Great Russia

This article is about the term. For the political party, see Great Russia (political party). For other meanings of "Russia", see Russia (disambiguation).
This original German map titled "Europäisches Russland" (European Russia) published in 1885–90 by Meyers Konversations-Lexikon shows Gross-Russland (literally Great Russia) as the historical region of the Russian Empire. The territory of the Great Russia was practically the same as of the Tsardom of Russia in the 16th century before the conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan khanates and Siberia.

Great Russia (Russian: Великороссия, Velikorossiya) is an obsolete name formerly applied to the territories of "Russia proper", the land that formed the core of Muscovy and later, Russia. This was the land to which the ethnic Russians were native and where the ethnogenesis of (Great) Russians took place. The name is said to have come from the Greek Μεγάλη Ῥωσ(σ)ία, Megálē Rhōs(s)ía[1] used by Byzantines for the northern part of the lands of Rus'.

Within 1654–1721, Russian Tsars adopted the word - their official title included the wording (literal translation): "The Sovereign of all Rus': the Great, the Little, and the White".

Similarly, the terms Great Russian language (Великорусский язык, Velikorusskiy yazyk) and Great Russians (Великороссы, Velikorossy) were employed by ethnographers and linguists in the 19th century, but then have fallen out of use.

However, the area became, together with the Volga-Ural region, North Caucasus and Siberia, the Russian SFSR, while Little Russia and White Russia became the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR respectively.

Related topics


  1. Vasmer, Max (1986). Etymological dictionary of the Russian language. Moscow: Progress. p. 289.
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