The Russians' civilization ability is Mother Russia, which provides them with extra territory (5 tiles) when they found their cities and extra Faith and Production from tundra tiles. In Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, their units are immune to Blizzard damage and civilizations who are at war with Russia take double damage from Blizzards while in Russian territory. Their unique unit is the Cossack (which replaces the Cavalry), and their unique District is the Lavra (which replaces the Holy Site).
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Able to claim vast land with their cities and thrive in the icy polar regions, Russia is a formidable opponent on any map type. With the extremely powerful Lavra, Russia is well-equipped to go for either a Religious or a Cultural Victory, with a backup in Domination.
Extra tiles when founding cities
When founding cities, Russia gets 5 extra tiles for free, almost doubling the number of tiles you normally start with. This increases the chance you will get the best tiles in workable range right from the get-go without having to waste a few extra turns to move your Settlers. A hidden advantage of this ability is that the Culture cost and Gold cost to acquire new tiles start at the same level and scale normally with tech and civic research as any other civilizations.
For this reason, it is best for Russia to build an ultra-wide empire, similar to real life. Assign Magnus with Provision, build the Government Plaza with Ancestral Hall and start cranking out those Settlers. You do not need to spend too much Production on building Settlers, however, as Russia is overwhelmingly likely to hit a Golden Classical Era, allowing you to get access to the Monumentality dedication. With an appropriate pantheon, your Lavra can generate an absurd amount of Faith very early. With a vast, massive empire, you are poised to take on any victory.
Extra Faith and Production on Tundra tiles
Normally, a flat Tundra tile has a base yield of 1 Food, and it is never worth to build a city there. With Russia, every Tundra tile gains 1 Faith and 1 Production, including the City Center tile, if it is on Tundra, making this terrain more ideal for settlement.
Unfortunately, Tundra doesn't house as much of use in the way of resources as non-Tundra, and flat Tundra does not support Farms. It will require considerable luck to find a good spot for a city near the Tundra areas (so you can build Lavra with the Dance of the Aurora pantheon), yet still have fertile land to build Farms and grow. If you settle cities deep in the polar regions, your best chance is probably a coastal tile with access to a lot of Fish and other sea resources to make up for the lack of Food, or resources that can be improved with Camps and Pastures. These resources often grant a base bonus Food, and although Camp and Pasture improvements do not grant more Food, they do with tech and civic advancement. Tundra Hills, or Woods on Tundra are considerably better, since they can be improved with Mines and Lumber Mills.
St. Basil's Cathedral allows you to turn a Tundra city into a super-city when combined with Russia's bonus yields on Tundra. Add forest Lumber Mills or city-State improvements and you have a large number of high yield tiles. With Conservation, Woods can be planted to fill every other flat, non-improvable Tundra tiles, to bring the Production potential of all Tundra cities you have.
Canada versus Russia
Although both civilizations love Tundra, there are key differences between them: Canada can take better advantage of Tundra, thanks to Wilfrid Laurier's ability, but they desperately need Tundra to be a viable or strong empire; Russia does not. Without access to Tundra, Russia is still a very powerful civilization, thanks to their Lavra, while Canada becomes a non-factor for at least 4 eras until National Park is unlocked, as all of their other bonuses are just not that impressive. Canadian Tundra cities tend to be more productive individually, with a lot more Food and Production, while Russian Tundra cities tend to be smaller but can contribute better to the empire, since Faith is an empire-wide currency. Therefore, when playing as Russia, if Canada is in the game and spawns next to you, try your best to settle Tundra as quickly as possible. With your Faith and Monumentality, Canada can never match your speed of expansion. Even if they have cities in Tundra spots you want, wait until Medieval Era and the Grand Master's Chapel, the Canada problems will be no more. If Canada is not in the game, however, you can put more priority on non-Tundra land. Remember, Tundra is your home turf, other civilizations can try to contest you on that ground but you will eventually emerge as a winner on Tundra, and you can easily claim it back later, either peacefully or with an army. Fertile land, nevertheless, is fair game to everybody, so claim it now to not regret later. It is worth keeping in mind that, with Dance of the Aurora pantheon, if you don't settle in Tundra, your Holy Sites most likely can only gain adjacency bonuses from Woods and Mountains, and those cities will grow faster but generate less Faith. You can solve this by simultaneously settle in both polar and fertile regions. The good thing about Monumentality and Russia is lack of Settlers is almost never an issue.
