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Russian Federation Central Asia Moscow 142,470,272 inhabitants 17,098,242 sq km 8.33 inhabitants/sq km Russian rubles (RUB) population evolution

Famous people from Russia

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

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Art song Artist

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a personal style notable for its song-like melodicism, expressiveness and his use of rich orchestral colors. The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output, and through his own skills as a performer he explored the expressive possibilities of the instrument.

Isaac Asimov


Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been published in nine out of ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification. Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are explicitly set in earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series. Later, beginning with Foundation's Edge, he linked this distant future to the Robot and Spacer stories, creating a unified "future history" for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He wrote hundreds of short stories, including the social science fiction "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

Anton Chekhov


Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramaturge and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov practised as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife", he once said, "and literature is my mistress." Chekhov renounced the theatre after the disastrous reception of The Seagull in 1896, but the play was revived to acclaim in 1898 by Constantin Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre, which subsequently also produced Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and premiered his last two plays, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. These four works present a challenge to the acting ensemble as well as to audiences, because in place of conventional action Chekhov offers a "theatre of mood" and a "submerged life in the text." Chekhov had at first written stories only for financial gain, but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. His originality consists in an early use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, later adopted by James Joyce and other modernists, combined with a disavowal of the moral finality of traditional story structure. He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them.

Nicholas II of Russia


Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias. Like other Russian Emperors he is commonly known by the monarchical title Tsar. He is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church and has been referred to as Saint Nicholas the Martyr. Nicholas II ruled from 1 November 1894 until his enforced abdication on 2 March 1917. His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. Enemies nicknamed him Bloody Nicholas because of the Khodynka Tragedy, the anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of 1905 Revolution and the subsequent executions of political opponents. Under his rule, Russia was humiliatingly defeated in the Russo-Japanese War, which saw the almost total annihilation of the Russian Baltic Fleet at the Battle of Tsushima. The Anglo-Russian Entente, designed to counter German attempts to gain influence in the Middle East, ended the Great Game between Russia and the United Kingdom. As head of state, Nicholas approved the Russian mobilization of August 1914, which marked the beginning of Russia's involvement in World War I, a war in which 3.3 million Russians were killed. The Imperial Army's severe losses and the High Command's incompetent handling of the war, along with other policies directed by Nicholas during his reign, are often cited as the leading causes of the fall of the Romanov dynasty.

Nikita Khrushchev

Military Commander

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the partial de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev's party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier. Khrushchev was born in the Russian village of Kalinovka in 1894, close to the present-day border between Russia and Ukraine. He was employed as a metalworker in his youth, and during the Russian Civil War was a political commissar. With the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Joseph Stalin's purges, and approved thousands of arrests. In 1939, Stalin sent him to govern Ukraine, and he continued the purges there. During what was known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War, Khrushchev was again a commissar, serving as an intermediary between Stalin and his generals. Khrushchev was present at the bloody defense of Stalingrad, a fact he took great pride in throughout his life. After the war, he returned to Ukraine before being recalled to Moscow as one of Stalin's close advisers.

Ayn Rand


Ayn Rand was an American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful in America, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, she published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting a minarchist limited government and laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed to be the only social system that protected individual rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for some Aristotelians and classical liberals.

Maria Kirilenko

Tennis Player

Maria Yuryevna Kirilenko is a Russian professional tennis player. Kirilenko won the 2002 U.S. Open Girls' Singles and won her first WTA Tour title in 2005, defeating Anna-Lena Grönefeld in the China Open. She has reached three Grand Slam singles quarterfinals, at the 2010 Australian Open the 2012 Wimbledon Championships and the 2013 French Open. In doubles, she has reached two Grand Slam doubles finals, at the 2011 Australian Open and the 2012 French Open, won the 2012 WTA Tour Championships and was a Bronze Medalist at the 2012 London Olympics. In June 2013, Kirilenko reached her career high ranking of World No. 10.

Anna Kournikova


Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova is a Russian American retired professional tennis player. Her appearance and celebrity status made her one of the best known tennis stars worldwide, despite her never winning a WTA singles title. At the peak of her fame, fans looking for images of Kournikova made her name one of the most common search strings on Google Search. Despite her lack of a title, she reached No. 8 in the world in 2000. She achieved greater success playing doubles, where she was at times the World No. 1 player. With Martina Hingis as her partner, she won Grand Slam titles in Australia in 1999 and 2002. They referred to themselves as the "Spice Girls of Tennis". Kournikova's professional tennis career ended prematurely at the age of 21 due to serious back and spinal problems, including a herniated disk. She lives in Miami Beach, Florida, and plays in occasional exhibitions and in doubles for the St. Louis Aces of World Team Tennis. She was a new trainer for season 12 of the television show The Biggest Loser, replacing Jillian Michaels, but did not return for season 13. In addition to her tennis and television work, Kournikova serves as a Global Ambassador for Population Services International's Five & Alive program, which addresses health crises facing children under the age of five and their families.

Peter the Great


Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from 7 May [O.S. 27 April] 1682 until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother. In numerous successful wars he expanded the Tsardom into a huge empire that became a major European power. According to historian James Cracraft, he led a cultural revolution that replaced the traditionalist and medieval social and political system with a modern, scientific, Europe-oriented, and rationalist system.

Aleksandr Pushkin


Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow. His great-grandfather from his mother's side – Abram Gannibal – was brought over as a slave from Africa and had risen to become an aristocrat. Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum. While under the strict surveillance of the Tsar's political police and unable to publish, Pushkin wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was serialized between 1825 and 1832. Notoriously touchy about his honour, Pushkin fought as many as twenty-nine duels, and was fatally wounded in such an encounter with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès. D'Anthès, a French officer serving with the Chevalier Guard Regiment, had been attempting to seduce the poet's wife, Natalya Pushkina.

