I hope you liked my previous articles within the series about the “Red Rebels” about Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni, Hugo Eberlein and others. I would like to say today a few words about Alexandra Kollontai. As with the previous heros, I came across her, 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 the book. Angelica and Alexandra have always been good friends. They have met in the early 1900s. They kept in touch for the rest of their lives and remained good friends even after Angelica left Russia in 1921 disagreeing with Lenin’s politics of the Red Terror and becoming a persona non-grata and dangerous friend particularly for such a high-ranking apparatchik as Alexandra.
Compared to many other “Red rebels” the name of the beautiful and liberated Alexandra is well-known. For a woman of her time, Alexandra (born in 1872 in St Petersburg) had a remarkable fate. Known for liberated views on sex and marriage, she divorced her husband; went to study political economics at the University of Zurich (one of the few universities in Europe which accepted women at the end of the 19th century), married for the second time to a man much younger than herself; a few men tried to commit suicide because of her; she was among a few high-ranked Soviet apparatchiks who have never been arrested and survived the GULAG Purges started by Stalin in 1937. The only woman to hold high-ranking posts in the all-macho Soviet government she has been appointed the Soviet Ambassador to Norway, becoming the First woman Ambassador in the World (she died in Moscow in 1952). Of course it is a very brief introduction to the life of Alexandra. Alexandra’s impressive fate shows that no matter when or where you life, if you have courage and faith, you can acheive what you want in life and change the world for the better.