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
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Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: March 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian

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

Georgy Zhukov
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Famous As: Military Commander
Birthdate: December 1, 1896
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Russian
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.

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 3 Ramzan Kadyrov

Ramzan Kadyrov
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 5, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Russian

 4 Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great
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Famous As: Empress of Russia
Birthdate: May 2, 1729
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
Died: November 17, 1796

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.

 5 Nicholas II

Nicholas II
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Birthdate: May 18, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
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.

 6 Roman Abramovich

Roman Abramovich
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Famous As: Business Tycoon
Birthdate: October 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Russian

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.

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 7 Dmitry Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev
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Famous As: Jurist, Politician, Photographer, Blogger, Lawyer, Actor, Businessperson
Birthdate: September 14, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Russian
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 8 Alexander III of Russia

Alexander III of Russia
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Famous As: Former Emperor of All Russia
Birthdate: March 10, 1845
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian
Died: November 1, 1894
Alexander III ruled as the emperor of Russia, the king Poland, and the grand duke of Finland, from 1881 to 1894. He reversed many liberal policies that had been implemented by his father, Alexander II, earlier. He passed the “May Laws” and did not participate in any major war.
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 9 Stanislav Petrov

Stanislav Petrov
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Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: September 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Russian
Died: May 19, 2017

 10 Vyacheslav Molotov

Vyacheslav Molotov
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 9, 1890
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian
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.

 11 Yuri Andropov

Yuri Andropov
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Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: June 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Russian
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.

 12 Nicholas I of Russia

Nicholas I of Russia
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Famous As: Emperor of Russia
Birthdate: July 6, 1796
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Russian
Died: March 2, 1855

Nicholas I of Russia reigned as Emperor of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland, and King of Poland from 1825 to 1855. Nicholas I is remembered for his controversial reign, under which the Russian Empire achieved great geographical expansion. He also played a key role in creating an independent Greek state and was successful in ending the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829.

 13 Georgy Malenkov

Georgy Malenkov
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Russian
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.

 14 Vasili Arkhipov

Vasili Arkhipov
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Famous As: Naval Officer
Birthdate: January 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Russian
Died: August 19, 1998

 15 Konstantin Chernenko

Konstantin Chernenko
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Famous As: General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: September 24, 1911
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Ukrainian, Russian
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. 

 16 Rurik

Rurik
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Famous As: chieftain
Birthdate: 0830 AD
Nationality: Russian
Died: 0879 AD

 17 Alexander Kerensky

Alexander Kerensky
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Famous As: Political Leader
Birthdate: April 22, 1881
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
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.

 18 Grigory Potemkin

Grigory Potemkin
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Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: October 11, 1739
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Russian
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.

 19 Mikhail Bakunin

Mikhail Bakunin
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 30, 1814
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Swiss, Russian
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.    

 20 Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov
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Famous As: Business Tycoon
Birthdate: May 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian

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. 

 21 Aleksandr Dugin

Aleksandr Dugin
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Famous As: Analyst
Birthdate: January 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Russian

 22 Vitaly Kaloyev

Vitaly Kaloyev
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Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: January 15, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Russian

 23 Nikolai Bulganin

Nikolai Bulganin
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Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: June 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Russian
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.

 24 Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia

Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia
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Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 4, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Russian
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.

 25 Nikolai Bukharin

Nikolai Bukharin
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 9, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Russian
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.

 26 Alexei Rykov

Alexei Rykov
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 25, 1881
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian
Died: March 15, 1938

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.

 27 Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Menachem Mendel Schneerson
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Famous As: Rabbi
Birthdate: April 18, 1902
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Ukrainian, American, Russian
Died: June 12, 1994

Menachem Mendel Schneerson was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential Jewish leaders, Schneerson is best remembered for leading the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Under his leadership, the movement became one of the world's most influential and widespread Jewish movements. Menachem Mendel Schneerson was posthumously honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 1994.

 28 Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya

Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya
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Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: February 26, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian
Died: February 27, 1939

 29 Boris Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 9, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Russian
Died: February 27, 2015

 30 Vasily Chuikov

Vasily Chuikov
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Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: February 12, 1900
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Russian
Died: March 18, 1982

 31 Vladimir Zhirinovsky

Vladimir Zhirinovsky
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Famous As: Jurist, Politician, Lawyer
Birthdate: April 25, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Kazakh, Russian

 32 Aleksandr Kolchak

Aleksandr Kolchak
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Famous As: Admiral
Birthdate: November 16, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Russian
Died: February 7, 1920

 33 Boris Godunov

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

 34 Lazar Kaganovich

Lazar Kaganovich
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 22, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Ukrainian, Russian
Died: July 25, 1991

Lazar Kaganovich was a Soviet administrator and politician remembered for his close association with popular politician and revolutionary, Joseph Stalin. Kaganovich helped Stalin reach the peak of his success by eliminating those who were considered a threat to Stalin's regime. He also played a key role during the Great Purge, signing over 180 lists that caused the deaths of many.

 35 Yakov Yurovsky

Yakov Yurovsky
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Famous As: Soviet Era Executioner
Birthdate: June 19, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Russian
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.

 36 Mikhail Tukhachevsky

Mikhail Tukhachevsky
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Famous As: Military leader
Birthdate: February 16, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Russian
Died: June 12, 1937

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.

 37 Kliment Voroshilov

Kliment Voroshilov
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Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: February 4, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Russian
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.

 38 Ivan Konev

Ivan Konev
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Famous As: General
Birthdate: December 28, 1897
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Russian
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.

 39 Viktor Vekselberg

Viktor Vekselberg
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Famous As: Entrepreneur, Engineer
Birthdate: April 14, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Russian

 40 Mikhail Kalinin

Mikhail Kalinin
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Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: November 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Russian
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.

 41 Grigory Zinoviev

Grigory Zinoviev
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Famous As: Bolshevik Revolutionary
Birthdate: September 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Russian
Died: August 25, 1936

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.

 42 Alexander Suvorov

Alexander Suvorov
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Famous As: General
Birthdate: November 24, 1729
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Russian
Died: May 18, 1800

 43 Alexei Kosygin

Alexei Kosygin
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Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: February 20, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian
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 Alexey Kosygin

Alexey Kosygin
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Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: February 21, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian
Died: December 18, 1980

 45 Lev Kamenev

Lev Kamenev
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Famous As: Revolutionary, Political Leader
Birthdate: July 18, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Russian
Died: August 24, 1936

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.

 46 Feodor I of Russia

Feodor I of Russia
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Birthdate: May 31, 1557
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Russian
Died: January 1, 1598

 47 Mikhail Kutuzov

Mikhail Kutuzov
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Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: September 16, 1745
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Russian
Died: April 28, 1813

 48 Gennady Zyuganov

Gennady Zyuganov
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Russian

 49 Michael I of Russia

Michael I of Russia
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Birthdate: July 12, 1596
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Russian
Died: July 12, 1645

 50 Grigory Orlov

Grigory Orlov
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Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: October 6, 1734
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Russian
Died: April 13, 1783