Vladimir Vysotsky

Chanson Artist

Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky was a Soviet singer, songwriter, poet, and actor whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Russian culture. He became widely known for his unique singing style and for his lyrics, which featured social and political commentary in often humorous street jargon. He was also a prominent stage and screen actor. Though his work was largely ignored by the official Soviet cultural establishment, he achieved remarkable fame during his lifetime, and to this day exerts significant influence on many of Russia's popular musicians and actors who wish to emulate his iconic status.

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky

Art song Artist

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as "The Five". He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other nationalist themes. Such works include the opera Boris Godunov, the orchestral tone poem Night on Bald Mountain, and the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition. For many years Mussorgsky's works were mainly known in versions revised or completed by other composers. Many of his most important compositions have recently come into their own in their original forms, and some of the original scores are now also available.

Yelena Isinbayeva

Olympic athlete

Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva is a Russian pole vaulter. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time World Champion, the current world record holder in the event, who is widely considered the greatest female pole-vaulter of all time. Isinbayeva has been a major champion on nine occasions. She was also the jackpot winner of the IAAF Golden League series in 2007 and 2009. After poor performances at the world championships in 2009 and 2010, she took a year-long break from the sport. She became the first woman to clear the five-metre barrier in 2005. Her current world record is 5.06 m outdoors, set in Zurich in August 2009. Her 5.01 m indoors was the world record for just over a year. The latter was Isinbayeva's twenty-eighth pole vault world record. On 2 March 2013, Jenn Suhr joined Isinbayeva as the only women who have cleared 5 metres. In the process, Suhr took Isinbayeva's indoor world record. Isinbayeva was named Female Athlete of the Year by the IAAF in 2004, 2005 and 2008, and World Sportswoman of the Year by Laureus in 2007 and 2009. She was given the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports in 2009. She is one of only nine athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event.

Yuri Gagarin


Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity, and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation's highest honour. Vostok 1 marked his only spaceflight, but he served as backup crew to the Soyuz 1 mission. Gagarin later became deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow, which was later named after him. Gagarin died in 1968 when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting crashed.

Mikhail Youzhny

Tennis Player

Mikhail Mikhailovich Youzhny, nicknamed "Mischa" and "Colonel" by his fans, is a Russian professional tennis player who is currently ranked inside the top 20 and is the Russian No. 1. He achieved a top-10 ranking by the ATP for the first time on 13 August 2007, and reached a career peak of World No. 8 in January 2008, and again in October 2010. Youzhny is one of the few active players to have reached the quarterfinals of all grand slams, going beyond the quarterfinals at the US Open in 2006 and 2010. The closest he has come to a grand slam final was at the 2006 US Open semifinals when he took the first set from World No. 9 Andy Roddick, after upsetting World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. At the other semi-final he lost in straight sets to the eventual champion, Rafael Nadal. Youzhny has reached the finals of twenty-one ATP tour-level titles, winning ten of them. His first title win came at the Mercedes Cup held in Stuttgart, Germany, when he defeated Guillermo Cañas from Argentina. Youzhny has reached ATP finals on all surfaces, but has never won a singles title on grass. In 2010—his best season thus far—Youzhny reached five ATP tournaments, winning two and ending the year as a top-10 player. Youzhny was a member of the winning Russian national team at the Davis Cup in both 2002 and 2006.

Boris Yeltsin


Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was a Russian politician and the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999. Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet. On 12 June 1991 he was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, at that time one of the 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union. He won 57% of the vote in a six-candidate contest and became the third democratically elected leader of Russia in history. Upon the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, Yeltsin remained in office as the President of the Russian Federation, the USSR's successor state. Yeltsin was reelected in the 1996 election; in the second round of the election Yeltsin defeated Gennady Zyuganov from the revived Communist Party by a margin of 13%. However, Yeltsin never recovered his early popularity after a series of economic and political crises in Russia in the 1990s.

Dmitry Medvedev


Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the tenth and current Prime Minister of Russia, incumbent since 2012. He previously served as the third President of Russia, from 2008 to 2012. When he took office at the age of 42, he was the youngest of the three Russian Presidents who have served. Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint Petersburg State University, where he taught civil and Roman law until 1999. Medvedev's political career began as the election campaign manager and later an adviser of St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. During this time, Medvedev befriended Vladimir Putin. In November 1999, Medvedev was hired in the Russian presidential administration, where he worked as deputy chief of staff. In the 2000 Presidential elections, Medvedev was Putin's campaign manager. On 14 November 2005, Medvedev was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister and was tasked with overseeing National Priority Projects. He also worked as the Chairman of Gazprom's board of directors, a post which he held until 2008.

Ivan the Terrible


Ivan IV Vasilyevich, known in English as Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and Tsar of All the Russias from 1547 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres, approximately 4,046,856 km². Ivan managed countless changes in the progression from a medieval state to an empire and emerging regional power, and became the first ruler to be crowned as Tsar of All the Russias. Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, yet given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness. On one such outburst he killed his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich. This left the Tsardom to be passed to Ivan's younger son, the weak and intellectually disabled Feodor Ivanovich. Ivan's legacy is complex: he was an able diplomat, a patron of arts and trade, founder of Russia's first Print Yard, but he is also remembered for his apparent paranoia and arguably harsh treatment of the nobility.

Wassily Kandinsky

Painting Artist

Vassily Vassilyevich Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics. Successful in his profession—he was offered a professorship at the University of Dorpat—he began painting studies at the age of 30. In 1896 Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe's private school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I. Kandinsky was unsympathetic to the official theories on art in Communist Moscow, and returned to Germany in 1921. There, he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939 and producing some of his most prominent art. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.

