A vast land for centuries covering Europe and Asia is Russia. Its society has been divided basically into a Russian social unit between peasants and aristocrats. In the 15th century, the Russian state has been distinguished by centralized, generally autocratic rule, strongly dependent upon a service class, the serfs or peasants. Not until the 20th century did a great deal of that system start to break down.
Over the centuries there has been enormous costs to the Russian people during wars and rebellions, famines and epidemics. The fighting involved their neighbors; Sweden, Japan, France and Germany. The Russian soldiers usually came from the village serfs.
The Russian language is a Slavic tongue, an important note in Russian genealogy. Russian has historically been divided among northern, central, and southern dialects and by marked differences between the popular, administrative, and ecclesiastical groups
There were many merchant families, some of them extremely wealthy, but trade in general was not highly valued and was prohibited for those of noble Russian descent. Russian intellectuals, despite attrition through oppression, censorship, and internal conflicts has been of great significance in modern times to help advance and develop the country.
Russians remain deeply attached to their natural environment. A dacha or cottage in the countryside, even if it is a humble cabin, is much sought after and often obtained. Russian literature and art often celebrates the beauty of the land.
Since most Russians had been peasants, the rural population set the tone of Russian foods. They enjoy a plentiful amount of fish, wild game and poultry. Crops grown would be wheat, barley and rye. They prepare a variety of breads, pancakes, cereals, soups and stews. Their favorite beverages are beer and vodka.
In examining Russian genealogy, Christianity has been a significant aspect of Russian life since 988 A. D. Through church ritual and saintly example, the Russian Orthodox Church promoted such values as love, respect due to parents, the obligation to give alms, and the loathing of suicide.
Prayers and blessings by family elders became deeply embedded in peasant and worker culture over the years. Much of the traditional Orthodox rituals have changed very little over time.
Extended Russian families are common. In the north region there is the large extended family, often numbering more than twenty people in the household. Within all households, whatever their size, parental, especially paternal, authority prevailed over everyone.