Development of a Nation
How Russia became
and how the Russians became Russian.

Russians as a people, and the country of Russia as a nation-state,
evolved and materialized into current form, in terms of ancestral
bloodlines, the Russian language, borders, culture, and even how they
received their name.

Ancestral Background
Development of Language
Formation of Borders
Etymology (How Name Received)
Russia in 2008

Ancestral Background:

  1. Kievan Rus
    BC – The Proto-Balto-Slavic population (based on speakers of the
    Proto-Balto-Slavic language) materialized around modern Lithuania.
  2. Around 1000 BC, a group splinters from the
    Proto-Baltic-Slavic people near the shores of the Baltic Sea
    (centered around modern Lithuania). This group becomes the Slavic
    people, settling around modern Ukraine. After becoming a distinct
    people, they begin to spread in all directions.
  3. By 750 BC, a group splintered off, migrating
    west, becoming ancestors to the modern Poles, Czechs and Slovaks,
    forever being separated and distinct from those that would remain in
    the original homeland, who would become known as the East Slavs, the
    predecessors to the modern Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians.
  4. 1-200 AD: Dacians (a sub-branch from the
    ancient Thracians, who inhabited the eastern Balkan peninsula in
    ancient times) inhabited western Ukraine. They were eventually
    absorbed by the Slavs in the region, leaving a minor genetic imprint
    on Ukrainian people.
  5. In the 6th century, another group of Slavs
    would splinter from the original group centered around modern
    Ukraine, diffused east toward Russia and north toward modern
    Belarus. This branch would migrate south into the Balkan peninsula,
    filling the void left by the migrating Germanic peoples, who had
    evacuated the region for crumbling Roman lands to the west. This
    Balkan Slavic group would become known as the South Slavs, and would
    become forever separated and distinct from the East Slavs after
    groups such as the migrating Magyars (predecessors to modern
    Hungarians) settled between them.
  6. 860 – A Swedish Viking tribe migrated south
    into modern Kiev (Ukraine), subduing the Slavs in the area, founding
    the loosely organized Rus Khaganate, the predecessor to the Kievan
    Rus’ state.

  7. Europe 1050 AD
    By the 10th century, the Rus Khaganate had
    evolved from a Swedish-ruled state to a purely Slavic nation, known
    as Kievan Rus. The Swedish Vikings had been completely absorbed into
    the local populace by this point, adding another trace element to
    the Ukrainian genetic composition. The Kievan Rus became the
    premiere Eastern European power, dominating trade routes from Baltic
    to Black Sea, and from the Khazar Kingdom in the east to the
    Germanic states to the west.
  8. After about 100 years of civil war within the
    Kievan Rus, the consolidated East Slav state finally fractured into
    three principle successor states around 1150: Novgorod Republic,
    Vladimir-Suzdal Principality and the Kingdom of Halych-Volynia.
    Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod would later combine to form the Grand
    Duchy of Moscow (the predecessor to Russia), and Halych-Volynia
    would later evolve into Ukraine. Another group of former Kievan Rus
    Slavs in the northwest portion of the former kingdom would be
    absorbed into the Kingdom of Lithuania. This group was the
    predecessor to the modern Belarusians.
  9. Multiple Turkic peoples migrated into modern
    Southern Russia throughout Dark Ages, including the Khazars (whose kingdom
    collapsed in 1016), the Kumans (1050 -1241), and the Mongols/Golden
    Horde from 1241 to about 1440. After the collapse of the Golden
    Horde, the Turks continued as a collection of small Turkic khans in
    modern Southern Russia until the Ottoman conquest of 1526. The
    Ottomans were a Muslim, Turkic confederation that would dominate
    southeast Europe and the Middle East from the 14th century until the
    early 20th century.
  10. Russia conquered southern Russia from the
    Ottoman Turks by 1774, but a substantial Turkic population remained
    in the region, which would largely be driven out and/or assimilated
    by the Russians from that point forth,
    leaving a minor trace in the Russian genetic composition.
  11. Despite non-Slavic elements added to their
    genetic pool over the centuries, Russians are of primarily East
    Slav descent.