Protection from blizzards
Similar to Hojo Tokimune's bonus, this bonus is only for historically thematic purpose, it doesn't have many consequences in game. Russian units are immune to blizzard damage; remember, only units, so districts, buildings and improvements can still be pillaged or removed, which, all in all, is not that useful. Additionally, hostile units inside Russian territory take double damage from blizzards, effects of which you won't see in your game the vast majority of the time, since it is completely random and cannot be controlled by any party involved.
Early game as Russia
Russia is one of the most powerful civilizations in the game, undoubtedly. Its power stems from the fact that it can generate an absurd amount of Faith with very little setup. Having the Lavra and the ability to reliably found the first religion means Russia is overwhelmingly likely heading for a Golden Classical Era, and with the generous Faith output, it is one of the rare civilizations that can take full advantage of Monumentality dedication right from Classical.
The Golden Monumentality dedication is inarguably the most overpowered and game changing dedication in the entire game, if you can take advantage of it. It allows expansion at such a cheap cost, and when combined with the Ancestral Hall, you can also improve your cities immediately. The first district you should always build in every city is obviously the Lavra, one of, if not, the most powerful piece of infrastructure in the game. Your Lavras will yield a high amount of Faith instantly, giving you the fund to buy even more Builders and Settlers to feedback on itself. It is this dizzying speed that Russia can expand in just Classical Era makes them one of the most feared civilizations in the game.
This rapid expansion in Classical Era can mean you may end up in a Golden Medieval Era as well. Rapid expansion means you can trigger the Historic Moments for having the most cities, having cities on other continents, having more spots to build high adjacency districts, etc. Even settling on Tundra alone can give you 1 Era Score for every city on Tundra. If you hit a Golden Medieval Era, continue for Monumentality, if you still have settling spots close to your cities, or Exodus of the Evangelists if you want to kickstart your religious conversion and head for a religious victory.
As Russia, your Lavra is cheap and generates extra Great Prophet points, allowing you to reliably found the first religion most games. Because most of your strength is funneled into being able to cherry pick your beliefs, choosing the right beliefs can be the difference between winning and losing.
- Pantheon: Your strongest option is obviously Dance of the Aurora. With a tier 2 Tundra starting bias, if Canada isn't in the game, you are very likely to spawn in a vast polar region. With cheap Lavras, each of your city can generate 6-7 Faith just from constructing your Holy Site. This Faith, coupled with the inherent Faith bonus from Tundra, can generate a massive amount of Faith very early into the game, before other empires can start their Faith economy (that is before taking into account the Scripture policy card). If you don't spawn on Tundra, or cannot scout out a close polar region, you most likely won't get the first pantheon, so even Religious Settlements is not an option, so pick according to your surroundings.
- Follower: Of course, you cannot take Dance of the Aurora without choosing Work Ethics. Every Tundra city of yours, coupled with extra Production on Tundra tiles, will become bustling Production hubs even when you delay building Industrial Zones for a few eras. If you don't have Dance of the Aurora, since you are still almost guaranteed the first religion, go for the safe, classic choice of Choral Music.
- Worship: Customize it according to your victory preference. Meeting House, Wat, and even Pagoda are nice in almost all situations. If you go for a religious victory, pick Mosque. Even though it is tempting, do not pick Cathedral if you go for a cultural victory. Russia can absolutely dominate the Great Artist race that you can reliably theme all of your Religious arts. Read more here.
- Enhancer: Holy Order for a religious victory, Defender of the Faith for a defensive cultural game, Crusade if you want to be aggressive with the Grand Master's Chapel and Cossacks.
The Lavra, to get it right out of the gate, is a reliably powerful district in every Russia game you will play. Although Hojo Tokimune can build cheap Holy Sites, and Byzantine Holy Sites generate twice as many Great Prophet points, Lavra combines these two into one, thus ensuring that the Russians will be one of the first civilizations to found a religion every game. As detailed above, it is this high level of reliability, regardless of which civilizations are your opponents, that puts the Lavra in an esteemed position. First pick of religious beliefs is not only powerful, but also very versatile. Seeing Byzantium, Spain or Poland as your neighbor? Pick Crusade. Seeing Gandhi or Arabia and suspecting they may go for a religious victory? Pick Mosque. Since Russia's overall toolkits are so versatile, none of these picks really harm you. With the sole exception of the overpowered combo between Dance of the Aurora and Work Ethics, every other beliefs is viable on different levels with Russia. An extra Great Prophet point also means after your Great Prophet is recruited, each Lavra will generate an extra Faith.
