Early Russia

May 31, 2016

Before 800

The history of the Russian people began with  the Slavic tribes. As the Western Slavs settled in Poland and the Southern Slavs in the Balkans, the Eastern Slavs moved to Russia and inhabited its forests and steppes.

“Living of East Slavs” by Sergey Ivanov (1909)

Humans arrived in today’s territory of Russia around 30,000 BC. One of the earliest settlements have been found in Sunghir (near Vladimir).

Scythians, Goths, Huns
In the 5th century BC the famous Greek historian Herodotus wrote about the Scythians of the Black Sea. They were fierce fighters and made occasional raids to Europe.

During the Great Migration, the Goths crossed the Russian territory from the Black Sea to the west in 200 AD. In 400 AD the great empire of the Huns stretched from Urals to the Rhine River under the legendary leader Attila.

The direct roots of the Russian people go back to the Slavs. Their origins are not clear. It is known that the Western Slavs (Poles, Czechs), the Southern Slavs (Serbs, Bulgarians) and the Eastern Slavs (Russians) all came from the swamps of present-day Belarus and northern Ukraine.

Eastern Slavs
The Eastern Slavs came in two waves. They inhabited the woodland belt of Central Russia as well as the steppes by the 9th century AD.

They were tall, fair-skinned hunters and farmers who lived in log houses, spoke a Slavonic language and slowly began to adapt to Christianity.


Medieval Russia