Sample Russia - History (Grades 6-9) Worksheet
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Russia - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman

1     Russia is a multinational country. People of different origins lived there as early as the second century BC. Unfortunately, there is little known about their exact ethnic identity, institutions, and activities. Ancient Greeks and Iranians mention the people from northern forests--the vast region west of the Urals Mountains between the Kama and Volga Rivers.
2     There was a time in the history of Eastern Europe, between 4th and 9th centuries AD--when large groups of people, whole villages and tribes were moving from one place to another. They spread further northeast and southeast, occupying new territories, establishing new towns, and merging into local Slavic tribes.
3     People preferred to live alongside the rivers. They fished, hunted, and traded with their neighbors. They cut trees to build their houses, and they used the cleared land to cultivate plants like turnips, carrots, and some grains.
4     Big rivers, like the Volga, Dnepr, and Don were a great source of transportation in Eastern Europe, so people from Northern countries--Germans and Scandinavians--were common visitors to this region. They found amber, fur, honey, wax, and timber products here, so trade and commerce grew tremendously during that time.
5     Some of the traders settled there and helped to build larger and stronger cities. Some Viking tribes from Scandinavia moved to the Ladoga and Onega Lakes region and established a new center, Novgorod, one of the oldest cities in Russia. Here, in this period, the first nominal ruler of Rus was mentioned by Islamic and Western sources.
6     In 882 Oleg, prince of Novgorod, captured Kiev--a large city on the Dnepr River--and made it his capital, the center of the first East Slavic state, Kievan Rus. Kiev became an important center of trade and commerce, dealing with people from northern European states to Byzantium and central Asia.
7     Also, Kiev was the first city through which Christianity was introduced into the state of Kievan Rus. In 957, Olga, the regent of Kiev, became the first person in Russia to be baptized. This act was followed by the acceptance of Christianity as the state religion after the baptism of Olga's grandson, Vladimir, prince of Kiev, in 988.
8     During the 11th century, the grand dukes of Kiev held power. In 1240, Kiev was destroyed by the Mongols, and the territory of Kievan Rus was split into numerous smaller dukedoms. The Mongolian Empire--the Golden Horde--stretched across the Asian continent and Russia was put under the Mongolian suzerainty--it was still an independent state, but was controlled by the Mongolian Khan (emperor). The suzerainty of the Khanate of the Golden Horde lasted in Russia for almost three centuries.
9     At the same time, another very important Russian city was built. In the forests and swamps of the eastern part of European Russia they built Moscow, which soon became a provincial capital and the center of the Russian Orthodox Church, and later the capital of Russia. As with many other older Russian cities, Moscow was built around a kremlin--a fortress with ditches and earthen ramparts topped by walls with blockhouses.

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