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In the times of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire the country's share in the world's land mass reached 1/6.Most of these territories were first discovered by Russian explorers (if indigenous peoples of inhabited territories are not counted).Russians were among those rare medieval Europeans who traveled deep into Central Asia or visited South Asia.Prince Yaroslav II of Vladimir and his sons Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky and Andrey Yaroslavich traveled to Karakorum, the capital of the Mongolian Empire in the 1240s, By the beginning of the Age of Discovery, most of the former principalities of Kievan Rus were re-integrated by the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
the achievements of the expedition included the discovery of the Aleutian Islands and the Commander Islands by Bering and Alexei Chirikov, the mapping of most of the Russian Arctic coastline and part of the Pacific coast in 1733–1743 by teams led by Stepan Malygin, Dmitry Ovtsyn, Fyodor Minin, Semyon Chelyuskin, Vasily Pronchischev, Khariton Laptev and Dmitry Laptev.More Russian circumnavigations followed, notably those led by Otto Kotzebue, Ferdinand Wrangel and Fyodor Litke.These voyages brought multiple discoveries in Alaska and the Pacific.The complex orographic systems of Central and Eastern Siberia were established by such scientists as Alexander Middendorf, Ivan Chersky and Vladimir Obruchev.
In the middle of the century, around the time of the Amur Annexation, the Russian government put much effort into exploration and colonisation of the Amur River valley, Primorsky Krai and Sakhalin.
Gombojab Tsybikov was the first European explorer in Lhasa, but he travelled by the customary road of Buryat pilgrims.