Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh (1874-1947)
Series "Beginning of Russia. Slavs"
Oil on canvas, 1901
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
The Rus' Khaganate was a polity that flourished during a poorly documented period in the history of Eastern Europe (roughly the late 8th and early to mid-9th centuries CE). A predecessor to the Rurik Dynasty and the Kievan Rus', the Rus' Khaganate was a state (or a cluster of city-states) set up by a people called Rhos or Rus, at least some of whom were Varangians (Scandinavians), in what is today northern Russia. The region's population at that time was composed of Baltic, Slavic, Finnic, and Norse peoples. The region was also a center of operations for Varangians, eastern Scandinavian adventurers, merchants and pirates.
According to contemporaneous sources, the population centers of the region, which may have included the proto-towns of Holmgard (Novgorod), Aldeigja (Ladoga), Lyubsha, Alaborg, Sarskoe Gorodishche, and Timerevo, were under the rule of a monarch or monarchs using the Old Turkic title Khagan. The Rus' Khaganate period marked the genesis of a distinct Rus' ethnos, and its successor states would include Kievan Rus' and later states which modern Russia evolved.