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Scandal in the Comintern: A Turkish Communist Love Triangle in Wartime Moscow

Sat, December 8, 1:30 to 3:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Floor: 1st, Tremont


In this paper I detail a dramatic series of events taking place in Moscow in the early 1940s. A Moscow-based member of the Turkish Communist Party by the name of Alexander Senkevich complained to Comintern head Georgi Dimitrov about an affair that Senkevich alleged his wife—the Bulgarian communist Mara Kolarova—was carrying on with Turkish Communist Party leader İsmail Bilen. Drawing upon the Turkish and Russian-language party files of Senkevich, Kolarova, and Bilen housed in Moscow’s RGASPI archive, I discuss the manner in which the scandal developed as well as the punishments that were meted out in the aftermath.