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The Brown bear is a symbol of Russia.

bulk of the population in Western Russia and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finno-Ugric tribes, including the Merya, the Muromians, and the Meshchera.

Kievan Rus'

The 9th century saw the establishment of Kievan Rus', a predecessor state to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Scandinavian Norsemen, called "Vikings" in Western Europe and "Varangians" in the East, combined piracy and trade in their roamings over much of Europe. In the mid-9th century, they ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas.

According to the earliest Russian chronicle, a Varangian from Rus' people, named Rurik, was elected ruler of Novgorod in 862. His successor Oleg the Prophet moved south and conquered Kiev in 882, which had been previously dominated by the Khazars; so the state of Kievan Rus' started. Oleg, Rurik's son Igor and Igor's son Svyatoslav subsequently subdued all East Slavic tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar khaganate and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium.

In the 10th to 11th centuries Kievan Rus' became one of the largest and most prosperous states in Europe. The reigns of Vladimir the Great (980–1015) and his son Yaroslav I the Wise (1019–1054) constitute the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium and the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye. The age of feudalism and decentralization had come, marked by constant in-fighting between members of the princely family that ruled Kievan Rus' collectively. Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, Novgorod in the north-west and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west.

Ultimately Kievan Rus' disintegrated, with the final blow being the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240, that resulted in the destruction of Kiev and the death of about half the population of Rus'. The invaders, later known as Tatars, formed the state of the Golden Horde,