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The Russians (russkiye) are an native to , who share a common Russian ancestry, culture, and history. , the most spoken , is the shared mother tongue of the Russians; and Orthodox Christianity is their historical religion since the 11th century. They are the largest nation, as well as the largest European nation.

The Russians were formed from East Slavic tribes, and their cultural ancestry is based in Kievan Rus'. Genetically, the majority of Russians are identical to their East and counterparts; unlike northern Russians, who belong to the Northern European Baltic gene pool. The Russian word for the Russians is derived from the people of Rus' and the territory of Rus'. The Russians share many historical and cultural traits with other European peoples, and especially with other East Slavic ethnic groups, specifically and .

Of the total 258 million speakers of Russian in the world, about 135 million of them are ethnic Russians. The vast majority of Russians live in native , but notable minorities are scattered throughout other post-Soviet states such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Baltic states. A large (sometimes including Russian-speaking non-Russians), estimated at around 25 million people, has developed all over the world, with notable numbers in the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Canada.

The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is "Russians" in English. There are two words which are commonly translated into English as "Russians". One is "русские" ( russkiye), which in modern Russia most often means "ethnic Russians". Another is "россияне" ( rossiyane), which denotes "Russian citizens", regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation.

The name of the Russians derives from the early medieval Rus' people, a group of merchants and warriors who relocated from across the and founded a state centred on that later became Kievan Rus'.

(2022). 9789004138742, . .

From the early nineteenth century, several politically charged theories of Russian nationality were developed, among them, the ideas of a single "all-Russian nation" encompassing the , or a "triune nation" of three brotherly "Great Russian", "", and "White Russian" peoples. Today some consider this as a colonial expression of Russian supremacy. The common view of East Slavs today is of separate , Russian, and nations.


Ancient history
The ancestors of modern Russians are the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the , one of the largest in Europe.For a discussion of the origins of Slavs, see
(2022). 9780801439773, Cornell University Press.
The East Slavs gradually settled Western Russia in two waves: one moving from toward present-day and and another from toward and .
(1998). 9780631208143, Blackwell Publishing.
From the 7th century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in western Russia, and, according to some scholars, slowly but peacefully assimilated the native , including the Merya, the ,
(1995). 9780521364478, Cambridge University Press.
and the .

Outside archaeological remains, little is known about the predecessors to Russians in general prior to 859 AD, when the Primary Chronicle starts its records.The Primary Chronicle is a history of the Ancient Rus' from around 850 to 1110, originally compiled in about 1113. By 600 AD, the are believed to have split linguistically into , , and eastern branches.

Medieval history
The traditional start-date of specifically Russian history is the establishment of the Rus' state in the north in 862 ruled by . and became the first major cities of the new union of immigrants from with the Slavs and . In 882 Prince Oleg of Novgorod seized , thereby uniting the northern and southern lands of the Eastern Slavs under one authority. The state adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in 988, beginning the synthesis of and cultures that defined Orthodox Slavic culture for the next millennium. Kievan Rus' ultimately disintegrated as a state because of in-fighting between members of the princely family that ruled it collectively.

After the 13th century, became a political and cultural center. Moscow has become a center for the unification of Russian lands. By the end of the 15th century, Moscow united the northeastern and northwestern Russian principalities, in 1480 finally overthrew the Mongol yoke. The territories of the Grand Duchy of Moscow became the Tsardom of Russia in 1547.

Modern history
In 1721 Tsar Peter the Great renamed his state as the , hoping to associate it with historical and cultural achievements of ancient Rus' – in contrast to his policies oriented towards Western Europe. The state now extended from the eastern borders of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to the , and became a ; and one of the most powerful states in Europe after the victory over Napoleon. Peasant revolts were common, and all were fiercely suppressed. The Emperor Alexander II abolished Russian serfdom in 1861, but the peasants fared poorly and revolutionary pressures grew. In the following decades, reform efforts such as the of 1906–1914, the constitution of 1906, and the State Duma (1906–1917) attempted to open and liberalize the economy and political system, but the Emperors refused to relinquish autocratic rule and resisted sharing their power.

