Monthly Archives: July 2015

Molotov on the Death of Stalin’s Wife

Interviewer:  What kind of person was Allilueva (Stalin’s wife)?  They say she wasn’t quite normal.

Molotov:  She looked sane enough.  Nerves and so forth – that could be.  But you couldn’t consider her abnormal.  Needless to say, her suicide had a bad effect.

Interviewer:  Why did she shoot herself?  Was Stalin treating her that badly?

Molotov:  He wasn’t treating her badly, but there may have been some jealousy.

Interviewer:  Was he unfaithful to her?  Someone at work?

Molotov:  He wasn’t unfaithful, but a person like her could be influenced.

Interviewer:  People keep talking about a letter she left.  They say that besides Stalin, only Molotov read it.

Molotov:  A letter she left?  First I’ve heard about it.  Mmm, what things people make up.

Interviewer:  So, jealousy is the most probable cause of Allilueva’s death?

Molotov:  Of course, jealousy.  But, to me, she had no reason for it.  The was a lady barber to whom he (Stalin) used to go for a shave.  That displeased his wife.  A very jealous person.  Why?  She was so young. . .


We had a big party at Voroshilov’s place after the November 7 celebration in 1932.  Stalin made a tiny ball of bread and, in front of everyone, threw it at Egorov’s wife.  I saw this, but paid no attention to it.  Perhaps this played a part.

I think Allilueva was a bit irrational at the time.  This had such an effect on her that she couldn’t control herself.  She left the party with my wife, Polina Semenovna.  They took a walk around the Kremlin.  It was late at night, and she complained to my wife that she didn’t like this, didn’t like that. . . About the lady barber. . . Why Stalin had flirted at the party. . . In fact he had drunk a bit, it was simply a joke, nothing special.  But this troubled her.

She was jealous of him. . . She shot herself that night.  Polina Semenovna condemned her act.  She would say, “Nadia was wrong.  She left him at such a difficult time!”

What do I remember?  Stalin picked up the pistol she had used and said it was a toy, that it had only been fired once a year.  It was a gift.  I think a brother in law gave it to her. . .

“I was a bad husband.  I had no time to take her to the movies,”  Stalin said.

People started a rumor that he had killed her.  I had never seen him cry before, but at Allilueva’s coffin I saw tears running down his cheeks.


Molotov Remembers, pp. 172-73.