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Republic of Latvia Europe Riga 2,165,165 inhabitants 64,589 sq km 33.52 inhabitants/sq km lati (LVL) population evolution

Famous people from Latvia

Here is a list of famous people from Latvia. Curious if anybody from Latvia made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.

Ernests Gulbis

Tennis Player

Ernests Gulbis is a Latvian professional tennis player. In 2008, Gulbis won his first ATP Tour doubles title at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, teaming with Rainer Schüttler, and in 2010 won his first ATP Tour singles title in the Delray Beach, defeating Ivo Karlović in the final. He won his second in July, 2011, by defeating Mardy Fish in the final of the 2011 Farmers Classic tournament, held in Los Angeles. His career highlights also include a fourth-round appearance at the 2007 US Open and a quarterfinal appearance at the 2008 French Open, as well as several other ATP World Tour semifinal appearances. Gulbis' career-high singles ranking is World No. 21, achieved in February 2011. Gulbis' professional training in tennis began at the age of 12, when he was enrolled at the Niki Pilić Tennis Academy in Croatia. Beginning after Wimbledon 2011, Gulbis is now coached by Guillermo Cañas. Previously, he was coached by Hernán Gumy, but their partnership ended due to Gumy's schedule; during that time, Darren Cahill served as Gulbis' consultant for several tournaments. Before Gumy, Ernests was coached by Karl Heinz Wetter and subsequently Nikola Pilić, the former professional Croatian tennis player and Croatian and German Davis Cup captain.

Mark Rothko

Painting Artist

Mark Rothko was an American painter of Latvian Jewish descent. He is generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist, although he himself rejected this label and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter." With Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous postwar American artists.

Mikhail Baryshnikov


Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov, nicknamed "Misha", is a Russian dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers in history. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. After freelancing with many companies, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine's style of movement. He then danced with the American Ballet Theatre, where he later became artistic director. Baryshnikov has spearheaded many of his own artistic projects and has been associated in particular with promoting modern dance, premiering dozens of new works, including many of his own. His success as a dramatic actor on stage, cinema and television has helped him become probably the most widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer. In 1977, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination for his work as "Yuri Kopeikine" in the film The Turning Point.

Sergei Eisenstein

Film costumer designer

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage". He is noted in particular for his silent films Strike, Battleship Potemkin and October, as well as the historical epics Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible.


Alternative rock Artist

Vitas is the stage name of Vitaliy Vladasovich Grachov, a Ukrainian singer, singing mainly in Russian language, and songwriter. Known for his high falsetto voice and a vocal range of 5 octaves, he has been given the nickname "Prince of the Dolphin Voice" in China. His music is often difficult to categorize, incorporating elements of techno, dance, classical, jazz, and folk music. His 2000 song, "Opera No. 2" has been forwarded frequently via the Internet, which accounts for much of his worldwide recognition. He designs his own stage costumes. DIVA is the name of the band that accompanies Vitas during his concerts. Vitas has achieved much notability through Russian television, and since 2005 his career has advanced into Asian markets. He has signed with entertainment labels such as Universal which distributes his music in Taiwan, and he has toured extensively in China and several other countries. He has performed duets with many other singers including Demis Roussos, Lucio Dalla, and Vitas' grandfather Arkadiy Davydovich Marantsman, with whom he sings "Friendship".

Gidon Kremer


Gidon Kremer is a Latvian violinist and conductor. In 1980 he left the USSR and settled in Germany.

Heinz Erhardt

Film Actor

Heinz Erhardt was a German comedian, musician, entertainer, actor, and poet.

Mikhail Tal

Chess Player

Mikhail Tal was a Soviet-Latvian chess Grandmaster and the eighth World Chess Champion. Widely regarded as a creative genius and the best attacking player of all time, he played in a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability. Every game, he once said, was as inimitable and invaluable as a poem. He was often called "Misha", a diminutive for Mikhail, and "The magician from Riga". Both The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games and Modern Chess Brilliancies include more games by Tal than any other player. Tal was also a highly regarded chess writer. He also holds the records for both the first and second longest unbeaten streaks in competitive chess history. The Mikhail Tal Memorial is held in Moscow annually since 2006 to honour Tal's memory.

Isaiah Berlin


Sir Isaiah Berlin OM, CBE, FBA, British of Russian-Jewish origin, was a social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas, "thought by many to be the dominant scholar of his generation". He excelled as an essayist, conversationalist and raconteur; and as a brilliant lecturer who improvised, rapidly and spontaneously, richly allusive and coherently structured material. He translated works by Ivan Turgenev from Russian into English and, during the war, worked for the British Diplomatic Service. In its obituary of the scholar, The Independent stated that "Isaiah Berlin was often described, especially in his old age, by means of superlatives: the world's greatest talker, the century's most inspired reader, one of the finest minds of our time ... there is no doubt that he showed in more than one direction the unexpectedly large possibilities open to us at the top end of the range of human potential". In 1932, at the age of 23, he was elected to a prize fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford. From 1957 to 1967, he was Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1963 to 1964. In 1966, he played a crucial role in founding Wolfson College, Oxford, and became its first President. He was appointed a CBE in 1946, knighted in 1957, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1971. He was President of the British Academy from 1974 to 1978. He also received the 1979 Jerusalem Prize for his writings on individual freedom. The annual Isaiah Berlin Lectures are held at the Hampstead Synagogue and both Wolfson College, Oxford and the British Academy each summer.

