When did Russia begin? Russians unsure

When did Russia begin? Russians unsure
The Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great in St Petersburg (Image: Alex 'Florstein' Fedorov under a CC licence)

22 March 2017

Russians are divided over when their country came into existence, according to a recent poll by independent Russian sociological research organisation Levada. The survey drew a variety of responses, with some proposed start dates standing centuries apart.

The largest group of respondents (36 per cent), however, said it was impossible to pinpoint the exact moment of Russia’s emergence as a nation, with many respondents affirming that Russia dates back “to the dawn of time”.

Just over a quarter of those asked (26 per cent) stated that Russia’s origin lies in Kievan Rus, a loose federation of East Slavic tribes beginning in the 9th century. 12 per cent, however, would define Russia’s beginning as the Christianisation of the Slavic tribes in 988 AD, although the exact year is disputed by historians.

Others drew connections between Russia’s statehood and its rulers, with 7 per cent stating that the country’s origin could be traced to the emergence of principalities in the 12th century, 5 per cent perceiving Peter the Great as Russia’s beginning and 3 per cent selecting the Russian Revolution of 1917 as their country’s defining moment. Just 2 per cent of respondents stated that Russia had its birth after the fall of the USSR.

Why are Russians not of one mind on this issue? The report from Levada concluded that Russians “are losing interest in history”. In a statement to the Interfax news agency, the research centre posited that this could be due to “fatigue” born of frequent reevaluation of Russian history.

Source: The Moscow Times