Romanov Succesion: 1726–1762
From 1726 to 1762, the succession to the Russian throne was hopelessly confused. Peter the Great's decision to allow the current ruler to choose his or her own heir had brought many poor rulers to power. This period includes the reigns of Catherine I, Peter II, Anna, Ivan VI, Elizabeth, and Peter III. With the exception of Empress Elizabeth, many Russian leaders showed little interest in directing the affairs of state. During this period, the serfs (peasants who are tied to the land they work) lost the last shreds of the freedom that Peter the Great had given them.