The Truth About The Women Romantically Involved With Stalin

Joseph Stalin was a ruthless ruler, known for being the dictator of the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953 (via History). Under his reign of terror, Stalin transformed the Soviet Union into an industrial and military superpower. Moreover, his own paranoia and ego ultimately led to the deaths of millions of people.

Stalin was also a womanizer. Even with his incredibly frenetic history that included overthrowing a government, fighting World War II, and mass murdering anyone he perceived as a threat, Stalin still found time for romance. Officially, he was only married twice (via Russia Beyond). However, he had countless mistresses and various affairs (via History of Yesterday).

The common denominator in each of his relationships is despair. Some of the women Stalin was romantically involved with died before their time, others were taken advantage of, and some could not risk saying "no" to the dictator for fear of death or being exiled.

Both of Stalin's wives died young

In 1906, Joseph Stalin married his first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze (via Russia Beyond). Known as Kato, she was 16 years old when she married 24-year-old Stalin. They had one son, Yakov. Months after his birth, Kato became ill with what was either tuberculosis or typhoid. She died in 1907, and Stalin was so devastated by her death that he jumped into her grave at the funeral. Stalin has been quoted as saying that her death also caused the death of his feelings for humanity (via History of Yesterday).

His second marriage to Nadezhda Alliluyeva was said to be one built on love. Although Stalin had known Alliluyeva since she was a child as he had been a longtime family friend, she was 18, and he was 40 when they married in 1919. Despite this, they were said to argue consistently, partly because Nadezhda disapproved of her husband's political policies (via UPI). Eventually, this reportedly led to abuse, and in 1932, she shot herself in the heart. Stalin and Nadezhda had two children. Both they and the press were told that her death was due to a sudden illness.

Stalin supposedly had an affair with a 13-year-old girl

In 1914, Stalin was exiled to Siberia. There, he met Lidia Pereprygina, a 13-year-old orphan. Stalin was 35 when an alleged affair began (via the Evening Standard). Soon, the entire village learned about an apparent relationship. As the age of consent at the time was 14, the reported relationship was frowned upon. Lidia purportedly became pregnant, and to avoid criminal charges, Stalin supposedly promised to marry the girl. Sadly, the child, born in 1914, died shortly after birth.

In 1917, Lidia gave birth to a second son, Alexander (per Russia Beyond). However, Stalin never kept his promise, and as soon his exile was over, he reportedly left the village and home he shared with Lidia. When Stalin became a part of Lenin's inner group, his alleged affair and son with Lidia became a secret. She was reportedly forced to sign a document that promised to never disclose who the real father of her son was. Lidia eventually married, and her husband adopted Alexander. Stalin purportedly never met his son or gave her any support.

Joseph Stalin's possible lovers included a ballerina, an opera singer, and his housekeeper

According to History of Yesterday, Stalin had a liking for ballerina Olga Lepeshinskaya and singer Vera Davydova. It's unclear if an affair with either woman occurred, as they both denied being Stalin's mistresses. However, it is known that Stalin and Vera met on numerous occasions, including at her performances. Moreover, books have been written detailing their alleged 19-year affair (via Russia Beyond). All books, however, are not recognized by Davydova's family. As for Olga, Stalin visited the theater she performed at regularly, giving her flowers and inviting her to receptions.

Stalin's final alleged mistress was Valentina Istomina. Although she had been courted by other men in Stalin's inner circle, they all backed off, and soon he apparently became interested in her. Stalin seemingly trusted Istomina, and she was the only person who served him food and medicine. In 1952, Stalin became ill, and many around him believed he would die. With his supposedly impending death, two of Stalin's men assaulted her. When he found out she had "cheated" on him, she was sent to Siberia in exile. But alas, Stalin purportedly missed her too much and allowed her to return. When Stalin died in 1953, Istomina was devastated. Perhaps even monsters like Stalin are in need of love.