5 Russian Actors You Will Love

Richard Wess February 6, 2020

I’m very glad to introduce another post from Julia Anekova of the Enjoy Russian Language School in Petrozavodsk! Check it out!

People come to Enjoy Russian School with two purposes – to start speaking Russian and to get immersed into the culture. Sometimes everything they know by the first lesson is the alphabet and the bad Russian mafia guy, the movie cliché. Well, it is high time to introduce some Russian (and Soviet) actors to break out of this stereotype. You’ll love watching these five perform if you give them a chance.

Oleg Menshikov

«Все надо делать сейчас. И набело. Черновиков в жизни не бывает».

“You need to do everything now. And do it with no further corrections. There are no drafts in this life.”

Oleg Menshikov (59 years old) started his career in one of the oldest Russian drama theaters, the Maly Theater, in 1981. He shot to stardom 13 years later when he played the role of the NKVD (precursor to the KGB) officer, Mitya, in the Oscar-winning film, Burnt by the Sun, by Nikita Mikhalkov.

He has won numerous awards at home and abroad. They include a Laurence Olivier Award, a Nika Award, and a number of Russian state prizes. Nowadays, he acts at the Yermolova Theater.

So, hopefully you’re now convinced that Menshikov is a great actor. Here are some of the greatest movies he’s been in:

Danila Kozlovsky

Even though actor and director Danila Kozlovsky is only 34 years old, he’s already well known for his theater career in Russia and his roles in a number of Western movies (Vampire Academy). Another wave of fame washed over him after he starred in season six of the hit TV series, Vikings, as Oleg of Novgorod.

In Russia, Kozlovsky is most recognized for his role in Soulless / Духless (2012). This is the story about a high performing manager, Max Andreev, whose luxury life seems to be perfect. He always gets what he wants mostly because he can pay for it. However, everything changes when he meets a girl – a social activist and poor student struggling to get by. It’s a film definitely worth watching.

Currently, Kozlovsky is working on a film, Chernobyl. Abyss (2020), about a heroic fireman during the Chernobyl disaster.

Nikolai Karachentsov

«Мама всегда учила меня, что мужчина не имеет права соединять слова «я» и «устал». Он может один раз в жизни сказать: «Нет больше сил!» — и умереть.»

“My mom always told me that a man is not allowed to have the habit of saying ‘I’m tired’, he can only say once in his life ‘I’m done’ and die’.”

If you went out on the streets of Russian cities asking people who were the most talented actors, 90% would mention Nikolai Karachentsov. He was the person who made the Lenkom Theater in Moscow as popular as the Bolshoi Theater.

People say there is a unique and surprising facet of Karachentsov’s acting. Despite his repertoire including so many negative personalities – ladies’ man, hired gun, thief – he still never ended up coming across as truly terrible, cruel, or arrogant.

A couple of his most loved performances are in A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987) and the rock-opera play, Juno and Avos (1980).

Alexander Abdulov

Alexander Abdulov sadly passed in January 2008, just a month after receiving an award from Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. However, people in Russia re-watch his movies all the time, over and over again.

He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Koroviev in The Master and Margarita (2005) TV series based on the Mikhail Bulgakov novel. As for his other films, Russians really love Ordinary Miracle (1978), Formula of Love (1984), and To Kill a Dragon (1988).

Konstantin Khabensky

Khabensky broke out as a major Russian movie star with Night Watch (2004) the famous fantasy film about light versus dark. Four years later, he returned in another blockbuster, the Russian Civil War epic about Alexander Kolchak’s leadership of the White Russian, Admiral (2008). He’s also featured in some major Hollywood movies, like Wanted (2008) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).

Hope you enjoy exploring these Russian actors and their great movies!