The most controversial figures in Russian history on RT Documentary
Ivy Mike Test of First H-Bomb in 1952.

5 August

On August 5, 1963, the Treaty banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Underwater, often abbreviated as the Partial Test Ban Treaty, was signed between the Soviet Union, the United States, and Great Britain. …

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Peter Carl Faberge

Peter Carl Faberge was a world famous master jeweler and head of the ‘House of Faberge’ in Imperial Russia in the waning days of the Russian Empire.

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The unknown Russia: dissolving the myths

A vast snow-clad country, the native land of vodka, bears and the KGB: myths about Russia seem to be an integral part of its image. The reality is a heady mix of people, traditions and history.

Spanning 9 time zones and two continents, Russia puzzles and fascinates. Taking up an immense space, a home to different nationalities and cultures, it’s often called a bridge between the East and the West. You can spend a lifetime exploring it without ever unveiling all its mysteries or feel at home over a week-end.

It’s a country of snow-covered plains and sizzling seaside, never-ending forests and high peaks, vibrant cities and forlorn villages. Everything’s on a grand scale. For centuries Russia’s been changing and re-inventing itself. It’s seen great glory and great downfalls. Emerging as one of the world’s top powers, it’s still dealing with its Soviet past. A land of age-old traditions and contrasts. For almost a century it’s been seen as “an evil empire”. Some believe it still is. Others think it’s carving itself a new place in the world.

A challenge as much as a destination, it’s the unknown Russia. It’s up to you to discover it.

Modernizing Russia, Nikita Mikhalkov, Kazimir Malevich, Maslenitsa

Modernizing Russia Modernizing Russia

Once Putin’s right-hand man, President Medvedev has vowed to put his own stamp on Putin’s policies while fighting against corruption.

Nikita Mikhalkov Nikita Mikhalkov

Nikita Mikhalkov is the Russian filmmaker and actor.

Kazimir Malevich Kazimir Malevich

An ardent proponent of non-figurative art as the supreme form of human creative activity, Kazimir Malevich is best known among the general public for his “Black Square” painting.

Maslenitsa Maslenitsa

A week of celebrations preceding the Great Lent, marking the end of winter and welcoming spring.

New head, new hopes, Anna Netrebko, Rudolph Nureyev, Vladimir Nabokov

New head, new hopes New head, new hopes

From spy to President, the enigmatic Mr. Putin is largely credited with getting Russia back on its feet. However, many say that Russia’s stability came with a cost.

Anna Netrebko Anna Netrebko

Anna Netrebko is a Russian soprano opera singer, and a People’s Artiste of Russia.

Rudolph Nureyev Rudolph Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev was a ballet dancer from the Soviet Union known throughout the world for his breathtakingly talented performances and fantastic commitment.

Vladimir Nabokov Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov is Russian-American writer, lecturer and entomologist. Most famous for his novel, Lolita, about a literary scholar’s obsession with a 12 year old girl.

Russia after the Soviet Union, The Romanovs, Religion, Grigory Rasputin

Russia after the Soviet Union Russia after the Soviet Union

The collapse of the USSR, the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Yeltsin’s reforms gone awry mark a period of great difficulty for a Russia in transition.

The Romanovs The Romanovs

The Romanov Dynasty (1613 to 1917) was the last imperial dynasty to rule Russia. During the Romanov reign Russia became and remained a major European power.

Religion Religion

Russia is home to all three of the world’s dominant religions, with thousands of churches and mosques making up some of the finest architectural masterpieces.

Grigory Rasputin Grigory Rasputin

Grigory Rasputin, a peasant who exerted a powerful influence over Nicholas II and Aleksandra, is one of the most mysterious figures of Russian history.

Shchi, Andrey Sakharov, Joseph Stalin, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Shchi Shchi

When talking about Russian cuisine, shchi, the delicious hot soup, is one of the most distinguishable dishes – along with pelmeni and okroshka.

