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First eastern Slavic state. It was founded by the Viking Oleg, ruler of Novgorod from c. 879, who seized Smolensk and Kiev (882), which became the capital of Kievan Rus. Extending his rule, Oleg united local Slavic and Finnish tribes, defeated the Khazars, and, in 911, arranged trade agreements with Constantinople. Kievan Rus peaked in the 10th and 11th centuries under Vladimir I and Yaroslav, becoming eastern Europe's chief political and cultural centre. At Yaroslav's death in 1054, his sons divided the empire into warring factions. The 13th-century Mongol conquest decisively ended its power.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Kievan Rus, visit Britannica.com.
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