Moscow is the capital city of Russia. It has been the capital for most of Russia’s history, with a couple of brief interludes when St Petersburg was the Russian capital.
History of Russia’s Capital city
The city of Moscow was founded in 1147. It became a capital city for the first time in 1327, when it became capital of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality, which over time became the Grand Duchy of Moscow and, following the arrival of Ivan the Terrible, morphed into the Russian Empire.
The capital city of the Russian Empire remained in Moscow until 1712, when Peter the Great decided to move his capital city to the newly formed city of St Petersburg. Apart from a brief interlude between 1728 and 1732, when the capital moved back to Moscow, St Petersburg remained the Russian capital city until the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Following the success of the Communist revolution, Moscow soon regained its status as capital city. In March 1918, Moscow became the centre of not just the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic but of the Soviet Union itself. It remained capital of the USSR until its demise in 1991, whereupon it became capital of the newly independent Russian Federation.
Moscow remains capital of Russia to this day, and it is extremely unlikely that the capital will move from Moscow in the short, or medium term, and probably not in the long term.
The Kremlin – Heart of Russia’s Government
The Kremlin forms the heart of Moscow’s governance of Russia. Before the capital moved to St Petersburg in 1712, the Russian Empire was ruled from the Kremlin, and the Kremlin remained the Tsars’ official residence in Moscow even while their capital was in St Petersburg.
After the Russian Revolution, Lenin chose the Kremlin to be his official residence, and it has been the official residence of every Soviet and Russian leader since. Today it is the main residence of Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev. As a result, much of the core machinery of Russian government today is located either in or around the Moscow Kremlin. Although most people’s experience of the Kremlin is as a tourist, viewing its historical architecture and churches, visitors will notice that it is well guarded, and that there are many official cars passing through its checkpoints.
The official seat of the Russian Government, however, is the White House, where Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s office is based. The White House was the scene of a brief conflict in 1993, when the Russian Parliament and Boris Yeltsin, the then Russian President, came into conflict. The conflict led to fighting on the streets of Moscow in which between 187 (official Government estimate) and 2,000 people (communist party estimate) were killed, and was resolved after the Russian army stormed the White House.
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