Regina Spektor

Alternative rock Artist

Regina Ilyinichna Spektor is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her music is associated with the anti-folk scene centered on New York City's East Village.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Art song Artist

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five. He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions—Capriccio Espagnol, the Russian Easter Festival Overture, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade—are staples of the classical music repertoire, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas. Scheherazade is an example of his frequent use of fairy tale and folk subjects. Rimsky-Korsakov believed, as did fellow composer Mily Balakirev and critic Vladimir Stasov, in developing a nationalistic style of classical music. This style employed Russian folk song and lore along with exotic harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements in a practice known as musical orientalism, and eschewed traditional Western compositional methods. However, Rimsky-Korsakov appreciated Western musical techniques after he became a professor of musical composition, harmony and orchestration at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1871. He undertook a rigorous three-year program of self-education and became a master of Western methods, incorporating them alongside the influences of Mikhail Glinka and fellow members of The Five. His techniques of composition and orchestration were further enriched by his exposure to the works of Richard Wagner.

Andrei Arshavin


Andrey Sergeyevich Arshavin is a Russian professional footballer who currently plays for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. Arshavin is an ex-captain of the Russian national team. Arshavin began his career at Zenit in the year 2000. He won numerous trophies with the club until his departure in 2009 including the Russian Premier League, Russian Premier League Cup, Russian Super Cup, UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. During his time with Zenit, Arshavin was named Russian Footballer of the Year. In 2009, Arshavin signed for the English Premier League club Arsenal, becoming the most expensive player in Arsenal's history at that time with a fee of £15 million. Arshavin returned to Zenit on 24 February 2012 for a loan deal that concluded in July 2012.

Kim Jong-il


Kim Jong-il, was the Supreme Leader of The Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 1994 to 2011. He succeeded his father and founder of the DPRK, Kim Il-sung, following the elder Kim's death in 1994. Kim Jong-il was the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, the fourth-largest standing army in the world. In April 2009, North Korea's constitution was amended to refer to him as the "supreme leader". In 2010, he was ranked 31st in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People. The North Korean government announced his death on 19 December 2011. His third son, Kim Jong-un, was promoted to a senior position in the ruling Workers' Party and succeeded Kim Jong-il following his death. At the Fourth Conference of the Worker's Party of Korea and the Fifth Session of the Twelfth Supreme People's Assembly, he was proclaimed the Eternal General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission in 2012. His birthday is a public holiday in the country.

Elena Dementieva

Tennis Player

Elena Viatcheslavovna Dementieva is a retired Russian tennis player. Dementieva won the singles gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, having previously won the silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. She won 16 WTA singles titles, reached the finals of the 2004 French Open and 2004 US Open and reached seven other Grand Slam semi finals. Dementieva was also part of the Russian team that won the 2005 Fed Cup, won the 2002 WTA Championship doubles with Janette Husárová and was the runner-up in two US Open doubles finals – in 2002 with Husárová and in 2005 with Flavia Pennetta. Dementieva achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 3, which was accomplished on 6 April 2009. She announced her retirement on 29 October 2010, after her final match at the 2010 WTA Tour Championships. Dementieva ended her career ranked World No. 9 and between 2003 and 2010 she only ended one year, in 2007, outside the top 10.

Irving Berlin

Theatrical Composer

Irving Berlin was an American composer and lyricist of Belarusian-Jewish origin, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history. He published his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy", in 1907 and had his first major international hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. He also was a Broadway theatre owner of the Music Box Theatre. "Alexander's Ragtime Band" sparked an international dance craze in places as far away as Berlin's native Russia, which also "flung itself into the ragtime beat with an abandon bordering on mania." Over the years he was known for writing music and lyrics in the American vernacular: uncomplicated, simple and direct, with his aim being to "reach the heart of the average American" whom he saw as the "real soul of the country." He wrote hundreds of songs, many becoming major hits, which made him "a legend" before he turned thirty. During his 60-year career he wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films, with his songs nominated eight times for Academy Awards. Many songs became popular themes and anthems, including "Easter Parade", "White Christmas", "Happy Holiday", "This Is the Army, Mr. Jones", and "There's No Business Like Show Business". His Broadway musical and 1942 film, This is the Army, with Ronald Reagan, had Kate Smith singing Berlin's "God Bless America" which was first performed in 1938. Smith still performed the song on her 1960 CBS television series, The Kate Smith Show. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Celine Dion recorded it as a tribute, making it #1 on the charts.

Alexander Scriabin


Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist. Scriabin's early work is characterised by a lyrical and idiosyncratic tonal language influenced by Frédéric Chopin. Later in his career, independently of Arnold Schoenberg, Scriabin developed a substantially atonal and much more dissonant musical system, accorded to mysticism. Scriabin was influenced by synesthesia, and associated colors with the various harmonic tones of his atonal scale, while his color-coded circle of fifths was also influenced by theosophy. He is considered by some to be the main Russian Symbolist composer. Scriabin was one of the most innovative and most controversial of early modern composers. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia said of Scriabin that, "No composer has had more scorn heaped or greater love bestowed..." Leo Tolstoy once described Scriabin's music as "a sincere expression of genius." Scriabin had a major impact on the music world over time, and influenced composers like Roy Agnew, Nikolai Roslavets, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky. Scriabin's importance in the Soviet musical scene, and internationally, drastically declined. "No one was more famous during their lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after death." In the 1970s, for instance, there were only three recordings of his complete sonatas. Yet Scriabin's work has steadily regained popularity in recent years.

