Alexandra Kollontai is a man of amazing destiny. For a long time nobody remembered her in Russia, and then suddenly everyone started talking about “the world's first woman after”. In the West, our heroine appeared and appears in the form of a fiery feminist and Marxist theorist of “free love”, a herald of the “sexual revolution”, ahead of Wilhelm Reich himself in his predictions and socio-historical argumentation. But let's not focus on this topic, but note one very important thing: Alexandra Kollontai was the only one (and for this she was very much disliked in the party circles) a woman whose words did not differ from her deeds.
How did she get to work at the embassy? 1921 X Party Congress. Shlyapnikov, Medvedev and Kollontai stood at the head of the “workers' opposition”, which advocated the transfer of the management of the national economy to the trade unions. Naturally, Lenin and the top did not like it, and on the sidelines of the congress he uttered a phrase that determined the finale of their (Lenin and Kollontai) relations: "This is a break." For our heroine it was a heavy blow.
At the same time, Alexandra Kollontai had a dramatic relationship with Pavel Dybenko, who, as you know, was much younger, constantly fascinated by beautiful women and so on. All this insanely injured our heroine, and she, being in Odessa, decides to write a letter to Stalin with a request to send her anywhere, but abroad. And the future “father of nations” sends the answer: “Return to Moscow. We are looking for a job for you. ”
At first, Kollontai was asked for an agrémen in Canada. Received rejection. Then in Spain - either. “Where have you not yet inherited? Can you name such a country? ”Asked Stalin. And then she remembered that she was incredibly close with Scandinavia. Kollontai not only spoke Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian brilliantly, but also had a “piece” of Finnish blood: she spent her childhood on the present Karelian Isthmus. Thus, it was decided to send our heroine to Norway. This is how Alexandra Kollontai’s diplomatic career began.
Alexandra Kollontai and Pavel Dybenko in the village, with Paul’s parents. On the bench next to the parents - Paul's sister with a child
In 1930, Kollontai was appointed ambassador to Sweden. In this position she worked for fifteen years, until 1945.
Now all the same to the question: why is Alexandra Kollontai a peacemaker? Everyone remembers that the Soviet-Finnish war began with the Maynil incident. On November 26, 1939, 7 gun shots were fired at a border near the village of Minela, as a result of which 4 Soviet soldiers were killed. Naturally, Moscow claimed that the shelling was carried out from the territory of Finland. The Finns, on the contrary, regard the incident as a deliberate provocation by the USSR.
Well, and then began to unfold the events that are known to have led to war. It is worth noting that before this the Soviet side had made numerous efforts in order to avoid armed conflict. But, unfortunately, nothing happened.
And it was on this basis that the first contact with Alexandra Kollontai occurred. Swedish Prime Minister Hansson, who knew our hero very well, invited her to his place and asked: “Why did the USSR, knowing what role Sweden plays in relations with Finland, what are their connections, what authority, did not turn to her for mediation?” And Kollontai brilliantly, from the point of view of diplomatic ethics, said flawlessly and absolutely transparently: “To answer this question, I need the instructions of my government. I don't have them. ” Everything became clear.
Then Alexander Kollontai was removed from participation in peacekeeping negotiations, but soon (unfortunately, rather late - the war did start), she was again remembered. This happened after a puppet state headed by Kuusinen was created in Terioki. In the meantime, at the front there were battles, in the forty-degree frost unprepared for war, the Red Army, deprived of its generals and officers, shot during the years of the “Great Terror”, advanced with difficulty. We had to somehow get out of this situation. And then non-trivial methods were involved. One of them was that the popular cabaret actor, the idol of the Swedish public Karl Gerhard, who was very pro-Soviet and close to Alexander Kollontai, began to play a leading role in the attempts of contacts between Moscow and Helsinki.
Alexandra Kollontai with guests of the Third Comintern Congress, 1921
It happened like this. The younger brother of the King of Sweden, Prince Eugene, invited our heroine to her and invited her to host Karl Gerhard. Understandably, it was all for good reason, not for small talk. And on Christmas Eve at the Villa Karl Gerhard in Saltshobaden a meeting took place between the Soviet Ambassador Alexandra Kollontai and the new Minister of Social Welfare, who was the Minister of the Interior in this strange hierarchy of the Swedish government.
An interesting bar.
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Minister! - Kollontai said at the meeting.
- Comrade Alexander, You know that you and I are socialists, we do not recognize religious holidays. Therefore, I greet you, Happy New Year!
That is how the first sounding occurred, the result of which was the arrival of Stockholm Foreign Minister Erkko, who was suddenly appointed Ambassador to Sweden.
