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Thread: Scandinavian Connections with Russia

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    Senior Member Gustavus Magnus's Avatar
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    Scandinavian Connections with Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Lone White Wolf
    Rurik, even though his rule is not very well documented, basically founded the Russian state. Oleg (Helgi, I think, is his Swedish name), whom I consider one of the greatest leaders in Russia’s history, founded Kievan Rus. I have a lot of respect for the vikings. However, i dont think their influence on Russia’s culture wasn’t that great. Our culture is unique. Mostly Slavic, although Fino-ugoric peoples also contributed. With time the varyags, too, “became Russian”, fully embracing Russian Slavic culture.

    PS – Many people in Russia don’t like this theory. They believe the Russian state existed before the varyags. And Rurik and company were actually slavs from Novgorod. But this kind of debate should probably be left for the historians…
    Quote Originally Posted by Gustavus Magnus
    Yes, I have heard that too, but I have never seen any proof. A Russia before the Rus, sounds possible only if they are referring to a mongol puppet state. But this is very interesting, I think a thread about this could be quite productive.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lone White Wolf
    No, more like a "very loose confederation of slavic tribes". Rurik and Oleg basically united them into one powerful state.

    As for the mongols... asiatic nomads would occasionally try to raid the slavic settlements, but were repelled every time. There was no "puppet state". The Mongol invasion of Russia(Batu Khan) happened much later, in 1237. But that's another story...
    So, there, finally a thread about the subject. I'll post some more thoughts about this later.
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    Senior Member Todesritter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gustavus Magnus
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gustavus Magnus
    Yes, I have heard that too, but I have never seen any proof. A Russia before the Rus, sounds possible only if they are referring to a mongol puppet state. But this is very interesting, I think a thread about this could be quite productive.

    Incorrect with my understanding of Historical, and ‘Prehistorical’ ethnic movements – Mongols came westward after the Vikings, Vikingized (Not a real verb I know.) the Slavs along the river trade routes they used to get to the Black Seat and near east.

    It is improbable therefore that pre-Germanic/Scandinavian contact Slavs in this region were anything other than Neo-Danubian type Proto-Slavonics, or going far back enough, only partially differentiated from the ancient common ethnic ancestors of Germanics, Baltics, and Slavics before the languages and peoples differentiated.

    Unless there is evidence to the contrary.

    Also those Slavs out of the steppes, and into the more northerly forests were likely more Finnic than Slavic, but I’ve seen Finno-Ugric and Slavic Pan-Nationalists spin this debate out of any reasonable bounds, so I will withhold my opinion beyond this.

    Mongolian influence and domination only occurred after the rise of the Khans, post 1200 AD.

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    Senior Member Gustavus Magnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todesritter
    Also those Slavs out of the steppes, and into the more northerly forests were likely more Finnic than Slavic, but I’ve seen Finno-Ugric and Slavic Pan-Nationalists spin this debate out of any reasonable bounds, so I will withhold my opinion beyond this.
    No, please, continue. Sounds interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todesritter
    Mongolian influence and domination only occurred after the rise of the Khans, post 1200 AD.
    But didn't the Russian tribes have to pay tribute to the khans, even before this, and before the vikings arrived?
    Leave behind the weak, we must take the strong in hand:
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    Finno-Ugric is a linguistic, not a racial term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gustavus Magnus
    But didn't the Russian tribes have to pay tribute to the khans, even before this, and before the vikings arrived?
    I'm not sure which khans you are reffering to. But the Russians started paying tribute only after 1237, the first year of the Mongol invasion. And even then it wasnt very systematic. Russians often rebelled and refused to pay tribute. There's even evidence that they would occasionally raid Mongol (Golden Horde) cities, capture slaves, etc.

    Before the khans' invasion there were numerous wars with the asiatic nomads from the steppes, but very little (if any) tribute-paying. Because Rus won almost all of these wars...

    Before the vikings arrived - same thing. Wars with nomadic raiders from the steppes.

    I hope that answered your question.

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    Senior Member Gustavus Magnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch
    Finno-Ugric is a linguistic, not a racial term.
    Yes, but it is racially applicable, as those who speak it belong the same (kind of) tribes.
    Leave behind the weak, we must take the strong in hand:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gustavus Magnus
    Yes, but it is racially applicable, as those who speak it belong the same (kind of) tribes.
    Well, it IS racially applicable in the sense that people do use to refer to race and ethnicity -- for example, on this forum.

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    Senior Member Gustavus Magnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone White Wolf
    And even then it wasnt very systematic.
    It was never very systematic, but I have an imagine of mongols that roam the steppes and demanding tribute wherever they arrived, but never receiving any when they wasn't present (both pre- and post-vikings). This kind of terror lasted for a long time, if I'm not mistaken.
    Leave behind the weak, we must take the strong in hand:
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    Member Lena_rus's Avatar
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    I agree that Ruses were in strong connection with Scandinavians, but I highly doubt that Vikings founded Rus and all. :annoysigr
    Read some history books, please.
    ~Lena The little Blonde Beast

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    Senior Member Todesritter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lena_rus
    I agree that Ruses were in strong connection with Scandinavians, but I highly doubt that Vikings founded Rus and all. :annoysigr
    Read some history books, please.
    This is another debate I’ve seen reasonable arguments on both sides of, but Germanic chauvinists, or Pan-Slavonic nationalists have tended to flame open debate out of reasonable bounds of respect, or even useful examination of the issue.

    It degenerates into name-calling, and empty rhetoric, analogous to the sort of ‘My father could beat your father up!…’ debates I have seen in school children with insecurities.

    However, in my opinion, the reasonable answer to this, is the Rus had their distinct cultural identity, and aggressive, yet talented realm building due to their unique origin as an amalgam of both East Slavic and Viking Trader influences. Without this combination, it seems most sources agree, they would have had less distinct features as a culture, and less early expansion, more like other Eastern or Western Slavic ethnicities during this early period.

    However, someone who oversimplifies this analysis, by saying ‘Scandinavians invented Russia’, I would suspect of being a crazy fool, or attempting to provoke Slavic anger, or both.

    -------------------------------------

    -> I can hunt up some good sources describing the initial founding of the early Rus ruling class being largely the descendents of Slavic chiefs, and Viking traders who chose to take up permanent residence on this great early trade route, and intermarry with one another’s families.

    -> In turn another source of mixture that went into making the original Rus amalgam ethnicity, were the Alans, the descendents of the Proto-Indo-Iranian speaking Scythians, who were terror on horseback, yet cultured. The Scythian descended Alans are an analogous source of influence on creating what became the Russian ethnicity. The Alans and Rus got along so well, the Alans interbred themselves into early Russia, and out of existence as a separate people. Their distant cousins who stayed in the original territory, the Ossetians are the only living link to what Alan language and culture may have been like. They made great allies of the early Rus state, fearsome as barbarians on horseback yet civilized enough they could see the advantage of helping the Rus in controlling the steppes and open areas, and expanding economic control. I know there is a lot of contention against Indo-Iranian (Ancient Persian) admixture into anyone’s ethnic gene pool, because of the modern association with present-day Iran or Caucus ethnic groups, however these Alans, like the Scythians were light-skinned, bright-eyed, and tended to be predominantly blond, with the only unusual trait being hawkish noses. Anyway, the Alans who ‘Rus-ified’, due to their great accomplishments as cavalry for the early Rus state, frequently won themselves minor titles, and intermarried into the lower nobility, or upper peasant and merchant castes. I will also be happy to dig up sources on this if anyone freaks out about it. Just let me know.

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