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Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: History

Grigori Rasputin – mystic man

Grigori Rasputin – mystic man

Grigori Rasputin – mystic man

Grigori Rasputin is a well-known and ambiguous personality in the Russian history. His life is filled with a lot of inexplicable events and facts linked with the proximity to the family of Emperor Nicholas II and influence on the fate of the Russian Empire. Some historians consider him an immoral charlatan and swindler, while others believe that Rasputin was a real visionary and healer, which allowed him to gain influence over the royal family.
Grigori Efimovich was born on January 21, 1869 into the family of simple peasant Yefim Yakovlevich and Anna Vasilievna, who lived in the village in Tobolsk province. Grisha became the fourth and only surviving child of his parents – his elder brothers and sisters died in infancy due to poor health. At the same time, he was also weak from birth, so he could not play enough with his peers, which was the reason for his isolation and his desire for seclusion. It was in his early childhood that Rasputin felt his attachment to God and religion.
The boy tried to help his father graze livestock, harvest and participate in any agricultural work. There was no school in the village, so Grigori grew illiterate, like all fellow villagers.
At the age of 14 Rasputin fell seriously ill and almost died, but suddenly his health began to improve, which, he said, was due to the Mother of God who healed him. Since that moment Grigori began to learn the Gospel and was able to memorize the texts of prayers by heart. At that time, the peasant’s son woke up with the gift of foresight, which later gave him a dramatic fate.
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Saints Peter and Theuronia – The Story of Their Love

Saints Peter and Theuronia

Saints Peter and Theuronia

Peter and Theuronia are Orthodox saints and characters of folk legends. Some researchers identify Peter and Theuronia with real historical characters – Prince of Murom Davyd Yurievich and his wife, Princess Euphrosinia, who became monks and took the names of Peter and Theuronia.
The Tale of Peter and Fevronia of Murom appeared in the middle of the 16th century. The author of this life of the saints, the monk Yermolai, processed and recorded the oral Murom stories. Researchers believe that Ermolai combined two fairy-tale stories – about the wise virgin and the fiery serpent.
These motifs of the fairy tale the monk used, creating the history of the Murom saints Peter and Fevronia at the request of Metropolitan of Moscow. The order was made after Peter and Fevronia were canonized at the church cathedral. The plot gained popularity and began to be developed further in iconography and literature.
According to legend, a fiery serpent came to the wife of Paul, who reigned in the city of Murom. This happened when the prince was not at home. When Paul learned about those visits, he ordered his wife to find out how to kill the monster. The serpent told that a certain Peter would be his murderer, but he could be defeated only with Agrikov Sword.
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Nikolai Pirogov – Wonderful Doctor

Nikolai Pirogov - Wonderful Doctor

Nikolai Pirogov – Wonderful Doctor


The biography of Nikolai Pirogov, whom his contemporaries named wonderful doctor, is a vivid example of selfless service to medical science. The myriad of discoveries that have saved lives for thousands of people are still used in medicine.
The future genius of world medicine was born on November 25, 1810 into a large family of a military official. Nikolai had thirteen brothers and sisters, many of whom had died while still young. Father Ivan Ivanovich was educated and achieved great success in his career. Parents paid special attention to the upbringing of children: the boys were sent to prestigious institutions, and the girls received education at home.
The Pirogov family loved to read and had an impressive home library. Every Sunday the family visited the church. Many doctors visited their hospitable house and willingly played with the curious Nikolai and told entertaining stories from practice. Therefore, from an early age, he decided to become either a military man like his father or a doctor, like their home doctor Mukhin, with whom the boy became very friendly.
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Alexander Solzhenitsyn – far-reaching thinker

