The Info List - Russians

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(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 other former Soviet states such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine
and the Baltic states. A large Russian diaspora
Russian diaspora
also 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. The Russians
share many cultural traits with their fellow East Slavic counterparts, specifically Belarusians
and Ukrainians. They are predominantly Orthodox Christians
Orthodox Christians
by religion. The Russian language
Russian language
is official in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and also spoken as a secondary language in many former Soviet states.


1 Ethnonym 2 History

2.1 Origin 2.2 Kievan Rus'

3 Population

3.1 Russia 3.2 Former Soviet states 3.3 Diaspora

4 Culture

4.1 Language 4.2 Religion

5 Notable achievements 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Ethnonym[edit] There are two Russian words which are commonly translated into English as "Russians". One is "русский" (russkiy), 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 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.[43] The name of the Russians
derives from the Rus' people
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.[44][45] The name Rus' would then have the same origin as the Finnish and Estonian names for Sweden: Ruotsi and Rootsi.[46] 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)[47] or from Indo-Iranian (ruxs/roxs — «light-colored», «bright»).[48] History[edit] See also: History of Russia

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)

Origin[edit] Further information: Rus' people The modern Russians
formed from two groups of East Slavic tribes: Northern and Southern. The tribes involved included the Krivichs, Ilmen Slavs, Radimichs, Vyatiches and Severians. Genetic studies show that modern Russians
do not differ significantly from Belarusians
and Ukrainians. Some ethnographers, like 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 Uralic peoples,[42][49] who lived in modern north-central European Russia
and were partly assimilated by the Slavs
as the Slavs
migrated northeastwards. Such Uralic peoples included the Merya[50] and the Muromians.[49][51] Outside archaeological remains, little is known about the predecessors to Russians
in general prior to 859 AD when the Primary Chronicle starts its records.[52] It is thought[by whom?] that by 600 AD, the Slavs
had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The eastern branch settled between the Southern Bug
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. Later, both Belarusians
and South Russians
formed on this ethnic linguistic ground.[53] From the 6th century onwards, another group of Slavs
moved from Pomerania
to the northeast of the Baltic Sea, where they encountered the Varangians
of the Rus' Khaganate
Rus' Khaganate
and established the important regional center of Novgorod. The same Slavic ethnic population also settled the present-day Tver Oblast
Tver Oblast
and the region of Beloozero. With the Uralic substratum, they formed the tribes of the Krivichs
and of the Ilmen Slavs. Kievan Rus'[edit] Main article: Kievan Rus'

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2016)

East Slavic tribes and peoples, 8th-9th century

Principalities of Kievan Rus', 1220-1240. These principalities included Vladimir-Suzdal, Smolensk, Chernigov or Ryazan, annexed by the Duchy of Moscow
in 1521

Russia's Arctic coastline from the White Sea
White Sea
to the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
had been explored and settled by Pomors, Russian settlers from Novgorod

Terek Cossacks
Terek Cossacks
of the north Caucasus
guarded the southern frontier

Three generations of a Russian family Kaganovs from Urals, ca. 1910. Photo taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky


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.[54] Russia[edit] See also: 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 country. Former Soviet states[edit] Main article: Ethnic Russians
in post-Soviet states

Ethnic Russians
in former Soviet Union
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)

Diaspora[edit] Main article: Russian diaspora Ethnic Russians
historically migrated throughout the area of former Russian Empire
Russian Empire
and Soviet Union, sometimes encouraged to re-settle in borderlands by the Tsarist and later Soviet government.[55] On some occasions ethnic Russian communities, such as Lipovans
who settled in the Danube delta
Danube delta
or Doukhobors in Canada, emigrated as religious dissidents fleeing the central authority. After the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
starting in 1917, many 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 regime.

in the Danube delta

Today the largest ethnic Russian diasporas outside Russia
live in former 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
Baltic States
which includes Lithuania
and Estonia, Uzbekistan
(about 650,000) and Kyrgyzstan
(about 419,000). Over a million Russian Jews
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,[56] around two-thirds of them Jewish.[57] There are also small Russian communities in the Balkans, including Lipovans
in the Danube delta,[58] 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.

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 Latvia
and Estonia
during the Soviet era, including their descendants born in these countries, mostly Russians, became stateless after the dissolution of the Soviet Union
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 European Union
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 notably Latvia
and Estonia. In Moldova, the Transnistria
region (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
Vladimir Putin
announced the plan to introduce a national policy aiming at encouraging ethnic Russians
to immigrate to Russia.[59]

Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery in Paris, the resting place of many eminent Russian émigrés after 1917

Significant numbers of Russians
emigrated to Canada, Australia
and the United States. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
and South Beach, Staten Island in 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
West Hollywood
of the Los Angeles 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 Central Asia
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
White army
moved to China — most of them settling in Harbin
and Shanghai.[60] 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 Xinjiang, and also in Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
and Heilongjiang. Culture[edit] Main articles: Russian culture
Russian culture
and List of Russian people See also: Category:Russian folk culture.

