Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian writer, journalist, and human rights activist. She is best remembered for reporting the Second Chechen War. In spite of various acts of intimidation and violence, Politkovskaya never gave up reporting on the war. Her efforts and work earned her several international awards, such as the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award. Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006.
Russian-American journalist and The New Yorker staff writer Masha Gessen is known for his sharp criticism of political figures such as Donald Trump. The renowned author of the internationally popular books such as The Man Without a Face and The Future Is History, he identifies as nonbinary and trans.
Currently the director of the Information and Press department of Russia’s Foreign Affairs ministry, Maria Zakharova is from a family of diplomats. Putin’s top aide is also known for her sarcastic comments on sensitive issues on various talk shows and for her seductive selfies and trademark red lipstick.
Ksenia Sobchak is a Russian TV anchor, journalist, actress, socialite, and public figure. The daughter of popular Russian politicians, Sobchak achieved popularity when she started hosting the popular reality TV show, Dom-2. In 2018, at the age of 36, she was chosen as the Civic Initiative's presidential candidate, becoming the youngest presidential candidate in the history of Russia.
Russian-Israeli author Dmitry Glukhovsky gained fame with his first novel, Metro 2033, which he published on his own site at age 18, and which later inspired an interactive experiment and a video game franchise. He has also worked for Mayak Radio Station, EuroNews TV, and Deutsche Welle.
Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė is а Lithuanian actress who appears predominantly in Russian films. She achieved popularity in 1994, when she won the Nika Award for Best Actress. Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė is аlso a recipient of the State Prize of the Russian Federation.
Russian author and journalist, Vasily Grossman, by training a chemical engineer, began writing fulltime at the age of twenty-five, eventually publishing several short stories and novels, including Life and Fate and Forever Flowing. Considered a threat, these works were later censured. A war correspondent during WWII, he was also one of the first journalists to write on Treblinka extermination camp.
Russian author Isaac Babel was a reporter before plunging into full-time writing. He is remembered for his short story collections Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories. One of his most popular stories was The Story of My Dovecote. He was part of the Soviet 1st Cavalry Army as Kiril Lyutov and documented the Polish-Soviet War.
Richard Sorge was a German journalist and Soviet military intelligence officer. He was active before and during the Second World War. He worked undercover in both Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan under the codename, "Ramsay." He was arrested, tortured, and hanged in 1944. In 1964, he was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin has not just been the Russian ambassador to NATO but has also headed the Russian space agency Roscosmos as its director general. He also led the nationalist political party Rodina and has been Russia’s deputy prime minister for Defense and Space Industry.
Popular Russian host and actor Ivan Urgant is best known to audiences as Boris from the Yolki comedy film series. Dubbed the Russian Jimmy Kimmel, he is believed to have fled to Israel, as his show Evening Urgant was taken off the air soon after he criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Russian novelist and travel writer Ivan Goncharov is best remembered for his novel Oblomov. Born into an affluent merchant family, he later had a 30-year stint as an official, working for the ministries of finance and censorship. In his memoir, An Uncommon Story, he accused many authors of plagiarizing his works.
Mikhail Nikolayevich Zadornov was a Soviet and Russian comedian and writer who specialized in stand-up comedy. After graduating from the prestigious Moscow Aviation Institute, Zadornov chose to become a humorist and would later use the memory of his engineering days mockingly during stage shows.
Russian human rights activist and journalist Natalya Estemirova, also known as Natasha, made headlines when she was kidnapped and brutally shot dead, in what many suspected was a state-sponsored killing. In fact, her friend and collaborator Anna Politkovskaya was also shot dead in a similar fashion earlier.
Recipient of the honorary title of People's Artist of the RSFSR, Soviet and Russian film actor Leonid Kuravlyov got his real breakthrough playing lead role in the Vasily Shukshin directed comedy-film There Is Such a Lad. In the ensuing years, Kuravlyov bolstered his career in showbiz starring in several top-grossing comedy movies like The Most Charming and Attractive and Afonya.