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Majority: Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
(Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine). Minority: Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Caucasus
Caucasus
(Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Georgia), other former Soviet states.

Languages

East Slavic languages: Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian

Religion

Eastern Orthodoxy, Non-Religious Minorities

Related ethnic groups

Other Slavs, especially other Orthodox Slavs
Orthodox Slavs
(particularly Eastern South Slavs
South Slavs
- Bulgarians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, and Serbs)

Maximum extent of European territory inhabited by the East Slavic tribes - predecessors of Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state[1] - in the 8th and 9th century.

The East Slavs
Slavs
are Slavic peoples
Slavic peoples
speaking the East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian[2] people.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Sources 1.2 Migration 1.3 Pre-Kievan period 1.4 Post-Kievan period

2 Modern East Slavs 3 Image gallery 4 See also 5 References 6 External sources

History[edit] Main article: Ruthenians Sources[edit] Researchers know relatively little about the Eastern Slavs
Slavs
prior to approximately 859 AD, when the first events recorded in the Primary Chronicle occurred. The Eastern Slavs
Slavs
of these early times apparently lacked a written language. The few known facts come from archaeological digs, foreign travellers' accounts of the Rus' land, and linguistic comparative analyses of Slavic languages. Very few native Rus' documents dating before the 11th century (none before the 10th century) have survived. The earliest major manuscript with information on Rus' history, the Primary Chronicle, dates from the late 11th and early 12th centuries. It lists twelve Slavic tribal unions which, by the 10th century, had settled in the later territory of the Kievan Rus
Kievan Rus
between the Western Bug, the Dniepr
Dniepr
and the Black Sea: the Polans, Drevlyans, Dregovichs, Radimichs, Vyatichs, Krivichs, Slovens, Dulebes (later known as Volhynians
Volhynians
and Buzhans), White Croats, Severians, Ulichs, and Tivertsi.

Migration[edit] There is no consensus among scholars as to the urheimat of the Slavs. In the first millennium AD, Slavic settlers are likely to have been 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
Pontic steppe
in their westward migrations. Although some of them could have subjugated the region's Slavs, these foreign tribes left little trace in the Slavic lands. The Early Middle Ages also saw Slavic expansion as an agriculturist and beekeeper, hunter, fisher, herder, and trapper people. By the 8th century, the Slavs
Slavs
were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain. By 600 AD, the Slavs
Slavs
had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs
Slavs
practiced "slash-and-burn" agricultural methods which took advantage of the extensive forests in which they settled. This method of agriculture involved clearing tracts of forest with fire, cultivating it and then moving on after a few years. Slash and burn agriculture requires frequent movement, because soil cultivated in this manner only yields good harvests for a few years before exhausting itself, and the reliance on slash and burn agriculture by the East Slavs
Slavs
explains their rapid spread through eastern Europe.[3] The East Slavs
Slavs
flooded Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
in two streams. One group of tribes settled along the Dnieper
Dnieper
river in what is now Ukraine
Ukraine
and Belarus
Belarus
to the North; they then spread northward to the northern Volga
Volga
valley, east of modern-day Moscow
Moscow
and westward to the basins of the northern Dniester
Dniester
and the Southern Buh
Southern Buh
rivers in present-day Ukraine
Ukraine
and southern Ukraine. Another group of East Slavs
Slavs
moved to the northeast, where they encountered the Varangians
Varangians
of the Rus' Khaganate
Rus' Khaganate
and established an important regional centre of Novgorod. The same Slavic population also settled the present-day Tver Oblast
Tver Oblast
and the region of Beloozero. Having reached the lands of the Merya
Merya
near Rostov, they linked up with the Dnieper
Dnieper
group of Slavic migrants. Pre-Kievan period[edit] Main articles: Saqaliba
Saqaliba
and Rus' Khaganate In the eighth and ninth centuries, the south branches of East Slavic tribes had to pay tribute to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who adopted Judaism
Judaism
in the late eighth or ninth century and lived in the southern Volga
Volga
and Caucasus
Caucasus
regions. Roughly in the same period, the Ilmen Slavs
Slavs
and Krivichs
Krivichs
were dominated by the Varangians
Varangians
of the Rus' Khaganate, who controlled the trade route between the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
and the Byzantine Empire. The earliest tribal centres of the East Slavs
Slavs
included Novgorod, Izborsk, Polotsk, Gnezdovo, and Kiev. Archaeology indicates that they appeared at the turn of the tenth century, soon after the Slavs
Slavs
and Finns of Novgorod
Novgorod
had rebelled against the Norsemen
Norsemen
and forced them to withdraw to Scandinavia. The reign of Oleg of Novgorod
Novgorod
in the early tenth century witnessed the return of the Varangians
Varangians
to Novgorod
Novgorod
and relocation of their capital to Kiev
Kiev
on the Dnieper. From this base, the mixed Varangian-Slavic population (known as the Rus) launched several expeditions against Constantinople. At first the ruling elite was primarily Norse, but it was rapidly Slavicized by the mid-century. Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Kiev
(who reigned in the 960s) was the first Rus ruler with a Slavonic name. Post-Kievan period[edit] The disintegration, or parcelling of the polity of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
in the 11th century resulted in considerable population shifts and a political, social, and economic regrouping. The resultant effect of these forces coalescing was the marked emergence of new peoples.[4] While these processes began long before the fall of Kiev, its fall expedited these gradual developments into a significant linguistic and ethnic differentiation among the Rus' people
Rus' people
into Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians.[4] All of this was emphasized by the subsequent polities these groups migrated into: southwestern and western Rus', where the Ruthenian and later Ukrainian and Belarusian identities developed, was subject to Lithuanian and later Polish influence;[5] whereas the Russian ethnic identity developed in the Muscovite northeast and the Novgorodian north. Modern East Slavs[edit] Modern East Slavic peoples
Slavic peoples
and ethnic/subethnic groups include:

