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Famous people from Ukraine

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

Mila Kunis


Milena Markovna "Mila" Kunis is an American actress and voice artist. In 1991, at the age of seven, she moved from Ukraine to Los Angeles with her family. After being enrolled in acting classes as an after-school activity, she was soon discovered by an agent. She appeared in several television series and commercials, before acquiring her first significant role prior to her 15th birthday, playing Jackie Burkhart on the television series That '70s Show. A year later, she was cast as the voice of Meg Griffin on the animated series Family Guy. Her breakout film role came in 2008, playing Rachel Jansen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Subsequent film roles included Mona Sax in Max Payne, Solara in The Book of Eli, Jamie in Friends with Benefits, Lori in the comedy Ted, and Theodora in Oz the Great and Powerful. Her performance as Lily in Black Swan gained her worldwide accolades, including receiving the Premio Marcello Mastroianni for Best Young Actor or Actress at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, and nominations for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.

Leon Trotsky

Military Commander

Leon Trotsky was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army. Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik Internationalists faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution, and eventually became a leader within the Party. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army as People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He was a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War. He was also among the first members of the Politburo. After leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, Trotsky was successively removed from power in 1927, expelled from the Communist Party, and finally deported from the Soviet Union in 1929. As the head of the Fourth International, Trotsky continued in exile in Mexico to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. An early advocate of Red Army intervention against European fascism, in the late 1930s, Trotsky opposed Stalin's non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler. He was assassinated on Stalin's orders in Mexico, by Ramón Mercader, a Spanish-born Soviet agent in August 1940.

Joseph Conrad


Joseph Conrad was a Polish author who wrote in English after settling in England. He was granted British nationality in 1886, but always considered himself a Pole. Conrad is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in English, though he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties. He wrote stories and novels, often with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an indifferent universe. He was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English tragic sensibility into English literature. While some of his works have a strain of romanticism, his works are viewed as modernist literature. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many authors, including D. H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Malcolm Lowry, William Golding, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez, J. G. Ballard, John le Carré, V.S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, Hunter S. Thompson, J.M. Coetzee and Salman Rushdie.

Andriy Shevchenko


Andriy Mykolayovych Shevchenko is a former Ukrainian footballer and politician. He is the third-highest goalscorer in Champions League history with 59 goals as of 10 March 2011, behind Filippo Inzaghi and Raúl. Shevchenko is ranked as the third top goalscorer in all European competitions with 67 goals. With a tally of 175 goals scored for Milan, Shevchenko is the second most prolific player in the history of the club, and is also the all-time top scorer of the Derby della Madonnina with 14 goals, as well as for the Ukrainian national team with 48 goals. Shevchenko's career has been highlighted by many awards, the most prestigious of which was the Ballon d'Or in 2004. He won the UEFA Champions League in 2003 with Milan, and he has also won various league and cup titles in Ukraine, Italy, and England. He is also a UEFA Champions League runner-up in 2005 and 2008. In his illustrious international career, the striker led Ukraine as captain to the quarter-finals in their first ever FIFA World Cup appearance in 2006. He is capable of playing centre-forward or attacking from the left wing and is effective with set-pieces and penalties. Even though mostly he was a striker, upon his return to Kiev he was used as a left winger.


Person Or Being In Fiction

Hürrem Haseki Sultan, also known as Roxelana, was the legal wife and haseki sultan of Suleiman the Magnificent and the mother of Şehzade Mehmed, Mihrimah Sultan, Sultan Selim II, Şehzade Bayezid and Şehzade Cihangir of the Ottoman Empire. She was one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history and a prominent figure during the era known as the Sultanate of Women. She achieved power and influenced the politics of the Ottoman Empire through her husband and played an active role in state affairs of the Empire.

Leonid Brezhnev


Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in duration. During Brezhnev's rule, the global influence of the Soviet Union grew dramatically, in part because of the expansion of the Soviet military during this time. However, his tenure as leader has often been criticized for marking the beginning of an era of economic and social stagnation that eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Brezhnev was born in Kamenskoe into a Russian worker's family. After graduating from the Dniprodzerzhynsk Metallurgical Technicum, he became a metallurgical engineer in the iron and steel industry, in Ukraine. He joined Komsomol in 1923, and in 1929 became an active member of the Communist Party. He was drafted into immediate military service during World War II and left the army in 1946 with the rank of Major General. In 1952 Brezhnev became a member of the Central Committee, and in 1964, Brezhnev succeeded Nikita Khrushchev as First Secretary. Alexei Kosygin succeeded Khrushchev in his post as Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

Fedor Emelianenko

Martial Artist

Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianenko is a Russian politician and retired heavyweight mixed martial artist, sambist, and judoka. He has won tournaments and accolades in multiple sports, most notably the Pride 2004 Grand Prix and the World Combat Sambo championship on four occasions, as well as medaling in the Russian national Judo championship. Emelianenko received acclaim from major publications, including Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and Many analysts, fighters, and experts consider Emelianenko to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. He remained undefeated for nearly a decade, during which time he was considered the best heavyweight fighter in mixed martial arts, including notable wins over 5 former UFC champions and 5 former K-1 champions.

Yulia Tymoshenko


Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko, née Grigyan, born 27 November 1960, is a Ukrainian politician. She was the Prime Minister of Ukraine from 24 January to 8 September 2005, and again from 18 December 2007 to 4 March 2010. Tymoshenko is the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland"; which is the biggest opposition political party in Ukraine. Tymoshenko has been a practicing economist and academic. Prior to her political career, Yulia Tymoshenko was a successful but controversial businesswoman in the gas industry, becoming by some estimates one of the richest people in the country. Before becoming Ukraine's first female Prime Minister in 2005, Tymoshenko co-led the Orange Revolution. She placed third in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women 2005. Tymoshenko was a candidate in the Ukrainian presidential elections of 2010, but lost this election to Viktor Yanukovych. In December 2012 the united opposition nominated her and later in June 2013 confirmed her as its candidate in the 2015 Ukrainian presidential election. Tymoshenko strives for Ukraine’s integration to the European Union, strongly opposes membership of Ukraine in the Customs Union, supports eradication of post-Soviet corrupt clans in Ukraine and fights for justice for ordinary citizens of Ukraine.

Sergiy Stakhovsky

Tennis Player

Sergiy Stakhovsky is a Ukrainian professional tennis player. Stakhovsky turned professional in 2003 and had been playing mostly at the Challenger level from 2005–2008. His career-high singles ranking is World No. 31 and he has reached as high as No. 33 in doubles the same month. He won his first career title in March 2008, as a lucky loser ranked no. 209, defeating top seed Ivan Ljubičić in the final, thus becoming the first lucky loser to win a title since Christian Miniussi in 1991. He is the elder brother of tennis player Leonard Stakhovsky. He is currently coached by Rainer Schüttler.

