Margarita Konenkova: the fate of the Russian scout, tempted by Einstein

Biography 12/02/20 Margarita Konenkova: the fate of the Russian scout, tempted Einstein

Margarita Konenkova, the wife of the “Russian Rodin”, love albert Einstein and an agent of influence of Soviet intelligence. Some of the highlights of her biography kept secret until now.

In 1998, at Sotheby’s was put up for sale the watch of albert Einstein, his drawing, several unique photographs and letters to his wife by Soviet sculptor Sergey Konenkova, Margarita. It would seem, nothing amazing, but the nature of these emails made it clear – between the American physicist and Margarita Konenkova was something more than just friendship. Einstein called her “favorite Margarita” and wistfully writes about how it’s not easy to live without it.

Margaret was Born in 1895 in Sarapul. Her mother, Margarita V. Vorontsov, was engaged in charity work and chaired a shelter for little orphans. Father, barrister Ivan T. Vorontsov, wrote newspaper articles and worked in court. Their three-story mansion was one of the larger houses in Sarapul. Uncle of Margaret was in the city Council and was a successful lawyer. At the beginning of the civil war, he became one of the first to collect aid to refugees. In this period, the mansion was allocated a place under the food item, the dispensary and the infirmary.

for a Long time in Sarapul Margarita is not delayed. After graduating from gymnasium, she went to conquer Moscow, where he enrolled to study law courses Madam Poltoratskaya.

In Moscow, Margarita Vorontsov lived on Povarskaya street in the family of Dr. Ivan Bunin. Often she was the Chaliapin, was friends with the singer’s daughter, Irina, and his son Feodor, Boris, was her lover. The case went to the wedding, when Margaret caught flirting with by the owner of the house. The scandal over the fact that she has another suitor — the sculptor Bromirski. It was he who led the young student Sergey Konenkova.

Margueriteand charmed Konenkova another picture showed him Bromirski. Later, Sergei Timofeevich wrote: “the girl in the photograph was so beautiful, that seemed a creation of some unknown artist. Especially beautiful was the turn of the head. And his hands — unusually beautiful hands, with delicate fingers was the girl in the photograph. These hands I have never seen!”.

House who had been in the heart of Bohemian Moscow life. Here liked to visit and Chaliapin, and Meyerhold, and Ryabushinsky, and Isadora Duncan. Sergei Yesenin is generally considered Konenkova workshop on Presnya their second home.

Wanting to impress the young provincial student scope, Konenkov with the company rushed to the Gypsies. Marguerite, abandoning the wine and champagne, asked… a Cup of milk. Then Konenkov finally fell in love. He asked for her hand, but was refused because of the “large age difference”.

Almost seven years lasted the “test period” feelings. Finally, in 1922, Margarita Vorontsova said Sergey Konenkova’s consent.

the God daughter of the sculptor, Natalia Konchalovsky, (mother of Nikita Mikhalkov and Andron Konchalovsky) wrote: “And here was carved from wood the first portrait of Margarita Ivanovna, and he entered the life of Sergei Kalashnikov love and chased away his loneliness.<...> Came caring female hands, beautiful pens Margarita, it’s time to replace the shirt fresh shirt collar and tie, and high boots — elegant boots”.

In 1923 Konenkova went to new York to participate in the exhibition of Russian and Soviet art. Officially for a few months, but it turned out differently: at home, they returned only twenty-two years.

Margarita Konenkova in the US has become almost more famous than her husband, who was there called “the Russian Rodin”.

largely thanks to his wife, Konenkova was able to receive orders and support his family. Of particular interest to the Russian beauty showed, of course, men. Not the last role was played by slavecomes Konenkov. For example, “water Jet”, “Bacchante” and after that the famous “Butterfly” and many others, for which Margaret posed Nude. Work had in USA a huge success.

In 1935, Princeton University ordered Konenkova sculptural portrait of albert Einstein. Then we saw the historic introduction of the American scientist and Margarita.