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Development of Russian

  1. Kievan Rus successor states
    3000 BC – The Proto-Balto-Slavic language
    (branch of

    ) is spoken by Proto-Balto-Slavic group
    centered around Lithuania.
  2. After a split in the Proto-Balto-Slavic nation
    around 1000 BC, the language of those that migrate east and south
    evolves into Slavic (thus the origin of Slavic peoples). The
    language of those that remain in the Baltic region evolves into
  3. By approximately the 9th century,
    the Slavic language in the Kievan Rus kingdom evolves into Old East
    Slavic. Several dialects of this language develop during existence
    of Kievan Rus.
  4. Kievan Rus splinters into multiple states in
    the 12th century due to civil war. The Eastern
    territories (including Moscow) come under rule of Mongols by 13th
    century, creating partition between eastern and western territories
    of former Kievan Rus state, causing Belarus and Ukrainian languages
    to develop in isolation from what would become Russian.
  5. By 14th century, Ukraine and
    Belarus were conquered by Lithuania, further isolating the evolution
    of their language from the Russian language spoken by East Slavs
    centered around modern Moscow and surrounding regions. This “eastern”
    East Slav variation would be the basis for modern Russia, while the
    Ukrainian and Belarusian languages would evolving along a divergent

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Mongol Golden Horde conquests
Formation of Russian

  1. 860 – A Swedish Viking tribe migrated south
    into modern Kiev (Ukraine), subduing the Slavs in the area, forming
    the loosely organized Rus Khaganate, a Swedish-ruled political
    entity among the East Slavs (predecessors to modern Russians,
    Ukrainians and Belarusians).
  2. By the 10th century, the Rus Khaganate had
    evolved from a Swedish-ruled state to a purely Slavic nation, known
    as Kievan Rus. The Kievan Rus became the
    premiere Eastern European power, dominating trade routes from Baltic
    to Black Sea, and from the Khazar Kingdom in the east to the
    Germanic states to the west.
  3. 1016 – Collapse of Khazar Kingdom as a result
    of military defeats at the hands of the Kievan Rus. Kievan Rus
    expanded southward.
  4. 1050 – Kumans (aka Kipchaks), a Turkic tribe
    from central Asia, migrated west, conquering the southern part of
    modern Ukraine.
  5. After about 100 years of civil war within the
    Kievan Rus, the consolidated East Slav state finally fractured into
    three principle successor states around 1150: Novgorod Republic,
    Vladimir-Suzdal Principality and the Kingdom of Halych-Volynia.
    Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod would later combine to form the Grand
    Duchy of Moscow (the predecessor to Russia), and Halych-Volynia
    would later evolve into Ukraine. Another group of former Kievan Rus
    Slavs in the northwest portion of the former kingdom would be
    absorbed into the Kingdom of Lithuania. This group was the
    predecessor to the modern Belarusians.

