The area that is called Eastern Europe in this atlas are the
lands populated by people who at least in older time were all called
Russians. The first state to unite these people is the principality
of Kievan Rus, created by Vikings of Swedish origin in the ninth century.
The decline of Kievan Rus was caused by its tradition (from 1019) to
partition its territory between different branches of the
ruling dynasty. The grand prince of Kiev (from 1169 in Vladimir-Suzdal and from
1328 in Moscow) would however claim supremacy over the other princes. The map above show the
borders of principalities in about 1100. These Russian principalities were
1240 defeated by the Mongols and forced to be their vassals until 1480 when
the Russians broke free and was unified by the prince of Moscow, Ivan the Great.
Large part in the south and east had however already been conquered by
Lithuania. This would led to the evolution of a separate national identity
from the 17th century and onwards. Even tough Russia managed to reunite
these territories piece by piece and attempted to suppress separatist
sentiments were the East Slavic people again separated in 1991. Now in the
three nation states of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.