Alla Pugacheva

Russian pop Artist

Alla Borisovna Pugacheva, is а Soviet and Russian musical performer. Her career started in 1965 and continues to this day. For her "clear mezzosoprano and a full display of sincere emotions", she enjoys an iconic status across the former Soviet Union as the most successful Soviet performer in terms of record sales and popularity. She became a Meritorious Artist of the Russian SFSR in 1980, People's Artist of the Russian SFSR in 1985 and People's Artist of the USSR in 1991.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was an eminent Russian novelist, historian, and tireless critic of Communist totalitarianism. He helped to raise global awareness of the gulag and the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system. While his writings were often suppressed, he wrote many books, most notably The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, two of his best-known works. "For the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature", Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 but returned to Russia in 1994 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Dinara Safina

Tennis Player

Dinara Mikhailovna Safina, born April 27, 1986 in Moscow, is a former World No. 1 Russian professional tennis player. Safina was runner-up in singles at the 2008 French Open, 2009 Australian Open, and the 2009 French Open, falling to Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams, and Svetlana Kuznetsova, respectively. She has had success at Grand Slam events in women's doubles by winning the 2007 US Open with Nathalie Dechy. She also won the Olympic silver medal in women's singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In late 2012 after numerous months off training, Safina's injuries have healed and on a quest to return to the top of the WTA Tour rankings, Safina had enlisted the services of Australian coach Christopher Spencer. She is the younger sister of former World No. 1 men's player Marat Safin. She and her brother are the first brother-sister tandem in tennis history to both achieve No.1 rankings.

Yul Brynner


Yul Brynner was a Russian-born United States-based actor of stage and film. He was best known for his portrayal of the King of Siam in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, for which he won two Tony Awards and an Academy Award for the film version; he played the role 4,625 times on stage. He is also remembered as Rameses II in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster The Ten Commandments, General Bounine in the 1956 film Anastasia and Chris Adams in The Magnificent Seven. Brynner was noted for his distinctive voice and for his shaved head, which he maintained as a personal trademark long after adopting it in 1951 for his role in The King and I. Earlier, he was a model and television director, and later a photographer and the author of two books.

Maxim Gorky


Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, primarily known as Maxim Gorky, was a Russian and Soviet writer, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.

Anna Netrebko

Opera Artist

Anna Yuryevna Netrebko is a Russian operatic lyric soprano. She now holds dual Russian and Austrian citizenship and currently resides in Vienna. She has been nicknamed "La Bellissima" by fans.

Dmitri Mendeleev


Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was a Russian chemist and inventor. He formulated the Periodic Law, created his own version of the periodic table of elements, and used it to correct the properties of some already discovered elements and also to predict the properties of elements yet to be discovered.

Alexei Navalny


Alexei Anatolievich Navalny, born 4 June 1976 is a Russian lawyer, political and financial activist, and politician. Since 2009, he has gained prominence in Russia, and in the Russian and international media, as a critic of corruption and of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has organized large-scale demonstrations promoting democracy and attacking political corruption, Putin, and Putin's political allies; and has run for political office on the same platform. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal described him as "the man Vladimir Putin fears most." A self-described "nationalist democrat," Navalny is a Russian Opposition Coordination Council member and informal leader of the unregistered Russian political party People's Alliance. In September 2013 he ran in the Moscow mayoral election, supported by the RPR-PARNAS party. He came in second, with 27% of the vote, losing to incumbent mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a Putin appointee. His vote total was much higher than political analysts had expected, but Navalny and his allies insisted that the actual number was still higher, and that authorities had committed election fraud in order to prevent a runoff election from taking place.

Tatiana Golovin

Tennis Player

Tatiana Golovin is a former French professional tennis player. She won the 2004 French Open mixed doubles event with Richard Gasquet, and reached the singles quarterfinal at the 2006 US Open, losing to the eventual champion Maria Sharapova. Her highest singles ranking to date is 12. In 2008 she was diagnosed with lower back inflammation and was forced to stop playing competitive tennis indefinitely.

Helene Fischer


Helene Fischer—born August 5, 1984, in Krasnoyarsk — is a German singer and entertainer. Since her debut in 2005 she has won several awards, including six Echo awards and three "Krone der Volksmusik" awards. According to record certifications she has sold at least 6,000,000 albums.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Tennis Player

Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Kafelnikov is a former world no. 1 tennis player from Russia. He won two Grand Slam singles titles, which were the 1996 French Open and the 1999 Australian Open. He also won four Grand Slam doubles titles, and the Men's Singles Gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. He also helped Russia win the Davis Cup in 2002. He is the last man to have won both the Men's Singles and Doubles titles at the same Grand Slam tournament, which he did at the 1996 French Open.

Vyacheslav Molotov


Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. He served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. Molotov served for several years as First Deputy Premier in Joseph Stalin's cabinet. He retired in 1961 after several years of obscurity. Molotov was the principal Soviet signatory of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact of 1939, which most important provisions were added in the form of a secret protocol that stipulated an invasion on Poland and partition its territory between Germany and Soviet Russia. This effectively sealed the beginning of the World War II and made Soviet Russia an ally of the Nazi Germany in the period 1939 until 1941. He, was involved in post-war negotiations where he became noted for his diplomatic skills, and knew of the Katyn massacre committed by the Soviet authorities. Following the aftermath of World War II Molotov kept his place, until 1949, as a leading Soviet diplomat and politician. In March 1949, after losing Stalin's favour, he lost the foreign affairs ministry to Andrei Vyshinsky. Molotov's relationship with Stalin deteriorated further, with Stalin complaining about Molotov's mistakes in a speech to the 19th Party Congress. However, after Stalin's death in 1953 Molotov was staunchly opposed to Khrushchev's de-Stalinisation policy. He defended his policies and the legacy of Stalin until his death in 1986, and harshly criticised Stalin's successors, especially Nikita Khrushchev.

Viktor Astafiyev


Viktor Petrovich Astafyev also spelled Astafiev or Astaf'ev, was a Soviet and Russian writer of short stories and novels.

