My first, when I was 16, was a Ukrainian (but of the same communion as Handmaiden's teacher. I was Evangelical Lutheran at the time). I knew nothing of Ukraine (in those days, "the Ukraine"). When I got a Ukrainian grammar, it had a picture of St. Volodymyr/Vladimir and I told her, "oh, early Russia." One time she switched to Ukrainian to speak with a Polish customer, and the Pole said "Oh, a Russian girl." She just laughed.
At the millenium celebrations in 1988, it was styled here in Chicago and the rest of the US "the Baptism of Rus'".
Btw, in America, you are lucky if they can identify Russia on a map. It's only the largest country on the map.
To be fair, most Ukrainians can't bring themselves to make the Ukrainian-Ruthenian/Rusyn/Carpatho-Russian distinction. And some, like the Americans, can't make a distinction between Soviet and Russian.
Third Rome is falsification of history only if you also agree that Constantinople wasn't New Rome (a problem, as you have to explain away how the Roman emperor lived there, moved the senate there, and codified Roman law, in Latin, there). The distance between Rome and Constantinople is nearly three times the distance between Kiev and Moscow, who lie more directly next to each other (no mountains and seas in the way). The Czar (the title had been used fitfully in the Vladimir-Suzdal-Moscow principality long before the fall of Constantinople) in Moscow was himself descended directly from the ruling house of Kiev (which came from Novgorod, Russia) and ruling houses of Constantinople, and married the heiress of the last Caesar at New Rome (such succession was common there). Muscovoy was as Finno-Uralic as what is now Ukraine was Turkic (Pecheneg, Cumin, Khazar, Cumin, etc.). And since the Ruling House of Kiev (and Moscow, and for that matter Polotsk) was Scandinavian in origin, I'm not sure the relevance. We've discussed this before:
The thing is, the ethnonym "Rus" was used appropriated from your ancestors from mine (the Swedish ones, actually their cousins): here is the original "Rus"
Roslagen refers to the coastal areas here of Svealand, the core of Sweden (he is the King of the Swedes/Svea, Goths (that's my ancestors) and Vandals). Roden means to row and the districts each had to provide and man a ship for the king. From there expeditions were launched across the Baltic, so the name gave rise to the Finnish and Estonian terms for Swedes:Ruotsi and Rootsi (both Finland and Estonia being under Sweden before under Russia). From the Baltic they spread down to the Black Sea.
Their polity got its start in Novgorod, Russia, Slavic and Finnic tribes inviting Rurik . It then spread to the South with its dynasty, the Rurikids, who later conquered and then founded Kiev as the seat of their chief prince (kn'az, from the same Germanic root kuningaz which becomes king in English), Helgi (Slavic Oleg) moving his capital from Novgorod to Kiev. The Rota system keep rotating the princes among the city states, so the Grand Princes of Kiev (like Vladimir and Yaroslav) ruled Russian cities first.
(the original is on the politics forum)