RUSSIANS (Russian : русские, _russkiye_) are an East Slavic
ethnic group native to
Eastern Europe . The majority of Russians
inhabit the nation state of
Russia , while notable minorities exist in
Soviet states such as
Kazakhstan , and Belarus
. A large
Russian diaspora exists all over the world, with notable
numbers in the United States, Germany, Israel, and Canada. Russians
are the most numerous ethnic group in Europe.
Russians share many cultural traits with their fellow East Slavic
Ukrainians as well as with
South Slavs such as
Bulgarians , Macedonians , Montenegrins
Serbs . They are predominantly
Orthodox Christians by religion.
Russian language is official in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and also spoken as a secondary language in
* 1 Ethnonym
* 2 History
* 2.1 Origin
* 2.2 Kievan Rus\'
* 3 Population
* 3.2 Former
* 3.3 Diaspora
* 4 Culture
* 4.1 Language
* 4.2 Religion
* 5 Notable achievements
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links
There are two Russian words which are commonly translated into
English as "Russians". One is "русские" (_russkiye_), which
most often means "ethnic Russians". 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
Soviet Union. The latter word refers to all people holding
citizenship of Russia, regardless of their ethnicity, and does not
Russians living outside of Russia. Translations into
other languages often do not distinguish these two groups.
The name of the
Russians derives from the Rus\' people (supposedly
Varangians ). According to the most prevalent theory, the name _Rus'_,
like the Finnish name for
Sweden (_Ruotsi_), is derived from an Old
Norse 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
Roslagen (_Rus-law_) or
_Roden _, as it was known in earlier times. The name _Rus'_ would
then have the same origin as the Finnish and Estonian names for
Sweden: _Ruotsi_ and _Rootsi_. According to other theories the name
_Rus'_ is derived from
Proto-Slavic *roud-s-ь ( from
*rъd-/*roud-/*rуd- root), connected with red color (of hair) or
from Indo-Iranian (ruxs/roxs — «light-colored», «bright»).
See also: History of
THIS SECTION SHOULD INCLUDE A SUMMARY OF HISTORY OF RUSSIA . See
Wikipedia:Summary style for information on how to incorporate it into
this article's main text. (July 2016)_
Further information: Rus\' people
Russians formed from two groups of East Slavic tribes:
Northern and Southern. The tribes involved included the
Ilmen Slavs ,
Radimichs , Vyatiches and
Severians . Genetic studies
show that modern
Russians do not differ significantly from Belarusians
Ukrainians . Some ethnographers, like Zelenin, affirm that
Russians are more similar to
Belarusians and to
Russians are to northern Russians.
Russians in northern
Russia share moderate genetic similarities with Uralic
peoples , who lived in modern north-central European
Russia and were
partly assimilated by the
Slavs as the
Slavs migrated northeastwards.
Uralic peoples included the
Merya and the Muromians .
Outside archaeological remains, little is known about the
Russians in general prior to 859 AD when the _Primary
Chronicle _ starts its records. It is thought that by 600 AD, the
Slavs had split linguistically into southern , western , and eastern
branches. The eastern branch settled between the
Southern Bug and the
Dnieper Rivers in present-day
Ukraine ; from the 1st century AD
through almost the turn of the millennium, they spread peacefully
northward to the Baltic region, forming the Dregovich , Radimich and
Vyatich Slavic tribes on the Baltic substratum, and therefore
experiencing changed language features such as vowel reduction .
Belarusians and South
Russians formed on this ethnic
From the 6th century onwards, another group of
Slavs moved from
Pomerania to the northeast of the
Baltic Sea , where they encountered
Varangians of the Rus\' Khaganate and established the important
regional center of
Novgorod . The same Slavic ethnic population also
settled the present-day
Tver Oblast and the region of
Beloozero . With
the Uralic substratum, they formed the tribes of the
Krivichs and of
Ilmen Slavs .
Main article: Kievan Rus\'
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (July
East Slavic tribes and peoples, 8th-9th century
Principalities of Kievan Rus\' , 1220-1240. These principalities
Vladimir-Suzdal , Smolensk , Chernigov or Ryazan , annexed by
the Duchy of
Moscow in 1521
Russia's Arctic coastline from the
White Sea to the
Bering Strait had
been explored and settled by
Pomors , Russian settlers from
Terek Cossacks of the north
Caucasus guarded the southern frontier
Three generations of a Russian family Kaganovs from Urals, ca. 1910.
Photo taken by
The percentage of ethnic
Russians throughout the former Soviet
Union according to last censuses.
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.
Demographics of Russia
Roughly 111 million ethnic
Russians live in
Russia , 80% of whom live
in the European part of Russia, and 20% in the Asian part of the
FORMER SOVIET STATES
Main article: Ethnic
Russians in post-
Soviet states _ Ethnic
Russians in former
Soviet Union states in 1994
THIS SECTION SHOULD INCLUDE A SUMMARY OF ETHNIC RUSSIANS IN
POST-SOVIET STATES . See:Summary style for information on
how to incorporate it into this article's main text. (July 2016)_
Russians historically migrated throughout the area of former
Russian Empire and
Soviet Union , sometimes encouraged to re-settle in
borderlands by the Tsarist and later
Soviet government. On some
occasions ethnic Russian communities, such as
Lipovans who settled in
Danube delta or Doukhobors in
Canada , emigrated as religious
dissidents fleeing the central authority.