Anna Demidova

Person Or Being In Fiction

Anna Stepanovna Demidova was a maid in the service of Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. She acquired posthumous fame because she was murdered alongside her employer in 1918. She shared the Romanov family's exile at Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was murdered with them on July 17, 1918. Like them, she was canonized as a martyr by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 1991 as a victim of Soviet oppression.

Mollie Steimer

Deceased Person

Mollie Steimer was born as Marthe Alperine in Tsarist Russia. She immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 15. She became an anarchist and activist who fought as a trade unionist, an anti-war activist and a free-speech campaigner.

Pelageya Polubarinova-Kochina


Pelageya Yakovlevna Polubarinova-Kochina was a Soviet applied mathematician, known for her work on fluid mechanics and hydrodynamics, particularly, the application of Fuchsian equations, as well in the history of mathematics. She was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR the in 1946 and full member in 1958.

Mikhail Ryabko

Martial Artist

Mikhail Ryabko is a Colonel in the Russian military, serves as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation and is the founder of Ryabko's Systema. His martial training was started at the age of five, by a member of Joseph Stalin's personal bodyguards with traditional Russian martial arts training. At 15 he was enlisted to the ranks of Spetsnaz and has served since. He is active as a martial trainer and advisor and is the author of several publications as well as a textbook on the tactics of Special Operations.

Edward Clark


Edward Clark was a Russian-born American actor whose career began in the silent era. He appeared in 133 films between 1913 and 1955. He was born in Russia and died in Hollywood, California from a heart attack.

Dan Milner

TV Editor

Dan Milner was a film editor.

Olga Generalova

Olympic athlete

Olga Generalova is a Russian triathlete. Born in Gorky, Generalova competed at the second Olympic triathlon at the 2004 Summer Olympics. She took thirty-first place with a total time of 2:11:48.06.

Ilya Kovalchuk

Professional Ice hockey Player

Ilya Valeryevich Kovalchuk is a Russian professional ice hockey left winger currently playing for SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League. He debuted in the Russian Super League with HC Spartak Moscow, before continuing his career in the National Hockey League. Drafted first overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, he began his NHL career with them in 2001–02. After eight seasons with the Thrashers, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils in February 2010, and later signed a 15-year, $100 million contract during the off-season after a 17-year, $102 million was rejected by the league. Three years later, he retired from the NHL on July 11, 2013, having played 11 seasons. Kovalchuk is 5th all-time in overtime goals scored, and 18th all time in goals per game average. He is the 5th highest scoring Russian in NHL history. Internationally, Kovalchuk has played for Russia in the IIHF World U18 Championship, World Junior Championship, World Championship, World Cup and Winter Olympics, highlighted by back-to-back gold medals in the 2008 and 2009 World Championship. Kovalchuk was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy as league rookie-of-the-year. He is a three-time NHL All-Star and won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal-scorer in 2004 in a three-way tie with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash.

Boris Pasternak


Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian language poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia, Pasternak's anthology My Sister, Life, is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language. Furthermore, Pasternak's translations of stage plays by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and William Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences. Outside Russia, Pasternak is best known as the author of Doctor Zhivago, a novel which takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War. Due to its independent minded stance on the socialist state, Doctor Zhivago was refused publication in the USSR. At the instigation of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, Doctor Zhivago was smuggled to Milan and published in 1957. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature the following year, an event which both humiliated and enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Sergey Brin

Computer Scientist

Sergey Brin, a native of Moscow, received a bachelor of science degree with honors in mathematics and computer science from the University of Maryland at College Park. He is currently on leave from the Ph.D. program in computer science at Stanford University, where he received his master's degree. Sergey is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship as well as an honorary MBA from Instituto de Empresa. It was at Stanford where he met Larry Page and worked on the project that became Google. Together they founded Google Inc. in 1998, and Sergey continues to share responsibility for day-to-day operations with Larry Page and Eric Schmidt. Sergey's research interests include search engines, information extraction from unstructured sources, and data mining of large text collections and scientific data. He has published more than a dozen academic papers, including Extracting Patterns and Relations from the World Wide Web; Dynamic Data Mining: A New Architecture for Data with High Dimensionality, which he published with Larry Page; Scalable Techniques for Mining Casual Structures; Dynamic Itemset Counting and Implication Rules for Market Basket Data; and Beyond Market Baskets: Generalizing Association Rules to Correlations. Sergey has been a featured speaker at several international academic, business and technology forums, including the World Economic Forum and the Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference. He has shared his views on the technology industry and the future of search on the Charlie Rose Show, CNBC, and CNNfn. In 2004, he and Larry Page were named "Persons of the Week" by ABC World News Tonight.

Nicholas I of Russia


Nicholas I was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. He was also the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. He was the younger brother of his childless predecessor, Alexander I. Nicholas inherited his brother's throne despite the failed Decembrist revolt against him, and went on to become the most reactionary of Russian monarchs. In his last years, Nicholas I led the Russian army in the unsuccessful Crimean War. However he was also instrumental in helping to create an independent Greek state and defeated the Ottoman empire in the Russo-Turkish war 1828-1829. Thus he was a key player in the ascendency of Russia as a world power and helped hasten the disintegration of the aging Ottoman empire. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith, spanning over 20 million square kilometers.

