Famous Russian Leaders

The largest country in the world, Russia expands from northern Asia to Eastern Europe, spanning through eleven time zones and covering more than one-eighth of the world’s inhabited land area. Quite astounding, isn’t it? Interestingly, the vastness of the country is directly proportional to its greatness, its rich heritage and legacy standing as a testimony of the same. Russia, a world power today, has been ruled by the strongest and bravest leaders who through their administrative skills and military achievements helped Russia hold world records of having the world’s second largest economy, largest standing military, largest mineral and energy reserve, second largest exporter of arms and ammunitions and largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Eye-popping as this may seem to read, the achievements of Russian leaders are even more startling. Right from the current president Vladimir Putin to legendary leaders like Joseph Stalin, Nicholas II, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev, and others, Russian leaders shaped much of Russia’s and world’s political and military future. Read this section and brief yourself with the life and works of legendary Russian leaders. Their amazing contribution in the country’s political, economic and military sphere is spellbinding!

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Russian Leaders

 1 
Mikhail Gorbachev
(President of the Soviet Union (1990-91))

Mikhail Gorbachev
84
Birthdate: March 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Privol'noe, Russia

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.

 2 
Georgy Zhukov
(Military Commander)

Georgy Zhukov
18
Birthdate: December 1, 1896
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zhukov, Kaluga Oblast
Died: June 18, 1974

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.

 3 
Nicholas II
(Emperor of Russia (1894-1917))

Nicholas II
21
Birthdate: May 18, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: July 17, 1918

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.

Recommended Lists:

 4 
Georgy Malenkov
(Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1953-55))

Georgy Malenkov
5
Birthdate: December 6, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Orenburg, Russia
Died: January 14, 1988

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.

 5 
Mikhail Kalashnikov
(Inventor of 'AK-47' Assault Rifle, PK Machine Gun and 'RPK Light Machine Gun')

Mikhail Kalashnikov
4
Birthdate: November 10, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kur'ya, Russia
Died: December 23, 2013
Russian military leader Mikhail Kalashnikov is remembered for inventing the AK-47 assault rifle, along with other weapons such as the AKM, the AK-74, the PK machine gun, and the RPK light machine gun. He was named the Hero of the Russian Federation and received the Order of Military Merit.

 6 
Vyacheslav Molotov
(Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union (1930-41))

Vyacheslav Molotov
8
Birthdate: March 9, 1890
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sovetsk, Russia
Died: November 8, 1986

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.

Recommended Lists:

 7 
Roman Abramovich
(Billionaire Businessman and Owner of English Premier League Club Chelsea Football Club)

Roman Abramovich
15
Birthdate: October 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saratov, Russia

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.

You May Like

 8 
Vladimir Lenin
(1st & Founding head of government of Soviet Russia (1917-1924) and Soviet Union (1922-24))

Vladimir Lenin
62
Birthdate: April 22, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ulyanovsk, Russia
Died: January 21, 1924

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.

Recommended Lists:

 9 
Valentina Tereshkova
(The First and Youngest Woman in Space)

Valentina Tereshkova
8
Birthdate: March 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bol'shoe Maslennikovo, Russia
Former cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova is currently part of the Russian State Duma. In 1963, she became the first woman to fly into space when she went on a solo mission aboard the Vostok 6. She has won many honors, such as the Hero of the Soviet Union.

 10 
Alina Kabaeva
(Politician)

Alina Kabaeva
7
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tashkent, Uzbekistan

 11 
Nikita Khrushchev
(Former Premier of the Soviet Union)

Nikita Khrushchev
24
Birthdate: April 15, 1894
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kalinovka, Dmitriyevsky Uyezd, Kursk Governorate, Russian Empire
Died: September 11, 1971

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.

 12 
Vladimir Putin
(President of Russia (2000 - 2008, Incumbent Since 2012))

Vladimir Putin
167
Birthdate: October 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 13 
Stanislav Petrov
(Military officer)

Stanislav Petrov
7
Birthdate: September 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vladivostok, Russia
Died: May 19, 2017

 14 
Yuri Andropov
(Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union)

Yuri Andropov
10
Birthdate: June 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stavropol
Died: February 9, 1984

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.

 15 
Alexander Kerensky
(Minister-President of the Russian Republic (September 1917 - November 1917))

Alexander Kerensky
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1881
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ulyanovsk, Russia
Died: June 11, 1970

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.

 16 
Vasili Arkhipov
(Submariner)

Vasili Arkhipov
7
Birthdate: January 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zvorkovo, Russia
Died: August 19, 1998

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.

 17 
Sergey Lavrov
(Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia (Since 2004))

Sergey Lavrov
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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. 

 18 

Nikolai Valuev
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
The Russian Giant Nikolai Valuev has been the WBA heavyweight champion twice, and at 149 kg and 7 ft., is the heaviest and tallest champion ever. Severe health issues caused him to retire from boxing, following which he appeared in films such as Stonehead and became a State Duma member.

 19 
Konstantin Rokossovsky
(Military officer)

Konstantin Rokossovsky
5
Birthdate: December 1, 1896
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 3, 1968

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.

 20 
Peter Kropotkin
(Anarchist, Socialist & Historian)

Peter Kropotkin
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1842
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 8, 1921

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. 

 21 
Grigory Potemkin
(Russian Statesman, Army Officer and Lover of Empress Catherine the Great)

Grigory Potemkin
5
Birthdate: October 11, 1739
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chizhevo, Russia
Died: October 16, 1791

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.

 22 
Mikhail Prokhorov
(Business Tycoon)

Mikhail Prokhorov
5
Birthdate: May 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow, USSR

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. 

