The Russians (russian: русские) are an East Slavic ethnic group native to
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and s ...
, who share a common Russian ancestry,
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.Tylor, Edward. (1871). ...
, and
history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates t ...
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...

, the most spoken
Slavic language The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavic peoples or their descendants. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic, spoken during the Early ...
, is the shared mother tongue of the Russians; and
Orthodox Christianity Orthodoxy (from Greek: ) is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion. Orthodoxy within Christianity refers to acceptance of the doctrines defined by various creeds and ecumenical councils in Antiquity, but different Churches ...
is their historical religion. They are the largest Slavic 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' Kievan Rus' or Kyivan Rus' ( orv, Роусь, Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") was a loose federationJohn Channon & Robert Hudson, ''Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia'' (Penguin, 1995), p.16. of East Slavic and Finno-Ugric peoples in Europe from the la ...
. 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
Belarusians Belarusians ( be, беларусы, biełarusy, russian: белорусы, byelorusy), also and Byelorussians (from the Byelorussian SSR), are an East Slavic ethnic group who are native to modern-day Belarus and the immediate region. There are over 9 ...
Ukrainians , image = , caption = , population = 47 million , popplace = 37,541,693 , region1 = , pop1 = 3,269,992 , ref1 = , region2 = , pop2 = 1,359,655 , ref2 ...
. Of the total 258 million speakers of Russian in the world, roughly 134 million of them are ethnic Russians. The vast majority of Russians live in native Russia, but notable minorities are scattered throughout other
post-Soviet states The post-Soviet states, also known as the former Soviet Union (FSU), the former Soviet Republics and in Russia as the near abroad (russian: бли́жнее зарубе́жье, blizhneye zarubezhye), are the 15 sovereign states that emerged and re ...
such as
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = , languages2_type = Recognized minority language , languages2 = , ethnic_groups = , demonym = Belarusian , government_type = U ...
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan,, * russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, * russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no is a transcontinental country mainly located in Central Asia wit ...
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. The capital city is Chișinău. Most of M ...
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraina, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest country in Europe, after Russia, which it borders to the east and north-east; it also shares borders with Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia a ...
and the
Baltic states The Baltic states ( et, Balti riigid, Baltimaad; lv, Baltijas valstis; lt, Baltijos valstybės), also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the thr ...
. A large
Russian diaspora The Russian diaspora is the global community of ethnic Russians. The Russian-speaking (''Russophone'') diaspora are the people for whom Russian language is the native language, regardless of whether they are ethnic Russians or, for example, Belarus ...
(sometimes including Russian-speaking non-Russians), estimated at over 20-30 million people, has developed all over the world, with notable numbers in the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, 326 India ...
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German , demonym = German , government_type = Federal parliamentary republi ...
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 millio ...
, and
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering , making it the world's second-largest country by total ...


The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is "Russians" in English. There are two
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...