Constantin Stanislavski

Theatre Director

Konstantin Sergeievich Alekseiev was a Russian actor and theatre director. The eponymous Stanislavski method or simply "method acting" has had a pervasive influence especially in the period after World War II. Stanislavski treated theatre-making as a serious endeavour, requiring dedication, discipline and integrity. Throughout his life, he subjected his own acting to a process of rigorous artistic self-analysis and reflection. His development of a theorized praxis – in which practice is used as a mode of inquiry and theory as a catalyst for creative development – identifies him as one of the great modern theatre practitioners. Stanislavski's work was as important to the development of socialist realism in the Soviet Union as it was to that of psychological realism in the United States. It draws on a wide range of influences and ideas, including his study of the modernist and avant-garde developments of his time, Russian formalism, Yoga, Pavlovian behavioural psychology, James-Lange psychophysiology and the aesthetics of Pushkin, Gogol, and Tolstoy. He described his approach as 'spiritual Realism'.

Rudolf Nureyev


Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was a Soviet-born dancer of ballet and modern dance, one of the most celebrated of the 20th century. Nureyev's artistic skills explored expressive areas of the dance, providing a new role to the male ballet dancer who once served only as support to the women. Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him.

Viktor Tsoi

Post-punk Artist

Viktor Robertovich Tsoi was a Soviet musician, songwriter, and leader of the band Kino. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of Russian rock and has many devoted fans across the countries of the former Soviet Union even today. Few musicians in the history of Russian music have been more popular or have had more impact on their genre than Viktor Tsoi and his rock band Kino. Aside from that, Tsoi contributed a plethora of musical and artistic works, including ten albums. Viktor Tsoi died in a car accident on August 15, 1990, aged 28.

Andrei Kirilenko

Basketball Player

Andrei Gennadyevich Kirilenko is a Russian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association. At age fifteen, Kirilenko began playing professional basketball in his native Russia with the Russian Basketball Super League. He spent another three years with CSKA Moscow, winning the Russian league MVP award in 2000. In 2001, Kirilenko joined the Utah Jazz, who drafted him in 1999. He became the first Russian player selected in the first round of a draft and the youngest European player drafted. He made the NBA All-Rookie Team after his first season, was an NBA All-Defensive Team pick three times and played in the 2004 All-Star Game. In 2012, he led CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague Final, being named the competition's MVP, while earning an All-Euroleague First Team selection. He also won the Euroleague Defensive Player of the Year award the same year. Since the 2000 Summer Olympics, Kirilenko has been a regular member of the Russian national team. With Russia, he won the EuroBasket title in 2007, earning MVP honors in the process. In 2011, he won his second EuroBasket medal, this time the bronze. He was selected to the All-Tournament Team on both occasions.

Evgeni Malkin

Professional Ice hockey Player

Evgeni Vladimirovich "Geno" Malkin is a Russian professional ice hockey center and alternate captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. He is also known for his incredible skill set and ability to make plays, earning him a reputation as one of the best players in the NHL. Chosen second overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Malkin's career in the NHL was delayed because of an international transfer dispute until 2006–07, in which he captured the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's best rookie. In his second season, he helped carry Pittsburgh to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final series and was a runner-up for league's MVP award, the Hart Memorial Trophy. The following season, Malkin won the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the top-scorer in the NHL and again finished runner-up for the Hart Trophy while he and the Penguins won the Stanley Cup championship and Malkin the Conn Smythe Trophy. A second Art Ross Trophy was earned after the 2011–12 season, in which Malkin's 12-point margin was the largest since 1999. On June 20, 2012, Malkin was named the Hart Memorial Trophy winner as the league's MVP, for the 2011-12 season.

Dmitry Tursunov

Tennis Player

Dmitry Igorevich Tursunov is a Russian professional male tennis player. He was 12 years old when he came to the United States to train and further his prospects of becoming a professional player. Tursunov's career-high singles ranking is world no. 20, achieved in October 2006. Tursunov is an offensive baseliner with excellent groundstrokes from both sides, and prefers to play on faster surfaces; he jokes about his lack of ability and success on clay courts. He is sponsored by Fila and Wilson. Tursunov helped the Russian Davis Cup team win the 2006 Davis Cup and reach the finals of the 2007 Davis Cup.

Valeri Kharlamov

Professional Ice hockey Player

Valeri Borisovich Kharlamov was a star ice hockey player from the Soviet Union and was considered one of the greatest players in the world. He was voted one of six players to the International Ice Hockey Federation's Centennial All-Star Team in a poll conducted by a group of 56 experts from 16 countries. His only son Alexander is also a former hockey player. Valeri died in a car accident at the age of 33 along with his wife, Irina.

Joseph Brodsky


Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky was a Russian poet and essayist. Born in Leningrad in 1940, Brodsky ran afoul of Soviet authorities and was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972, settling in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters. He taught thereafter at universities including those at Yale, Cambridge and Michigan. Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity". He was appointed United States Poet Laureate in 1991.

Pavel Bure

Professional Ice hockey Player

Pavel Vladimirovich Bure is a retired Russian professional ice hockey right winger. Nicknamed "The Russian Rocket" for his speed, Bure played for 12 seasons in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers. Trained in the Soviet Union, where he was known as "Pasha", he played three seasons with the Central Red Army team before his NHL career. Selected 113th overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by Vancouver, he began his NHL career in 1991–92 and won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's best rookie, then helped the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994. After seven seasons with the Canucks, Bure was dealt to the Panthers, where he won back-to-back Rocket Richard Trophies as the league's leading goal-scorer. Bure struggled with knee injuries throughout his career, resulting in his retirement in 2005 as a member of the Rangers, although he had not played since 2003. He averaged better than a point per game in his NHL career and is third all-time in goals per game. After six years of eligibility, Bure was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in June 2012.

Lev Yashin


Lev Ivanovich Yashin, nicknamed as "The Black Spider" or "The Black Panther", was a Soviet-Russian football goalkeeper, considered by many to be one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game. He was known for his superior athleticism in goal, imposing stature, amazing reflex saves and inventing the concept of goalkeeper sweeping. Yashin was voted the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS.