Nikolay Davydenko

Tennis Player

Nikolay Vladimirovich Davydenko is a Russian tennis player. He achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3 in November 2006. Davydenko's best result in a Grand Slam tournament has been reaching the semi-finals, which he has done on four occasions: twice each at the French Open and the U.S. Open, losing to Roger Federer in all but one of them. His biggest achievement to date was winning the 2009 ATP World Tour Finals, and he has also won three ATP Masters Series.

Elena Vesnina

Tennis Player

Elena Sergeevna Vesnina is a Russian professional tennis player. Her career high rank is World No. 21, achieved in July 2013. She is coached by former ATP tour player Andrei Chesnokov.

Olga Kurylenko


Olga Kurylenko is a French actress and model. She was discovered as a model at the age of 14 and at the age of 16 moved from Ukraine to Paris, France to pursue a modelling career. Kurylenko started her acting career in 2005. She found success as an actress for her role as Nika Boronina in the movie adaptation of the video game Hitman, and then rose to fame by playing Bond girl, Camille Montes, in the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. More recently she starred in Terrence Malick's To the Wonder, and alongside Tom Cruise in Oblivion.

Vladimir Horowitz

Classical Artist

Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz was an American classical pianist and composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were considered legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century.

Viktor Yanukovych


Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych is a Ukrainian statesman and politician who has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010. Yanukovych served as the Governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002. Subsequently he was Prime Minister of Ukraine from 21 November 2002, to 31 December 2004, under President Leonid Kuchma, and he was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2004 presidential election, ultimately losing to Viktor Yushchenko. Yanukovych continued to lead his party, the Party of Regions, after the 2004 election, and he served as Prime Minister for a second time from 4 August 2006, to 18 December 2007 under President Yushchenko. On 3 March 2010, Yanukovych transferred the leadership of the party to Mykola Azarov. Yanukovych won most votes in the first round of the January 2010 presidential election, and faced Yulia Tymoshenko in the second round of the election. Yanukovych won the second round of the election with 48.95% of the vote against Tymoshenko's 45.47%.

Sviatoslav Richter

Classical Artist

Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was a Soviet pianist well known for the depth of his interpretations, virtuoso technique, and vast repertoire. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.

Helena Blavatsky


Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, was a Russian occultist. In 1875, Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, and William Quan Judge established a research and publishing institute called the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky defined Theosophy as "the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization." One of the main purposes of the Theosophical Society was "to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color". Blavatsky saw herself as a missionary of this ancient knowledge. Her extensive research into the spiritual traditions of the world led to the publication of what is now considered her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine, which organizes the essence of these teachings into a comprehensive synthesis. Blavatsky's other works include Isis Unveiled, The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence. Well-known and controversial during her life, Blavatsky was no stranger to criticism. Some authors have questioned the authenticity of her writings and the validity of her claims while others have praised them. Blavatsky is a leading name in the New Age Movement.

Golda Meir


Golda Meir was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Israel's first and the world's third woman to hold such an office, she was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government"; she was often portrayed as the "strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people". In 1974, after the end of the Yom Kippur War, Meir resigned as prime minister. She died in 1978 of lymphoma.

Ani Lorak

Pop rock Artist

Karolina Miroslavivna Kuiek, popularly known as Ani Lorak is a Ukrainian pop singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, and former UN Goodwill Ambassador. Having received Ukraine's most prestigious and honorary title, the People's Artist of Ukraine, Lorak has been cited as one of the most powerful and influential women in her country, as well as ranked one of the most beautiful women from Eastern Europe. Lorak represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song "Shady Lady" and came in 2nd place behind Dima Bilan from Russia.

Mikhail Bulgakov


Mikhaíl Afanasyevich Bulgakov was a Soviet Russian writer and playwright active in the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, which has been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.

Viktor Yushchenko


Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is a former President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution. As an informal leader of the Ukrainian opposition coalition, he was one of the two main candidates in the October–November 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Yushchenko won the presidency through a repeat runoff election between him and Viktor Yanukovych, the government-supported candidate. The Ukrainian Supreme Court called for the runoff election to be repeated because of widespread electoral fraud in favor of Viktor Yanukovych in the original vote. Yushchenko won in the revote. Public protests prompted by the electoral fraud played a major role in that presidential election and led to Ukraine's Orange Revolution. Following an assassination attempt in late 2004 during his election campaign, Yushchenko was confirmed to have ingested hazardous amounts of TCDD, the most potent dioxin and a contaminant in Agent Orange. He suffered disfigurement as a result of the poisoning, but has been slowly recovering in recent years. Before his election as President, Yushchenko already had a career in Ukrainian politics. In 1993, he became Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine. From 1998 till 2001 he was Prime Minister. After his dismissal as Prime Minister, Yushchenko went into opposition to President Leonid Kuchma and he founded the Our Ukraine bloc, which at the 2002 parliamentary election became Ukraine's most popular political force, with 23.57% of the votes. After Yushchenko's election in 2004 to the Presidency, this alliance was unable to continue this success, garnering only 13.95% of the votes in 2006 and 14.15% of the votes in 2007 parliamentary elections.

Alexandr Dolgopolov

Tennis Player

Alexandr Dolgopolov, formerly known as Oleksandr Dolgopolov, Jr., is the top-ranked Ukrainian male tennis player. He changed his first name spelling to the current form in May 2010.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk


Anatoliy Oleksandrovych Tymoshchuk is a Ukrainian football midfielder who plays for Russian Premier League club FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and captains the Ukrainian national team. He is "a deep-lying midfielder who is comfortable on the ball and capable of ferocious long-range shooting." Tymoshchuk began his professional career with his local Volyn Lutsk. He moved to play for Ukrainian giants, Shakhtar Donetsk, whom he captained and with whom he won the Ukrainian Premier League, Ukrainian Cup, and Ukrainian Super Cup titles. In 2008, Tymoshchuk won the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup as the captain of Zenit St. Petersburg. He also won a Russian Premier League and Russian Super Cup title. With Bayern, Tymoshchuk has already won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and the DFB-Supercup titles. In 2013 Tymoschuk returned to Zenit to finish his career in the club. Tymoshchuk won the UEFA Champions League in 2013 and he is also a UEFA Champions League runner-up in 2010 and 2012. Tymoshchuk is currently the captain of the Ukraine national football team. He is also the current all-time most capped player of the team. He took part in Ukraine's first-ever FIFA World Cup in 2006. He won the Ukrainian Footballer of the Year on three occasions.

