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(Before 1230 A.D.)  The Russian Language was very limited  in development and use, so most researchers have relied on less-  than-objective church chronicles written beginning in the mid-12th   century.  The Russian Eastern Orthodox Christian Church  (REOC)  was founded in Russia about 1000 A.D., along with the  establishment of Russia proper and the Russian language.  Before  then, it was pagan hunting-gathering.  Around the same time as the  REOC began the development of Kievan  Rus, a civil society based  around what is now the city of Kiev in Ukraine.  The Russians,  expanding further out of the forest than ever before, dictated a deal with the agrarian Ukrainians:  We’ll protect you---you feed us.   (*KEY*)  This Russian superior-inferior mindset towards Ukraine  continues stronger than ever today.  Being not far from the great  silk road, this was a happy Eden which thrived on trade and,  because of its relatively northerly location, it had no  serious  enemies.  The city of Novgorod existed in the remote north western  coast, also trading.  Moscow, founded in 1147, was an isolated  forest outpost and not a factor during this time.  Everything  changed with the Mongolian invasion, which was met with  practically no resistance.
(1235-1460)  The Mongols extracted tribute in various  forms while introducing their own socio-economic influences  from their regional capital near the southern Volga River.   (KEY*)  It is often considered that during this time, The REOC   acted  as the primary facilitator of Mongolian tribute collection  and infrastructure implementation.  The REOC grew  tremendously during this time, disproportionate to population  growth, and its expansion/powerful influence continued largely  unabated until 1917.  Also, the Mongols made sure that Russia  was kept isolated from trade routes and Western Europe---this  made it physically impossible for Russia to partake  culturally/intellectually in the Renaissance, having been  kept  somewhat additionally retarded for 230 years.  This common  viewpoint, though merited, really draws people away from the  real causes behind Russia’s perceived isolation, which involve  many thousands of years, not hundreds.  The strength to drive  the Mongols out near the end of this period originated from the  north in Moscow, which has been the main power base ever  since.   
Before 1460