Catherine I of Russia


Catherine I, the second wife of Peter I of Russia, reigned as Empress of Russia from 1725 until her death.

Elīna Garanča


Elīna Garanča is a Latvian operatic lyric mezzo-soprano.

Laima Vaikule


Laima Vaikule is a popular Latvian actress, singer, director, and choreographer, best known in Europe and in the former USSR for such popular hits as "Vernisage" and "Charlie," among other songs. She was born on March 31, 1954, in Cēsis, Latvia. Her parents moved to Riga when she was three. Young Laima was fond of music and dancing. In 1966, at the age of 12, she took part in a competition of young singers and was noticed. Between 1970 and 1973, she studied nursing at the Vilnius Medical College, while also continuing to sing with a band. Eventually she became a lead singer with a local band in Riga, Latvia and worked night gigs at local clubs and restaurants for several years. In the 1980s she studied acting and directing at Moscow State Institute for Theatrical Arts, graduating as actress and director. In 1985, Laima Vaikule made her first hit in the Soviet Union. Since 1986, Vaikule has been enjoying a fruitful collaboration with popular Latvian composer, Raimonds Pauls, and Russian poet Ilya Reznik, who wrote such hits as "Vernisage", "Charlie" and "Skripach na kryshe". She is among the original organizers of the Jurmala Festival of popular music, along with Raimond Pauls. During the 1980s and 1990s Laima Vaikule was a regular participant at international music competitions and festivals across Europe. Vaikule was awarded the Golden Lyra at "Bratislavská Lýra, 87", was guest singer and a host at "Jurmala 92" festival, and also took part at "AU music world" in Monaco, among other festivals and competitions. She was awarded the title National Actress of Latvia and was awarded the Grand Prix for her special contribution to the music and culture of Latvia.

Abraham Isaac Kook


Abraham Isaac Kook was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandatory Palestine, the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, and the Religious Zionism denomination, Jewish thinker, Halachist, Kabbalist and a renowned Torah scholar. He is known in Hebrew as הרב אברהם יצחק הכהן קוק HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, and by the acronym הראיה, or simply as "HaRav." He was one of the most celebrated and influential rabbis of the 20th century.

Mischa Maisky


Mischa Maisky is a Latvian-born Jewish cellist.

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly

Military officer

Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly, was a Russian Field Marshal and Minister of War during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and War of the Sixth Coalition.

Andris Biedriņš

Basketball Center

Andris Biedriņš is a Latvian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Artjoms Rudņevs


Artjoms Rudņevs is a Latvian footballer who plays as a striker for Bundesliga club Hamburger SV and Latvia national football team.

Leors Dimants

Rap metal Artist

Leor Dimant Latvian: Leors Dimants; born December 18, 1972 in Riga, Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR better known as DJ Lethal, is a turntablist and producer and is best known for his position of DJ in the Rap Metal band Limp Bizkit for fifteen years, which he departed in 2012. He is also well known for previously playing in the Irish-American hip-hop group, House of Pain. Lethal played, briefly, in La Coka Nostra (at times with other former House of Pain members).

Wilhelm Ostwald


Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald was a Baltic German chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities. Ostwald, Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, and Svante Arrhenius are usually credited with being the modern founders of the field of physical chemistry.

Philippe Halsman


Philippe Halsman was a Latvian-born American portrait photographer.

Lauris Reiniks


Lauris Reiniks is a Latvian pop music singer, songwriter, television host, and actor. Lauris has graduated from Jelgava Music college, studied and the University of Latvia and honed his acting skills in Los Angeles, California. He has released eight solo albums and singles in 11 languages. As a composer and recording artist Lauris Reiniks has received more than 20 National awards and has gained international recognition especially in the Baltic States. The number of views of his music videos on YouTube has unofficially made him a "King of YouTube" in Latvia.

