Oleg was a Scandinavian, a cousin of Rurik of Novgorod, who succeeded Rurik in 879 and occupied the cities of Smolensk and Kiev in 882. With this and later conquests in the area, he brought many tribes, both Slavic and others, under the rule of Russia. He even became strong enough to campaign against the city of Byzantium, capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 907, sending ships across the Black Sea. (Russian historians say he nailed his shield to the gates of Byzantium, but there is no confirmation from less biased sources). He did win treaties with trade concessions quite favorable to the Rus by the year 911. Oleg died in 913 and his cousin Igor, son of Rurik, succeeded him.

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