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Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: History

Boris Godunov – Russian Tsar

Boris Godunov – Russian Tsar

Boris Godunov – Russian Tsar

Boris Godunov was the Tsar of Russia from 1598 to 1605. He was one of the most famous (or infamous) rulers of early modern Russia.
Boris Feodorovich Godunov was born in 1551 in Moscow. He was a member of the ancient Russian family of Saburov-Godunov of Tatar origin, which migrated from the Golden Horde in the 14th century.
Godunov was married to the daughter of Maliuta Skuratov (the notorious boss of the Oprichnina). Boris and Maria had two children: a daughter named Ksenya and a son named Fyodor.
In 1580 Godunov was promoted to the rank of boyar on the marriage of his sister to Feodor, the son of Ivan IV. After the death of Ivan IV in 1584, Feodor became czar of Russia. However, he had the mentality of a child. So rule passed to a dual regency of Nikita Romanovich Yuriev, the Czar’s uncle, and Boris Godunov. In 1586, after the death of Yuriev, Godunov became Russia’s new master in all but name.
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Alexander Herzen – political agitator

Alexander Herzen - political agitator

Alexander Herzen – political agitator

Alexander Herzen was Russian writer, novelist, philosopher, teacher and political agitator. He developed a socialist philosophy that was the ideological basis for much of the revolutionary activity in Russia. He was a founder of Russian populism.
Alexander Ivanovich Yakovlev (his real surname) was born on March 25, 1812, in Moscow. He was the illegitimate son of a wealthy Moscow aristocrat, Ivan Alexeevich Yakovlev and his German-born mistress.
When Herzen was 13, Decembrist rising took place, and he was present at the thanksgiving service in the Kremlin after the hangings. It made a lasting impression on him.
In 1829 Alexander entered the University of Moscow to study natural sciences and became the leader of a small group fighting for freedom.
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Vissarion Belinsky – literary critic

Vissarion Belinsky – literary critic. Picture by K. Gorbunov

Vissarion Belinsky – literary critic. Picture by K. Gorbunov

Vissarion Belinsky was Russian literary critic. He was a major force in the intellectual and literary life of his country, and his writings form the foundation of Russian literary criticism. He established a symbiotic relationship between the writer and the critic whose creative interaction he considered a tool of societal self-exploration.
Vissarion Grigorievich Belinsky was born on May 30, 1811, in Suomenlinna (Sveaborg), Finland into the family of a naval doctor.
Vissarion spent his youth in Penza Province, Russia, where his father was district physician. He studied at the local grammar school and the Penza Gymnasium.
From 1829 to 1832 he studied at the literary department of the Philosophy Faculty of Moscow State University. In 1831 he published some reviews and poems in Listok. The following year he was expelled from the university because he attacked serfdom.
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Mikhail Gorbachev – Soviet president

Mikhail Gorbachev – Soviet president

Mikhail Gorbachev – Soviet president

Mikhail Gorbachev was general secretary of the Communist Party, then president of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. He was a reformer who attempted to fix the economic problems of the system and wanted democracy to grow within the country. Gorbachev’s efforts to change his country helped to lead to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931 in a small village in the Stavropol region in south Russia. His father joined the Communist Party and was a veteran of the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). When he was still a teenager, Gorbachev was awarded the Order of Red Banner of Labor for heroic feats of work. He had assisted his father, a combine operator (who was given the Order of Lenin) in bringing in a record harvest in 1948.
In 1952 Gorbachev joined the Communist Party. He received his law degree from Moscow State University in 1955. During his time in Moscow he met his future wife, Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko, who would play a crucial supporting role in his reforms throughout their lives. They were married in 1953 and remained utterly devoted to each other.
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Boris Yeltsin – first Russian president

Boris Yeltsin – first Russian president

Boris Yeltsin – first Russian president

Boris Yeltsin was the first president of Russia following the collapse of the communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was born on February 1, 1931 in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Russia. He became an engineer as a young man.
He studied construction at the Ural Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1955.
In the 1960s Yeltsin joined the Communist Party—the political group that controlled the Soviet Union. In 1976 the party put him in charge of the Sverdlovsk region.
In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev made Yeltsin the leader of Moscow.
In 1987 Gorbachev removed Yeltsin from his high-ranking party positions. Yeltsin became a harsh critic of Gorbachev and advocated a slow pace of reform, which became a hallmark of his later policies.
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Felix Yusupov – Golden Boy of the Russian aristocracy

Felix Yusupov - Golden Boy of the Russian aristocracy

Felix Yusupov – Golden Boy of the Russian aristocracy

Felix Yusupov, the richest man of his time, “golden boy” of the Russian aristocracy, did much to become famous, but in the history he is known as Grigory Rasputin’s murderer.
Felix was born on March 24, 1887 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire. Zinaida Nikolaevna, Felix’s mother, wanted to have a daughter. She even sewed a pink dress for the unborn child. So as a child he was dressed in girlish dresses. Even in adulthood Felix liked to dress up in women’s suits. He was one of the first “freaks” of his time. He liked to come to the restaurant with a makeup, in a dress and performed romances. Even after the wedding with Irina Romanova he didn’t quit his old habits. Their daughter Irina was born in 1915.
He was a frivolous aristocrat. For example, when he didn’t enter the military school, Felix made friends with gypsies and participated in performances singing soprano.
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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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