The course presents an introduction to the medieval culture of East Slavic peoples, precursors of the Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorusians. The formation of the specific Russian world view well known from the writings of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy is analyzed from a historical perspective, extending from the pagan prehistory through the slow advance of Christian civilization up to the turmoil of the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century. Particular attention is paid to the Orthodox spirituality and its Byzantine background. The repercussions of Christianization for cultural and political practices are described in the framework of political and intellectual history. Icon painting, rituals, folklore, and literature are discussed in their cultural and social context. All readings are in English.