A combination of economic breakdown, war-weariness, and discontent with the autocratic system of government triggered revolution in Russia in 1917. The overthrow of the monarchy initially brought into office a coalition of liberals and moderate socialists, but their failed policies led to seizure of power by the on 25 October 1917 (7 November New Style). In 1922, Soviet Russia, along with , , and the Transcaucasian SFSR signed the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR, officially merging all four republics to form the Soviet Union as a country. Between 1922 and 1991 the history of Russia became essentially the history of the Soviet Union, effectively an ideologically-based state roughly conterminous with the Russian Empire before the 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. From its first years, government in the Soviet Union-based itself on the one-party rule of the Communists, as the Bolsheviks called themselves, beginning in March 1918. The approach to the building of socialism, however, varied over different periods in Soviet history: from the mixed economy and diverse society and culture of the 1920s through the of the era to the "era of stagnation" from the 1960s to the 1980s. During this period, won World War II, becoming a opposing Western countries in the . The USSR was successful in the space program, launching the first man into space.

By the mid-1980s, with the weaknesses of Soviet economic and political structures becoming acute, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on major reforms, which caused the dissolution of the Soviet Union, leaving Russia again on its own and marking the start of the history of post-Soviet Russia. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic renamed itself as the Russian Federation and became one of the .

Geographic distribution
Ethnic Russians historically migrated in the area of former and , sometimes encouraged to re-settle in borderlands by the Tsarist and later Soviet government. Russians left behind in Central Asia. BBC News. 23 November 2005. On some occasions, ethnic Russian communities, such as who settled in the or in , emigrated as religious dissidents fleeing the central authority.

After the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War starting in 1917, many Russians were forced to leave their homeland fleeing the regime, and millions became refugees. Many were participants in the , although the term is broadly applied to anyone who may have left the country due to the change in regime.

After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union an estimated 25 million Russians began living outside of the Russian Federation, most of them in the former . In (about 8 million), (about 3.8 million), (about 785,000), (about 520,000) with the most Russian settlement out of the which includes and , (about 650,000) and (about 419,000). In , the region (where 30.4% of the population is Russian) broke away from government control amid fears the country would soon reunite with . There are also small Russian communities in the , including in the Danube delta," Saving the souls of Russia's exiled Lipovans". The Daily Telegraph. 9 April 2013. Central European nations such as and , as well Russians settled in , , , , , and . These communities may identify themselves either as Russians or citizens of these countries, or both, to varying degrees.

Significant numbers of Russians emigrated to , and the . Brighton Beach, Brooklyn and South Beach, Staten Island in New York City is an example of a large community of recent Russian and immigrants. Other examples are Sunny Isles Beach, a northern suburb of , and in of the area.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, many Russians who were identified with the moved to  — most of them settling in and ." The Ghosts of Russia That Haunt Shanghai". The New York Times. 21 September 1999. By the 1930s, Harbin had 100,000 Russians. Many of these Russians had to move back to the Soviet Union after World War II. Today, a large group of people in northern China can still speak Russian as a second language. And Russians ( eluosizu) are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China (as the Russ); there are approximately 15,600 Russian Chinese living mostly in northern , and also in and .

Ethnographic groups
File:ETH-BIB-Valcov, Hütte mit eingeborener Boots-Gesellschaft-Dia 247-10014.tif|thumb| in the File:Мезенские-коновалы 1890.jpg|Russia's Arctic coastline from the to the had been explored and settled by , Russian settlers from Novgorod Gagarin Greben.jpg| of the north guarded the southern frontier Among the Russians, a number of ethnographic groups stand out, such as: the Northern Russians, the Southern Russians, the , the , the , the , the , the Russian Chinese, the ( Siberiaks), , some groupings of (, , ), and others.

