The Varangians were North Germanic groups of Viking merchants, mercenaries and pirates, who from the 8th to the 12th centuries sailed East instead of West, one group established a principality at Novgorod in what is now Russia under their leader Rurik, dominating the The major trade route in the region, one to Constantinople from the Baltic called "The Varangians to the Greeks".
The Varangians to the Greeks was a trade route that connected Scandinavia, the principality of Kiev', and the Byzantine Empire. The route allowed traders along the route to establish a direct prosperous trade with Constantinople, and prompted many of the Varangians to settle in the territories of present-day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
In the 13th Century the principality of Kiev was destroyed by the Mongols and the merchants of Novgorod switched their trading to the Volga River Route to the Caspian Sea and the Ural mountain mineral wealth.
The Rurickson Clan was the ruling dynasty of the lands which would become Ukraine from 862-1240 and what would become European Russia until 1598, the successor states of the Principality of Novgorod and capitals of the East Slavs were, The Grand Principality of Kiev, The Grand Principality of Vladimir, The Grand Duchy of Moscow, which was an empire by the time of Ivan the Great.