People's Artist of the USSR (Russian : Наро́дный арти́ст СССР, Narodný artist SSSR), also sometimes translated as National Artist of the USSR, was an honorary title granted to artists of the Soviet Union.
The term is confusingly used to translate two Russian language titles: Народный артист СССР (fem. Народная артистка СССР), awarded in performing arts and Народный художник СССР, granted in some visual arts.
Each Soviet Republic, as well as the Autonomous Republics (ASSRs), had a similar award held previously by virtually every receiver of the higher title of People's Artist of the USSR.
|Republic||performing arts||visual arts|
|Russian SFSR||народный артист РСФСР||народный художник РСФСР|
|Ukrainian SSR||народний артист Української РСР||народний художник Української РСР|
|Byelorussian SSR||народны артыст Беларускай ССР||народны мастак Беларускай ССР|
|Uzbek SSR||Ўзбекистон ССР халқ артисти||Ўзбекистон ССР халқ рассоми|
|Kazakh SSR||Қазақ КСР-ң халық әртісі||Қазақ КСР-ң халық суретшісі|
|Georgian SSR||საქართველოს სსრ სახალხო არტისტი|
|Azerbaijan SSR||Азәрбајҹан ССР халг артисти||Азәрбајҹан ССР халг рәссамы|
|Lithuanian SSR||Lietuvos TSR liaudies artistas||Lietuvos TSR liaudies dailininkas|
|Moldavian SSR||артист ал попорулуй дин РСС Молдовеняскэ||артист пластик ал попорулуй дин РСС Молдовеняскэ|
|Latvian SSR||Latvijas PSR tautas skatuves mākslinieks||Latvijas PSR tautas mākslinieks|
|Kyrgyz SSR||Кыргыз ССР эл артисти|
|Tajik SSR||Артисти халқии РСС Тоҷикистон|
|Armenian SSR||Հայաստանի ՍՍՀ ժողովրդական արտիստ|
|Turkmen SSR||Түркмен ССР-иң халк артисти||Түркмен ССР-иң халк художниги|
|Estonian SSR||Eesti NSV rahvakunstnik|
As this title was granted by the government, honorees were afforded certain privileges and would often receive commissions from the Minister of Culture of the Soviet Union. Accordingly, artists and authors who expressed criticism of the Communist Party were seldom granted such recognition, if not outright censored.
The title was bestowed for exceptional achievements in the performing arts in the Soviet Union. Its recipients included many of the most-acclaimed composers, dancers, singers, film and theatre directors and actors of every Soviet republic. In all, there were 1006 recipients of the award.
The title was introduced in 1936, replacing the earlier title of "People's Artist of the Republic". The first recipients of the title (6 September 1936) were Konstantin Stanislavski, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, Ivan Moskvin, Antonina Nezhdanova, Boris Shchukin, Kulyash Baiseitova and some other actors. The last persons to be honoured with the title were Sofia Pilyavskaya and Oleg Yankovsky (21 December 1991).
Originally, the title was bestowed on theatre actors, ballet dancers, and opera singers only. Gradually, it came to be bestowed upon film actors (e.g., Lyubov Orlova), composers (e.g., Arno Babajanian, Dmitri Shostakovich), violinists (e.g. David Oistrakh), pop singers (e.g., Leonid Utyosov), comedians (e.g., Arkady Raikin), and even circus performers such as Natalya Durova and Oleg Popov.
Normally, a person was named the People's Artist of the USSR after 40 years of age. Exceptions were made for dancers, e.g., Nadezhda Pavlova, a ballet artist, received the title at the age of 28, and Malika Kalontarova, a famous Bukharian Jewish folk dancer from Tajikistan, received the title at the age of 34.
The youngest female persons to receive this title were Kazakh opera singers Kulyash Baiseitova (1936) and Halima Nosirova (1937) (at the age of 24). The youngest male person was the Azerbaijani baritone operatic and pop singer Muslim Magomayev (1973) (at the age of 31). Among the actors, the youngest recipient was Sergey Bondarchuk (age 32). The youngest actress to receive the title was Yuri Andropov's daughter-in-law,Lyudmila Chursina, at age 40.
Sofia Rotaru, for example, was named Merited Artist of the Ukrainian SSR in 1973, People's Artist of the Ukrainian SSR in 1976, People's Artist of the Moldavian SSR in 1983, an attained cumulation of People's Artist titles,and finally People's Artist of the Soviet Union in 1988, the first female pop-singer to be honored with this award and the only one with three People's Artists.
As of 2020, the current living person to receive the award the earliest is Ukrainian opera singer Bela Rudenko (born in 1933, receiving the award in 1960), while the oldest living recipient is Lithuanian ballet dancer Genovaite Sabalyauskaite (born 1923).
The title of People's Painter of the Soviet Union (Народный художник СССР) was awarded for exceptional achievements in certain visual arts: painting, sculpture, drawing, and photography. The lesser title of Meritorious Painter of the Soviet Union (Заслуженный художник СССР) was also awarded for achievement in these fields.