After the Russian Revolution and
Russian Civil War starting in 1917,
Russians were forced to leave their homeland fleeing the
Bolshevik regime, and millions became refugees. Many white émigrés
were participants in the
White movement , although the term is broadly
applied to anyone who may have left the country due to the change in
Lipovans in the
Today the largest ethnic Russian diasporas outside of
Russia live in
Soviet states such as
Ukraine (about 8 million), Kazakhstan
(about 3.8 million),
Belarus (about 785,000),
Latvia (about 520,000)
with the most Russian settlement out of the
Baltic States which
Uzbekistan (about 650,000) and
Kyrgyzstan (about 419,000).
Over a million
Russian Jews emigrated to
Israel during and after the
Refusenik movements; some brought ethnic Russian relatives along with
them. Over a million Russian-speaking immigrants live in Israel,
around two-thirds of them Jewish. There are also small Russian
communities in the
Balkans , including
Lipovans in the Danube delta,
Central European nations such as
Poland , as well Russians
South Korea ,
Brazil , Argentina
Australia . These communities may identify themselves either as
Russians or citizens of these countries, or both, to varying degrees.
Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church in
Shanghai (c. 1948), whose 25,000-strong
Russian community was one of China's largest
People who had arrived in
Estonia during the
including their descendants born in these countries, mostly Russians,
became stateless 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
Russians have protested against plans to liquidate education in
minority languages, including Russian. Since 1992,
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
European Union and the Council of
Europe , as well as the
Russian government , expressed their concern
during the 1990s about minority rights in several countries, most
Estonia . In
Moldova , the
(where 30.4% of population is Russian) broke away from government
control amid fears the country would soon reunite with
Romania . In
June 2006, Russian President
Vladimir Putin announced the plan to
introduce a national policy aiming at encouraging ethnic
immigrate to Russia. Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery
in Paris, the resting place of many eminent Russian émigrés after
Significant numbers of
Russians emigrated to
United States .
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn and South Beach, Staten
New York City
New York City is an example of a large community of recent
Russian and Jewish Russian immigrants. Other examples are Sunny Isles
Beach , a northern suburb of
Miami , and in
West Hollywood of the Los
At the same time, many ethnic
Russians from former
have emigrated to
Russia itself since the 1990s. Many of them became
refugees from a number of states of
Central Asia and
Caucasus (as well
as from the separatist
Chechen Republic ), forced to flee during
political unrest and hostilities towards Russians.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, many
Russians who were
identified with the
White army moved to
China — most of them
Shanghai . By the 1930s,
Harbin had 100,000
Russians. Many of these
Russians had to move back to the
World War II
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
Xinjiang , and also in
Inner Mongolia and
Russian culture and
List of Russian people
List of Russian people See also:
Category:Russian folk culture . _
Vasilisa the Beautiful _, by
Ivan Bilibin . Russian fairy tale collected by
Alexander Afanasyev in
Narodnye russkie skazki _.
Russian culture originated from that of the
East Slavs , who were
largely polytheists , and had a specific way of life in the wooded
areas of Eastern and
Northern Europe . The Scandinavian
Vikings , or
Varangians _, 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
Byzantine Empire in 988, and
this largely defined
Russian culture for the next millennium , namely
as a synthesis of Slavic and
Byzantine cultures. After the fall of
Constantinople in 1453,
Russia remained the largest Orthodox nation in
the world and claimed succession to the
Byzantine legacy in the form
Third Rome idea. At different points of its history, the
country was strongly influenced by
European culture , and since the
reforms of Peter the Great
Russian culture largely developed in the
Western culture . For most of the 20th century, Marxist
ideology shaped the culture of the
Soviet Union , where Russia, i.e.
Russian SFSR , was the largest and leading part.
Russian culture 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 ballet ,
architecture and painting , cinema and animation , all of which had
considerable influence on world culture.
Russian literature is known for such notable writers as Aleksandr
Leo Tolstoy ,
Fyodor Dostoevsky ,
Anton Chekhov , Vladimir
Boris Pasternak ,
Anna Akhmatova ,
Joseph Brodsky , Maxim
Vladimir Nabokov ,
Mikhail Sholokhov ,
Mikhail Bulgakov ,
Andrei Platonov ,
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn , and
Varlam Shalamov .
Russians also gave the classical music world some very famous
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and his contemporaries,
Mighty Handful , including
Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai
Rimsky-Korsakov . In the 20th-century Russian music was credited with
such influential composers as
Dmitri Shostakovich ,
Sergei Prokofiev ,
Sergei Rachmaninoff ,
Igor Stravinski ,
Georgy Sviridov , and Alfred
Russian language _ Russian has official status.
