Where did Russia come from? – Alex Gendler

Where did Russia come from, why is it so big, and what are the differences
between it and its neighbors? The answers lie in an epic story
of seafaring warriors, nomadic invaders, and the rise and fall of a medieval state
known as Kievan Rus. In the first millennium, a large group of tribes spread through
the dense woodlands of Eastern Europe. Because they had no writing system, much of what we know about them
comes from three main sources: archaeological evidence, accounts from literate scholars
of the Roman Empire and the Middle East, and, lastly, an epic history called
the Primary Chronicle compiled in the 12th century
by a monk named Nestor. What they tell us is that these tribes
who shared a common Slavic language and polytheistic religion had by the 7th century split into
western, southern and eastern branches, the latter stretching from
the Dniester River to the Volga and the Baltic Sea. As Nestor’s story goes, after years of
subjugation by Vikings from the north, who, by the way, did not wear
horned helmets in battle, the region’s tribes revolted
and drove back the Northmen, but left to their own devices,
they turned on each other. Such chaos ensued that, ironically, the tribes reached out to the foreigners
they had just expelled, inviting them to return
and establish order. The Vikings accepted, sending a prince
named Rurik and his two brothers to rule. With Rurik’s son, Oleg,
expanding his realm into the south, and moving the capitol to Kiev, a former outpost of the Khazar Empire, the Kievan Rus was born, “Rus” most likely deriving from
an old Norse word for “the men who row.” The new princedom had complex relations
with its neighbors, alternating between alliance and warfare
with the Khazar and Byzantine Empires, as well as neighboring tribes. Religion played an important
role in politics, and as the legend goes, in 987, the Rus prince Vladamir I decided
it was time to abandon Slavic paganism, and sent emissaries
to explore neighboring faiths. Put off by Islam’s prohibition on alcohol and Judaism’s expulsion
from its holy land, the ruler settled on Orthodox Christianity after hearing odd accounts
of its ceremonies. With Vladimir’s conversion and marriage
to the Byzantine emperor’s sister, as well as continued trade
along the Volga route, the relationship between
the two civilizations deepened. Byzantine missionaries created an alphabet
for Slavic languages based on a modified Greek script while Rus Viking warriors served as the
Byzantine Emperor’s elite guard. For several generations, the Kievan Rus flourished
from its rich resources and trade. Its noblemen and noblewomen married
prominent European rulers, while residents of some cities
enjoyed great culture, literacy, and even democratic freedoms
uncommon for the time. But nothing lasts forever. Fratricidal disputes over succession
began to erode central power as increasingly independent cities
ruled by rival princes vied for control. The Fourth Crusade
and decline of Constantinople devastated the trade integral
to Rus wealth and power, while Teutonic crusaders
threatened northern territories. The final blow, however, would
come from the east. Consumed by their squabbles, Rus princes paid little attention
to the rumors of a mysterious unstoppable hoard until 1237, when 35,000 mounted
archers led by Batu Khan swept through the Rus cities, sacking Kiev before continuing
on to Hungary and Poland. The age of Kievan Rus had come to an end,
its people now divided. In the east, which remained
under Mongol rule, a remote trading post, known as Moscow, would grow to challenge
the power of the Khans, conquering parts
of their fragmenting empire, and, in many ways, succeeding it. As it absorbed other
eastern Rus territories, it reclaimed the old name
in its Greek form, Ruscia. Meanwhile, the western regions
whose leaders had avoided destruction through political maneuvering
until the hoard withdrew came under the influence of Poland
and Lithuania. For the next few centuries, the former lands of Kievan Rus populated by Slavs, ruled by Vikings, taught by Greeks, and split by Mongols would develop differences in society,
culture and language that remain to the present day.

Comments 100

  • 1:35Patapon?? 0o0

  • So when Europe and Asia loved each other very much

    A bunch of Slavs got revenge on the descendants of those who conquered them

  • Тут история несколько искажена

  • Это версию нам рассказывает церковь, это лож.

  • Slavic blood and viking rule, gotta love the Kievan Rus.

  • When he said Kievan Rus I thought of Keanu Reeves

  • No rus or ruotsi is finish for sweden. So rus means swedish vikings

  • Long live Ukraine!

  • Something that might I noticed in a conversation with a Finnish colleague. He referred to the modern Swedes as Rus.

  • So DC fans would have got a hint by seeing the thumbnail

  • 4:39 oh Russnia

  • The right to wet your whistle is sacred. All hail prince Vladimir!

  • It came from a meteorite that accidentally fell to Earth . That’s why they just don’t fit in with the grand scheme of Earths Plan . They believe in total destruction of humanity.

