February 15 in Russian history


The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued the decree "On prohibition of marriages between citizens of the USSR and foreigners". The law was adopted two years earlier than the South African Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act.

Until the revolution of 1917, there were limitations on marriages with people belonging to the religion other than Orthodoxy. After the revolution the marriages with foreign citizens were not directly prohibited, but were considered suspicious or scandalous, like the marriage of Sergey Yesenin and Isadora Duncan. The contacts between Soviets and foreigners were so severely limited in the 1930s that international marriages were almos impossible. However, after the war, when people from the allied countries came to the USSR and Soviet soldiers came to Europe (and stayed there), the number of such marriages grew. The decree of 1947 put an end to this. American professor Robert Tucker, who married a Russian woman in 1946, thinks that the roots of this decree were in the Stalin's growing xenophobia. He worked in the American embassy and she was a student. "During the war and in the first post-war years, some British and American diplomats who worked in Moscow married Russian women. One or two times every year the Kremlin issued exit visas to the wives of foreigners. Usually the visas were granted one or two years after the marriage. But after the law of 1947 Russians could not marry foreigners and even those who married earlier could not get the exit visa." The Tuckers could leave USSR only seven years later, after the death of Stalin.

In some cases, even those who married before the adoption of the law were punished. In 1946 Alvaro Cruz, a son of the Chilean ambassador, married Lidia Lesina. The ambassador, Cruz Ocampo, asked the Soviet government to issue the exit visa to Lidia and even asked the government of Chile to setlle the matter at the sitting of the United Nations. For some reason, the Soviets never allowed Lidia to leave the country. In 1948, seƱor Ocampo left USSR and his son, who refused to leave without his wife, stayed in Moscow (hats off to Alvaro Cruz!). Lesina attempted to expatriate, but was not allowed to in 1950. Alvaro and Lidia lived in the hotel National in Moscow. In 1951 the hotel demanded that he should pay the double price, but he refused and was accused of violation of the laws for the foreigners living in the USSR.

Number 184542

Top secret

Decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR

On the exile of the citizen of Chile Cruz, Alvaro.

  1. To accept the proposal of the Ministry of the State Security of the USSR on the exile of the citizen of Chile Alvaro Cruz Lopez de Eredia, who violates rules established for the foreigners staying in the USSR.
  2. To charge the Ministry of Foreigh Affairs of the USSR with the job of documenting the violation of the passport legislation of the USSR.
  3. Concurrently with the exile of Cruz, arrest Lesina as a potentially socially harmful person.

January 1952

In August 1953, after the death of Stalin (once again I have to repeat these words), Lidia Lesina and Alvaro Cruz arrived to Santiago, Chile.

In 1947, a 16-year old German girl, Annemarie Krause fell in love with a Soviet soldier from Moldavia, Maxim Milik. In October 1947 their daughter, Werena, was born. Maxim wanted to stay in Germany and asked for demobilization, which was not granted. Instead, he was not allowed to visit his new family. Angry, he planned to flee to the West. In September 1948 the girl was arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Her daughter stayed with Annemarie's mother. In 1954, after Stalin's death, Annemarie was amnestied. When she returned home, she heard that Maxim was shot. However, he was not. He was sent to the USSR. Years later, he married. When he tried to find his daughter, Werena, he was fired from his work. He died in 1990. After the fall of the German Democratic Republic a Russian TV company invited Annemarie and Werena to Moscow and made a program about their life. Annemarie and Werena visited the tomb of Maxim and met 11 Werena's stepbrothers and sisters.

The law was abolished in 1956. Currently, some countries still limit the marriages with foreign citizens. According to the legislation of Hungary, India, Iraq, Norway, Romania, Poland, Sweden and some other countries, a special marriage licence must be granted to their citizens (or some categories of them, e.g. students) who intend to marry a foreign citizen. American citizens were not allowed to marry Austrian and German citizens till 1946. In Saudi Arabia the state officials and the Saudi students studying abroad are not allowed to marry foreigners. The National Radical Party of Latvia (NSS) promises to ban the international marriages if they come to the power. They explain their position by the necessity of "deoccupation" and "decolonization" and promise to create a monoethnical state. In 2005, Russian populist political party LDPR came up with a bill proposing to denationalize and to exile the Russians who intend to marry foreign citizens.

Update @2008-02-20 12:53:27: I've found an article from Spiegel where the story of Annemarie Krause is told in more details (and in a better English :)). Read: Lost Red Army Children Search for Fathers (part 2).


ExecutedToday said...


Buster said...

Interesting post. Do you have some links/citations? I'm curious to read more about the laws/atmosphere around international marriages in the Soviet Union.

Dimitri said...

Buster, you may be interested in the article from the German magazine Spiegel, where the story of Annamarie Krause and Maxim Milik is described in more details:

Lost Red Army Children Search for Fathers.

Russian Women's Home said...


please, let me post your article on my website russianwomenshome.com with a link to your blog.


Dimitri said...

Olga, the articles from this blog may be used in any way anywhere :). Especially this one, one of my favorite.

Russian Women's Home said...

Thank you, Dmitri