Central European Russia is the center of Russian Civilization. For many centuries and of course still today it has shaped the country's politics and economy. At its heart is the capital, Moscow, a city that has grown from humble beginnings over 852 years ago to beat out competing cities to hold this honor. Moscow has not always been the capital. In the very early days it was moved around to different cities until the Bolsheviks moved it back in 1918. The exact history of the first settlers in Central European Russia is not clear. The first written record is dated 500 B.C. It was found around the Pripet River marshes and it is believed that Slavic people, with many elements of Iranian culture, migrated from the south. Rich forests and soils, tolerable climate influenced by Gulf Stream winds, manageable farming on flat landscape changing into marshes and hills and numerous rivers and lakes made the area attractive to settlers for defensive, hunting and harvesting purposes.
There are dozens of cities and towns in this region that have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years. Many of them are not too far from Moscow; others are along the northern part of the mighty Volga River, which flows southward into the Caspian Sea.
The Central European Russia is also home to the historical pearl of Russia - the Golden Ring. This is a "ring" of unique ancient cities and towns which all competed against each other for economical or political importance. Some of these towns were more important than Moscow at one point.
Find Out More!
Study Russian in Russia
SRAS Travel Services
Internships in Russia
Subscribe to The SRAS Newsletter
More on Regions and Cities in the FSU
Free Resources for Understanding Russia