Russians

Goryuns Kamchadals Lipovans Polekhs Pomors

Belarusians Ukrainians Belarusian-Ukrainian transitory groups

Goryuns Poleszuks

Rusyns

Hutsuls Boykos Lemkos Pannonian Rusyns

Image gallery[edit]

Three generations of a Russian family, ca. 1910

Belarusians
Belarusians
in traditional dress

Ukrainians
Ukrainians
in traditional dress

See also[edit]

All-Russian nation List of early East Slavic states List of medieval Slavic tribes Kievan Rus Slavs South Slavs West Slavs

References[edit]

^ Oscar Halecki. (1952). Borderlands of Western Civilization. New York: Ronald Press Company. pp. 45-46 ^ Encyclopædia Britannica On-line ^ Richard Pipes. (1995). Russia
Russia
Under the Old Regime. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 27-28 ^ a b Riasanovsky, Nicholas; Steinberg, Mark D. (2005). A History of Russia
Russia
(7th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 61, 87.  ^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (2010). A History of Ukraine: A Land and Its Peoples. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 73. 

External sources[edit]

Г.В.Вернадский Древняя Русь http://www.erlib.com/Георгий_Вернадский/Древняя_Русь/1; http://gumilevica.kulichki.net/VGV/vgv1.htm; https://web.archive.org/web/20090301173543/http://rodstvo.ru/rus/hist/ver1.htm и др.  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/. - Russia

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Slavic ethnic groups

East Slavs

Belarusians

Litvins Poleshuks

Russians

Albazinians Don Cossacks Lipovans Pomors

Ukrainians

Zaporozhians

Tavria Zaporozhians Black Sea
Black Sea
Zaporozhians

Slobozhanians Volynians Podolyans Dniprians Siverians Poleshuks Galicians

Boykos Hutsuls Lemkos

Rusyns

Boykos Hutsuls Lemkos Pannonian Rusyns

West Slavs

Czechs

Moravians

Kashubians Poles

Masovians Masurians Kociewiacy Krakowiacy Warmiak

Silesians Slovaks Sorbs

South Slavs

Bosniaks Bulgarians

Pomaks Macedonians

Croats

Bunjevci Burgenland Croats Janjevci Krashovani Molise Croats Šokci

Macedonians

Torbeš

Montenegrins Ethnic Muslims Serbs Slovenes Gorani Yugoslavs Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia

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