The main ones are the Northern and Southern Russian groups. At the same time, the proposal of the ethnographer Dmitry Zelenin in his major work of 1927 Russian (East Slavic) Ethnography to consider them as separate East Slavic peoples did not find support in scientific circles.

In accordance with the 2008 research results of Russian and Estonian geneticists, two groups of the Russians are distinguished: the northern and southern populations.

The Central and Southern Russians, to which the majority of Russian populations belong, according to R1a, are included in the general "East European" with the rest and (Slovaks and Czechs), as well as the non-Slavic and . Genetically, all Eastern Slavs are identical with Western Slavs; such genetic purity is somewhat unusual for genetics with such a wide settlement of the Slavs, especially the Russians. The high unity of the markers of the East Slavic populations and their significant differences from the neighboring Finnic, Turkic and Caucasian peoples were revealed.

The Northern Russians, according to mDNA, Y chromosome and autosomal marker CCR5de132, are included in the "North European" gene cluster (the , the , Germanic and Baltic Finnic peoples).

Consequently, the already existing biologo-genetic studies have made all hypotheses about the mixing of the Russians with non-Slavic ethnic groups or their "non-Slavism" obsolete or pseudoscientific. At the same time, the long-standing identification of the Northern Russian and Southern Russian ethnographic groups by ethnologists was confirmed. The previous conclusions of physical anthropologists, historians and linguists (see, in particular, the works of the academician ) about the proximity of the ancient and their language not to the East, but to west . As can be seen from genetic resources, the contemporary Northern Russians also are genetically close of all Slavic peoples only to the Poles and similar to the Balts. However, this does not mean the northern Russians origin from the Balts or the Poles, more likely, that all the peoples of the Nordic gene pool are descendants of Paleo-European population, which has remained around .

is the official and the predominantly spoken language in Russia. It is the most spoken native language in Europe, the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, as well as the world's most widely spoken . Russian is the second-most used language on the after , and is one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station, as well as one of the six official languages of the United Nations.


Russian literature is considered to be among the world's most influential and developed.
(2022). 9780199663941, Oxford University Press.
It can be traced to the , when epics and chronicles in Old East Slavic were composed.Letopisi: Literature of Old Rus'. Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary. ed. by Oleg Tvorogov. Moscow: Prosvescheniye ("Enlightenment"), 1996. ( Летописи // Литература Древней Руси. Биобиблиографический словарь / под ред. О.В. Творогова. – М.: Просвещение, 1996.) By the Age of Enlightenment, literature had grown in importance, with works from Mikhail Lomonosov, , Gavrila Derzhavin, and . From the early 1830s, during the Golden Age of Russian Poetry, literature underwent an astounding golden age in poetry, prose and drama. permitted a flowering of poetic talent: and later his protégé Alexander Pushkin came to the fore. Following Pushkin's footsteps, a new generation of poets were born, including Mikhail Lermontov, , Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, and .

The first great Russian novelist was . Then came , who mastered both short stories and novels. Fyodor Dostoevsky and soon became internationally renowned. is remembered mainly for his novel . Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin wrote prose satire, while is best remembered for his shorter fiction. In the second half of the century excelled in short stories and became a leading dramatist. Other important 19th-century developments included the fabulist , non-fiction writers such as the critic Vissarion Belinsky, and playwrights such as Aleksandr Griboyedov and Aleksandr Ostrovsky. The beginning of the 20th century ranks as the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. This era had poets such as , , , Konstantin Balmont, , Vladimir Mayakovsky, and . It also produced some first-rate novelists and short-story writers, such as , Nobel Prize winner , , , Dmitry Merezhkovsky and .

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Russian literature split into Soviet and white émigré parts. In the 1930s, Socialist realism became the predominant trend in Russia. Its leading figure was , who laid the foundations of this style. was one of the leading writers of the Soviet era. Nikolay Ostrovsky's novel How the Steel Was Tempered has been among the most successful works of Russian literature. Influential émigré writers include , and ; who was considered one of the "Big Three" writers.