Alexei Kudrin


Alexei Leonidovich Kudrin is a Russian political figure who served in the government of Russia as Minister of Finance from 18 May 2000 to 26 September 2011. After graduating with degrees in finance and economics, Kudrin worked in the administration of Saint Petersburg's liberal Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. In 1996 he started working in the Presidential Administration of Boris Yeltsin. He was appointed as Finance Minister on 28 May 2000 and held the post for 11 years, making him the longest-serving Finance Minister in post-Soviet Russia. In addition, he was Deputy Prime Minister in 2000–2004 and again beginning in 2007. As Finance Minister, Kudrin was widely credited with prudent fiscal management, commitment to tax and budget reform and championing the free market. Under Kudrin, Russia's government paid most of the substantial foreign debt it had accumulated in the 1990s, leaving the country with one of the lowest foreign debts among major economies. Much of the revenue from exports was accumulated at the Stabilization Fund which helped Russia to come out of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis in a much better state than many experts expected. During his career, Kudrin has won several awards, including the "Finance Minister of the Year 2010" prize from Euromoney magazine. He was asked to resign from his position on 26 September 2011 by President Dmitry Medvedev.

Kristiāns Pelšs

Professional Ice hockey Player

Kristiāns Pelšs was a Latvian ice hockey player. At the time of his death, he played for the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League as a prospect of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League. On June 11, 2013 Pelšs died after leaping from the Stone Bridge in Riga, Latvia. It was confirmed that Pelšs' death was accidental.

Kaspars Daugaviņš

Professional Ice hockey Player

Kaspars Daugaviņš is a Latvian professional ice hockey player. Daugaviņš currently plays for Genève-Servette HC of the National League A. Daugaviņš has played professionally in the National Hockey League for the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins. He was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the third round, 91st overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Gil Kane

Fictional Character Creator

Gil Kane, born Eli Katz, was a comic book artist whose career spanned the 1940s to 1990s and every major comics company and character. Kane co-created the modern-day versions of the superheroes Green Lantern and the Atom for DC Comics, and co-created Iron Fist with Roy Thomas for Marvel Comics. He was involved in such major storylines as that of The Amazing Spider-Man #96–98, which, at the behest of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, bucked the then-prevalent Comics Code Authority to depict drug abuse, and ultimately spurred an update of the Code. Kane additionally pioneered an early graphic novel prototype, His Name is...Savage, in 1968, and a seminal graphic novel, Blackmark, in 1971. In 1997, he was inducted into both the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Harvey Award Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

Aron Nimzowitsch

Chess Player

Aron Nimzowitsch was a Russian-born, Danish leading chess master and a very influential chess writer. He was the foremost figure amongst the hypermoderns.

Rosa von Praunheim

Film Director

Rosa von Praunheim, is a German film director, author, painter and gay rights activist. A prolific director, he has made over seventy feature films. He began his career associated to the New German Cinema as a senior member of the Berlin school of underground filmmaking. He took the artistic female name Rosa Von Praunheim to remind people of the pink triangle that homosexuals had to wear in Nazi concentration camps. A pioneer of Queer Cinema, von Praunheim has been an activist in the gay rights movement. He was an early advocate of AIDS awareness and safer sex, but has been a controversial figure even within the gay community. His films center on gay related themes and strong female characters. His works are characterized by excess and employ a campy style. His films have featured such personalities as Jayne County, Vaginal Davis, Divine, and Jeff Stryker.

Māris Verpakovskis


Māris Verpakovskis, is a Latvian football forward, currently playing for the Super League Greece club Ergotelis in Crete, Greece and Latvia national football team.

Sandis Ozoliņš

Professional Ice hockey Player

Sandis Ozoliņš, commonly spelled Sandis Ozolinsh in North America, is a Latvian ice hockey player currently playing for Dinamo Riga of the Kontinental Hockey League. During his career in North America, Ozoliņš was a seven-time NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup champion, and Norris Trophy finalist. He is also the all-time leader for goals, assists, points and games played by a Latvian in the NHL and holds several Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks franchise records. Ozoliņš also was the highest paid sportsman in Latvian history, before NBA basketball player Andris Biedriņš succeeded him in 2008. Ozoliņš was drafted in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks as the 8th pick of the 2nd round, 30th overall. He played for the Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and New York Rangers. He is often considered a prototype "offensive defenseman," becoming heavily involved in his team's offense and scoring opportunities.

Nicolai Hartmann


Nicolai Hartmann was a Baltic German philosopher.

Vera Mukhina


Vera Ignatyevna Mukhina was a prominent Soviet sculptor.

Mikhail Nikolayevich Zadornov


Mikhail Nikolayevich Zadornov is a Soviet and Russian stand-up comedian and writer. Zadornov was born in an artistic family, his father Nikolai Zadornov was a notable writer from Riga. Mikhail Zadornov graduated from Moscow Aviation Institute, however, in the early 1980s he started a career as a humorist instead of an engineer.

Artūrs Irbe

Professional Ice hockey Player

Artūrs Irbe is a Latvian professional ice hockey coach and former goaltender. Born during the Soviet era, Irbe played for various Soviet league teams and the Soviet Union national team before moving to North America in 1991. Irbe played in the National Hockey League for the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes. In 2004 Irbe returned to Europe to play until he retired in 2007. He later returned to the NHL as goaltending coach for the Washington Capitals during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Irbe left the team on June 11, 2011 to spend more time with his family.

