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Russian Personalities

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

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – great composer

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – great composer

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – great composer


Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a prominent Russian composer, conductor, and pedagogue, a member of the Russian Mighty Five. He contributed to the formation of a Russian national music in the nineteenth century.
Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov was born on March 6, 1844 in the town of Tikhvin near Novgorod. His father had served prominently in the provincial government. At the age of 12 the boy entered the St. Petersburg Naval Academy. There he took violoncello lessons and piano lessons from Feodor Kanille. The teacher encouraged his efforts at composition. In 1861 Kanille introduced the young cadet to the Balakirev Circle, a circle of talented dilettantes. Later its prominent members – Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Aleksandr Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, and Cesar Cui, became known as Mighty Handful or Mighty Five.
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Mikhail Bulgakov – author of Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov – author of Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov – author of Master and Margarita


Mikhail Bulgakov was a Soviet novelist, journalist, short story writer, and playwright; author of internationally acclaimed novel Master and Margarita.
Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov was born on May 2, 1891 in Kiev. He graduated from the Kiev University Medical School in 1916. He practiced medicine in provincial villages. He witnessed the outbreak of the Russian Civil War in Kiev and struggled with morphine addiction.
In 1920 he abandoned medicine and began writing career. Mikhail moved to Vladikavkaz, Caucasus, where he wrote feuilletons and studied theater.
In 1921 Bulgakov moved to Moscow. His satirical novel Heart of a Dog, a science fantasy in which human organs are transplanted into a dog, was deemed unpublishable. His plays were banned.
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Demyan Bedny – Soviet writer

Demyan Bedny – Soviet writer

Demyan Bedny – Soviet writer


Demyan Bedny was a Russian Soviet writer, poet, publicist and public figure. He was a member of the RSDLP (Russian Social Democratic Labour Party) since 1912. In 1938 Demyan was expelled from the party and restored to party membership posthumously in 1956.
Demyan Bedny (his real name was Efim Alekseevich Pridvorov) as born on April 13, 1883 in Gubovka, Kherson Province. The boy was born in a peasant family.
In 1896-1900 he studied at the Kiev military paramedic school, in 1904-1908 at the philological faculty of the St. Petersburg University. His first poems were published in 1899. As a pseudonym (Bedny means Poor), he took the village nickname of his uncle, a public accuser and an atheist.
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Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya – Teffi

Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya - Teffi

Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya – Teffi


Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya was a Russian humorist writer and she wrote under the pseudonym Teffi.
Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya was born in April 1872. Her father, A.V. Lokhvitsky, was a very famous man – a professor of criminalistics, a wealthy man. The numerous family had various talents. All children wrote something, especially had a great interest in poetry.
Teffi said about this: “This occupation was considered for us somehow very shameful, and hardly anyone who caught a brother or sister with a pencil, notebook and inspirational face – immediately started shouting: Writes! He writes! Writer!”
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Valeri Kharlamov – legendary hockey player

Valeri Kharlamov – legendary hockey player

Valeri Kharlamov – legendary hockey player


The car became something of a sign of fate for the Soviet hockey player Valeri Kharlamov. He was born in the cabin of the car on a cold January day in 1948 (his mother did not have time to take him to the hospital). And he died in his own Volga in August 1981.
In 1932, the magazine Physical Culture and Sport evaluated hockey as a game that “has a purely individual and primitive character, is very poor in combinations”. But this did not prevent the development of Russian hockey.
In 1946 the first national hockey championship took place. In 1949, the USSR recognized its first star in this sport: Anatoly Tarasov was the first hockey player awarded the title of Honored Master of Sports. In 1954, the USSR team won the World Championship.
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Zinovy Peshkov – French general from Russia

