The genetic distances from the Russians to the Europeanlanguage groups indicate that the gene pool of present-day Russians bears the influence of Slavic, Baltic,Finno-Ugric and, to a lesser extent, Germanic groups, aswell as Iranian and Turkic groups....
The results of this study strongly suggest that the impact of the pre-Slavic (Finno-Ugric) population on the East European Plain is the most important factor for the northward and southward differentiation of the present-day Russian gene pool. This explanation supports the view proposing the genetic influence of Finno-Ugrians on the formation of the northern regions of Russia, which was inferred from mtDNA marker studies of some Russian populations (Grzybowski et al., 2007) and Y-chromosome analysis (Balanovsky et al., 2008).
Being quite distant from the Finno-Ugric group, the Southern Russians consequently differ from the Northern Russians in their closeness to the Germanic group. This difference indicates that the Germanic people played a significant role in the development of the southern, but not the northern segment of the Russian gene pool. In general, the Germanic influence on the formation of the Russians is not as obvious as the impact of the Slavic, Baltic, and Finno-Ugric people. However, strong interactions between the Germanic and Slavic tribes have been found in archeological materials dating from the mid-first millennium B.C. to the early first millennium A.D. These interactions were the strongest on the northern coast of the Black Sea, in the area of the multiethnic Chernyakhov archeological culture (second to fifth centuries A.D.). In the second half of the first millennium A.D., the descendants of this culture colonized the southern regions of the historical Russian area (Sedov, 1994, 1995). However, there is no evidence in the historical literature of the interaction between the Germanic tribes and the Slavs (and later, the Russians) after the Slavic colonization of the East European Plain. Therefore, the Germanic influence could not have occurred after the early part of the first millennium A.D., which was before the eastward Slavic migration (Sedov, 1994, 1995). Apparently, the impact of the Germanic people on the Chernyakhov Slavs affected the gene pool of modern Southern Russians, consequently differentiating them from the Northern Russians (Fig. 6).Am J Phys Anthropol DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.21649
Russian ethnic history inferred from mitochondrial DNA diversity
Irina Morozova et al.
With the aim of gaining insight into the genetic history of the Russians, we have studied mitochondrial DNA diversity among a number of modern Russian populations. Polymorphisms in mtDNA markers (HVS-I and restriction sites of the coding region) of populations from 14 regions within present-day European Russia were investigated. Based on analysis of the mitochondrial gene pool geographic structure, we have identified three different elements in it and a vast “intermediate” zone between them. The analysis of the genetic distances from these elements to the European ethnic groups revealed the main causes of the Russian mitochondrial gene pool differentiation. The investigation of this pattern in historic perspective showed that the structure of the mitochondrial gene pool of the present-day Russians largely conforms to the tribal structure of the medieval Slavs who laid the foundation of modern Russians. Our results indicate that the formation of the genetic diversity currently observed among Russians can be traced to the second half of the first millennium A.D., the time of the colonization of the East European Plain by the Slavic tribes. Patterns of diversity are explained by both the impact of the native population of the East European Plain and by genetic differences among the early Slavs.