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 " Russian citizens", regardless of ethnicity. The name of the Russians derives from the
Rus' people 312px, upright=2.2, Map showing the major Varangian trade routes: the the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Sufficiently controlling strongholds, market places and portages along the routes was necessary for the Scandinavian ...
. It is not clear from whom the in West called Rus' people descended. The most prevalent theory in
Germanic-speaking countries
Germanic-speaking countries
is, that the name ''Rus'', like the Finnish name for
Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingd ...
(''Ruotsi''), is derived from an
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements from about the 7th to the 15th centuries. The Proto-Norse language developed into Old Norse ...
term for "the men who row" (''rods-'') as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe. It could be associated to the Swedish coastal area of
Roslagen 300px, Folklands in Svitjod (Uppland and Gästrikland) The coastline has changed considerably in the last millennium due to post-glacial rebound. Originally there was a sea bay coming in from the north all the way into Uppsala. Roslagen is the ...
(''Rus-law'') or ''
Roden Roden is a name of Germanic origin, originally meaning "red valley" or an anglicization of the Gaelic name "O'Rodain". It may refer to: Places *Roden, Bavaria, a town in the Main-Spessart district of Bavaria, Germany *Roden, Drenthe, a town in th ...
'', as it was known in earlier times.''The Ru, , , ssian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text,'' Translated by O. P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor The name ''Rus'' would have the same origin as the Finnish and
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also * * Langua ...
names for Sweden: ''Ruotsi'' and ''Rootsi''. Although Russian history and culture is shaped also by Germanic people such as the Vikings, there are also theories that Rus' is of a non-Germanic origin. According to the historian Lydia Groth, Roslagen in IX—XII centuries was unsuitable for life, as it was under water at a depth of 6–7 meters. Furthermore, the name Roslagen was first documented only in 1493. According to other theories the name ''Rus'' is derived from
Proto-Slavic Proto-Slavic is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Slavic languages. It represents Slavic speech approximately from the 2nd millennium B.C. through the 6th century A.D. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writing ...
*roud-s-ь ( from *rъd-/*roud-/*rуd- root), connected with red color (of hair) or from Indo-Iranian languages, Indo-Iranian (ruxs/roxs — «light-colored», «bright»).Седов В.В. Древнерусская народность. Русы There are also other lingual links to more southern peoples in Eurasia like the city Ruse, Bulgaria, Ruse in Bulgaria or the Mount Elbrus, Elbrus in the North Caucasian Federal District, Russian Caucasus. The word Rus' is also connected to the river Ros (river), Ros in Ukraine. Until the 1917 revolution, Russian authorities never specifically called the people "Russians", referring to them instead as "Great Russians," a part of "Russians" (all the East Slavs).


Ancient history

There are indications that today's Russia is the original home of the Russian ethnic group and various Slavic tribes. The modern Russians were formed i.a. from two groups of East Slavic tribes: Northern and Southern. These tribes included the Krivichs, Ilmen Slavs, Radimichs, Vyatiches and Severians. Genetic studies on Russians, Genetic studies show that Russians are closest to
Belarusians Belarusians ( be, беларусы, biełarusy, russian: белорусы, byelorusy), also and Byelorussians (from the Byelorussian SSR), are an East Slavic ethnic group who are native to modern-day Belarus and the immediate region. There are over 9 ...
Ukrainians , image = , caption = , population = 47 million , popplace = 37,541,693 , region1 = , pop1 = 3,269,992 , ref1 = , region2 = , pop2 = 1,359,655 , ref2 ...
, Poles, and other Slavs. Some ethnographers, like Zelenin, affirm that Russians overall are more similar to Belarusians and to Ukrainians than southern Russians are to northern Russians. Russians in some parts northwestern Russia share moderate genetic similarities with Baltic Finnic peoples, who lived in modern northwestern-central Russia, and were partly assimilated by East Slavs as they migrated northeastwards. 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. Slavic people are native to the western part of Russia. Outside archaeological remains, little is known about the predecessors to Russians in general prior to 859 AD, when the ''Primary Chronicle'' starts its records. By 600 AD, the Slavs are believed to have split linguistically into South Slavs, southern, West Slavs, 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 Dregovichs, Dregovich, Radimichs, Radimich and Vyatichs, Vyatich Slavic tribes on the Baltic substratum. They developed some changed language features, such as Vowel reduction in Russian, vowel reduction. Later, both
Belarusians Belarusians ( be, беларусы, biełarusy, russian: белорусы, byelorusy), also and Byelorussians (from the Byelorussian SSR), are an East Slavic ethnic group who are native to modern-day Belarus and the immediate region. There are over 9 ...
and South Russians emerged from this ethnic linguistic ground or family.Pivtorak. ''Formation and dialectal differenciaton of the Old Rus language.'' 1988 From the 6th century onward, another group of Slavs moved from Pomerania to the northeast of the Baltic Sea, where they encountered the 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 the Ilmen Slavs.