Marija Naumova

Pop Artist

Marija Naumova is a Latvian singer. Under the stage name Marie N, she sings a broad range of music ranging from pop to musical theatre and jazz, and has recorded several albums, with songs in Latvian, French, English, Russian and Portuguese. In 2002, she won the Eurovision Song Contest for Latvia with her song "I Wanna".

Yeshayahu Leibowitz


Yeshayahu Leibowitz was an Israeli public intellectual and polymath known for his outspoken opinions on Judaism, ethics, religion and politics.

Arkady Raikin


Arkady Isaakovich Raikin was a Soviet stand-up comedian. He led the school of Soviet and Russian humorists for about half a century. Raikin was born into a Jewish family in Riga, then part of the Russian Empire. He graduated from the Leningrad Theatrical Technicum in 1935 and worked in both state theatres and variety shows. In 1939, he founded his own theatre in Leningrad, where he used skits and impersonations to ridicule the inefficiency of Communist bureaucracy and the Soviet way of life. In the Stalinist police state this was prone to danger, as it was not uncommon to get purged not only for telling a casual joke, but even for not reporting it to the authorities. Raikin was the creator of a whole array of unforgettable satirical characters, and a living legend of his time and his country. Some of the brilliant satirical and lyrical images created by Raikin acquired their second life in the serial TV film People and Mannequins. His fame in the Soviet Union, and throughout Central and Eastern Europe, was such that he was invited to participate in the opening night of BBC Two television in 1964, although the broadcast had to be postponed for one day due to a power failure. He also appeared in several comedies during and after the Great Patriotic War. His trip to London for the BBC broadcast—during which he was reunited with his British cousin, distinguished pianist Bruno Raikin—marked the first of only two times when the Soviet government permitted him to perform in the West.

Vadim Demidov


Vadim Sergeievich Demidov is a Norwegian international footballer who plays as a central defender for Anzhi Makhachkala.

Elya Baskin


Ilya Zalmanovich Baskin is a Soviet and American actor.

Ivars Kalniņš


Ivars Kalniņš is a Latvian film and television actor. He graduated in 1974 from the Jāzeps_Vītols Theatre Department of the Latvian Conservatory. He had already started acting however in 1972 at the Artistic Academic Theatre of J. Rainis. Kalniņš has performed in both Latvian language and Russian language films and television shows.

Kaspars Gorkšs


Kaspars Gorkšs is a Latvian international footballer who plays as a defender for English club Reading. Gorkšs first established himself in his native Latvia before moving to English football in 2006 with Blackpool. He has twice won promotion to the Premier League, with Queens Park Rangers and Reading respectively.

Aija Andrejeva


Aija Andrejeva, better known by her stage name Aisha, is a Latvian singer.

Edward Leedskalnin


Edward Leedskalnin was an eccentric Latvian emigrant to the United States and amateur sculptor who single-handedly built the monument known as Coral Castle in Florida. He was also known for his obscure theories on magnetism.

Alexei Shirov

Chess Player

Alexei Dmitrievich Shirov is a Soviet-born Latvian chess grandmaster. He has consistently ranked among the world's top players since the early 1990s, and reached a ranking as high as number four in 1998. Shirov is also a well-regarded chess author.

Pēteris Vasks


Pēteris Vasks is a Latvian composer. Vasks was born in Aizpute, Latvia, into the family of a Baptist pastor. He trained as a violinist at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, as a double-bass player with Vitautas Sereikaan at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and played in several Latvian orchestras before entering the State Conservatory in Vilnius in the neighboring Lithuania to study composition with Valentin Utkin, as he was prevented from doing this in Latvia due to Soviet repressive policy toward Baptists. He started to become known outside Latvia in the 1990s, when Gidon Kremer started championing his works and now is one of the most influential and praised European contemporary composers. Vasks' early style owed much to the aleatoric experiments of Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki and George Crumb. Later works included elements of Latvian folk music, such as his gentle and pastoral cor anglais concerto. His works are generally extremely clear and communicative, with a solid and muscular sense of harmony. Lyrical passages may be followed by agitated dissonances, or interrupted by sombre sections with a march-like feel. He made extensive use of minimalist techniques as well, but never became a slave to any particular method.

Valdis Dombrovskis


Valdis Dombrovskis is a Latvian politician who has been Prime Minister of Latvia since 2009. He served as Minister of Finance from 2002 to 2004 and was a Member of the European Parliament for the New Era Party.

Andris Nelsons


Andris Nelsons is a Latvian conductor. He is currently the Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season, and is the music director-designate of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, effective with the 2014-2015 season.

Aleksandrs Cauņa

Soccer Midfielder

Aleksandrs Cauņa is a Latvian football player, currently playing for CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League and Latvia national football team.

