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Baba Yaga is a perfect example of how myths can change: she was originally a minor Slavic goddess, but after Christianity entered the region she became a monstrous hag and something of a boogeyman, depicted as evil, ugly, and stupid in a deterioration anthropologists call villain decay.
Russian mythology is an amazing blend of pagan and Christian traditions mixing over centuries.
In this lesson we're going to look at some Russian mythological creatures and see what they tell us about Russia.
Zmeis were Russian dragons that breathed fire and attacked villages, while the firebird, with her glowing feathers, appeared throughout mythology providing trails leading heroes to their destinies.
That's a brief overview of a complex mythological tradition, one which reveals more and more layers the deeper you look. We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities.
Russian mythology is mostly Slavic in origin, descending from pagan traditions of Eastern Europe.
Once Christianity appeared in Russia, some figures who were Slavic deities were reinterpreted as evil witches or demons, such as the malevolent hag called Baba Yaga.
However, with the advent of Christianity, these myths were reinterpreted.
Deities became demons, heroes became saints, and another layer was added to the 'matryoshka' of Russian traditions.
Reinterpreted through Christianity, they often became seen as angels who fell to Earth, but were not so evil as to become demons.
Many of these are kinds of nezhit or nechist, or nature spirits.