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Russian Personalities

People well-known in art, sport, film, fashion

Larisa Latynina – Soviet gymnast

Larisa Latynina – Soviet gymnast

Larisa Latynina – Soviet gymnast

Larisa Latynina (nee – Diriy) is a Soviet gymnast, nine-time Olympic champion (1956, 1960, 1964), Honored Master of Sports of the USSR (1956), repeated World and European champion (1957- 62), the USSR champion (1956-64) in the individual and team competitions, honored coach of the USSR (1972), honored worker of physical culture of the Russian Federation.
Until 2012 record of US swimmer Michael Phelps – 22 medals, Larisa had the largest collection of Olympic medals in the history of the sport – 9 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals. Latynina is also known for the fact that at the European Championship in 1957 she won all the gold medals.
Larisa Semenovna was born on December 27, 1934 in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union. Her father, Diriy Semyon Andreyevich (1906-1943), was killed in the Battle of Stalingrad. Her mother, Barabanyuk Pelagia Anisimovna (1902-1975), was a cleaning woman. Since her childhood Larisa dreamed of the ballet. She joined choreographic studio at House of Folk Art. When the studio was closed Larisa became involved in gymnastics. In 1950 she became a member of the national team of Ukraine at the Championship in Kazan.
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Sergey Nemtsanov – Soviet athlete

Sergey Nemtsanov - Soviet athlete

Sergey Nemtsanov – Soviet athlete


Sergey Nemtsanov is a Soviet athlete, diver, and the master of sports of international class. In 1979 he became a champion of the USSR in diving. In 1974 and 1975 he was a winner of the USSR Youth Championship.
Sergey Vasilievich was born on January 23, 1959 in Leonidovo, Sakhalin Region. He was born into a military family. His father served as a pilot in Hungary. His mother left her son to his grandmother.
Sergey lived and trained in Alma-Ata, Kazakh SSR in the Dynamo sports society.
He was a participant of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal and 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
Sergey Nemtsanov fell in love with an American woman, tried to flee to Canada, but was trapped and returned home despised by everyone. Love broke the Soviet diver.
40 years ago during the Olympics there was a huge international scandal in Montreal.
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Valentin Rasputin – Russian writer

Valentin Rasputin – Russian writer

Valentin Rasputin – Russian writer

Valentin Rasputin was a Russian writer (representative of the so-called village prose), publicist and public figure. He was a Hero of Socialist Labor (1987), winner of two State Prizes of the USSR (1977, 1987), the State Prize of Russia (2012) and the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation (2010), member of the Writers’ Union since 1967.
Valentin was born on March 15, 1937 in the village of Ust-Uda, East-Siberian region. After school, he entered the historical-philological faculty of the Irkutsk State University. As a student, he became a freelance correspondent of youth newspaper. One of his essays attracted the attention of the editor and later it was published in the anthology Angara (1961).
He lived and worked in Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Moscow.
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Vasily Demut-Malinovsky – Russian sculptor

Vasily Demut-Malinovsky – Russian sculptor

Vasily Demut-Malinovsky – Russian sculptor

Vasily Demut-Malinovsky (1779-1846) was a Russian sculptor, the greatest representative of the Russian Empire. His works echoed the heroic epoch of the 1812 War and were close to the thoughts and feelings of the Russian people. His monumental works form the ensemble unity with such classic dominants of Petersburg as the Kazan Cathedral, the Arch of the General Staff, the Narva Gate. He worked in the funeral sculpture.
The future sculptor was born in St. Petersburg in 1779. His father worked as a wood carver. In 1785, while still a child, the age of six Vasily began to study at the Academy of Arts. During his studies he won four medals: two silver and two gold.
In 1803, Demut-Malinovsky, together with other pupils of the Academy of Arts was sent to Italy. Three years later in 1806 he returned home, but all of his works done abroad perished en route. So, he had to create new works.
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Alexander Benois – Russian artist

Alexander Benois – Russian artist

Alexander Benois – Russian artist

Alexander Benois was a Russian artist, art historian, art critic, founder and chief ideologue of the World of Art. As a talented artist, a populariser of art and organizer of many exhibitions, as a museum worker and an active figure in the world of theatre and cinema, Benois made an enormous contribution to the history of twentieth-century Russian art.
Alexander was born on April 21 (May 3), 1870 in St. Petersburg into a family of Russian architect Nikolai Leontyevich Benois and Camilla Albertovna Benois (the daughter of the architect A. K. Cavos).
For a while Alexander studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1894 he graduated from St. Petersburg State University. In the same year he began his career as a theorist and art historian, wrote a chapter about the Russian artists for the German book “History of the painting of the XIX century”. In 1896-1898 and 1905-1907 he worked in France.
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Mark Antokolsky – famous Russian sculptor

