Born into a poor peasant family, Mikhail Gorbachev went on to become one of the most influential figures of the Soviet Union. He served in various positions, most notably as the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He is regarded as one of the most prominent personalities of the 20th century.
Nicholas II reigned as the last Emperor of All Russia from 1894 until his abdication in 1917. His reign oversaw a series of reforms in Russia. These reforms included the introduction of literacy programs, civil liberties, and methods to modernize the empire's infrastructure. However, these reforms were eventually undermined by Nicholas' love for autocratic rule.
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.
Soviet general and Marshal of the Soviet Union, Georgy Zhukov, is remembered for overseeing some of the Red Army's most decisive victories during the Second World War. As a young man, he served in the First World War and the Russian Civil War. The recipient of four Hero of the Soviet Union awards, he was made the defence minister.
Roman Abramovich is an Israeli-Russian businessman and politician. Over the years, he has played an influential role as the primary owner of Millhouse LLC and as the owner of the popular Premier League football club Chelsea F.C. Roman Abramovich is one of the richest persons in the world and has donated over US$2.5 billion to various charitable causes between 1999 and 2013.
Georgy Malenkov was a Soviet politician who succeeded Joseph Stalin as the leader of the Soviet Union. He also played a major role during World War II as he was given sole responsibility of Soviet Union's missile program during the war. Almost inseparable from any account of Stalin's biographies, Malenkov was played by Jeffrey Tambor in The Death of Stalin.
The current President of Russia, Vladimir Putin is a popular politician, with the highest approval rating of any leader in the world as of July 2020. As a high-level politician who has the support of his citizens, he is a powerful figure in world politics. He has been accused by human rights organizations of persecuting political critics and activists.
Yuri Andropov served as the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1982 until his death in 1984. As the leader of the Soviet Union, Yuri Andropov worked towards improving the nation's economy and dismissed 18 ministers in an attempt to minimize corruption. His work and life have inspired several television documentaries.
Konstantin Rokossovsky was a Soviet and Polish officer. One of the most important Red Army commanders during the Second World War, Rokossovsky also served as Poland's Defence Minister from 1949 to 1956. He also served as the Marshal of Poland and as the Marshal of the Soviet Union.
Alexander Kerensky was a Russian revolutionary and lawyer who played a major role in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Alexander Kerensky is often portrayed in films and TV series. In the 1971 epic historical drama film Nicholas and Alexandra, he was played by John McEnery. In the 2019 series The Last Czars, he was portrayed by Kestutis Cicenas.
Vyacheslav Molotov was a Soviet diplomat and politician. An Old Bolshevik, Molotov played a key role in bringing the Bolsheviks to power. He also played a major role during the Great Purge, signing 373 execution lists. Molotov was portrayed by actor Michael Palin in the 2017 political satire black comedy film The Death of Stalin.
Sergey Lavrov is a Russian diplomat and politician. Since 2004, he has been serving as the foreign minister of Russia. An alumnus of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), he began his diplomatic career in 1972. Considered a brilliant diplomat, he was later appointed to the post of minister of foreign affairs. He is multi-lingual.
Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet Navy officer who played a crucial role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. He prevented a Soviet nuclear strike, which could’ve easily caused an all-out nuclear war. He refused to authorize the use of nuclear torpedoes, for which he was posthumously honored with the Future of Life Award by the Future of Life Institute in 2017.
Grigory Potemkin was a Russian statesman, military leader, and nobleman. A favorite of Catherine the Great, Grigory Potemkin was appointed governor-general of Russia's southern provinces in 1775. An influential personality, Potemkin supervised the construction of several important edifices, such as the Tauride Palace. He is also credited with founding the towns of Ekaterinoslav, Sevastopol, Kherson, and Nikolayev.
Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Mikhail Prokhorov is a Russian billionaire, former owner of the American professional basketball team Brooklyn Nets, and politician. One of Russia's most prominent industrialists, Prokhorov is credited with helping Norilsk Nickel become the largest producer of palladium and nickel in the world.
