This largely defined the Russian culture of the next millennium as the synthesis of Slavic and Byzantine cultures.
After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Russia remained the largest Orthodox nation in the world and claimed succession to the Byzantine legacy in the form of the Third Rome idea.
In order to continue researching and analyzing folklore, intellectuals needed to justify its worth to the Communist regime.
Otherwise, collections of folklore, along with all other literature deemed useless for the purposes of Stalin's Five Year Plan, would be an unacceptable realm of study.
Epic Russian bylinas are also an important part of Slavic mythology.
New Russian folklore takes its roots in the pagan beliefs of ancient Slavs which is nowadays still represented in the Russian fairy tales.
At different points in its history, the country was also strongly influenced by the culture of Western Europe.
Since the reforms of Peter the Great, for two centuries Russian culture largely developed in the general context of European culture rather than pursuing its own unique ways.
The situation changed in the 20th century, when the Communist ideology became a major factor in the culture of the Soviet Union, where Russia, in the form of the Russian SFSR, was the largest and leading part.
Nowadays, Russian cultural heritage is ranked seventh in the Nation Brands Index, based on interviews of some 20,000 people mainly from Western countries and the Far East.