Medieval history

The traditional start-date of specifically Russian history is the establishment of the Rus' people, Rus' state in the north in 862 ruled by Varangians, Vikings. Staraya Ladoga and Veliky Novgorod, Novgorod became the first major cities of the new union of immigrants from Scandinavia with the Slavs and Finno-Ugric peoples, Finno-Ugrians. In 882 Prince Oleg of Novgorod seized Kiev, thereby uniting the northern and southern lands of the Eastern Slavs under one authority. The state Christianization of Kievan Rus', adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in 988, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine Empire, Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Orthodox Slavs, 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, Moscow became a political and cultural center. Moscow has become a center for the Collector of Russian lands, 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 Russian Empire, 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 Pacific Ocean, and became a great power; and one of the most powerful states in Europe after the French invasion of Russia, victory over Napoleon. Peasant revolts were common, and all were fiercely suppressed. The Emperor Alexander II of Russia, Alexander II Emancipation reform of 1861, abolished Serfdom in Russia, Russian serfdom in 1861, but the peasants fared poorly and revolutionary pressures grew. In the following decades, reform efforts such as the Stolypin reforms of 1906–1914, the Russian Constitution of 1906, constitution of 1906, and the State Duma (Russian Empire), State Duma (1906–1917) attempted to open and liberalize the economy and political system, but the Emperors refused to relinquish Tsarist autocracy, autocratic rule and resisted sharing their power. A combination of economic breakdown, Russia in World War I, war-weariness, and discontent with the autocratic system of government triggered Russian Revolution, revolution in Russia in 1917. The February Revolution, overthrow of the monarchy initially brought into office a coalition of liberals and moderate socialists, but their failed policies led to October Revolution, seizure of power by the Communism, communist Bolsheviks on 25 October 1917 (7 November Old Style and New Style dates, New Style). In 1922, Soviet Russia, along with Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Belarus, 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 (Russia–Central Powers), 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 New Economic Policy, mixed economy and diverse society and culture of the 1920s through the Stalinism, command economy and repressions of the Joseph Stalin era to the Era of Stagnation, "era of stagnation" from the 1960s to the 1980s. During this period, Soviet Union won the World War II, becoming a superpower opposing Western countries in the Cold War. The USSR was successful in the Soviet space program, space program, launching the first man into space. By the mid-1980s, with the weaknesses of Soviet economic and political structures becoming acute, Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on major reforms, which eventually led to the overthrowal of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, communist party and the breakup of the USSR, leaving Russia again on its own and marking the start of the History of Russia (1991–present), history of post-Soviet Russia. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic renamed itself as the Russian Federation and became one of the Lisbon Protocol, several successors to the Soviet Union.

Geographic distribution

Ethnic 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 the Danube delta or Doukhobors in Canada, emigrated as religious dissidents fleeing the central authority. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War starting in 1917, many Russians were forced to leave their homeland fleeing the Bolshevik regime, and millions became refugees. Many white emigre, 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 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 Soviet Republics. In 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 includes Lithuania and Estonia, Uzbekistan (about 650,000) and Kyrgyzstan (about 419,000). In Moldova, the Transnistria region (where 30.4% of the population is Russian) broke away from government control amid fears the country would soon reunite with Romania. There are also small Russian communities in the Balkans, including Lipovans in the Danube delta, Central European nations such as Germany and Poland, as well Russians settled in China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. These communities may identify themselves either as Russians or citizens of these countries, or both, to varying degrees. Significant numbers of Russians emigrated to Canada, Australia and the United States. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn and South Beach, Staten Island in New York City is an example of a large community of recent Russian and Russian Jews, Russian Jewish immigrants. Other examples are Sunny Isles Beach, a northern suburb of Miami, and in West Hollywood of the Los Angeles area. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Russian Revolution in 1917, many Russians who were identified with the White army moved to China — most of them settling in Harbin and Shanghai. 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 Ethnic Russians in China, Russians (''eluosizu'') are one of the Nationalities of China, 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 Heilongjiang.


Russian (, Romanization of Russian, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is the most spoken native language in Europe, the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, as well as the most widely spoken Slavic language in the world. It belongs to the Indo-European language family, and is one of the living members of the East Slavic languages. Russian is the second-most used language on the Internet after English, one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station, and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.



