Infobox Ethnic group
group=Russians (Russkie)

Russians mosaic|300
poptime= 137 million (est.)|popplace=flag|Russia: 115,889,000 [(2002 census) [] ]
region1 = flag|Ukraine
pop1 = 8,334,000 [(2001 census) [] ]
region2 = flag|Kazakhstan
pop2 = 4,480,000 [(1999 census) [] ]
region3 = flag|Belarus
pop3 = 1,142,000 [(1999) [] ]
region4 = flag|United States
pop4 = 750,000 [(1990 estimate) [] ]
region5 = flag|Uzbekistan
pop5 = 700,000 [(2005) [] ]
region6 = flag|Latvia
pop6 = 646,567 [(2007) [] ]
region7 = flag|Kyrgyzstan
pop7 = 604,000 [(1999) [] ]
region8 = flag|Moldova
pop8 = 500,000 [(2004) [] ]
region9 = flag| Estonia
pop9 = 345,000 [(2007) [] ]
region10 = flag|Lithuania
pop10 = 220,000 [(2001) [] ]
region11 = flag|Germany
pop11 = 178,600 [(2003) [] ]
region12 = flag|Azerbaijan
pop12 = 144,000 [ [ CIA - The World Factbook ] ]
region13 = flag|Turkmenistan
pop13 = 142,000 [ [ BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Russians left behind in Central Asia ] ]
region15 = flag|France
pop15 = 115,000 Fact|date=February 2007
region16 = flag|United Kingdom
pop16 = 100,000 [ [] ]
region17 = flag|Argentina
pop17 = 100,000Fact|date=February 2007
region18 = flag|Canada
pop18 = 98,245 [(2006) [ Canadian Census figures]
region19 = flag|Tajikistan
pop19 = 68,200 [(2000) [] ]
region20 = flag|Georgia
pop20 = 67,671 [(2002 census) [] ]
region21 = flag|Australia
pop21 = 60,200 [ [] ]
region22 = flag|Paraguay
pop22 = 55,000 [(2005)]
region23 = flag|Cuba
pop23 = 50,200 [ [ Créditos ] ]
region24 = flag|Spain
pop24 = 42,585 [(2005 census) [] ]
region25 = flag|Finland
pop25 = 33,401 [(2002 census) [] ]
region26 = flag|Romania
pop26 = 30,000 [ [ Informatii utile | Agentia Nationala pentru Intreprinderi Mici si Mijlocii ] ]
region27 = flag|Czech Republic
pop27 = 24,549 [(2008 census) [] ]
region28 = flag|Italy
pop28 = 20,459 [(2006 census) [] ]
region29 = flag|China
pop29 = 15,600 [(2000 census) [] ]
region30 = flag|Bulgaria
pop30 = 15,595 [(2002 census) [] ]
region31 = flag|Armenia
pop31 = 14,660 [(2002 census) [] ]
region32 = flag|Sweden
pop32 = 8,900 [ [ Joshua Project - Ethnic People Groups of Sweden ] ]
region33 = PHL
pop33 = 40 families (exact population unknown)
ref33 = [ [ Orthodox Church of the Philippines] ]
langs=Russian, many also speak some of the other Languages of Russia
rels= Predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christians. Most belong to the Russian Orthodox Church whilst some are Old Believers. Small minority of Russians are Molokans and Dukhobors. Many are atheist.
related=Other Slavic peoples, especially East Slavs (Belarusians, Ukrainians, Rusyns)
The Russian people ( _ru. Русские—"Russkie" ) are an East Slavic ethnic group, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries.

The English term "Russians" is also used to refer to citizens of Russia, regardless of their ethnicity (see "demographics of Russia" for information on other ethnic groups inhabiting Russia); in Russian, this meaning is covered by term "Rossiyanin" (Россиянин, plural "Rossiyane"). According to the 2002 census, ethnic Russians make up about 80% of the population of Russia [ CIA World Factbook] ]


*"See the article about the old legend Lech, Czech and Rus".
*"See the article about the Primary Chronicle". Russians' predecessors were the medieval East Slavic nation Rus’, who were also the predecessors of Belarusians and Ukrainians.

Most of the tribes that took part in the formation of the Russian people were of East Slavic origin. Among those tribes were Krivich, Ilmen Slavs, Radimichs and Severians. A genetic study showed that even though most of the Russian blood is Slavic, they also have some Finno-Ugric blood in them. [ Новости :: Ученые завершили масштабное исследование генофонда русского народа (Фотороботы) ] ] That shows that some of the Finno-Ugric peoples that lived among the Slavs in east Europe eventually assimilated among them. Among those peoples were Merya [*Aleksey Uvarov, "Étude sur les peuples primitifs de la Russie. Les mériens" (1875)] and Muromian [] .

