Russians (Русские - Russkie) are an East Slavic ethnic group, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries.
The English term Russians is also used to refer to citizens of Russia, regardless of their ethnicity (see demographics of Russia for information on other nationalities inhabiting Russia); in Russian, this meaning is covered by the recently revived politically correct term Rossiyanin (Россиянин, plural Rossiyane). Ethnic Russians make up about 80% of the population of Russia.
Russians are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world with a population of about 150 million people worldwide. Roughly 116 million ethnic Russians live in Russia and 28 million more live in neighboring countries. A relatively small number of Russians, around 2 million, live elsewhere in the world, mostly in North America and Western Europe.
Most Russians are predominantly of the Orthodox Christian faith. More specifically, most belong to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Russians outside of Russia
Russians (俄罗斯族) are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China (as the Russ), and there are approximately 10,000 Russian Chinese living mostly in northern Xinjiang, and also in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang. See also Harbin Russians and China Far East Railway.
History of Russians
Russians as distinct ethnic group was widely recognized since XIIIth century as Muscovites. Some ethnologists point out that Russians were a distinct slavic group even before time of Kievan Rus. Others think that there is much more heritage in Russian ethnicity than isolation from Eastern and Western Rus, but that Russkiye are complex ethnic mix of various slavic and non-slavic tribes.