Andrey Sakharov Andrey Sakharov

Andrey Sakharov was a brilliant scientist, designing the hydrogen bomb and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Joseph Stalin Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin is one of the most controversial and enigmatic figures in Russian history and is still the subject of fierce discussions.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian Nobel prize-winning author who exposed the horror of Soviet prison labor camps and gave new meaning to the word "gulag."

Viktor Sadovnichy Marat Safin Nikas Safronov Andrey Sakharov Salo Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin Darya Saltykova Samogon Samovar Samoyedstvo Tanya Savicheva Aleksey Savrasov August Ludwig von Schlozer Alfred Schnittke Science and technology Aleksandr Scriabin Dinara Safina Igor Sechin Semibankirschina Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky Seni Saint Seraphim of Sarov Anatoly Serdyukov Kirill Serebrennikov Serfs Valentin Serov Mintimer Shaimiev Varlam Shalamov Maria Sharapova Shchi Aleksey Shchusev Eduard Shevardnadze Yury Shevchuk Ivan Shishkin Sergey Shmatko Sergey Shoigu Mikhail Sholokhov Dmitry Shostakovich Sergey Shoygu The Shparos Shuba Vasily Shukshin Klavdia Shulzhenko Vasily Shuysky Igor Sikorsky Siloviki Denis Simachev Siphon Sitro Nikolay Sklifosovsky Skomorokh Slavophiles and Zapadniki Smekalka Smenka Anatoly Sobchak Ksenia Sobchak Sergey Sobyanin Pietro Antonio Solari (Pietro Fryazin) Fyodor Sologub Sergey Solovyov Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Soviet Monument “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” under reconstruction Soviet posters and front-line photos The Soviet saint Space and aviation Spartak Maria Spiridonova Sport Sputnik Sergius of Radonezh (Sergey Radonezhsky) Shashlyk Snegurochka Sovok Subbotnik Sukhoi St Petersburg from the sky St. Petersburg’s miniature copy Aleksey Stakhanov Joseph Stalin Stalin's Purges Konstantin Stanislavsky Stilyagi Pyotr Stolypin Strategic bombers graveyard Igor Stravinsky Street of History Eduard Streltsov Streltsy Arkady and Boris Strugatsky Old Style and New Style Pavel Sukhoi Vasily Surikov Ivan Susanin Sushki Aleksandr Suvorov Yakov Sverdlov Georgy Sviridov Syrniki

Uncle Joe at the wheel, Vladimir Ustinov, Fyodor Ushakov, Galina Ulanova

Uncle Joe at the wheel Uncle Joe at the wheel

Criticized for his horrific Gulag labor camps and mass repressions by some, others praise Stalin for turning Russian into an industrial powerhouse.

Vladimir Ustinov Vladimir Ustinov

Vladimir Ustinov is ex-Prosecutor General and a current Presidential Envoy to the Southern Federal District of the Russian Federation.

Fyodor Ushakov Fyodor Ushakov

Fyodor Ushakov was responsible for the modernization of the Russian Navy in the 18th century. His military operations are still carefully studied in naval academies worldwide today – over 200 years later.

Galina Ulanova Galina Ulanova

Galina Ulanova was an iconic figure in Soviet ballet, called by another legendary dancer of the 20th century, Rudolf Nureev, “the world's Number One ballerina.”

Galina Vishnevskaya, Varezhki, Valenki, Nikolai Valuev

Galina Vishnevskaya Galina Vishnevskaya

Vishnevskaya is the beacon of modern classical music and the diva of international opera, whose exquisite soprano has impressed audiences all over the world.

Varezhki Varezhki

Mittens, which were brought to Russia by Varyags, the warlords of Scandinavia.

Valenki Valenki

Felt winter boots worn in Russia for centuries.

Nikolai Valuev Nikolai Valuev

Nikolai Valuev is a Russian boxer who became the Russian Champion in 1999 and Champion of the World, according to the Pan-Asian Boxing Association in 2000.

Ferdinand (Fyodor) Wrangel, Warming up during the Cold War, War and peace era, Sergei Witte

Ferdinand (Fyodor) Wrangel Ferdinand (Fyodor) Wrangel

Admiral Ferdinand Wrangel was an outstanding scientist and seaman who made two world cruises and was a notable public figure.

