Jump to: navigation, search

Alexandra Tolstoy

Alexandra Tolstoy FRGS (born Alexandra Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, 1974; married name Alexandra Galimzyanova) is an equine adventurer, broadcaster and businesswoman, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She has made several long distance journeys on horses which have provided the material for television documentaries, books and talks. [1][2]

The filming of Horse People with Alexandra Tolstoy, a television series for the BBC filmed in 2008, was reported to have contributed to the breakdown of her marriage in 2009.[3]



The daughter of Nikolai Tolstoy, Tolstoy studied for a Master of Arts degree in Russian at Edinburgh University which enabled her to spend a year in Russia. In 2003, she wrote of Edinburgh that -
It’s where I made some of my closest friends and enjoyed four very happy and carefree years... Edinburgh has drinking hours that are the envy of all other British universities. Our only worry was how to fill the time between 4am and 6am, when the pubs were shut... The seeds were sown there for the great passions in my life.[4]

She next moved to London, joining Credit Suisse First Boston's graduate scheme as a Eastern European Equities broker. She resigned after a year and spent the next two years working and traveling abroad during which time she spent six weeks walking the old Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route through Spain. [1][5]

In 1999, she was part of a team which spent eight months travelling by horse and camel along a 5,000-mile length of the Silk Road. One of the support team members, an Uzbek show jumper, Shamil Galimzyanov, was to become her future husband. Upon completing the expedition, she moved to Moscow to complete her account of the expedition, The Last Secrets of the Silk Road, and to continue travelling in central Asia. [1]

In 2000 Tolstoy and a friend rode 3,000 miles on horseback through Mongolia and Siberia. [1]

In September 2003 Tolstoy and Galimzyanov were married in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Bayswater, London, after which they set up their home in a small Moscow apartment.[6]

In 2004, along with her husband, she embarked upon the 2,700 mile journey from Turkmenistan to Moscow, retracing an expedition undertaken by twenty-eight Turkmen riders in 1935, who took 84 days to cover the distance. Riding Akhal-Teke horses, they were stopped from completing the journey by an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, resuming it in 2006 arriving in Moscow in November. [1]

While living in Moscow, Tolstoy is reported to have taught English to the families of several 'oligarchs' and to have befriended the billionaire Sergei Pugachyov.[7]

When not travelling on her own expeditions, Tolstoy continues to write, organise riding holidays in Central Asia, work as an interior designer and for BDI, a brand development company assisting European companies to develop their business in the countries of the former Soviet Union. [1]

In 2008, she spent a month filming Horse People with Alexandra Tolstoy, a television series for BBC Television in which she visited five quite different communities working with horses around the world. The BBC objected to her husband accompanying her, and this was later reported to have tested the marriage, which broke down in 2009 shortly after the birth of a baby boy. Tolstoy decided not to return to her former home in Moscow and in April 2009 she established herself with her son at a house in Chelsea.[6] In June 2009, she was reported to have engaged "highly paid lawyers" to protect her private life.[3]

In the summer of 2009, Tolstoy was reported to be staying in the South of France at a villa owned by Pugachev and also to be helping him to find a country estate in England. In December she acquired a farmhouse near Malvern in Herefordshire for herself.[8] Her distant cousin Alexander Nekrassov has stated that Pugachev is the father of Tolstoy's son.[9]

The BBC hopes for more television work, with a spokesman commenting "Alexandra's Horse People was very popular and she could well do more". Tolstoy was reported in 2009 to be considering making a series about high society in contemporary Russia.[7]


  • Horse People with Alexandra Tolstoy


  • The Last Secrets of the Silk Road: Four Girls Follow Marco Polo Across 5,000 Miles (London: Profile Books, 2003) ISBN 9781861973799
  • The Horses of Heaven


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Alexandra Tolstoy's website, alexandratolstoy.com
  2. The Daily Telegraph - BBC's 'sickening' horse documentary sparks viewer complaints, 8 April 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1 Richard Eden, Alexandra Tolstoy calls in lawyers to protect 'secret' baby son dated 6 June 2009, at telegraph.co.uk
  4. Alexandra Tolstoy, Alexandra Tolstoy: Edinburgh, 30 March 2003, at scotsman.com
  5. The Scotsman - My Scotland - Alexandra Tolstoy: Edinburgh, 30 March 2003
  6. 6.0 6.1 Richard Kay, Tolstoy's marital mayhem, 8 June 2009, at dailymail.co.uk
  7. 7.0 7.1 Richard Eden, New friend helps Alexandra Tolstoy go back to her Russian roots dated 11 July 2009, at telegraph.co.uk
  8. Richard Eden, Oligarch's friend Alexandra Tolstoy finds a country estate dated 26 Dec 2009 at telegraph.co.uk
  9. Alexander Nekrassov, Stirring Trouble at twitter.com

External links

                  <!-- Goes above DEFAULTSORT/Categories -->


Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...