(2022). 9780819563996, Wesleyan University Press.
Some writers dared to oppose Soviet ideology, such as Nobel Prize-winning novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who wrote about life in the Gulag camps.

Russian philosophy has been greatly influential. is known as one of the fathers of . is referred to as the father of . was the most important theorist of anarcho-communism. 's writings have significantly inspired scholars. gained international following as the leading theoretician of , and co-founded the Theosophical Society. , a major revolutionary, developed a variant of communism known as . , on the other hand, founded . Alexander Zinoviev was a prominent philosopher in the second half of the 20th century.

Russia's research and development budget is the world's ninth-highest, with an expenditure of approximately 422 billion rubles on domestic research and development. In 2019, Russia was ranked tenth worldwide in the number of scientific publications. Russia ranked 45th in the Global Innovation Index in 2021. Since 1904, Nobel Prize were awarded to twenty-six Soviets and Russians in physics, chemistry, medicine, economy, literature and peace.

Mikhail Lomonosov proposed the conservation of mass in chemical reactions, discovered the atmosphere of Venus, and founded modern . Since the times of Nikolay Lobachevsky, who pioneered the non-Euclidean geometry, and a prominent tutor Pafnuty Chebyshev, Russian mathematicians became among the world's most influential. invented the , the main framework of modern . Sofya Kovalevskaya was a pioneer among women in mathematics in the 19th century. Nine Soviet/Russian mathematicians have been awarded with the Fields Medal. was offered the first ever Clay Millennium Prize Problems Award for his final proof of the Poincaré conjecture in 2002, as well as the Fields Medal in 2006, both of which he infamously declined.

Alexander Popov was among the inventors of radio, while and Alexander Prokhorov were co-inventors of and . contributed significantly to the creation of . made crucial contributions in the field of semiconductor junctions, and discovered light-emitting diodes. Vladimir Vernadsky is considered one of the founders of , , and radiogeology. Élie Metchnikoff is known for his groundbreaking research in . is known chiefly for his work in classical conditioning. made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics.

was best known for having identified the of origin of plants. was known mainly for . Many famous Russian scientists and inventors were émigrés. was an aviation pioneer. Vladimir Zworykin was the inventor of the and television systems. Theodosius Dobzhansky was the central figure in the field of evolutionary biology for his work in shaping the modern synthesis. was one of the foremost advocates of the theory. Many foreign scientists lived and worked in Russia for a long period, such as and .

Space exploration
is Russia's national space agency. The country's achievements in the field of and space exploration can be traced back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of theoretical , whose works had inspired leading Soviet rocket engineers, such as , , and many others who contributed to the success of the Soviet space program in the early stages of the and beyond.
(2022). 9780160613050, United States Government Publishing Office.

In 1957, the first Earth-orbiting artificial , Sputnik 1, was launched. In 1961, the first human trip into space was successfully made by . Many other Soviet and Russian space exploration records ensued. In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first and youngest woman in space, having flown a solo mission on Vostok 6. In 1965, became the first human to conduct a , exiting the during Voskhod 2.

In 1957, , a Soviet space dog, became the first animal to orbit the Earth, aboard Sputnik 2. In 1966, Luna 9 became the first spacecraft to achieve a survivable landing on a celestial body, the . In 1968, Zond 5 brought the first Earthlings (two tortoises and other life forms) to circumnavigate the Moon. In 1970, Venera 7 became the first spacecraft to land on another planet, . In 1971, Mars 3 became the first spacecraft to land on .

(1999). 9780160588594, History Division. .
During the same period, Lunokhod 1 became the first space exploration rover, while Salyut 1 became the world's first . Russia had 176 active satellites in space in 2021, the world's third-highest.