Vasilisa the Beautiful, by Ivan Bilibin. Russian fairy tale collected by Alexander Afanasyev
Alexander Afanasyev
in Narodnye russkie skazki.

Russian culture
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'
Kievan Rus'
period of the late 1st millennium AD. The Rus' accepted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
in 988, and this largely defined Russian culture
Russian culture
for the next millennium, namely as a synthesis of Slavic and Byzantine
cultures.[61] 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 of the Third Rome
Third Rome
idea.[62] At different points of its history, the country was strongly influenced by European culture, and since the reforms of Peter the Great Russian culture
Russian culture
largely developed in the context of Western culture. For most of the 20th century, Marxist ideology shaped the culture of the Soviet Union, where Russia, i.e. the Russian SFSR, was the largest and leading part. Russian culture
Russian culture
is varied and unique in many respects. It has a rich history and a long tradition in all of the arts,[63] especially in fields of literature[64] and philosophy, classical music[65][66] and ballet,[67] architecture and painting, cinema[68] and animation, all of which had considerable influence on world culture. Russian literature
Russian literature
is known for such notable writers as Aleksandr Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, Joseph Brodsky, Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Sholokhov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Platonov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Varlam Shalamov. Russians
also gave the classical music world some very famous composers, including Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
and his contemporaries, the Mighty Handful, including Modest Mussorgsky
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 Schnittke. Language[edit] Main article: Russian language

  Russian has official status.   Russian is a regional or de facto working language

Russian (русский язык (help·info), transliteration: Russkiy yazyk, [ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk]) 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[who?], 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 language learners. Due to the status of the Soviet Union
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
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
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. Religion[edit] Main articles: Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
and Religion in Russia

Saint Basil's Cathedral
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 Russia
adhere to the Russian Orthodox Church[69][70][71][72][73]. 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
Orthodox Church
in America or a Russian Orthodox Church
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 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,[69] and Baptists
with over 85,000 Russian adherents.[74] Others are mostly Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventists, Lutherans
and Jehovah's Witnesses. Since the fall of the Soviet Union
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,[75] Another movement, very small in comparison to other new religions, is Vissarionism, a syncretic group with an Orthodox Christian background. Notable achievements[edit] Main articles: Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records and List of Russian inventors

Yuri Gagarin, first human in space (1961)

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
AK-47 assault rifle
and PK machine gun), Dmitri Mendeleev, Nikolay Bogolyubov, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (a founding father of rocketry and astronautics), Andrei Kolmogorov, Ivan Pavlov, Nikolai Semyonov, Dmitri Ivanenko, Alexander Lodygin, Alexander Popov (one of inventors of radio), Nikolai Zhukovsky, Alexander Prokhorov
Alexander Prokhorov
and Nikolay Basov
Nikolay Basov
(co-inventors of laser), Vladimir Zworykin, Lev Pontryagin, Sergei Sobolev, Pavel Yablochkov, Aleksandr Butlerov, Andrei Sakharov, Dmitry Ivanovsky, Sergey Korolyov
Sergey Korolyov
and Mstislav Keldysh
Mstislav Keldysh
(creators of the Soviet space program), Aleksandr Lyapunov, Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky, Andrei Tupolev, Yuri Denisyuk
Yuri Denisyuk
(the first practicable method of holography), Mikhail Lomonosov, Vladimir Vernadsky, Pyotr Kapitsa, Igor Sikorsky, Ludvig Faddeev, Konstantin Novoselov, Fyodor Shcherbatskoy, and Nikolai Trubetzkoy. 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
Soviet Union
and was developed mainly by Russian aerospace engineer Sergey Korolyov.

Vladimir Bekhterev, Russian neurologist and the father of objective psychology

Russian Literature
Russian Literature
representatives like Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 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.[76] Russian composers
Russian composers
who reached a high status in the world of music include Igor Stravinsky, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Prokofiev, Modest Mussorgsky, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Russian people played a crucial role in the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. 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 USSR), which is about half of all World War II
World War II
casualties and the vast majority of Allied casualties.[77] According to the British historian Richard Overy, the Eastern Front included more combat than all the other European fronts combined. The Wehrmacht
suffered 80% to 93% of all of its total World War II combat casualties on the Eastern Front. See also[edit]


All-Russian nation European ethnic groups List of Russian artists


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Russian diaspora
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and India Report. Retrieved 24-09-2012. ^ Верю — не верю. "Ogonek", № 34 (5243), 27/08/2012. Retrieved 24-09-2012. ^ Опубликована подробная сравнительная статистика религиозности в России и Польше (in Russian).  ^ "Русская линия / Библиотека периодической печати / Как пишутся страшные сказки о Церкви". Rusk.ru. 31 August 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2011.  ^ "statistics". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2012-07-22.  ^ Victor Shnirelman. "Christians! Go home": A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
and Transcaucasia. Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2002. ^ "Russian literature." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 16 July 2007 <[1]>. ^ Leaders mourn Soviet wartime dead, BBC News

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