Zinovy Peshkov - French general from Russia

Zinovy Peshkov – French general from Russia


Zinovy Peshkov was a General of the French Army, owner of fifty government awards. He was an elder brother of Ya. M. Sverdlov and godson of Maxim Gorky. Zinovy spoke seven foreign languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.
Zinovy Alekseevich Peshkov was born on October 16, 1884 in Nizhny Novgorod.
Maxim Gorky (Alexei Peshkov), who lived in those years in Nizhny Novgorod, often came to the Sverdlovs. In 1901, Zinovy along with Maxim Gorky was arrested on charges of using a mimeograph for the purposes of revolutionary propaganda. In 1902, Zinovy left for Arzamas, where Maxim Gorky lived in exile at that time, and participated in the reading of his new play At the Bottom. In 1902, Zinovy tried to enter the Imperial Philharmonic School in Moscow, but he was not enlisted as a Jew.
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Valery Chkalov – legendary Soviet pilot

Valery Chkalov – legendary Soviet pilot

Valery Chkalov – legendary Soviet pilot


Valery Chkalov was a Soviet test pilot, brigade commander (1938), Hero of the Soviet Union (1936). He was the commander of the crew, who in 1937 made the first non-stop flight across the North Pole from Moscow to Vancouver, Washington.
Valery Pavlovich Chkalov was born on January 20 (February 2), 1904 in Vasilyovo, Balakhninsky district, Nizhny Novgorod Province, Russian Empire (now Chkalovsk, Russia). His mother died in 1910, when Valery was six years old. At the age of seven the boy entered elementary school. He had excellent memory and good mathematical abilities, was a good swimmer. In 1916, after school his father sent him to study at the Cherepovets Technical School. However, because of the financial difficulties and shortage of teachers, the school was closed in 1918. Valery returned home and began working with his father.
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Barbara Brylska – famous actress

Barbara Brylska – famous actress

Barbara Brylska – famous actress


Barbara Brylska is a Soviet and Polish film and theater actress, a singer. She became a laureate of the State Prize of the USSR in 1977. In the republics of the former USSR, she is best known for the role of Nadia Shevelyova, the main character in the film The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath by film director Eldar Ryazanov. In 2008, she was a member of the jury of the entertainment TV program Two Stars-2 on Channel 1. Since 2009, she has been a member of the jury of the TV show Narodnaya Zvezda on TRK Ukraina.
Barbara Brylska was born on June 5, 1941 in Skotniki, Poland. At the age of 15, she first played an episodic role in the film Galoshes of Fortune. Later she joined theater club, studied at the Lodz Higher School of Theater. In 1967 she graduated from the Warsaw Higher School of Theater, Film and Television.
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Aram Khachaturyan – Soviet composer

Aram Khachaturyan - Soviet composer

Aram Khachaturyan – Soviet composer


Aram Khachaturyan was a Soviet composer, conductor, public figure, teacher. Khachaturyan is one of the greatest composers of the XX century. He is the author of 3 ballets, 3 symphonies, 6 concerts, a huge number of vocal, choral, instrumental and program music, music for films and theater productions, as well as music of the Armenian National SSR Hymn (1944). He was Hero of Socialist Labor (1973), People’s Artist of the USSR (1954). He was awarded the Lenin Prize (1959), four Stalin Prizes (1941, 1943, 1946, 1950), the USSR State Prize (1971) and the State Prize of the Armenian SSR (1965). In 1963 Aram became Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR. From 1951 to 1978 he was a professor of the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1965, Khachaturyan was awarded a title of Doctor of Arts.
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Alexander Grin – famous writer

Alexander Grin – famous writer

Alexander Grin – famous writer


Alexander Grin was a Russian writer, poet, author of philosophical and psychological works.
Alexander Stephanovich Grinevsky was born on August 23, 1880, Vyatka province, Russian Empire. His father Stefan Grinevsky was an exiled Polish rebel. He was an employee and did not think of anything, except for a timely payment of salaries. But his eldest son Sasha was very different. At the age of eight the boy received three chests full of books about adventures, brave travelers and unknown distant countries.
After school Sasha went to Odessa dreaming of becoming a sailor. The boy was fascinated by southern bright city. Sasha managed to get a job as a cabin boy and even sailed to Alexandria. However, he left the ship very soon. Then he wandered around the country and tried many jobs, but did not find a job for himself.
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