Until the 18th-century, music in Russia consisted mainly of church music and folk songs and dances.Excerpted from In the 19th-century, it was defined by the tension between classical composer along with other members of The Mighty Handful, and the Russian Musical Society led by composers and Nikolay Rubinstein. The later tradition of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest composers of the , was continued into the 20th century by Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the last great champions of the Romantic style of European classical music.
(1980). 9780333231111, Macmillan.
World-renowned composers of the 20th century include Alexander Scriabin, Alexander Glazunov, , , Dmitri Shostakovich, and .

Soviet and Russian conservatories have turned out generations of world-renowned soloists. Among the best known are violinists and ,

(1997). 9781879395152 .
cellist Mstislav Rostropovich,
(2022). 9780571220519, Faber & Faber.
pianists Vladimir Horowitz,
(1993). 9780028706764, Schirmer Books. .
Sviatoslav Richter,
(2022). 9781901395990, Travis & Emery.
and , and vocalist Galina Vishnevskaya.
During the Soviet times, also produced a number of renowned figures, such as the two balladeers—Vladimir Vysotsky and , and performers such as . , even with sanctions from Soviet authorities, flourished and evolved into one of the country's most popular musical forms. The Ganelin Trio have been described by critics as the greatest ensemble of free-jazz in continental Europe. By the 1980s, rock music became popular across Russia, and produced bands such as Aria, Aquarium, DDT, and Kino. in Russia has continued to flourish since the 1960s, with globally famous acts such as t.A.T.u. In the recent times, Little Big, a band, has gained popularity in Russia and across Europe.

Russian and later was a hotbed of invention, resulting in world-renowned films such as The Battleship Potemkin.Miller, Jamie. " Soviet Cinema, 1929–41: The Development of Industry and Infrastructure" Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 58, no. 1, 2006, pp. 103–124. . Retrieved 26 May 2021. Soviet-era filmmakers, most notably Sergei Eisenstein and , would go on to become among of the world's most innovative and influential directors. Eisenstein was a student of , who developed the groundbreaking Soviet montage theory of film editing at the world's first , the All-Union Institute of Cinematography. 's "" theory had a huge impact on the development of documentary filmmaking and cinema realism. Many Soviet socialist realism films were artistically successful, including Chapaev, The Cranes Are Flying, and Ballad of a Soldier.

The 1960s and 1970s saw a greater variety of artistic styles in Soviet cinema. The comedies of and of that time were immensely popular, with many of the catchphrases still in use today.Prokhorova, Elena, "The Man Who Made Them Laugh: Leonid Gaidai, the King of Soviet Comedy", in Beumers, Birgit (2008) A History of Russian Cinema, Berg Publishers, , pp. 519–542 In 1961–68 Sergey Bondarchuk directed an -winning film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's epic War and Peace, which was the most expensive film made in the Soviet Union.Birgit Beumers. A History of Russian Cinema. Berg Publishers (2009). . p. 143. In 1969, 's White Sun of the Desert was released, a very popular film in a genre of ; the film is traditionally watched by before any trip into space. In 2002, was the first feature film ever to be shot in a single take. Today, the Russian cinema industry continues to expand.

The history of Russian architecture begins with early woodcraft buildings of ancient Slavs,
(2022). 9783836556149, .
and the architecture of Kievan Rus'.
(1995). 9780860783275, .
Following the Christianization of Kievan Rus', for several centuries it was influenced predominantly by the . Aristotle Fioravanti and other Italian architects brought trends into Russia.
(2022). 9780470402573
The 16th-century saw the development of the unique ; and the design, which is a distinctive feature of Russian architecture. In the 17th-century, the "fiery style" of ornamentation flourished in Moscow and , gradually paving the way for the Naryshkin baroque of the 1690s. After the reforms of Peter the Great, Russia's architecture became influenced by Western European styles.
(2022). 9780300109122, Yale University Press.
The 18th-century taste for architecture led to the splendid works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli and his followers.
(1995). 9781884964015 .
During the reign of Catherine the Great, Saint Petersburg was transformed into an outdoor museum of Neoclassical architecture.
(2022). 9780838641460, Farleigh Dickinson University Press.
During Alexander I's rule, became the de facto architectural style, and Nicholas I opened the gate of to Russia. The second half of the 19th-century was dominated by the Neo-Byzantine and style. In early 20th-century, Russian neoclassical revival became a trend. Prevalent styles of the late 20th-century were the Art Nouveau, Constructivism,
(1985). 9780300034066, Yale University Press.
and Socialist Classicism.
(1992). 9780847814732

