The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Politicians of all time. This list of famous Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Politicians.
With an HPI of 90.88, Joseph Stalin is the most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 186 different languages on wikipedia.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; 18 December [O.S. 6 December] 1878 – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he consolidated power to become a dictator by the 1930s. Ideologically adhering to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, he formalised these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies are called Stalinism. Born to a poor family in Gori in the Russian Empire (now Georgia), Stalin attended the Tbilisi Spiritual Seminary before joining the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He edited the party's newspaper, Pravda, and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction via robberies, kidnappings and protection rackets. Repeatedly arrested, he underwent several internal exiles to Siberia. After the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution and created a one-party state under the new Communist Party in 1917, Stalin joined its governing Politburo. Serving in the Russian Civil War before overseeing the Soviet Union's establishment in 1922, Stalin assumed leadership over the country following Lenin's death in 1924. Under Stalin, socialism in one country became a central tenet of the party's dogma. As a result of his Five-Year Plans, the country underwent agricultural collectivisation and rapid industrialisation, creating a centralised command economy. Severe disruptions to food production contributed to the famine of 1930–33 that killed millions. To eradicate accused "enemies of the working class", Stalin instituted the Great Purge, in which over a million were imprisoned and at least 700,000 executed between 1934 and 1939. By 1937, he had absolute control over the party and government. Stalin also further expanded the Gulag system of forced labour camps. Stalin promoted Marxism–Leninism abroad through the Communist International and supported European anti-fascist movements during the 1930s, particularly in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, his regime signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in the Soviet invasion of Poland. Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial catastrophes, the Soviet Red Army repelled the German invasion and captured Berlin in 1945, ending World War II in Europe. Amid the war, the Soviets annexed the Baltic states and Bessarabia and North Bukovina, subsequently establishing Soviet-aligned governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe and in parts of East Asia. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as global superpowers and entered a period of tension, the Cold War. Stalin presided over the Soviet post-war reconstruction and its development of an atomic bomb in 1949. During these years, the country experienced another major famine and an antisemitic campaign that culminated in the doctors' plot. After Stalin's death in 1953, he was eventually succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who subsequently denounced his rule and initiated the de-Stalinisation of Soviet society. Widely considered to be one of the 20th century's most significant figures, Stalin was the subject of a pervasive personality cult within the international Marxist–Leninist movement, which revered him as a champion of the working class and socialism. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Stalin has retained popularity in Russia and Georgia as a victorious wartime leader who cemented the Soviet Union's status as a leading world power. Conversely, his regime has been described as totalitarian, and has been widely condemned for overseeing mass repression, ethnic cleansing, wide-scale deportation, hundreds of thousands of executions, and famines that killed millions.
With an HPI of 82.70, Darius the Great is the 2nd most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 85 different languages.
Darius I (Old Persian: 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 Dārayavaʰuš; Greek: Δαρεῖος Dareios; c. 550 – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was a Persian ruler who served as the third King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, reigning from 522 BCE until his death in 486 BCE. He ruled the empire at its territorial peak, when it included much of Western Asia, parts of the Balkans (Thrace–Macedonia and Paeonia) and the Caucasus, most of the Black Sea's coastal regions, Central Asia, the Indus Valley in the far east, and portions of North Africa and Northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya, and coastal Sudan.Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing the legitimate Achaemenid monarch Bardiya, whom he later fabricated to be an imposter named Gaumata. The new king met with rebellions throughout his kingdom and quelled them each time; a major event in Darius' life was his expedition to subjugate Greece and punish Athens and Eretria for their participation in the Ionian Revolt. Although his campaign ultimately resulted in failure at the Battle of Marathon, he succeeded in the re-subjugation of Thrace and expanded the Achaemenid Empire through his conquests of Macedon, the Cyclades and the island of Naxos as well as the sacked Greek city of Eretria. Darius organized the empire by dividing it into administrative provinces that were governed by satraps. He organized Achaemenid coinage as a new uniform monetary system, and made Aramaic a co-official language of the empire alongside Persian. He also put the empire in better standing by building roads and introducing standard weighing and measuring systems. Through these changes, the Achaemenid Empire became centralized and unified. Darius worked on other construction projects throughout the empire, primarily focusing on Susa, Pasargadae, Persepolis, Babylon and Egypt. He had the cliff-face Behistun Inscription carved at Mount Behistun to record his conquests, which would later become an important testimony of the Old Persian language. Darius is mentioned in the books of Haggai, Zechariah and Ezra–Nehemiah of the Hebrew Bible.
With an HPI of 74.14, Eduard Shevardnadze is the 3rd most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 81 different languages.
