It's astounding when you look at the timeline of great empires and realize they all follow a similar pattern — a dramatic rise, a pinnacle of power, and eventual decline, usually within a span of 150 to 300 years. One such example is the Russian Empire. Founded in 1721, it reached its peak in the mid-19th century before experiencing a steady downfall.

The Rise of the Russian Empire - 1721 to 1850

The story of the Russian Empire's rise to power is closely linked with its struggle against Mongolian influence in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was Ivan the Great, ruling from 1480-1505, who freed Russia from the Mongols and laid the foundation for the creation of the empire in 1721.

Russia's greatest territorial expansion happened around 1850, when regions like Caucasus and Central Asia (Kazakh) were incorporated into the empire. However, this growth also brought them into conflict with another rising power - Japan.

Crisis and Decline - The Russo-Japanese War

Often, the pinnacle of power also marks the starting point of an empire's downfall, and for Russia, the sell of Alaska in 1867 which was the voluntary contraction, which was follwoed by more violent Russo-Japanese War in 1905 was the early turning point. The loss against Japan was an early sign of decline, though it was masked by the later resurgence under the Soviet era in the next years.

The Three-Hundred-Year Rule: Case Studies from the Mongolian and British Empires

If the Russian Empire adheres to the 300-year timeline, it's not alone. History offers us other examples — the British Empire, once a vast realm of colonies such as India, Canada, Australia, and South Africa, which peaked in 1850, followed by the first wave of independence in the 1950-1980, about 100 years after its peak, followed by the relative domestic wealth in the post war period, marked by the rapid increase in the domestic politics such as Scottish independence movement and Brexit.

The loss of external sphere of influence is followed by the domestic uprising of independence movement, followed by financial straint, and marked decisively as the loss of external war.

EU as a political entity started the march towards independence from 2015. The Russian invasion of Ukraine claimed to mark the reunification of Europe ever stronger. But the independence movement will keep happening for the next 50 years, which would intensify as Germany loses competitive advantage in the global stage.

Looking Ahead: The Future of the Russian Empire

Today, we are witnessing the 300th anniversary of the Russian Empire. But will it follow the path of other great empires and decline rapidly? Much of this could depend on political changes, such as the potential death of Putin. It's also worth noting that in the 21st century, population size doesn't necessarily dictate the power or feasibility of an empire as that's commonality across all technologically advanced nations.

The Legacy of Past Empires

Examining the lifecycle of empires prompts us to pay closer attention to the current global powers. Are they too destined to rise, peak, and fall within a specific time frame? While we have yet to see whether empires like India, Canada, Australia, and South Africa will follow the pattern of their predecessor — the British Empire — historical trends provide us with food for thought.

The timeline of empires is fluid and complex, providing us with key insights into the workings of power, growth, and decline. As we mark the 300th anniversary of the Russian Empire, it's a worthwhile exercise to reflect on these patterns and what they tell us about our shared global history and future.