Argentine Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara, was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution. A physician by profession, he developed radical views upon witnessing the injustices in the world and joined Fidel Castro’s revolutionary 26th of July Movement. Assassinated in 1967, he remains both a revered and reviled historical figure.
Bhagat Singh is one of the most revered freedom fighters of Indian Independence movement. His execution by the British rulers at a young age of 23 inspired many young people to join the freedom struggle. His life’s mission was to free India from colonial rule and his legacy as a symbol of bravery and patriotism continues to live on.
A Russian politician, political theorist, and revolutionary, Leon Trotsky developed a political ideology called Trotskyism, which eventually had a considerable impact on Russian politics. He also played a vital role in leading the Red Army to victory in the Russian Civil War.
Jacob Zuma is a South African politician and fourth president of South Africa. During his presidency, which lasted from 2009 to 2018, Zuma was accused of racketeering and corruption which ultimately led to his resignation. Apart from being a politician, Zuma also runs the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which aims at building houses for the poor and sending children to school.
Huey P. Newton was an African-American civil and political rights activist. He is credited with co-founding The Black Panther Party (BPP), which went on to become one of black movement's most influential organizations of the late-1960s. The party, under Newton's leadership, founded more than 60 community support programs, including Free Breakfast for Children, which provided food to thousands of children.
Chandra Shekhar Azad joined India’s freedom struggle against the British after being deeply affected by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Born Chandra Shekhar Tiwari, he declared himself as Azad when arrested in connection with Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement. He shot himself to death to escape being held captive by the British.
10 Bobby Sands
Robert Gerard Sands, better known as Bobby Sands, was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, who died during a 1981 hunger strike, along with nine other strikers, protesting against the removal of Special Category Status from IRA prisoners. He had helped plot the 1976 Balmoral Furniture Company bombing.
Vladimir Lenin played a key role in the history of Russian politics by developing a political ideology called Leninism. During and after his lifetime, Lenin had a massive influence over international communist movement. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and significant personalities of the 20th century.
13 Jiang Qing
14 Pol Pot
Pol Pot was a Cambodian politician who served as the prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea from 1975 and 1979. Widely considered a totalitarian dictator, Pol Pot was responsible for the Cambodian genocide, which resulted in the death of 1.5 to 2 million people. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity and placed under house arrest until his death.
Kenneth Kaunda is a Zambian former politician. He served as the first president of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. A major figure in Zambia’s struggle for independence from British rule, he became the first president of independent Zambia. As the president, he implemented many educational and economic reforms to accelerate the rate of modernization in the country.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.
17 Ali Khamenei
Mozambican military leader and politician Samora Machel had humble beginnings and grew up facing racism. Though he initially trained as a nurse, he later got involved in the Mozambican struggle for independence against the Portuguese. He died in a mysterious plane crash in northeastern South Africa.
Yakov Yurovsky was a Russian Old Bolshevik. Also a Soviet Revolutionary, he acted as the chief executioner of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and his family on the night of 17 July 1918. A watchmaker by trade, he was a Chekist for a short time. In his later life, he allegedly expressed remorse over his role in the executions.
24 Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian politician who served as the third chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People's Republic. He also served as the 44th prime minister of Hungary. In 1956, Nagy played an influential role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 where he led the Revolution against the government, for which he was executed in 1958.
Mikhail Kalinin was a Soviet politician and an Old Bolshevik revolutionary. From 1919 to 1946, Kalinin served as head of state of the Soviet Union. After Kalinin's death, three major cities of the Soviet Union were named or renamed in his honor.
26 Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang served as the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary from 1982 to 1987. Prior to his position as the general secretary, Hu served as the party's chairman from 1981 to 1982. Under Deng Xiaoping's leadership, Hu Yaobang rose to prominence and played a crucial role in the Boluan Fanzheng program, which was initiated by Deng.
Anastas Mikoyan was an Armenian Communist revolutionary. He was an Old Bolshevik. He held several high governmental posts during Joseph Stalin’s rule but began to lose favor towards the end of his regime. He once again regained his power during Nikita Khrushchev’s rule and served as the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. He also wrote several memoirs.
