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At first the ruling elite was primarily Norse, but it was rapidly Slavicized by the mid-century.
Sviatoslav I of Kiev (who reigned in the 960s) was the first Rus ruler with a Slavonic name.
The East Slavs practiced "slash-and-burn" agricultural methods which took advantage of the extensive forests in which they settled.
This method of agriculture involved clearing tracts of forest with fire, cultivating it and then moving on after a few years.
While these processes began long before the fall of Kiev, its fall expedited these gradual developments into a significant linguistic and ethnic differentiation among the Rus' people into Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians.
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The earliest tribal centres of the East Slavs included Novgorod, Izborsk, Polotsk, Gnezdovo, and Kiev.
Archaeology indicates that they appeared at the turn of the tenth century, soon after the Slavs and Finns of Novgorod had rebelled against the Norsemen and forced them to withdraw to Scandinavia.
There is no consensus among scholars as to the urheimat of the Slavs.
Slash and burn agriculture requires frequent movement, because soil cultivated in this manner only yields good harvests for a few years before exhausting itself, and the reliance on slash and burn agriculture by the East Slavs explains their rapid spread through eastern Europe.