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Ruthenians is name applied to different ethnicities in different points of time; for fuller explanation of reasons for this, see Ruthenia.

Generally, in old documents, terms "Ruthenians" and "Russians" mostly have the same meaning. In modern usage, however, the terms have significantly evolved and may differ in their meaning from the terms found in ancient documents and maps.

  1. Ruthenians or Ruthenes- group of Slavic tribes living in Eastern Europe between the Black Sea (south) and the White Sea (north). Their name first appears in the 9th century AD. The most important tribes were (according to the Primary Chronicle): the Polans (the area around Kyiv), the Volhynians (Volhynia), the Dregovichs (Drehovichs) (Polesie, Belarus, Ukraine), the Drevlians, the Radimichs, the Krivichs, the Ilmen Slavs.
  2. Ruthenes - inhabitans of Ruthenia (Rus'). In general Ruthenes means all people speaking East Slavic languages.
  3. Ruthenes - former name for Ukrainians.
  4. Ruthenes - present name for Rusyns.

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