Russian is a regional or de facto_ working language
RUSSIAN (русский язык (help ·info ), transliteration :
_Russkiy yazyk_, ) is the most geographically widespread language of
Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic 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 Rusyn .
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. A group of Russian children, 1909. Sergei
Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii .
Russian has palatal secondary articulation of consonants , the
so-called _soft_ and _hard_ sounds. This distinction is found in most
consonant phonemes and is one of the most distinguishing features of
the language. Another important aspect is the reduction of unstressed
vowels , not unlike a similar process in English . 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
Due to the status of the
Soviet Union as a super power , Russian
gained a great political importance in the second half of the 20th
century. It is one of the official languages of the
United Nations .
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-
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
In places of compact residence of immigrants from the countries of
USSR (Israel, Germany, Canada, the United States,
Australia, etc.) Russian-language periodicals, radio and television
channels are available, as well as Russian-language schools.
Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church and Religion in
Saint Basil\'s Cathedral on the
Red Square ,
As of a 2012 sociological survey on religious adherence, 58,800,000
people or 41% of the total population of
Russia adhere to the Russian
Orthodox Church . But other sources gave higher estimates between
63% to over 80% of ethnic
Russians identify themselves as Orthodox.
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
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia ) with the
Russian Orthodox Church.
Russians may associate themselves with the Orthodox
faith for cultural reasons. Some Russian people are
Old Believers : a
relatively small schismatic group of the Russian Orthodoxy that
rejected the liturgical reforms introduced in the 17th century. Other
schisms from Orthodoxy include Doukhobors 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 Molokans which formed in 1550 and rejected Czar's
divine right to rule , icons, the
Trinity as outlined by the Nicene
Creed , Orthodox fasts , military service, and practices including
water baptism .
Other world religions have negligible representation among ethnic
Russians. The largest of these groups are
Islam with over 100,000
followers from national minorities, and
Baptists with over 85,000
Russian adherents. Others are mostly
Seventh-day Adventists ,
Lutherans and Jehovah\'s Witnesses .
Since the fall of the
Soviet Union 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 Slavic nations , Another
movement, very small in comparison to other new religions, is
Vissarionism , a syncretic group with an Orthodox Christian
Main articles: Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records
List of Russian inventors Yuri Gagarin, first human in space
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 Mikhail
Kalashnikov (inventor and designer of the
AK-47 assault rifle and PK
machine gun ),
Dmitri Mendeleev ,
Nikolay Bogolyubov , Konstantin
Tsiolkovsky (a founding father of rocketry and astronautics), Andrei
Ivan Pavlov ,
Nikolai Semyonov ,
Dmitri Ivanenko ,
Alexander Lodygin , Alexander Popov (one of inventors of radio ),
Nikolai Zhukovsky ,
Alexander Prokhorov and Nikolay Basov
(co-inventors of laser ),
Vladimir Zworykin ,
Lev Pontryagin , Sergei
Pavel Yablochkov ,
Aleksandr Butlerov ,
Andrei Sakharov ,
Dmitry Ivanovsky ,
Sergey Korolyov and
Mstislav Keldysh (creators of
Soviet space program ),
Aleksandr Lyapunov , Mikhail
Andrei Tupolev ,
Yuri Denisyuk (the first
practicable method of holography ),
Mikhail Lomonosov , Vladimir
Pyotr Kapitsa ,
Igor Sikorsky ,
Ludvig Faddeev ,
Konstantin Novoselov ,
Fyodor Shcherbatskoy ,
Nikolai Trubetzkoy etc.
The first man in space,
Yuri Gagarin , was a Russian, and the first
artificial satellite to be put into outer space ,
Sputnik 1 , was
launched by the
Soviet Union and was developed mainly by Russian
Sergey Korolyov .
Vladimir Bekhterev , Russian
neurologist and the father of objective psychology
Russian Literature representatives like
Leo Tolstoy , Fyodor
Ivan Turgenev ,
Anton Chekhov ,
Alexander Pushkin , and
many more, reached a high status in world literature . 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 composers who reached a high status in the world of music
Igor Stravinsky ,
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky , Dmitri
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov ,
Sergei Prokofiev , Modest
Mussorgsky , and
Sergei Rachmaninoff .
Russian people played a crucial role in the victory over Nazi Germany
World War II
World War II . Russia's casualties in this war were the highest of
all nations, and numbered more than 20 million dead (
80% of the 26.6 million people lost by the
USSR ), which is about half
World War II
World War II casualties and the vast majority of Allied
casualties. According to the British historian
Richard Overy , the
Eastern Front included more combat than all the other European fronts
Wehrmacht suffered 80% to 93% of all of its total World
War II combat casualties on the Eastern Front.
European ethnic groups
List of Russian artists
* ^ Estimates range between 130 and 150 million. 111 million in the
Russian Federation (2010 census ), about 16 million ethnic
Soviet states (8 M in Ukraine, 4.5 M in Kazakhstan, 1 M in
Belarus, 0.6 M Latvia, 0.6 M in Uzbekistan, 0.6 M in Kyrgyzstan. Up to
Russian diaspora elsewhere (mostly Americas and Western
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