The Russia we know today has its roots in an area known as Kievan Rus. Today in Ukraine, Kievan Rus laid the roots for the Slavic people of Eastern Europe. Kievan Rus was a city-state that came to rule over the other surrounding areas. Emerging in the Post-Classical period following the fall of Rome, Kievan Rus endured the invasions from the Asian Steppe and kept trade contacts with the Byzantine Empire. As we progress forward, many of the concepts that we come to associate with Russia found their roots here in Kievan Rus (Christianity, Cyrillic, Autocratic Dynastic Rule, Law codes). The Kievan state came to a crushing end in 1240 with the arrival of the Mongols.
1. Kievan Rus is a thing because it's on a river that leads to Constantinople.
2. Most of what we know about Kievan Rus comes from the Primary Chronicle.
3. Probably myth, but Kiev became a thing when they invited a Varangian family to stop a war in Kiev. They eventually took over as the Rurik Dynasty.
4. Don't. Mess. with. Olga.
5. Christianity, law codes, and Cyrillic all come to Russia during this period.