborers.


The situation of the former serf-proprietors was also unsatisfactory. Accustomed to the use of compulsory labor, they failed to adapt to the new conditions. The millions of rubles of redemption money received from the crown was spent without any real or lasting agricultural improvements having been effected. Due to the reforms of 1861, serfdom has halted forcing farmers to either work themselves or pay peasants as laborers.


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