Who Are Mikhail Gorbachev's Granddaughters?

Although the United States and the Soviet Union were at war for the better part of five decades, it was a so-called "cold war," which is to say, there were no shots fired, no weapons deployed. Instead, the two nations were at odds ideologically, although threats of war -– nuclear conflict in particular –- loomed over both countries for those 45 years.

A variety of factors led to the end of the Cold War and, along with it, the collapse of the Soviet Union. But at least some of that credit can go to Mikhail Gorbachev whose policies of reform and transparency were instrumental in the series of events that closed this chapter in world history, as Britannica explains.

Although history has turned him into a larger-than-life figure, Gorbachev was, and is, just a man, and he's done things that many men do, such as marry and raise a child –- a daughter named Irina Virganskaya-Gorbacheva, according to Russia Beyond. Irina has raised two daughters, Ksenia Virganskaya and Anastasia Virganskaya, meaning that Gorbachev, like a lot of men his age, is a grandfather.

Gorbachev was good to his wife and family

Although he's associated now with the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, make no mistake: Gorbachev was a Communist Party official and got to his position in life by toeing the communist line. Nevertheless, although Americans may be compelled to think of communist officials as malevolent, his daughter, Irina, describes her father as a loving, if circumspect, family man.

"As a family, we were very close, although in Papa's and Mama's work lives, there were also things that weren't discussed. I remember the constant hush at home. We were all buried in our books," she said, via Russia Beyond.

Gorbachev also deeply loved his wife, Raisa, according to Hindustan Times. And although lots of men love their wives, in Gorbachev's case he was smitten from the moment he met her. He wrote in his memoir "Alone with Myself," (via Hindustan Times) that after meeting his future bride, "I felt I was losing my head. I wanted to see Raisa and be wherever she was." Raisa died in 1999 from cancer at 67, per The Washington Post. Of her death, Gorbechev wrote, "I had never felt so lonely in my life ... I hope that we will meet again... We were happy together." While Raisa was gone, Gorbechev still had his daughter and granddaughters, who grew up to become very familiar with the spotlight.

Anastasia and Ksenia Virganskaya were hard-partying Moscow 'it girls'

The celebrity news industry produces tens of thousands of words each day about the comings and goings of young women with money, status, and name recognition. For example, try to make it through the day today without seeing a headline about Kylie Jenner or Sofia Richie.

Such was the case a decade and a half ago with Mikhail Gorbachev's granddaughters, Ksenia and Anastasia. According to a 2007 New York Times report, Anastasia, who was 20 at the time, and Ksenia, who was 28, were known around Moscow for showing up in Versace gowns whenever there was a party. The Russian press covered them dutifully, and the Russian readers couldn't get enough of them.

Ksenia Chilingarova said that she and her colleagues in the Russian press cover the daughters and/or granddaughters of politicians because they're kind of thin on other celebrities. "We don't have our own Angelina Jolie or our Britney Spears with the resources to wear fancy clothes," Chilingarova said. "The reality is that the children of famous people are so popular because they have the money to dress up, wear jewelry, travel to Paris and London, and be photographed doing it."

Ksenia is married and living in Germany

By 2020, according to a Technerium report from that year, Ksenia and Anastasia had put the hard-partying and glamorous days of their youth in the rear-view mirror, instead focusing on domesticity. "Now they devote all their time to the family hearth, avoiding social events," the Russian source wrote.

As of 2018, according to Meduza, Ksenia was living in Germany. Specifically, she was living in the same Berlin apartment where her mother, Irina, lived with her husband, the owner of an unspecified German "logistics company." It's unclear what, if anything, Ksenia was doing for a job at the time –- the source reported only said that she had been the chief editor of the magazine L'Officiel but had left that job to move to Germany. She had a child by that time, making Gorbachev a great-grandfather. "No one helps out anybody else. He is a self-sufficient man who has successfully supported himself in his old age," she said of her grandfather at the time.

Anastasia works for her grandfather's foundation

Like her older sister, Ksenia, Anastasia Virganskaya also put her days of being a Moscow socialite behind her in favor of a quiet life in relative obscurity. As Technerium reports, Anastasia took a page out of her sister's book and worked in publishing for a while, having worked for both print magazine Grazia magazine, as well as Russian website trendspace.ru. These days (or as recently as 2020), she was working with her mother, advocating on behalf of her grandfather's Gorbachev Foundation, and, as such, spending much of her time in the United States.

Anastasia also played a role, however obliquely, in the history of U.S.-Soviet relations. There was a time when the idea of an American business, particularly an iconic one such as Pizza Hut, opening up in Russia was beyond unthinkable. However, in 1997, it happened, and as Foreign Policy notes, Gorbachev and his little granddaughter helped make that happen. Specifically, the young celebrity, a preteen at the time, appeared in a commercial for the chain, eating a slice of pizza -– something her grandfather steadfastly refused to do in the ad (which can be seen here, via YouTube).