Manage episode 243159615 series 2492018
In this fifth episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part V of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman. In this portion of the memoir, Kollontai speaks about her work in New York and her return to Russia in March 1917. She also discusses getting trolled by the newspapers in St. Petersburg and the many insults and indignities she suffered as a prominent Bolshevik woman, which attests to the fact that the masses have always despised women in positions of power.
This memoir was written as Kollontai began her diplomatic career when she was 54-years-old and a veteran of the revolution. Lenin was already dead, Stalin was seizing power, and Kollontai was reflecting on the achievements of her life thus far. The initial publication of the memoir was heavily censored, particularly the passages where Kollontai speaks about her love life and her history of failed relationships with men. At the time, Kollontai was only the third woman to serve as ambassadress in the history of diplomatic service, but she was the first to do so as a divorcée who was widely known to have had multiple partners over the course of her life. The version read for this podcast includes the censored passages, and Ghodsee reflects on the historical context within which the memoir was written.
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