The second main draw of the Lavra is providing a point for a Great Writer, Great Artist, and Great Musician with each Shrine, Temple, and worship building respectively built. This is the same bonus as a base Theater Square. If you have a lot of fully developed Lavras, you may consider building Theater Squares as well to have some Great Work slots to activate your Great People. Your amazing Faith generation will allow you to purchase Naturalists and Rock Bands to easily pivot a cultural victory.
Lastly, city's borders expand each time a Great Person is activated there. This gives Russia even more incentives to build Theater Squares and focus on cultural development in its cities, attracting all kinds of artistic geniuses who can expand Russia's borders while edging it ever closer to winning a Culture Victory. This bonus will also apply to tiles outside of the usual 3 tile range from the City Center after they have all been claimed. While the tiles in this expansive territory can't be normally worked, they can still host National Parks, Forts, to Missile Silos depending on your needs.
Finally, the fact that it is cheap and offers artistic Great People points makes it a good addition to most cities. Even without any buildings in it, it's still a great source for Great Works, as well as an adjacency bonus and +1 Appeal for other districts.
Consider grabbing the Dance of the Aurora pantheon to gain a massive Faith boost, particularly combined with the Scripture policy card, and you will be well on the way to a religious victory. In combination with the Work Ethic belief with your religion, and later Simultaneum policy card, you will be swimming in Production and Faith, the two most versatile yields in the game.
When the power of the Russian civilization is considered, the Cossack is often overshadowed by the almighty Lavra, but that doesn't mean this is a weak unit. It is a decent, although largely underused, unit, because Russia gears towards a religious and cultural victory a lot more than a domination one, and defensive units, are more often than not, overlooked.
As a starter, at only 10 more Production, Cossacks have 5 more base Combat Strength than the Cavalry, not bad. Nonetheless, they truly shine on defense, as their Combat Strength is raised to 72 if there is at least one Russian tile adjacent to them. For comparison, 72 Combat Strength is as high as Infantry, allowing Cossacks to stand their ground against invasions.
On offense, they do have bonuses that help them succeed in conquest. Back in Civilization V, all mounted and armored units had the ability to move after attacking, while in Civilization VI, only the Cossacks, sufficiently promoted recon units, and the Vietnamese Voi Chiến have it, giving them a powerful advantage in the Industrial Era. Being able to harry enemies with hit-and-run attacks means it is easier for a group of Cossacks to focus down an enemy by alternating their attacks. They are not exactly the best at taking cities, but thanks to their defensive bonus, they are good at defending newly captured ones. For this reason, support your Cossack army with sufficient siege power.
But again, you cannot view this unit in a vacuum. Russia, with their first pick of religion, can easily customize it with Crusade belief if they want to go on a full domination mode. Also, in the same vein as the aggressive Ethiopia playstyle, it shouldn't matter if the Cossack is not the best offensive unit. The Grand Master Chapel, Theocracy and huge Faith influx coming from Lavras and appropriate policy cards allow you to crush any enemy just from using the sheer number advantage. If Ethiopia can pull it off with their inconsequential Oromo Cavalry, there is no reason Russia cannot with their much superior Cossacks, but of course, this purchasing strategy once again puts an emphasis on how powerful Russia's Faith generation is thanks to their ability and the Lavra, but not on the Cossack itself.
The Grand Embassy
Last and definitely the least, to balance out a massive power advantage of Russia, Peter has the worst leader ability in the game. Catch-up mechanics are generally controversial within gaming, since it requires you to play poorly, lag behind in order to be activated, and it helps you to not lose rather than to win. Peter's ability is a catch-up mechanic that is so minor that its effect barely exists throughout the game.