Viktor Tikhonov

Professional Ice hockey Player

Viktor Vasilevich Tikhonov is a Russian professional ice hockey forward currently playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League. Selected 28th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, he is a prospect for the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League. He is named after his grandfather, Viktor Tikhonov, the famous Russian ice hockey coach. His father was Vasily Tikhonov who was also an ice hockey coach.

Igors Stepanovs


Igors Nauris Stepanovs is a former Latvian football defender, currently a manager. Stepanovs has played 100 international matches and scored 4 goals for the Latvia national team. He made his debut in 1995, and played at Euro 2004.

Māris Štrombergs

Olympic BMX Racer

Māris Štrombergs is a Latvian professional BMX racer. In the 2008 Summer Olympics he became the first Olympic champion in BMX cycling. Earlier that year he won the 2008 UCI BMX World Championships. In 2012 he prolonged his Olympic title by winning the gold medal in the London Olympics. He is currently trained by Ivo Lakučs. His first trainer was Raimonds Ciesnieks. Māris Štrombergs completed the Olympic 2008 BMX in about 36 seconds. Māris completed the Olympic 2012 BMX course in 37,576 seconds. Upon returning from the 2012 Olympics he was greeted by thousands of fans in hometown Valmiera.

Davis Bertans

Basketball Small forward

Dāvis Bertāns is a Latvian professional basketball player for the Partizan Belgrade of the Serbian League.

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga


Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga was the sixth President of Latvia and the first female President of Latvia. She was elected President of Latvia in 1999 and re-elected in 2003. Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga is a professor and interdisciplinary scholar having published eleven books and numerous articles, essays and book chapters in addition to her extensive speaking engagements. As President of the Republic of Latvia 1999–2007, she was instrumental in achieving membership in the European Union and NATO for her country. She is active in international politics, was named Special Envoy to the Secretary General on United Nations reform and was official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006. She remains active in the international arena and continues to speak in defense of liberty, equality and social justice, and for the need of Europe to acknowledge the whole of its history. She is a well-known pro-european, as such, in December 2007 she was named vice-chair of the Reflection group on the long term future of the European Union. She is also known for her work in psycholinguistics, semiotics and analysis of the oral literature of her native country.

Nils Ušakovs


Nils Ušakovs is a Latvian journalist and politician. Since November 2005, he is the leader of the left-wing party alliance, Harmony Centre, which enjoys the support of Latvia's large ethnic Russian population. He was elected as a Member of the 9th Saeima in 2006. Following the June 2009 local elections in Latvia, the majority coalition of Harmony Centre and LPP/LC factions in the Riga City Council nominated Ušakovs for the position of the Chairman of the City Council, effectively the Mayor of Riga, the capital of Latvia. On July 1, during the first meeting of the newly formed council, Ušakovs was elected its chairman. He became the first Mayor of Riga of Russian descent since Latvia's restoration of sovereignty in 1991. Ušakovs' popularity among Rigans had grown steadily, and 73% of the city's residents approved of Ušakovs' performance in December 2010.

Ernst Gideon von Laudon

Deceased Person

Baron Ernst Gideon von Laudon was an Austrian generalisimo, one of the most successful opponents of the Prussian king Frederick the Great, allegedly lauded by Alexander Suvorov as his teacher. He served the position of military governorship of the Kingdom of Serbia from his capture of Belgrade in 1789 until his death, cooperating with the resistance fighters of Koča Anđelković.

Mstislav Keldysh


Mstislav Vsevolodovich Keldysh was a Soviet scientist in the field of mathematics and mechanics, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, President of the USSR Academy of Sciences, three times Hero of Socialist Labor, fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was one of the key figures behind Soviet space program. Among scientific circles of USSR Keldysh was known with epithet "the Chief Theoretician" in analogy with epithet "the Chief Designer" used for Sergey Korolyov.

Ernst von Bergmann


Ernst von Bergmann was a Baltic German surgeon. He is the beginner of aseptic surgery. Born in Riga, Livonia Governorate, in 1860 he earned his doctorate at the University of Dorpat, and later returned to Dorpat in 1871, where he was a professor of surgery until 1878. After spending a few years as a professor at Würzburg, he moved to the University of Berlin in 1882, where he remained for the remainder of his career. Two of his assistants in Berlin were Curt Schimmelbusch and Friedrich Gustav von Bramann. His son, Gustav von Bergmann was a noted doctor of internal medicine. Bergmann was the first physician to introduce heat sterilisation of surgical instruments, thus greatly reducing the number of infections in surgery. Thus increased the responsibility of the surgeon for the inflammation after procedures. He was a surgeon in the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War, where he gained experience treating cranial trauma and neurological disorders. Bergmann published several surgical works, including a classic treatise on cranial surgery titled Die Chirurgische Behandlung der Hirnkrankheiten.

