It is an intesting part of the Russian history and apparently not very popular for political reasons. Who founded Russia? The general belief says it were Slavs, but that was not exactly so. It was the Vikings whom Russian earlier history should be thankful to – the first Russian prince was a Sakandinavian named Rurik, but not only that…There is a fasicinating historical material behind.
The Vikings came to Russia through the trade routes from Sweden down the Russian rivers, particularly the Don and the Dnieper, which led south to the markets of Bulgar, Khazaria, Byzantium and the Caliphate. Some reached as far East as the Caspian Sea and as far south as Baghdad. They traded amber, furs, honey, slaves, wax and weapons, for the luxuries of civilization, silk and silver (large hoards of Arab dirhems have been found throughout Scandinavia.)
image via sunnyway
They founded the great cities of Starja Ladoga, Kiev and Novgorod. They were known as Rus, a name whose origins are the subject of some controversy. The majority view seems to be that it is a Finnish name for the Vikings of Sweden, but it seems to have ended up being used to describe all Russians, whether Norse or Slavic. The Rus were described in 922 by the Arab diplomat Ibn Fadlan thus:
“Never before have I seen people of more perfect physique. They are tall as date-palms, blonde and ruddy.”(Roesdahl, 1991) (more…)