  6. Europe 1500 AD
    1241 – The Mongol Empire (Golden Horde)
    conquered the Kipchak/Kuman Empire. The Golden Horde advanced as far
    as the eastern edges of Austria, submitting Poland and Hungary. They
    also conquered the Rus principalities. They retreated from their
    outermost territories when Genghis Khan died, which split the Mongol
    Empire among his four sons. The western portion that encompassed
    eastern Europe, including the Rus principalities (Ukraine, Belarus,
    Russia) is referred to as the Golden Horde. Turkics (Kipchaks)
    comprised the majority of the constituency in modern Southern
    Russia, but the Mongols were the ruling class throughout all of
    modern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
  7. 1245 – The Mongol Empire (Golden Horde)
    conquered the southeast corner of Halych-Volynia (successor state of Kievan Rus,
    predecessor to modern Ukraine). This was followed by a period
    where the Ukraines would work with the Mongols, participating in
    raids into Poland and Hungary, gaining territory for themselves, but also entering
    in ongoing territorial battles against Poles and Hungarians.
    Ukrainians would largely be successful until about 1300, when the
    tide would turn against them.
  8. 1307 – Lithuania conquered the Principality
    of Polotsk (Rus), consisting of northern-central Belarus.
  9. 1323 – Lithuanians gained control of
    the Volynia portion of the Ukrainian state.
  10. 1349 – Poles conquered Galicia from
    the Ukrainians, ending their sovereignty.
  11. 1385 – A merger between Poland and
    Lithuania formed the Polish-Lithuanian Union. The two kingdoms still
    operated independently, but formed a defensive alliance against
    the Germanic Teutonic Knights and Moscow, common threats to both. It
    included large
    portions of both modern Belarus and Ukraine.
  12. 1440 – The Golden Horde broke up into
    several Khanates (Turkic principalities and petty kingdomds) in
    modern Southern Russia/Ukraine due to civil war, which had been ongoing since the
    Black Death of 1340.
  13. 1475 – The Crimean Khanate of modern Southern
    Ukraine came under
    control of the Ottoman empire, but maintained partial autonomy.

  14. Russia expansion
    – The Grand Duchy of Moscow (Rus principality under Turkic control)
    conquered the Novgorod Republic (another Rus principality) to the
    north. Although Moscow was now substantially enlarged, it was still
    only loosely consolidated, with various princes retaining
    semi-independent control over their principalities.
  15. 1480 –
    The Grand Duchy of Moscow broke free from Turkic control after
    growing in powerful, and were victorious in the standoff after they
    refused to continue paying tribute.
  16. 1547 –
    Ivan IV became the first Tsar of Russia (still Grand Duchy of
    Moscow), first to consolidate previously semi-independent
    principalities, forming the basis for modern Russia.
  17. 1552 –
    Russia conqueredand annexed the Khanate of Kazan, adding a
    significant Muslim population, making it a
    multi-ethnic/cultural/religious state. The Khanate of

    was annexed in 1554.
  18. 1558 –
    The Livonian War, pitting Russia against Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania
    and Poland, for control of Greater Livonia (modern Estonia, Latvia).
    It began with a dispute between Latvia and Russia over ownership of
    ports along Narva River, which fed the Baltic Sea. The other nations
    had claims in the area as well, pulling them into the conflict.
    Russia was defeated in 1582, losing access to the Baltic Sea. Sweden
    gained Estonia.

  19. Russia
    1598 –
    Russian conquest of Siberia (Khanate of Siberia).
  20. 1613 –
    Beginning of the Romanov dynasty in Russia, which would last until
    the Communist Revolution in 1917. From 1603 to 1613, Russia
    experienced famine, then subsequent civil wars which lured the
    Polish to invade and take the throne, but they were ousted in 1613,
    and a Romanov was elected to the throne.
  21. 1640 –
    Russians expand territory/Siberia to Pacific Ocean.
  22. 1648 – Cossack Uprising in modern
    central/northeast Ukraine against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
    It resulted in an independent Turkic state that was a client state to Russia.
    Cossacks were a Turk people that had survived in the region for
    hundreds of years, and had developed friendly relations with
    Ukrainians. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered by the Cossacks.
  23. 1654 – 1657

    Russia gained control over Ukraine from the Polish-Lithuanian
    Commonwealth in the Russian-Polish War.
  24. 1700 –
    The Great Northern War (battle for supremacy of Baltic Sea), pitting
    Sweden against alliance of Denmark-Norway, Russia, Saxony-Poland,
    Prussia. Sweden had been the dominant power in the north for about a
    century, but had been in a process of decline. Each of these
    countries had lost territory or trade to Sweden, and allied to
    reverse this.

