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.

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 1 Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev
50
Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: March 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Privolnoye, 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 Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin
129
Famous As: President of Russia
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.

 3 Nicholas II

Nicholas II
11
Famous As: Emperor of Russia (1894-1917)
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.

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 4 Georgy Zhukov

Georgy Zhukov
11
Famous As: Military Commander
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.

 5 Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin
44
Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
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.

 6 Vyacheslav Molotov

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

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 7 Vasili Arkhipov

Vasili Arkhipov
7
Famous As: Naval Officer
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.

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 8 Yuri Andropov

Yuri Andropov
8
Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
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.

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 9 Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova
6
Famous As: Pilot, Astronaut, Politician
Birthdate: March 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bolshoye 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 Nikita Khrushchev

Nikita Khrushchev
22
Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
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.

 11 Stanislav Petrov

Stanislav Petrov
6
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: September 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vladivostok, Russia
Died: May 19, 2017

 12 Nikolai Valuev

Nikolai Valuev
5
Famous As: Boxer
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.

 13 Alexander Kerensky

Alexander Kerensky
4
Famous As: Minister-President of the Russian Republic (1917)
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.

 14 Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky
33
Famous As: People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs of the Soviet Union (1918-1925)
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.

 15 Ramzan Kadyrov

Ramzan Kadyrov
14
Famous As: Politician
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.

 16 Peter Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin
4
Famous As: Anarchist, Socialist & Historian
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. 

 17 Alina Kabaeva

Alina Kabaeva
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tashkent, Uzbekistan

 18 Mikhail Bakunin

Mikhail Bakunin
4
Famous As: Philosopher
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.    

 19 Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov
4
Famous As: Business Tycoon
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. 

 20 Grigory Potemkin

Grigory Potemkin
5
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: October 11, 1739
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chizhovo, Russian Empire
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.

 21 Nikolai Bulganin

Nikolai Bulganin
3
Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: June 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod
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.

 22 Dmitry Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev
7
Famous As: Jurist, Politician, Photographer, Blogger, Lawyer, Actor, Businessperson
Birthdate: September 14, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg

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.

 23 Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia

Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia
4
Famous As: Military Leader
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.

 24 Ivan Konev

Ivan Konev
5
Famous As: General
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.

 25 Aleksandr Dugin

Aleksandr Dugin
4
Famous As: Analyst
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.

 26 Boris Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov
3
Famous As: Physicist
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.

 27 Mikhail Kalinin

Mikhail Kalinin
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
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.

 28 Nikolai Bukharin

Nikolai Bukharin
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 9, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 15, 1938
Marxist economist Nikolai Bukharin was drawn toward the Bolshevik ideology while studying economics. Though a staunch communist and a chief ally of Joseph Stalin, Bukharin was later falsely accused of spying and engaging in counter-revolutionary activities. Following his execution, he was posthumously made a party member in 1988.

 29 Yakov Yurovsky

Yakov Yurovsky
3
Famous As: Soviet Era Executioner
Birthdate: June 19, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tomsk, Siberia, Russian Empire
Died: 1938 AD

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.

 30 Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya

Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: February 26, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: February 27, 1939

 31 Kliment Voroshilov

Kliment Voroshilov
3
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: February 4, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bakhmut, Ukraine
Died: December 2, 1969

Kliment Voroshilov was an important Soviet politician and military officer during the Stalin era. He also played an important role in postwar Hungary as he oversaw the establishment of the Hungarian People's Republic between 1945 and 1947. From 1953 to 1960, Voroshilov served as the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.

 32 Georgy Malenkov

Georgy Malenkov
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Orenburg
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.

 33 Konstantin Chernenko

Konstantin Chernenko
5
Famous As: General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: September 24, 1911
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Novosyolovsky District, Krasnoyarsk Krai, in 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. 

 34 Alexei Kosygin

Alexei Kosygin
3
Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: February 20, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
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.

 35 Aleksandr Kolchak

Aleksandr Kolchak
3
Famous As: Admiral
Birthdate: November 16, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 7, 1920

 36 Sergey Shoygu

Sergey Shoygu
4
Famous As: Politician, Military personnel, Economist
Birthdate: May 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chadan

 37 Vladimir Zhirinovsky

Vladimir Zhirinovsky
3
Famous As: Jurist, Politician, Lawyer
Birthdate: April 25, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Almaty

 38 Boris Godunov

Boris Godunov
3
Famous As: Tsar of Russia
Birthdate: 1551 AD
Died: April 23, 1605

 39 Alexander Suvorov

Alexander Suvorov
4
Famous As: General
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.

 40 Leonid Brezhnev

Leonid Brezhnev
13
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. 

 41 Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia

Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia
3
Famous As: Grand Duke of Russia
Birthdate: May 11, 1857
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pushkin, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 17, 1905

 42 Mikhail Kutuzov

Mikhail Kutuzov
4
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: September 16, 1745
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 28, 1813

 43 Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin
16
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.

 44 Natalia Poklonskaya

Natalia Poklonskaya
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mykhailivka, Ukraine

 45 Michael I of Russia

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

 46 Vasily Chuikov

Vasily Chuikov
6
Famous As: Military officer
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.

 47 Grigory Orlov

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

 48 Rurik

Rurik
23
Famous As: chieftain
Birthdate: 0830 AD
Birthplace: Europe
Died: 0879 AD

Viking prince Rurik is part of Norse legends and finds mention in The Russian Primary Chronicle of the 12th century. The founder of the Rurik dynasty, he is said to have been invited by the people of Novgorod too form an orderly government, though historians deny his existence.

 49 Ivan V of Russia

Ivan V of Russia
3
Famous As: monarch
Birthdate: August 27, 1666
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: January 29, 1696

 50 Vitaly Kaloyev

Vitaly Kaloyev
3
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: January 15, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vladikavkaz, Russia