Inspiring Russian women

It is the eve of International Women’s Day, so let’s talk about women! Today’s blog post is dedicated to some of the most inspiring Russian women.

Catherine the Great (1729 – 1796)

Catherine II was Empress of Russia for more than 30 years and one of the country’s most influential rulers. Catherine expanded Russia’s borders, signed a peace treaty with Ottoman Empire and continued the process of Westernisation begun by Peter the Great. She was also famous for her love of art (just visit the Hermitage museum to see her extensive collection!).

Valentina Tereshkova

In 1963, Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space. Valentina was just 26 when she spent three days outside the atmosphere, orbiting the earth 48 times. Inspired by Yuri Gagarin, she applied for the Soviet space programme without any prior experience of being a pilot. Five women were selected for the programme, but only Valentina has completed the training. Ever since her flight into space, she has been promoting Russian and Soviet science around the world. She is now in her eighties and still continues to do so.

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892 -1941)

Marina Tsvetaeva was one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. Her work is considered among some of the greatest in Russian classical literature. She lived and wrote through Russian Revolution of 1917 and Moscow famine. Marina was forced to place her daughter in the orphanage to save her from starvation, where she died of hunger. In 1922, Tsvetaeva left Russia with her family to live in Paris, Berlin and Prague in increasing poverty. In 1939, they returned to Moscow, where her husband and daughter were arrested for espionage. Her husband was later executed. Two years later, in 1941, Marina Tsvetaeva committed suicide.

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

Anna Akhmatova was another notable Russian poetess of the 20th century, who was shortlisted for Nobel Prize in 1965. After the Second World War, she was denounced by the State, and much of her work was destroyed. Akhmatova’s most prominent work and tribute to her suffering under Stalin’s regime, Rekviem, was only published after her death in 1989.

Irina Slutskaya

Irina Slutskaya has dominated the world of women’ figure skating in late 1990s and early 2000s. She became the first woman to win seven European championship titles. She is also two-time World Champion, two-time Olympic medallist, a four-time Grand-Prix champion and four-time Russian national champion!

Natalia Vodianova

Natalia Vodianova is a Russian model, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is known for her biography that resembles a Cinderella story: a girl from a poor family in a Russian provincial town who went on to become one the highest paid supermodels in the world. In 2004, Natalia founded a Naked Hearts foundation, a charity committed to helping children with special needs and their families and is now actively involved in philanthropy.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Team EBC