Son of Alexander III, the emperor of Russia, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich refused to accept the throne unless Russians were allowed to decide if they wanted the monarchy or a republic. Both Michael and his British secretary, Nicholas Johnson, were arrested and shot to death during the Russian Revolution.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, has also been the prime minister and president of Russia. Born to teacher parents, he was an intelligent child and began studying his father’s encyclopedia in third grade. He is known for his support of the nuclear disarmament treaty.
Boris Nemtsov was a Russian liberal politician and physicist. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in 1998. A fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov claimed that Putin's government was becoming increasingly authoritarian. Nemtsov was murdered in 2015 in Moscow. Interestingly, Boris Nemtsov expressed fear that Vladimir Putin would hire men to kill him weeks before his assassination.
Mikhail Bakunin was a Russian socialist and anarchist. He is credited with founding an anarchist school of thought called collectivist anarchism. Regarded as one of the most influential personalities of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin has had a major influence on thinkers like Peter Kropotkin, Herbert Marcuse, Errico Malatesta, Neil Postman, E. P. Thompson, and A. S. Neill.
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.
Aleksandr Vasilyevich Suvorov was a distinguished Russian General, remembered for winning every battle that he had commanded. Known for his thumping victories at the Battle of Rymnik and Siege of Izmail during the Russo-Turkish War and for his contributions during the French Revolutionary Wars, he won many awards and tittles and wrote several military manuals, including The Science of Victory.
One of the prime organizers of the National Bolshevik Party, Russian politologist Aleksandr Dugin is known for his association with fascism. He supports the creation of a Eurasian empire, which will oppose North Atlantic interests. He has also penned books such as The Fourth Political Theory and Foundations of Geopolitics.
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.
Ramzan Kadyrov, who heads the Chechen Republic, is the son of Akhmad Kadyrov, former Chechen president. A major figure of the Chechen independence movement, he fought against Russians during the 1st Chechen War. He has also launched wrestling tournaments and is part of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
Soviet politician Konstantin Chernenko was the fifth General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Born to a poor family from Siberia, he developed an early interest in politics. He joined the Communist Party as a young man and rose through the ranks in the ensuing decades. He was awarded Hero of Socialist Labour in 1984.
Nikita Khrushchev was the Soviet Premier from 1958 to 1964 and the first Communist Party secretary of the Soviets. He initially supported Stalin’s “purges” but denounced them in the Secret Speech to the 20th Party Congress. His reign saw the Suez Crisis, the Sputnik launch, and the 1960 U-2 incident.
Controversial Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin, ruled the Soviet Union for around 25 years from 1929 to 1953 and is credited for making it a prominent industrial and military power of the world. During the Second World War, his army defeated the Nazis too. However, his regime was also one of terror and brutality where numerous Soviet citizens lost their lives.
Ivan Konev was a Marshal of the Soviet Union and general. He is remembered for leading the Red Army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. He also played important roles in World War I and the Russian Civil War before working his way to the top. He remained a respected military figure until his death in 1973.
Soviet military general Vasily Chuikov is best known for his heroics in the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. He led the Soviet march into Berlin that led to the surrender of the Germans. Following the war, he became a member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee.
Son of a Belarusian farmer, Andrei Gromyko grew up studying agriculture. He had already started delivering anti-religious speeches by 13 and later joined the Communist Party. He later served as the Soviet foreign minister and then the head of state, becoming popular as Mr. Nyet for vetoing UN proposals often.
Mikhail Tukhachevsky was a Soviet theoretician and military leader. He is best remembered for commanding the Western Front during the Polish-Soviet War. From 1925 to 1928, he served as the Red Army's chief of staff and commanded the Volga Military District in 1937. In 1935, he was appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union.
Russian statesman Georgy Lvov created history by becoming the first prime minister of the Russian provisional government formed during the 1917 February Revolution. A qualified lawyer, he worked in civil service for a few years, before joining the Kadet Party, or the Constitutional Democratic Party.
The firebrand National Bolshevik Party leader Eduard Limonov gained fame with his first novel, It's Me, Eddie, which contained explicit sexual imagery and obscene language, and was written while he was in literary exile in New York. He was also part of The Other Russia, a group of Putin opposers.