I understand that Russia in 1897 was below half Russian, WIth so many other lands a part of the country that makes a lot of sense. However I find it very interesting just how much Russian people where viewed as a block, it is the largest country in the world by land and spans two continents. People from the far eastern parts of Russia would not look like those on the western side. While they are all part of the same country you would think they would have more differences. I think it is a testament to the power of the Orthodox Church and the power of the Tsars. The Church exerted a large amount of powers over people even the non Russians. Over the centuries this power homogenized the people. The differences where those of old believers and all but they all still practiced the same religion. Even though geography separated all the people Religion brought together the disparate people.