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Russia is a region occupying the East of Europe and extending into the North West of Asia. It did not however exist as a single political unit until the establishment of Kievan Rus' in the 9th century. Russia became nominally Christian in 988 when St.Vladimir baptised the inhabitants of Kiev. Kievan Rus' eventually disintegrated in the middle of the 12th century.

The next rise of Russia as a politically unified body occured under the rule of Moscow. Muscovite Russia as it was known, became a political force from the 14th century on, in the wake of the Mongol invasions.

  • Ivan IV, the "Terrible" or "Awesome"