West They were called the Slavs. They spread east

West of the Urals, lives most of the people that we know as Russians. To explain why, some (very little) history would have to be given to make sense of it. After the end of the Ice Ages, Russia became livable and had nice big fertile grasslands that attracted many tribes and colonies (there even were Greeks and Iranians settlements up there). Many tribes came and went since 1000 BC. However, one ethnicity stood out from the others because its people were well settled in by the 9th century. They were called the Slavs. They spread east and south from an area between the Elbe River and the Pripet Marshes.These ancestors of the Russians established the foundation of Russian (Ukrainian, and Polish, but mostly Russian) culture and religion. It flourished until the 13th century form infighting and the Mongol Invasion (1237-40).After 140 years of subjugation from the Mongols (called the “Mongol Yoke”), the Russians rebelled and inflicted a massive defeat on the Taters (successors of the Mongols) in the battle of Kulikovo (1380). Later on through the reign of two Tsars (Ivan III and Ivan IV), Russia annexed its former overlord which scattered in many khanates.  In Ivan IV( or the Terrible)’s reign, we saw the first step taken in not only authoritarian power over the people, but the first step in the expansion into Siberia with help from the Cossacks (and the Cossacks too I guess). The Russian exploration and colonization of Siberia was mostly led by the Cossacks, hunting for natural resources and whatever else the Cossacks did. By the mid-17th century, there were Russian settlements in eastern Siberia on the Pacific coast. In 1648, the Bering Strait (what was between Asia and America) was passed for the first time by Fedot Popov and Semyon Dezhnyov.Though it may sound ignorant, there really isn’t anything I should mention for the next 70 years, for most of it was political drama.In 1812, Russians colonized Alaska and even founded some settlements in California, such as Fort Ross. A little over 40 years later, Alexander II (1855-81) enacting significant changes in the country spurring industrialization and modernization of the Russian army.The late 19th century saw the rise of various socialist movements in Russia. Alexander II was killed in 1881 by revolutionary terrorists, and the reign of his son Alexander III (1881-94) was less liberal but more peaceful. The last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II (1894–1917), was unable to prevent the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905, triggered by the unsuccessful Russo-Japanese War and the demonstration incident known as Bloody Sunday. The uprising was put down, but the government was forced to enact major reforms (like Russian Constitution of 1906, granting the freedoms of speech and assembly, the legalization of political parties, and the creation of an elected legislative body, the State Duma of the Russian Empire). The Stolypin agrarian reform led to a massive peasant migration and settlement in Siberia. More than four million settlers arrived in that region between 1906 and 1914.In 1914, Russia entered World War I in response to Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war on Russia’s ally Serbia, and fought across multiple fronts while isolated from its allies. In 1916, the Brusilov Offensive of the Russian Army almost completely destroyed the military of Austria-Hungary. However, the current public distrust of the regime was only deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this helped bring on the February Revolution in 1917.