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Following the settlement of East Slavs in the Russian Plain in the middle of the 1st millennium BC, through the next thousand years, most of European Russia came into the sphere of Slavic cultural and political influence, and finally became a part of the Russian state.
From the 11th century on, a group of Russians which settled the shores of the White Sea and became known as Pomors ("seaside-dwellers") began navigating in the freezing seas of the Arctic Ocean, gradually developing the first icebreaking ships known as kochi.
The history of exploration by citizens or subjects of the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire, the Tsardom of Russia and other Russian predecessor states forms a significant part of the history of Russia as well as the history of the world.
At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,850 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than a ninth of the Earth’s land mass.
Most of these territories were first discovered by Russian explorers (if indigenous peoples of inhabited territories are not counted).
More Russian circumnavigations followed, notably those led by Otto Kotzebue, Ferdinand Wrangel and Fyodor Litke.