Russia's largest religion is Christianity—It has the world's largest Orthodox population. As of a different sociological surveys on religious adherence; between 41% to over 80% of the total population of Russia adhere to the Russian Orthodox Church.There is no official census of religion in Russia, and estimates are based on surveys only. In August 2012, ARENA determined that about 46.8% of Russians are Christians (including Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and non-denominational), which is slightly less than an absolute 50%+ majority. However, later that year the Levada Center determined that 76% of Russians are Christians, and in June 2013 the Public Opinion Foundation determined that 65% of Russians are Christians. These findings are in line with Pew's 2010 survey, which determined that 73.3% of Russians are Christians, with VTSIOM 's 2010 survey (~77% Christian), and with Ipsos MORI 's 2011 survey (69%). Верю — не верю. "Ogonek", № 34 (5243), 27 August 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.

Non-religious Russians may associate themselves with the Orthodox faith for cultural reasons. Some Russian people are : a relatively small schismatic group of the Russian Orthodoxy that rejected the liturgical reforms introduced in the 17th century. Other schisms from Orthodoxy include which in the 18th century rejected secular government, the Russian Orthodox priests, icons, all church ritual, the Bible as the supreme source of divine revelation and the divinity of Jesus, and later emigrated into Canada. An even earlier sect were which formed in 1550 and rejected Czar's divine right to rule, icons, the as outlined by the , Orthodox fasts, military service, and practices including .

Other world religions have negligible representation among ethnic Russians. The largest of these groups are with over 100,000 followers from national minorities, and with over 85,000 Russian adherents. Others are mostly , , Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Since the fall of the various new religious movements have sprung up and gathered a following among ethnic Russians. The most prominent of these are Rodnovery, the revival of the Slavic native religion also common to other ,Victor Shnirelman. "Christians! Go home": A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia . Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2002. Another movement, very small in comparison to other new religions, is Vissarionism, a group with an Orthodox Christian background.

Football is the most popular sport in Russia.
(2022). 9781404229136, Rosen Publishing. .
The Soviet Union national football team became the first European champions by winning Euro 1960, and reached the finals of Euro 1988. In 1956 and 1988, the Soviet Union won gold at the Olympic football tournament. Russian clubs CSKA Moscow and Zenit Saint Petersburg won the in 2005 and 2008. The Russian national football team reached the semi-finals of Euro 2008. Russia was the host nation for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Ice hockey is very popular in Russia. The Soviet Union men's national ice hockey team dominated the sport internationally throughout its existence, and the modern-day Russia men's national ice hockey team is among the most successful teams in the sport. is Russia's national sport, and it has historically been the highest-achieving country in the sport. The Russian national basketball team won the EuroBasket 2007, and the Russian basketball club PBC CSKA Moscow is among the most successful European basketball teams. The annual Russian Grand Prix is held at the in the Sochi Olympic Park.

Historically, Russian athletes have been one of the most successful contenders in the ,

(2022). 9781498541190, Lexington Books. .
ranking second in an all-time Olympic Games medal count. Russia is the leading nation in rhythmic gymnastics; and Russian synchronized swimming is considered to be the world's best. is another popular sport in Russia, especially and . Russia has produced a number of famous players. is also a widely popular pastime in the nation, with many of the world's top chess players being Russian for decades. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow, and the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Paralympics were hosted in Sochi.

See also
  • All-Russian nation
  • European ethnic groups
  • List of Russian artists
  • List of Slavic studies journals




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