The name Russia comes from the group of Varangians (Vikings), called the, “Rus”. They established a state, in the middle of the 9th century in Northern Russia, around the important trade center of Novgorod. About twenty years later, their power base shifted to the Dnieper River trade route to the Greeks, where their capital Kiev was thriving. Thereafter, the state was called, “Kievan Rus”. Mostly furs, slaves, and wax, were traded for Arabian silver, as well as Byzantine luxury goods.
The Varangian princes formed the ruling class, but they soon assimilated with the local Slavs and the Finns.