Very little is known about the Russians and East Slavs in general prior to approximately 859 AD, the date from which the account in the Primary Chronicle (a history of the Ancient Rus from around 850 to 1110 originally compiled in Kiev about 1113) starts. By 600 AD, the Slavs had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs flooded Eastern Europe in two streams. One group of tribes settled along the Dnieper River in what is now Ukraine; they then spread northward to the northern Volga Valley, east of modern-day Moscow and westward to the basins of the northern Dniester and the Southern Buh rivers in present-day Moldova and southern Ukraine. Another group of East Slavs moved from Pomerania to the northeast, where they encountered the Varangians of the Rus' Khaganate and established an important regional centre of Novgorod. The same Slavic population also settled the present-day Tver Oblast and the region of Beloozero. Having reached the lands of the Merya near Rostov, they linked up with the Dnieper group of Slavic migrants.

Emergence of Russian ethnicity

According to most ethnologists, ethnic Russians originated from the earlier Rus people (East Slavs or Kievan Rus) and gradually evolved into a different ethnicity from the western Rus peoples, who became the modern-day Belarusians and Ukrainians. Early ancestors of the Russians were East Slavic tribes migrating to the East European Plain in the early Middle Ages. Most prominent Slavic tribes in the area of what is now European Russia included Vyatichs, Krivichs, Radimichs, Severians and Ilmen Slavs. By the 11th century, East Slavs assimilated the Finno-Ugric tribes Merya and Muroma and the Baltic tribe Eastern Galindae that used to inhabit the same area with them (now Central Russia).

Ethnic Russians known as Great Russians (as opposed to White Russians and Little Russians) began to be recognized as a distinct ethnic group in the 15th century. At that time, during the consolidation of the Russian Tsardom as a regional power, they were referred to as Moscow Russians. Between the 12th and 16th century, Russians known as Pomors migrated to Northern Russia and settled the White Sea coasts. As a result of these migrations and Russian conquests, following the liberation from the Mongol Golden Horde domination during the 15th and 16th century, Russians settled the Volga, Urals and Northern Caucasus regions. Between the 17th and 19th century, Russian migrants settled eastwards in the vast, sparsely inhabited areas of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Russian Cossacks played a major role in these territorial expansions and migrations.

Language: Modern Russian gradually evolved from the Old East Slavic and Church Slavonic between the 15th and 18th century. In the First All Union Census of the Soviet Union, in 1926, they were classified as a "Narodnost".


Russians are the most numerous ethnic group in Europe and one of the largest in the world with a population of about 140 million people worldwide. Roughly 116 million ethnic Russians live in Russia and about 20 million more live in the neighboring countries. A relatively significant number of Russians, around 3 million, live elsewhere in the world, mostly in the Americas and Western Europe, but also in other places of Eastern Europe, Asia and elsewhere.


Russian art is very important and considered by many to be unique and some of the most important painters in the world are Russian. Russian humour gains much of its wit from the great flexibility and richness of the Russian language. Russian literature was greatly influential to world literature. Notable Russian writers including Aleksandr Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, Joseph Brodsky, Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Sholokhov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Russians also gave the classical music world some very famous composers.


Russian ( , transliteration: "transl|ru|ALA|Russkiy yazyk", IPA| [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, four) living members of the East Slavic languages, the others being Belarusian and Ukrainian (and possibly Rusyn, often considered a dialect of Ukrainian).

Written 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. Due to the status of the Soviet Union as a super power, Russian had great political importance in the 20th century, and is still one of the official languages of the United Nations.

Russian has palatal secondary articulation of consonants, the so-called "soft" and "hard" sounds. This distinction is found in almost all consonant phonemes and is one of the most distinguishing features of the language. Another important aspect is the reduction, or drawling, of unstressed vowels, not entirely unlike a similar process present in most forms of English. Stress in Russian is generally quite unpredictable and can be placed on almost any syllable, one of the most difficult aspects for foreign language learners.


Around 63% of the Russian population identify themselves with Orthodox Christianity [cite web|url=|title=Опубликована подробная сравнительная статистика религиозности в России и Польше |language=Russian] most of whom belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, which 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, 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.

Even non-religious Russian people mostly associate themselves with 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 Dukhobors 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 most prominent are Baptists with over 85,000 Russian adherents. [ [ statistics] ] Others are mostly Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventists.

For the last decades Slavianism (Slavic Neopagan movements) seems to gain certain popularity and there are many web-sites dedicated to the study of the ancient Slavic religious traditions and thoughts. [cite web|url=|title= A web-site with information about current pagan activity in Russia. |language=Russian] [cite web|url= |title= A site with a lot of information on Slavic Paganism.|language=Russian] [cite web|url= |title= A Slavic spiritualism site calling for returning to the roots. |language=Russian]

Russians outside of Russia

Ethnic Russians historically migrated throughout the area of former Russian Empire and Soviet Union, sometimes encouraged to re-settle in borderlands by Tsarist and later Soviet government. On some occasions ethnic Russian communities such as Lipovans who settled in the Danube delta or Doukhobors in Canada immigrated 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 Bolshevik regime, and millions became refugees. Many white emigrés 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.

