A Thin Thread
of Destiny

A Novel
by Lara Prodan

Rurikids: from Rus till nowadays

Scientists know lots of different royal families all around the world. The most famous dynasties in Europe are Houses of Habsburg, Windsor, York, Tudor etc. At the same time, in Russia there were two powerful royal dynasties – Rurik and Romanov.

Rurik was the first prince who ruled the Rus. Legends tell that in the second part of the 9th century there were various tribes who lived together on a very big territory. They always had quarrels among each other and couldn’t come to any agreement. Once they asked some distant northern tribes to send their prince to rule over them and to create order on their territory.

Rurik came with two of his brothers. They divided power between them and soon the new state was founded. Later everyone will know it as the Kievan Rus. There were specific principles of ruling in that country. For example, the right to inherit the throne was given first to the elder son, then to the middle one, then to the younger. The children of the elder son did not have the right to reign until all their uncles die. The country was divided into numerous principalities and all the male representatives got to rule their own land according to their proximity to the throne. The children of the Prince who hadn’t been ruling the country became outcasts and lost the right to claim their right on the throne. There were lots of cases when brothers killed each other and their nearest male relatives to get the power.

Rurik family was one of the most powerful dynasties in the European history. They ruled the country for more than 7 centuries. There were lots of striking personalities among them. Suffice it to name Vladimir the Great who brought Christianity to the Rus and baptized the country. Yaroslav the Wise put together different rules and created the law code called Russkaja Pravda. During his life the country flourished and reached the peak of military and cultural development. Ivan the Terrible was an intelligent diplomat and the founder of the first Print Yard of Russia – but at the same time well known for brutality and mental instability.

Nevertheless the Royal Rurik Dynasty disappeared after centuries of reign and with the whole family spread all over Europe. The last ruling representatives were Volodymyr of Galicia, the Monarch from the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia, Prince Feodor who reigned in Kiev and Vasili IV of Russia.

Nowadays there are thousands of people who descend from numerous branches of Rurik Dynasty. Most of them come from outcasts or from marriages of Rurikids daughters. These people do not have neither official titles nor lands. But they often take an active part in the life of the country. They are professors, doctors, architects, scientists.

No wonder that there are so many books written about them. For example, in the novel “A Thin Thread of Destiny” one can learn about the destiny of several generations of the Ukhtomsky Dukes. This kin appeared from a primary branch of the dynasty. Speaking about this particular family we can find out that their descendants live in modern Russia as well as in other countries of the world – like the USA.

Finally, there was a group of scientists who decided to check the gene code of Rurikids and those who claim to be their relatives. The study has shown that nowadays many people have the gene marking them as distant descendants of Rurik. That gene itself has much in common with the genes of the Scandinavians – that proves the Varangian theory of Rurik’s origin.