 23 

Aleksandr Dugin
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 24 
Oleg of Novgorod
(Rurikid prince)

Oleg of Novgorod
4
Birthdate: 0845 AD
Birthplace: Russia
Died: 0912 AD
Oleg of Novgorod, or Oleg the Prophet, was a Varangian prince who reigned over the Rus' people in late 9th and 10th centuries. He established the rule of Kievan Rus' and attacked Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. He finds mention in Scandinavian legends and in many historical films.

Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tsentralny District, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 13, 1918

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.

 26 
Nikolai Bulganin
(Premier of the Soviet Union (1955-58))

Nikolai Bulganin
3
Birthdate: June 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Died: February 24, 1975
Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin had been a high-ranking Red Army official and was known for his close association with Nikita Khrushchev. However, he was later stripped of his Central Committee membership and marshal’s rank after it became clear he had been part of a group that attempted to oust Khrushchev.

 27 
Ivan Konev
(General)

Ivan Konev
5
Birthdate: December 28, 1897
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lodeyno, Russia
Died: May 21, 1973

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.

 28 
Boris Nemtsov
(Physicist)

Boris Nemtsov
4
Birthdate: October 9, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sochi, Russia
Died: February 27, 2015

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.

 29 
Mikhail Bakunin
(Philosopher)

Mikhail Bakunin
5
Birthdate: May 30, 1814
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Russia
Died: July 1, 1876

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.    

 30 
Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya
(Deputy Minister of Education in the Government of the Soviet Union 1929 – 1938)

Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 27, 1939

 31 
Leon Trotsky
(Founder and Leader of the Red Army as People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs)

Leon Trotsky
36
Birthdate: November 7, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bereslavka, Ukraine
Died: August 21, 1940

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.

 32 
Mikhail Kalinin
(Mayor of Saint Petersburg)

Mikhail Kalinin
3
Birthdate: November 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Verkhnyaya Troitsa, Russia
Died: June 3, 1946

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.

 33 
Dmitry Medvedev
(Deputy Chairman of the Security Council)

Dmitry Medvedev
9
Birthdate: September 14, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 34 

Alexander Suvorov
4
Birthdate: November 24, 1729
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: May 18, 1800

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.

 35 
Joseph Stalin
(Revolutionary)

Joseph Stalin
75
Birthdate: December 18, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gori, Georgia
Died: March 5, 1953

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.

 36 
Konstantin Chernenko
(General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1984-85))

Konstantin Chernenko
5
Birthdate: September 24, 1911
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bol'shaya Tes', Russia
Died: March 10, 1985

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. 

 37 
Mikhail Mishustin
(Serving as Prime Minister of Russia since 16 January 2020)

Mikhail Mishustin
0
Birthdate: March 3, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lobnya, Russia

 38 
Lavrentiy Beria
(Russian Minister of Internal Affairs (1938-1953))

Lavrentiy Beria
8
Birthdate: March 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Merkheuli, Russia
Died: December 23, 1953
Lavrentiy Beria was a Soviet politician and a Bolshevik. He became a premier under Stalin and played a major role during World War II. He later served as the minister of internal affairs and the first deputy chairman of the council of ministers, and oversaw his country’s atomic bomb project. 

 39 
Boris Godunov
(Tsar of Russia)

Boris Godunov
3
Birthdate: 1551 AD
Died: April 23, 1605

Michael I of Russia
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1596
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: July 12, 1645

 41 
Ramzan Kadyrov
(Politician)

Ramzan Kadyrov
14
Birthdate: October 5, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tsentaroy, Russia

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.

Leonid Brezhnev
14
Birthdate: December 19, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kamenskoe, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire
Died: November 10, 1982
Leonid Brezhnev served as the leader of the Soviet Union, as the general secretary of the Communist Party, from 1964 to 1982, and as the chairman of the presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1977 to 1982. His reign is significant for its rampant corruption and economic stagnation. 

 43 
Alexei Kosygin
(Premier of the Soviet Union (1964-80))

Alexei Kosygin
3
Birthdate: February 21, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 18, 1980

Alexei Kosygin was a Soviet-Russian statesman who played an important role during the Cold War. From 1964 to 1980, Kosygin was the Premier of the Soviet Union, a position that enabled him to become one of the most influential policymakers in the Soviet Union during the mid-1960s. Today, Kosygin is considered a prominent figure in both Soviet and Russian history.

 44 
Marat Safin
(Tennis Player)

Marat Safin
4
Birthdate: January 27, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

Marat Safin is a Russian retired tennis player and former politician. Safin won two Grand Slam titles, namely Australian Open and US Open. He also helped Russia win the Davis Cup in 2002 and 2006. One of the most successful and celebrated tennis players from Russia, Safin was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016.

 45 
Mikhail Kutuzov
(Military officer)

Mikhail Kutuzov
5
Birthdate: September 16, 1745
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 28, 1813

 46 
Grigory Orlov
(Military officer)

Grigory Orlov
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1734
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lyutkino, Russia
Died: April 13, 1783

 47 
Anastas Mikoyan
(Revolutionary)

Anastas Mikoyan
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sanahin, Alaverdi, Armenia
Died: October 21, 1978

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.  

 48 
Vladimir Zhirinovsky
(Member of the State Duma since 1993)

Vladimir Zhirinovsky
3
Birthdate: April 25, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Almaty, Kazakhstan

 49 
Vasily Chuikov
(Military officer)

Vasily Chuikov
6
Birthdate: February 12, 1900
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tula Oblast
Died: March 18, 1982

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.

Boris Yeltsin
19
Birthdate: February 1, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Butka
Died: April 23, 2007
Boris Yeltsin served as the first president of Russia, from 1990 to 1999. He contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. His regime was marked by capitalism, monopoly, inflation, and corruption. He introduced a modified constitution that increased the presidential powers. He later abruptly announced his resignation on TV.