Kārlis Skrastiņš

Professional Ice hockey Player

Kārlis Skrastiņš was a Latvian professional ice hockey player. Skrastins was a member of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League and was on board the team plane which crashed on September 7, 2011. Skrastins played eleven seasons in the National Hockey League before joining Lokomotiv in 2011.

Sergejs Žoltoks

Professional Ice hockey Player

Sergejs Žoltoks; December 2, 1972 – November 3, 2004 was a Latvian professional ice hockey center who played ten seasons in the National Hockey League for the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators.

Konstantin Gluhov


Konstantin "Lāčplēsis" Gluhov is a Latvian-Russian heavyweight kickboxer and mixed martial artist. He is a former WPKA World Muaythai champion, currently competing in K-1. He made his K-1 debut in 2006 at K-1 Fighting Network Riga 2006 against Denis Sobolyev.

Tania Russof

Pornographic actor

Tania Russof is a pornographic film actress. In 1998 she won the Best Actress Award in the Berlin Venus Festival, and was Penthouse Pet of the Month in September 1996 and Pet of the Year runner-up in 1999.

Valdis Zatlers


Valdis Zatlers is a Latvian politician and former physician who served as the seventh president of Latvia from 2007 to 2011. He won the Latvian presidential election of 31 May 2007. He became President of Latvia on 8 July 2007 and left office on 7 July 2011 after failing to win reelection for a second term.

Jacob Kettler

Noble person

Jacob Kettler was a Baltic German Duke of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. Under his rule, the duchy was brought to its greatest peak in wealth and engaged in colonization.

Yury Tynyanov


Yury Nikolaevich Tynyanov was a famous Soviet/Russian writer, literary critic, translator, scholar and screenwriter. He was an authority on Pushkin and an important member of the Russian Formalist school.

Renārs Kaupers

Lead Vocalist

Renārs Kaupers, artistic name Reynard Cowper is a Latvian pop singer and songwriter. He is the lead singer of the Latvian pop/rock band Brainstorm, which won third at the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 with their song "My Star". He hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 in Riga, Latvia, with co-host Marija Naumova, and also hosted Congratulations, the Eurovision 50th anniversary concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Katrina Leskanich. Kaupers graduated from University of Latvia in 1996 with a degree in journalism. He can speak at least three languages with fluency: English, Latvian, and Russian. Kaupers' ancestors were probably Baron Friedrich von Stuart from Courland and Immanuel Kant's niece Henrietta Kant. He has a wife, Agnese, twin sons Edgars and Emīls, and another son Ārons. In 2001, Renārs received the Latvian Film Prize as the best actor for his role in Vecās pagastmājas mistērija.

Wolfgang Lüth

Military Person

Kapitän zur See Wolfgang August Eugen Lüth, was the second most successful German U-boat ace of World War II. His career record of 46 merchant ships plus the French submarine Doris sunk during 15 war patrols, with a total displacement of 230,781 gross register tons, was second only to that of Korvettenkapitän Otto Kretschmer, whose 47 sinkings totaled 272,958 GRT. Lüth joined the Reichsmarine in 1933. After a period of training on surface vessels, he transferred to the U-boat service in 1936. In December 1939 he received command of U-9, which he took on six war-patrols. In June 1940 he took command of U-138 for two patrols. In October 1940 he transferred again, this time to the ocean-going submarine U-43 for five war-patrols. After two patrols on U-181, the second being his longest of the war, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. He was the first of two U-boat commanders to be so honored during World War II, the other recipient being Albrecht Brandi. Lüth's last service position was commander of the naval academy at Mürwik.

Nikolay Lossky


Nikolay Onufriyevich Lossky was a Russian philosopher, representative of Russian idealism, intuitionism, personalism, libertarianism, ethics, Axiology, and his philosophy he called intuitive-personalism. Born in Latvia, he spent his working life in St. Petersburg, New York and Paris. He was the father of the Christian theologian Vladimir Lossky.

Helmuts Balderis

Professional Ice hockey Player

Helmuts Balderis-Sildedzis is a retired Latvian ice hockey player. He played right wing.

Zemgus Girgensons

Professional Ice hockey Player

Zemgus Girgensons is a Latvian ice hockey player currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL. Girgensons was selected 14th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Sabres. With this selection Girgensons became the highest drafted Latvian in NHL history, 16 spots higher than previous highest selection Sandis Ozoliņš in 1991. In previous year Girgensons was as selected in the 2nd round in the 2011 KHL Junior Draft by the CSKA.

Vitālijs Astafjevs

Soccer Midfielder

Vitālijs Astafjevs is a former Latvian football midfielder, currently the assistant manager of Skonto Rīga and Latvia national football team. In his playing career, he won eight Latvian championships with Skonto Riga. He also played abroad for clubs in Austria, England and Russia. Astafjevs currently holds the European record for the most international matches played, with 167 caps for Latvia. He also captained the country at Euro 2004.

