Revealed: the face of Lenin's secret London lover

One of the most elusive figures in Russian revolutionary history has a face at last with the discovery of an image of Lenin’s lover.

Apollinariya Yakubova was described admiringly by Vladimir Lenin’s wife as the “primeval force of the Black Earth”, a young revolutionary fireball with sparkling brown eyes whose natural aroma was of “fresh meadow grasses”.

It is no wonder then that the search for an image of her, considered by some to be the communist revolutionary’s true love, has captured the imagination of generations of historians and academics.

Her complex relationship with Lenin and their disputes over party policy while both were living in King’s Cross, central London, between 1902 and 1911, are well documented. Until now, a photograph of Yakubova had proved elusive. But the face of Lenin’s “Lirochka” can be seen for the first time after a researcher dug deep into forgotten vaults in Moscow.

Dr Robert Henderson, a Russian history expert at London’s Queen Mary University, who lives in King’s Cross, made an unexpected discovery at the State Archive of the Russian Federation while researching the life of another young revolutionary.

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