    The war would end in 1721, with Sweden losing
    continental Baltic

    Partition of Poland
    territories (Latvia
    and Estonia) to Russia, and
    Russia becoming the great power in the north. Poland had served as
    the battlefield, and was badly decimated, falling under Russian
    dominance due to its weakened state. Russia gained ports on the Gulf
    of Finland, giving Russia its first access to the sea, at ports
    which were not frozen the majority of the year. St. Petersburg
    (established during reign of Peter I the Great) was subsequently
    established (in 1703,

    during the early years
    of the war), giving
    Russia the ability to engage in maritime trade with the rest of
  25. 1725 – A weakened and disorganized
    Poland-Lithuania comes under Russian domination, serving as a
    client/buffer state.
  26. 1768 – 1774 – The Russo-Turkish War ended
    in a Russian victory. It began with the Ottomans declaring war on Russia.
    Russia gained Southern Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus and Crimea, giving
    it access to the Black Sea.
  27. 1772 – First Partition of Poland.
    Poland became a protectorate of Russia, but its ill-protected
    western territories were now threatened by Prussia and
    Austria. Prussia,
    Austria and Russia agreed to a partition, as
    Russia realized it did not have the resources to defend entire nation. The bulk of Poland-Lithuania remains
    intact, but largely under foreign domination.
    directly annexed the eastern tract of land from Poland-Lithuania.
    The extreme west of
    Ukraine was allocated to Austria. Both
    Austria and Russia would attempt to end Ukrainian culture and

  28. Russia during Napoleonic Wars
    1775 – Russia imposed direct rule over
    the independent Cossack state in modern Ukraine, absorbing into the Russian
  29. 1793 –
    (Second Partition of Poland) After constitutionalists attempted to
    install constitution similar to that of the U.S., Russia and Prussia
    invaded to protect against an overthrow of the Russian-controlled
    Polish government. This reduced Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth to
    just primarily these two original states, extricated of its client
    states. In this second partition, Russia took a large portion of
    eastern Poland-
    Lithuania. Prussia took another section of western
  30. 1795 –
    Polish insurgents attempted to regain their country from the
    Russians, Prussians and Austrians. The three captor nations subdued
    the revolutionaries, and divided Poland-Lithuania for a third time,
    ending the 200+ year old commonwealth, and bringing all of its
    territories under foreign ownership. Belarus was annexed into
    Russia. Most of Lithuania was allocated to Russia, and a smaller
    part to Prussia. Austria and Prussia took portions of western
  31. 1807 –
    War of Fourth Coalition. France conquered Poland from Prussia and
    Austria, establishing the Duchy of Warsaw, a France puppet state in
  32. 1809 –
    Russia gained Finland from a weakened Sweden in the Finnish War.
    Russia had its eye on the rest of Finland, which was possessed by
    Sweden, and suggested to Napoleon that Sweden be forced to join
    Napoleon’s Continental System (a European-wide economic system
    integrated with France). When Sweden refused, Russia had an excuse
    to invade with Napoleon’s blessing, gaining all of Sweden’s Finnish

  33. Poland
    1812 –
    The Ottomans, an ally of France, goes to war with Russia in 1806.
    Russia gained the territory of Bessarabia (the majority of modern
  34. 1815 –
    After Napoleon’s defeat, the Kingdom of Poland was established,
    which was ruled by the Russian Tsar.
  35. 1853 –
    1856 – Crimean War. France, United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire
    declared war on Russia, over controversy concerning the role as
    protectorate of Christians in Ottoman Empire. France and Russia both
    claimed to be the protectorate of Christians in the Holy Land, with
    France asserting Roman Catholic authority, and Russia asserting
    Eastern Orthodoxy authority. Russia temporarily lost naval bases in
    Black Sea upon its defeat. Russia was abandoned by ally Austria,
    which would cause Russia to withhold support in Austria’s war
    against Prussia in 1866, contributing to its defeat.
  36. 1859 –
    As part of the Crimean War, Moldavia gained the southern part of
    Bessarabia from Russia, combining with Wallachia to form Romania.
  37. 1864 –
    1865 – When Russia abolished serfdom in Poland, it led to another
    uprising, led by nobles, which was again defeated by the Russians.
    Poland was removed of its status as a semi-autonomous Kingdom of
    Poland, assimilating into Russia as a province in its empire,
    placing it under direct rule. Germany would attempt to “Germanize”
    Poles in its eastern provinces (which included parts of traditional
    Poland), while the Russians would attempt to fully assimilate Poles
    within its borders into Russian culture.

