(1)   A former empire in eastern Europe and northern Asia created in the 14th century with Moscow as the capital; powerful in the 17th and 18th centuries under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great when Saint Petersburg was the capital; overthrown by revolution in 1917
(2)   A former communist country in eastern Europe and northern Asia; established in 1922; included Russia and 14 other soviet socialist republics (Ukraine and Byelorussia and others); officially dissolved 31 December 1991
(3)   A federation in northeastern Europe and northern Asia; formerly Soviet Russia; since 1991 an independent state
(4)   Formerly the largest Soviet Socialist Republic in the USSR occupying eastern Europe and northern Asia


1538, from < . The name comes from a group of warrior merchants from Sweden who settled around Kiev and the Dnieper river in the ninth century, and established the Rus principalities. Ultimate origin is uncertain; see Wikipedia's article on Etymology of Rus and derivatives for more detail.

Compare Russian , Medieval Greek , Arabic .

Proper noun

  1. A country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The Country extends from the Gulf of Finland to the Pacific Ocean, and was part of the USSR from 1922 to 1991. Official name Russian Federation, formerly the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), Capital and largest city Moscow
  2. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (a very common name, although more formally Russia, the RSFSR, was one of several constituent republics of the USSR).
  3. The Russian Empire.
  4. Rus, the medieval East Slavic state.

Related terms

  • Soviet Union
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • Russian Federation
  • Russian SFSR

See also

  • Former Soviet Union
  • Former USSR
  • Soviet Union (hist.)
  • USSR (hist.)
  • Countries of the world