Elina Bystritskaya, actress
Elina Bystritskaya is a Soviet and Russian actress best known as Aksinya (Axinia) in Tikhiy Don (Quiet Flows the Don) (1957) directed by Alexander Gerasimov (epic screening of Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel).
Elina was born on April 4, 1928 in Kiev, USSR. Young Elina worked as a medical nurse helping her parents in a Soviet military hospital during the Second World War. From 1944 – 1947 she studied at Nezhin Nursing School, graduating in 1947 as gynecological nurse, and then worked at a gynecological clinic. In the same year she failed to enter the Kiev Acting School and studied to be a teacher. From 1948-1953 she attended the Kiev Theatrical Institute, graduating in 1953 as an actress.
Bystritskaya became famous in the Soviet Union after the role of a doctor in Neokonchennaya povest (Unfinished novel, 1956) directed by Fridrikh Ermler. In 1955 she was acclaimed as the Best Soviet actress of the year, and was a member of the Soviet delegation in Paris for the Week of Soviet Film there.
In 1958 Bystritskaya became a permanent member of the Maly Theatre troupe in Moscow.
In 1960, during the Thaw initiated by Nikita Khrushchev, Bystritskaya together with Sergey Bondarchuk and Nikolai Cherkasov was a member of the official Soviet delegation meeting with president Dwight D. Eisenhower in the White House. She was designated People’s Actress of the USSR (1978), and received awards and decorations from the Soviet State. Outside of her acting profession, Bystritskaya was president of the Soviet Gymnastics Federation from 1975 – 1990. She also taught acting at the Shchepkin School of Maly Theatre, and at the Soviet State Theatrical Institute (GITIS).
Bystritskaya wrote the book “Meetings under the star of hope”.
Two documentary films were devoted to the actress – Elina Bystritskaya. Portrait of a spring (1987) and Elina Bystritskaya. Star of the era (2013).
At the end of the 1960s Elina married Nikolai Kuzminsky, who worked in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. They were together for 27 years. Bystritskaya doesn’t have children.