Faction Overview Russians in Rise of Chivalry Russians in Renovatio Europam
The Russians have the Power of the Motherland.

Faction Type: Orthodox
National Bonuses:

  • Enemies take double attrition damage from "Russian Winter"
  • Attrition research upgrades received for free
  • National Border recieve +1 bonus per Civic Research
  • Start with 1 level of Civics already researched
  • Cavalry does +25% damage to enemy supply and artillery units
  • Plunder from Russian buildings goes back to the owner and not the enemy

Unique Units:


Available unique buildings:

  • Bastion (strong point defence)
  • Chapterhouse (production building, weak point defence)
  • Magistracy (production building, decent point defence)
  • Abbey (wonder)
  • Aya Sofia (wonder)
  • Detinets' (wonder)

Suggestions and spoilersEdit

  • Strengths: Wealth not required for heavy cavalry (wealth ramp eliminated), very strong military and cultural bonuses, as well as strong defences, highly variegated skirmisher cavalry element.
  • Weaknesses: Highly reliant on metal for the maintenance of its heavy cavalry and heavy infantry (increased ramp), lack of Centralisation or chivalric orders to stiffen the ranks, awful mid-game navy.

When one surveys the national bonuses, abilities and unique units of Russia, one immediately thinks of one thing: land grab. Russia's cities just do that for you. With 1 level of civic research already accomplished, and the ability to EXPONENTIALLY increase your borders with each round of research, coupled with a near-legendary ability to destroy unprepared opponents by just letting them walk through your territory, your cities can be used as area-denial weapons. Civics research makes cities cheaper, so you have a faster setup than others: once you have built your third settlement on the map, others may still be worrying about the placement of their second one.

Russia suffers from the fact that it does not have access to advanced stable and barracks units, but given how extensive its armies and its fortification bonuses are, it can afford that luxury. Russia however has one weakness: its heavy units require huge amounts of iron, although the ramp costs in food for spearmen/axemen and wealth for cavalry is eliminated. This means that while there is some greater ease in production due to the complex cost structure of Russian heavy infantry and cavalry, this also means however that Russia is highly dependent on mining and metal production, making it harder for Russia to really fortify itself. Russia is all the worse at sea: although it has a very strong navy at the beginning like many "Nordic" nations with the longship, it however does not obtain the Roundship, thus being thoroughly incapable of amphibious combat. Arguably, the best way for Russia to counter this could possibly be to trade its wealth and food savings with the Byzantines for metal, since Byzantine infantry do not consume so much metal but have higher ramp costs in food.

Russia is a metal-heavy civ during the Dark and Castle Ages - ensure you have adequate supplies of metal.

Other cheaper options do exist, however: your Rusiny lancer line, formed down Mongol traditions of horsemanship, can be used in ambush against enemy siege machines. Use the totalitarian or red government upgrades to create a patriot that can protect units from attrition for deep raiding and harassment behind enemy lines. Cavalry archers, which are ranged cavalry units specialising in speed and range to take out Catholic skirmishers and heavy infantry, are also a vital addition. Heavy archers are also available, consisting of wandering bands of hardened mountain men who can stand up against even charges by light cavalry - but be wary of massed infantry rushes (especially by Scotland or Wales, which can be devastating) or your opponents' heavy cavalry and siege weapons. The best strategy would seem that Russian cities must be placed near sources of metal where possible at all times. Russia will be thus constrained in strategy either to go offensive (with unit spam, in an effort to avoid contact with enemy knights) or the defensive (by relying on lighter units backed up by defences). This latter strategy might be best, given Russia's ability to access stronger defensive structures. Gunpowder is thus vital, because of Russia's lack of strong heavy hitters - arquebusiers and cannon can always function in the same manner as a squad of heavy infantry and cavalry in wiping out an enemy - except in some cases, arquebusiers backed up by archers will take a toll on melee cavalry.

Lastly, as an Orthodox power Russia has access to enhanced Imperial Era militia buildings. While you don't really need to be using them at the end of the game with better units, the same can be useful in fending off attackers who take any of your cities, such as the Mongols or the Saracens, whose units are resistant to attrition damage.

Faction summaryEdit

  • In Soviet Russia, Land Conquer You — Use the power of Russia's cities and enhanced attrition damage to expand into your opponent's territories. Played well you should easily turn the tables on opponents like Sweden or China as easily as Yakov Smirnoff turns about subjects and objects in sentences.
  • Heavy Metal — Russia is a metal-heavy civ during the Dark and Castle Ages - ensure you have adequate supplies of metal!
  • Towering Might — As one out of 5 factions with access to the Bastion, Imperial Era games allow for tower rushes. Russia's extensive borders grant it a strong chance to pull off Bastion rushes well. Note that you would not necessarily need as much metal as your druzhinnik heavy cavalry line will have expired.
  • Gates at the Barbarians — Enhanced militia quarters means that "barbaric" nations who get past your attrition fields will find it harder to hold on to your cities, as you pump out militia and citizens from these structures in cities lost to the enemy.
  • Unorthodox Encounters — Of all factions, three stand as potential partners: Venice, the Papal States and Byzantium: although Venice and the Papal States have bonuses in metal production, it might be Byzantium which might be the best ally, since Byzantium needs food, which you can produce well, while you need metal, which is consumed in smaller amounts by Byzantine infantry.