  • I recommend watching other videos about Russia with narrators better informed. This one should read some history books before casting the word… Too many wrong statements. Nice voice though

  • So Ukranians are Rus?

  • “Populated by slavs, ruled by vikings , taught by greeks, and split by mongols” best closing line ever, also perfectly describes Russia. Hats off to the author

  • Probably that's why Russia is called Rus in hindi

  • Damn it Batu Khan!

  • Russia : We must drink to survive

  • Wrong. Present day east Russia's vast territory has always been under the largest in the history country called the Great Turkestan. Russia came to existence as result of northern Europe' inhabitants who moved towards Kipchak' lands and settled mainly in the forests and swamps. Only after 17th century wth the help of the western armory russian tribes managed to take control over Turkic (not Turkish) people' lands. However, federation is very weak and soon it will break into original form because autonomous republics do not wish to carry on with Moscow anymore.

  • Ted-Ed always has good animation but this raises the bar. Would love to see more of this style!

  • Where did they come from? I don't really care, as long as they go back there.

  • This videos should be much longer

  • That’s not true

  • Speaking of Russia, I'm quite interested in some random submarine fires

  • Narrator is talking to his girlfriend or something

  • Vladimir Putin???

  • Wait, didn't the bulgarians invent the slavic alphabet?

  • Cartoon authors're clowns…

  • I'm Russian and I just learned a couple of things I didn't know from a vid in English

  • Is this a first grader essay? If so then it is quite tolerable.

  • Thank you

  • Dumbest video so far I watched

  • No quote in this vdo? One thing I like about this vdo is the quote.

  • Perfect BS!

  • That was the BEST wrap up of the history of Russia 🇷🇺 in less than 6 minutes I have seen so far! Good job 👍

  • Alcohol is prohibited in Christianity as far as I know.

  • Soviet Anthem Intensifies

  • 1. История начинается как будто с середины, какие то непонятные некие племена расселялись там то и там то а как они там очутились, с луны свалилось? На самом деле все достаточно просто, на этих территориях (совр. Европейской части России) из покон веков жили союзы племён готов и скифов, их потомков через столетия и назовут русскими, когда образуется Русь.
    2. Мировая история не знает случаев когда чужаков просят собой править, по этому призвали править своих, из близко родственных племён, Рюрик со своей дружиной как раз и был из таких.
    3. Киевской Руси никогда не было, это выдумка историков конца 19 века просто для обозначения определенного периода времени. Нет не одного документа или печати с названием "киевская русь", в той же летописи Нестора естественно тоже нет ничего про киевскую…, а есть просто – Русь, начинается эта летопись с таких слов, повесть временных лет откуда есть пошла земля русская. В немецком языке название так и осталось – русланд (русская земля).

  • I hate this guys voice. Sounds like he’s got a brick stuck in his throat.


  • Please, don't commit the same mistake, do not mix the history of Russ and Russia. Russ had the capital in Kyiv and about Russia, the ancestor of Russia was't Russ but Moskovia
    In a nutshell

    Moskovia (centre in moscou) = Russia
    Russ (centre in Kyiv) = Ukraine

  • I do not agree that the Byzantine Empire made the Russians their alphabet heck no. The Bulgarians made the first Cyrillic alphabet and gave it to the other Slavic countries the whole video is not by History.

  • Russia has been through much grief and struggle. Too formidable of a place for one like me.

  • In my point of view Russia come from the nations of Moscow and near of it (the 14-th century). Because people of Novgorod and central Rus had other languages, traditions and cultures in that time.

  • FYI, Khazars converted to judaism and now majority in Israel. So therefore, they are not real JEWS! Idk why most of people still think they are jews? Probably because this fact is not being thought in the schools!

  • The part with the alphabet is totally wrong

  • This was very informative. I’ve viewed other videos titled this or that historical events. Few actually live up to their title but ur’s did and I actually learn much. Tyvm

  • Russia was founded by Vikings. And their descendants got conquered by the Mongols. They threw out Mongols . They czars ruled after that and the Communists took over.

  • As I searched… On Russian land lived Slavic and Ros. Try to search pre-mangolic christianity in Russia (Roos').

  • Rus are old swedes or sues. Rus come from modern day Roslagen in Stockholm / Uppsala area. Know your facts before making a video. swedes are not Norse…we were geats, goets and svear

  • There is BIG problem here: Kyivska Rus and Russian has little in common!
    The successor of Kyivska Rus is Ukraine (with capital Kyiv).

    And Russian come more from Moscow (remote trading post) that grow up on the edge of Khan's empire….

    Check the map … and everything will be clear.

  • Слава России!

  • We know from our own history books that what is written cannot be counted on to be truth.

  • A bunch of drunks with guns. Just my opinion.