Warming up during the Cold War Warming up during the Cold War

From the creation of NATO and the KGB to the space and arms race, the Cold War saw the passing of Josef Stalin and the theatrics of Nikita Khrushchev.

War and peace era War and peace era

Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Russia in 1812 becomes the turning point in a series of Napoleonic Wars, becoming the subject of the world-renowned novel “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy.

Sergei Witte Sergei Witte

Count Sergei Witte was a highly influential Russian policy-maker, witnessing the abolition of serfdom and the first Russian Revolution.

Yermak Timofeevich, Valentin Yudashkin, Boris Yeltsin, Lev Yashin

Yermak Timofeevich Yermak Timofeevich

Yermak conquered and annexed Siberia, which was the most significant event in Russian history before the rule of Peter the Great.

Valentin Yudashkin Valentin Yudashkin

Valentin Yudashkin is Russia’s most famous fashion designer and the only Russian designer to be honored with membership in the Syndicate of High Fashion in Paris.

Boris Yeltsin Boris Yeltsin

Yeltsin put an end to the USSR, becoming the first president of the post-Soviet Russia.

Lev Yashin Lev Yashin

In 2000 FIFA named Lev Yashin as the best goalkeeper of the 20th century and established the Yashin Award for the Best Goalkeeper.

Zakuska, Georgy Zhukov, Vladimir Zworykin, Slava Zaitsev

Zakuska Zakuska

Appetizers or the little bites consumed with vodka, or any other alcoholic drink.

Georgy Zhukov Georgy Zhukov

Georgy Zhukov, also known as the ‘Victory Marshall,’ was a life long professional soldier and three times Hero of the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Zworykin Vladimir Zworykin

Zworykin is known for his contribution to the development of many electronic devices, including the all-electronic television.

Slava Zaitsev Slava Zaitsev

It is only now that the name of Slava Zaitsev has actually become synonymous with exquisite taste and high fashion in Russia.

Roman Abramovich, Administrative division, Andrey Arshavin, AK-47 combat rifle

Roman Abramovich Roman Abramovich

Orphaned at the age of three and brought up by relatives in a remote area in Northern Russia, Roman Abramovich has been ranked the 15th richest man in the world by Forbes.

Administrative division Administrative division

The country’s enormous territory is divided into more than 80 unique and diverse federal entities.

Andrey Arshavin Andrey Arshavin

Despite being 1.72 meters tall, Andrey Arshavin is the biggest star in Russian soccer.

AK-47 combat rifle AK-47 combat rifle

The Guiness World Records winner, this automatic assault rifle designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1949 is still the most widely used weapon in the world.

Basic facts, Bistro, Timur Bekmambetov, Baba Yaga

Basic facts Basic facts

Learn more about Russia’s population, political and economic systems, administrative division and social structure.

Bistro Bistro

Russian fastfood chain, similar to the French. The word originates from the Russian "bistro" meaning "quick" taught to the French during Russian occupation in Napoleonic times.

Timur Bekmambetov Timur Bekmambetov

Timur Bekmambetov is recognized as one of the most talented Post-Soviet Russian film directors and the only Russian film director to enjoy success in Hollywood.

Baba Yaga Baba Yaga

The classic wicked witch of the Russian fairy tales.

Cossacks, Cosmonaut, Climate, Anton Chekhov

Cossacks Cossacks

People living in settlements along the southern border of the Russian Empire, who in exchange for their independent living helped protect the country from enemies.

Cosmonaut Cosmonaut

Soviet, and now Russian word for what the English-speaking countries call an austronaut.

Climate Climate

The Arctic chills of the north and the subtropical temperatures of the south span one-seventh of the earth’s dry land - Russia.

Anton Chekhov Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov is the most insightful and époque-making dramatist in Russia, author of world famous plays, mostly through their interpretation by the Moscow Art Theater.

