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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bolshevik revolutionary Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, also known as Iron Felix, was born into a Polish noble family. Though Lenin considered him a hero, he often disagreed with Lenin’s views. He had been the director of Cheka. He died of a heart attack after finishing a 2-hour speech.
12 Alexei Rykov
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.
Alexandra Kollontai was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and diplomat. She served as the People's Commissar for Welfare in Lenin’s government. A powerful figure, she became the first woman in history to become an official member of a governing cabinet. She was also one of the few women to play a prominent role during the Russian Revolution.
14 Lev Kamenev
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.
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.
Soviet diplomat Maksim Litvinov believed in disarmament and was behind the adoption of the Kellogg–Briand Pact and the Litvinov Protocol. He had also been the Soviet Ambassador to the US and later served as the deputy commissar for foreign affairs. He was the grandfather of Russian-American author Pavel Litvinov.
Yemelyan Pugachev, a Cossack leader, was a significant figure of the peasant rebellion in Russia. Impersonating Emperor Peter III, who had been deposed by Queen Catherine and killed, Pugachev gathered a group of peasants and besieged several major Russian cities, but was eventually sent to Moscow, where he was executed.
Russian revolutionary Aleksandr Ulyanov was the elder brother of Vladimir Lenin, who founded the Soviet Union. Though initially not interested in politics, he later became involved in St. Petersburg student politics and was part of a plot to kill Alexander III. He was hanged along with four of his comrades.
20 Sergey Kirov
Communist leader and Bolshevik revolutionary Sergey Kirov was assassinated in Leningrad by a Communist Party member in 1934, leading Joseph Stalin to initiate the Great Purge, which was geared toward decimating anti-Stalinist Communists. However, it was later hinted that Stalin may have himself ordered Kirov’s assassination.
Initially inspired by Marxist ideals, Alexander Israel Helphand later got involved in revolutionary activities and was arrested. He escaped to Germany, where he later negotiated Lenin’s re-entry into Russia in a sealed train through Germany from Switzerland, where Lenin was exiled. Nevertheless, Helphand wasn’t allowed by Lenin to re-enter Russia.
Russian revolutionary and Marxist theorist Georgi Plekhanov is remembered for establishing Liberation of Labour, the first Russian Marxist organization. One of his best-known works was Socialism and Political Struggle. He later went against the Bolsheviks and Lenin and criticized their policies. He supported the Entente powers during World War I.
29 Adolph Joffe
Marxist revolutionary leader Pavel Axelrod was closely associated with the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party and the Mensheviks. He was married to the daughter of satirist Isaac Kaminer. He went against the Bolshevik Revolution during World War I. He was exiled to Berlin in his final years and died there eventually.
33 Dokka Umarov
Chechen separatist Dokka Umarov later declared himself the emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. Though a civil engineer by profession, he continued to indulge in criminal activities while working in Russia. He was eventually poisoned, and his body was found in a remote Russian area.
36 Fanny Kaplan
Born into a poverty-stricken family of farmers, Fanny Kaplan was home-schooled. Later, while working as a milliner, she joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party and thus became part of radical politics. She developed anti-Bolshevik sentiments and attempted to assassinate Lenin. Though Lenin recovered, Kaplan was later executed.
37 Vera Figner
Russian revolutionary Vera Figner was a major figure of the Populist (Narodnik) movement. Initially a medical student, she later left her studies midway to devote herself to politics. She also left her husband for her revolutionary cause and became associated with the Zemlya i Volya party.