Kazimir Malevich

Painting Artist

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was a Russian painter and art theoretician. He was a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the avant-garde, Suprematist movement.

Sergei Bubka

Olympic athlete

Serhiy Nazarovych Bubka is an Ukrainian retired pole vaulter. He represented the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991, was twice named Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News, and in 2012 was one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall of Fame. Bubka won six consecutive IAAF World Championships, an Olympics gold and broke the world record for men's pole vaulting 35 times. He was the first to clear 6.0 metres and the remains the only to clear 6.10 metres. He holds the current outdoor world record of 6.14 metres, set on 31 July 1994 in Sestriere, Italy and the current indoor world record of 6.15 meters, set on 21 February 1993 in Donetsk, Ukraine.

Andrei Chikatilo


Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was a Soviet serial killer, nicknamed the Butcher of Rostov, the Red Ripper, and the Rostov Ripper, who committed the sexual assault, murder and mutilation of a minimum of 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR. Chikatilo confessed to a total of 56 murders and was tried for 53 of these killings in April 1992. He was convicted and sentenced to death for 52 of these murders in October 1992 and subsequently executed in February 1994. Chikatilo was known by such titles as the Rostov Ripper and the Butcher of Rostov because the majority of his murders were committed in the Rostov Oblast of the Russian SFSR.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy

TV Contestant

Maksim "Maks" Aleksandrovich Chmerkovskiy is a Ukrainian Latin Ballroom dance champion, choreographer, and instructor. He is widely known as one of the professional dancers on the American television series Dancing with the Stars, on which he first appeared in season two. In 14 appearances on the show, Chmerkovskiy made it to the final round four times, with two runner-up and two third place finishes.

Stanisław Lem


Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy and satire. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is known as the author of the 1961 novel Solaris, which has been made into a feature film three times. In 1976 Theodore Sturgeon said that Lem was the most widely read science fiction writer in the world. In 1996, Lem was the recipient of the prestigious Polish national award, the Order of the White Eagle. His works explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and humanity's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books. Translations of his works are difficult due to passages with elaborate word formation, alien or robotic poetry, and puns.

Ludwig von Mises


Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was a philosopher, Austrian School economist, sociologist, and classical liberal. He became a prominent figure in the Austrian School of economic thought and is best known for his work on praxeology. Fearing a Nazi takeover of Switzerland, where he was living at the time, Mises emigrated to the United States in 1940. Mises had a significant influence on the libertarian movement in the United States in the mid-20th century.

Taras Shevchenko


Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko was a Ukrainian poet and artist. He is also known under the name Kobzar after his most famous literary work, a collection of poems entitled Kobzar. His literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, the modern Ukrainian language. Shevchenko is also known for many masterpieces as a painter and an illustrator.

Nikki Benz

Pornographic actor

Nikki Benz is a Canadian pornographic actress and Penthouse Pet who was selected the 2011 Pet of the Year.

John III Sobieski

Noble person

John III Sobieski was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, from 1674 until his death King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Sobieski's 22-year-reign was marked by a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and Khmelnytsky Uprising. Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander, most famous for the victory over the Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna. Following his victories over the Ottoman Empire, he was called by the Turks the "Lion of Lechistan" and held as the saviour of European Christendom by the pope.

Karina Smirnoff

TV Contestant

Karina Smirnoff is a Ukrainian professional ballroom dancer. She is best known to the general public as a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars, winning the thirteenth season with army veteran and soap opera star J. R. Martinez. She's also won runner-up title, a semi-final title, and several quarter final titles. She is a five-time U.S. National Champion, World Trophy Champion, and Asian Open Champion. Smirnoff has won the title at the UK Open, is a three-time champion at the US Open, two-time champion at the Asian Open, five-time champion at the Dutch Open, and five-time US National Professional Champion. She has taken second at the British Open Blackpool Dance Festival and she is the first woman to also ever make the "British Professional Final" with three different partners.


Pop Artist

Ruslana Stepanivna Lyzhychko, known mononymously as Ruslana, is a World Music Award winning and MTV Europe Music Award nominated artist, and the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004. holding the title of People's Artist of Ukraine. She is also a former MP serving as deputy in the Ukrainian parliament for the Our Ukraine Party. Ruslana is the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Ukraine. She is recognized as the most successful Ukrainian female solo artist internationally. She is a singer, songwriter, producer, musical conductor, pianist, dancer, voice actress and social activist. She writes, composes and produces her own songs and music videos. Since 28 December 1995 she has been married to Oleksandr Ksenofontov, a Ukrainian record producer. Together they have run the company Luxen Studio since 1993, producing radio and film trailers. Ruslana was the first artist emerging from the former Soviet Union to officially receive a platinum disc, her Dyki tantsi album selling more than 170,000 copies in the first 100 days after its release even without a supporting tour. This album is the best selling Ukrainian album to date, together with its English version, more than 800,000 copies being sold solely in Ukraine.

Symon Petliura


Symon Vasylyovych Petliura was a publicist, writer, journalist, Ukrainian politician, statesman of the Ukrainian People's Republic, and national leader who led Ukraine's struggle for independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917. On May 25, 1926 Petliura was slain with five shots from a handgun in broad daylight by the Russian anarchist of Jewish origin Sholom Schwartzbard in the center of Paris. Petliura has evoked contradictory judgments; he has been seen as a "freedom fighter who tried to protect Jews", a "bloody anti-Soviet terrorist who tried to create hatred between Ukrainians and Russians" and he has been held responsible for pogroms.

Elena Baltacha

Tennis Player

Elena Sergeevna Baltacha is a retired British professional tennis player of Ukrainian background. Being a four-time winner of the Aegon Award, she was also a long-term British No. 1, a position she held intermittently from 2002 to 2012. However, due to her absence from competition, due to knee surgery, as of 8 July 2013 she holds a current world ranking of No. 207 and domestic ranking of British No. 5. Her career high ranking of World No. 49 was achieved in September 2010. Over the course of her career she has won eleven ITF singles titles and four ITF doubles titles. She has also been a runner-up in three ITF events in singles and four in doubles. In 2010, Baltacha had victories over top 10 players, including two victories over Li Na and one against Francesca Schiavone, who at the time was the reigning French Open champion. In 2011 Baltacha won her most highly ranked tournament on the ITF tour, winning the 2011 Aegon Nottingham Challenge. It is often commented about her game that she has natural prowess, but finds it difficult to hit decisive winners at crucial points in matches, often holding her back from further progression.

