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Alexandra Kollontai
A Biography

Alexandra Kollontai was a key leader of the Russian Socialist movement, the only woman in the early Soviet government, and one of the most famous women in Russian history. She worked tirelessly all her life as a speaker, writer, and organizer for women's emancipation. This compelling biography recounts her life for an emerging generation of fighters for women's liberation.

Cathy Porter is a translator, teacher, and researcher on Russian history. She is the author of Fathers and Daughters: Russian Women in Revolution and translator of Alexandra Kollontai's Love of Worker Bees.


  • "A very detailed life-story of this extraordinary woman . . . Cathy Porter has written a sad, serious, and very readable book . . ." —Tamara Deutscher, Marxism Today (first edition)

    "Alexandra Kollontai has the potential to be a true delight for the connoisseur by providing an alternative historical account of Russia and the socialist movement. However, what makes it transcend time is Kollontai's chief belief that women should be at the centre of the economy, not the periphery" —Spokeman

    "an interesting and detailed account of some of the most exciting years in working class history" —Socialist Review
    "Kollontai, a staunch opponent of the first world war, broke with moderates who supported the war and joined the Bolsheviks, becoming a vital figure in the women’s liberation movement for which she struggled throughout her life. She was the first woman ever to be appointed an ambassador to Norway and wrote: “I realised that I had thereby achieved a victory not only for myself, but for women in general … When on occasion I am told that it is truly remarkable that a woman has been appointed to such a responsible position, I always think to myself that in the final analysis … what is of a wholly special significance here is that a woman, like myself, who has settled scores with the double standard and who has never concealed it, was accepted into a caste which to this very day staunchly upholds tradition and pseudo-morality.”

    —Tariq Ali

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