Negotiations were held on other lines. First, the well-known Finnish writer of Estonian origin, Kollontai Hella Vuolijoki, arrived with the Erkko capital of Sweden, who, in general, if you called things in your own words, was a double agent, that is, she worked for both the Soviet Union and Finland, and trying to combine the interests of both countries.
Secondly, the resident of the NKVD in Finland, Boris Rybkin, aka Yartsev, moved to Stockholm. His deputy, who formally performed the role of the representative of Intourist, strange for that time, was his wife Zoya Ivanovna Rybkina, whom the Soviet readers learned much later as the author of the stories about Lenin, Zoya Voskresenskaya.
Thus, negotiations with the Finnish side were conducted not only by Alexander Kollontai, but also by the Yartsev couple (Rybkina), and Hella Wuolijoki. This, by the way, was an extremely strong blow and humiliation for our heroine. Why? The fact is that Kollontai was terribly afraid that those messages, unknown dispatches that these negotiators sent, may not coincide with her information.
Alexandra Kollontai goes to the royal palace for the presentation of credentials. Stockholm 1930
And yet the decisive meeting occurred. This happened in Hella Wuolijoki’s room at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, where Tanner, the Finnish foreign minister, arrived. After talking for an hour, Tanner and Kollontai agreed on a new meeting. A few days later, they met in private at the apartment of Stockholm lawyer Matilda Steel. And here Alexandra Kollontai presented the new conditions of Stalin to the Finnish Minister. Why "new"? The fact is that at the Grand Hotel, the first demands of the Soviet leader were transferred to Tanner, and by the time the second meeting took place, the “father of nations” had increased his “appetites”, demanding Vyborg, which was not occupied by that time, and Sortavala.
An extremely important dramatic conversation took place between the Soviet ambassador and the Finnish minister.
- We gave you everything: Karelian Isthmus, Hanko, islands. Why do you need Vyborg? The choice is a shrine for the Finnish people. The people will not forgive this concession to any of their leaders.
- You probably know how I feel about Finland, and what it means to me. Believe me, Vyborg will take in any case. Freedom and independence are more expensive than Vyborg.
And then the Finnish delegation flew through Sweden to Moscow ...
A few days later, on the night of March 12-13, Alexandra Kollontai received a cipher from Molotov. In it, the People's Commissar thanked her for her great services (a very interesting formulation) "in this whole affair."
Now a few words about the second peacekeeping mission of Alexandra Kollontai. In March 1941, at a reception in the German embassy, Swedish diplomat Gunnar Haglöf invited Kollontai on a waltz tour, after which he asked to sit on the sofa for a conversation. He told her that he had just returned from Berlin, and according to absolutely reliable information he knows that Germany will attack the USSR at the beginning of the summer. To this Kollontai (simply brilliantly for a diplomat) answered him: “Mr. Haglof, you have no right to tell me this. I have no right to listen to you. So we had no conversation. ” On the same night, she sent a cipher to Moscow.
The second time about the beginning of the war Kollontai warned in May. But, as is known, this and other reports of this kind remained unanswered and the reaction of Stalin.
For a long time after the Soviet-Finnish negotiations of 1939-1940, nobody bothered our heroine. Actually, they could not have bothered her, at least since August 1942, when she suffered a grave stroke. During this period in the life of Alexandra Kollontai a serious event occurred: in her absence, a safe was opened, which contained very important documents. Worse than this for our heroine nothing could be. This greatly undermined her shares up there.
However, when the new phase of the withdrawal of Finland from the war began (1943), Kollontai was turned again. And again Gerhard was involved, who, as they say, began to arrange new meetings with the help of the largest banker Markus Wallenberg, the owner of Enshild Bank. By the way, if someone does not know, this bank sent German money to Lenin in Petrograd (not without the help of the same Kollontai), and indeed distinguished himself on many fronts.
Wallenberg had great connections in Finland, and he promised that he would provide the Soviet ambassador with contact with the Finnish government. For this, our heroine, being seriously ill, again moved to the same Saltshobaden, where preliminary peace talks began. They lasted (negotiations) for a long time: only in September 1944 in Moscow was there an “Armistice Agreement between the USSR, Great Britain, on the one hand, and Finland, on the other”.
Karl Gerhard (left) and Ernst Rolf, 1930s
That is, Alexandra Kollontai managed to do what the Americans failed to do, who in 1941 and in 1943 also attempted to remove Finland (albeit under completely different conditions) from the war.
This time Kollontai did not receive a telegram with gratitude. But she got another one, which is much more expensive than any orders and medals — she didn’t hit the teeth of the “Big Terror”; she was saved. And when Felix Chuev, a famous Stalinist poet, tried to find out from Molotov: “Well, why didn't Kollontai be shot?” (For him, this was a complete mystery). He answered him: "She was not harmful with us."