Lee Strasberg

Acting Coach

Lee Strasberg was an American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective". In 1951, he became director of the non-profit Actors Studio, in New York City, considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school". In 1969, Strasberg founded the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City and in Hollywood to teach the work he pioneered. He is considered the "father of method acting in America," according to author Mel Gussow, and from the 1920s until his death in 1982 "he revolutionized the art of acting by having a profound influence on performance in American theater and movies". From his base in New York, he trained several generations of theatre and film's most illustrious talents, including Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Harris, Paul Newman, Ellen Burstyn, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and director Elia Kazan. Former student Elia Kazan directed James Dean in East of Eden, for which Kazan and Dean were nominated for Academy Awards. As a student, Dean wrote that Actors Studio was "the greatest school of the theater [and] the best thing that can happen to an actor". Playwright Tennessee Williams, writer of A Streetcar Named Desire, said of Strasberg's actors, "They act from the inside out. They communicate emotions they really feel. They give you a sense of life." Directors like Sidney Lumet, a former student, have intentionally used actors skilled in Strasberg's "Method".

Simon Wiesenthal


Simon Wiesenthal, KBE was a Jewish-Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter. He studied architecture and was living in Lviv at the outbreak of World War II. After being forced to work as a slave labourer in Nazi concentration camps such as Janowska, Plaszow, and Mauthausen during the war, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazi war criminals so that they could be brought to trial. In 1947 he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, where he and others gathered information for future war crime trials and aided refugees in their search for lost relatives. He opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna in 1961 and continued to try to locate missing Nazi war criminals. He played a small role in locating Adolf Eichmann, who was captured in Buenos Aires in 1960, and worked closely with the Austrian justice ministry to prepare a dossier on Franz Stangl, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1971. In the 1970s and 1980s, Wiesenthal was involved in two high-profile events involving Austrian politicians. Shortly after Bruno Kreisky was inaugurated as Austrian chancellor in April 1970, Wiesenthal pointed out to the press that four of his new cabinet appointees had been members of the Nazi Party. Kreisky, angry, called Wiesenthal a "Jewish Nazi" and likened his organisation to the Mafia. He later accused him of collaborating with the Nazis. Wiesenthal successfully sued for libel; the suit was settled in 1989. In 1986, Wiesenthal was involved in the case of Kurt Waldheim, whose Nazi past was revealed in the lead-up to the 1986 Austrian presidential elections. Wiesenthal, embarrassed that he had previously cleared Waldheim of any wrongdoing, suffered much negative publicity as a result of this event.

Joseph Kobzon


Iosif Davydovich Kobzon is a Russian singer, known for his crooner style.

Sergei Korolev


Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was the lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer in the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s. He is considered by many as the father of practical astronautics. Although Korolev was trained as an aircraft designer, his greatest strengths proved to be in design integration, organization and strategic planning. Arrested for alleged mismanagement of funds, he was imprisoned in 1938 for almost six years, including some months in a Kolyma labour camp. Following his release, he became a recognized rocket designer and a key figure in the development of the Soviet ICBM program. He was then appointed to lead the Soviet space program, made Member of Soviet Academy of Sciences, overseeing the early successes of the Sputnik and Vostok projects. By the time he died unexpectedly in 1966, his plans to compete with the United States to be the first nation to land a man on the Moon had begun to be implemented.


Noble person

Baibars or Baybars, nicknamed Abu l-Futuh was the fourth Sultan of Egypt from the Mamluk Bahri dynasty. He was one of the commanders of the Egyptian forces that inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France. He also led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked the first substantial defeat of the Mongol army, and is considered a turning point in history. Baibars' reign marked the start of an age of Mamluk dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean, and solidified the durability of their military system. He managed to pave the way for the end of the Crusader presence in the Levant, and reinforced the union of Egypt and Syria as the region's pre-eminent Arab and Muslim state, able to fend off threats from both Crusaders and Mongols. As Sultan, Baibars also engaged in a combination of diplomacy and military action, which allowed the Mamluks of Egypt to greatly expand their empire.

Bohdan Khmelnytsky


Bohdan Zynoviy Mykhailovych Khmelnytsky or Bogdan Khmelnitsky, Polish: Bohdan Zenobi Chmielnicki, was the Hetman of the Zaporozhian Host of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He led an uprising against the Commonwealth and its magnates which resulted in the creation of a Cossack state. In 1654, he concluded the Treaty of Pereyaslav with the Tsardom of Russia, which led to the eventual loss of independence to the Russian Empire.

Oleh Blokhin


Oleh Volodymyrovych Blokhin is a former Ukrainian football player who is currently head coach of FC Dynamo Kyiv. Blokhin was formerly a standout striker for Dynamo Kyiv and the Soviet Union. As a coach he has had two spells in charge of the Ukrainian national team, managing the team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012. As of 2013 Blokhin is the first and the only coach who successfully managed to qualify the Ukraine national football team for their international competition finals. In 1975, he was named European Footballer of the Year, winning the Ballon d'Or, becoming the second Soviet and the first Ukrainian player to achieve such a feat. In 2011, Oleg Blokhin, together with Igor Belanov and Vitaliy Starukhin were named as "the legends of Ukrainian football" at the Victory of Football awards.

Nestor Makhno


Nestor Ivanovych Makhno or Bat'ko Makhno was a Ukrainian anarcho-communist revolutionary and the commander of an independent anarchist army in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War. As commander of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, more commonly referred to as the Makhnovshchina, Makhno led a guerrilla campaign during the Russian Civil War. Makhno fought all factions that sought to impose any external authority over southern Ukraine, battling in succession the Ukrainian Nationalists, the Imperial German and Austro-Hungarian occupation, the Hetmanate Republic, the White Army, the Red Army, and other smaller forces led by Ukrainian atamans. Makhno and his movement repeatedly attempted to reorganize life in the Gulai-Polye region along anarchist-communist lines, however, the disruptions of the civil war precluded any long term social experiments. Although Makhno considered the Bolsheviks a threat to the development of an anarchist Free Territory within Ukraine, he twice entered into military alliances with them to defeat the White Army. In the aftermath of the White Army's final defeat in November 1920, the Bolsheviks initiated a military campaign against Makhno, which concluded with his escape across the Romanian border in August 1921. After a series of imprisonments and escapes, Makhno finally settled in Paris with his wife Galina and daughter Yelena. In exile Makhno wrote three volumes of memoirs. Makhno died in exile at the age of 45 from tuberculosis-related causes. He is also credited as the inventor of the tachanka, a horse-drawn platform mounting a heavy machine gun.