Russian literature is considered to be among the most influential and developed in the world, with some of the most famous literary works belonging to it. Russia's literary history dates back to the 10th century; in the 18th century its development was boosted by the works of Mikhail Lomonosov and Denis Fonvizin, and by the early 19th century a modern native tradition had emerged, producing some of the greatest writers of all time. This period and the Golden Age of Russian Poetry began with Alexander Pushkin, considered to be the founder of modern Russian literature and often described as the ''"Russian Shakespeare" or the "Russian Goethe"''. It continued in the 19th century with the poetry of Mikhail Lermontov and Nikolay Nekrasov, dramas of Aleksandr Ostrovsky and Anton Chekhov, and the prose of Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, Ivan Goncharov, Aleksey Pisemsky and Nikolai Leskov. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in particular were titanic figures, to the point that many literary critics have described one or the other as the greatest novelist ever. By the 1880s Russian literature had begun to change. The age of the great novelists was over and short fiction and poetry became the dominant genres of Russian literature for the next several decades, which later became known as the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. Previously dominated by Realism (arts), realism, Russian literature came under strong influence of Symbolism (arts), symbolism in the years between 1893 and 1914. Leading writers of this age include Valery Bryusov, Andrei Bely, Vyacheslav Ivanov (poet), Vyacheslav Ivanov, Alexander Blok, Aleksandr Blok, Nikolay Gumilev, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Fyodor Sologub, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva, Leonid Andreyev, Ivan Bunin, and Maxim Gorky. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing Russian Civil War, civil war, Russian cultural life was left in chaos. Some prominent writers, like Ivan Bunin and Vladimir Nabokov left the country, while a new generation of talented writers joined together in different organizations with the aim of creating a new and distinctive working-class culture appropriate for the new state, the Soviet Union. Throughout the 1920s writers enjoyed broad tolerance. In the 1930s censorship over literature was tightened in line with Joseph Stalin's policy of socialist realism. After his death the restrictions on literature were eased, and by the 1970s and 1980s, writers were increasingly ignoring official guidelines. The leading authors of the Soviet era included Yevgeny Zamyatin, Yevgeny Zamiatin, Isaac Babel, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Ilf and Petrov, Yury Olesha, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, Mikhail Sholokhov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and Andrey Voznesensky. The Soviet era was also the golden age of Russian science fiction, that was initially inspired by western authors and enthusiastically developed with the success of Soviet space program. Authors like Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Kir Bulychev, Ivan Yefremov, Alexander Belyaev enjoyed mainstream popularity at the time. An important theme of Russian literature has always been the Russian soul.


Some Russian writers, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, are known also as philosophers, while many more authors are known primarily for their philosophical works. Russian philosophy blossomed since the 19th century, when it was defined initially by the opposition of Westernizers, advocating Russia's following the Western political and economical models, and Slavophiles, insisting on developing Russia as a unique civilization. The latter group includes Nikolai Danilevsky and Konstantin Leontiev, the early founders of Eurasianism. In its further developments, Russian philosophy was always marked by a deep connection to literature and interest in creativity, society, politics and nationalism; Russian cosmism, cosmos and religion were other primary subjects. Notable philosophers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Vladimir Solovyov (philosopher), Vladimir Solovyov, Sergei Bulgakov, Pavel Florensky, Nikolai Berdyaev, Vladimir Lossky and Vladimir Vernadsky. In the 20th century Russian philosophy became dominated by Marxism.


