That European cards were sent to the East, among other articles of Merchandise, towards the end of the 16th Century, appears evident from a passage in a narrative of the first voyage of the English, on a private account, begun by Captain George Raymond, and finished by Captain James Lancaster; and we learn from Alexander Burnes, that commerce has imported cards into the Holy City of Bokhara, that the pack consists of 36 cards, and that the games are strictly Russian.
Alexander Burnes was a British explorer and wrote Travels into Bokhura in 1834. (Bukhara in Uzbekistan)
WikipediaIn Russia and many countries of the former USSR, the Russian 36-card deck is the most common one. Its numbering includes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Valet (Jack), Dama (Dame), Korol (King) and Tuz (Ace). The suits are identical to French ones. This deck is used for several Russian card games such as Durak or Ochko (a variant of Blackjack). Another common Russian deck is the Preferans deck that is used for the card game of the same name. It begins with sevens and is identical to the Piquet deck.
Established in the sixteenth century, the Bukharan khanate maintained commercial and diplomatic contact with Russia.
I cannot find any Russian playing cards earlier than 1800's.
Printing did not get underway in Russia until the 1550's
I would presume that Russian cards may have been German??? initially.
One of the things I am interested in is that the Russians apparently play an old game called The Fool. They use a Fool card. I was not aware that that there was a 36 playing card pack with a Fool? Or any playing card deck that early that had a Fool.
Any help would be most welcome.