Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: History

Mata Hari and her Russian love

Well-known Mata Hari

Well-known Mata Hari

Mata Hari was one of the most famous and desirable women in history. She is widely known as a resourceful double spy.

Her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (born August 7, 1876). She was the daughter of a Dutch hat-maker.
Margaretha always wanted to have a close family: loving husband and children. So in 1895 19-years-old girl married 39-years-old military man Rudolph MacLeod, who moved her to Java. Margaretha gave birth to a son and a daughter.
But MacLeod’s bad temper strained their marriage, and nothing could repair the damage done.
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Ivan Poddubny – Russian Bogatyr

Ivan Poddubny
On August 8, 1949, in the city of Yeysk, in terrible poverty (he even had to sell all his awards not to starve), died of a heart attack Ivan Poddubny. He was a legendary Russian and Soviet professional wrestler and athlete, six-time World Champion, the strongest man on the planet.
His career lasted for about forty years.
He became the Champion of America in 1926 at the age of 55!
Russian bogatyr weighed about 130 kg and was a vegetarian. (“bogatyr” is an epic hero of Russian folk legends)
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Marc Chagall, great avant-garde artist

Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall was the Russian, Belarusian and French painter of Jewish origin. He was one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. He created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.
Chagall proved himself one of the 20th century’s great masters of art.

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Vladimir Mayakovsky – Russian Futurist

Vladimir Mayakovsky
Vladimir Mayakovsky was the best and the most talented poet of the Soviet epoch, playwright, artist and stage and film actor. He is among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism.

Mayakovsky was born on July 19, 1893 in Baghdati, Russian Empire, where his father worked as a forest ranger. After the death of his father in 1906, the family moved to Moscow.
In Moscow, Mayakovsky took part in numerous activities of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. In 1908, he was dismissed from the grammar school because his mother was not able to pay for the education.
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Tatiana Yakovleva – Leading Designer of Hats

Tatiana Yakovleva
Tatiana Yakovleva (fr. Tatiana Yacovleff) was born on March 25 (April 7), 1906 in Saint Petersburg, into a professional family that found sanctuary in Paris after the Bolshevik Revolution. Mr. Citroen (founder of the Citroen automobile company) helped the Yakovlevs to leave Russia. Andre Citroen was a friend of a famous artist Alexander Yakovlev (Tatiana’s uncle), who helped Andre to create sketches of future cars.
Tatiana arrived in Paris at the age of 19. The beauty helped her and soon there were a lot of advertising posters with her face in the Parisian streets.
Tatiana was acquainted with the dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Alexander Godunov, a poet Joseph Brodsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Feodor Chaliapin, made friends with the artists Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova.
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Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay, Russian traveler

N. Mikluho - Maclay

N. Mikluho – Maclay

Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay (1846-1888) was an outstanding Russian scientist, humanist and traveler. He was also an anthropoligist and zoologist. He is widely known in Russia and abroad. In 1871 Miklouho-Maclay went to New Guinea, where he spent 15 months. The people of New Guinea remember the first European who stepped on their land and lived among them as their devoted friend. The bay where he lived has been named “Maclay Coast.” Stamps have been printed in his honor and there are many legends about him among the Papuans. Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay won the trust and admiration of the local people in New Guinea. And, in spite of the fact that he caught malaria in New Guinea and was very ill, he wrote, “…in no other corner of the globe where I have had to live during my wanderings, have I ever felt such an affection as to the coast of New Guinea.”
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Alexei Maresyev – Hero with no legs

Aleksei Maresyev
Aleksei Maresyev was born in Russia on May 20, 1916. Although his three elder brothers were strong healthy boys, Aleksei’s own health was not so good. He particularly suffered from pain in his joints. The nearest school was four kilometers away and sometimes Aleksei’s brothers almost had to carry him back. Aleksei always wanted to become a pilot but with health problems like these, there was no chance.
Aleksei became an active Komsomol member and after finishing school he was sent to the Far East to build Komsomolsk-upon-Amur. Although Aleksei didn’t particularly want to go so far away, he didn’t have very much choice.
However, it all turned out for the best. Much to Aleksei’s own surprise, after a few months of being in the Far East his health started to improve. Eventually, Maresyev joined an air club. After serving in the army in the Russian Air Force, Maresyev went on to study at a professional college for military pilots. He finished the college just in time to put his newly learned skills into practice.
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