At the start of the 18th century the Reforms of Peter I of Russia, reforms of Peter the Great (the founder of Russian Academy of Sciences and Saint Petersburg State University) and the work of such champions as polymath Mikhail Lomonosov (the founder of Moscow State University) gave a great boost for development of science, engineering and innovation in Russia. In the 19th and 20th centuries Russia produced a large number of great :Russian scientists, scientists and List of Russian inventors, inventors. Nikolai Lobachevsky, a ''Copernicus of Geometry'', developed the non-Euclidean geometry. Dmitry Mendeleev invented the Periodic table, the main framework of the modern chemistry. Nikolay Benardos introduced the arc welding, further developed by Nikolay Slavyanov, Konstantin Khrenov and other Russian engineers. Gleb Kotelnikov invented the knapsack parachute, while Evgeniy Chertovsky introduced the pressure suit. Pavel Yablochkov and Alexander Lodygin were great pioneers of electrical engineering and inventors of early electric lamps. Alexander Stepanovich Popov, Alexander Popov was among the invention of radio, inventors of radio, while Nikolai Basov and Alexander Prokhorov were co-inventors of lasers and masers. Igor Tamm, Andrei Sakharov and Lev Artsimovich developed the idea of tokamak for controlled nuclear fusion and created its first prototype, which finally led to the modern ITER project. Many famous Russian scientists and inventors were émigrés, like Igor Sikorsky and Vladimir Zworykin, and many foreign ones worked in Russia for a long time, like Leonard Euler and Alfred Nobel. The greatest Russian successes are in the field of space technology and space exploration. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the father of theoretical astronautics. His works had inspired leading Soviet Union, Soviet rocket engineers such as Sergei Korolev, Valentin Glushko, and many others that contributed to the success of the Soviet space program at early stages of the Space Race and beyond. In 1957 the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, ''Sputnik 1'', was launched; in 1961 on Cosmonautics Day, 12 April the first human trip into space was successfully made by Yury Gagarin; and many other Soviet and Russian Timeline of space exploration, space exploration records ensued, including the first spacewalk performed by Alexei Leonov, the first space exploration Rover (space exploration), rover ''Lunokhod programme, Lunokhod-1'' and the first space station ''Salyut 1''. Nowadays Russia is the largest satellite launcher and the only provider of transport for space tourism services until May 2020. Other technologies, where Russia historically leads, include nuclear technology, aircraft production and arms industry. The creation of the first nuclear power plant along with the first nuclear reactor technology, nuclear reactors for submarines and Nuclear marine propulsion, surface ships was directed by Igor Kurchatov. Nuclear Ship, NS ''Lenin (nuclear icebreaker), Lenin'' was the world's first Nuclear marine propulsion, nuclear-powered surface ship as well as the first List of civilian nuclear ships, nuclear-powered civilian vessel, and Nuclear Ship, NS ''Arktika (1972 nuclear icebreaker), Arktika'' became the first surface ship to reach the North Pole. A number of prominent Soviet aerospace engineers, inspired by the theoretical works of Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky, Nikolai Zhukovsky, supervised the creation of many dozens of models of military and civilian aircraft and founded a number of ''KBs'' (''Construction Bureaus'') that now constitute the bulk of Russian United Aircraft Corporation. Famous Russian airplanes include the first supersonic passenger jet Tupolev Tu-144 by Alexei Tupolev, MiG fighter aircraft series by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich (aircraft designer), Mikhail Gurevich, and Sukhoi, Su series by Pavel Sukhoi and his followers. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, MiG-15 is the world's List of most produced aircraft, most produced jet aircraft in history, while Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, MiG-21 is most produced supersonic aircraft. During World War II era Bereznyak-Isayev BI-1 was introduced as the first rocket-powered aircraft, rocket-powered fighter aircraft, and Ilyushin Il-2 bomber became the List of most produced aircraft, most produced military aircraft in history. Polikarpov Po-2 ''Polikarpov Po-2, Kukuruznik'' is the world's most produced biplane, and Mil Mi-8 is the most produced helicopter. Famous Russian battle tanks include T-34, the best tank design of World War II, and further tanks of T-series, including T-54/55, the most produced tank in history, first fully gas turbine tank T-80 and the most modern Russian tank T-90. The AK-47 and AK-74 by Mikhail Kalashnikov constitute the most widely used type of assault rifle throughout the world – so much so that more AK-type rifles have been produced than all other assault rifles combined.Poyer, Joe. ''The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations''. North Cape Publications. 2004. With these and other weapons Russia for a long time has been among the world's List of countries by arms exports, top suppliers of arms.


