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The Russian Republic (Россiйская республика) is a democracy in western Europe. It borders Siberia, Ukraine, Alash, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Cossackia, and Belarus. It used to be the largest country on Earth until the Russian Colonial War, when Siberia seceded.
The name Russia is derived from Rus, a medieval state populated mostly by the East Slavs. In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography. The name Rus comes from the Rus people, a group of Varangians who founded the state of Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the nation comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Kievan Rus', Ρωσσία, pronounced ro'sia. The ancestors of modern Russians are the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the Pinsk Marshes. The establishment of the first East Slavic states in the 9th century coincided with the arrival of Varangians, who were Vikings of Scandinavian origin. These Vikings helped found the Kievan Rus, the first ethnic Russian state. The Rus engaged in numerous wars against the Khazar Khanate, conquering numerous Khazar lands. In the 10th to 11th centuries Russia became one of the most prosperous states in Europe. The reign of Vladimir the Great introduced Orthodox Christianity to the nation. This helped constitute to the Golden Age of Kiev, which also saw the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code. In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the northern regions of the Rus. Constant infighting between the Rurik Dynasty, the Rus's rulers, occurred, leading to Kiev's decline. This benefitted numerous other surrounding Slavic state. The Kievan Rus took the final blow after an invasion from Mongol forces. Later they formed the Golden Horde, which pillaged the Russian principalities. The most powerful state to eventually arise after the destruction of Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The Duchy reunified Russia, conquering numerous territories which are important to modern-day Russia. Times remained difficult, with frequent raids from eastern neighbors. As in the rest of Europe, plague was a frequent occurrence between 1350 and 1490. Ivan III finally threw off the Golden Horde, conquering much of eastern Europe. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. Ivan III married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor. He also installed the Roman double-headed eagle on Russia's coat of arms.
In the development of the Third Rome ideas, Grand Duke Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) was crowned as the first Russian tsar. The Tsar promulgated a new code of laws and established the first Russian representative bodies. Despite this, his reign didn't do much good for the nation and instead led to genocide of the Russian people. He also nearly doubled the Russian territory, annexing three Tatar khanates and parts of the Volga River. Thus, by the end of the 16th century Russia was transformed into a multiethnic, multidenominational and transcontinental state. However, the tsardom was weakened by a long and unsuccessful war against Sweden and Poland-Lithuania.At the same time, the Tatars of the Crimean Khanate, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to raid Southern Russia. The Crimeans and their Ottoman allies managed to burn parts of Moscow in 1571. The death of Ivan's sons marked the end of the ancient Rurik Dynasty in 1598, and in combination with terrible famine led to civil war, the rule of pretenders, and foreign intervention. Afterwards the Romanov dynasty ascended to power; they still rule over Russia to this day. Russia continued its territorial growth through the 17th century, which was the age of Cossacks; organized military communities resembling the New World's pirates and pioneers. Shortly after, Peter the Great formed an empire out of Russia.
Fall of the Empire
The February Revolution in 1917 forced Nicholas II to abdicate; he and his family were imprisoned, but unlike in OTL, they were saved by White soldiers before their execution. Numerous territories managed to win independence, and Russia became the modern-day republic. As it lost access to the Baltic coast in which the Empire was proclaimed due to the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Russia refused to be called an empire; instead a republic or even a tsardom. Russia became significantly less of a multi-ethnic state, though Turkic and Mongolic people still inhabited southern and eastern Russia. Russia also lost some territory in the Pacific War; Japan annexed all of Sakhalin and the Kamchatka peninsula. In the 1970s, the Russian Colonial War broke out; most of Russia's larger multiethnic territories finally gained independence. Russia had shrunk dramatically. The nation still remains very wealthy, though it is much less powerful than the pre-imperial era.