Yaroslav the Wise


Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus', known as Yaroslav the Wise or Iaroslav the Wise was thrice Grand Prince of Novgorod and Kiev, uniting the two principalities for a time under his rule. Yaroslav's Christian name was George after Saint George. A son of the Varangian Grand Prince Vladimir the Great, he was vice-regent of Novgorod at the time of his father’s death in 1015. Subsequently, his eldest surviving brother, Svyatopolk the Accursed, killed three of his other brothers and seized power in Kiev. Yaroslav, with the active support of the Novgorodians and the help of Varangian mercenaries, defeated Svyatopolk and became the Grand Prince of Kiev in 1019. Under Yaroslav the codification of legal customs and princely enactments was begun, and this work served as the basis for a law code called the Russkaya Pravda. During his lengthy reign, Rus' reached the zenith of its cultural flowering and military power.

Vladimir Kuts

Olympic athlete

Vladimir Petrovich Kuts was a Soviet long distance runner. Kuts was born in Aleksino, Ukraine, USSR. Kuts, who was an army officer during his sportive career, was first noticed internationally in 1954. At the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland, he defeated the favourites - Czech star Emil Zátopek and Britain's Christopher Chataway - in the 5,000 m, en passant setting a new world record. Kuts lost the World Record months later to Chataway, only to take it back again 10 days later. Having lost his World Record again in 1955, Kuts was still one of the favourites for the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. His chief opponent in the 5,000 m was British runner Gordon Pirie, who had broken the world record earlier that year. However, Kuts had set a new world record in the 10,000 m shortly before the Games. In the first final, the 10,000 m Kuts - as always - led from the start, finally breaking Pirie's spirit 4 laps from the end, finally winning by a wide margin. He broke away from Pirie with a final, desperate sprint, having briefly surrendered the lead and admitted later that had Pirie stayed with him on that sprint, he would probably have dropped out as he was then so tired. The 5,000 m final was ended as a race quite early on when Chataway moved ahead of his British colleagues, Pirie and Ibbotson, then suffered an attack of stomach cramp on a bend - he had been picked on past performance having lacked first class competition for a year or so and the pace that Kuts was setting was faster than anything he had run. It allowed Kuts to open up a gap and although Pirie and Ibbotson chased him, the Soviet runner was able to exploit it. With Kuts having broken contact, Pirie ran what was virtually a front race for the latter part of the race but was still strong enough to hold off a late challenge by Ibbotson for second place. It seems likely that had he been able to maintain contact with Kuts he would probably have won as he had beaten him easily over the distance in world record time in Bergen, early that year but due to Chataway's mishap, Kuts gained his second gold of the Games. The British press was anti-Pirie as he had once criticised them in a televised speech at a Sportsman of the Year presentation and partly because of this and also due to their general lack of understanding of the sport, they reported the race as an easy win for Kuts.

Vladimir Komarov


Vladimir Komarov is an actor.

Clarice Lispector


Clarice Lispector was a Brazilian writer who has been described as the most important Jewish writer since Franz Kafka. Acclaimed internationally for her innovative novels and short stories, she was also a journalist. Born to a Jewish family in Podolia in Western Ukraine, she was brought to Brazil as an infant, amidst the disasters engulfing her native land following the First World War. She grew up in Recife, northeastern Brazil, where her mother died when she was nine. The family moved to Rio de Janeiro when she was in her teens. While in law school in Rio, she began publishing her first journalistic work and short stories, catapulting to fame at age 23 with the publication of her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart, written as an interior monologue in a style and language that was considered revolutionary in Brazil. She left Brazil in 1944, following her marriage to a Brazilian diplomat, and spent the next decade and a half in Europe and the United States. Upon return to Rio de Janeiro in 1959, she began producing her most famous works, including the stories of Family Ties, the great mystic novel The Passion According to G.H., and what is arguably her masterpiece, Água Viva. Injured in an accident in 1966, she spent the last decade of her life in frequent pain, steadily writing and publishing novels and stories until her premature death in 1977.

Yevhen Levchenko

Soccer Midfielder

Yevhen Viktorovych Levchenko also known as Evgeniy Levchenko is a retired Ukrainian footballer. The main participant of the Russian version of the show The Bachelor-Kholostyak on Russian Televisional Channel TNT.

Emil Gilels

Classical Artist

Emil Grigoryevich Gilels was a Soviet pianist. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. His last name is sometimes transliterated as "Hilels".

Karol Szymanowski

Opera Artist

Karol Maciej Szymanowski was a Polish composer and pianist, considered one of the greatest Polish composers of the 20th century. His oeuvre has been divided into three periods. In the first, he showed the influence of the late Romantic German school as well as the early works of Alexander Scriabin, exemplified by his Étude Op. 4 No. 3, as well as his first two symphonies. Later, he developed an impressionistic partially atonal style, present in works as the Third Symphony or his Violin Concerto No. 1. His third period was influenced by the folk music of the Polish Górale region, like the ballet Harnasie, the Fourth Symphony, or his sets of Mazurkas for piano. He was awarded the highest national honors including the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and other, also foreign distinctions.

David Oistrakh


David Fyodorovich Oistrakh was a renowned Soviet classical violinist. Oistrakh collaborated with major orchestras and musicians from many parts of the world, including the Soviet Union, Europe, and the United States, and was the dedicatee of numerous violin works, including both of Dmitri Shostakovich's violin concerti, and the violin concerto by Aram Khachaturian. He is considered one of the preeminent violinists of the 20th century.

Alona Bondarenko

Tennis Player

Alona Volodymyrivna Bondarenko Dyachok is a Ukrainian tennis player. She has a younger sister Kateryna Bondarenko who also plays on the Tour. She formerly paired with her older sister Valeria in doubles. Her career high singles ranking was Number 19, achieved on 14 April 2008. She defeated former World No. 1 Jelena Janković in the third round of the 2010 Australian Open. She won the 2008 Australian Open women's doubles tournament with her sister Kateryna, beating Victoria Azarenka and Shahar Pe'er in the finals. She was born in Kryvyi Rih, Ukrainian SSR.

Sholem Aleichem


Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich, better known under his pen name Sholem Aleichem was a leading Yiddish author and playwright from Ukraine. The musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on his stories about Tevye the Dairyman, was the first commercially successful English-language stage production about Jewish life in Eastern Europe.

Leonid Kuchma


Leonid Danylovych Kuchma was the second President of independent Ukraine from 19 July 1994 to 23 January 2005. Kuchma took office after winning the 1994 presidential election against his rival, incumbent Leonid Kravchuk. Kuchma won re-election for an additional five-year term in 1999. His presidency was surrounded by numerous corruption scandals and the lessening of media freedoms. Corruption accelerated after Kuchma's election in 1994, but in 2000–2001, his power began to weaken in the face of exposures in the media. Under his watch the Ukrainian economy continued to decline until 1999, whereas growth was recorded since 2000, bringing relative prosperity to some segments of urban residents. During his presidency, Ukrainian-Russian ties began to improve. After a successful career in the machine-building industry of the Soviet Union, Kuchma began his political career in 1990, when he was elected to the Verkhovna Rada; he was re-elected in 1994. He served as Ukrainian Prime Minister between October 1992 and September 1993.

