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Russian Personalities

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

Alexander Gradsky – composer and singer

Alexander Gradsky – composer and singer

Alexander Gradsky – composer and singer


Alexander Gradsky is a Soviet and Russian singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, poet, and composer. He is one of the founders of Russian rock, Honored Artist of Russia (1997), laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation (1999), People’s Artist of Russia (1999), People’s Artist of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (2014).
Alexander Borisovich Gradsky was born on November 3, 1949 in Kopeisk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, RSFSR, USSR. His father Boris Abramovich Fradkin (1926-2013) was a mechanical engineer. In 1957 the family returned to Moscow. His mother, Tamara Gradskaya (1929-1963), a graduate of GITIS, had great influence on the development of the future musician.
In 1965, he founded Soviet rock group The Slavs and a year later, in 1966, Skomorokhs, which brought him the greatest popularity.
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Igor Sikorsky – aircraft designer

Igor Sikorsky - aircraft designer

Igor Sikorsky – aircraft designer

Igor Sikorsky was a Russian and the American aircraft designer, scientist, inventor, philosopher, engineer, pilot, and entrepreneur. He was the creator of the world’s first: four-engine airplane Russian Vityaz (1913), a heavy four-engine bomber and the passenger plane Ilya Muromets (1914), a transatlantic seaplane, single-rotor helicopter (USA, 1942). His single-rotor design, a major breakthrough in helicopter technology, remains the dominant configuration in the early twenty-first century. The winged-S emblem still signifies the world’s most advanced rotorcraft.
Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky was born on May 25, 1889 in Kiev, Russian Empire. He was the youngest of five children in a family of well-known psychiatrist, professor of Kiev University in the Department of Mental and Nervous Diseases – Ivan Sikorsky (1842-1919). While still a schoolboy the boy built several model aircraft and helicopters, as well as bombs.
From 1903 to 1906 Igor studied at the St. Petersburg Naval Academy. In 1907 Sikorsky entered the Kiev Polytechnic Institute where he became a member of aero club.
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Alexei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov - Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov (1830-1897) was a Russian landscape painter, a founding member of the Peredvizhniki, the author of iconic landscape The Rooks Have Come Back.
Alexei was born on May 12 (24), 1830 in Moscow into a family of merchant Kondratiy Savrasov. In 1844, the boy entered the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture.
In 1851 Savrasov painted View of the Kremlin from the Crimean Bridge in inclement weather and his name became known.
In the summer of 1854, he painted two pictures: View in the Environs of Oranienbaum and Coastline in the Environs of Oranienbaum, and was awarded the title of academician. The first picture was bought by Pavel Tretyakov in 1858.
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Lyudmila Pakhomova – figure skater

Lyudmila Pakhomova – Soviet figure skater

Lyudmila Pakhomova – Soviet figure skater


Lyudmila Pakhomova was a prominent Soviet figure skater, Olympic champion (1976), six-time world champion (1970-1974, 1976) and champion of Europe (1970-1971, 1973-1976), nine-time champion of the USSR (1964-1966, 1969-1971, 1973-1975) in ice dancing (with V.I. Ryzhkin in 1964-1966, with A.G. Gorshkov from 1969), Honored Master of Sports of the USSR (1970), Honored coach of the RSFSR (1984). She is the author of the books “The choreography in figure skating”, “Monologue after the applause”, “And the music is forever”.
Lyudmila was born on December 31, 1946 in Moscow. Her mother was a physician, and her father was a General, Hero of the Soviet Union. Her father wanted Lyudmila to become a parachutist.
She began skating at the age of seven at Young Pioneers Stadium in Moscow.
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Alexander Zhirov – Soviet skier

Alexander Zhirov – Soviet skier

Alexander Zhirov – Soviet skier


Alexander Zhirov was a Soviet skier, master of sports of international class, repeated champion of the USSR, winner of 4 World Cup. He specialized in slalom and giant slalom.
Alexander was born on September 12, 1958 in Dedenevo, Moscow region, USSR.
He began downhill skiing in the village Shukolovo, not far from his native village Dedenevo. Valentin Shirokov was his first coach. At the age of 15 Alexander joined CSKA, where his coach was Victor Talyanov. As a part of the USSR national team he was trained by Leonid Tyagachev.
Zhirov made his debut in the World Cup on February 7, 1979 in Oslo and took 23th place.
On January 8, 1980 in the Bavarian Lenggries on the slalom track 21-year-old Soviet newcomer was able to take the second place. Zhirov was ahead of such famous skiers like Ingemar Stenmark, Phil Mare Gustav Tony, Andreas Wenzel.
In February 1980, at the Olympic Games in Lake Placid, Alexander took the 9th place in the giant slalom.
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Ekaterina Ivanova – first Soviet climber on Everest

