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The age of feudalism and decentralization was marked by constant in-fighting between members of the Rurik Dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus' collectively.

Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, Novgorod Republic in the north-west and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west.

The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space.

By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms.

From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD.

In the 3rd to 4th centuries AD a semi-legendary Gothic kingdom of Oium existed in Southern Russia until it was overrun by Huns.

The most powerful state to eventually arise after the destruction of Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow ("Muscovy" in the Western chronicles), initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal.

While still under the domain of the Mongol-Tatars and with their connivance, Moscow began to assert its influence in the Central Rus' in the early 14th century, gradually becoming the leading force in the process of the Rus' lands' reunification and expansion of Russia.

Oleg, Rurik's son Igor and Igor's son Sviatoslav subsequently subdued all local East Slavic tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar khaganate and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium and Persia.

In the 10th to 11th centuries Kievan Rus' became one of the largest and most prosperous states in Europe.

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