European Russia is the western and the historical part of the Russian Federation, which is located in Eastern Europe. It covers up to 39% of Europe's total land area, and comprises 15% of Europe's total population. Although European Russia covers less than 25% of Russia's territory, it has a population of 110 million people, housing 78% of Russia's population, making Russia the most populous European nation. All three federal cities of Russia lie within European Russia, namely Moscow, the capital and the most populous city of the Russian Federation, which is the most populous city entirely within Europe; Saint Petersburg, the cultural capital and the second-most populous city in the country; and Sevastopol, located within the disputed territory of Crimea.
Russia is not proportionately populated between its larger Asian portion and its smaller European portion. The European portion contains about 110 million people out of Russia's total population of about 144 million in an area covering nearly 4,000,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi); an average of 27.5 people per kilometre2 (70 per sq mi).:6:10 The Asian portion of Russia, mostly encompassing Siberia, makes up more than 75% of the country's territory with 22% of its population at 2.5 people per kilometre2 (6.5 per sq mi).:6
Some theories say that some early Eastern Slavs arrived in modern-day western Russia (also in Ukraine and Belarus) sometime during the middle of the first millennium AD. The Eastern Slavic tribe of the Vyatichis was native to the land around the Oka river. Finno-Ugric, Baltic and Turkic tribes were also present in the area (although large parts of the Turkic and Finno-Ugric people were absorbed by the Slavs, there are great minorities in the European Russia today). The western region of Central Russia was inhabited by the Eastern Slavic tribe of the Severians.
One of the first Rus' regions according to the Sofia First Chronicle was Veliky Novgorod in 859. In late 8th and early-to-mid-9th centuries AD the Rus' Khaganate was formed in modern western Russia. The region was a place of operations for Varangians, eastern Scandinavian adventurers, merchants, and pirates. From the late 9th to the mid-13th century a large section of today's European Russia was part of Kievan Rus'. The lands of Rus' Khaganate and Kievan Rus' were important trade routes and connected Scandinavia, Byzantine Empire, Rus' people and Volga Bulgaria with Khazaria and Persia. According to old Scandinavian sources among the 12 biggest cities of Kievan Rus' or Ancient Rus' were Novgorod, Kiev, Polotsk, Smolensk, Murom and Rostov.
Through trade and cultural contact with Byzantine Empire, the Slavic culture of the Rus' adopted gradually the Eastern Orthodox religion. Many sources say that Ryazan, Kolomna, Moscow, Vladimir and Kiev were destroyed by the Mongol Empire. After the Mongol invasion the Muscovite Rus' arose, over all this time, western Russia and the various Rus' regions had strong cultural contacts with the Byzantine Empire, while the Slavic culture was cultivated all the time. The elements of East Slavic paganism and Christianity overlapped each other and sometimes produced even double faith in Muscovite Rus'.
In the fourteenth century Muscovite Russia served as the intermediary in the trade between Europe and Persia as well as Turkey. During all this time, Russian culture had not only strong cultural links and exchanges with Central Europe and Asia, but also with its many ethnic minorities which exist until today in Russia, like Tatars, Ukrainians, Finno-Ugrics, Bashkirs and Chuvashs. While Russia evolved over periods of time with a balanced European influence, it was tsar Peter the Great who wanted to reform Russia and bring it up to a true Western standards and way of life. Peter the Great was able to change Russian society partly, resistance existed among peasants, the traditionalists and Old Believers within the Orthodox Church. With the Soviet Union, Russia was cut off from Western culture. In the nineties, the Russian political elites hoped to integrate Russia into the West. The Russian culture was shaped for centuries by the Orthodox faith, Slavic traditions, the Cyrillic script, the geographical location between Europe and Asia, with significant Swedish, Dutch, French, Polish, Lithuanian and German influences, from 1500-1945. Significant cultural influence came also from Tatars, Caucasians, Iran, Mongolia, Ottoman Empire and other Central- and Western Asian cultures. Despite all these influences from the Western and Asian-Oriental cultures and many common traditions with Russia, Russian culture was repeatedly exposed to longer isolations which created a independent, different kind of culture, which differed in many elements from both Western cultures and Eastern cultures and created its own Russian otherness. In the age of globalization, the Russian elite seeks a development in which Russia, as a sovereign state with its own culture, traditions and identity, can participate in global cooperation.
Alignment with administrative divisions
The administrative districts (on a large scale called federal districts) of the Russian Federation do not exactly line up with European Russia, but they are decent approximations, depending on exactly how Europe is defined. There are two major trends, one to use administrative divisions north of the mouth of the Ural River and one to draw a line of falseness from the Ural River, through the town of Yekaterinburg.
The following administrative districts are overwhelmingly European:
|Name of district||Area
||Population density||Continent notes|
|Central Federal District||650,200||39,209,582||59.658||Europe|
|North Caucasian Federal District||170,400||9,775,770||56.58||Europe|
|Northwestern Federal District||1,687,000||13,899,310||8.25||Europe|
|Southern Federal District[note 1]||447,900||16,428,458||33.46||Europe|
|Volga Federal District||1,037,000||29,636,574||28.63||Predominantly Europe|
|Ural Federal District||1,818,500||12,345,803||6.86||Predominantly Asia|
|Sum of 6 Federal Districts[note 2]||3,992,500||108,949,694||27.22||Predominantly Europe|
- North Asia (aka Asian Russia)
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