Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: History

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin – first cosmonaut

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin - first cosmonaut

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin – first cosmonaut


Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin is a Soviet pilot, the man who made the first flight into space. The cosmonaut became a legend not only for the inhabitants of the USSR. You know, he is an honorary citizen of foreign cities and an international public figure. Yuri Alekseyevich opened a new page in the study of outer space and became a symbol of the development of Soviet science and aviation. Gagarin became an international celebrity, and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation’s highest honor.
The boy was born on March 9, 1934 in the village of Klushino, the Western region of the USSR, into a family of well-to-do peasants. He was the third of four children. Yura’s childhood was peaceful and joyful.
At the age of 6 Yura went to school. But he had finished only the first grade, before the Great Patriotic War began. German troops captured part of the territory of the USSR. They reached Klushino. Becoming a famous person, Yuri preferred never to remember the dark times of the occupation. It is known that German soldiers drove his family out of the house and took young people with them as prisoners of war. So his brother and sister were taken away.
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Lydia Delectorskaya – Matisse Russian Muse

Lydia Delectorskaya - Matisse Russian Muse

Lydia Delectorskaya – Matisse Russian Muse


Lydia Delectorskaya was a Russian translator, model, studio assistant and secretary of the great French artist Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954). She translated all works by Konstantin Paustovsky from Russian into French.
Pretty girl was born on June 23, 1910 in Tomsk. When she was 13 years old, Lydia became an orphan, because her parents died during the Civil War. Her relative took her to Harbin and then Lydia came to France. At the age of 19 she married a Russian emigrant. But their marriage was short-lived.
In the autumn of 1932 she got a job in the Henri Matisse household. To tell the truth, Lydia took care of seriously ill Madame Matisse. In October 1933, Delectorskaya moved into Matisse’s house and lived there for almost 22 years before the last breath of the great master. Somehow unnoticed, Madame Lydia became irreplaceable for the artist: a nurse, a punctual and careful secretary, she even scraped paints from the canvas.
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Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna of Russia

Romanova Elizabeth

Portrait of Empress Elisabeth Alexeievna of Russia by Madame Vigee-Lebrun, 1795

Elizabeth Alexeievna was the wife of Emperor Alexander I of Russia.
Pretty girl was born in Karlsruhe, on 13 January 1779 as Princess Louise Maria Auguste of Baden. She was the third of the seven children of Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden and his wife Amelia Frederica of Hesse-Darmstadt. Her grandfathers were Charles Frederick, Margrave of Baden and Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Empress Catherine the Great of Russia was looking for a bride for her eldest grandson, the future Alexander I. So, little Princess Louise became his bride. In the autumn of 1792, Louise and her younger sister Frederica came to St. Petersburg.
To tell the truth, Louise was a model of beauty, charm, and honesty. Alexander and his bride were engaged in May 1793.
Cute girl learned Russian, converted to the Orthodox Church and traded the name Louise Maria Auguste for Elizabeth Alexeievna. On September 28, 1793 the wedding took place. You know, the bride was only fourteen years old, and her husband was a year older.
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Marfa Sobakina, Tsar’s Bride

Marfa Sobakina, Tsars Bride

Marfa Sobakina, Tsar’s Bride


Marfa Sobakina (1552–1571) was the third wife of Ivan the Terrible. Unfortunately, she was his wife for only 15 days. The girl was selected by Ivan among 12 marriage finalists.
Their marriage took place on October 28, 1571 in Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda and on November 13 (15 days later) Marfa died. There was rumor that she was poisoned. This tragedy took place against the backdrop of witch hysteria, which overwhelmed Europe. Thousands of women suspected of witchcraft were burned in the city squares. Mass psychosis came to Russia and finally upset the imagination of the tsar. Ivan Vasilyevich could be understood, all his three wives – Anastasia, Maria and Marfa – died young with obvious signs of poisoning.
Ivan was very angry and put to death many of his servants (about 20 people), including Mikail Temjruk (brother to the Tzar’s previous wife) who was impaled. Marfa was buried next to the Tsar’s previous wife – Maria Temrjukovna.
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Praskovia Zhemchugova serf actress of Count Sheremetyev

Praskovia Zhemchugova

Praskovia Zhemchugova as Eliana, the heroine of the opera “Samnite Marriages” by Gretry. The role made her famous


The most touching love story of the 18th century
Praskovia Zhemchugova and Nikolai Sheremetyev

On July 20, 1768 in Yaroslavl pretty girl Praskovia was born. Her name means Holiday Eve in Greek. She could become the heroine of a cover version of Cinderella – where have you seen that the richest man in the Russian Empire fell in love with the serf actress and made her his lawful wife. But this story had a sad ending.
Pasha was the daughter of a serf skilled blacksmith Ivan Kovalev. So the daughter lived in the father’s house for only 6 years. Then she was sent to be raised in Kuskovo. The future star of Sheremetyev’s musical theater grew up in care of Marfa Dolgorukaya. Such a rapid change in Praskovia’s fate was due to her gorgeous, touching, seductive voice.
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Anna Timiryova, Admiral Kolchak’s woman

Anna Timiryova Admiral Kolchak

Anna Timiryova, Admiral Kolchak‘s woman


Anna Timiryova (nee Safonova, in the second marriage Kniper) was a Russian poetess and painter, the daughter of a prominent musician Safonov.
Beautiful Anna Safonova was born in 1893 in Kislovodsk, into the family of the Terek Cossacks. She was the sixth child in a large family of Vasily Safonov, a music teacher, pianist and conductor, who for some time was the director of the Moscow Conservatory. In 1906 her family moved to St. Petersburg. The girl studied drawing and painting, was fluent in French and German.
In 1911 Anna married naval officer S.N. Timiryov. Three years later, in 1914, she gave birth to their son Vladimir, who became a painter. They divorced in 1918.
In 1915, Anna met Rear-Admiral Alexander Kolchak. Although Kolchak was her husband’s closest friend and commanding officer, and had a family of his own, they began a love affair. In 1917, Anna openly left her husband for the Admiral. She was 25 years old, and he was 43. Until January 1920 Anna was the wife of Admiral Kolchak. When he was arrested in January 1920 she followed him. After Kolchak’s execution, she was arrested several times. Anna paid a great price for 17 months of love – 37 years in prison and exile.
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Olga the Beauty, Russian Ruler

olga the beauty

Holy Grand Duchess Olga. N.A. Bruni. 1901


Princess Olga, also known as Olga the Beauty, ruled Rus from 945 to 962 after the death of her husband Igor, Grand Duke of Kiev. She was the first of Russian rulers who adopted Christianity before the Baptism of Russia.
Olga was born in 890. According to the Primary Chronicle she was born in Pleskov (Pskov), into a family of Varyag origin. By some accounts, Olga was the daughter of Prophetic Oleg, Oleg of Novgorod. He became the ruler of Kievan Rus as a guardian of a minor Igor, the son of Rurik. It was Oleg, who married Igor and Olga. But this version of the origin of the princess is not confirmed.
Beautiful Olga was the wife of Igor of Kiev, who was killed by the Drevlians. Upon her husband’s death, their son Svyatoslav was three years old, making Olga the official ruler of Kievan Rus until he reached adulthood. The Drevlians wanted Olga to marry their Prince Mal, making him the ruler of Kievan Rus. But Olga wanted to remain in power and preserve it for her son.
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