Did Joseph Stalin have a Jewish wife?
Photo: AP

Stalin's Jewish affair

For more than 50 years, a letter containing astonishing information lay in the basement of the Russian communist party. The anti-Semitic tyrant who planned mass purges against the Jews had an affair with a Jewish woman, and also cared for her daughter until she died

The communist tyrant Joseph Stalin was known to be an anti-Semite who planned wide-scale purges against the Jews in his latter days. Yet the fact that the Soviet ruler planned to annihilate the Jews did not prevent him from having an affair with a Jewish woman, and to take care of her daughter until her mother passed away. According to some evidence, Stalin may have even married the woman.


The affair was disclosed recently thanks to a letter discovered by an historian named Nicolai Nada. The letter, which was placed on the desk of the general secretary of the communist party Georgi Malenkov in 1953, the day Stalin suffered a stroke, was kept in a classified party file for years.


Just a few months ago those in charge of the file were persuaded to reveal the letter, and this is what it contained:


Dear Comrade Malenkov!


I am the daughter of Ana Rubinstein, the former wife of Comrade Stalin.


As he is in ill health, I ask you to let me see him. He knows me since I was a child.


R. Sveshnikova (Kostiokovski). If it is not possible to see him, I ask you to grant me an audience on a very urgent matter.


Date: 04.03.55


We shall apparently never know what exactly the writer of the letter sought to tell Stalin, and what the "urgent matter" she wished to discuss with the general-secretary of the communist party was about. However, Nicolai Nada focused his research on the identity of Ana Rubinstein, "the former wife of Comrade Stalin," and discovered some astonishing facts.


From the few documents uncovered in the archives it appears that Ana Rubinstein was born around 1890 in Ukraine. In 1910 she married a Jew named Zalman Kostiovsky, and on 28th September, 1911 they had a daughter named Regina. The marriage broke up and a year later Ana came to Saint Petersburg with her daughter, but without her husband.


Two official wives

Nada believes that Stalin met Ana Rubinstein as early as 1912. He used to visit Saint Petersburg often, where Rubinstein was affiliated to the city's Bolshevik underground. The affair between them apparently developed later on, because in 1913 Stalin was apprehended by police and deported to Siberia from where he returned in the spring of 1917. Regina Sveshnikova – whom Stalin knew during "her childhood" - was five- and-a-half years old in 1917.


The question which has still not been clarified is whether it was just an affair or whether the couple did actually marry? This is difficult to answer with any certainty, since all the documents pertaining to Stalin's personal life were confiscated in the 1920s, and Stalin himself got rid of any "incriminating" documents.


The official version of his biography, published in the USSR, mentions two "official" women: Yekaterina Svanidze who died of tuberculosis and Nadezhda Alliluyeva who committed suicide. However, indirect evidence shows that Ana Rubinstein may also have been a legal wife.


The first piece of evidence is associated with the timeline: Stalin was first seen with the beautiful Alliluyeva in 1917; however he only married her a year and a half later. In elite communist circles it was whispered that the tyrant didn't marry because he had not yet divorced his former wife. The problem is that Stalin's first wife, Yekaterina Svanidze, died in 1907.


Another piece of evidence is associated to Rubinstein herself: It appears that for dozens of years, someone in high places took care of Rubinstein and her daughter Regina. Ana's grandson, Vitali Sveshnikov, who died recently, told Nicolai Nada that Ana Rubinstein died in the middle of the 1950s in Leningrad. He recounted that she had resided in an elite neighborhood on Vasilievsky Island, right opposite the house where the leadership of the communist party branch lived.


Ana and her daughter stayed in Leningrad during the siege, during which a million residents of the city died of starvation, yet they remained alive. It is more than likely that the two received food packages from the party branch.


Moreover, Regina Kostiovsky married an engineer named Vladimir Sveshnikov, and in September 1950 they moved to Moscow. At the same time a wave of anti-Semitism swept the USSR, and hardly a day went by without Jewish intellectuals being arrested while the press published vindictive articles against the "Zionists."


However someone in the communist party made sure that the Sveshnikov couple be given a spacious apartment in a luxurious building near the Taganka Square just a kilometer from the Kremlin, which was built that same year for academy staff and senior generals. These apartments are currently being sold for millions of dollars.


Name of street sill classified

Immediately after moving to Moscow, Regina was hired as an engineer at a classified institute that developed innovative weaponry. It was just a few month after a confidential decree was issued by the KGB not to hire Jews to work in security related institutions. Even after she had dispatched a letter to general-secretary Malenkov she was not fired and she continued working there until her retirement. This proved that her mother was indeed close to Stalin, because in 1953 those who made unfounded claims of affiliation to the "people" were deported to labor camps for "Offenses against the reputation of the State."


For six weeks, until April 16th 1953, Regina's letter lay on Malenkov's desk, who was appointed prime minister upon Stalin's death. It may be assumed that he would not have achieved such a lofty position had he not been a partner to the story of the tyrant's Jewish wife.


On April 16th, following a meeting attended by only a few senior leaders, Dmitry Sukhanov, director-general of the prime minister's office ordered the letter to be placed in the party presidents' secret archives. The letter was not only put in the archives, but into a special file, whose contents were meant to be kept confidential forever.


The letter was kept in the file until the fall of the communist party and collapse of the Soviet Union.


Regina Sveshnikova passed away on January 23rd, 1989 and was laid to rest at a prestigious cemetery. To date the Russian security services ban the publication of the name of the street on which she resided in Moscow.


פרסום ראשון: 09.20.07, 16:09
 new comment
This will delete your current comment