Rutanya Alda


Rutanya Alda is a Latvian-American actress.

Anastasija Sevastova

Tennis Player

Anastasija Sevastova is a retired Latvian tennis player. On January 31, 2011, she achieved her career-high WTA singles ranking of No. 36. On August 31, 2009, she claimed her highest Doubles rank of No. 195. Her biggest match to date was in the 1st Round of the 2010 China Open, where she defeated world number 7 Samantha Stosur.

Guntis Ulmanis


Guntis Ulmanis is a Latvian politician and was the fifth President of Latvia from 1993 to 1999.

Valdis Pelšs


Valdis Pelšs is a TEFI-awarded Soviet and Russian television presenter of Latvian descent and Zolotoi Grammofon-awarded musical artist. Valdis Pelšs currently works as a screen actor and manages child programms subdivision on Channel One. He hosted several popular game shows, such as Ugadai Melodiu, Russian Roulette and Rozygrysh. Pelšs is a former vocalist and percussion instrument player in Neschastny Sluchai band, which was founded by him and Alexei Kortnev in 1983.

Laura Ikauniece

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Laura Ikauniece is a Latvian athlete competing in heptathlon. She has achieved her personal best of 6414 points at the 2012 Summer Olympics, where she finished 9th. At the 2012 European Athletics Championships Ikauniece won the bronze medal, after a hard fight with Aiga Grabuste. Finally, Ikauniece finished 10 points better than her. She is studying at University of Latvia Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art. Laura won the silver medal at the World Youth Championships in Brixen, Italy reaching 5647 points. The next year 2010 she finished 6th in the World Junior Championships reaching 5618 points. In 2011 she won the bronze medal at the European Athletics Junior Championships.

Aleksandr Kaleri


Aleksandr Yuriyevich "Sasha" Kaleri is a Russian cosmonaut and veteran of extended stays on the Mir Space Station and the International Space Station. Kaleri has recently been in space aboard the ISS serving as a flight engineer for the long duration Expedition 25/26 missions. He has spent the second-longest time in space of any person and the longest time in space of any person not born in what is now Russia.

Vīts Rimkus

Soccer Forward

Vīts Rimkus is a Latvian football striker, currently playing for FB Gulbene in the Latvian First League. Rimkus is of Lithuanian descent.

Werner Bergengruen


Werner Bergengruen was a Baltic German novelist.

Solomon Mikhoels


Solomon Mikhoels was a Soviet Jewish actor and the artistic director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater. Mikhoels served as the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee during the Second World War. However, as Joseph Stalin pursued an increasingly anti-Semitic line after the War, Mikhoels' position as a leader of the Jewish community led to increasing persecution from the Soviet state. In 1948, Mikhoels was murdered on the orders of Stalin and his body was run over to create the impression of a traffic accident.

Aleksejs Višņakovs

Soccer Midfielder

Aleksejs Višņakovs is a Latvian football midfielder, who currently plays for the Polish Ekstraklasa club Widzew Łódź.

Kaspars Kambala

Basketball Center

Kaspars Kambala is a Latvian professional basketball player and a former professional boxer. He is 2.06 meters tall and he weighs 125 kilograms. He plays at the position of forward-center.

Yuri Bogatyryov


Yuri Georgiyevich Bogatyryov was a Soviet film and theater actor, best known for his roles in five Nikita Mikhalkov films, including At Home Among Strangers. Bogatyryov, well known for his work in leading Moscow theaters, Sovremennik and MKhat, was designated People's Artist of Russia in 1988. A year later he died of heart failure caused by an emergency clonidine injection that clashed lethally with anti-depressants he'd been taking.

Inese Galante

Opera singer

Inese Galante is a Latvian soprano opera singer. Galante is known for a great beauty of tone, nuanced pianissimos and sensitive command of dynamics and colour. Her performance of Vavilov's Ave Maria, from her "Debut" album 1995 started spreading worldwide interest in the piece.

Andris Piebalgs


Andris Piebalgs is a Latvian politician and diplomat, currently serving as European Commissioner for Development at the European Commission. Between 2004 and 2009 he served as Commissioner for Energy. Although in Latvia Piebalgs is no longer affiliated with a political party, at the EU level he is affiliated with the European People's Party.

Eliyahu Rips


Eliyahu Rips, also Ilya Rips is a Latvian-born Israeli mathematician known for his research in geometric group theory. He became known to the general public following his coauthoring a paper on what is popularly known as Bible code, the supposed coded messaging in the Hebrew text of the Torah.

Aleksandrs Starkovs


Aleksandrs Petrovičs Starkovs is a Latvian football coach and a former footballer. Starkovs previously managed clubs such as Spartak Moscow in Russia, FK Baku in Azerbaijan and Skonto FC in Latvia as well as the Latvia national football team from 2001 to 2004 and from 2007 to July 2013.

