The Rurikid dynasty was founded in 862 by Rurik, a Varangian prince. Folk history tells of the Finnic and Slavic tribes in the area calling on "'the Varangians [i.e. Scandinavians], to the Rus' … The Chud, the Slovenes, the Krivichi and the Ves said "Our land is vast and abundant, but there is no order in it. Come and reign as princes and have authority over us!"' Three brothers came with 'their kin' and 'all the Rus' in response to this invitation. Rurik set up rule in Novgorod, giving more provincial towns to his brothers. There is some ambiguity even in the Primary Chronicle about the specifics of the story, "hence their paradoxical statement 'the people of Novgorod are of Varangian stock, for formerly they were Slovenes.'" However, archaeological evidence such as "Frankish swords, a sword chape and a tortoiseshell brooch" in the area suggest that there was, in fact, a Scandinavian population during the tenth century at the latest.
There have also been some suggestions that Rurik and his brothers might have been of Finnish or Estonian descent. In Estonian folklore there is a tale of three brothers, namely Rahurikkuja (Troublemaker), Siniuss (Blue snake) and Truuvaar (Loyal man) (estonianized names for Rurik, Sineus and Truvor), who were born as peasants, but through bravery and courageousness all eventually became rulers in foreign countries.