Peter Kropotkin


Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, scientist, revolutionary, philologist, economist, activist, geographer, writer, and prominent anarcho-communist. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between workers. He wrote many books, pamphlets and articles, the most prominent being The Conquest of Bread and Fields, Factories and Workshops, and his principal scientific offering, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. He also contributed the article on anarchism to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.

Mikhail Lermontov


Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", became the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death in 1837. Lermontov is considered the supreme poet of Russian literature alongside Pushkin and the greatest figure in Russian Romanticism. His influence on later Russian literature is still felt in modern times, not only through his poetry, but also through his prose, which founded the tradition of the Russian psychological novel.

Alexander Litvinenko


Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was an officer of the Russian FSB fugitive secret service who specialized in tackling organized crime. In November 1998, Litvinenko and several other FSB officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the assassination of Russian tycoon and oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding the authority of his position. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. He fled with his family to London and was granted asylum in the United Kingdom, where he worked as a journalist, writer and consultant for the British intelligence services. During his time in London, Litvinenko wrote two books, Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within and Lubyanka Criminal Group, wherein he accused the Russian secret services of staging the Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts in an effort to bring Vladimir Putin to power. He also accused Putin of ordering the October 2006 murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalised in what was established as a case of poisoning by radioactive polonium-210 which resulted in his death on 23 November. The events leading up to this are a matter of controversy, spawning numerous theories relating to his poisoning and death. The British investigation into his death resulted in a failed request to Russia for the extradition of Andrey Lugovoy whom they accused of Litvinenko's murder, contributing to the further cooling of Russia–United Kingdom relations. Britain demanded that Lugovoy be extradited, which is against the Constitution of Russia directly prohibiting extradition of Russian citizens, and without handing Russia any evidence related to the case. Russia denied the extradition. Lugovoy passed a lie detector test in Russia, denying the accusations.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky


Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky is a former Russian oligarch and businessman. In 2004, Khodorkovsky was the wealthiest man in Russia and one of the richest people in the world, ranked 16th on Forbes list of billionaires. Khodorkovsky worked his way up the Communist apparatus during the Soviet years, and began several businesses during the era of glasnost and perestroika. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he accumulated wealth through the development of Siberian oil fields as the head of Yukos, one of the largest Russian companies to emerge from the privatization of state assets during the 1990s. He was arrested on 25 October 2003, to appear before investigators as a witness, but within hours of being taken into custody he was charged with fraud. The government under Vladimir Putin then froze shares of Yukos shortly thereafter on tax charges. The state took further actions against Yukos, leading to a collapse of the company's share price and the evaporation of much of Khodorkovsky's wealth. He was found guilty and sentenced to nine years in prison in May 2005. While still serving his sentence, Khodorkovsky and business partner Platon Lebedev were further charged and found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in December 2010, extending his prison sentence to 2017.

Boris Berezovsky


Boris Abramovich Berezovsky was a Russian business oligarch, government official and mathematician. He was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. An opponent of Vladimir Putin, Berezovsky clashed with the new president soon after his election in 2000 and was a vocal critic for the remainder of his life. In late 2000, after the Russian Deputy Prosecutor General demanded that Berezovsky appear for questioning, he did not return from abroad and moved to the UK, which granted him political asylum in 2003. In Russia he was later convicted in absentia of economic crimes. Russia repeatedly failed to obtain the extradition of Berezovsky from Britain, which became a major point of diplomatic tension between the two countries. Berezovsky made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s when the country went through privatisation of state property and "robber capitalism". He profited from gaining control over various assets, including the country's main television channel, Channel One. In 1997 Forbes magazine estimated Berezovsky's wealth at US$3 billion. He was at the height of his power in the later Yeltsin years, when he was deputy secretary of Russia's security council, a friend of Boris Yeltsin's influential daughter Tatyana, and a member of the Yeltsin "family". Berezovsky helped fund Unity – the political party, which formed Vladimir Putin's parliamentary base, and was elected to the Duma on Putin's slate. However, following the Russian presidential election in March 2000, Berezovsky went into opposition and resigned from the Duma. After he moved to Britain, the government took over his television assets, and he divested from other Russian holdings.

Nikita Mikhalkov

Film Director

Nikita Sergeyevich Mikhalkov is a Soviet and Russian filmmaker, actor, and head of the Russian Cinematographers' Union. Mikhalkov was born in Moscow into the distinguished, artistic Mikhalkov family. His great grandfather was the imperial governor of Yaroslavl, whose mother was a Galitzine princess. Nikita's father, Sergei Mikhalkov, was best known as writer of children's literature, although he also wrote lyrics to his country's national anthem on three different occasions spanning nearly 60 years—two different sets of lyrics used for the Soviet national anthem, and the current lyrics of the Russian national anthem. Mikhalkov's mother, poet Natalia Konchalovskaya, was the daughter of the avant-garde artist Pyotr Konchalovsky and granddaughter of another outstanding painter, Vasily Surikov. Nikita's older brother is the filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky, primarily known for his collaboration with Andrei Tarkovsky and his own Hollywood action films, such as Runaway Train and Tango & Cash.

Georg Cantor


Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor was a German mathematician, best known as the inventor of set theory, which has become a fundamental theory in mathematics. Cantor established the importance of one-to-one correspondence between the members of two sets, defined infinite and well-ordered sets, and proved that the real numbers are "more numerous" than the natural numbers. In fact, Cantor's method of proof of this theorem implies the existence of an "infinity of infinities". He defined the cardinal and ordinal numbers and their arithmetic. Cantor's work is of great philosophical interest, a fact of which he was well aware. Cantor's theory of transfinite numbers was originally regarded as so counter-intuitive – even shocking – that it encountered resistance from mathematical contemporaries such as Leopold Kronecker and Henri Poincaré and later from Hermann Weyl and L. E. J. Brouwer, while Ludwig Wittgenstein raised philosophical objections. Some Christian theologians saw Cantor's work as a challenge to the uniqueness of the absolute infinity in the nature of God – on one occasion equating the theory of transfinite numbers with pantheism – a proposition that Cantor vigorously rejected.

