12th child in a peasant family. By 1906, had already become a famous singer (mezzo-soprano). Entertained members of the imperial family and ministers of the government.
Married the ballet soloist Edmund Plevitskii. Her second husband was a young officer, Iurii Levitskii, whom she soon left. In 1921, married again, this time to a hero of the Civil War, a majorgeneral in the White Army, Nikolai Skoblin, 11 years her junior.
Emigrated with him and settled in Paris. Attracted crowds at Russian restaurants and was surrounded by admirers. Became an idol of the Russian emigres.
One of her songs, Zamelo Tebia Snegom Rossiia, became almost an anthem for White Russians. Toured Europe with the same enormous success. Under unknown circumstances, adopted by the OGPU-NKVD, who at the time were very interested in penetrating Russian emigre circles.
Influenced Skoblin, whom she always dominated. Eventually took part in the kidnapping (and murder) of General Miller in Paris, 1937. Probably a participant in the kidnapping of General Kutepov, also in Paris 7 years previously, though this was not proven.
While Skoblin disappeared, never to be heard of again (probably executed in France or the USSR by the NKVD), she was arrested by the French police. Found guilty after a sensational trial which lasted for months, sentenced to 15 years in prison. The Soviet press often reported on her singing career, without mentioning her intelligence activities.
Her singing is available on records. The true story of her extraordinary life has never been fully established.
Born January 17, 1884