Eastern Slavs are Slavic peoples who speak East Slavic languages. The main population of the loose medieval federal state of Kievan Rus by the 17th century turned into Belarusians, Russians, Rusyns and Ukrainians.
History of the Russian people before Rurik: Russia and Russians
Rus in English-speaking scholarship is usually understood as an ethnically or native Scandinavian people who traded and raided the river routes between the B altic and Black Seas from about the eighth to the eleventh century AD. Therefore, in English-language studies they are often called the "Vikings of Russia". Scholars agree that the Russian people originated in what is now coastal Central Sweden around the eighth century, and that their name is of the same origin as Rozlagen in Sweden (the older name is Roden). All this is part of the history of Russia before Rurik.
Rus as a people and estate
Based on the Slavic and Finnish peoples in the upper Volga region, they formed a diaspora of merchants and raiders who trade furs and slaves for silk, silver and other goods available in the east and south. Around the ninth century, on the river routes to the Black Sea, they played an obscure but significant role in the formation of the principality of Kievan Rus, gradually assimilating with the local Slavic population. They also expanded their operations much further east and south among the Turkic Bulgars and Khazars on routes to the Caspian Sea.
By the eleventh century, the word Rus was increasingly associated with the Principality of Kyiv, and the term "Varangian" was becoming more common as a term for Scandinavians traveling along river routes. This way of life was typical of our ancestors, as evidenced by the history of Russia before Rurik.
Rus and Russians
There is very little evidence of our ancestors from those times. The lack of evidence and records is characteristic of the entire history of the Slavs before Rurik. largely due to the fact that, although the Russian people were active over a long period of time and vast distances, textual evidence of their activity is very scarce and almost never created by the Russian people themselves. It is believed that the Slavs brought writing to Russia solely for religious reasons. The word "Rus" in primary sources does not always mean the same thing as when used by modern scientists. Meanwhile, archaeological evidence and researchers' understandingaccumulate only gradually. As a trading diaspora, the peoples of Rus intermingled extensively with Finnish, Slavic, and Turkic peoples, and their customs and identities appear to have varied considerably across time and space. One way or another, such was the history of Russia before Rurik.
Another key reason for controversy about the origins of the Russian people is the likelihood that they played a role in ninth to tenth century state formation in Eastern Europe (eventually calling themselves Russia and Belarus), making them relevant to that today are considered as the national histories of Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Poland, Belarus, Finland and the B altic countries. This has sparked a fierce debate as various political interest groups compete for who Russia originally was, believing that the politics of the ancient past are legitimate in the present.
The history from the flood to Rurik is known to us much worse than the history of our country after the arrival of the Varangians. Researchers know relatively little about the Eastern Slavs living before 859 AD, when the first events recorded in the Primary Chronicle took place. The Eastern Slavs of these early times clearly lacked writing. Few known facts are obtained from archaeological excavations, reports of foreign travelers about the land of Rus, and linguistic comparative analysis of the Slavic languages.
Chronicles and manuscripts
In the history of Russia before Rurik there are many secrets and mysteries. Very few documents of Russia,dating from periods before the eleventh century have survived. The earliest main manuscript with information about the history of Russia, Primary Chronicle, dates from the end of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth century. It lists twelve Slavic tribal unions that, by the 10th century, settled in the later territory of Kievan Rus, between the Western Bug, the Dnieper and the Black Sea: Polyany, Drevlyans, Dregovichi, Radimichi, Vyatichi, Krivichi, Slovenes, Dulebes (later known as Volynians and Buzhans), White Croats, Northerners, Ulichs and Tivertsy.
Ancestral home of the Slavs
The ancient history of Russia before Rurik still contains many mysteries. There is no consensus among scientists regarding the ancestral home of the Slavs. In the first millennium AD, Slavic settlers were probably in contact with other ethnic groups who moved across the East European Plain during the Migration Period. Between the first and ninth centuries, the Sarmatians, Huns, Alans, Avars, Bulgars, and Magyars passed through the Pontic Steppe on their westward migrations. Although some of them may have enslaved the Slavs of the region, these foreign tribes left few traces in the Slavic lands. The early Middle Ages also saw Slavic expansion as a farmer and beekeeper, hunter, fisherman, cattle breeder and fisherman. By the eighth century, the Slavs were the dominant ethnic group in the East European Plain.
By 600 AD Slavs linguistically divided into southern, western and eastern branches. The Eastern Slavs practiced farming methods on the principle"hack and burn", extensive forests were actively used, in which they settled. This method of farming involved clearing fire from forest areas, cultivating it, and then advancing a few years later. The history of Russia from the flood to Rurik took place on the same territories - Ukraine, Belarus and the North of European Russia.
Cut-and-burn agriculture requires frequent movement because soil cultivated in this way only produces good yields for a few years before exhausting itself, and the Eastern Slavs' dependence on slash-and-burn agriculture explains them rapid spread in Eastern Europe. Eastern Slavs flooded Eastern Europe with two streams. One group of tribes settled along the Dnieper in what is now Ukraine and Belarus to the north. They then spread north into the northern part of the Volga region, east of present-day Moscow, and west to the Northern Dniester and Southern Bug river basins in present-day Ukraine and southern Ukraine. It was in these territories that the whole history of Russia before Rurik took place.
Another group of Eastern Slavs moved northeast, where they met with the Varangians of the Russian Khaganate and established the important regional center of Novgorod. The same Slavic population also inhabited the modern Tver region and the Beloozero region. Having reached the lands of Merya near Rostov, they joined with the Dnieper group of Slavic settlers.
Russian Khaganate -is a name some modern historians apply to a hypothetical state that supposedly existed during a poorly documented period in Eastern European history, around the late 8th and early to mid-ninth centuries AD.
It has been suggested that the Russian Khaganate State was a state or group of city-states created by people, in all modern sources described as Norwegians, somewhere in modern European Russia, as a chronological predecessor of the Rurik dynasty and Kievan Rus. The population of the region at that time consisted of Slavic, Finno-Ugric, Turkic, B altic, Finnish, Hungarian and Norwegian peoples. The region was also a place of operations for the Varangians, East Scandinavian adventurers, merchants and pirates.
In rare modern sources, the leader or leaders of the Russian people at that time were called the ancient Turkic titles of kagan, hence the supposed name of their state.
This period is considered the time of the birth of a special Russian ethnic group, which gave rise to Kievan Rus and later states, from which modern Russia, Belarus and Ukraine originated.
In the eighth and ninth centuries, the southern branches of the East Slavic tribes were supposed to pay homage to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who converted to Judaism in the late eighth or ninth century and lived in the southern Volga region and the Caucasus. Around the same time, the Varangians of the Russian Khaganate dominated the Ilmenian Slavs and Krivichi, who controlledtrade route between the B altic Sea and the Byzantine Empire.
The earliest Eastern Slavic tribal centers included Novgorod, Izborsk, Polotsk, Gnezdovo and Kyiv. Archeology indicates that they appeared at the turn of the tenth century, shortly after the Slavs and Finns of Novgorod rebelled against the Norwegians and forced them to leave for Scandinavia. The reign of Oleg of Novgorod at the beginning of the 10th century witnessed the return of the Varangians to Novgorod and the relocation of their capital to Kyiv on the Dnieper. From this base, the mixed Varangian-Slavic population (known as Rus) launched several expeditions against Constantinople.
At first the ruling elite was primarily Norwegian, but by the middle of the century it was quickly Slavicized. Svyatoslav I of Kyiv (who reigned in the 960s) was the first Russian ruler with a Slavic name.