Peter grants all international Trade Routes to more advanced civilizations 1 Science for every 3 technologies Russia is behind, and 1 Culture for every 3 civics. While it does encourage you to beeline for more advanced and expensive technologies and civics so that you can minimize the total number of technologies and civics you own, deliberately planning to use it will be tricky. Leaf techs and civics that other civilizations can skip over, Russia cannot. In order to create multiple Trade Routes you'll need to have at least reached Currency or Celestial Navigation. The upper branch of the tech tree is Astrology and other navigation techs, inland and non-religious empires can delay researching them, Russia cannot, since they unlock the Lavra and Harbor. If you deliberately skip on the bottom half of the tech tree you're asking to be rolled over by an aggressive empire. On the civic tree, in order to reach Political Philosophy you need both branches of the civic tree in the first two eras, with only a few exceptions of some civics. The three leaf civics on the religious branch (Theology, Monarchy, Reformed Church), again, other non-religious civilizations can skip, Russia cannot.
In single player games against on high difficulties (Emperor or higher), since the AIs have a massive technology and civic advantage, this ability does occasionally grant some Science and Culture points in the early game. However, you should catch up with the AIs by the time Medieval and Renaissance begin, by that time, this ability becomes nought.
In multiplayer games, since there is no handicap, everyone will start at the same point, you basically don't have a leader ability. The moment your leader ability kicks in, you are losing the game, and its effect is so minor that it can hopefully help you stay relevant in the game for a few more turns, but relying on this to help you catch up is an unrealistic dream.
After Wilhelmina received a buff to her ability in the April 2021 Update, Peter's ability is now by far the worst ability in the game, even worse than Gandhi's. At least Gandhi occasionally grants you a little bit of Faith now and again, and that bit of Faith can be accumulated and invested into something meaningful. Peter's ability literally does not exist when you perform well, and when it does exist, it signals that you are lagging behind, and it does very little, if anything at all, to help turn the tide of the game.
With its powerful Lavra and a robust Faith generation, Russia is best for a religious victory. Also, with its bonuses to Great Artist, Great Writer, and Great Musician points, Russia has great potential to go for a cultural victory. A domination victory is not completely out of the question, either. Similar to Ethiopia, Russia can take full advantage of the Grand Master's Chapel, coupled with Theocracy, and later in the game, the Cossacks.
Russia's greatest strength is the versatility their religion affords them. Building Lavras in half the usual time and generating double Great Prophet points mean that typically Russia is the first to a religion, and can pick whichever beliefs suit their needs at that time. While Religious Victories might seem like the obvious choice initially, picking Russia in multiplayer typically means other players will thwart your victory attempts if you focus on religion too much. Instead, what the Russia player should be doing is to only build Lavra districts in their strongest cities, the ones that can build plenty of districts to maximize the land grabbing bonus the Lavra offers. Outside of founding an early religion and Faith on Tundra, Russia has no bonuses to Faith generation and as such their only advantage in the religious game is a head start. Therefore, if you fail the colonization game and cannot create an ultra-wide empire within the first few eras, pivot to a culture victory using your Faith income.
Boyars, Cossacks, onion domes, snow-covered landscapes, the “wasteland” of Siberia, carefree serfs, stirring compositions, endless winter, and ice-chilled vodka. The romance of Russia may be appealing, but its true history is somewhat less so … especially if one listens to those serfs. With one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Russia has influenced the course of world civilization like few other nation-states. The roots of Russia lay in the initial settlement of Novgorod by the Norse and the establishment of the Kievan Rus kingdom around 882 AD by Oleg, who managed to conquer the Ilmen Slavs, Finno-Ugrics, Veps and Votes who inhabited the region – but these are stories mixed with myth and legend. So, let’s begin with the rise of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy.
It all got started with Prince Daniil Aleksandrovich, fourth and youngest son of the famed Alexandre Nevsky; when the old man died in 1263 AD, the two-year-old Daniil received the least valuable of his holdings, a small and backward principality named Moscow. He spent the next decades fending off his greedy brothers and the westward galloping Mongols. Despite all this internecine sibling squabbling and Mongol incursions, Daniil managed to largely keep his duchy out of the general bloodshed (in fact, he was canonized in 1652 by the Orthodox Church for his “meekness, humility and peacefulness”). Among other things, he did this by paying tribute to the Golden Horde, a smart move as it turned out. The prince “peacefully” added various bits to his lands as his relatives, direct and distant, died off – to the point that when St. Daniil died in 1303 Moscow became a “Grand Duchy.”
