26 June, 2009

Famous People of Ukrainian Origin

Independent Ukraine is a very young country. Actually Ukraine is only about 18 years old. After USSR collapsed Ukrainian people had to build their State from scratch having no own constitution, legislation and even money. Now we have almost everything an independent country needs. I admit that we have a lot of things to do to improve life of Ukrainian people, we must eradicate corruption and make some representatives of Ukrainian government respect their country and people. But the most important task for Ukraine is to establish positive image of the country. We should show the world that Ukraine is NOT a wild uncivilized country, that we worth being a part of European Union. We must renew glory of Ukrainian people.

Ukraine has a very dramatic history. Being dominated by its neighbors, Ukraine remained unknown as a country having its own culture, mentality, traditions and history especially western countries. Ukraine has always been in a shadow of Russia, although Kyiv (capital of Ukraine) is known as the mother of Russian cities. Nevertheless Ukraine and Ukrainian people are mistakenly associated with Russia even today. I guess the reason is that Ukraine had been a part of USSR for decades. The other reason for famous Ukrainians being almost unknown in the world is, firstly, that Ukraine was just one of the USSR’s provinces. And even earlier being a part of Russian Empire, Ukraine was called small Russia and was considered to be one of the provincial parts of the huge Empire. The center was, of course, in Moscow (and in St. Petersburg during Russian Empire) where people had more opportunities to develop their skills in practice and develop, create and invent. Secondly, activity of most Soviet people was under total governmental control and those who tried to be independent or did not want to cooperate with the government or were against communists’ policy risked their freedom or even lives. So many of Ukrainian people were banished from their own country to work abroad to glorify other countries, or raise children and grandchildren whose genius and talents are known all over the world. You never knew that some of very famous people were of Ukrainian origin. And this is the time to remember famous people of Ukrainian origin and what they are famous for.

Actors, Film Directors and Screen Writers Having Ukrainian Roots

Milla Jovovich — Famous American actress and model well known for her roles in "The Fifth Element" and Resident Evil. [Ukrainian mother. Milla was born in Kyiv, Ukraine].

Olga Kurylenko — known as the Bond girl in the 22nd James Bond film [born in Ukraine].

Steven Spielberg — well known American film director and producer (films: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and others) [grandparents from Ukraine].

Mila Kunis — American actress (voice of Meg Griffin in "Family Guy") [Born in Kiev, Ukraine].

Michael Kenneth Mann — American film director and producer (films: producer of "Aviator", "Hancock" and others) [father from Ukraine].

Vera Ann Farmiga — American actress (films: Running Scared, The Departed and others) [daughter of Ukrainian immigrants].

Jillian Noel "Jill" Hennessy — Canadian actress and musician (roles in Law & Order and Crossing Jordan ) [mother from Ukraine].

Jack Palance — American film actor (films: Sudden Fear, Shane, City Slickers and others) [son of Ukrainian immigrants].

Héctor Eduardo Babenco — Brazilian actor, film director and producer [father from Ukraine].

Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk — writer, author of novel Fight Club which was later made into film [Ukrainian father].

Famous Scientists, Inventors, Engineers of Ukrainian Origin

Igor Sikorsky — famous engineer, inventor of the helicopter [born in Kyiv, studied and worked in Ukraine for a long time before immigrating to the USA. His first concepts of the helicopter were developed in Ukraine].

Ivan Pulyui — he is said to be the first to discover x-rays, even earlier than Roentgen [born in Ukraine].

Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov — famous Ukrainian engineer and designer. Father of practical astronautics. He was first to design and build an effective space rocket [born and studied in Ukraine].

Yuri Kondratyuk — pioneer of astronautics and spaceflight. He was first to make detailed calculations necessary for flight from Earth to Moon and back to Earth [born and studied in Ukraine].

Selman Abraham Waksman — American microbiologist. Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for the first effective antibiotic against tuberculosis [born and studied in Ukraine].

Nick Holonyak American engineer. Invented the first visible light-emitting diode (LED) used today for DVD players, bar code scanners, cellphones etc. [parents from Ukraine].

Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko — creator of an effective method to treat asthma [born in Ukraine].

Jacques Bogopolsky — inventor of revolutionary model of movie cameras [born in Ukraine].

Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov — famous microbiologist. Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908 [born, lived and studied in Ukraine].

Ivan Horbachevsky — famous Ukrainian chemist who was first to to synthesize glycine [born in Ukraine].

Georgy Feodosevich Voronoy — famous mathematician, author of Voronoi diagram [born in Ukraine].

George Gamow — theoretical physicist who discovered alpha decay via quantum tunneling [born and studied in Ukraine].

Famous Composers, Musicians, Writer and Poets of Ukrainian origin

Sergei Prokofiev — one of the greatest composers of the 20th century [born in Ukraine].

Bill Evans — one of the most famous American juzz pianist [mother from Ukraine].

Nikolai Gogol — Russian novelist, humorist, and dramatist who had a great influence on Russian literature and even Russian language [born and lived long time in Ukraine].

Anna Akhmatova — Russian/Soviet poet who had a large influence on Russian poetry [born in Ukraine].

Famous Politicians and Statesmen of Ukrainian Origin

Anne of Kiev — queen of France. The first person from the territory of today's Ukrane working abroad :)

Mikhail Gorbachev — last president of Soviet Union. He helped to unite East and West Germany by his decision not to interfere when the Berlin Wall was broken on 9 November 1989 [Ukrainian mother].

Moshe Sharett — second Prime Minister of Israel [born in Ukraine].

Levi Eshkol — the third Prime Minister of Israel [born and studied in Ukraine].

Golda Meir — the fourth prime minister of the State of Israel [born in Ukraine].

Ray Hnatyshyn — served as the Governor General of Canada till 8 February 1995 [Ukrainian father].

Famous People Who Received Education in Ukraine

Gleb Kotelnikov — inventor of the knapsack parachute [born in Russia he received education in Kiev, Ukraine].

This is just a small list of famous people who were born in Ukraine or whose ancestors originate from the territory of today’s Ukraine. I will expand this list from time to time. And for the time being if you want to know more about famous people of Ukrainian origin you can find more information here.


Marina_Rivne_Ukraine said...

Yes, very interesting information about our country, and even I did not know all the famous people who come from our land !

Well done promoting our nation.

Marina - Rivne [Rovno] UA.


Anonymous said...

wonderful !!!!!!!! Ukraine people are the best !!! And most beautiful

David Gage said...

this is a very interesting post, You have shared nice information about of Ukraine,

Mark Noff said...

What about Lennie Bernstein?

Mark Noff said...

And Lenny Nimoy!