Ilya Repin. Portrait of Mark Antokolsky

Ilya Repin. Portrait of Mark Antokolsky

Mark Antokolsky was a famous Russian sculptor, realist, professor of sculpture.
Mark was born on October 21 (November 2), 1843 in Vilnius, the Russian Empire. He was the youngest, the seventh child in a Jewish family. His parents were rather poor people and very religious. As a child Antokolsky drew wherever he could – on the table, on the walls. When the child grew up, he was sent to learn wood carving. A. A. Nazimova, a wife of the governor-general and known patron of the arts, learned about the talented boy. Thanks to her Mark entered the Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1864 Antokolsky was awarded a silver medal for the high relief Jewish Tailor, and in 1868 – the gold for the high relief Jewish Miser.
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Abram Arkhipov – Russian painter

Girl with a jug by Abram Arkhipov

Girl with a jug by Abram Arkhipov

Abram Arkhipov was a Russian painter, Peredvizhnik. He made his name in the history of Russian art as a sensitive, poetic artist who devoted all his talent to themes from peasant life.
He was born on August 15 (27), 1862 into a poor peasant family in Ryazan Gubernia.
He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In addition, from 1884 to 1886 he studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Arkhipov started out as a genre- artist, in the footsteps of his teacher – Perov.
In 1887, Arkhipov got a large silver medal and the title of the class artist for the painting Visiting the Sick Woman, which depicts the artist’s mother.
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Prince Andrei Bogolubskii

V. Vasnetsov. Prince Andrei Bogolyubskii

V. Vasnetsov. Prince Andrei Bogolyubskii

1169 is considered to be the end of Kievan Russia. That year Andrei Bogolubskii conquered Kiev. Of course Kiev had been seized by different princes before. But it was the title of Grand Prince that they wanted, and Kiev became their capital.
For example, Yuri Dolgoruky, Andrei’s father, occupied Kiev twice, but in 1157 he was killed there. After his death Andrei inherited the Rostov and Suzdal principality. As Andrei considered himself to be the eldest prince, he gathered a levy and seized Kiev. His troops didn’t abstain from pillage and the capital of Kievan Russia was plundered.
But the most strange thing was that on receiving the title of Grand Prince Andrei didn’t stay in Kiev. His own principality was dearer to him, and such a thing happened for the first time: neither Rostov, nor Suzdal became the capital of Andrei’s state. He chose Vladimir.
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Efrosinya Polotskaya

Efrosinya Polotskaya

Efrosinya Polotskaya

Efrosinya Polotskaya was a daughter of the prince of Vitebsk Svyatoslav Vseslavich, granddaughter of Vseslav Charodey, nun and educator of the Old Russian State. Efrosinya was a princess, a philosophical and spiritual leader in the Polotsk principality in the 12th century.
She was born between 1101 and 1105 in Polotsk. At the age of 12 (age of majority) she refused a dynastic marriage and went to the monastery.
She was a highly educated person of that period. She had a good knowledge of geography, Greek, Latin, mythology and other sciences. First she was a nun and later Mother Superior of the Convent. She did a lot of charitable work which included opening schools and hospitals. She taught other people, wrote and rewrote books by hand. She founded the Spass-Efrosinya church in Polotsk.
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Orest Kiprensky – master of portrait

Orest Kiprensky. Self-portrait

Orest Kiprensky. Self-portrait

Orest Kiprensky (1782 – 1836) was a Russian painter, a master of portrait. He was the first Russian portraitist of the XIX century.
Orest, the illegitimate son of a landowner A. Dyakonov, was born on March 13 (24), 1782 in Petersburg Gubernia. According to the documents he became a member of serf Adam Schwalbe’s family.
In 1788 he received freedom and entered the school at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts under the name Kiprensky. He studied at the Academy until 1803.
In 1804 Kiprensky painted one of his most talented works—a portrait of his father, Adam Schwalbe. In 1830 it was displayed at an art exhibition in Naples. Some considered the portrait of his father a Rubens masterpiece, others thought it was a Van Dyck.
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