  • The story about checking different religions is a legend. The reality was much more interesting: Vladimir wanted peace with the mighty Byzantine empire realzing he cannot fight them. So he offered to marry the daughter (or sister – don't remember) of the Byzantine Emperor. The emperor insisted that Vlaidimir first convert to Christianity, so Vladimir accepted for political reasons. He later became rather devout and converted by force all his subjects. So, as is the case with many Christian and Moslem nations – the forefathers of the devout religious people of today were converted by force to their religion, very often for political reasons.  The irony of religion!

  • Че там показали?

  • some people didn't look it right. The word Russia in the video was correctly written with a slightly upward stroke in the middle of what you thought to be "H".

  • Soo Russians are Viking?

  • 2:35 As if Christianity hadn't been expelled from its Holy Land… 😂

  • kiEvan яus

  • Russians are Kurd😁😁😁😂👋

  • Kyiv not Kiev!

  • The only point in the democracy is that always ends in tyranny by rebellions,.. 😖

  • Father Vodka was obviously the one who bore Mother Russia…

  • how much you need to not know the story. to believe that Russia descended from Kievan Rus (with a population, history, culture, was at war with its entire history), fought against the Golden Horde (considering itself a golden horde)

  • I thought It Came from Outer Space 🤔

  • Great video! Congrats!

  • The Russians actually derived from scythians

  • Kyiv not Kiev

  • This video gets one fact wrong. The cyrillic alphabet was developed by the Greek brothers in Bulgaria and then spread through eastern Europe to Russia

  • That's wrong they didn't choose Christianity because of alcohol… They chosed the most loved religion to them… Vodka was créa in 14 century .. Correct and make sure b4 u do anything

  • Mybfamily is From Rurikids dynasty

  • 1054 te iki kilise birbirini afaroz etti ve ortodoks Katolik tanımı çıktı nasıl olur da 987 de ortodoks Hristiyanlıgi seçtiler anlayamadım

  • Where Russia came from? You told 90% history of Ukraine and not the history of Russia. Their history starts with Moscow developement and conquering Eastern lands. Has nothing to do with KievanRus.


  • How do you know your friend is Russian?

  • Isn't it actually a history of Ukraine?

  • So not truth

  • The Cyrillic alphabet was made from Bulgarians not byzantines

  • The aliens gifted us Russia after we traded Chris rock for the apple company, and then the alien prince married Jennifer Lawrence as a trendy for all of snail kind!

  • Ka pietz ka kruta !

  • Everything you think you know about Russia is a lie! The so called Slavic routes of russia are a scam skillfully forged by russians. King Volodymyr mentioned in this video was the King of Kyiv Rus. Modern russia has nothing to do with Kyiv Rus, it did not even exist when Kyiv Rus was thriving. And then when Mongolian tribes had established their rule in the marshes of modern Moscow, their descendants stole the name and the history of the whole big country known as Rus to have some connection with the civilization. In the era without the internet, it was easy to do: kill a few scribes and monks who could write, burn the original documents, rewrite the history, lie to the world. And it worked: the world is still buying the fake about russia's origins from Rus. It was called Kyiv Rus, the same Kyiv that is now the capital of Ukraine – the true heir to Kyiv Rus and all its heritage.

  • Like the way "Rus" is pronounced in the video:())

  • Why did you put Novgorod in north russia it's in South russia

  • I just can't imagine a world where Russia would be an Islamic country 😶

  • Russia is country of extremes. Orthodoxe religion did not do the job of getting rid of the deep violence inside these tribes' hearts. I prefer Roman catholic civilization. Though i am muslim.

  • 4.8 k of people didn't like this simple historical explanation of Russia!!! As if those people have brain enough to come out with a better explanation!!!!! It shows you how much illiteracy and ignorance swept the globe!!!!!

  • Dear TED-Ed, could you please produce more videos about Slavs? 😊

  • Oh please! It’s Kyiv not Kiev. And what they’re telling is the history of Ukraine! Russian territory was occupied by nomads and Golden Horde long time after Kyivan Rus had fallen apart.

  • WHAT history sources where used in creating this video??!!

    0:40 completely inaccurate (!), there where completely different tribes living in Baltic area!
    AND 4:45 by the way is LATVIA not Lithuania!!!

    I usually like TED-ED videos but now I don't know how much they can be trusted…

  • Russia is a big Mordor

  • Russia is not on earth, earth is on Russia

  • 4:48

  • The names of towns and cities of Baltic States tell that these people moved from India and and Iran s borders in that sense they are indo Iranian and Russians are their relatives or cousins

  • In soviet russia the video watches you

  • I was expecting for Communism to knock on the door.

    I was dissapointed….

  • How ironic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *