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Explore our collection of famous Russians for insights into some of the nation's most iconic citizens like Vladimir Putin, Rasputin, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Catherine the Great, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin and Ivan the Terrible.
Vladimir Putin served as president of Russia from 2000 to 2008 and was re-elected to the presidency in 2012. He previously served as Russia's prime minister.
Catherine II, or Catherine the Great, served as empress of Russia for more than three decades in the late 18th century after overthrowing her husband, Peter III.
Rasputin is best known for his role as a mystical adviser in the court of Czar Nicholas II of Russia.
Yul Brynner was an actor known for his roles in 'The King and I,' 'The Ten Commandments' and 'The Magnificent Seven.'
Peter the Great was a Russian czar in the late 17th century, who is best known for his extensive reforms in an attempt to establish Russia as a great nation
Ivan the Terrible was the first tsar of all Russia. During his reign, he acquired vast amounts of land through ruthless means, creating a centrally controlled government.
Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for more than two decades, instituting a reign of death and terror while modernizing Russia and helping to defeat Nazism.
Vladimir Lenin was founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and architect and first head of the Soviet state.
Anastasia was the daughter of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II. After she and her family were executed, rumors claimed that she might have survived.
Communist Leon Trotsky helped ignite the Russian Revolution of 1917, and built the Red Army afterward. He was exiled and later assassinated by Soviet agents.
Marc Chagall was a Belorussian-born French artist whose work generally was based on emotional association rather than traditional pictorial fundamentals.
Mikhail Baryshnikov is a Russian-American ballet dancer who choreographed several iconic pieces which have made him one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century.
Maria Sharapova is a former pro tennis player who became the first Russian woman to win Wimbledon and earned a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the first president of the Soviet Union, serving from 1990 to 1991. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his leadership role in ending the Cold War and promoting peaceful international relations.
Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote the acclaimed novels 'War and Peace,' 'Anna Karenina' and 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich,' and ranks among the world's top writers.
Influential Russian composer Igor Stravinsky created such famed works as 'The Rite of Spring,' 'Symphony in C' and 'The Rake's Progress.'
Soviet spy William Fisher, a.k.a. Rudolf Abel, was convicted of espionage in the United States in 1957 and later exchanged for imprisoned American Francis Gary Powers.
Sergey Brin is a computer scientist who created Google with Larry Page, the two becoming billionaires as Google developed into the world's most popular search engine and a media giant.
Film and television actress Mila Kunis came to fame on the sitcom 'That '70s Show.' In film, she's co-starred in such hits as 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 'Black Swan' and 'Bad Moms.'
Meyer Lansky, an organized-crime figure known for his sharp financial acumen, was instrumental in the development of a national crime syndicate in the United States.
Russian-born painter Wassily Kandinsky is credited as a leader in avant-garde art as one of the founders of pure abstraction in painting in the early 20th century.
Nicholas II was the last tsar of Russia under Romanov rule. His poor handling of Bloody Sunday and Russia’s role in World War I led to his abdication and execution.
Alexandra Feodorovna was consort of the Russian Czar Nicholas II. Her rule precipitated the collapse of Russia's imperial government. She was murdered, along with her entire family, in 1918.
Russian writer Anton Chekhov is recognized as a master of the modern short story and a leading playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.