Arkadiy Isaakovich Raikin (Raykin) ( October 24 [O.S. October 10] 1911 – November 20, 1987, Moscow) was a Soviet stand up comedian of Jewish descent who led the school of Soviet and Russian humorists for about half a century.
Raikin was born in Riga, Latvia, which was then part of Russia. In 1939 he opened his own theatre in Leningrad where he used skits and impersonations to ridicule inefficiency of Communist bureaucracy and Soviet way of life. His fame in the Soviet Union was such that he was invited to participate in the opening night of BBC Two television in 1964, although the broadcast had to be cancelled due to a power failure. He also appeared in several comedies during the WWII and after. Three years before his death, Raikin finally moved to Moscow, where he opened the "Satirikon" Theatre, now run by his son Konstantin Raikin, also an acclaimed actor.
Despite his criticism of Soviet authorities, Raikin was awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR in 1968, the Lenin Prize in 1980, and the award of Hero of Socialist Labour in 1981.