A commentator reflecting on Russian colonization is immediately struck by a pair of paradoxes. For centuries, all Russia has seemed to be on the move. Yet throughout modern history greater restrictions have been imposed on population movement in Russia than most other European states. Few governments have been so determined to keep people in one place and yet so active in displacing them. It may be argued that the paradoxes notwithstanding, Russian colonization was not a unique phenomenon. The migration of the east Slavic tribes to the river basins of west Eurasia in the fifth and sixth centuries was part of the Volkerwanderung. The Germanic peoples continued to move eastward both as conquerors cum crusaders in the Baltic lands and as peaceful colonists throughout much of East Central Europe including Russia itself in the eighteenth century. In another of the great continental expansions, the Ottoman Turks attempted to settle Anatolian peasants in the Balkans through their policy of sürgün, or forced resettlement. Throughout parts of Western Europe during the medieval period a process of internal colonization also took place. And this is only to speak of the continental dimension. Overseas colonization shared some characteristics with the continental, but the differences were significant enough to make comparative judgments difficult and risky. The most important of these – and the distinction here is particularly important in comparison with and contrast to the Russian case – was the transformation over time of the overseas colonists into different peoples with different cultural values, political institutions, and social structures. What is striking about the Russian case is that despite the existence of strong regional characteristics and the construction of a multicultural empire, the Russian colonists and their descendants remained overwhelmingly Russian in speech, customs, and religious beliefs, including schismatic and sectarian variations on the Orthodox theme.