Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili in Georgian or Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in Russian patronymic nomenclature; 18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. In the years following Lenin's death in 1924, he rose to become the leader of the Soviet Union.
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko was a Soviet politician and the sixth General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He led the Soviet Union from 13 February 1984, until his death just thirteen months later on 10 March 1985. Chernenko was also Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 11 April 1984, until his death.
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968), Hero of the Soviet Union, was a Soviet cosmonaut. On 12 April 1961, he became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth. He received medals from around the world for his pioneering tour in space.
Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky was a Polish Communist revolutionary, famous as the founder of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, later known by many names during the history of the Soviet Union. The agency became notorious for large-scale human rights abuses, including torture and mass summary executions, carried out especially during the Red Terror and the Russian Civil War.
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played an important role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation and conquer Germany's capital, Berlin. He is the most decorated general in the history of both Russia and the Soviet Union.
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (December 19, 1906 – November 10, 1982) led the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He served as the fourth First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from 1960 to 1964 and 1977 to 1982. Brezhnev was born in Kamenskoe in 1906. He was employed as a metalworker in his youth; he joined Komsomol in 1922 and the Communist Party in 1931.
Sergei Mironovich Kirov, born Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov, was a prominent early Bolshevik leader in the Soviet Union. Kirov rose through the Communist Party ranks to become head of the Party organization in Leningrad. Kirov was seen as a focal point of opposition to the more extreme policies of Joseph Stalin, and as a counterbalance to the increasing concentration of power in Stalin's hands. On 1 December 1934, Kirov was shot and killed by a gunman at his offices in the Smolny Institute.
Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov was a Soviet cosmonaut. He was the first Soviet cosmonaut to travel into space more than once, and the first human to die during a space mission, on Soyuz 1. He was selected to become a cosmonaut in 1960 with the first cosmonaut group. After being the backup for Pavel Popovich on Vostok 4, his first spaceflight was with the Voskhod 1 mission.
Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov (28 March 1868 – 18 June 1936), better known as Maxim Gorky (Макси́м Го́рький), was a Russian/Soviet author, a founder of the socialist realism literary method and a political activist.
Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov (often transliterated Sergei Korolev),, (January 12 1907, Zhytomyr – January 14, 1966, Moscow), was the head Soviet rocket engineer and designer during the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s. He is considered by many as the father of practical astronautics. Although Korolyov was trained as an aircraft designer, his greatest strengths proved to be in design integration, organization and strategic planning.
John Silas "Jack" Reed (1887 – 1920), often referred to by his nickname, was an American journalist, poet, and communist activist, remembered for his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ten Days that Shook the World. He was married to writer and feminist Louise Bryant.
Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 11 missions. Graduated from Moscow Air Force Institute, 1959. As aviation engineer at Korolyov Design bureau was involved in the development of the Vostok and Voskhod spacecrafts prior to his selection as a cosmonaut. He flew aboard Soyuz 7 in 1969 and spent 23 days on Salyut 1, the world's first space station, in 1971. He was a member of the second crew to die during a space flight on Soyuz 11.
Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 11 mission and had the unfortunate distinction of being part of the second crew to die during a space flight. Onboard space station Salyut 1 he operated the Orion 1 Space Observatory, he became the first man to operate a telescope outside the Earth’s atmosphere. After a normal re-entry, the capsule was opened and the crew was found dead.
Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov was a Soviet/Russian nuclear physicist. He was the leader of the Soviet atomic bomb project. He was one of the central figures in the Soviet nuclear program. He is best known for his role as a director of the nascent Soviet nuclear program. He led a team of Soviet scientists in developing and building a nuclear weapon program. Under his direction the Soviet Union successfully tested its first plutonium-based nuclear device, First Lightning in 1949.
Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko (February 18 1895 – March 31, 1970) was a Soviet military commander and senior professional officer of the Red Army at the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
Anatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and the first Soviet People's Commissar of Enlightenment responsible for culture and education. He was active as an art critic and journalist throughout his career.
William Dudley Haywood (February 4, 1869 – May 18, 1928), better known as Big Bill Haywood, was a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and a member of the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of America. During the first two decades of the 20th century, he was involved in several important labor battles, including the Colorado Labor Wars, the Lawrence textile strike, and other textile strikes in Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Marina Mikhailovna Raskova was a famous Russian navigator, often referred to as the "Russian Amelia Earhart". She later became one of over 800,000 women in the military service in a huge way by founding three female air regiments which would eventually fly over 30,000 sorties in World War II. Raskova became a famous aviator as both a pilot and a navigator for Russia in the 1930s. She was the first woman to become a navigator in the Soviet Air Force in 1933.
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin (1875 – 1946), known familiarly by Soviet citizens as "Kalinych," was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the nominal head of state of the Soviet Union from 1919 to 1946. From 1926 he was a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, where he was one of the inner circle of party leaders around Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov was a Soviet statesman and ideologist during the Brezhnev era, when he was a member of the Politburo and Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Initially a professor of economics at Moscow State University, Suslov became the most prominent intellectual in the Soviet leadership under Joseph Stalin and held considerable sway over political decision making in the Soviet Union and beyond during the post-Stalin era.
Nadezhda Konstantinovna "Nadya" Krupskaya (26 February 1869 - February 27, 1939) was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary. She was the daughter of a military officer. She married the Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin in 1898.