The Most Brilliant Russian Women of All Time

In the history of Russia, women were never on the sidelines. They ruled, led political games, contributed to the scientific and spiritual life – all these are women who at different times became the heroines of not only Russian but also world history. Here are the most brilliant Russian women of all time.

1. Princess Olga

The first of the rulers to convert to Christianity. The holy Equal-to-the-Apostles of the Russian Orthodox Church, Princess Olga ruled Kievan Rus from 945 to 960. She ascended the throne immediately after the death of her husband for which she took revenge brutally. Until today, she is considered one of the main creators among the Russian rulers. During the reign of Olga, Kievan Rus gained strength. Its authority was recognized by other states – in particular, the Byzantine Empire.

2. Catherine II the Great

The ruler completed the so-called female era of the reign of the 18th century. The tasks formulated by her are relevant for Russia of all time:

  • Enlighten the nation to be ruled.
  • Introduce good order in the state, support society and make it comply with laws.
  • Establish a good and accurate police force in the state.
  • Contribute to the flourishing of the state and make it abundant.
  • To make the state formidable in itself and inspiring respect for neighbors.

Catherine II culturally became one of the greatest European powers. The Empress enthusiastically accepted the ideas of the Enlightenment and attached great importance to education, including women’s education. The development of new areas in medicine is especially noted. Under Catherine the Great, hospitals for the treatment of syphilis, psychiatric hospitals and shelters were opened, and a number of fundamental works on medical issues were published. In the provinces, orders of public charity are open, and in Moscow and St. Petersburg – educational homes for street children, where they received education and upbringing.

3. Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova

The main ally of Empress Catherine the Great. One of the most enlightened women of her time. By the age of 15, Ekaterina Dashkova had a library of 900 volumes. Her name is forever engraved in the history of Russian science. While still a young girl, she was connected with the court and became one of the leading figures in the movement, supporting Ekaterina Alekseevna during her accession to the throne. Later, Ekaterina Romanovna was the first Russian woman to take a responsible post without being crowned special. She simultaneously led the Academy of Sciences and served as president of the Russian Academy.

4. Nadezhda Durova

She is the first female officer in the Russian army and was born on September 17, 1783. It was her who became the prototype of the main character of the famous movie “Hussar Ballad”. She really was one of the most famous heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812, and then the world recognized her as a talented writer (her most famous work is Notes of a Cavalry Maiden).

5. Valentina Tereshkova

The first Soviet woman-cosmonaut, heroine of the Soviet Union. The only woman in the world who has made a space flight alone. Today, Valentina Tereshkova is the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, a member of the Supreme Council of United Russia. Tereshkova was enrolled in the cosmonaut squad on March 12, 1962 and began to undergo training as a listener-cosmonaut of the second squad. At the time of her appointment as Vostok-6 pilot, Valentina was 10 years younger than Gordon Cooper, the youngest of the first detachment of American astronauts.

6. Anna Akhmatova

Russian poetess, translator and literary critic, one of the most significant figures of Russian literature of the 20th century. She was also a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1965. Akhmatova was recognized as a classic Russian poetess back in the 1920s which led her to be subjected to silence, censorship and persecution. Many of her works were not published in Russia, not only during the author’s lifetime, but also for more than two decades after her death. At the same time, the name of Anna Akhmatova, during her lifetime, was surrounded by fame among admirers of poetry, both in the USSR and abroad.

7. Maya Plisetskaya

Prima ballerina, people’s artist of the Soviet Union, winner of many awards, honorary doctor of the Sorbonne University, and honorary professor of Moscow State University Lomonosov. Maya Plisetskaya was the first to introduce a leap into the ballet vocabulary called the “ring”. The ballerina created her own style, which is distinguished by grace, graphic art, sharpness and completeness of gesture. In her plastic, dance art has achieved high harmony. Plisetskaya became a model of creative industriousness and impeccable taste in work, clothes and behavior for several generations of women of the Soviet and Russian eras.

8. Natalia Narochnitskaya

Russian politician, historian and political scientist. Since 2008, she heads the European Institute for Democracy and Cooperation in Paris. In 2009-2012, she was a member of the Commission on countering attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia’s interests.  She is also the author of a number of developments on Russian foreign policy, the issues of the relationship between the Russian national-state consciousness and the philosophy of Western European liberalism. She considers an indispensable condition for the success of Russia’s foreign policy in the modern situation a return to its traditional foundations.

Undoubtedly, Russia has been the home to many amazing women who have made significant changes both for their country and also the world. They speak not only for their kind but also the human race in general. There are still many more brilliant Russian women that should belong to the list, but for now let us conclude it here.

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