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Russians (русские, tr. russkiye, IPA: ) are an native to (some territories of the former Tsardom of Russia and ), the most numerous ethnic group in Europe. The majority of ethnic Russians live in the Russian Federation, notable minorities exist in other former states such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine and the Baltic states. A large (sometimes including , i.e. Russian-speaking non-Russians) also exists all over the world, with notable numbers in the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Canada. The has a long tradition and it is a foundation for the modern culture of the whole of Russia. The Russian language originally was the language of ethnic Russians. They are historically Orthodox Christians by religion.

The ethnic Russians formed from East Slavic tribes and their cultural ancestry is from Kievan Rus'. The Russian word for ethnic 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 . Many ethnic groups had a common history within the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire, which was influential in spreading of Russian culture and language. The is official in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, , and , and also spoken as a secondary language in many former Soviet states.

The ethnic Russians is the one of 194 ethnic groups who live in Russia, according to the 2010 census. Despite of 80.90% (111,016,896 people) of the population voluntarily declared themself as ethnically Russian, the Constitution declared Russia a multinational (multiethnic) state and named "multinational people of Russia" as a sovereign nation (i.e. not ethnic Russian, officially Russia is not a ). The Russian word used for citizens of Russia is different from the word for ethnic Russian (see Citizenship of Russia), other languages often do not distinguish these two groups. The Tsardom of Russia became a multiethnic state in the 16th century (see History of Russia). The number of ethnic Russians living outside the Russian Federation is estimated at roughly between 20 and 30 million people (see ).

There are two Russian words which are commonly translated into English as "Russians". One is "русские" ( russkiye), which most often means "ethnic Russians" (the subject of this article). Another is "россияне" ( rossiyane), which means "citizens of Russia". The former word refers to ethnic Russians, regardless of what country they live in and irrespective of whether or not they hold Russian citizenship. Under certain circumstances this term may or may not extend to denote members of other Russian-speaking ethnic groups from Russia, or from the former Soviet Union. The latter word refers to all people holding citizenship of Russia, regardless of their ethnicity, and does not include ethnic Russians living outside Russia. Translations into other languages often do not distinguish these two groups. Retrieved 10 February 2016.

The name of the Russians derives from the Rus' people (supposedly ). According to the most prevalent theory, the name Rus, like the Finnish name for ( Ruotsi), is derived from an term for "the men who row" ( rods-) as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe, and that it could be linked to the Swedish coastal area of ( Rus-law) or Roden, as it was known in earlier times.

(2007). 9780521035521, Cambridge University Press. .
The Russian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text Translated by O. P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor The name Rus would then have the same origin as the and Estonian names for Sweden: Ruotsi and Rootsi. According to other theories the name Rus is derived from *roud-s-ь ( from *rъd-/*roud-/*rуd- root), connected with red color (of hair) or from Indo-Iranian (ruxs/roxs — «light-colored», «bright»).Седов В.В. Древнерусская народность. Русы

Until the 1917 revolution, Russian authorities never specifically called them "Russians", calling them "" instead, a part of "Russians" (all the ).


The modern Russians formed from two groups of tribes: Northern and Southern. The tribes involved included the , , , and . Genetic studies show that modern Russians do not differ significantly from and . Some ethnographers, like Dmitry Konstantinovich Zelenin, affirm that Russians are more similar to Belarusians and to Ukrainians than southern Russians are to northern Russians. Russians in northern European Russia share moderate genetic similarities with , who lived in modern north-central European Russia and were partly assimilated by the as the Slavs migrated northeastwards. Such Uralic peoples included the , "Étude sur les peuples primitifs de la Russie. Les mériens" (1875) and the .

The territory of Russia has been inhabited since 2nd Millennium BCE by Indo-European, Ural-Altaic, and various other peoples; however, not much is known about them. 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 Kiev about 1113 It is thought that by 600 AD, the had split linguistically into , , and eastern branches. The eastern branch settled between the and the Rivers in present-day ; from the 1st century AD through almost the turn of the millennium, they spread peacefully northward to the region, forming the , and Slavic tribes on the Baltic substratum, and therefore experiencing changed language features such as vowel reduction. Later, both and South Russians formed on this ethnic linguistic ground.Pivtorak. Formation and dialectal differenciaton of the Old Rus language. 1988

From the 6th century onwards, another group of Slavs moved from to the northeast of the , where they encountered the of the Rus' Khaganate and established the important regional center of . The same Slavic ethnic population also settled the present-day and the region of . With the Uralic substratum, they formed the tribes of the and of the .

Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus' was a loose federation of states that existed from the late 9th to the mid-13th century. Modern Russians derive their name and cultural ancestry from Kievan Rus'.

Russian Empire
East Slavic tribes peoples 8th 9th century.jpg| tribes and peoples, 8th-9th century Kyivan Rus' 1220-1240.png|Principalities of Kievan Rus', 1220-1240. These principalities included , Smolensk, Chernigov or Ryazan, annexed by the Duchy of Moscow in 1521 Pomor man.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 Prokudin-Gorskii-05.jpg|Three generations of a Russian family, the Kaganovs, from the Urals, ca. 1910. Photo taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky

In 2010, the world's Russian population was 129 million people of which 86% were in Russia, 11.5% in the CIS and Baltic countries, with a further 2.5% living in other countries.

Roughly 111 million ethnic Russians live in , 80% of whom live in the European part of Russia, and 20% in the Asian part of the country.

Former Soviet states
[[File:Russians ethnic 94.jpg|left|thumb|upright=0.9|Ethnic Russians in former Soviet Union states in 1994]]

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 .

Ethnic Russians historically migrated throughout 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. November 23, 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.

Today the largest ethnic Russian diasporas outside Russia live in former Soviet states such as (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).

There are also small Russian communities in the , including in the Danube delta," Saving the souls of Russia's exiled Lipovans". The Daily Telegraph. April 9, 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.

People who had arrived in and during the Soviet era, including their descendants born in these countries, mostly Russians, became after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and were provided only with an option to acquire naturalised citizenship. The language issue is still contentious, particularly in Latvia, where ethnic Russians have protested against plans to liquidate education in minority languages, including Russian. Since 1992, Estonia has naturalized some 137,000 residents of undefined citizenship, mainly ethnic Russians. 136,000, or 10 percent of the total population, remain without citizenship. Both the and the Council of Europe, as well as the Russian government, expressed their concern during the 1990s about minority rights in several countries, most notably and . In , the region (where 30.4% of population is Russian) broke away from government control amid fears the country would soon reunite with . In June 2006, Russian President announced the plan to introduce a national policy aiming at encouraging ethnic Russians to immigrate to Russia.

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.

At the same time, many ethnic Russians from former Soviet territories have emigrated to Russia itself since the 1990s. Many of them became refugees from a number of states of and (as well as from the separatist ), forced to flee during political unrest and hostilities towards Russians.

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.

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 .

Russian culture originated from that of the , who were largely , and had a specific way of life in the wooded areas of and . The , or , also took part in forming the Russian identity and state in the early Kievan Rus' period of the late 1st millennium AD. The Rus' accepted Christianity from the in 988, and this largely defined Russian culture for the next millennium, namely as a synthesis of and cultures. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Russia remained the largest nation in the world and claimed succession to the Byzantine legacy in the form of the idea. At different points of its history, the country was strongly influenced by , and since the reforms of Peter the Great Russian culture largely developed in the context of . For most of the 20th century, shaped the , where Russia, i.e. the , was the largest and leading part.

is varied and unique in many respects. It has a rich history and a long tradition in all of the arts, especially in fields of literature and philosophy, classical music and ,

(1989). 9780195057010, Oxford University Press.
architecture and painting, and animation, all of which had considerable influence on world culture.

Russian literature is known for such notable writers as Aleksandr Pushkin, , Fyodor Dostoevsky, , Vladimir Mayakovsky, , , , , , Mikhail Sholokhov, , , Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and . Russians also gave the world some very famous composers, including Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and his contemporaries, the , including Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In the 20th-century Russian music was credited with such influential composers as Dmitri Shostakovich, , Sergei Rachmaninoff, , .

[[File:Russian language status and proficiency in the World.svg|thumb|left|upright=1.8|

]] Russian (русский язык]] , transliteration: , ) is the most geographically widespread language of and the most widely spoken of the languages. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three (or, according to some authorities, four) living members of the East Slavic languages, the others being Belarusian, Ukrainian and .

Examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards, and while Russian preserves much of East Slavonic grammar and a Common Slavonic word base, modern Russian exhibits a large stock of borrowed international vocabulary for politics, science, and technology.

Russian has palatal secondary articulation of , the so-called soft and hard sounds. This distinction is found in most consonant and is one of the most distinguishing features of the language. Another important aspect is the of unstressed , not unlike a similar process in . Stress in Russian is often described as "unpredictable": it can fall on almost any syllable, and this is one of the difficult aspects for foreign language learners.