Līga Dekmeijere

Tennis Player

Līga Dekmeijere is a professional Latvian tennis player who has won nineteen ITF doubles titles and one WTA doubles title. On 5 April 2010, Dekmeijere reached a doubles ranking high of world number 54. Dekmeijere won her only WTA title at the 2008 Cachantún Cup, where she entered the doubles event with Poland's Alicja Rosolska, defeating Mariya Koryttseva and Julia Schruff in the final.

Andrejs Rubins

Soccer Midfielder

Andrejs Rubins is a Latvian former football midfielder, who last played for the Azerbaijan Premier League club Simurq PFC. He was also a member of Latvia national football team.

Edgars Gauračs

Soccer Forward

Edgars Gauračs is a Latvian footballer, currently playing for Russian National Football League club Torpedo Moscow and Latvia football team as a striker.

Indra Devi


Eugenie V. Peterson, widely known as Indra Devi, was an early disciple of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, and herself became a renowned yoga teacher. Born in Riga, she also acted in some Hindi films.

Ineta Radēviča

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Ineta Radēviča is a retired Latvian athlete, competing in the long jump and triple jump. Radēviča won the bronze medal in the 2003 European U-23 championship. She has also won two NCAA championships, while competing for the University of Nebraska. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, she was 13th in the triple jump and 20th in the long jump. Radēviča became popular after posing nude for Playboy magazine before the 2004 Summer Olympics. She finished fifth at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships and eighth at the 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships. By the time 2008 Summer Olympics were held, she was pregnant and missed the competition. At the 2010 European Championships she won the long jump event with a new Latvian record of 6.92 metres. In 2011 she won the bronze medal in the World Championships in Daegu with a result of 6.76 metres. At the 2012 Summer Olympics she finished fourth, with Janay DeLoach finishing just one centimeter ahead of her. Afterwards she realised that her dream of earning an Olympic medal is never going to happen, and was ready devote herself to her family, ending her professional career. Radēviča was coached by Evgeny Ter-Ovanesov.

Władysław Raginis

Military Commander

Władysław Raginis was a Polish military commander during the Polish Defensive War of 1939 of a small force holding the Polish fortified defense positions against a vastly larger invasion during the Battle of Wizna. Because the positions were held at great cost for three days before being annihilated with few survivors, Wizna is referred to as the Polish Thermopylae and Captain Raginis as a modern Leonidas.

Ginta Lapiņa


Ginta Lapiņa is a Latvian model.

Alfrēds Rubiks


Alfrēds Rubiks is a Latvian Socialist politician and a former leader of the Communist Party of Latvia. Currently he is the Member of the European Parliament from Latvia. In the European Parliament he is a member of European United Left–Nordic Green Left. He served as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Riga City Soviet from 1984 to 1990, effectively the last Communist mayor of the city. He was member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from July 1990 until its abolishment in 24 August 1991. As head of the Communist Party of Latvia in 1991 he opposed Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union, and was imprisoned in July 1995 for attempting to overthrow the new democratic government and supporting the coup d'état attempt in Moscow. Despite his incarceration, Rubiks was a candidate in the 1996 election for the President of Latvia, but lost to incumbent Guntis Ulmanis. Rubiks was released in November 1997 for good behavior, became chairman of the Socialist Party of Latvia in 1999, and has been elected Member of the European Parliament in the elections of 2009. Due to his former allegiance with the Communist Party of Latvia after January 1991, Rubiks is prohibited from running for an electable office in Latvia under Latvian law.

Georg August Schweinfurth


Georg August Schweinfurth was a Baltic German botanist, traveller in East Central Africa and ethnologist. He was born at Riga, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire. He was educated at the universities of Heidelberg, Munich and Berlin, where he particularly devoted himself to botany and palaeontology. Commissioned to arrange the collections brought from the Sudan by Freiherr von Barnim and Dr Hartmann, his attention was directed to that region; and in 1863 he travelled round the shores of the Red Sea, repeatedly traversed the district between that sea and the Nile, passed on to Khartoum, and returned to Europe in 1866. His researches attracted so much attention that in 1868 the Humboldt-Stiftung of Berlin entrusted him with an important scientific mission to the interior of East Africa. Starting from Khartoum in January 1869, he went up the White Nile to Bahr-el-Ghazal, and then, with a party of ivory dealers, through the regions inhabited by the Diur, Dinka, Bongo and Niam-Niam; crossing the Congo-Nile watershed he entered the country of the Mangbetu and discovered the river Uele, which by its westward flow he knew was independent of the Nile. Schweinfurth formed the conclusion that it belonged to the Chad system, and it was several years before its connection with the Congo was demonstrated.

Ēriks Rags

Olympic athlete

Ēriks Rags is a Latvian javelin thrower. His personal best throw is 86.47 metres, achieved in July 2001 in London. He has competed at three Summer Olympics between 2000 and 2008.