  38. Russia
    1878 –
    After the Ottoman Empire was defeated by Russia in the final
    Russo-Turkish War, it agreed to hand Cyprus over to the United
    Kingdom. Russia desired to annex Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and
    Bulgaria, but the UK prevented it from doing so with show of force.
    Russia gained Khanates of Kokand, Bokhara and Khiva, expanding
    further into Central Asia.
  39. 1885 –
    Russia annexed Turkestan.
  40. After
    the 1917 Russian Revolution, which started during World War I, a
    civil war between the communists and anti-communists began. The
    Soviet Union officially formed in 1922 with the victory of the
    communists (Bolsheviks), consisting of Russian Soviet Social
    Republic, and (client states/republics) Belarus SSR, Ukraine SSR,
    Transcaucasian SSR (Caucasian Region between Black/Caspian Seas).
  41. 1917 –
    Bessarabia separated from Russia, joining its historical compatriots
    in Romania.
  42. 1917 –
    Finland declared independence after the October Revolution, since
    the personal union with the monarch no longer applied, as the
    monarch had been overthrown. This would begin the Finnish Civil War,
    between Reds (pro-Soviets) and Whites (anti-Soviets). The Whites
    would win, causing Finland to escape Soviet control. Soviets would
    intervene on behalf of the Reds, while Germany intervened on behalf
    of the whites, helping them to victory. Finland would have become a
    German property, but Germany surrendered soon after, leaving Finland
    to be completely independent in 1918.
  43. Finland independence1917 –
    After the October Revolution in Russia, Estonia declared
    independence. The Germans then moved in to occupy Estonia, but were
    driven out in 1918. The Russians then moved in, but the Estonians
    drove them out by 1920, as part of Estonian War of Independence, in
    which Estonia became independent from Russia.
  44. By 1918, following World War I, Ukraine had splintered into multiple
    republics, each claiming independence, as a result of Russia’s
    precarious condition due to civil war. Belarus had also declared
    itself as an independent republic. By 1921, Poland captured western
    part of Ukraine (Galicia), while Russia incorporated the larger
    part of Ukraine into the newly-formed USSR by 1919. Belarus was also regained
    by Russia by 1919, and
    incorporated into the Soviet Union.
  45. 1918 –
    Upon Germany’s defeat in WWI, Lithuania declared independence,
    beginning the Wars of Independence against Russia, and Poland (who
    they fought over border disputes). Battles with Poland would
    continue until WWII. In 1918, with the turmoil in Russia after WWI,
    Latvia also declared independence. Both achieved independence from
    the Soviet Union.
    Soviet Bloc
  46. 1921 –
    Poland and Russia entered a peace treaty to end the Polish-Soviet
    War, where both sides attempted to regain former territories at
    expense of the other. The war established the border between the two
    nations. Ukraine was split between Poland and Russia, with the
    western portion of Galicia going to Poland, and the remainder going
    to Russia.
  47. In 1939, as part of the Secret Nazi-Soviet Pact,
    the USSR received
    Galicia (western Poland), which it took by force, adding it to
    Ukraine. The USSR also laid claim to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
    Russia would take possession of each of these early in World War II,
    but would fail to take possession of Finland, who successfully
    defended themselves against the Soviets.
  48. 1939 –
    1940 – Winter War between Finland and USSR, as the USSR tried to
    capture Finland as part of the non-aggression treaty with the Nazis.
    Finland resisted, unlike most nations bordering Russia t
    its west, but lost the region of Finnish Karelia to the USSR.
  49. 1940 –The USSR also partitioned
    Northern Bukovina and Budjak from Romania, assigning them to Ukraine