Dnepropetrovsk maniacs


The Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs are the killers responsible for a string of murders in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine in June and July 2007. The case gained additional notoriety because the killers made video recordings of some of the murders, with one of the videos leaking to the Internet. Two 19‑year-old locals, Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuck, were arrested and charged with 21 murders. A third conspirator, Alexander Hanzha was charged with two armed robberies that took place before the murder spree. On February 11, 2009, all three defendants were found guilty. Suprunyuck and Sayenko were sentenced to life imprisonment, while Hanzha received nine years in prison. The lawyers for Suprunyuck and Sayenko launched an appeal, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine in November 2009.

Ivan Aivazovsky

Painting Artist

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky was a Ukrainian-born Russian-Armenian painter, based in his native Crimea, best known for his seascapes, which constitute more than half of his paintings. The Ninth Wave is his "most celebrated work." Aivazovsky is considered one of the most prominent Russian artists and one of the greatest marine artists of the 19th century.

Dmytro Chygrynskiy


Dmytro Anatoliyovych Chygrynskiy born on 7 November 1986 is a Ukrainian international footballer who plays for Shakhtar Donetsk as a central defender.

Kliment Voroshilov

Military Commander

Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov, popularly known as Klim Voroshilov was a Soviet military officer, politician, and statesman.

Isaac Babel


Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel was a Russian language journalist, playwright, literary translator, and short story writer. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, all of which are considered masterpieces of Russian literature. Babel has also been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry". Loyal to, but not uncritical of, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Isaak Babel fell victim to Joseph Stalin's Great Purge due to his longterm affair with the wife of NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov. Babel was arrested by the NKVD at Peredelkino on the night of 15 May 15 1939. After "confessing", under torture, to being a Trotskyist terrorist and foreign spy, Babel was shot on 27 January 1940. The arrest and execution of Isaak Babel have been labeled a catastrophe for world literature.

Andriy Voronin


Andriy Viktorovych Voronin is a Ukrainian professional footballer. Voronin spent five full seasons in the Fußball-Bundesliga of Germany, and is currently a striker or attacking midfielder for Dynamo Moscow. His previous professional clubs include Borussia Mönchengladbach, Mainz, Köln, Bayer Leverkusen, Liverpool, Hertha BSC, and Dynamo Moscow. In the 2002–03 season, Voronin became top goalscorer in the 2. Bundesliga, which earnt him a transfer to the Bundesliga club Köln. At international level, Voronin played 74 matches for Ukraine from his debut in 2002. He was in their squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, after which he retired from international football.

Rinat Akhmetov


Rinat Leonidovych Akhmetov is a Ukrainian businessman and oligarch. He is the founder and President of System Capital Management, and is ranked among the wealthiest men in the nation. As of March 2013, he was listed as the 47th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of US 15.4 billion. There have been claims Akhmetov has been involved in organized crime. Akhmetov is also the owner and President of the Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk. In 2006–2007 and 2007–2012 Akhmetov was a member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada for the Party of Regions.

Dimitri Tiomkin


Dimitri Zinovievich Tiomkin was a Russian-born Hollywood film score composer and conductor. Musically trained in Russia, he is best known for his westerns. Tiomkin received twenty-two Academy Award nominations and won four.

Sviatoslav I of Kiev


Sviatoslav I Igorevich, also spelled Svyatoslav, was a prince of Rus. The son of Igor of Kiev and Olga, Sviatoslav is famous for his incessant campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers of Eastern Europe, Khazaria and the First Bulgarian Empire. He also conquered numerous East Slavic tribes, defeated the Alans and the Volga Bulgars, and at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars. His decade-long reign over the Rus' was marked by rapid expansion into the Volga River valley, the Pontic steppe, and the Balkans. By the end of his short life, Sviatoslav carved out for himself the largest state in Europe, eventually moving his capital in 969 from Kiev to Pereyaslavets on the Danube. In contrast with his mother's conversion to Christianity, Sviatoslav remained a staunch pagan all of his life. Due to his abrupt death in ambush, his conquests, for the most part, were not consolidated into a functioning empire, while his failure to establish a stable succession led to a fratricidal feud among his sons, resulting in two of his three sons being killed.

Robert Maxwell


Ian Robert Maxwell, MC was a Czechoslovakian-born British media proprietor and Member of Parliament. He rose from poverty to build an extensive publishing empire. His death revealed huge discrepancies in his companies' finances, including the Mirror Group pension fund, which Maxwell had fraudulently misappropriated. He escaped from Nazi occupation, joining the Czechoslovak Army in exile in World War II and then fighting in the British Army where he was decorated. After the war he worked in publishing, building up Pergamon Press to a major publishing house. After six years as an MP during the 1960s, he again put all his energy into business, successively buying the British Printing Corporation, Mirror Group Newspapers and Macmillan, Inc, among other publishing companies. He had a flamboyant lifestyle, living in Headington Hill Hall in Oxford from which he often flew in his helicopter, and sailing in his luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine. He was notably litigious and often embroiled in controversy, including about his support for Israel at the time of its War of Independence in 1948. In 1989, he had to sell successful businesses including Pergamon Press to cover some of his enormous debts, and in 1991 he was found dead, floating in the Atlantic Ocean having apparently fallen overboard from his yacht. He was given what amounted to a state funeral in Israel.

George Gamow


George Gamow, born Georgiy Antonovich Gamov, was a theoretical physicist and cosmologist – notably an early advocate and developer of Lemaître's Big Bang theory. He discovered a theoretical explanation of alpha decay via quantum tunneling, and worked on radioactive decay of the atomic nucleus, star formation, stellar nucleosynthesis and Big Bang nucleosynthesis, and molecular genetics. In his middle and late career, Gamow focused more on teaching, and became well known as an author of popular books on science, including One Two Three ... Infinity, and the Mr. Tompkins ... series of books. Some of his books are still in print more than a half-century after their original publication, and have become classic but still-relevant introductions to fundamental principles of mathematics and science.

Yevhen Konoplyanka

Soccer Midfielder

Yevhen Olehovych Konoplianka is a Ukrainian football midfielder who plays for FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Ukrainian Premier League and the Ukraine national team. His main position is left-sided forward, but he can also play as a right-sided forward and as a centre-forward.