Eduard Ambrosis dze Shevardnadze (Georgian: ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე, romanized: Eduard Ambrosis dze Shevardnadze; 25 January 1928 – 7 July 2014) was a Soviet and Georgian politician and diplomat who governed Georgia for several non-consecutive periods from 1972 until his resignation in 2003 and also served as the final Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1985 to 1990. Shevardnadze started his political career in the late 1940s as a leading member of his local Komsomol organisation. He was later appointed its Second Secretary, then its First Secretary. His rise in the Georgian Soviet hierarchy continued until 1961 when he was demoted after he insulted a senior official. After spending two years in obscurity, Shevardnadze returned as a First Secretary of a Tbilisi city district, and was able to charge the Tbilisi First Secretary at the time with corruption. His anti-corruption work quickly garnered the interest of the Soviet government and Shevardnadze was appointed as First Deputy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR. He would later become the head of the internal affairs ministry and was able to charge First Secretary (leader of Soviet Georgia) Vasil Mzhavanadze with corruption. He served as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party (GPC) from 1972 to 1985, which made him the de facto leader of Georgia. As First Secretary, Shevardnadze started several economic reforms, which would spur economic growth in the republic—an uncommon occurrence in the Soviet Union because the country was experiencing a nationwide economic stagnation. Shevardnadze's anti-corruption campaign continued until he resigned from his office as First Secretary. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev appointed Shevardnadze to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs. He served in this position, with the exception of a brief interruption between 1990 and 1991, until the fall of the Soviet Union. During this time, only Gorbachev would outrank Shevardnadze in importance in Soviet foreign policy. Shevardnadze was responsible for many key decisions in Soviet foreign policy during the Gorbachev Era, and was seen by the outside world as the face of Soviet reforms such as Perestroika.In the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, Shevardnadze returned to the newly independent Republic of Georgia, after being asked to lead the country by the Military Council which had recently deposed the country's first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. In 1992 Shevardnadze became the leader of Georgia (as Chairman of Parliament). He was formally elected as president in 1995. Under his rule, the peace treaty was signed in Sochi, which ended military hostilities in South Ossetia, although Georgia lost effective control over large part of the territory. In August 1992 the war broke out in Abkhazia, which Georgia also lost. Shevardnadze also headed the government in the civil war in 1993 against pro-Gamsakhurdia forces, which did not recognize Shevardnadze as a legitimate leader and tried to regain power. Shevardnadze signed Georgia up to the Commonwealth of Independent States, in return receiving help from Russia to end the conflict, although Georgia also deepened its ties with the European Union and the United States. It joined the Council of Europe in 1999 and declared its intention to join NATO in 2002. Shevardnadze oversaw large-scale privatization and other political and economic changes. His rule was marked by rampant corruption and accusations of nepotism. Allegations of electoral fraud during the 2003 legislative election led to a series of public protests and demonstrations colloquially known as the Rose Revolution. Eventually, Shevardnadze agreed to resign. He later published his memoirs and lived in relative obscurity until his death in 2014.
With an HPI of 70.49, Tamar of Georgia is the 4th most famous Politician. Her biography has been translated into 54 different languages.
Tamar the Great (Georgian: თამარ მეფე, romanized: tamar mepe, lit. "King Tamar") (c. 1160 – 18 January 1213) reigned as the Queen of Georgia from 1184 to 1213, presiding over the apex of the Georgian Golden Age. A member of the Bagrationi dynasty, her position as the first woman to rule Georgia in her own right was emphasized by the title mepe ("king"), afforded to Tamar in the medieval Georgian sources.Tamar was proclaimed heir and co-ruler by her reigning father George III in 1178, but she faced significant opposition from the aristocracy upon her ascension to full ruling powers after George's death. Tamar was successful in neutralizing this opposition and embarked on an energetic foreign policy aided by the decline of the hostile Seljuq Turks. Relying on a powerful military elite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated the Caucasus until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death.Tamar was married twice, her first union being, from 1185 to 1187, to the Rus' prince Yuri, whom she divorced and expelled from the country, defeating his subsequent coup attempts. For her second husband Tamar chose, in 1191, the Alan prince David Soslan, by whom she had two children, George and Rusudan, the two successive monarchs on the throne of Georgia.Tamar's reign is associated with a period of marked political and military successes and cultural achievements. This, combined with her role as a female ruler, has contributed to her status as an idealized and romanticized figure in Georgian arts and historical memory. She remains an important symbol in Georgian popular culture.
With an HPI of 69.76, Halime Sultan is the 5th most famous Politician. Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Halime Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: حلیمه سلطان, "the gentle one" or "the patient one") was a consort of Sultan Mehmed III, and the mother of Sultan Mustafa I and the Valide Sultan as well as a co-regent of the Ottoman empire. She had four children with Mehmed: Şehzade Mahmud, Mustafa I, and two daughters. She was de facto co-ruler as Valide Sultan from 22 November 1617 to 26 February 1618 and from 19 May 1622 to 10 September 1623. Halime was also one of the prominent figures during the era known as the Sultanate of Women. Halime lived in the Ottoman empire as a courtier during the reign of six Sultans: Murad III, Mehmed III, Ahmed I, Mustafa I, Osman II, Murad IV.
