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A guide to Russia research compiled for the Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at the Naval War College

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Research Guide-- Russia

Russia (Росси́я) is a sovereign state in northern Eurasia.  Officially known as the Russian Federation, it is the world's largest country by land. The last decade has seen the reemergence of Russia from its post-Cold War malaise. At sea, Russia is asserting itself in regions that it considers strategically vital, including the Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, and in the Arctic, while its improving nuclear missile submarine force once again presents the United States and NATO nations with a significant challenge. 

This research guide is intended to provide information that will broaden the understanding of the issues associated with Russia from both a theater and global perspective; and to also provide a starting point for researching issues related to Russia, its foreign policy decisions, and its maritime and military issues. 


  • Prehistoric Russia

The first mentioning of some community in the territory of what we now refer to as Russia came to be in the Fourth Century AD with the formation of the first tribal union of Eastern Slavs (Volhynians and Buzhans). The following century marked yet another tribal union of Eastern Slavs, the Polyants, in the middle basin of the Dnieper River. This period claims the first written evidence about the "Rus" and "Rusah". In 558 the Avars battled and won over the Slavic tribe of Dulebs, marking the subsequent series of victories and defeats, as well as a broadening of these Slavs' nation over a long phase lasting around three hundred years.

  • Early Russian Civilization

At the beginning of the Eighth Century the resettlement of Slavonic tribes began in the upper basins of the Dnieper, Western Dvina, and Upper Volga Rivers. Towards the end of the century the ancient state of the Slavs faced with the north expansion of the Khazar Khanate and the imposition of tribute on the Slavic tribes of Polyants, Severian, Vyatichi, and Radimichi. Unlike the countries conquered by the Mongols in Central Asia, the Caspian and the Northern Black Sea coast, which had favorable natural conditions for extensive nomadic herding and became the territory of the Mongolian state, Russia had generally maintained its own independent statehood throughout the period. The dependence of Russia from the khans of the Golden Horde was expressed in the heavy tribute which the Russian people were forced to give the invaders.




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