In the 16th century, Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) conquered vast territories, and used extensive terror methods against his people. The following, “Time of Troubles,” nearly finished Russia as an independent state. Stability came only with the new Romanov Dynasty at the beginning of the 17th century.
Having survived the Time of Troubles, Russia faced the 17th century with the newly established Romanov Dynasty. Mikhail I began as a weak compromise candidate who was in favor of the boyars. Nevertheless, having eventually achieved 304 years in power, the Romanovs became one of the longest surviving European dynasties.
Until the 1700’s, Russia was, technologically, way behind the rest of Europe. One could say Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great) dragged the country, kicking and screaming, out of the Middle Ages. His reforms made Russia an international player for the first time in history.