Today the largest ethnic Russian diasporas outside of Russia live in former Soviet states such as Ukraine (about 8 million), Kazakhstan (about 4.5 million), Belarus (about 1.2 million), Latvia (about 700,000) with the most Russian settlement out of the Baltic States which includes Lithuania and Estonia, Uzbekistan (about 650,000) and Kyrgyzstan (about 600,000).

Over a million Russian Jews emigrated to Israel during and after the Refusenik movements; some brought ethnic Russian relatives along with them. There are also small Russian communities in the Balkans, Eastern and Central European nations such as Germany and Poland, as well Russians settled in China, Japan, South Korea, Latin America (i.e. Mexico and Brazil) and Australia. These communities may identify themselves either as Russians or citizens of these countries, or both, to varying degrees.

The governments and the majority public opinion in Estonia and Latvia, which has the largest share of ethnic Russians among the Baltic countries, hold the view that many of the ethnic Russians arrived in these countries as part of a Soviet-era colonization and deliberate Russification by changing the countries' ethnic balance. Among the many Russians who arrived during the Soviet era most came there for economic reasons, or in some cases, because they were ordered to move.

People who had arrived in Latvia and Estonia during the Soviet era, mostly Russians, were provided only with an option to acquire naturalised citizenship which required passing a test demonstrating knowledge of the national language as well as knowledge of the country's history and customs. The language issue is still contentious, particularly in Latvia, where ethnic Russians have protested against plans to educate them in the national language instead of 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.

Although not among the largest immigrant groups, significant numbers of Russians emigrated to Canada, Australia, the United States and Brazil. Brighton Beach, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is an example of a large community of recent Russian immigrants. Another one is in Sunny Isles Beach, a northern suburb of Miami and "Little Moscow" in 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 and Caucasus (as well as from the separatist Chechen Republic), forced to flee during political unrest and hostilities towards Russians.

There are also the million-plus German Russians, descendants of 16th to 18th century German settlement under the Russian empire from Belarus, the Ukraine and Central Asia in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Many have left Russia and other former Soviet states for Germany since the 1990s but aren't considered culturally Germans under the period of intense levels of "Russification".

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 notably Latvia. In Moldova, the Russian-dominated Transnistria region 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 national policy aiming at encouraging ethnic Russian to immigrate to Russia. []

Russian Chinese

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, many Russians who were identified with the White army moved to China — most of them settling in Harbin. 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"), and there are approximately 15,600 Russian Chinese living mostly in northern Xinjiang, and also in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang. See also Harbin Russians and China Far East Railway.

Notable achievements

Various Russians have greatly contributed to the world of music, sports, science and arts. Notable Russian scientists include Dmitri Mendeleev, Alexander Stepanovich Popov, Alexander Lodygin, Pavel Yablochkov, Nikolai Yegorovich Zhukovsky, Ivan Kulibin, Vladimir Zworykin, Sergey Korolyov, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Andrei Tupolev, and Mikhail Lomonosov.

The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, was 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 Sergey Korolyov who had a Russian father (his mother was Ukrainian).

Russian Literature representatives like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin, and many more, reached a high status in world literature. In the field of the novel, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky 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 .]

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

Russian people had a large part in the victory over Nazi Germany at World War II. During the war, the Soviet Union lost around 27 million citizens (Russians having the highest percentage there), about half of all World War II casualties and the vast majority of Allied casualties. [ [ Leaders mourn Soviet wartime dead] , BBC News] According to the British historian Richard Overy, the Eastern Front contained more combat than all the other European fronts combined; the German army suffered 80% to 93% of all casualties there. Richard Overy also wrote it was on the Eastern Front that the war was won or lost, for if the Red Army had not succeeded against all the odds in halting the Germans in 1941 and then inflicting the first major defeats at Stalingrad and Kursk in 1943, it is difficult to see how the western democracies, Britain and the US, could have expelled Germany from its new empire. [WWII historian Richard Overy, [,,1478592,00.html We must not forget how war was won] .]

ee also

* List of Russians
* Russian diaspora
* Anti-Russian sentiment
* Russians in Australia
* Russians in Finland
* Russians in Ukraine
* Russians in Kazakhstan
* Russians in Japan
* Russians in China
* Russians in South Korea
* Russian culture
* Baltic Russians
* Russian colonization of the Americas
* British Russians
* Russian American
* Russian Brazilian
* Russian Canadian
* Russian Chilean
* White Emigre
* European ethnic groups

References and notes

External links

* [ Russians left behind in Central Asia] , by Robert Greenall, BBC News, 23 November 2005.
* [ Latvia: Ethnic Russians Divided On Moscow's Repatriation Scheme] , by Claire Bigg, Radio Free Europe, 15 August 2006.
*en icon [ CIA factbook – Russia]
*en icon [ China Internet Information Center – The Russian Ethnic Group]
*ru icon [ 4.1. Population by nationality]
*ru icon [,23,118,531&crypt= Russians: short description]
*ru icon [ Russians in Ecuador]
* Russian–Spanish–English translations

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