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Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: Art

Durovs – famous circus dynasty

Durov - founder of the famous circus dynasty

Durov – founder of the famous circus dynasty


Durov is a famous surname in the history of Russia. The representatives of this dynasty are famous actors and circus performers. Nadezhda Durova, the heroine of the war of 1812, the legendary cavalry-girl, is among the ancestors of the glorious dynasty. She was Kutuzov’s adjutant during the Patriotic War. After the war she was actively engaged in charity and even turned her house into a small menagerie. Nadezhda took the abandoned and sick animals that she met on her way. Her descendants were fond of animals too.
For many years Vladimir Durov’s name was on the hoardings of Russia and many other countries, for he was a popular circus performer whose bold wit always drew applause and laughter. He used to call himself a clown, or jester, but in fact he was a deep thinker, an accomplished musician and sculptor, and the author of many interesting books for children. He had an immense knowledge of animal psychology and wrote a number of serious works on the subject which won wide acclaim from scientists abroad.
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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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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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Alexander Ostrovsky – regarded playwright

Alexander Ostrovsky – regarded playwright

Alexander Ostrovsky – regarded playwright


Alexander Ostrovsky was one of nineteenth-century Russia’s most highly regarded playwrights. He was the founder of Russian national drama. He wrote and coauthored fifty plays, translated foreign plays into Russian.
Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky was born on March 31, 1823. He was the son of a lawyer and his mother’s family had run a bakery. Alexander was the first of four children in the family. His mother died when the boy was eight and his father married Swedish baroness. At the age of 12, the boy entered the First Moscow Gymnasium and spent five years there. In 1840 he enrolled at Moscow University to study law.
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Boris Pasternak – outstanding writer

Boris Pasternak – outstanding writer

Boris Pasternak – outstanding writer


The Russian poet, novelist, and translator Boris Pasternak was the foremost writer of the Soviet period.
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born on February 10, 1890, in Moscow. His parents and their friends provided an artistic, musical, and literary environment that nurtured Pasternak’s creative aspirations. His father, Leonid O. Pasternak, was a prominent painter, and his mother, Rosa F. Kaufman, was an accomplished concert pianist. Boris began to study musical composition at the age of 13 and soon abandoned music for philosophy.
In 1909 he enrolled the philosophy faculty of Moscow University. In 1912 Pasternak traveled to Marburg and extended his travels to Italy before returning to Moscow.
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