Sergey Diagilev, Draniki, Ded Moroz, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sergey Diagilev Sergey Diagilev

Sergey Diagilev is considered to be the first Russian to bring Russian art abroad. His Ballets Russes attained an unprecedented level of fame from 1909 until 1929.

Draniki Draniki

Flat thick potato pancakes, which are traditionally made without any flour.

Ded Moroz Ded Moroz

Father Frost, the Russian Santa Claus.

Fyodor Dostoevsky Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of Russia’s greatest writers, one whose works are read and discussed all over the world.

Ilya Ehrenburg, Economy, Sergey Esenin, Sergey Eisenstein

Ilya Ehrenburg Ilya Ehrenburg

Ilya Ehrenburg was a prolific Russian writer and journalist.

Economy Economy

Russia’s oil driven economic boom continues, while the country still aspires to join the WTO.

Sergey Esenin Sergey Esenin

Sergey Esenin's flamboyant personality, peasant origins, and craving for self-destruction have forever canonized him as Russia's favorite "hooligan poet."

Sergey Eisenstein Sergey Eisenstein

A film director and father of montage cinema, Sergey Eisenstein's works are still regarded as among the most significant in cinema history.

From Empire to communism, Fortochka, Svyatoslav Fyodorov, Viacheslav Fetisov

From Empire to communism From Empire to communism

Russia's growing industrialization stimulates a strong socialist movement among workers, who seek revolution in the country. They succeed in February 1917.

Fortochka Fortochka

The little window, which is usually the top part of the main window frame. One may keep it open to air the room even during the most severe Russian winter.

Svyatoslav Fyodorov Svyatoslav Fyodorov

Throughout his life, Svyatoslav Fyodorov had done just that, helping hundreds of thousands of people through his pioneering eye surgery.

Viacheslav Fetisov Viacheslav Fetisov

Viacheslav Fetisov is one of the most decorated players in the history of hockey with Olympic golds, seven World champion titles and holder of two Stanley Cup rings.

Glasnost and perestroika times, Nikolay Gogol, Valery Gergiev, Yury Gagarin

Glasnost and perestroika times Glasnost and perestroika times

After stagnation under Brezhnev, Gorbachev finally takes the first real steps to end the cold war and implements economic reforms with ‘Glasnost’ and ‘Perestroika’.

Nikolay Gogol Nikolay Gogol

Nikolay Gogol was a Ukrainian-born writer, playwright, poet, critic and publicist.

Valery Gergiev Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev, head of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, is one of the most sought after conductors in the world, applauded at the podiums of major opera houses and orchestras.

Yury Gagarin Yury Gagarin

Yury Gagarin was the first man to orbit the earth in a man-made spacecraft leading the world into the era of the space exploration.

Aleksandr Herzen, Healing wounds of wild 90s, Highroad for the Soviets, Dmitry Hvorostovsky

Aleksandr Herzen Aleksandr Herzen

Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen was a Russian radical writer and philosopher.

Healing wounds of wild 90s Healing wounds of wild 90s

Boris Yeltsin left behind a controversial legacy, guiding Russia through a time of great change and challenge.

Highroad for the Soviets Highroad for the Soviets

Following the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks seize power in Russia and start gearing up to build a communist union with their closest neighbors, known as Soviet Union.

Dmitry Hvorostovsky Dmitry Hvorostovsky

From the moment he won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989, Dmitry Hvorostovsky has been hailed as one of the greatest voices of all times.

Ivan I Kalita, Sergey Ivanov, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Ilya Muromets

Ivan I Kalita Ivan I Kalita

A cunning and cruel politician, Ivan Kalita greatly contributed to the development and enforcement of the Moscow principality.

Sergey Ivanov Sergey Ivanov

Sergey Ivanov is First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. He is a reserve colonel general and a member of the Russian Security Council.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the first and only president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia to date and also the president of the World Chess Federation.

Ilya Muromets Ilya Muromets

The saint, who became the prototype of an ancient Russian folk epic hero, known for his strength and courage, while fighting off the enemies.