Daniil was followed by a series of able – if not quite so pacific – grand dukes. But it was Grand Duke Ivan III (also known as “the Great”) who really put Muscovy on the map. During his 40-year reign (1462 to 1505), he tripled the size of Muscovy by annexing the Novgorod Republic and the Grand Duchy of Tver among others, ended tribute to the Horde, created a bare-bones central administration, limited the independence of the boyars, renovated the Kremlin (the citadel that served as the seat of the Rurik dynasty). Having consolidated the core of Russia, Ivan took for himself the titles of Tsar and “Ruler of all the Rus.” Although Ivan IV (lovingly known as “the Terrible”) was the first to be officially crowned as “Tsar,” the “gathering” of Russia was begun by Ivan III.
Being a megalomaniac and a sociopath, Ivan IV had a tough time as a child. As he was three and sickly at the time of his father's death, a prolonged regency was subject to a great deal of political intrigue, and Ivan suffered accordingly. Once Ivan achieved maturity, things went from bad to exceptionally bad – one might even say “terrible.” Very little is actually known of Ivan the man, except that he was unwell and he married six times. At last crowned in his own right, Ivan began a program to dramatically increase his power at the expense of virtually everybody else. The Imperial Court was swept of independent-minded nobility and stocked with sycophantic bullies. The upper echelons of the military were similarly purged. Ivan declared millions of acres of the best land to be oprichnina – or crown land – subject to his direct control only. Ivan was about as good a military leader as he was a humanitarian: he virtually destroyed the army and bankrupted the country in the disastrous Livonian War, which dragged on for some twenty-five years. He died in 1584 … and not a moment too soon.
A generation later, the Rurik dynasty would be replaced by the Romanov. Following the death of Feodor I (the son of Ivan IV), Russian toppled into the “Time of Troubles,” a crisis in the succession as Feodor had no male heirs. The Russian parliament eventually elected Boris Godunov to be the new tsar; he reigned for seven years, troubled by a series of imposters known as the “False Dmitriys (each claiming to be Feodor’s long-dead younger brother). All this, including claims by foreign pretenders, was finally put to rest when the boyars elected Michael Romanov to take the throne in 1613 AD. The Romanovs would rule in an unbroken line until the last of them were shot by Bolsheviks in a basement in Yekaterinburg.
As tyrannical despots go, the Romanov tsars weren’t too bad. In fact, several of them earned the sobriquet “the Great” and several others probably deserve that acclaim, save that another of the same name already had it. The first Romanovs managed to conclude treaties with Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Ukrainian Cossacks, who agreed to serve under the tsar’s direction. Unfortunately, thanks to new, harsher restrictions on the serfs, there were also a lot of peasant uprisings, such as the Salt Riot, Copper Riot and Moscow Uprising. These were put down with the usual reserve of the time and place. And Russia continued to grow in size, notably through the conquest and colonization eastward to Siberia.
Then came the Greats. Peter the Great, through a series of successful wars against the Ottomans and the Swedes, gained warm-water ports for the tsardom, and so ready access to Europe. And thus he dragged Russia – kicking and screaming, as the saying goes – into the Renaissance. Forty years after Peter’s death, Catherine the Great – who wasn’t even Russian-born – initiated the empire’s acknowledged “golden age,” made Russia a major European power … and, for some unfathomable reason, began the colonization of distant Alaska. Known as “the Blessed,” Tsar Alexander I guided Russia through the upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars, defeated Napoleon during the invasion (mainly by avoiding battle and torching everything in front of the French), and firmly embedded his nation in the quagmire of the Balkans after the “Revolt of the Greeks” in 1821 AD. Next up, Alexander “the Liberator,” who, despite his many accomplishments (notably the “liberation” of the serfs) managed to get himself assassinated.
During these long years, Russia developed a culture unique, a tradition of excellence in literature, music, dance and architecture. For centuries before Peter the Great threw the doors wide to European influence, Russian folklore and folk-crafts were distinctly Slavic, heavily tinted (or tainted) with Orthodox Christianity. Constantinople’s first and greatest outreach program of proselytizing was the dispatch of missionaries into Kievan Rus; by the middle of the 10th Century the Greek Orthodox Church had its hooks into a large number of the Russian common folk, and it hasn’t turned loose yet. Other influences, especially Scandinavian and Asiatic, were added to the cultural pot under the Rurik and early Romanov dynasties. Expatriates have since carried Russian culture across the globe, and few peoples have been as pivotal in the world’s appreciation of the finer things.