With an HPI of 66.99, David IV of Georgia is the 6th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
David IV, also known as David the Builder (Georgian: დავით აღმაშენებელი, Davit Aghmashenebeli) (1073–1125), of the Bagrationi dynasty, was the 5th king of United Georgia from 1089 until his death in 1125.Popularly considered to be the greatest and most successful Georgian ruler in history and an original architect of the Georgian Golden Age, he succeeded in driving the Seljuk Turks out of the country, winning the Battle of Didgori in 1121. His reforms of the army and administration enabled him to reunite the country and bring most of the lands of the Caucasus under Georgia's control. A friend of the church and a notable promoter of Christian culture, he was canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church.
With an HPI of 66.83, Zviad Gamsakhurdia is the 7th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.
Zviad Konstantines dze Gamsakhurdia (Georgian: ზვიად გამსახურდია, romanized: zviad gamsakhurdia; Russian: Звиа́д Константи́нович Гамсаху́рдия, romanized: Zviad Konstantinovich Gamsakhurdiya; 31 March 1939 – 31 December 1993) was a Georgian politician, dissident, scholar, and writer who became the first democratically elected President of Georgia in the post-Soviet era. Gamsakhurdia is the only Georgian President to have died while formally in office.
With an HPI of 65.39, Mikheil Saakashvili is the 8th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 109 different languages.
Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgian: მიხეილ სააკაშვილი Mikheil Saak’ashvili [miχɛil sɑːkʼɑʃʷili]; Ukrainian: Міхеіл Саакашвілі [m⁽ʲ⁾ixeˈil sɐɐkɐʃˈwil⁽ʲ⁾i]; born 21 December 1967) is a Georgian and Ukrainian politician and jurist. He was the third president of Georgia for two consecutive terms from 25 January 2004 to 17 November 2013. From May 2015 until November 2016, Saakashvili was the governor of Ukraine's Odesa Oblast. He is the founder and former chairman of the United National Movement party. Saakashvili heads the executive committee of Ukraine's National Reform Council since 7 May 2020.Involved in Georgian politics since 1995, Saakashvili became president in January 2004 after President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in the November 2003 bloodless "Rose Revolution" led by Saakashvili and his political allies, Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania. He was re-elected in the Georgian presidential election on 5 January 2008. Saakashvili pledged to implement swift reforms to align Georgia with Western liberal democracies, end a period of widespread corruption and government inefficiency, topple the organized crime and re-assert sovereignty of central government over the whole Georgian territory. Measures that he implemented included rapid privatisation, massive layoffs in the public sector to renew state bureaucracy, and zero tolerance. These led to a spike in the unemployment and incarceration rates. Tensions rose with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway republics which fought separatist wars against Georgia in 1990s, culminating in the Five-Day War in 2008 with the involvement of Russia. While economic growth reached unprecedented level during Saakashvili's first term (averaging GDP increase of 10% a year), it remained largely non-inclusive. Saakashvili's foreign policy was characterized by pro-NATO and pro-EU politics. In 2010, he had a 67% approval rating. However, it was objected that his reforms were mostly enforced top-down failing to achieve public consent, and although his policies led to a drastic reduction in crime and corruption, they resulted in a police state where opposition was suppressed and inmates were tortured in prisons.The 2012 Georgian parliamentary elections were marred with widespread fears that Saakashvili would not respect the election results and violence would erupt. However, Saakashvili admitted his party's defeat against the Georgian Dream coalition led by the tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili and pledged not to obstruct the constitutional process of forming a new government, marking the first-ever peaceful transition of power in Georgia since it declared independence. He was barred by the constitution of Georgia from seeking a third term in the 2013 presidential election, which was won by the Georgian Dream's candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili. Shortly after the election, Saakashvili left Georgia. The Georgian Prosecutor's Office filed numerous criminal charges against Saakashvili. He continued to manage his party from abroad while accusing the Georgian government of using the legal system as a tool of political retribution. Saakashvili supported Ukraine's Euromaidan movement and the Revolution of Dignity. On 30 May 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as Governor of Odesa Oblast. He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship, and due to restrictions on dual nationality under Georgian law, was stripped of his Georgian citizenship. On 7 November 2016, Saakashvili resigned as governor while blaming President Poroshenko personally for enabling corruption in Odesa and in Ukraine overall. Four days later, he announced his goal to create a new political party called Movement of New Forces.On 26 July 2017, Saakashvili (at the time staying in the US) was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Petro Poroshenko, and became a stateless person. He reentered Ukraine with a group of supporters through Poland but was arrested in February 2018 and deported. Saakashvili moved to the Netherlands, where he was granted permanent residency. On 29 May 2019, he returned to Ukraine after newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky restored his citizenship. On 1 October 2021, Saakashvili returned to Georgia after an eight-year absence, and called on his followers to march on the capital, Tbilisi. He went live on Facebook, saying that he was in Batumi but would join a convoy on the way to the capital. Initially, Saakashvili's location was unknown to government officials, with some of them even saying that Saakashvili's arrival was fake and he was actually in Ukraine. Special forces were sent to Batumi. However, later on the same day Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili held press briefing, where he announced that Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi. According to the investigation, Saakashvili entered the country secretly in the container of a sea cargo ship, in violation of the law. President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili stated that she will "never" pardon Saakashvili. Later Zourabichvili confirmed her first statement again, while Saakashvili announced a hunger strike that was joined by other members of his party. On 10 October 2021, his personal doctor asked authorities to move him to hospital as he continued with his hunger strike since his arrest and his health condition had allegedly worsened. Saakashvili ended the hunger strike after reaching agreement with authorities that they would transfer him to Gori Military Hospital for medical treatment. As of March 20, Saakashvili remains in No. 12 penitentiary facility in Rustavi.
