Nadezhda Alliluyeva Biography

Nadezhda Sergeevna Alliluyeva, the second wife of Joseph Stalin, led a mysterious life that still captivates historians today. Raised in a working-class family, Nadezhda was deeply influenced by her revolutionary father. Her path crossed with Stalin’s in 1904, when he saved her from drowning. Over the years, their relationship grew closer, with rumors even suggesting an affair between Stalin and Nadezhda’s mother. Eventually, they married and had two children, but their union was plagued by Stalin’s infidelity and Nadezhda’s declining mental health. Tragically, after a heated argument, Nadezhda’s life came to a shocking end. The circumstances surrounding her death remain shrouded in uncertainty, with conflicting accounts and lost documents.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Nadezhda Sergeevna Alliluyeva
  • Died At Age: 31
  • Spouse/Ex-: Joseph Stalin (m. 1919–1932)
  • Father: Sergei Alliluyev
  • Mother: Olga Fedorenko
  • Siblings: Anna Alliluyeva, Fyodor Alliluyev, Pavel Alliluyev
  • Children: Svetlana Alliluyeva, Vasily Stalin
  • Born Country: Azerbaijan
  • Died on: November 9, 1932
  • Place of Death: Moscow, Russia
  • Ancestry: German Russian, Georgian Russian
  • Cause of Death: Suicide By Firearm
  • City: Baku, Azerbaijan

Childhood & Early Life

Nadezhda Alliluyeva was born on September 22, 1901, in Baku, Azerbaijan. Her father, Sergei Alliluyev, was a Russian railway worker who later became an important figure in the Bolshevik revolution. Her mother, Olga Fedorenko, was of German and Georgian descent. Nadezhda had two brothers and a sister.

Relationship with Stalin

In 1904, Joseph Stalin became acquainted with Nadezhda’s family and there were rumors that her mother had an affair with him. However, it is unlikely that Stalin was Nadezhda’s father as she was already three years old when they first met. Despite this alleged relationship, Olga strongly objected to the marriage between Stalin and her daughter due to the significant age difference.

Stalin saved Nadezhda from drowning in the Caspian Sea and became close to her family. He often sought assistance and refuge in their home during his exile. They eventually got married in 1919 and had two children together.

Marriage to Stalin

Nadezhda served Stalin with unquestioning loyalty and accompanied him on his work as the People’s Commissar for Nationalities. However, their relationship became turbulent over the years. Stalin was often drunk, flirted with other women, and had affairs. Nadezhda became depressed and prone to violent mood swings.

In 1929, Nadezhda enrolled in a chemistry course to escape the boredom of life in the Kremlin. She learned about the disastrous effects of Stalin’s collectivization policy and confronted him about it. In response, Stalin threw her friends into jail.


On November 8, 1932, Stalin and Nadezhda had a heated argument during a banquet. Nadezhda left the hall humiliated and was later found dead in her room. The official story was that she died of appendicitis, but there are speculations that Stalin may have murdered her. She was buried in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.


After Nadezhda’s death, many members of the Alliluyev family perished, reportedly on Stalin’s orders. Nadezhda’s daughter, Svetlana, wondered if her mother would have been arrested if she had been alive. Nadezhda left a note for Stalin, criticizing his political ambitions and personality.

Stalin’s son, Vasily, served in the Red Air Force and died at a young age due to chronic alcoholism. Svetlana defected to the US, married multiple times, and published her memoir. She passed away in 2011.

In the 1992 HBO telefilm ‘Stalin’, Nadezhda was portrayed by English actress Julia Ormond.

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