In literature, Slavic bylinas gave way to the epically massive works of Gogol, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy … although the great Chekov managed to keep his word-count down. The simple harmonies of ethnic folk music played on the likes of the balalaika, garmon and zhaleika evolved into the complex and sweeping compositions of Glinka, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, perhaps the greatest composer of the Romantic Era. The peasant khorovod and barynya, folk dances still enjoyed throughout Russia, made room for the ballet – first brought to St. Petersburg by, who else, Peter the Great – so beloved by the cultural elite.
Perhaps one of the most recognizable aspects of Russian culture (at least for the average sap) is its architecture. With Orthodoxy came Byzantine architectural forms, displayed in the only stone buildings: fortifications and churches. When Peter the Great opened the country to the West and supported a renaissance in the arts, a taste for the rococo fastened on Russian architects. Under Catherine and the Alexanders, the capital at St. Petersburg was transformed into a museum for Neo-Classical buildings (before the slab-and-drab Soviet style was mandated).
Russia has produced few great or even recognizable artists in paint or sculpture. But nearly anyone can spot its folk art. The Matryoshka Doll, a series of brightly-painted nesting figures, is beloved everywhere and now manufactured wholesale for holiday sales worldwide. Russian icons, the painting of religious images on wood, slipped into the Slavic mindset with Orthodox Christianity; elaborate and often gilded, these became an art in themselves, and the great masters of early Russia turned their skills to these venerated icons. While few may recognize the term “gzhel,” most people would recognize the distinctive style of ceramics to which it refers.
Following the Liberator’s son, termed Alexander “the Peacemaker,” came the last recognized Romanov to rule Russia, the familial but inept Nicholas II (not given a moniker for obvious reasons). Nicholas inherited a Russia beset with all sorts of problems, both internal and external. He was a firm believer in “benevolent” autocratic rule, seeing the Tsar as “Little Father” to his people. He retained the conservative policies and politics of his father, a mistake not helped by his marriage to an unpopular German princess.
By 1900, Russia was in desperate need of reform and modernization; what it got was oppression and bloodshed. Insulated from reality by sycophants (the thoroughly unlikeable Gregori Rasputin among them), Nicholas failed to advance agricultural or industrial production, leaving Russia the most backward of European nations. Worse still, he lacked the vision to bring political reform – despite being highly impressed by the British version of democracy – in an age of growing discontent. He alienated the Duma, an advisory council he himself had created.
Nicholas II, when he did try to right the floundering ship of state, only made matters worse. He would be condemned by most of his subjects due to such incidents as the Khodynka Tragedy, Bloody Sunday, anti-Semitic pogroms, the repression of the abortive 1905 Revolution, and his proclivity for executing vocal opponents. Moreover, he managed to embroil Russia in disastrous military campaigns, especially the humiliating defeat at the hands of Imperial Japan in 1905. Although this indicated how desperate the Russian military was in need of reform and modernization (in terms of tactics, training, equipment and everything else), none came – leading to such incidents as the Potemkin mutiny. Coupled with all this, the Russian entry into the cauldron of World War I completed his miscalculations.
In February 1917, when police in St. Petersburg began to fire on starving (due to acute food shortages in the cities) and freezing (a severe winter coupled with a lack of coal and wood) citizens, riots broke out with an outcry for an end to the war and abdication of the tsar. Despite initial efforts to maintain control, when the army’s Volinsky Regiment mutinied and refused to follow orders – soon joined by other units – order in the capital broke down completely. The Duma formed a provisional democratic government, and Nicholas abdicated (his brother Michael wisely declined the throne when the Duma offered it). The democracy that replaced the empire was soon enough itself replaced by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
- Main article: Russian cities (Civ6)
|Males||Females||Modern males||Modern females|
- The Russian civilization's symbol is a double-headed eagle, which also appears on the Russian coat of arms.
- The Russian civilization ability references a common personification of Russia.
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