Aleksandra Mikhaylovna was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on March 31, 1872. She was the daughter of an Imperial Russian Army general and married a man named Vladimir Mikhaylovna Kollontai. In 1898, Aleksandra abandoned society and her position and joined the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party, spreading the word for revolution. She also traveled to the United States where she tried to stop the U.S. from participating in World War I.
During the Bolshevik Government's reign, Aleksandra was a commisser for public welfare and she helped remodel Russian society. She improved the status of women, removed the ridicule attached to illegitimate children, simplified the procedures for marriage and divorce, and advocated the practicing of free love. She was also accused of putting off her activities for a love affair, and she would have been executed if Vladimir Lenin had not intervened.
Aleksandra also worked for the Workers' Opposition, demanding democracy in Russia, and she became a member of the People's Communist for Foreign Affairs in 1922.
Aleksandra was the first woman to serve as minister to another country. From 1923 to 1925, she served as minister to Norway. From 1926 to 1927, she served as minister to Mexico. She served as minister to Norway again from 1927 to 1930, and then as Sweden's from 1930 to 1945. In 1943, she became a true ambassador, and in 1944, she conducted a negotiation for an armistice between Russia and Finland during World War II.
Aleksandra died in Moscow on March 9, 1952. After her death, a book was published encompassing all her works. It was called Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai.
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