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Empress of Ambition

The mail-order bride…who seduced an empire.

Join Icons of Power as we venture into the court of the Empress Catherine the Great and bear witness to epic history and scandals of truly royal proportions.

With sweeping cinematography and rich, dramatic reenactments soaked in 18th Century detail, we’ll trace Catherine’s journey from a humble, impoverished home in Germany to the throne of an empire that spanned two- thirds of the globe. We’ll follow the empress to war, to court, and even to bed. From the scorched battlefields of the Crimea to the gilded palaces of St. Petersburg, we’ll venture deep into the world of the Empress Catherine – a world of secret trysts and cunning deception, of conquest and glory – and bring to life the characters and events that shaped her reign.

Directed by
Don Campbell
Producers & Writers
Don Campbell
Doug Shultz
Jessie Vogelson
Mark Fason
Molly Mckinley
Original Music
Gary Pozner
Executive Producer
Peter Schnall
Location Producer
Sasha Predovsky
Director of Photography
Viktor Gonchar
Nick Schatzki
Assistant Director
Kira Sinelschikova
Coordinating Producers
Whitney Johnson
Kristina Ver
David Schein
Jessie Vogelson
Assistant Editor
Alex Meistrell
Additional Cinematography
Mead Hunt
David Shadrack Smith
Sound Recordists
Richard Gin
David Streit
J.T. Takagi
Luke Deikis
P.J. Brockett
Additional Music
Seth Stachowski
Maps & Animation
Ricardo Andrade
Jason Leta
National Geographic Television and Film
Paul Ranson,
Ailanthus Inc.
Blerti Nurathaj
Sound Design & Mix
Pat Donohue
Alla Oding – Catherine the Great
Irina Malinovskaya – Young Catherine
Pavel Ryabenkov – Emelian Pugachey
Stepan Abramov – Tsar Peter III
Vadim Volkov – Grigory Potemkin
Melnik Pavel Miroslavovich – Tsar Ivan VI
Alexander Orovsky – Alexei Orlov
Konstantin Mukhin – Grigory Orlov
Galina Subbotina – Empress Elizabeth
Production Manager
Linda Predovsky
Additional Cinematography
Dima Plusnin
Kirill Goretsky
2nd assistant director
Daniel Anderson
Still Photographer
Nick Vogelson
Office Coordinator
Jessica Applebaum
Production Accountants
Rebecca Cohen
Brian Minahan
Paul Kendall
Lindsay Wile
Andrea Borrero
Chloe Redfern
Legal Services
Kenneth Weinrib
Matthew Lefferts
Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassalo p.c.
Special Thanks
Novojilov Anatoliy & Kopyl Viacheslav
Setolovo Tank Training Ground
Yulia Diakova, State Museum Oranienbaum
Lampova Village, Gatchina District
Ludmila Kurenkova,
Summer Palace, Russian Museum
Father Markel, Feodorovsky Cathedral
Vladimir Martus, Shtandart
Artyom Matusov
Elena Morozova, Railway House Museum Agency
Shuvalovka Russian Village
Father Viktor, Smolenskiy Cathedral

—For National Geographic Channel—
Executive Producer
John Bowman
Senior Vice President, Production
Juliet Blake
Executive in Charge of Production
John B. Ford