Settlements: Kiev; Minsk; Smolensk; Novgorod; Pskov; Rjazan; Bogolyuvo; Rostov; Kitezh; Belgorod; Suzdal; Kostroma; Yaroslavl; Belozersk; Biryuch; Moskva; Berestovo; Vyshgorod; Uglich; Gubkin; Torzhok; Korocha; Tver; Shebekino; Volokolamsk; Oskol; Kashin, Ksnyatin; Gorodets; Galich; Pereslavl-Zalessky; Yuriev-Polsky; Dmitrov; Chernigov; Pereyaslav; Valuyki

Leaders: Rurik, Svyatoslav, Prince Igor, Princess Olga, Jaroslav the Lawgiver, Daniel the Muscovite, Alexander Nevsky, Ivan, Dmitri Donskoy, Vladimir Monomakh

Best age(s): Castle Age


Different accounts on how the Russians got their demonym, or the word "Rus" is a subject still hotly debated today. Generally in the West, most assume that it was Rurik who lent his name to the country; others insist it was derived from the Viking word ruotsi, which means oarsmen.

The first RussiansEdit

Whichever one was true, what was most certain was that in the 8th and 9th centuries, Scandinavians had expanded their trade and colonies across Europe. A Viking tribe known as the Varangians began to establish trade settlements with the Slavs, along the Neva River and Lake Ladoga. They did not only build trading posts but also fortifications to protect these settlements. So eventually in 862 a Viking warrior by the name of Rurik made himself ruler of the Slavic principaliy in Novgorod, and founded the Rurik dynasty.

How Rurik came about to become Prince of Novgorod remains a mystery - historians speculate that he defeated the Slavs in battle, conquering them; oral sources and Russophiles however assert that the Slavic Novgorodians originally defeated the Varangians, but then called them back when the Slavs started to bicker amongst themselves. What is clear however whas that by 880 Oleg, Rurik's successor, turned his attention towards Southern Russia and unified the region under one King, establishing the State of Rus centred around present-day Kiev.

The city of Kiev became the center of trade route between Scandinavia and Byzantine Empire. This relationship benefited the Russian State greatly. In 989, Vladimir I decided to strengthen his rule by establishing a state religion. He considered a number of different religions — Vladimir rejected Islam purportedly because he believed his people could not live under a religion that prohibited strong drink — but was impressed with the opulence of the Byzantines:

"We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such slendour or such beauty, and we are at a loss to describe it."
Thus, Orthodox Christianity became the official religion of the new Russian state. Besides its religion, the benefits of the association with the Byzantines also brought along its rich culture, architecture and the Cyrillic alphabet.

Fall of the Kievan StateEdit

For a while, the Principality of Kiev was one of the world's richest and most cultured nations but by 1054, however, due to internal power struggles and raids by a nomadic tribe known as the Cumans, the Russian State began to fragment into regional principalities again. It is at this time that Moscow began to emerge and grow in importance as Prince Yuri Dolgoruky established the Rostov-Suzdal principality in 1124 in Northern Russia to strengthen his rule over the region. Into the 13th century, Russia faced its greatest threat, when the Mongols began their conquest across Asia and Europe.

Under the Mongol yokeEdit

In 1237 Batu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan invaded and laid waste to all but two cities of the Russian principalities. The Russians were forced to become a tributary state to the Mongol Empire for the next 250 years. One of the Princes of these two remaining cities was Alexander Nevsky. He was the prince of Novgorod and managed to save his city from destruction through shrewd negotiations, and would even convince the Mongols to appoint him as the Grand Prince of the "Empire of the Golden Horde" in Russia, and his son as Prince of Muscovy, the other city that escaped destruction. Alexander Nevsky was not only a good politician but a great warrior as well. He received his surname when he defeated an invasion by the Swedes on the Neva River. Then, in 1242 he defeated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, a branch of the order of Teutonic Knights, in the "Battle on the Ice" on Lake Chudskoye, arresting German territorial ambitions into Russia for centuries. Throughout his life he worked ceaselessly for the welfare of the Russian people and was eventually declared a Saint by the Russian Church at the Council of 1547.

Despite some improvements under Mongol rule (ie improvements in civil and military administration in Muscovy), the period under Mongol rule for Russia was particularly unpleasant for the Russian people. Alexander Pushkin would compare this dark age of Mongol domination with that of the Moors in Iberia, likening the Mongol rulers of Russia as:

"Arabs without algebra or Aristotle".
There were some uprisings but it wasn't until 1480 that the Russians were strong and united enough to begin throwing off Mongol rule. It started with Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow (or Ivan the Great), who liberated the city and tore up the charter that bound it to Mongol rule, culminating with his grandson Ivan IV Grozny (or Ivan the Terrible) in 1556 when he freed the last of the Russian cities from Mongol control. Once again Russia was unified,
Krak redfort
and under the kynazy of Muscovy, even expanded into Siberia during his Ivan IV's rule.

Rise of the RomanovsEdit

Ivan the Terrible was unfortunately a most unstable man. Accidentally clubbing his most eligible son to death (who would have become Ivan V), Ivan IV was succeeded by his remaining eldest son, Fyodor. However, Fyodor was not up to ruling in the shadows of the autocratic Ivan, and left most of the governing to his brother-in-law Boris Godunov. In order to secure the throne for himself, Godunov murdered Fyodor's younger brother Dmitri in secret. When Fyodor died, Godunov made himself the Tsar of Russia. However his ascension to the throne was not fully accepted, and the Russian state began to experience the "Time of Troubles", a period of political anarchy and foreign threats which ended with the rise of the Romanov dynasty in the 17th century, uniting Russia under a single government for the next 300 years.