John Demjanjuk


John Demjanjuk was a retired Ukrainian-American auto worker, a former soldier in the Soviet Red Army and a POW during the Second World War. Though he was a survivor of the notorious Nazi concentration camps system, he was convicted in 2011 by the German court for alleged war crimes as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews while acting as a guard named Ivan Demjanjuk at the Nazi extermination camp near Sobibór in occupied Poland. Since his conviction was pending appeal at the time of his death, Demjanjuk remains presumed innocent under German law, and his earlier conviction is invalidated. According to the Munich state court, Demjanjuk does not have a criminal record. Demjanjuk was born in Ukraine, and during World War II was drafted into the Soviet Red Army, where he was captured as a German prisoner of war. In 1952 he emigrated from Germany to the United States, and was granted citizenship in 1958 whereupon he formally anglicized his name from "Ivan" to "John". In 1986 he was deported to Israel to stand trial for war crimes, after being mistakenly identified by Israeli Holocaust survivors as "Ivan the Terrible", a notorious guard at the Treblinka extermination camp in Nazi occupied Poland. Demjanjuk was accused of committing murder and acts of extraordinarily savage violence against camp prisoners during 1942–43. He was convicted of having committed crimes against humanity and sentenced to death there in 1988. The verdict was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993, based on new evidence that "Ivan the Terrible" was likely another man, Ivan Marchenko. After the trial, in September 1993, he returned to his home in Ohio. In 1998 his citizenship was restored after a United States federal appeals court ruled that prosecutors had suppressed exculpatory evidence concerning his identity.

Vera Brezhneva

Pop rock Artist

Vira Viktorivna Halushka, better known by her stage name Vera Brezhneva, is a Ukrainian pop-singer and television presenter.

Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov


Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov was a Russian biologist, zoologist and protozoologist, best known for his pioneering research into the immune system. Mechnikov received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908, shared with Paul Ehrlich, for his work on phagocytosis. He is also credited by some sources with coining the term gerontology in 1903, for the emerging study of aging and longevity.

Yakov Smirnoff


Yakov Smirnoff is a comedian who immigrated to America from the USSR. He was popular in the 1980s for comedy performances in which he used irony and word play to contrast life under the Communist regime in his native Soviet Union with life in the United States, delivered in heavily accented English. He owns a theatre in Branson, Missouri, where he performs regularly. Smirnoff is also a professor at Missouri State University and Drury University where he teaches "The Business of Laughter." He also painted a 9/11 mural.

Andrei Kanchelskis


Andrei Antanasovich Kanchelskis is a Lithuanian origin Ukrainian-born Russian former professional footballer and an assistant manager of FC Volga Nizhny Novgorod. As a player from 1988 to 2006, he was a right winger, and is remembered for his spells with English clubs Manchester United and Everton, and in Scotland with Rangers. He is the only player in history to have scored in each of the Glasgow, Merseyside and Manchester local derbies. He also played in the top flight of English football with Southampton and Manchester City, as well as also appearing as a professional for Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk, Fiorentina, Al-Hilal, Saturn Moscow Oblast and Krylia Sovetov. He was capped internationally by the Soviet Union, CIS and Russia. He moved into management in 2010 with FC Torpedo-ZIL Moscow after two years as general director of FC Nosta Novotroitsk.

Joseph Roth


Joseph Roth, born Moses Joseph Roth, was an Austrian-Jewish journalist and novelist, best known for his family saga Radetzky March about the decline and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and for his novel of Jewish life, Job as well as the seminal essay 'Juden auf Wanderschaft', a fragmented account about the Jewish migrations from eastern to western Europe in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution. In the 21st century, publications in English of Radetzky March and of collections of his journalism from Berlin and Paris created a revival of interest in the author.

Ivan Mazepa


Ivan Stepanovych Mazepa, Cossack Hetman of the Hetmanate in Left-bank Ukraine, from 1687–1708, the Prince of the Holy Roman Empire 1707-1709. He was famous as a patron of the arts, and also played an important role in the Battle of Poltava where after learning of Peter I's intent to relieve him as acting Hetman of Ukraine and replace him with Alexander Menshikov, he deserted his army and sided with Charles of Sweden. The politicization of this desertion has held a lasting legacy in both Russian and Ukrainian national history. Because of this, the Russian Orthodox Church has laid an anathema on his name since the beginning of the 18th century and refuses to renounce to this day. Everyone who opposed the Russian government in eighteenth-century Ukraine were derogatorily referred to as Mazepintsy. The alienation of Mazepa from Ukrainian history continued during the Soviet period, but since Ukraine's independence there have been strong moves to rehabilitate Mazepa's image, although he remains a figure of mixed standing.

Shmuel Yosef Agnon


Shmuel Yosef Agnon was a Nobel Prize laureate writer and was one of the central figures of modern Hebrew fiction. In Hebrew, he is known by the acronym Shai Agnon. In English, his works are published under the name S. Y. Agnon. Agnon was born in Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire. He later immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine, and died in Jerusalem, Israel. His works deal with the conflict between the traditional Jewish life and language and the modern world. They also attempt to recapture the fading traditions of the European shtetl. In a wider context, he also contributed to broadening the characteristic conception of the narrator's role in literature. Agnon shared the Nobel Prize with the poet Nelly Sachs in 1966.

Sergei Stanishev


Sergei Dmitrievich Stanishev is a Bulgarian politician who has been the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party since 2001 and the leader of the Party of European Socialists, the second-largest party in the European Parliament since 2011. He was Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 2005 to 2009.

Nikolai Berdyaev


Nikolaj Berdyayev is a philosopher.

Paul Muni


Paul Muni was an Austrian-born American stage and film actor who grew up in Chicago. He started his acting career in the Yiddish theatre. During the 1930s, he was considered one of the most prestigious actors at Warner Brothers studios, and was given the rare privilege of choosing which parts he wanted. His acting quality, usually playing a powerful character, such as the lead in Scarface, was partly a result of his intense preparation for his parts, often immersing himself in study of the real character's traits and mannerisms. He was also highly skilled in using make-up techniques, a talent he learned from his parents, who were also actors, and from his early years on stage with the Yiddish Theater in Chicago. At the age of 12, he played the stage role of an 80-year-old man; in one of his films, Seven Faces, he played seven different characters. He was nominated six times for an Oscar, winning once as Best Actor in The Story of Louis Pasteur. He won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and a Tony Award.

Tatiana Navka

Ice dancer

Tatyana Aleksandrovna Navka is a Russian ice dancer who has also competed for the Soviet Union and Belarus. With partner Roman Kostomarov, she is the 2006 Olympic Champion, two-time World champion, three-time Grand Prix Final champion, and three-time European champion.

Denis Kudla

Tennis Player

Denis Kudla is a professional tennis player. Representing the United States, he is a former world no. 3 junior player who has, still early in his career, appeared in a handful of ATP World Tour main-draw matches.

