Muscovy and Moscow
In order to escape Mongol rule, many Slavs moved to the remote forests of northern Asia and Europe. These regions were too cold, and considered too much of a wasteland for the Mongols to bother conquering.
Rather than Mongols, the Slavs in this region faced threats from the Germans and Swedes, who felt that it was their responsibility to convert the Slavs to Catholicism. In 1240 A.D., Alexander, the prince of Novgorod, a northern Slavic city, led an army into battle against the Swedes near the Neva River.
During a terrible and bloody battle, Alexander was able to defeat the Swedes, earning him the title of Alexander Nevsky (of Neva). This victory allowed the city of Novgorod and the surrounding regions to act with a great deal of independence.
The youngest son of Alexander was a man by the name of Daniel. Daniel was appointed as the ruler of a small city called Moscow. Through a series of wars and ingenious political moves, Daniel built Moscow into one of the most powerful cities in the region.
Moscow was able to maintain its autonomy from the Mongols by agreeing to pay taxes to them. Over the next two hundred years, the Mongols gradually lost power, while the city of Moscow gradually gained power. In 1480 A.D., Ivan III, then the leader of Moscow, refused to pay any more tributes to Mongol.
Ivan III, now known as Ivan the Great, brought all the Russian city-states together under his rule, forming a massive empire.