The history of exploration by citizens or subjects of the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire, the Tsardom of Russia and other Russian predecessor states forms a significant part of the history of Russia as well as the history of the world.
Russians were among those rare medieval Europeans who traveled deep into Central Asia or visited South Asia.
Prince Yaroslav II of Vladimir and his sons Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky and Andrey Yaroslavich traveled to Karakorum, the capital of the Mongolian Empire in the 1240s, By the beginning of the Age of Discovery, most of the former principalities of Kievan Rus were re-integrated by the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
By the early 18th century Russians under Vladimir Atlasov had colonised Kamchatka.
Peter the Great, who turned the country into the Russian Empire in 1721, ordered the first instrumental mapping of Russia, and conceived the Great Northern Expedition, which was carried out after the Emperor's death with Vitus Bering as the leader and main organizer.
With over 3,000 people directly and indirectly involved, the expedition was one of the largest exploration enterprises in history by its geographic scale and results.
the achievements of the expedition included the discovery of the Aleutian Islands and the Commander Islands by Bering and Alexei Chirikov, the mapping of most of the Russian Arctic coastline and part of the Pacific coast in 1733–1743 by teams led by Stepan Malygin, Dmitry Ovtsyn, Fyodor Minin, Semyon Chelyuskin, Vasily Pronchischev, Khariton Laptev and Dmitry Laptev.
The Russian conquest of Central Asia was accompanied by the penetration of many explorers into the depths of Eurasia, including Mongolia, Jungaria and Tibet.
Notable explorers in this direction included Chokan Valikhanov, Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky, Pyotr Chikhachyov, Nikolay Przhevalsky, Grigory Grumm-Grzhimaylo, Bronislav Grombchevsky and Pyotr Kozlov.
Proclaimed the Tsardom of Russia, by the end of the 16th century the state had colonized the easternmost territories of Europe by conquering the Khanate of Kazan in 1552 and the Khanate of Astrakhan in 1556, thus gaining full control of the Volga River valley.