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East Slavs
Усходнія славяне Uskhodniya slavianie (be.)
Восточные славяне Vostochnyye slavianie (ru.)
Восточны славяне Vostochny slavianie (rue.)
Східні слов'яни Skhidni slovyany (uk.)
Slavic europe.svg
     Countries with predominantly East Slavic population
Total population
200+ million
Regions with significant populations
Belarus, Russia, Ukraine
Minority: Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Serbia, Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia), Moldova, other former Soviet states.
East Slavic languages:
Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, Ukrainian
Related ethnic groups
Other Slavs
East Slavic tribes peoples 8th 9th century
Maximum extent of European territory inhabited by the East Slavic tribes - predecessors of Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state - in the 8th and 9th century.

The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking the East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the loose medieval Kievan Rus federation state , by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn and Ukrainian people.


Researchers know relatively little about the Eastern Slavs prior to approximately 859 AD, when the first events recorded in the Primary Chronicle occurred. The Eastern Slavs of these early times apparently lacked a written language. The few known facts come from archaeological digs, foreign travellers' accounts of the Rus' land, and linguistic comparative analyses of Slavic languages.

Very few native Rus' documents dating before the 11th century (none before the 10th century) have survived. The earliest major manuscript with information on Rus' history, the Primary Chronicle, dates from the late 11th and early 12th centuries. It lists twelve Slavic tribal unions which, by the 10th century, had settled in the later territory of the Kievan Rus between the Western Bug, the Dniepr and the Black Sea: the Polans, Drevlyans, Dregovichs, Radimichs, Vyatichs, Krivichs, Slovens, Dulebes (later known as Volhynians and Buzhans), White Croats, Severians, Ulichs, and Tivertsi.

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