Music in 19th-century Russia was defined by the tension between classical composer Mikhail Glinka along with other members of The Mighty Handful, and the Russian Musical Society led by composers Anton Rubinstein, Anton and Nikolay Rubinstein. The later tradition of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest composers of the Romantic music, Romantic era, was continued into the 20th century by Sergei Rachmaninoff, who was one of the last great champions of the Romantic style of European classical music. World-renowned composers of the 20th century include Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke. Russian conservatories have turned out generations of famous soloists. Among the best known are violinists Jascha Heifetz, David Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan, Gidon Kremer, and Maxim Vengerov; cellists Mstislav Rostropovich, Natalia Gutman; pianists Vladimir Horowitz, Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Vladimir Sofronitsky and Evgeny Kissin; and vocalists Fyodor Shalyapin, Mark Reizen, Elena Obraztsova, Tamara Sinyavskaya, Nina Dorliak, Galina Vishnevskaya, Anna Netrebko and Dmitry Hvorostovsky. Since the late Soviet times Russia has experienced another wave of Western culture, Western cultural influence, which led to the development of many previously unknown phenomena in the Russian culture. The most vivid example, perhaps, is the Russian rock music, which takes its roots both in the Western rock and roll and heavy metal music, heavy metal, and in traditions of the Bard (Soviet Union), Russian bards of Soviet era, like Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava. At the same time Russian pop music developed from what was known in the Soviet times as ''estrada'' into full-fledged industry.


Russian and later Soviet cinema was a hotbed of invention, resulting in world-renowned films such as ''The Battleship Potemkin''. Soviet-era filmmakers, most notably Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky, would become some of the world's most innovative and influential directors. Lev Kuleshov developed the Soviet montage theory; and Dziga Vertov's "film-eye" theory had a huge impact on the development of documentary film making and cinema realism. Many Soviet socialist realism films were artistically successful, including ''Chapaev (film), Chapaev'', ''The Cranes Are Flying'', and ''Ballad of a Soldier''. The 1960s and 1970s saw a greater variety of artistic styles in Soviet cinema. Eldar Ryazanov's and Leonid Gaidai's comedies of that time were immensely popular, with many of the catch phrases still in use today. In 1961–68 Sergey Bondarchuk directed an Academy Award, Oscar-winning War and Peace (film series), film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's epic ''War and Peace'', which was the most expensive film made in the Soviet Union. In 1969, Vladimir Motyl's ''White Sun of the Desert'' was released, a very popular film in a genre of ostern; the film is traditionally watched by cosmonauts before any trip into space. In 2002, ''Russian Ark'' was the first feature film ever to be shot in a single take. Today, Russian cinema industry continues to expand and receive international recognition.


Russian architecture began with the woodcraft buildings of ancient Slavs. Some characteristics taken from the Slavic pagan temples are the exterior galleries and the plurality of towers. Since the Christianization of Kievan Rus', for several centuries Russian architecture was influenced predominantly by the Byzantine architecture, until the Fall of Constantinople. Apart from fortifications (Kremlin (fortification), kremlins), the main stone buildings of ancient Rus' were Eastern Orthodox, Orthodox Church (building), churches, with their many domes, often gilded or brightly painted. Aristotle Fioravanti and other Italian architects brought Renaissance trends into Russia. The 16th century saw the development of unique tent-like churches culminating in Saint Basil's Cathedral. By that time the onion dome design was also fully developed. In the 17th century, the "fiery style" of ornamentation flourished in Moscow and Yaroslavl, gradually paving the way for the Naryshkin baroque of the 1690s. After the Reforms of Peter I of Russia, reforms of Peter the Great led to Russia absorbing Western culture; the change of the architectural styles in the country generally followed that of Western Europe. The 18th-century taste for Rococo architecture led to the splendid works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli and his followers. During the reign of Catherine the Great and her grandson Alexander I of Russia, Alexander I, the city of Saint Petersburg was transformed into an outdoor museum of Neoclassical architecture. The second half of the 19th century was dominated by the Byzantine and Russian Revival style (this corresponds to Gothic Revival in Western Europe). Prevalent styles of the 20th century were the Art Nouveau (Fyodor Shekhtel), Constructivism (art), Constructivism (Moisei Ginzburg and Victor Vesnin), and Stalinist architecture, Socialist Classicism (Boris Iofan). After Stalin's death; a new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, condemned the "excesses" of the former architectural styles, and in the late Soviet era the architecture of the country was dominated by plain Functionalism (architecture), functionalism. After the end of the Soviet Union the situation improved. Many churches demolished in the Soviet times were rebuilt, and this process continues along with the restoration of various historical buildings destroyed in World War II. As for the original architecture, there is no more any common style in modern Russia, though International style (architecture), International style has a great influence.