Vasily Grossman


Vasily Semyonovich Grossman was a Soviet writer and journalist. Grossman trained as an engineer and worked in the Donets Basin, but changed career in the 1930s and published short stories and several novels. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he became a war correspondent for the Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, writing firsthand accounts of the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin. Grossman's eyewitness accounts of conditions in a Nazi extermination camp, following the liberation of Treblinka, were among the earliest. Grossman also translated Armenian literature into Russian, despite the fact that he lacked the ability to read Armenian, and worked on an interlinear translation made for him by a third person. After World War II, Grossman's faith in the Soviet state was shaken by Joseph Stalin's turn towards antisemitism in the final years before his death in 1953. While Grossman was never arrested by the Soviet authorities, his two major literary works were censored during the ensuing Nikita Khrushchev period as unacceptably anti-Soviet, and Grossman himself became in effect a nonperson. The KGB raided Grossman's flat after he had completed Life and Fate, seizing manuscripts, notes and even the ribbon from the typewriter on which the text had been written. Grossman was told by the Communist Party's chief ideologist Mikhail Suslov that the book could not be published for two or three hundred years. At the time of Grossman's death from stomach cancer in 1964, these books were unreleased. Copies were eventually smuggled out of the Soviet Union by a network of dissidents, including Andrei Sakharov and Vladimir Voinovich, and first published in the West, before appearing in the Soviet Union in 1988.

Lesya Ukrainka


Larysa Petrivna Kosach-Kvitka better known under her literary pseudonym Lesya Ukrainka, was one of Ukraine's best-known poets and writers and the foremost woman writer in Ukrainian literature. She also was a political, civil, and female activist.

Stanisław I Leszczyński

Noble person

Stanisław I Leszczyński was King of Poland, Duke of Lorraine and a count of the Holy Roman Empire. Born in Lwów in 1677, he was the son of Rafał Leszczyński, voivode of Poznań Voivodeship, and Anna Katarzyna Jabłonowska. He married Katarzyna Opalińska, by whom he had a daughter, Maria, who became Queen-Consort of France as wife of Louis XV. In 1697, as Cupbearer of Poland, he signed the confirmation of the articles of election of August II the Strong. In 1703 he joined the Lithuanian Confederation, which the Sapiehas with the aid of Sweden had formed against August.

Alex Kuznetsov

Tennis Player

Alex Kuznetsov is an American professional tennis player.

Muhammad Asad


Muhammad Asad was an Austro-Hungarian born journalist, traveler, writer, linguist, thinker, political theorist, diplomat and Islamic scholar. Asad was one of the most influential European Muslims of the 20th century. By the age of thirteen, young Weiss had acquired a passing fluency in Hebrew and Aramaic, other than his mother tongue German . By his mid-twenties, he could read and write in English, French, Persian and Arabic. In Palestine, Weiss engaged in arguments with Zionist leaders like Chaim Weizmann, voicing his criticism of the Zionist Movement. After traveling across the Arab World as a journalist, he converted to Islam and chose for himself the Muslim name "Muhammad Asad"—Asad being the Arabic rendition of his root name Leo. During his stay in Saudi Arabia, he spent time with Bedouins and enjoyed close company of Ibn Saud—the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. He also carried out a secret mission for Ibn Saud to trace the sources of funding for Ikhwan Revolt. Due to these activities, he was dubbed in a Haaretz articles as "Leopold of Arabia"—hinting similarity of his activities to those of Lawrence of Arabia.

Elina Svitolina

Tennis Player

Elina Svitolina is a professional Ukrainian tennis player. Her best result is winning the 2013 Baku Cup on 28 July 2013.

Lyudmila Gurchenko


Lyudmila Markovna Gurchenko was a popular Soviet and Russian actress, singer and entertainer.

Ana Layevska


Anna Laevski Rastsvetaeva, better known as Ana Layevska, is a Ukrainian-Mexican actress.

Valentina Matviyenko


Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko, is the highest-ranking female politician in Russia, the former governor of Saint Petersburg and the current Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. Born in the Ukrainian SSR, Matviyenko started her political career in the 1980s in Saint Petersburg and was the First Secretary of the Krasnogvardeysky District CPSU of the city from 1984 to 1986. In the 1990s she served as Russian ambassador to Malta and Greece. Between 1998–2003 Matviyenko was Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Welfare, and briefly the Presidential Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District in 2003. By that time she firmly allied herself with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an alliance which secured her a victory in the governor elections in Saint Petersburg, Putin's native city. Matviyenko became the first female leader of Saint Petersburg. Since the start of her service as governor a significant share of taxation money was transferred from the federal budget to the local one, and along with the booming economy and improving investment climate the standard of living significantly increased in the city, making income levels much closer to Moscow and far above most other Russian federal subjects. The profile of Saint Petersburg in Russian politics has risen, marked by the transfer of the Constitutional Court of Russia from Moscow in 2008.

Anna Sedokova

Pop Artist

Anna Sedokova is a Ukrainian singer, actress, TV host, and writer. She now lives in Los Angeles with her two daughters.

Stanislaw Ulam


Stanislaw Marcin Ulam, was a renowned Polish mathematician. He participated in America's Manhattan Project, originated the Teller–Ulam design of thermonuclear weapons, invented the Monte Carlo method of computation, and suggested nuclear pulse propulsion. In pure and applied mathematics, he produced many results, proved many theorems, and proposed several conjectures. Born into a wealthy Polish Jewish family, Ulam studied mathematics at the Lwów Polytechnic Institute, where he earned his D.Sc. in 1933 under the supervision of Kazimierz Kuratowski. In 1935, John von Neumann, whom Ulam had met in Warsaw, invited him to come to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, for a few months. From 1936 to 1939, he spent summers in Poland and academic years at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked to establish important results regarding ergodic theory. On 20 August 1939, he sailed for America for the last time with his 17 year old brother Adam Ulam. He became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1940, and a United States citizen in 1941. In October 1943, he received an invitation from Hans Bethe to join the Manhattan Project at the secret Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico. There, he worked on the hydrodynamic calculations to predict the behavior of the explosive lenses that were needed by an implosion-type weapon. He was assigned to Edward Teller's group, where he worked on Teller's "Super" bomb for Teller and Enrico Fermi. After the war he left to become an associate professor at the University of Southern California, but returned to Los Alamos in 1946 to work on thermonuclear weapons. With the aid of a cadre of female "computers", including his wife Françoise Ulam, he found that Teller's "Super" design was unworkable. In January 1951, Ulam and Teller came up with the Teller–Ulam design, which is the basis for all thermonuclear weapons.