Angelica Balabanoff Archive

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Angelica’s minimalist wardrobe – ideas about minimalist essentials

29.07.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that my biography about Angelica Balabanoff  The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published by  McFarland Publishers in June. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica including her friends, her hobbies and her recipes. I would like to devote today’s article to Angelica’s minimalist wardrobe and her style which was just as audacious as she was. She had never liked shopping and had a very simple daily routine. “Angelica had been allergic to fashion from the time she had been forced to accompany her mother on the endless shopping tours in Chernigov. Angelica’s choice of simple clothing was clearly made to underline her new social status as a ‘working girl.’ Following a general ‘socialist-democratic fashion,’ she wore long, loose-fitting skirts, even if they made her look more voluminous than she was, simple turban-draped covers for her head, to avoid constantly brushing her hair, and an occasional long necklace.”* Nonetheless, she was a modern and avantgarde woman though not necessarily always elegant. Throughout the years she managed to create her own style which was as daring as her personality. She wore reality not clothes. Many of us try to look like someone else or from time to time possess fashionable clothing items. Angelica did not want to look like anyone else. She remained true to her own self. In this sense she created her own style. Her wardrobe consisted of a […]

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Angelica’s recipes – Beetroot and ginger chocolate brownies

8.07.2016 Posted in Cooking, Writing No Comments

As you know my biography of Angelica Balabanoff ‘The Strange Comrade Balabanoof: The Life of a Communist Rebel‘ has been published in June by McFarland Publishers. To celebrate the launch of the book I decided to make the Beetroot and ginger chocolate brownies. I chose this recipe for two reasons. Firstly Angelica was very fond of sweets and chocolate, secondly I collect ‘reddish’ recipes which always make an interesting entry for my blog. Beetroot and ginger chocolate brownies These purple-hued brownies have an earthy taste and are a little fiery, giving you one of your five a day in a very wicked way. There is debate as to whether a brownie should be cakey or fudgy: these are definitely on the gooey side. Ingredients Makes 24 500g fresh beetroot 200 plain chocolate (70% cocoa) 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tin 1 tsp vanilla extract 250g golden caster sugar 3 eggs 100g plain flour 25g cocoa powder 3 balls of stem ginger  1 Line a 20cm x 30cm tray with greaseproof paper. Simmer the beetroot in hot water until soft, then, wearing rubber gloves, slip off the skins. (I used precooked beetroots). Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. 2 In a food processor, mix together the chocolate, hot beetroot, butter and vanilla extract until the mix is as smooth as you can get it. (As I used precooked beetroots which were cold, I first melted butter and chocolate for 3-4 minutes on a low heat, mixing it then in a […]

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First ever Biography of Angelica Balabanoff – extract from the book

24.06.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Had she ever been married? Or had kids? Was she really a mistress of Lenin, Mussolini, Trotsky and Stalin? Was Edda Mussolini, the eldest daughter of the infamous dictator, her daughter? Angelica’s life was full of mysteries and unexplainable events. Born in Chernigov, a small town in the Northeastern part of the Ukraine which at the time was part of the Russian Empire, she rebelled against her well-off merchant family and their traditional values, disagreeing from the age of 5 with the rules of upbringing imposed on the girls of her social milieu. She broke with her family when she became a young woman, refused the family inheritance and, after being cursed by her mother, left for Western Europe to live with the poor and ease their lives. She never saw her mother and most of her siblings again. After completing her graduate education, Angelica quickly became one of the primary female lecturers in Europe. The first person to discover, educate and form the future Il Duce, she was also a close acquaintance of Lenin and Trotsky during their exile in Switzerland, stood next to them as their equal in the ‘all macho’ Soviet government after the Russian Revolution and became Lenin’s most trusted agent, whom he sent on secret missions vitally important for the young Soviet State. Disillusioned with the Revolution, Angelica was possibly the only high-ranked official in Russian history who left the country legitimately without being prosecuted. Rejected by many friends and colleagues, she became an anti-communist […]

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My biography of Angelica Balabanoff is out!

22.04.2016 Posted in Writing 3 Comments

Dear Friends, My biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published at McFarland publishers after more than 4 years of intensive work. I’m the happiest personin the world. About Angelica. Born in 1878 to a wealthy Ukrainian family, Angelica Balabanoff broke ties with her parents and left for Europe to become one of the leading female socialists of the early 20th century. Just five feet tall, plump and plain, she was rumored to be a lover of Mussolini, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. Returning to Russia at the beginning of the October Revolution, she became one of the few women to occupy high-ranking positions within the all-male Bolshevik government, later fleeing Russia in disagreement with Lenin’s politics. She was accused by European and American secret services of promoting communist propaganda, and by the Soviets of disloyalty. She lived in small dormitory-like rooms, moving on average every two years with her two suitcases of important documents. She died in Rome at the age 96, concluding her 65-year career by supporting Giuseppe Saragat in his quest to become president of Italy. During her nomadic life, state and police agencies in the countries she visited compiled documents on her. The author draws on this extensive, scattered archive in this first biography of Balabanoff. Click here to order on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Hope you will like the book!!!        

