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Russian Personalities

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Zinaida Reich – wife and muse

Zinaida Reich

Zinaida Reich – Russian actress


Zinaida Reich was a Russian actress, the woman, who won the hearts of two geniuses – Sergei Yesenin and Vsevolod Meyerhold. She was called the demon woman who destroyed the lives of two brilliant men.
Zinaida was born on June 21, 1894 in Rostov-on-Don. Her father was a Social Democrat. In 1907, due to his participation in the revolutionary events, family was expelled from Odessa. In 1913 the girl became a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. It was difficult for her mother to get a certificate of secondary education for the daughter. After that Zinaida went to Petrograd, and her parents moved to Orel.
In Petrograd Zinaida entered the Faculty of History and Literature, where she studied foreign languages and took lessons in sculpture. After graduation, she worked as a secretary-typist for the Delo Naroda newspaper, where she met her future husband, Sergei Yesenin. She was the muse of the poet not so long – they got married in 1918 and 4 years later the marriage broke up.

Wedding night disappointed Yesenin. Zinaida told him that he was her first. And lied. Yesenin could never forgive her. They lived apart for a while. In early 1918, Yesenin left Petrograd. In April 1918, pregnant Zinaida went to Orel to her parents. There on May 29, 1918 she gave birth to a daughter who was named Tatiana. Sometime later Zinaida with her daughter went to her husband who lived in Moscow. Soon the couple broke up. On February 3, 1920 Zinaida gave birth to a son named Konstantin. The child immediately fell ill, and Zinaida took him to Kislovodsk.
On October 5, 1921 their marriage was officially dissolved.
yesenin reich

Zinaida and Sergei Yesenin


In the same year Zinaida entered theater school in Moscow, where she met her second great love – Vsevolod Meyerhold. He was very much in love, so even took her name. Enamored director did his wife the leading actress of the theater and fulfilled any wish. Meyerhold adopted Tatiana and Konstantin, loved and took care of them as a father.
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Zinaida and Vsevolod Meyerhold


On January 19, 1924 Reich made her debut as an actress in the play The Forest by Alexander Ostrovsky. She was one of the most famous actresses in Moscow, in the 1930s she became a leading actress of the Meyerhold Theater.
Zinaida Reich died a month after the arrest of her husband. On July 15, 1939 the famous actress was brutally murdered. She was stabbed at night in her apartment on Bryusov Lane.
Historians believe it was a contract killing. Shortly before the tragic event Zinaida wrote a letter to Stalin, in which she hinted than she knew the circumstances of the death of her first husband, Sergei Yesenin, and that she was ready to prove that the popularly beloved poet was killed.
Zinaida Reich was buried at the Vagankovo Cemetery in Yesenin’s grave.
Renowned director Meyerhold and actress Reich’s apartment is a museum now.
yesenin reich meyerhold

Love triangle – Yesenin – Reich – Meyerhold


Meyerhold children

Vsevolod Meyerhold and Sergei Yesenin’s children – Tatiana and Konstantin

Meyerhold reich

Meyerhold and Zinaida’s portrait

reich children

Zinaida and her children

reich portrait

Yuri Pimenov, 1934. Zinaida Reich in the play The Lady of the Camellias

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