The Empress of Russia for almost 35 years, Catherine the Great was the country's longest-ruling female leader. An ambitious ruler, she rapidly expanded the Russian Empire and is credited with modernizing the country along Western European lines. She supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and the period of her rule—the Catherinian Era—is considered the Golden Age of Russia.
Irina Shayk became the first Russian model to appear on the cover page of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2011. Widely regarded as an industry icon, Irina Shayk is the face of many international brands. Also a well-known philanthropist in Russia, Irina raises money for a charity organization called Pomogi, which helps sick children.
4 Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American philosopher and writer. Apart from publishing two best-selling novels, Ayn Rand is credited with developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. Over the years, Ayn Rand has been a major influence among American conservatives and libertarians. Some of the famous personalities influenced by her include Amber Heard, Vince Vaughn, Jimmy Wales, Ayelet Shaked, and Mary Ruwart.
Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Nicholas II, was the last Russian tsarina and reigned from 1894 to 1917. She suffered from hemophilia. Alexandra and her entire family were murdered by the Bolshevik revolutionaries. In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church canonized her as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer.
Katerina Tikhonova is a Russian acrobatic dancer who finished fifth at a world championship event held in Switzerland in 2013. The daughter of Vladimir Putin, Tikhonova serves as director of the National Intellectual Reserve Centre (NIRC) and National Intellectual Development Foundation (NIDF), which are initiatives of Moscow State University.
11 Anna Delvey
Evgenia Medvedeva is a Russian figure skater who has won two silver Olympic medals, two World Championship gold medals, and two European Championship gold medals. At the 2017 World Championships, Medvedeva became the first 16-year-old female skater after Michelle Kwan to win back-to-back world titles. Evgenia Medvedeva is also the first skater to achieve two Grand Slams in a row.
Alina Zagitova is a Russian figure skater who has won one gold medal each in Olympic Games, World Figure Skating Championships, European Figure Skating Championships, and Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final; she is the only female figure skater from Russia to have achieved this feat. At the 2019 Glamour Russia Awards, Alina Zagitova was named Sportswoman of the Year.
Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko belonged to the Red Army during World War II and is believed to have killed over 300 people. Also known as Lady Death, she was awarded the Order of Lenin and was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. She later became a Soviet Navy researcher.
Maria Feodorovna was a Danish princess who married Emperor Alexander III and became Empress of Russia. She was the second daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel. She grew up to be a beautiful and charming woman. She was married to Alexander Alexandrovich, the son of Emperor Alexander II and his first wife Maria Alexandrovna.
20 Anna Pavlova
One of the first ballerinas to travel extensively around the world, Anna Pavlova had first gained an interest in the dance form after watching an adaptation of The Sleeping Beauty. She initially gained fame dancing with Mikhail Mordkin and later made waves with her iconic role in The Dying Swan.
Catherine I of Russia was the second wife and Empress consort of Peter the Great. She served as the Empress regnant of Russia from 1725 until her death in 1727. The daughter of a peasant, she had an adventurous life as a young woman and eventually married Peter the Great who was taken by her beauty. They had 12 children.
Russian philosopher Helena Blavatsky, or Madame Blavatsky, was one of the co-founders of the Theosophical Society. She popularized the slogan “There is no religion higher than truth.” She was inspired by the Arya Samaj and later converted to Buddhism. She also wrote books such as The Secret Doctrine.
24 Sasha Luss
Helene Fischer is a German singer, dancer, actress, and TV presenter. She attended the Frankfurt Stage & Musical School to study singing and acting. She made her debut in 2005 and found immediate success. Eventually, she started singing in English as well. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including 17 Echo awards and four "Krone der Volksmusik" prizes.
Yulia Lipnitskaya stunned her fans with the news of her retirement at the tender age of 19. Apparently, she had been struggling with injuries and anorexia. The Russian professional figure skater won an Olympic gold at 15, thus becoming the youngest Russian gold medalist in history.
32 Like Nastya
Daughter of Ivan V and niece of Peter I, Anna of Russia did not have much interest in the governance of her kingdom and left it in the hands of her beloved Ernst Johann Biron and her advisors. Her “dark reign” witnessed costly wars such as the Russo-Turkish War.
35 Lena Katina
Blue-eyed Russian child model Kristina Pimenova was already a star by age 10, having signed a deal with LA Models and worked for Armani and Benetton. Criticized for her “sexed-up” images on social media, she grew up to experiment with acting in films such as The Russian Bride.
37 Anna Chapman
Anna Chapman is a Russian intelligence agent, media personality, and model. In 2010, she was arrested in US as part of the Illegals Program spy ring. She was later deported to Russia as part of a prisoner swap. Since her return, she has hosted TV shows, worked as a catwalk model, and served as the head of a youth council.
38 Olesya Rulin
Olesya Rulin is a Russian-American actress best known for acting in the High School Musical film franchise. Even though she was interested in the show business from a young age, she began her career as a nurse assistant. She eventually became an actress and found tremendous success with the release of the High School Musical films.
39 Katya Jones
Katya Jones is a Russian dancer, environmentalist, and choreographer. She is known for competing in the popular British TV dance contest Strictly Come Dancing. After winning the show in 2017 with Joe McFadden, Jones went on to compete in the show in 2020 along with retired boxer Nicola Adams, becoming the first same-sex couple in the history of the show.
42 Nina Kraviz
Nina Kraviz is a Russian DJ, singer, and music producer. She studied dentistry and even practiced for some time while performing gigs as a side hustle. She then proceeded to study at the Red Bull Music Academy. She released her self-titled debut album in 2012 and then went on to launch her own record label.
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, daughter of Emperor Alexander III, was a sickly but studious child. After leaving her first husband, who was homosexual, after a 15-year unconsummated marriage, Olga married Nikolai Kulikovsky and later fled with him and their children to escape the Russian revolution.
Nadezhda Alliluyeva was the second wife of Soviet politician Joseph Stalin. Although Alliluyeva wanted to pursue an independent career, Stalin wanted her to maintain a domestic role, which led to frequent arguments between the two. She even contemplated leaving Stalin on several occasions before taking her own life at the age of 31.
45 Roza Shanina
Anne Vyalitsyna is a Russian-American model renowned for her consecutive appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue from 2005 to 2014. Apart from appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Vyalitsyna has also appeared on the covers of popular magazines, such as Glamour, Elle, and Vogue. She has also walked the runway for brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada.
Ekaterine "Kato" Svanidze, a shy girl from a poor Georgian family, was the first of Joseph Stalin’s two wives. Stalin, then 24, fell in love with a 16-year-old Kato while studying together at the Tiflis Spiritual Seminary. She died a year after the birth of their son, Yakov.
Olga Khokhlova was a Ukrainian ballet dancer. She also served as one of Pablo Picasso's early artistic muses before marrying him in 1918. Olga met Picasso at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris where the latter had designed the set and costumes for a ballet titled Parade, in which Olga performed. She left her ballet group after meeting Pablo Picasso.