Red Mata Hari: Why do the archives of the intelligence services about a friend of Maxim Gorky and Hg wells kept secret until now
She wasn’t beautiful, but men were crazy about her. Maria Zakrevskaya skillfully hid some facts of her past and shrouded in the fog of mystery of the present. She was in a close relationship with Maxim Gorky and Herbert wells, deftly out of any scrapes, was able to survive in the revolutionary grinder. Documents on the activities of Maria Zakrevskaya-Benkendorf-Budberg are still kept in the archives of Russian and British intelligence under the heading “Secret”.
Mystery of birth
In the 1920-ies, it seemed that this woman was known to many. It was said that she was the heir of Agrafena Zakrevskaya, Countess and recognized beauty, who inspired Pushkin, Vyazemsky and Baratynsky. In fact, Maria Zakrevskaya was born in 1892 in Poltava, in the family of Ignatius Zakrevsky, Chernigov landowner and Senate official, who had nothing to do with the most Agrafena Fedorovna, nor to her husband, count Arseniy Zakrevsky.
Little is known about Maria Zakrevskaya’s primary education. Nina Berberova, who for half a century studied the biography of Zakrevskaya, comparing the facts and stories of Maria Ignatyevna herself, sparingly mentions that the daughters of Ignatius Zakrevsky studied at the Institute. The family had already settled in St. Petersburg, and Plato, half-brother of Mura, as they called Maria, served in the Russian Embassy in London.
In 1911 in London arrived Moore in order to continue their education. She studied at the women’s College of Newham at the University of Cambridge, but later confidently declared education received in Cambridge. At the same time, Maria Zakrevskaya has always been considered an educated and intelligent lady. She was fluent in foreign languages and at one time even engaged in translations.
She was not particularly beautiful. Rather, the girl was always present some thoroughness. But at the same time, she was a purposeful person who knew her worth. Less than a year after the arrival of Mura Zakrevskaya in London, she married Ivan Benkendorf, who served in the Embassy.
Immediately after her marriage, Maria benckendorf began to call herself the Countess, preferring not to remember that her husband had no right to the title. In 1913, Pavel, the firstborn of the Benkendorf couple, was born, and two years later their daughter Tatiana was born.
In the summer of 1917, the whole family was in the estate of Ivan Benkendorf in Estonia, and in the fall of Moore went for some need in Petrograd and did not return home. Husband around the same time was killed by the local peasants, the governess with the children managed to escape, but Mary herself for a long time knew nothing of their fate.
An affair with a spy
Moore herself was evicted from the capital’s apartment, and she began to frequent the British Embassy. And immediately charmed Vice-Consul Robert Lockhart. Later, Lockhart admits that his attraction to this woman had no boundaries.
Mura lived in the apartment of the Vice-Consul in Khlebny lane. But the affair with Robert was short-lived: in early September 1918, Lockhart was arrested in the case of preparations for the overthrow of Soviet power. Along with him were sent to imprisonment and Maria benckendorf, who was with him.
It will take only three weeks and Moore, along with Jacob Peters will appear in the cell where Lockhart was kept. She had already been released. Some sources say that the freedom she received thanks to the petition of Maxim Gorky, but there is evidence that Moore was released, securing her consent to cooperate. But even today it is not known whether she was an intelligence agent: the data on this continue to be classified.
The former Vice-Consul was expelled from the country, and a new stage in the life of Maria Benkendorf began.
Secretary Of Maxim Gorky
In the autumn of 1919, Mura met Maxim Gorky and was hired by the world literature publishing house. According to some reports, the famous writer himself invited Maria Ignatyevna to the publishing house, on the other her admission to the service was organized by the Cheka.
It is believed that Mary was not only a Secretary, but also a civil wife of the writer. The last work of Gorky’s “Life of Klim Samgin”is dedicated to her. In 1922, Mura went to Estonia, where she obtained permission to see her children, which was actively prevented by her first husband’s relatives. On the advice of a lawyer who handled her cases, she married, but never lived with her second husband.
Her husband was Baron Nikolai Budberg, for marriage to him, she paid a thousand dollars, which Moore sent from Berlin Maxim Gorky. Thanks to her marriage, Maria Budberg was able not only to travel abroad, but also the coveted title of Baroness.
Moore was not a beautiful woman, but she could easily win over any man. They fell in love with her almost at first sight, and they were not at all embarrassed by her extraordinary appearance, or love for alcohol, or often quite cheeky behavior. She loved sensual pleasures and never hid it. For her there were no restrictions and taboos, Moore has always been guided by only their own desires and the desire to know the whole abyss of pleasure. Perhaps that was what made a woman so attractive to men.
One woman and two writers
Her acquaintance with Herbert wells took place in 1920, when the Englishman was on a visit to the USSR. Mura was a translator of the science fiction writer, and Alexey Maksimovich just burned with jealousy. Mura was not prone to sentimentality, she just told Gorky that two writers, even for a very loving woman – it’s a lot.
Nevertheless, Herbert wells was deeply in love. Moore she absolutely did not try to capture the heart of the English writer, on the contrary, allowed him to win yourself. However, in 1933, when Moore parted with Maxim Gorky and left for London, her relationship with wells resumed.
He was ready to marry her, only stopped by the realization that this woman could have as many men as he had women. However, the moment came when H. G. wells realized that he could forgive Moore everything. But she herself was no longer interested. However, their relationship lasted until the writer’s death in 1946.
Shrouded in mystery
Maria Budberg even after emigration repeatedly visited the Soviet Union. She was with Gorky at the time of his death, attended the funeral. And got the full right to receive royalties from all foreign publications of the writer.
She lived in London and in the early 1950s came to the attention of the English counterintelligence MI-5. Then to Moscow ran two Soviet agent and Mary were suspected of collaboration with the secret services of the USSR. However, the case ended with just an interrogation. This fact, among others, is considered proof of Moore’s work for the British intelligence services.
It is known that she had an Italian archive of Gorky, but Moore said that he, along with her own archive, burned. Whether it’s true or not, nobody knows. She always told me what she thought was right. And Nina Berberova who was personally familiar with Maria Ignatyevna, claimed that it is impossible to trust completely to stories of “iron woman”.
Even the date and cause of Maria Budberg’s death are not accurate. It is known only that she died during a visit to his son in Italy. October 31 or November 2, 1974, from cancer or a major heart attack. On November 11, she was buried in London, and the truth about this woman may become public when her case will be removed from the label “Secret”.