Anna Pavlova


Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. She was a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev. Pavlova is most recognized for the creation of the role The Dying Swan and, with her own company, became the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world.

Valery Gergiev


Valery Abisalovich Gergiev PAR is a Russian conductor and opera company director. He is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.

Valery Leontiev

Russian pop Artist

Valery Yakovlevich Leontiev is a Soviet and Russian pop singer whose popularity peaked in the early 1980s. He was titled a People's Artist of Russia in 1996. He is known as one of the most prominent artists of Russian music. Over the course of his decades-long career, he has recorded more than 30 albums, many of which sold millions of copies.

Alexander Rosenbaum

Musical Artist

Alexander Yakovlevich Rosenbaum PAR is a Jewish-Soviet and Russian bard from Saint Petersburg. He is best known as an interpreter of the blatnaya pesnya genre. Modern singers in this genre, such as Mikhail Shufutinsky often sing Rosenbaum's songs. Rosenbaum graduated from the Pavlov Medical School in 1974, and worked in the medical field for four years. His musical education consists of piano and choreography courses at a musical school. In 1968, while still a student, Rosenbaum started writing the songs for which he is famous. His early songs were for student plays, but he soon also wrote for rock groups and started performing as a singer-songwriter in 1983, sometimes under the pseudonym "Ayarov". Among his most famous songs are the ones about Leningrad, the Soviet-Afghan War, Cossacks, and the Jewish Mafia in Odessa. Songs such as "Gop-Stop" and "Vals-boston" are popular across Russian social groups and generations. Rosenbaum accompanies himself on either a six- or twelve-string acoustic guitar, using the Open G tuning adopted from the Russian seven string guitar.

Marina Tsvetaeva


Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva was a Russian and Soviet poet. Her work is considered among some of the greatest in twentieth century Russian literature. She lived through and wrote of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed it. In an attempt to save her daughter Irina from starvation, she placed her in a state orphanage in 1919, where she died of hunger. Tsvetaeva left Russia in 1922 and lived with her family in increasing poverty in Paris, Berlin and Prague before returning to Moscow in 1939. Her husband Sergei Efron and her daughter Ariadna Efron were arrested on espionage charges in 1941; and her husband was executed. Tsvetaeva committed suicide in 1941. As a lyrical poet, her passion and daring linguistic experimentation mark her as a striking chronicler of her times and the depths of the human condition.

Paul I of Russia


Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He was the only son of Peter III and Catherine the Great, and remained overshadowed by his mother for much of his life. Paul's reign lasted for only five years, until he was assassinated by conspirators. His most important achievement was the adoption of the laws of succession to the Russian throne that lasted until the end of the Romanov dynasty and the Russian Empire.

Grigori Perelman


Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician who has made landmark contributions to Riemannian geometry and geometric topology. In 1994, Perelman proved the soul conjecture. In 2003, he proved Thurston's geometrization conjecture. This consequently solved in the affirmative the Poincaré conjecture, posed in 1904, which before its solution was viewed as one of the most important and difficult open problems in topology. In August 2006, Perelman was awarded the Fields Medal for "his contributions to geometry and his revolutionary insights into the analytical and geometric structure of the Ricci flow." Perelman declined to accept the award or to appear at the congress, stating: "I'm not interested in money or fame, I don't want to be on display like an animal in a zoo." On 22 December 2006, the journal Science recognized Perelman's proof of the Poincaré conjecture as the scientific "Breakthrough of the Year", the first such recognition in the area of mathematics. On 18 March 2010, it was announced that he had met the criteria to receive the first Clay Millennium Prize for resolution of the Poincaré conjecture. On 1 July 2010, he turned down the prize of one million dollars, saying that he considers his contribution to proving the Poincaré conjecture to be no greater than that of Richard Hamilton, who introduced the theory of Ricci flow with the aim of attacking the geometrization conjecture.

Andrei Sakharov


Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident, and human rights activist. He became renowned as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. The Sakharov Prize, which is awarded annually by the European Parliament for people and organizations dedicated to human rights and freedoms, is named in his honor.

Alexander III of Russia


Alexander III, or Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov was Emperor of Russia, King of Poland and Grand Prince of Finland from 13 March [O.S. 1 March] 1881 until his death on 20 October [O.S. 8 October] 1894. He was highly conservative and reversed some of the liberal measures of his father, Alexander II. During Alexander's reign Russia fought no major wars, for which he was styled "The Peacemaker".

Grigory Leps

Pop rock Artist

Grigory Victorovich Lepsveridze, commonly known as Grigory Leps, is a Russian singer-songwriter of Georgian origin. His musical style gradually changed from Russian chanson in his early years to Soft Rock recently. He's known for his low, strong baritone voice with long-range vocals.

Alfred Schnittke

Opera Artist

Alfred Schnittke was a composer and film score composer.

Anna Chakvetadze

Tennis Player

Anna Djambulievna Chakvetadze is a retired Russian professional tennis player of Georgian origin. On September 10, 2007, she reached her career-high professional singles ranking of World No. 5. She has won eight WTA Singles Titles and appeared in the 2007 US Open semifinals. As of August 26, 2013, Chakvetadze is ranked World No. 576. She announced her retirement on September 11, 2013, due to a persisting back injury. She began playing tennis at the age of eight after being introduced to the sport by her mother, Natalia. She travels for tournaments with her father. She speaks both Russian and English.