  50. Dissolved Soviet Union
    – Pressured by the Soviets, and weakened by a German invasions from
    the west, Romania ceded the territories that would make up Moldova
    to Russia (part of former Moldavia). It was formed as Moldavian SSR,
    a client state to the USSR. Romania would then join the Axis against
    Russia in an attempt to regain this lost territory.
  51. 1941 – 1944: Nazi occupation of Ukraine and
    Belarus. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also fell to the Nazis. All
    were regained by the USSR in 1944.
  52. USSR demands that Carpatho-Ukraine (lost to
    Hungary in 1939, conquered by Red Army in 1944) be annexed into the
    USSR (Ukraine).
  53. 1990 – Upon the collapse of the USSR, several
    of its republics become independent, including Belarus, Ukraine,
    Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Georgia. – The World’s Largest Maps Store!

(How Name Received):

from the original East Slav state that served as the predecessor to the
Russian, Ukraine and Belarus nations: Kievan Rus.

Russian Culture:

In the 10th century,
the Russians came under the cultural influence of the Byzantine Greeks.
The Byzantine Empire, centered in modern Greece and Turkey, represented
the continuation of the Roman Empire in the Greek world, and was one of
the most powerful political entities throughout the Middle Ages.

In the 10th century, Russia weighed its options between offering its
allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church,
choosing to follow the ecclesiastic authority of the Eastern Orthodox
Church based in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.

The Russians would eventually establish their own church – The Russian
Orthodox Church – after Constantinople came under Muslim Ottoman rule in
the 15th century. But the church, and Russian culture, would be heavily
influenced by Byzantine culture. After converting to Eastern Orthodoxy,
Russia would translate many Greek literary works into Russian,
assimilating a major Greek component into its own culture.

Russia would also pattern its architecture after Byzantine
architecture, with many architectural landmarks in Russia closely
resembling medieval Byzantine design.

Russia’s cold climate has also
impacted its culture, from clothing to beverages. Vodka was invented in
Russia, born out of necessity due to its inability to freeze, regardless
of the temperature. Vodka has played a prominent role in Russian history
(with Russian troops withstanding more powerful invading armies, as
enemy water supplies froze while Russians remained hydrated by their
Vodka reservoirs), and is a staple for many Russians to this day.

Russia in 2008:

Economic problems
after the collapse of the USSR culminated in the Financial Crisis of
1998. Caused by global economic downturn, aftermath of currency
manipulation, expenditures from Chechen War, and compounded by deflation
in commodity prices of major Russian imports (oil, minerals, metals).
Inflation and unemployment skyrocketed, while shortages of almost every
critical item occurred. Strong and immediate recovery began in full
force the following year, as world commodity prices jumped sharply
(especially oil). This fueled an economic rally continuing into 2008,
thanks to increasing oil and commodity prices. Russia remains vulnerable
to world commodity prices, as oil, natural gas, timber and metals
account for about 80% of exports.
Government: Federal Republic (union of partially self-governing
Religion: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian
2%. Most of Russia citizens are atheist or non-practicing Russian
Orthodox Christians, as result of the anti-religious Soviet era.
Demographics: Russian 80%, Tatar 4% (middle age Tatar migrations
into Southern Russia, long time habitation there), Ukrainian 2% (USSR
connection), Unspecified 12%. High death rate has resulted in population
decrease, despite normal birth rate.
Foreign Policy: Primary objective is to reassert influence in
former Soviet states, especially in Eastern Europe, which served as an
important buffer for Russia. Opposes Kosovo independence, Serbian
pro-Western government, Ukraine potentially joining EU, preventing these
regions from growing further away from Russia politically, all in hopes
of re-asserting control.
Population: 140,702,094 (2008)

Formation of Nations (All European Nations)

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