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Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: History

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 had sewed a pink dress for the unborn child. So as a child the boy 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. You know, he liked to come to the restaurant with a makeup, in a dress and performed romances. Even after the wedding with Irina Romanova, the niece of the Tsar Nicholas II, he didn’t quit his old habits. Their daughter Irina was born in 1915.
To tell the truth, 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.
In 1909-1912 he studied at Oxford University (University College), where he founded the Russian Society of Oxford University. When Felix entered Oxford, he preferred comfortable armchairs of London theaters to hard benches of university audiences. For a while, he even acted in theater – an unheard infamy for the aristocracy. Moreover, he sang the female role instead of one of the blue-eyed actresses of Aquarium theater.
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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 into a family of well-known psychiatrist, professor of Kiev University in the Department of Mental and Nervous Diseases Ivan Sikorsky (1842-1919). His mother also had a medical education, but she never practiced. One of his earliest memories was the mother’s story about Leonardo da Vinci’s attempts to design an aircraft. From that moment, the dream of flight captured his imagination, despite the fact that he was repeatedly told about the proven impossibility of this.
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Lavrentiy Beria – Soviet politician

Lavrenti Beria – Soviet politician

Lavrentiy Beria – Soviet politician

Lavrentiy Beria is one of the most infamous politicians of the 20th century, whose activities are still widely discussed in modern society. He was an extremely controversial personality in the history of the USSR and went through a long political path full of repressions and endless crimes. The head of the NKVD was a cunning and insidious politician. The destinies of entire peoples depended on his decisions.
He worked under the auspices of the then acting head of the USSR, Josef Stalin. You know, after Stalin’s death he was going to rule the country, but in the struggle for power he lost to Nikita Khrushchev and, by decision of the court, was executed as a traitor to the Motherland.
Lavrentiy Pavlovich was born on March 29, 1899 in a village in Abkhazia into the family of poor peasants. He was the third and only healthy child in the family – the elder brother of the future politician died of illness at the age of two, and the sister suffered a serious illness and became deaf and dumb. From the very childhood the boy showed a great interest in education, which was not typical for peasant children. At the same time, parents decided to give the son a chance to become educated. They had to sell half of their house to pay for the boy’s education in the Sukhumi Higher Primary School.
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Russian Noble Prize winners

Russian Noble Prize winners

Russian Noble Prize winners


Russia can boast a lot of the Noble Prize laureates in many fields of science. Among them are:
1904 – Physiology and Medicine, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov for his work on the physiology of digestion.
1908 – Physiology and Medicine, Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov for his work on immunity.
1933 – Literature, Ivan Alexeevich Bunin for artistic excellence and the continuation of the tradition of Russian classics in lyrical prose.
1956 – Chemistry, Nikolay Semenov for research in the mechanism of chemical reactions.
1958 – Literature, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak for significant achievement in contemporary lyrical poetry, as well as the continuation of the traditions of the great Russian epic novel. Actually, Pasternak refused the Prize.
1958 – Physics, Pavel Alexeevich Cherenkov, Igor Evgenievich Tamm and Ilya Mikhailovich Frank for the discovery and interpretation of the Cherenkov Effect.
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Boris Skosyrev – king of Andorra

Boris Skosyrev - king of Andorra

Boris Skosyrev – king of Andorra


In the autumn of 1933 a strange Russian appeared on the territory of the principality of Andorra. The foreigner amazed the locals with his manners, wealth and the ability to charm people. His name was Boris Skosyrev. He was an adventurer, a Russian emigre. In 1934 Boris became the king of Andorra Boris I. His life was more like an adventure novel than a reality.
Boris Mikhailovich was born on June 12, 1896 in Vilnius, the Russian Empire.
Skosyrev claimed that he was a nobleman who had escaped from Russia after the execution of the whole family and that at one time he had studied at the best universities in England and France. Also he was proud of his friendship with British politician Oliver Locker-Lampson, the future creator of British military aviation. Until 1919 Skosyrev was in Ukraine as part of the British group of assistance to the White Movement.
Once in London, he worked as a military interpreter. Soon Boris was arrested because he was in Britain without registration and paid for living with invalid checks. In 1922, he moved to the Netherlands, where, as he said, he began to provide secret services to the royal family, for which Queen Wilhelmina awarded him the title of Count and the name Orange. This, of course, was not true. The adventurer managed to live in Colombia and many European countries, where he had a reputation as a spy.
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Mikhail Shchepkin – Russian actor

Mikhail Shchepkin – Russian actor

Mikhail Shchepkin – Russian actor


Mikhail Shchepkin was a Russian actor, one of the founders of the Russian actor’s school.
The boy was born on November 6 (17), 1788 in Kursk province into a family of the serfs.
From 1799 to 1801 he studied at the Sudzhansky public school. During his studies, in 1800, he played his first role in Sumarokov’s comedy – Vzdorschitsa.
In 1801-1802 he played in a serf theater of Count G. S. Volkenshtein.
By the way, in 1805, he performed on the professional scene for the first time. Since that time, with the permission of Count G. S. Volkenshtein, Shchepkin played in the Barsov Brothers Theater.
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Nadezhda Krupskaya – Soviet educator

Nadezhda Krupskaya – Soviet educator

Nadezhda Krupskaya – Soviet educator


Nadezhda Krupskaya was probably the most mysterious character of Russian history in the last century. She wrote about her life herself. In Soviet times, her biography was corrected to be perfect. After the 1990s, this gloss began to be covered with mud, and as thoroughly as it had been previously bleached.
The girl was born on February 14, 1869 in St. Petersburg into a poor aristocratic family. Her father Konstantin Ignatievich Krupsky was a lawyer and her mother Elizaveta Vasilievna Tistrova was a governess. They say, the father was a revolutionary and supported the participants of the Polish uprising in 1863.
Once they wrote that Krupskaya had studied perfectly in the gymnasium and graduated in 1887 with a gold medal. But Nadezhda Konstantinovna in the book My Life wrote that it was always difficult to study, it was difficult to understand and lessons were boring. And no one has ever seen her gold medal, and there were no gymnasium girlfriends who would later (in Moscow or in exile) talk about joint studies.
Then she worked as a teacher in the evening school for workers for 5 years until the very first arrest.
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