Russia's largest religion is Christianity in Russia, Christianity—It has the world's Eastern Orthodoxy by country, 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
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 th
Levada Center
determined that 76% of Russians are Christians, and in June 2013 th
Public Opinion Foundation
determined that 65% of Russians are Christians. These findings are in line wit
s 2010 survey, which determined that 73.3% of Russians are Christians, wit
's 2010 survey (~77% Christian), and wit
Ipsos MORI
's 2011 survey (69%).

Верю — не верю
'. "Ogonek", № 34 (5243), 27 August 2012. ''Retrieved 24 September 2012''.
However Non-religious Russians may also associate themselves with the Orthodox faith for cultural reasons. After the October Revolution of 1917, the Christian churches (Russian Orthodox Church, ROC, other branches of Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Protestant and Catholic Church, Catholic) experienced serious persecution most of the temples, monasteries and houses of worship were closed, destroyed or turned into museums, warehouses, workshops, etc., at the highest level the ideology of atheism was introduced. Non-religious Russians today still make up a large amount of Russia today. Some Russian people are Old Believers: a relatively small Schism (religion), 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 of kings, divine right to rule, icons, the Trinity as outlined by the Nicene Creed, Orthodox Fasting#Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek-Catholicism, fasts, military service, and practices including Baptism, 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 Jews, Jewish, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, 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 Slavic Neopaganism, Rodnovery, the revival of the Slavic native religion also common to other Slavs, Slavic nations, Another movement, very small in comparison to other new religions, is Vissarion (Russian mystic), Vissarionism, a syncretism, syncretic group with an Orthodox Christian background.


Association football, Football is one of the most popular sports in Russia. The Soviet national 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 Football at the Summer Olympics#Men's results, Olympic football tournament. Russian clubs PFC CSKA Moscow, CSKA Moscow and Zenit Saint Petersburg won the UEFA Cup in 2005 and 2008. The Russian national football team reached the semi-finals of Euro 2008. Russia was the host nation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the first football world cup ever held in Eastern Europe. Ice hockey is very popular in Russia; and it won the 1993 IIHF World Championship, 1993, 2008 IIHF World Championship, 2008, 2009 IIHF World Championship, 2009, 2012 IIHF World Championship, 2012, and the 2014 IIHF World Championships. Bandy is another traditionally popular ice sport in the country. The Soviet Union won all the Bandy World Championships for men between 1957 and 1979, and some thereafter too. The Russian national basketball team won the EuroBasket 2007; and the Russian basketball club PBC CSKA Moscow won the Euroleague in 2005–06 Euroleague, 2006 and 2007–08 Euroleague, 2008. Formula One is also becoming increasingly popular in Russia. Historically, Russia at the Olympics, Russian athletes have been one of the most successful contenders in the Olympic Games; ranking third in an All-time Olympic Games medal table, all-time Olympic Games medal count. Larisa Latynina holds the record for the most gold Olympic medals won by a woman. Olympic gold medalist Alexander Popov (swimmer), Alexander Popov is widely considered the greatest sprint swimmer in history. Russia is the leading nation in rhythmic gymnastics; and Russian synchronized swimming is the best in the world. Figure skating is another popular sport in Russia, especially pair skating and ice dancing. Russia has produced a number of famous tennis players. Chess is also a widely popular pastime. 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



External links

* *
4.1. Population by nationality

book published by Russian Academy of Sciences
Pre-Revolutionary photos of women in Russian folk dress
{{Authority control Russian people, Russian people Ethnic groups in Russia Slavic ethnic groups