The murder of Zinaida Reich: who crossed the road, the wife of Sergei Yesenin

History 24/02/20 the Murder of Zinaida Reich: who crossed the road, the wife of Sergei Yesenin

in the Summer of 1939 in Moscow from the hands of criminals killed his first wife of Sergei Yesenin Zinaida Reich. The brutal murder of the actress is considered one of the unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century, although officially, the case was solved and the perpetrators executed.

Yesenin’s Wife, Muse Meyerhold

Sergei Yesenin 23-year-old Zinaida Reich met in 1917 in the newspaper “Delo naroda” in Petrograd, where he worked as a Secretary. The marriage lasted 4 years, the poet Zinaida gave birth to two children – Tatiana and Constantine. The proximity to Yesenin was for Zinaida Reich “pass” in the art world. In 1922, a year after her divorce from the poet, she married Director Vsevolod Meyerhold. Known in the theater world innovator made the wife of a leading actress of his theater. When, in 1938, the Theatre of Meyerhold closed, directed a year kept “afloat”, as head of musical theatre of a name of Stanislavsky. But 20 June 1939, Vsevolod Meyerhold, was arrested by security officers. The fate of his wife hung in the balance.

the Killing

According to one version, on the night of July 15, 1939 Zinaida Reich, accompanied by the housekeeper in Czarnecki returned from the country to my apartment in the house No12 in Bryusov lane. Inside women were already waiting for two or three unknown men armed with shivs.

“I Walked into the apartment, and they were attacked by the people who made Z. N. [Zinaida N. of] eleven incised wounds, was killed. Worker, wounded, managed to jump out of the stairs and scream. The bandits fled”, – described the tragedy of a friend Zinaida Reich, theatre worker Lyubov shaporina.

According to another version, the actress did not go anywhere and stayed home. Evening to visit her came the first wife of Meyerhold Olga Munt. After her departure, Zinaida Reich was taking a bath. The killer entered the apartment through an unlocked balcony door, and when the hostess came out of the bathroom, attacked at her.

I was told that at 4 a.m. strangers just rang the doorbell and a maid opened up to them. A neighbor who heard the cries of the wounded Reich, did not pay attention to them – actress differed complicated character, and often roll their scandals.

having cut up a woman with a knife, the criminals ran out of the apartment the stairs, sullying the walls of the Grand blood-stained hands. After some time, Zinaida Reich died from loss of blood.

“let me Go, doctor, I die…” were her last words.

Official investigation

In Moscow were the most bizarre rumours about the murder of Reich. The blame for her death had placed that some of the conspirators, whom she met at home, for adolescent bullies, even… the German Gestapo.

the First case on suspicion of murder was arrested the friends of Meyerhold Dmitry and Vitaly Golovin. But in the end the result was announced the incident to the usual crime. In 1941 he was executed three men who allegedly entered the apartment of the Reich with the purpose of theft. According to police, stabbed the actress struck a 24-year-old thief-recidivist Vladimir Varnakov, student of art school. Perhaps he’d come earlier to Zinaida Reich under the guise of a young man “interested in theater.” Along with him was convicted of his accomplices – Anatoly Ogoltsov and Alexey Kurnosov. Sanction to the execution of Trinity signed by Joseph Stalin himself.

However, the official version has a discrepancy – the killer took out of the apartment for anything of value. In addition, it is unlikely that the thieves-burglar could belong to the black car that neighbors saw outside the night of the murder.


Even if the murder was committed by Varnakov, Ogoltsov and Kurnosov, they could be monitored by the NKVD. The fact the play was supervised personally by Beria.

“the Third version – the most possible… but it is not worth writing. It indirectly confirms the diligence with which the city spread other versions,” he wrote in the diary in July 1939 the playwright Alexander Gladkov.

Probably self-Zinaida Reich something feared, as she just sent home from children.

Ex-wife Yesenin was inconvenient for the authorities. And it was not only in the aesthetic differences and the rejection of Meyerhold and his wife a Treasury of socialist realism. The actress featured unheard of at that time, “daring”. In 1937 she wrote a letter to Stalin in which he said that the leader does not understand the art.

Finally, it is noteworthy that the version made daughter Zinaida Reich Tatiana Esenina – that the KGB “had his eye” on the apartment occupied by the artist. After the death of Reich moved in 18-year-old NKVD officer Vardo of Maximalistic, cohabitation with whom Beria had confessed during the interrogation, in 1953.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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