Forced Abortions, Suicide, And Pedophilia: Inside The Horrifying History Of Joseph Stalin’s Romantic Relationships

By Regan Monnin··  6 min read
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Forced Abortions, Suicide, And Pedophilia: Inside The Horrifying History Of Joseph Stalin’s Romantic Relationships

Love affairs of the rich and famous capture our attention. Though Joseph Stalin is one of the most famous – or shall we say infamous – men to ever live, not much attention has been paid to his love life. This is probably because we’ve been focused on the fact that the man murdered around 10 million people and sent millions more to the gulags.

Adding to this indifference towards Stalin’s love life is that history has often painted Stalin – and his counterpart Hitler – as power-hungry incels, so obsessed with their lust for control that they had no time for sexual escapades. But, historians are finding that this could not be further from the truth, especially in the case of Joseph Stalin. 

And to no one’s surprise, Joseph Stalin destroyed every woman whom he romanced.

Stalin’s Wives

We all know that Joseph Stalin is a murderous pig. (If you find that statement somehow controversial, do yourself a favor and quit reading this article.) But he may not have turned out that way if not for the death of his first wife.

Ekaterine Svanidze and Joseph Stalin married in 1906 and had a son Yakov. Ekaterine died a year later in 1907 of illness, most likely typhoid or tuberculosis. By all accounts, Stalin was distraught at her death, saying, “This creature softened my heart of stone. She’s died and with her have died my last warm feelings for humanity.” 

Ekaterine Svanidze, Stalin-s first wife Alamy
Ekaterine Svanidze, via Alamy.

Stalin left Yakov with Ekaterine’s family and ignored his existence for the rest of his life. That is, until he arrested most of the Svanidze family and executed them – what an upstanding son-in-law!

This brings us to Stalin’s second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva. The pair married in 1919 when Stalin was 40 and Nadezhda 18. Reports say that the marriage was built on love. (Though what that word meant to Joseph Stalin one has to wonder.) 

Nadezhda Alliluyeva Stalin second wife Alamy
Nadezhda Alliluyeva, via Alamy.

The marriage lasted for 12 years. Stalin and his second wife argued relentlessly due to her disagreement with his political beliefs. In retaliation, Stalin abused Nadezhda, ultimately driving her to suicide. She shot herself in the heart in 1932. Both her two children with Stalin and the public were told she died of illness. The truth about her death didn’t come out until the 1980s. 

During their marriage, Stalin forced Nadezhda to have 10 abortions. 

Stalin’s Mistresses

Stalin is said to have had multiple mistresses. Opera singer Vera Davydova is said to have had a 19-year affair with Stalin. Stalin relentlessly pursued Davydova, though she was married. Of the affair, Davydova said, "How could I resist or refuse? At any second, with just a single word, my career could come to an end or I could be physically destroyed.” While her memoir Confessions of Stalin’s Lover was published in 1983, the book is not recognized by Vera’s family and they deny all existence of an affair.

vera davydova opera singer stalin lover pinterest
Vera Davydova, via Pinterest.

Stalin is also accused of an affair with ballerina Olga Lepeshinskaya. Not much is known of their alleged sexual relationship. Olga is quoted as saying, "We [ballerinas] were all in love with him. He could be very sweet and very nice, but that was probably just the impression he created. Because at his core he was a bad person – vindictive and angry." Olga denied any affair with Stalin during her lifetime.

RIAN archive 633488 O. Lepeshinskaya, A. Radunsky, and I. Vasilieva in scene from Leo Delibes- ballet Coppelia (cropped)
Olga Lepeshinskaya, via Wikimedia Commons.

Next on the list of Stalin’s alleged mistresses is his housekeeper, Valya Istomina. Stalin and Valya carried on their affair for 17 years. When Stalin fell sick and was not expected to recover, two of his right-hand men, Lavrentiy Beria (head of the NKVD) and General Nikolai Vlasik (chief of Stalin’s personal guards), raped Valya. Stalin did recover, but when he heard of the rape, he banished Valya to Siberia for “cheating on him.” 

Eventually, Stalin missed Valya so much that he asked for her return to Moscow. Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin’s daughter, said that when Stalin died, Valya “fell on her knees by the sofa, dropped her head on the dead man's chest and started wailing, like a village woman…To her dying day, she was convinced that there was no man better than my father."

Stalin Impregnated a 13-Year-Old Girl

Stalin’s full list of mistresses cannot be fully known. But we do know that he impregnated a 13-year-old girl during his exile in Siberia. 

In March 1914, the Tsar sentenced Stalin to exile in Siberia for his revolutionary activities. The town of his exile, Kureika, was located on the edge of the Arctic Circle. Less than 70 people lived in the village.

One of the village children, a 13-year-old orphan girl named Lidia Pereprygin, took notice of Stalin immediately. Stalin was notoriously good-looking in his younger years, although at this time he wasn’t exactly young. When he met Lidia, Stalin was 35. 

Not too long into his exile in Kureika, Stalin and Lidia began an affair. Though the Russian age of consent for marriage was 14 years old, the affair was a shock to the people of Kureika. It became even more of a scandal when Lidia became pregnant. 

Stalin moved into Lidia’s family home sometime in 1914. Her brothers were so furious with Stalin over the pregnancy that they refused to eat with him until he promised to marry Lidia as soon as she came of age. 

Stalin, though not present at the birth, knew of his surviving illegitimate child. He never met his son.

In December 1914, Lidia gave birth to a child who died soon after childbirth. Despite the loss of the child, Stalin and Lidia continued their affair through the winter of 1915/1916. While they never married, Stalin impregnated Lidia again sometime that summer and then, by all accounts, disappeared. Lidia gave birth to a son, Alexander, in April 1917. The boy survived. Stalin, though not present at the birth, knew of his surviving illegitimate child. He never met his son.

Lidia eventually married Yakov Davydov, who adopted Alexander. The couple had eight more children. Lidia eventually told Alexander of his real father’s identity. Stalin’s descendants still live in Kureika to this day.

Closing Thoughts

Joseph Stalin murdered 10 million people. He’s responsible for some of the most horrific battles in WWII. He’s known as one of the deadliest people in world history. 

The idea that Stalin was a power-hungry incel with no sexual drive is ludicrous, as evidenced by the information you just read. Stalin was a perverted individual who saw genocide as progress and torture as necessary to the human condition. We can’t expect that his love life – if you can even call it that – would be any different.

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