Ekaterina Ivanova – first Soviet climber on Everest

Ekaterina Ivanova – first Soviet climber on Everest


Ekaterina Ivanova was a Soviet and Russian climber, honored master of sports in mountaineering (1990), the first Soviet climber who conquered Everest (1990). Ekaterina was one of the brightest climbers in Russian history. She loved the mountains with all her heart, and they eventually took her life.
Ekaterina Nikolaevna Ivanova (nee – Dorofeeva) was born on April 1, 1962 in Kurchum district of the East Kazakhstan region, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union. Her mother was a nurse and her father was a carpenter on a collective farm in the village Platovo. In 1984 Ekaterina graduated from the Geological Department of the Irkutsk Polytechnic Institute. As a student she was fond of climbing and took part in competitions. Later she worked as a geologist.
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Lavrenti Beria – Soviet politician

Lavrenti Beria – Soviet politician

Lavrenti Beria – Soviet politician

Lavrenti Beria was a Soviet politician and police official, chief of the NKVD (1938-1946), member of the Communist Party (1917-1953).
Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria was born in 1899 in a village in the Georgian Republic. He was the son of a Georgian peasant.
He entered the Baku Polytechnic for Mechanical Construction in 1915 and graduated four years later.
In March 1917 Beria joined the Bolshevik wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. He participated in the Russian Revolution as an underground soldier and counterintelligence agent in the Caucasus.
In 1921, his career in the Soviet secret police began. Beria’s influence grew as the political police played an increasing role in Georgian politics. His career was successful because he helped to engineer the defeat of the national communists, who wanted Georgia to retain some form of independence from Moscow.
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Vasily Perov – Russian painter

Vasily Perov. Self-portrait, 1870

Vasily Perov. Self-portrait, 1870

Vasily Perov (1834-1882) was a Russian painter, one of the founding members of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions (Peredvizhniki). In this genre he took up social problems of inestimable importance, expressing the most progressive ideas of the time.
Vasily was the illegitimate son of provincial prosecutor Baron George (Gregory) Karlovich Kridener and A.I. Ivanova. His date of birth is exactly unknown: December 21-23, 1833 or January 2-4, 1834. Despite the fact that shortly after the birth of the boy, his parents got married, Vasily had no rights to the name and the title of his father. A few years after the birth of the boy, his father was retired and the family moved to Arkhangelsk, and then to the family estate Suslep. In 1842 the family moved to the Nizhny Novgorod province.
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Russian Noble Prize winners

Russian Noble Prize winners

Russian Noble Prize winners


Russia can boast a lot of the Noble Prize laureates in many fields of science. Among them are:
1904 – Physiology and Medicine, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov for his work on the physiology of digestion.
1908 – Physiology and Medicine, Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov for his work on immunity.
1933 – Literature, Ivan Alexeevich Bunin for artistic excellence and the continuation of the tradition of Russian classics in lyrical prose.
1956 – Chemistry, Nikolay Semenov for research in the mechanism of chemical reactions.
1958 – Literature, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak for significant achievement in contemporary lyrical poetry, as well as the continuation of the traditions of the great Russian epic novel. Pasternak refused the Prize.
1958 – Physics, Pavel Alexeevich Cherenkov, Igor Evgenievich Tamm and Ilya Mikhailovich Frank for the discovery and interpretation of the Cherenkov Effect.
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Alexander Scriabin – Russian composer

Alexander Scriabin – Russian composer

Alexander Scriabin – Russian composer


Alexander Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist. He was a striking representative of the early modern school of Russian music.
Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was born on December 25, 1871 (according to other sources on January 6, 1872) in Moscow. He was born into the family of the Moscow University student, Nikolai Scriabin, who later became a prominent diplomat and state councilor. His mother, Lyubov Petrovna, was a talented pianist graduated with honors from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After an early death of the spouse Nikolai married Olga Fernandez. They had five children: Nicholai, Vladimir, Xenia, Andrei, Cyril.
Since childhood Alexander studied piano and, at the age of 14, took theory and composition instruction from Alexander Taneev.
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