Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: History

Maria Savina – actress and last love of Turgenev

Margarita Savina actress

Margarita Savina – actress and last love of Turgenev

Actress Maria Savina was the last love of famous Russian writer Ivan Turgenev. The last four years of his life were full of high feeling and touching dreams about Savina, and a sober understanding of the hopelessness of their common future. Turgenev told about his feelings in his letters to the actress. The book Turgenev and Savina was published in 1918.
Pretty Maria was born on March 30, 1854. At the age of 7 she began to take part in the performances. 15-year-old Maria had played in all stages of provincial theaters in Bobruisk, Gomel and Nezhin. She played a variety of roles – from the small roles to the heroines of Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Goethe, Dumas, Gogol, Ostrovsky and many others.
The scene was the life for her. Savina entered the history of Russian theater as one of the brightest stars.
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Galina Benislavskaya, tragic love to Yesenin

Galina Benislavskaya, tragic love to Yesenin

Galina Benislavskaya, tragic love to Yesenin


Galina Benislavskaya became famous for her boundless love to a Russian poet Sergei Yesenin. She was his friend, secretary, lover, everything, but he didn’t love her. After the death of Yesenin, she decided to end her life. She shot herself at the grave of Sergei Yesenin. So life of 29-year old Galina was tragically ended. She couldn’t live without him… Suicide of Benislavskaya shocked the public. It was decided to bury her next to Yesenin. The funeral took place on December 7, 1926. Faithful Gal was inscribed on the monument.
Galina Arturovna was born in St. Petersburg in 1897. She was a journalist and author of memories about Yesenin.
Since childhood, the girl was brought up by her aunt, who adopted Galina, because her own mother was seriously ill. You know, Galina spent her childhood in the Latvian city of Rezekne. In 1917 she graduated from a gymnasium in St. Petersburg. According to her close gymnasium friend, Galina, under the influence of her friend and her parents, who were Bolsheviks, joined the party in May 1917. Soon she had disagreements with her foster parents because of this. So the girl went to Kharkov and enrolled at the university.
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Alexandra Kollontai

Alexandra Kollontai

Alexandra Kollontai


Noblewoman Kollontai had a love affair with the sailor Dybenko, but adored the revolution!

In the St. Petersburg district of Vesely Village there are two parallel streets: Kollontai Street and Dybenko Street. They are so close, because Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai and Pavel Efimovich Dybenko had a great feeling in life.
She was the friend of the famous translator Shchepkina-Kupernik and the second cousin of the salon poet Igor Severyanin, and he was a simple sailor.
Kollontai (Shura Domontovich) was born in 1872 into the happy family of General Mikhail Domontovich. But at the heart of the happiness of this family there was the rebellion of her mother Alexandra Alexandrovna, who took three children and left her first husband. Little Alexandra was born in love. From a tender child she turned into a pretty girl with cold blue eyes. So, people began to whisper behind her back. And the whisper of those who were shocked by her behavior, became a companion of Alexandra for the rest of her long life.
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Anna Pavlova, dancing diamond

anna pavlova

White Swan


Anna Pavlova (1881-1931) was the most famous ballerina of the past century.
She was called Divine and Amazing, Dancing Diamond, White Swan and even Fairy of Swan Flock. One girl wrote to her parents: “Remember, you told that those who saw the fairy would be happy. I saw a live fairy – her name is Anna Pavlova”.
Genius Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova became a legend in her lifetime. Journalists competed with each other in writing stories about her. She read myths about herself in newspapers and laughed. Legends surround her name until now.
She had never talked about her personal life. Her real life was in dance. Only after her death the world learned about the beautiful and tragic love story, which the legendary ballerina secretly kept in her heart for long thirty years.
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Tamara Karsavina – Firebird of Russian ballet

Firebird karsavina

Ballerina Tamara Karsavina in the ballet “The Firebird” by Igor Stravinsky’s music in the costume designs by Leon Bakst for 1910.

Tamara Karsavina was loved, respected and admired. You know, she was always away from any kind of intrigue. In her youth pretty girl had decided to devote all of herself to His Majesty the Arts. During her long life she experienced many worries and troubles, difficulties and trials, but grateful audience remembered her as a talented performer.
Firebird of Russian Ballet, one of the brightest of its stars was born on March 9, 1885, into an intellectual family in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire. Her father Platon Karsavin was a dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre, and also taught at the Drama School. Tamara was a sister of the historian and philosopher Leo Karsavin. Six-year old girl knew her main passion was the theater. Supported by her mother, Tamara began preparing to enter the Theatre School.
Immediately after graduation in 1902, Tamara joined the Mariinsky Theater, where Matilda Kshesinskaya, a prima ballerina and a dance teacher, was fond of her. However, another talented performer, Anna Pavlova, disliked the young dancer. Perhaps Pavlova saw in the beginning artist her rival and competitor.
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Olga Smirnitskaya and Johann Strauss love story

Olga Smirnitskaya and Johann Strauss

Olga Smirnitskaya and Johann Strauss

The fate of the great Austrian composer Johann Strauss (1825-1899), whose waltzes are known all over the world, was linked with Russia, where in 1868 he met a rich girl. That meeting changed his life.
Johann Strauss II, as they call him in the music world, tried to prove to the world that he was the King of Waltz and not his father, also Johann Strauss, who was known in Austria as one of the most famous and talented composers.
Ambitious and really talented, Strauss’s father glorified waltz and was able to get fame not only in Vienna, but also throughout Europe. Children who were born in the family every year, almost did not see their father. Besides, he had a mistress, who also gave birth to seven children. But Strauss Sr. wasn’t ashamed and did not suffer from guilt.
Little Johann once vowed to overshadow his talent. Decisive, courageous and hardworking, he devoted himself to music lessons and kept it secret from ambitious parent.
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Alla Nazimova. Russian Queen of Hollywood

Alla Nazimova. Russian Queen of Hollywood

Alla Nazimova. Russian Queen of Hollywood


Alla Nazimova was a great and very bright Russian star of Hollywood silent films and theater, a screenwriter, and film producer.
Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon (her real name) was born in 1879 in Yalta, Crimea, Russian Empire. She was the third child in a Jewish family. Her parents divorced in 1887 and the girl lived with her father, who in the same year married again. From 1890 to 1893, Adelaide Leventon studied at the Yalta Girls’ Gymnasium. In 1893, Adelaide moved to her mother’s family in Odessa, where she entered the gymnasium and the music classes of the Odessa branch of the Imperial Russian Musical Society. Three years later seventeen-year-old Adelaide went to Moscow, where under the pseudonym Alla Nazimova began taking lessons at the Moscow Art Theater. During the studies she had a love affair with a famous millionaire, and after a painful break up she left school and began to play in the regional theater.
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