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Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: History

Nikolai Pirogov – Wonderful Doctor

Nikolai Pirogov - Wonderful Doctor

Nikolai Pirogov – Wonderful Doctor

Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogov, the great Russian surgeon and one of the most outstanding personalities in Russian medicine, was born on November 25, 1810.
At the age of fourteen Pirogov enrolled as a student in the Medical Faculty of Moscow University, and three years later he got his doctor’s diploma. As one of the best graduates he was sent to Derpt (now Tartu) to take a special course.
Pirogov brilliantly completed the course and in 1833 very successfully defended his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Then he became professor and head of the major surgical clinic at the University of Derpt. A few years later he was elected professor of the Medico-Surgical Academy of St. Petersburg. There his talent developed in full.
At that time anaesthesia was unknown to surgery, and as a result even minor operations caused patients immeasurable suffering. At times they even caused their death.
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Alexander Solzhenitsyn – far-reaching thinker

Alexander Solzhenitsyn - far-reaching thinker

Alexander Solzhenitsyn – far-reaching thinker

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was one of the most far-reaching thinkers, writers and humanitarians of the 20th century; he continued the realistic tradition of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Until the end of his days, he fought for Russia not only to move away from its totalitarian past but also to have a worthy future, to become a truly free and democratic country.
Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was born on December 11, 1918, in Kislovodsk. He was raised by his mother, a typist, because his father had died in an accident six months before he was born.
Alexander studied mathematics and physics at Rostov-on-Don State University while at the same time taking correspondence courses from the Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History. He graduated from the University in 1941, just days before Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
When war broke out, he enlisted in the Red Army and rose to the rank of artillery captain. Decorated twice, he witnessed some of the fiercest battles of World War II, leading an artillery company on the front lines from November 1942 to February 1945. It was then that Solzhenitsyn was arrested for “anti-Soviet agitation” – he made critical references to Stalin in correspondence with a friend – and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
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Yuri Andropov – the godfather of perestroika

Yuri Andropov - the godfather of perestroika

Yuri Andropov – the godfather of perestroika


Yuri Andropov was a general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1982-1984).
Andropov was born on June 15, 1914, in the southern Russian region of Stavropol.
During World War II he worked with the partisan movement in Karelia, and after the war he became second secretary of the regional Party organization. In 1956 he was the ambassador to Hungary at the time of the Soviet invasion. In 1957 Andropov become head of the Central Committee’s Bloc Relations Department.
In 1962 he was promoted to Central Committee secretary and continued to oversee relations with other communist countries.
In 1967 he was appointed the head of the Committee on State Security (KGB) and a candidate member of the ruling Politburo.
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Vitus Jonassen Bering – great explorer

Vitus Jonassen Bering – great explorer

Vitus Jonassen Bering – great explorer

Vitus Jonassen Bering (August 12, 1681, Horsens, Denmark – December 19, 1741, Bering Island, Russia) was a great seafarer, explorer, an officer of the Russian navy, Captain-Commander. In 1725-1730 and 1733-1741 he headed the First and Second Kamchatka expedition, passed through the strait between Chukotka and Alaska (later the Bering Strait), reached North America and discovered a number of islands of the Aleutian chain.
The Island, the Strait and the sea in the North Pacific, and Commander Islands were named after Bering.
Vitus Bering was born in 1681 in the Danish city of Horsens, graduated from military school in Amsterdam in 1703, in the same year he entered the Russian service with the rank of second lieutenant and served in the Russian Baltic Fleet during the Great Northern War.
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Alexei Chirikov – naval officer and explorer

Alexei Chirikov – naval officer and explorer

Alexei Chirikov – naval officer and explorer


Alexei Ilich Chirikov (December 24, 1703, Tula province –June 4, 1748, Moscow) was a Russian nobleman, explorer, Captain-Commander (1747), a researcher of the north-west coast of North America, northern part Pacific and the north-eastern coast of Asia. He was Vitus Bering’s assistant in the 1st and 2nd Kamchatka Expedition (1725-1730 and 1733-1741).
In 1715 Chirikov graduated from the Moscow school of navigation. In 1721 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Naval Academy, received the rank of non-commissioned lieutenant.
In 1722 he returned to the Naval Academy as an instructor of navigation.
In 1725 Alexei Chirikov was selected to be one of two assistants to vitus Bering, recently appointed by Peter the Great to travel to Kamchatka.
In 1728 he received the rank of lieutenant commander.
In 1733-1741 he was a participant and one of the leaders of the Second Kamchatka expedition.
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Konstantin Chernenko – Soviet leader

Konstantin Chernenko – Soviet leader

Konstantin Chernenko – Soviet leader


Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko was a general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1983-1985).
Konstantin Chernenko was born on September 24, 1911, in a village in the Krasnoyarsk region of Russia. As a teenager Chernenko became associated with the Communist Youth League (Komsomol), often an apprenticeship for future party officials. In 1929-1930, he was named to head the propaganda and agitation department of the Novoselovo District Komsomol committee. In 1930 Chernenko began three years’ service with the Red Army on the Chinese border. He became a full member of the party in 1931 and returned after his military service to Krasnoyarsk as a party propagandist.
In 1948 he became the head of the Agitation and Propaganda Department in the new Republic of Moldavia. There he got to know the future party leader Leonid Brezhnev, who became the republic’s first secretary in 1950. After Brezhnev became a Central Committee secretary, he brought Chernenko to Moscow in 1956 to work in the party apparatus.
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Georgy Zhukov – Russian military commander

Georgy Zhukov – Russian military commander

Georgy Zhukov – Russian military commander

Georgy Zhukov was one of the outstanding Russian military commanders, Marshal of the Soviet Union. Georgy was born on November 19, 1896 into a poor peasant family in the village of Strelkovka, Kaluga Region. His parents managed to give their son an education. Georgy began to work when he was still a boy. He worked in the fields of the village taking part in haymaking. In autumn 1903 he entered a 3 year course at church school, where he studied successfully and he left in 1906 with a certificate of merit.
At the end of July 1915 he was called up for military service. It was World War I that made it possible for him to develop his remarkable talents. He was appointed commander of a cavalry detachment.
In February 1918 Zhukov fell seriously ill with typhus and only in August 1918 he continued his service in the Soviet Army in the Fourth Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Moscow Cavalry Division.
On March 1, 1919 he joined the Bolshevik Party. From 1922 to 1923 he served with the rank of the commander of the cavalry troops in Samara.
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