Nadezhda Alliluyeva is one of the two wives that Joseph Stalin had in his life. Both of them died well before he did, with Nadezhda dying in 1932 at the age of 31.
She was just a two-year-old girl when Stalin met her the first time and saved her from drowning. Back in the day, he was visiting her family quite often and has seen Nadya on a regular basis. In 1917, he had to return to Petrograd. Nadya, who was already 16 at the time, fell for this romantic revolutionary.
In Petrograd, Stalin, together with his friend Lev Kamenev took over the office of Pravda, a Bolsheviks’ newspaper that was closed by the Tsarist government in 1914. Stalin used to work in Pravda as an editor. He was also appointed to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, a very influential body that held sway over a large number of factories and their workers in the city.
In April 1917, elections were held for Bolshevik Party Central Committee, and Stalin came third, only behind Lenin and Zinoviev. This was a big boost to his party standings, and he was officially seen as one of the highest-ranking party officials. During this meteoric rise to power, Nadezhda Alliluyeva was working as a clerk in Lenin’s office, handling confidential coded mail. The two of them were seeing each other on a regular basis, but it was mostly for party business. It is unclear if they had a romantic relationship at this time.
In the meantime, the clashes between Bolsheviks and the Provisional Government continued, and the inevitable showdown came in October 1917. In a brief struggle, the Bolsheviks took over Petrograd and proclaimed a new government, Council of People’s Commissars, in which Stalin was to play a prominent role.
Right after the October Revolution, Nadya became Stalin’s assistant while he was working as the People’s Commissar for the Nationalities and joined him in the city of Tsaritsyn while the Russian Civil War was taking place.
They ended up married in 1919 and had two kids. A boy – Vasily, who was born in 1921, and a girl – Svetlana, five years younger.
After that, it seems that all went downhill for Nadya. She hated the life in the Kremlin, Stalin was always mistreating her, being violent, and flirtatious with his colleague’s wives.
Nadya had enough of that and studied chemistry in 1929. Her colleagues from university actually didn’t know who she was, so they told her a lot of horrifying stories about Stalin. When she decided to confront him and talk about all the things that she heard about him, he ordered for all of her friends and students to be arrested.
The couple hosted a Banquet in late 1932 to celebrate the October Revolution. Things got chippy between the two and Nadya left for bed earlier than anyone. In the morning, they found her dead as she had taken her own life with a gun. Before doing that, she wrote a note to Stalin, accusing him of many things and taking a shot at him with each sentence. That shook up Stalin badly because he knew that she did that to punish him for what he had done.
Just a couple of days before her death, Nadezhda Alliluyeva told her friend that nothing made her happy, least of all her children.
Her son Vasily, who spent his career in Soviet Air Force and ended up with the rank of Lieutenant-General, was an alcoholic and a womanizer, who was sentenced for revealing state secret while drunk and spent seven years in prison after his father died. Daughter Svetlana ended up as a defector. She died in 2011 in the United Kingdom