Alexander Solzhenitsyn - far-reaching thinker

Alexander Solzhenitsyn – far-reaching thinker


Alexander Solzhenitsyn is an outstanding Russian writer and public figure. To tell the truth, in the Soviet Union he was recognized as a dissident, dangerous for the communist system, and the writer was imprisoned for many years. His books The Gulag Archipelago, Matryona’s Place, One Day of Ivan Denisovich, Cancer Ward and many others are widely known. By the way, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was awarded only eight years after the first publication, which is considered a record.
The future writer was born on December 11, 1918, in Kislovodsk. His father Isaak Semenovich served in the First World War, but died on the hunt six months before the birth of his son. The mother Taisiya Zakharovna brought up her son alone. Because of the consequences of the October Revolution, the family lived in extreme poverty. Later they moved to Rostov-on-Don. Problems with the new government began in Solzhenitsyn’s early years, as he was brought up in the traditions of religious culture, wore a cross and refused to join the pioneers.
But later, under the influence of school ideology, Alexander changed his point of view and even became a member of the Komsomol. The boy was fond of reading. He read the works of Russian classics and even had plans to write his own revolutionary novel. But when it was time to choose a specialty, Solzhenitsyn for some reason entered the physics and mathematics department of the Rostov State University. According to his confession, he was sure that mathematicians were taught only by the most intelligent people, and wanted to be among them. The name of Alexander was among the best graduates of the year.
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Yuri Andropov – the godfather of perestroika

Yuri Andropov - the godfather of perestroika

Yuri Andropov – the godfather of perestroika


Yuri Andropov is a famous Soviet statesman and politician who led the country from 1982 to 1984, and before that he made a name for himself during his many years as chairman of the State Security Committee. The biography of Andropov is one of the most intricate among all members of the Politburo. According to official data, he was born on June 15, 1914 into the family of railway worker Vladimir Andropov and his wife Evgenia Karlovna Fleckenstein, a music teacher in a women’s gymnasium.
In his brief biography Yuri Vladimirovich wrote that his mother was a foster child in the house of wealthy Jews and received her surname from them. Also, the future secretary-general claimed that he and his mother moved to Mozdok after his father died of typhus. However, according to other people who knew the family, the boy was born a year later, and his mother divorced her husband just a month after the birth of her son and went to the Tver region. Actually, she married only for the sake of changing her surname, fearing of genocide.
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Vitus Jonassen Bering – great explorer

Vitus Jonassen Bering – great explorer

Vitus Jonassen Bering – great explorer

Vitus Jonassen Bering is one of the pioneers whose life has become a symbol of courage and selflessness. From the young age the traveler was fascinated by the water. Thanks to the thirst for knowledge and his skills, the first sea expedition took place, which brought the Russian state the title of Cradle of Cartography.
Biography of the great seafarer began in Horsens, on the Danish coast. The boy was born on August 2, 1861. Vitus became the third son into the family of the impoverished aristocrat Anna Pederdatter Bering and the customs officer Jonas Svendsen. Both the name and the surname the boy received from his mother. Despite the difficult financial situation of the family, the pedigree of Anna Pederdatter could in the future help Vitus.
An unusual name was a tribute to the memory of his mother’s brother, who became famous for his service at the Royal Court.
Parents attached great importance to the education of children, so Vitus soon learned the grammar and spelling. The boy attended the school, which was located on the same street where the parental home stood. Despite curiosity, the child at the first opportunity escaped from school to go to the port. Vitus spent a lot of time talking with the sailors, who told Bering about the exciting sea adventures.
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Alexei Chirikov – naval officer and explorer

Alexei Chirikov – naval officer and explorer

Alexei Chirikov – naval officer and explorer


Alexei Chirikov was a Russian explorer, who became Captain-Commander in 1747. You know, he explored the north-west coast of North America, northern part of the Pacific Ocean and the north-eastern coast of Asia. By the way, Alexei was Vitus Bering’s assistant in the first (1725-1730) and the second (1733-1741) Kamchatka Expeditions.
Alexei Ilich Chirikov was born on December 13, 1703 in Tula province into a noble family. In 1715 Chirikov graduated from the Moscow school of navigation and in 1721 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Naval Academy. After graduation he received the rank of non-commissioned lieutenant, and appointment to the Baltic Fleet of the Armed Forces of Russia. A year later, Chirikov became an instructor of navigation at the Naval Academy.
In 1725 he was promoted to lieutenant and sent to Vitus Bering as an assistant in the First Kamchatka Expedition (1725-1730). On the route, he identified 28 astronomical points, which made it possible to reveal the true latitudinal extent of Siberia for the first time. Also he sailed from the mouth of the Kamchatka River to the north to find the strait between Asia and America.
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