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Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: Men

Alexander Herzen – remarkable writer

Alexander Herzen - remarkable writer

Alexander Herzen – remarkable writer


Alexander Herzen was an outstanding revolutionary and thinker, a remarkable writer and brilliant publisher. He was one of the most prominent critics of the official ideology and policy of the Russian Empire in the XIX century.
Alexander Ivanovich Herzen was born on March 25 (April 6), 1812 in Moscow. His father was a rich landowner Ivan Alekseevich Yakovlev (1767-1846) and his mother was 16-year-old German girl Henriette Wilhelmina Luisa Haag. They were not married and their son had a surname invented by the father – Herzen from German Herz (heart). Herzen received the usual aristocratic education at home, based on reading foreign literature, especially of the late 18th century. He was fluent in German and French. Herzen was deeply influenced by his friendship with a talented peer, the future poet N. Ogarev. The event that determined the fate of Herzen was the Decembrist revolt.
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Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky – Grand Prince

Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky – Grand Prince

Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky – Grand Prince


Prince Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky became one of those Russian rulers, who are not only remembered until now, but also revered.
Alexander was born on May 13, 1221 into the family of Yaroslav Vsevolodich (Yaroslav the Wise) and Feodosia Mstislavovna (daughter of Mstislav Udaloy). The young prince became the ruler of Novgorod in 1236, and all his reign was full of disputes with wayward townspeople. Novgorod was a free city and people didn’t want to obey anyone.
Alexander married Polotsk princess Alexandra Bryachislavna in 1239. They had five children: Vasily (1245 – 1271, was a prince of Novgorod), Dmitry (1250 – 1294, was a prince of Novgorod, Pereyaslav, Vladimir), Andrei (1255 – 1304, was a prince of Kostroma, Vladimir, Novgorod, Gorodets), Daniil (1261 – 1303, was a prince Moscow), and daughter Evdokia.
A glorious battle, for which the prince received his nickname, was on July 15, 1240 on the banks of the Neva. Alexander managed to repel an attack by Swedish detachments under the command of famous Birger (later he would become the ruler of Poland), and to preserve the territories on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Soon after the battle Alexander went to Novgorod, didn’t get along with the inhabitants again, and moved to Pereslavl-Zalessky.
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Vaslav Nijinsky – outstanding ballet dancer

Vaslav Nijinsky – outstanding ballet dancer

Vaslav Nijinsky – outstanding ballet dancer


It is said that on the day when the future great dancer Vaslav Nijinsky was born, whether the Emperor himself, or someone from the Grand Dukes arranged a small feast for the ballet troupe at the Mariinsky Theater. An elegant silver cup was one of the prizes for the soloists. Vaslav’s father jumped up and caught the prize thrown by monarch. “It will become my son’s talisman!”, he cried. But he was wrong. Soon his father left the family. And a woman became his talisman…
Many things in the life of the remarkable ballet dancer were strange and mysterious. For example, his famous, truly fantastic jump on the stage. It seemed that Nijinsky freely floated in the air. Nobody else could do the same. People even looked for carefully hidden springs in his shoes. However, they did not find anything!
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Boris Pasternak – outstanding writer

Boris Pasternak – outstanding writer

Boris Pasternak – outstanding writer

Boris Pasternak is one of the few masters awarded the Nobel Prize. His poems and translations were included in the gold fund of Russian and foreign literature.
Boris Leonidovich was born on January 29, 1890 in Moscow into an intelligent family. His mother was a pianist, whose career began in Odessa. And his father was an artist and a member of the Academy of Arts. Some of his paintings were bought by a well-known patron of art for the Tretyakov Gallery. The father of the future writer was friends with Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy and was engaged in illustrating his books. You know, there were four children in the family and Boris was the first.
Many creative persons were guest at their house – writer Lev Tolstoy, composers Skriabin and Rachmaninov, artists Ivanov, Polenov, Nesterov, Ghe, Levitan and other famous personalities. Communication with them could not but affect the future poet.
Thanks to Scriabin the boy was passionate about music and dreamed of following in the footsteps of his teacher. Boris even studied at the conservatory.
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Nikolai Shchelokov – interior minister

Nikolai Shchelokov - interior minister

Nikolai Shchelokov – interior minister


On November 10, 1984 there was a sensational message on the pages of Soviet newspapers: the former Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR, Nikolai Shchelokov, was deprived of the rank of army general. On the Day of the Soviet Militia (Police Day)! It was under Minister Shchelokov, who held his post for 16 years, from 1966 to 1982, the holiday became one of the main in the country. It was a painful blow for him. Then the others came: expulsion from the party and deprivation of government awards. On December 13, Nikolai Anisimovich put on the military uniform and shot himself.
In 1966, when Leonid Brezhnev instructed Shchelokov to revive the Interior Ministry, liquidated under Nikita Khrushchev, many were unhappy persons, especially professionals. But Brezhnev needed proven people in key positions.
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Alexander Kolchak – White Admiral

Alexander Kolchak - White Admiral

Alexander Kolchak – White Admiral


Alexander Kolchak is a prominent military commander and Russian statesman, a polar explorer. During the Civil War he entered the historical chronicles as the leader of the White movement.
Alexander Vasilyevich was born on November 16, 1874 in a suburb of Petersburg into the family of hereditary noblemen. The Kolchaks gained fame in military campaigns, serving the Russian Empire for many centuries. His father was the hero of the defense of Sevastopol during the Crimean war.
Up to 11 years the boy received home education. From 1885 to 1888 Alexander studied at the gymnasium and then he entered the Marine Cadet Corps. As the best student the boy was appointed sergeant major. He graduated from the Cadet Corps in 1894 in the rank of midshipman.
From 1895 to 1899 Kolchak served in the military Baltic and Pacific fleets, made round the world trip three times. Actually, he was engaged in independent research of the Pacific Ocean, most of all he was interested in its northern territories. In 1900, the young lieutenant was transferred to the Academy of Sciences. At that time, the first scientific works began to appear, in particular, an article about his observations of the sea currents. But the young officer’s goal was not only theoretical, but also practical research – he dreamed of going to one of the polar expeditions.
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Konstantin Stanislavsky – great theater director

Konstantin Stanislavsky – great theater director

Konstantin Stanislavsky – great theater director

Konstantin Stanislavsky was a Russian theater director, actor and teacher, theater reformer. Actually, he was the creator of the famous system of actor training, which has a great popularity in Russia and in the world. In 1936 Stanislavsky became the first People’s Artist of the USSR. To tell the truth, he was one of the most influential theater personalities of the twentieth century.
In 1888 he became a founding member of the Moscow Society of Art and Literature. In 1898, together with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko he founded the Moscow Art Theatre.
Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky (his real surname was Alexeyev) was born on January 17, 1863 in Moscow. He was born into a large family (he had nine brothers and sisters) of a famous industrialist. Nikolai Alekseev, Mayor of Moscow, was his cousin. Konstantin’s younger sister Zinaida Sokolova was Honored Artist of the RSFSR.
In 1878-1881 he studied in the gymnasium at the Lazarev Institute. His excellent classical education included singing, ballet, and acting lessons as well as regular visits to the opera and theater.
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