It has been a hundred years ago since Vladimir the Great started the Christian conversion of the Rus. His son, Yaroslav the Wise continued his father’s work, leading to the Golden Age of the Rus. Now Kiev is ruled by Vladimir II, the grandson of Yaroslav.
To the south is the Roman Empire and Constantinople, the greatest city on Earth. They showed the light of Christianity to the Rus, and wife of the Grand Prince is Roman. The earlier conflicts are forgiven though maybe not forgotten, and now Kiev and Constantinople has a strong bond linking brothers in faith.
To the east are the Cuman tribes and other nomadic people. They are weak as a state, but strong as warriors. They are sometimes allies, but mostly enemies, and their raids often devastate the traders and farmers of the Rus. That needs to be addressed if Kiev is to become a power on the steppes.
To the north is Novgorod, the Orthodox cousins. The same blood flows in their veins, yet their sole existence is an insult. The prince of Novgorod used to be a vassal of Kiev, but now they are an independent state. But there can be only one master of the Rus people and it shall be Kiev.
To the west across the plains are the Catholic kingdoms, Hungary and Poland. Great powers in Central Europe, but they are looking to the east to expand. They are not to be trusted as they follow the Latin rites and the orders of the pope. Finally, between Poland and Novgorod lies the pagan Lithuania, wild tribes that serve no god but their own false idols.
And who knows what countries and people are beyond the borders of the neighbors? It matters not. The Rus is the light.