About the meeting with Einstein to Margarita Konenkova wrote: “He was an amazingly humble man, not like any official meetings. There was a joke that is known for its lush hair. When Sergei Timofeevich worked on a portrait of Einstein, he was very animated, with enthusiasm to talk about his theory of relativity. I listened very carefully but many could not understand. My attention encouraged him. This is not surprising”.

At the time of meeting albert Einstein was 56, and Margarita Konenkova 39 years. To be able to spend together summer vacation and long to be alone, in 1939 American physicist wrote to Sergey Konenkova a letter in which he informed it about the alleged serious illness of Margaret — attached to the letter was a doctor, a friend of Einstein, with the recommendation to spend more time in the “fertile climate in Saranac lake”. Here Einstein had his famous yacht, and rented a cottage at number six.

the Place in which they met secretly in Princeton, was called in the correspondence of Einstein and Konenkova “nest.” Combining the first letters of their names, albert and Margaret came up with for a common nickname Almar.

“I just washed her head, but not very good at this, wrote physicist Konenkova 27 November 1945. — I don’t have your skill and accuracy. Everything reminds me of you — Almar shawl, the dictionaries, the wonderful pipe that we thought were lost, a word various trinkets that fill my of the hermit’s shelter, our empty nest.”

Today we know that Margarita Konenkova was an agent of influenceI worked in Soviet intelligence. In his book “Exploration and Kremlin” Pavel Sudoplatov wrote: “the Wife of the famous sculptor Konenkov, our trusted agents acting under the guidance of Liza Zarubina (wife of Vasily Zarubin, NKVD resident in the USA approx. ed.) closer to the largest physicists Oppenheimer and Einstein at Princeton. She managed to charm the immediate environment of Oppenheimer. After Oppenheimer has maintained contacts with the American Communist party, who under the leadership of Liza Zarubina and employee of our residency in new York Pasternaka (Luke) is constantly influenced Oppenheimer and had earlier persuaded him to take on the work of specialists, known for his leftist beliefs, the development of which has already been the aim of our illegals and agents…”.

the duties margaritas were “to influence” the scientists involved in the development of nuclear weapons in the framework of the project “Manhattan”. She had to bring Einstein with Deputy Soviet Consul in new York Pavel Mikhailov, who oversaw scientific communications.

Their mission Margarita Konenkova fulfilled. This can be understood in correspondence with Einstein (he mentions in the letter about the meeting with the Consul, and that fulfilled a “difficult task”, which allowed Margaret to return home) and from the honor Konenkova were taken in Moscow.

to return To the birthplace of the sculptor and his wife had chartered a private boat, in the workshop of Sergey Konenkova was given a room in the center of Moscow on Gorky street (Tver). None of the “returnees” had not been so treated kindly by attention of the authorities.

Kamenkovich showered reproaches that they are, then the difficult war years in the United States, undeservedly received too many.
Marguerite was forced to turn to Lavrenty Beria with a request to protect the family from unwarranted attacks, whereas “her merits and the merits of S. T. Konenkova to the Motherland.”

By the way, to help the Motherland. In 1941, Margarita Konenkova were aloneone of the organizers of the aid Society of the Russian — American Society for Russian Relief Inc., which included Sergei Rachmaninoff, Mikhail Chekhov, Jascha Heifetz, Efrem Zimbalist, Prince Paul Chavchavadze and S. Golenischev-Kutuzov, as well as many other famous immigrants.

She who had been the Secretary of the society. Her portraits began to appear in the American press, it was well received in the highest circles. Among her close friends were and the first lady of America — Elizabeth Roosevelt.

Thanks to the work of Konenkova, for the needs of the belligerent Soviet Union has collected more than $ 500 million. She personally organized the difficult work of collecting funds, medicines, clothing, raw materials.

Died of Margarita Konenkova in 1980. Left alone, she fell into dependence on the charge of her assistant. She performed her duties poorly and outstanding scout died from exhaustion.

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