What does "all the Russias" mean in:

To the Emperor of all the Russias belongs the supreme autocratic and unlimited power.


All the Russias here refers to the following historical regions:

Very roughly, this means Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. None of these correspond exactly with modern national boundaries, but the Great was the core of Russia, sometimes called "Russia proper"; the Little corresponds mostly to modern Ukraine; and the White corresponds roughly to the eastern half of modern Belarus.

For more details, see the Wikipedia links above.


This is a direct translation of the Russian expression: Царь Всея Руси, which was the official title of Russian heads of state starting with Ivan the Terrible. This official title became a lot longer over time. Similar expressions are used in many languages.

Царь is often translated by a transliteration: czar (or in modern times often tsar. There have been debates around the translation of this word; emperor is one of the valid possibilities, and later czars did use the title императоръ (transliterated: imperatori).

Всея Руси more properly means “(of) all Rus'”. In Russian, Русь and Россия are different words and refer to different stages in the history of Russia and its political and cultural predecessors. Русь is translated Rus' but that term is only used by historians: in most contexts, the word Russia is used. The three Rus' (or three Russias) are Great Russia (Великая Русь, Moscovy), Russia Minor (Малая Русь, which became Ukraine) and White Russia (Белая Русь, which became the territory and country known as Белоруссия (Byelorussia) in Russian and Белару́сь (Belarus) in Belarusian).

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