With an HPI of 64.44, Sergo Ordzhonikidze is the 9th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
Sergo Konstantinovich Ordzhonikidze, born Grigol Konstantines dze Orjonikidze (24 October [O.S. 12 October] 1886 – 18 February 1937), was a Georgian Bolshevik and Soviet politician. Born and raised in Georgia, Ordzhonikidze joined the Bolsheviks at an early age and quickly rose within the ranks to become an important figure within the group. Arrested and imprisoned several times by the Russian police, he was in Siberian exile when the February Revolution began in 1917. Returning from exile, Ordzhonikidze took part in the October Revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power. During the subsequent Civil War he played an active role as the leading Bolshevik in the Caucasus, overseeing the invasions of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. He backed their union into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (TSFSR), which helped form the Soviet Union in 1922, and served as the First Secretary of the TSFSR until 1926. Promoted to lead the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate (Rabkrin), Ordzhonikidze moved to Moscow and joined the inner circle of top Bolsheviks. Tasked with overseeing Soviet economic production, Ordzhonikidze led a massive overhaul of Rabkrin and its associated bodies, noting inefficiencies within the Supreme Soviet of the National Economy (Vesenkha). In 1930 he was transferred to lead Vesenkha, which was re-formed as the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry (NKTP) in 1932. While there, Ordzhonikidze oversaw the implementation of the five-year plans for economic development and helped create the Stakhanovite movement of model Soviet workers. At the same time, he was named to the Politburo, the leading political body in the Soviet Union. Ordzhonikidze was reluctant to take part in the campaigns against so-called wreckers and saboteurs that began in the early 1930s, which caused friction between him and Joseph Stalin. Realizing the need for people experienced in their fields, Ordzhonikidze refused to purge older workers or disassociate himself from individuals deemed anti-Bolshevik. According to some theories, his relationship with Stalin deteriorated and, on the eve of a 1937 meeting where he was expected to denounce workers, Ordzhonikidze shot himself and died at his home, though this has been contested. He was posthumously honoured as a leading Bolshevik, and several towns and cities throughout the Soviet Union were named after him, although his family was severely punished, with several of his close relatives being executed.
With an HPI of 63.44, Pharnavaz I of Iberia is the 10th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 65 different languages.
Pharnavaz I (; Georgian: ფარნავაზ I Georgian pronunciation: [pʰɑɾnɑvɑz]) was a king of Kartli, an ancient Georgian kingdom known as Iberia in classical antiquity. The Georgian Chronicles credits him with being the first monarch founding the kingship of Kartli and the Pharnavazid dynasty, while other independent chronicles, such as The Conversion of Kartli make him the second Georgian monarch. Based on the medieval evidence, most scholars locate Pharnavaz's rule in the 3rd century BC: 302–237 BC according to Prince Vakhushti of Kartli, 299–234 BC according to Cyril Toumanoff and 284–219 BC according to Pavle Ingoroqva. Pharnavaz's rise, advent and imperial expansion of the Iberian monarchy was directly tied to the victory of Alexander the Great over the Achaemenid Empire. Pharnavaz ruled under the suzerainty of the Seleucid Empire.
Pantheon has 100 people classified as politicians born between 550 BC and 1994. Of these 100, 33 (33.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Mikheil Saakashvili, Bidzina Ivanishvili, and Aslan Abashidze. The most famous deceased politicians include Joseph Stalin, Darius the Great, and Eduard Shevardnadze. As of April 2022, 21 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Hümaşah Sultan, Şevkefza Kadın, and Ibrahim Bey.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.