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Abramovich, Roman

Abramovich was born in Saratov in southern Russia. His mother died when he was 18 months old, and his father was killed in a construction accident when he was four. He was first taken to li... [more]

Catherine I

Marta Skavronskaya was born a peasant in what is now Latvia, orphaned when three years old and fostered by a Lutheran pastor named Glück. In 1702 she was taken prisoner during a war with Ru... [more]

Danilova, Alexandra Dyonysievna

Danilova was born near St. Petersburg and both her parents died when she was three. She and her older sister were then brought up either by relatives, her godmother and foster parents, and ... [more]

Fyodorova, Victoria

Fyodorova was the child of American naval officer Jackson Tate and Russian actress Zoya Fyodorova, from a brief affair at the end of World War II. When she was a year old her mother was imp... [more]

Ivan VI

Ivan, the great-grandson of Czar Ivan V, was born on 13 August 1740 and adopted on 27 October as her heir by Empress Anna Ivanovna (1693-1740), his great-aunt, who had no natural heirs. ... [more]

Jones, David Ivon

Jones was orphaned as a young child and brought up by his grandparents, but his grandmother also died when he was a boy. He contracted tuberculosis as a child and as a teenager he emigrated... [more]

Magnus the Good (under Norwegian Ruling Families)

In the Middle Ages fostering was practiced between the great families of Norway, possibly as a means of cementing interfamily alliances or demonstrating reciprocal status relationships. Acc... [more]

Mbeki, Thabo Mvuyelwa

Mbeki was the son of Xhosa ANC activists and teachers: his father, Govan Mbeki spent 24 years imprisoned with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. Knowing that they were likely to be arrested, ... [more]

Niyazov, Saparmurat Ataevich

Niyazov was born in Ashgabat. His father was killed during World War II, and the rest of his near relatives were killed in an earthquake in 1948. He was then raised in an orphanage and late... [more]

Peter III

Peter was the son of Duke Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottrop and Anna, the daughter of Czar Peter the Great and was born in Kiel, Germany. He was adopted by the Empress Elizabeth Petr... [more]

Primakov, Yevgeny Maximovitch

Primakov was probably born Yona Finkelstein in Kiev, Ukraine, to Jewish parents, in 1929 (some sources give 1928). His childhood is something he refuses to discuss and is subject to specula... [more]


The Shoah, also known as the Holocaust , is the name given to the attempt by Nazi Germany to exterminate not only the Jews of Europe, their primary target, but also the mentally and physic... [more]

Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich

Tolstoy was born the son of a noble landowner in Russia but his mother died when he was two and his father when he was nine. He was then raised by relatives, first a grandmother, who died, ... [more]

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