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The Vjatiči ( Russian вя́тичи ) were an association of East Slavic tribes that inhabited areas on the Oka and Moskva rivers in the second half of the first millennium AD . In addition to Ilmenslawen , Kriviči , Severjane u. a. they belong to the tribes from which the Russians emerged.

The tribal name probably goes back to a leader named Vjatko (Вятко). Some historians, however, associate the name with Wends or Venetern , because in the Middle Ages their name was pronounced as Ventiči (вентичи) before the vowel shift. The Nestor Chronicle also contains references to the origin of the Vyatiches from the West.

In the middle of the 10th century Svjatoslav I conquered the territory of the Vjatiči and joined them as the last independent East Slavic tribe of the Kievan Rus . However, they retained a certain degree of autonomy until the end of the 11th century . Later, their territory was divided among the Principality of Chernigov , Principality of Rostov-Suzdal and Principality of Ryazan . Until the end of the 12th century , the Vjatiči retained many pagan customs and traditions, such as the cremation of the dead and their burial in Kurganen . Gradually, however, these customs were supplanted by Christianity .

The Vjatiči were able to survive as a distinct unit the longest of all other East Slavic tribes. They lived without princes and their social order was characterized by self-government and democracy (see Veče ). Their main occupation was agriculture and cattle breeding. Through the flourishing handicrafts and trade, the Vjatiči founded numerous cities, and Moscow was also founded in 1147 in the land of the Vjatiči. The last time the Vjatiči were mentioned in the chronicles was in 1197. However, indirect traces can be traced back to the 14th century .

Archaeologists repeatedly come across traces of an ancient Vjatiči settlement under the fortifications of the Moscow Kremlin . Their Kurgane and traces of settlement exist numerous along the Oka and the upper reaches of the Don .