Alexandra Kollontai was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and diplomat. She served as the People's Commissar for Welfare in Lenin’s government. A powerful figure, she became the first woman in history to become an official member of a governing cabinet. She was also one of the few women to play a prominent role during the Russian Revolution.
31 Dokka Umarov
Chechen separatist Dokka Umarov later declared himself the emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. Though a civil engineer by profession, he continued to indulge in criminal activities while working in Russia. He was eventually poisoned, and his body was found in a remote Russian area.
Born in New York, Baruch Goldstein had a medical degree and later moved to Israel as a doctor for the IDF. After firing at a crowd gathered in a Muslim prayer hall in Hebron, and thus killing 29 and injuring many, he was beaten to death by the survivors.
33 Alexei Rykov
Alexei Rykov was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet politician. He served as the Premier of Russia and the Soviet Union in the 1920s. A key player in the 1905 Russian Revolution, he often came into political conflict with Vladimir Lenin. He oversaw the implementation of the "War Communism" economic policy during the Russian Civil War.
34 Maud Gonne
MPLA leader Agostinho Neto was Angola’s first president. Born to school teacher parents, Neto grew up to become a poet and later studied medicine. However, while pursuing his academic career, he also participated in indigenous movements. Following his arrest and the subsequent unrest, he joined the Angolan liberation movement.
37 Fanny Kaplan
Born into a poverty-stricken family of farmers, Fanny Kaplan was home-schooled. Later, while working as a milliner, she joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party and thus became part of radical politics. She developed anti-Bolshevik sentiments and attempted to assassinate Lenin. Though Lenin recovered, Kaplan was later executed.
Born to dairy farmers in Russia, Grigory Zinoviev was homeschooled and had started working at 14. An Old Bolshevik, he joined Russian revolutionary activities and became a close aide of Vladimir Lenin. Joseph Stalin later got him ousted from the party thrice. Zinoviev was eventually arrested and executed.
Ahmed Ben Bella, Algeria’s first president, had humble beginnings, as the son of a farmer and small-time businessman. He once went to prison after robbing a post office to fund his revolutionary operations and later formed the National Liberation Front to fight against the French colonial reign.
40 Lev Kamenev
A communist and an Old Bolshevic, Lev Kamenev was a close aide of Vladimir Lenin. Born to revolutionary parents, Kamenev was exiled but returned to Russia after the February Revolution. At the onset of the Great Purge, he was ousted from his party, arrested, and executed by a firing squad.
41 Chen Yun
Chen Yun was a Chinese political leader who played a major role during the Chinese economic reform. He was regarded as one of the most influential political leaders of China during the '80s and '90s. He also played an important role during the Chinese Civil War and was later counted among the Eight Great Eminent Officials of China.
42 M. N. Roy
Apart from being one of the co-founders of the Communist Party of India, M. N. Roy also established the Mexican Communist Party. Jailed for his political activities, he penned the nine-volume Prison Manuscripts in prison. He later joined the Indian National Congress but quit it soon after.
Soviet diplomat Maksim Litvinov believed in disarmament and was behind the adoption of the Kellogg–Briand Pact and the Litvinov Protocol. He had also been the Soviet Ambassador to the US and later served as the deputy commissar for foreign affairs. He was the grandfather of Russian-American author Pavel Litvinov.
46 Sergey Kirov
Communist leader and Bolshevik revolutionary Sergey Kirov was assassinated in Leningrad by a Communist Party member in 1934, leading Joseph Stalin to initiate the Great Purge, which was geared toward decimating anti-Stalinist Communists. However, it was later hinted that Stalin may have himself ordered Kirov’s assassination.
47 Ali Shariati
Initially inspired by Marxist ideals, Alexander Israel Helphand later got involved in revolutionary activities and was arrested. He escaped to Germany, where he later negotiated Lenin’s re-entry into Russia in a sealed train through Germany from Switzerland, where Lenin was exiled. Nevertheless, Helphand wasn’t allowed by Lenin to re-enter Russia.
Russian revolutionary and Marxist theorist Georgi Plekhanov is remembered for establishing Liberation of Labour, the first Russian Marxist organization. One of his best-known works was Socialism and Political Struggle. He later went against the Bolsheviks and Lenin and criticized their policies. He supported the Entente powers during World War I.