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Capital of Kievan Rus (c.882-1240). Kiev was already a flourishing town when captured by the Varangian (Viking) Askold in about 860. Askold was expelled in 882 by Oleg of the Ryurik dynasty, who transferred his capital to Kiev from Novgorod. After the conversion of the Russians to Christianity in the 10th century, Kiev became a major cultural center and was impressively fortified by Yaroslav the Wise (r.1019-54). Destroyed by the Mongols in 1240 it passed to Lithuania (1362) and the Poles (1569) before returning to Russian control in 1654. It is the capital of the Ukraine, an independent republic of the CIS since 1991.

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