In today’s lesson, we speak about the first ruler of Russia. First, you should understand that due to the lack of historical sources it is impossible to know anything about this period for sure. Please, take the following information with a big grain of salt. The main source is theTale of Bygone Years (Повѣсть времѧньныхъ лѣтъ). It combines a history of Kievan Rus’ from about 850 to 1110. Originally The Tale of Bygone Years was compiled in Kiev at the beginning of the 12th century by the monk named Nestor. You should understand that it was written several centuries after the events we’re going to talk about today. So who was the first Prince of Russia? According to legend the tribes Chuds, Eastern Slavs, Merias, Veses, and Krivichs “…drove the Varangians back beyond the sea, refused to pay them tribute, and set out to govern themselves”. Afterwards, the tribes started fighting each other and decided to invite the Varangians, led by prince Rurik, to re-establish order and to «govern them». Rurik came in 862 along with his brothers Sineus and Truvor and a large retinue. According to the Primary Chronicle, Rurik was one of the Rus’, a Varangian tribe likened by the chronicler to Danes, Swedes, Angles, and Gotlanders. Sineus established himself at Beloozero (now Belozersk), on the shores of lake Beloye, and Truvor at Izborsk (or at Pskov). The brothers died shortly after the establishment of their territories, and Rurik consolidated these lands into his own territory. He later moved his seat of power to Novgorod, a fort built not far from the source of the Volkhov River. The meaning of this place name in medieval Russian is ‘new fortification’, while the current meaning (‘new city’) developed later. Rurik remained in power until his death in 879. On his deathbed, Rurik bequeathed his realm to Oleg, who belonged to his kin, and entrusted to Oleg’s hands his son Igor, for he was very young. We will speak about them in my next lesson. Up until today, there is a controversy among historians about the origins of Rurik. A Scandinavian origin of the Rus’ has been bitterly contested by Slavic nationalists. Starting with Mikhail Lomonosov, East Slavic scholars have criticized the idea of Norse invaders. If you want to learn more about this subject, you can look up the Normanist theory and the criticism about it. For today, I want you to remember that Rurik started a dynasty that lasted up until the 17th century! Everybody knows the Romanov dynasty, but actually, it was Rurik’s descendants who ruled Russia for more than 700 years.