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Looking Ahead to a Russian Centennial

25.03.2016 Posted in History, Writing 2 Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that  my biography of Angelica Balabanoff The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel will be published at the end of April by McFarland Publishers. To mark this pulication I decided to devote my blog to Angelica, her friends, passtime and recipes. I hope you liked my previous articles within the series “Red Rebels” about her friends Raya Dunaevskaya, Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni and others, about Angelica writing poems in five languages and the recipe of the only meal she could make – an omelet. No doubt an important event in Angelica’s live was the October Revoltuion of 1917. The first part of her life has been devoted to organising this event, while during the second part of her life she became dissilutioned with it and devoted the rest of her life to fighting it and what was going on in her country. In about 18 months Russia will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the October 1917 Revolution. It will certainly be an occasion  to arouse controversy and emotion. The Revolution was one of the defining moments of the 20th Century. It brought the establishment of a Communist regime, millions lost their lives or fled their homes to go and live overseas.  It is not yet certain how Russia’s contemporary leaders will mark the centennial. During the Cold War, the Soviet government ensured that its revolutionary victory was celebrated as a most important holiday supported by the media and the entire population. Today in Russia many […]

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Angelica’s pass time – writing poems in 5 languages

26.02.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that I have a book coming out about Angelica Balabanoff by McFarland Publishers in March, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica and amongst others her favorite pass time (see previous article Angelica’s pass time – Drinking Tea with Jam (varenije)). It was in the 1920s that Angeica has first started to write poems. She felt that poems helped her express her feelings, cope with her misfortunes and brighten her life. Gifted for langauges she composed in five languages, translating her own poems in all five of them. Her talent did not pass unnoticed making headlines and caricatures in the New York press at the end of the 1930s. Angelica was probably not the most talented poet. However her poems served at least two great reasons. Firstly, they made her fell better and helped her to go through years of hardships. Secondly, they were of great help to me as her biographer, providing a better insight into her feelings, life and events which she had often tried to conceal. In the poem “There is no Sunshine, no Happiness at all in my Bereaved Soul”, written after being expelled from the Soviet Union in 1921, disillusioned with the October Revolution of the 1917, she confessed: “My Soul Is burning into thirst of liberty for all; My Soul Is longing for a […]

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Angelica’s recipes – Ideal Meal on a Budget

12.02.2016 Posted in Cooking, Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that I have a book coming out about Angelica Balabanoff at McFarland Publishers in September, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica and amongst others her favorite recipes. In point of fact, Angelica did not cook. She was not even interested in food. For the majority of her life she was a vegetarian. Nonetheless, food played an important role in her existence. She used food to fight bourgeois traditions, which was the main battle of her life. My first blog post about Angelica’s recipes was devoted to her favorite food – cheese sandwiches. This one is about the only dish she could make – an omelet. All her life Angelica rented small rooms, moving every two years to a new place. And if the rooms had cooking facilities (which was not always the case), she had a pan to make omelets. I have already made an omelet to honor Angelica in my blog of July 10, 2015. Today’s omelet is not an ordinary one. It is an omelet she used to make when she lived on a low budget in Paris in the 1920s-1930s and when ” An omelet of two eggs beaten with a bit of bread soaked in milk was a royal and rare meal.” To make it I got: 2 free-range eggs, salt, freshly ground black pepper, 2 […]

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The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Mollie Steimer

26.06.2015 Posted in History, Writing No Comments

I hope you liked my previous articles within the series “Red Rebels” about Raya Dunaevskaya, Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni and others. Here is a story of another exceptional woman, Mollie Steimer. As with the previous heroines, I came across Mollie while writing my book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, due to be published by McFarland Publishers in September, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel. Due to the lack of space I was unable to write about her in my book. I would not say that Mollie is my heroine. I do not share her ideas. She was an ardent anarchist and some people suffered because of her believes. Nonethelss, her life was most impressive. She stood for her ideas until the end. No matter how hard it could get and no matter where or how she lived. She ended up “creating” her own extraordinary fate, making it a rare and unusual event which so many of us try to do and so few of us achieve. Mollie Steimer (1897 – 1980) was born as Marthe Alperine in the Ukraine. Mollie moved to the US at the age of 15, becoming an anarchist and free-speech campaigner. After aggressive anarchist behavior directed against the US policy in Russia and their support of the Tsarist army during the Bolshevik Revolution she was first imprisoned and then deported back to her native land, arriving in Moscow on Dec 15, 1923. She quickly met a fellow anarchist Senya Fleshin (by then separated with Louise Berger I […]