Kievan Rus, Nikita Khrushchev, Alina Kabayeva, Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Kievan Rus Kievan Rus

Shaped in the 9th century, Kievan Rus is traditionally seen as the beginning of Russia and the precursor of Belarus and Ukraine.

Nikita Khrushchev Nikita Khrushchev

Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, who succeeded Stalin and exposed his personality cult, bringing the famous "Khrushchev thaw" to the country.

Alina Kabayeva Alina Kabayeva

Alina Kabayeva is one of the most beautiful women in Russia and the country´s most successful rhythmic gymnast to date. Her career wins include 18 World Championship medals, 2 Olympic medals and 25 European Championship medals.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Once Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky became even more famous after he was sentenced to prison for the biggest tax fraud in Russian history.

Aleksey Leonov, Language, Mikhail Lomonosov, Vladimir Lenin

Aleksey Leonov Aleksey Leonov

Aleksey Leonov was the first man on Earth to perform a spacewalk.

Language Language

While Russian is spoken by nearly 200 thousand people worldwide, it is only one of the 100 other languages spoken in the country.

Mikhail Lomonosov Mikhail Lomonosov

Mikhail Lomonosov was the first Russian scientist who combined his outstanding scientific discoveries with laying the foundations of the modern Russian language.

Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin was the guiding spirit of the Soviet Republic, leader of the Bolshevik Party and the mastermind of the 1917 October Revolution.

Prominent Russians: faces of Russia

Mikhail Bulgakov Mikhail Bulgakov Mikhail Bulgakov was a Russian novelist and playwright, known for his vivid satirical images of life in Russia and his novel The Master and Margarita. Yury Gagarin Yury Gagarin Yury Gagarin was the first man to orbit the earth in a man-made spacecraft leading the world into the era of the space exploration. Peter I the Great Peter I the Great One of Russia’s greatest statesmen, Peter the Great, the first Emperor of Russia was a man of unwavering willpower, extraordinary energy and supreme vision. Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin At the stroke of the 21st century, Vladimir Putin, current President of Russia, became one of the worlds’ most well-known politicians, associated with Russia’s rise from the ashes. Dmitry Medvedev Dmitry Medvedev Dmitry Medvedev is Russia's Prime Minister and third President. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian Nobel prize-winning author who exposed the horror of Soviet prison labor camps and gave new meaning to the word "gulag." Andrey Arshavin Andrey Arshavin Despite being 1.72 meters tall, Andrey Arshavin is the biggest star in Russian soccer. Joseph Stalin Joseph Stalin Joseph Stalin is one of the most controversial and enigmatic figures in Russian history and is still the subject of fierce discussions. Marc Chagall Marc Chagall Russian-French artist, master of modernism and one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. Mikhail Baryshnikov Mikhail Baryshnikov Mikhail Baryshnikov is one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century, who has also become one of the most widely recognizable contemporary performers. Timur Bekmambetov Timur Bekmambetov Timur Bekmambetov is recognized as one of the most talented Post-Soviet Russian film directors and the only Russian film director to enjoy success in Hollywood. Maria Sharapova Maria Sharapova Winning her first Wimbledon Championship at the age of 17, Maria Sharapova became the first Russian female tennis player to claim the #1 ranking in the world. Leo Tolstoy Leo Tolstoy A Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy is widely seen as one of the greatest European novelists of all time. Pyotr Tchaikovsky Pyotr Tchaikovsky Pyotr Tchaikovsky is one of the most loved Russian composers. Catherine II the Great Catherine II the Great Recognized worldwide as a noteworthy historical figure, Catherine the Great made such progress in political power that it is hard to find similar examples in world history. Lyubov Orlova Lyubov Orlova Lyubov Orlova is the most glamorous and popular actress of Soviet cinema. Anton Chekhov Anton Chekhov Anton Chekhov is the most insightful and époque-making dramatist in Russia, author of world famous plays, mostly through their interpretation by the Moscow Art Theater. Maya Plisetskaya Maya Plisetskaya Plisetskaya is renowned as one of the world's greatest and most charismatic ballerinas.

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