People's Artist of the Russian Federation, also sometimes translated as National Artist of the Russian Federation, is an honorary and the highest title awarded to citizens of the Russian Federation, all outstanding in the performing arts, whose merits are exceptional in the sphere of the development of the performing arts.
The State Prizes of the Soviet Republics were each republic counterpart to the USSR State Prize. Each republic granted several different prizes, generally named after writers or artists from the republic, as well as a blanket Komsomol prize for young artists.
People's Artist is an honorary title in the Soviet Union, Union republics, in some other Eastern bloc states, as well as in a number of post-Soviet states, modeled after the title of the People's Artist of the USSR.
Kulyash Zhasynkyzy Baiseitova was a Soviet Kazakh opera singer, ramatic actress. Furthermore, she was also a laureate of two Stalin Prizes of the second degree. The youngest owner of the title "People's Artist of the USSR" (1936) for all the years of assignment.
Arif Malikov was an Azerbaijani composer. He graduated from the Baku Conservatory as a music composer in 1958. He shot to fame in 1961 when his first major composition "Legend of Love" was staged at the Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Leningrad and received nationwide acclaim. The ballet has been staged in several countries in Europe and is regarded as one of the finest works emerging from the former Soviet Union. The ballet "Legend of Love", is based upon the legend of "Farhad and Shirin", a story of unrequited love that was immortalized by Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. Malikov went on to write music for two more ballets, including "Yer üzündə iki nəfər (balet)" Yer üzündə iki nəfər (balet) (1967) and "Poem of Two Hearts" (1981), five symphonies & eight symphony poems. He also wrote scores for a large number of films and plays and was familiar with practically all genres of music composition.
People's Artist of the Armenian SSR, is an honorary title awarded to citizens of the Armenian SSR in the Soviet Union. It is awarded for outstanding performance in the performing arts, whose merits are exceptional in the sphere of the development of the performing arts.
Merited Artist is an honorary title in the Soviet Union, Russian Federation, Union republics, and Autonomous republics, also in some other Eastern bloc states, as well as in a number of post-Soviet states.
People's Artist of Ukraine is an honorary and the highest title awarding to outstanding performing artists whose merits are exceptional in the sphere of the development of the performing arts.
People's Architect of the USSR, also sometimes translated as National Architect of the USSR, was an honorary title granted to architects of the Soviet Union; it was established on August 12, 1967 by Leonid Brezhnev. It was bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR owing proposals addressed by the State Construction Committee or by the Soviet Architects' Union. The Supreme Soviet could possibly refuse these designations.
People's Doctor of the USSR was an honorary title granted to doctors of the Soviet Union; it was established on 25 October 1977 by Leonid Brezhnev and its creation was officialized on the n°44/1977 issue of Supreme Soviet's official journal. Its regulation was later modified and completed by the Supreme Soviet's decree of 22 August 1988.
People's Teacher of the USSR was an honorary title granted to teachers of the Soviet Union; it was established on 30 December 1977. Following the Dissolution of the Soviet Union (1990) the title was modified in National Teacher of the Russian Federation.
The year 1972 was marked by many events that left an imprint on the history of Soviet and Russian Fine Arts.
The year 1988 was marked by many events that left an imprint on the history of Soviet and Russian Fine Arts.
The Medal "For Distinguished Labour" was a civilian labour award of the Soviet Union bestowed to especially deserving workers to recognise and honour high performances in labour or contributions in the fields of science, culture or the manufacturing industry. In just over fifty years of existence, it was bestowed to over two million deserving citizens. It was established on December 27, 1938 by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Its statute was amended three times by further decrees, first on June 19, 1943 to amend its description and ribbon, then on December 16, 1947 to amend its regulations, and finally on July 18, 1980 to confirm all previous amendments. The medal ceased to be awarded following the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Lyudmila Alexeyevna Chursina is a Soviet and Russian film actress. She has appeared in more than 50 films and television shows since 1962. In 1981 she was a member of the jury at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival. At the age of 40, she is the youngest actress to receive the title of the People's Artist of the USSR.
Tankho Selimovich Israilov was a Soviet Dagestan ballet dancer, a ballet master, a choreographer, and of Mountain Jewish origin. He was awarded the honorary title People's Artist of the USSR.
People's Artist of the RSFSR was an honorary title granted to Soviet Union artists, including theatre and film directors, choreographers, music performers and orchestra conductors, who showed the outstanding achievements in arts, and who lived in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). This title was next in line after Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR and preceded the title People's Artist of the USSR.
Mykola Kindratovych Kondratyuk was a Soviet and Ukrainian Chamber concert and opera singer (baritone), educator, social activist. People's Artist of the USSR (1978).
People's Artist of the Tajik SSR, is an honorary title awarded to citizens of the Tajik SSR in the Soviet Union. It is awarded for outstanding performance in the performing arts, whose merits are exceptional in the sphere of the development of the performing arts.
People's Artist of the Lithuanian SSR, is an honorary title awarded to citizens of the Lithuanian SSR in the Soviet Union. It is awarded for outstanding performance in the performing arts, whose merits are exceptional in the sphere of the development of the performing arts.