Due to the status of the as a , Russian gained a great political importance in the second half of the 20th century. It is one of the official languages of the . All astronauts working in the International Space Station are required to master Russian.

According to data published in the journal «Language Monthly» (№ 3, 1997), approximately 300 million people around the world at the time mastered the Russian language (making it the 5th most popular language in the world by total number of speakers), while 160 million considered Russian their native language (making it the 7th in the world by number of native speakers). The total number of Russian speakers in the world in the 1999 assessment was about 167 million, with about 110 million people speaking Russian as a second language.

Prior to 1991, Russian was the language of international communication of the USSR and the most common foreign language taught in schools in the countries of the Eastern Bloc in Central Europe. It continues to be used in the countries that were formerly parts of the Soviet Union, both as the mother tongue of a significant percentage of the population, and as a language of international communication. While for various reasons residents of these countries might be unwilling to openly identify with Russian language, a major sociological study on the Russian language in the post-Soviet states conducted by Gallup, Inc., revealed that 92% of the survey respondents in Belarus, 83% in Ukraine, 68% in Kazakhstan and 38% in Kyrgyzstan chose Russian-language forms to complete the questionnaire for the survey (most notably, over forms in corresponding national languages).

In the U.S. state of New York in 2009, an amendment to the electoral law was adopted, according to which in all cities in the state having over a million people, all documents related to the election process should be translated into Russian (thus gaining equal status with Spanish, Korean, Filipino, Creole languages and three varieties of Chinese).

In places of compact residence of immigrants from the countries of the former USSR (Israel, Germany, Canada, the United States, Australia, etc.) Russian-language periodicals, radio and television channels are available, as well as Russian-language schools.

[[File:RedSquare SaintBasile (|thumb|upright=0.8|[[Saint Basil's Cathedral]] on the [[Red Square]], [[Moscow]]]]
As of a different sociological surveys on religious adherence, from 41% to over 80% of the total population of adhere to the Russian Orthodox ChurchOlga Filina (Ogonek Magazine). Mapping Russia's Religious Landscape. Russia and India Report. Retrieved 24-09-2012. Верю — не верю. "Ogonek", № 34 (5243), 27/08/2012. Retrieved 24-09-2012.. It has played a vital role in the development of Russian national identity. In other countries Russian faithful usually belong to the local Orthodox congregations which either have a direct connection (like the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, autonomous from the Moscow Patriarchate) or historical origin (like the Orthodox Church in America or a Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) with the Russian Orthodox Church.

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.

Notable achievements
Russians have greatly contributed to the fields of sports, science and technology, politics, business, and the arts.

In science and technology, notable Russian scientists include , Nikolay Bogolyubov, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (a founding father of rocketry and astronautics), Andrei Kolmogorov, , , , Alexander Lodygin, Alexander Popov (one of inventors of ), Nikolai Zhukovsky, Alexander Prokhorov and (co-inventors of ), Vladimir Zworykin, , , , Aleksandr Butlerov, , , and (creators of the Soviet space program), Aleksandr Lyapunov, Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky, , (the first practicable method of ), Mikhail Lomonosov, Vladimir Vernadsky, , , , Konstantin Novoselov, Fyodor Shcherbatskoy, Mikhail Kalashnikov (inventor and designer of the AK-47 assault rifle and PK machine gun), and Nikolai Trubetzkoy.

The first man in space, , was a Russian, and the first artificial satellite to be put into , Sputnik 1, was launched by the and was developed mainly by Russian aerospace engineer .

Russian Literature representatives like , Fyodor Dostoevsky, , , Alexander Pushkin, and many more, reached a high status in world . Prominent Russian novelists such as Tolstoy in particular, were important figures and have remained internationally renowned. Some scholars have described one or the other as the greatest novelist ever."Russian literature." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 16 July 2007 <[8]>.

Russian composers who reached a high status in the world of include , Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, , Modest Mussorgsky, and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Russian people played a crucial role in the victory over in World War II. According to the historian , the Eastern Front included more combat than all the other European fronts combined—the suffered 80% to 93% of all of its total World War II combat casualties on the Eastern Front. Russia's casualties in this war were the highest of all nations, and numbered more than 20 million dead (Russians composed 80% of the 26.6 million people lost by the ), which is about half of all World War II casualties and the vast majority of Allied casualties. Leaders mourn Soviet wartime dead, BBC News

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

External links

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