Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine).
Minority: Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania),
Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Georgia), other former Soviet states.
East Slavic languages:
Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian
Eastern Orthodoxy, Non-Religious Minorities
Related ethnic groups
Other Slavs, especially other
Orthodox Slavs (particularly Eastern
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 -
in the 8th and 9th century.
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
1.3 Pre-Kievan period
1.4 Post-Kievan period
2 Modern East Slavs
3 Image gallery
4 See also
6 External sources
Main article: Ruthenians
Researchers know relatively little about the Eastern
Slavs prior to
approximately 859 AD, when the first events recorded in the Primary
Chronicle occurred. The Eastern
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
Kievan Rus between the Western Bug, the
Dniepr and the Black
Sea: the Polans, Drevlyans, Dregovichs, Radimichs, Vyatichs, Krivichs,
Dulebes (later known as
Volhynians and Buzhans), White
Croats, Severians, Ulichs, and Tivertsi.
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 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 were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain.
By 600 AD, the
Slavs had split linguistically into southern, western,
and eastern branches. The East
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 explains their rapid spread through
eastern Europe. The East
Eastern Europe in two
streams. One group of tribes settled along the
Dnieper river in what
Belarus to the North; they then spread northward to
Volga valley, east of modern-day
Moscow and westward to
the basins of the northern
Dniester and the
Southern Buh rivers in
Ukraine and southern Ukraine.
Another group of East
Slavs moved to the northeast, where they
Varangians of the
Rus' Khaganate and established an
important regional centre of Novgorod. The same Slavic population also
settled the present-day
Tver Oblast and the region of Beloozero.
Having reached the lands of the
Merya near Rostov, they linked up with
Dnieper group of Slavic migrants.
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
Judaism in the late eighth or ninth century and lived in the
Caucasus regions. Roughly in the same period, the
Krivichs were dominated by the
Varangians of the Rus'
Khaganate, who controlled the trade route between the
Baltic Sea and
the Byzantine Empire.
The earliest tribal centres of the East
Slavs included Novgorod,
Izborsk, Polotsk, Gnezdovo, and Kiev. Archaeology indicates that they
appeared at the turn of the tenth century, soon after the
Novgorod had rebelled against the
Norsemen and forced them to
withdraw to Scandinavia. The reign of Oleg of
Novgorod in the early
tenth century witnessed the return of the
relocation of their capital to
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 (who reigned in
the 960s) was the first Rus ruler with a Slavonic name.
The disintegration, or parcelling of the polity of
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.
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 into Ukrainians,
Belarusians, and Russians. 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; whereas the Russian ethnic identity developed in the
Muscovite northeast and the Novgorodian north.
Modern East Slavs
Slavic peoples and ethnic/subethnic groups include:
Belarusian-Ukrainian transitory groups
Three generations of a Russian family, ca. 1910
Belarusians in traditional dress
Ukrainians in traditional dress
List of early East Slavic states
List of medieval Slavic tribes
^ Oscar Halecki. (1952). Borderlands of Western Civilization. New
York: Ronald Press Company. pp. 45-46
^ Encyclopædia Britannica On-line
^ Richard Pipes. (1995).
Russia Under the Old Regime. New York:
Penguin Books. pp. 27-28
^ a b Riasanovsky, Nicholas; Steinberg, Mark D. (2005). A History of
Russia (7th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 61,
^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (2010). A History of Ukraine: A Land and Its
Peoples. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 73.
Г.В.Вернадский Древняя Русь
This article incorporates public domain material from the
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http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/. - Russia
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Russian Far East
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Slavic ethnic groups
Black Sea Zaporozhians
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