Skip to main content

Russia's Most Famous Woman Soldier who later becomes an American Spy

For the Soviets, Tat’yana is a symbol of a near perfect dream that they want to lure the Americans with – a stunning woman soldier who fought and killed over 300 German soliders in the most difficult and terrifying conditions.

                                           [Image: Pexels]
Russia’s Clandestine Plans to Spy on the White House
The Russian political hawks see her as an instrument to be used to lure the Americans to join the war against Hitler. That Tat’yana craves for no such fame or name other than to continue fighting as a soldier for her country is of no consequence to the Soviets. They present her as their cultural ambassador to Eleanor Roosevelt but in reality, they attempt to use her as their spy to find out everything about President Roosevelt’s future plans. Thrust into a political battlefield where the enemies play hidden games and make dangerous moves, Tat’yana is cornered by all sides, torn by her friendship and respect for Eleanor and the desire to serve and be true to her country – the Soviet Union.

Russia’s most famous woman soldier forced to dress up like a Doll to woo the Americans

From start to finish, the book is gripping because it has a fantastic protagonist, namely Tat’yana. You can feel her pain as your own. A woman soldier has to live and take decisions in a doubly careful manner but few understand the compulsions she lives with, particularly the Americans who see her as a kind of cultural entertainment.

For instance, Tat’yana is appalled when she is advised dress up, exposing her body and told to pretend that she is unmarried when meeting the American Press. 

She says, “ I am a soldier. Why do I need to dress up or pretend to be single?” 

The Russians tell her that the American Press need to feel she has a sexy element to her personality. She is told to wear perfume because the Americans cannot stand body odor. She learns how different the Americans are when it comes to judging people by their appearances. If she didn’t dress up the way they expected her to, they would not write about her. American socialites ask her questions like "What did you do when you had your 'womanly time' on the battlefield?" and Tat’yana is struck by the frivolous nature of an American woman's mind during a time of war. 

The dilemma Tat’yana faces is one that most women in any profession are likely to face – why should dressing up to impress a target audience matter when you are damn good at what you do?

Life in Russia during Stalin’s rule
What interested me most was Tat’yana’s recollections of the past that take us through life in Russia at a time when Stalin’s rule was supreme. It is clear from her version that the Russians themselves despised what Stalin had reduced their motherland to.

Interesting conversations like these take us back to that period in Russia when Stalin’s law was supreme.

“I could recall at night, my parents sitting at the kitchen table, bickering about the government. My mother calling Stalin that ublyudok – mongrel dog – though she would always, as did most citizens even in the privacy of their homes, instinctively lower her voice when saying something the least critical about the government…”

Russian Spy in the White House: Torn between loyalties 
Destiny and political conspiracy catapult Tat’yana to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the US President Roosevelt. The two women become friends instantly though Tatyana has been sent by the Russians to spy on everything that is happening within the White House. Torn between the loyalty she feels towards her motherland and the trust shown towards her by the First Lady, we can see Tatyana questioning her motives for following secretive directions that seem to have nothing to do with the welfare of the Russians.

And out of the blue, just like that, Tat’yana disappears while in the US. The Russians are livid and label their most respected woman soldier as a traitor. The truth is never known. What happened to her? Why did she disappear? Did the Americans kill her on finding out that she was a Russian spy? Did she make a tough choice between being a good, loyal solider or a good, trustworthy friend?

The other characters in the book are not as interesting as she is except for the First Lady of the US who definitely makes a mark and intrigues our interest with her freedom and an instinctive sense of what is right and wrong. But I was not pleased with the way it ended – without the fizz. 

It left one feeling as though at the end of a fantastically presented six-course dish, there was simply no effort to whip up and serve a delectable dessert. The way this novel ended was a bland bump and that should have been avoided because, throughout the story, the plot and the pace had been gripping.

I love books like this which give us a glimpse into the pages of history even if dramatized a little bit. Maybe that's the fun of getting lost in the world of books and becoming enchanted by it. 

What's the most exciting book you've read? Do recommend it below and I'd love to know!


Shilpa Garg said…
Sounds interesting and seems somewhat familiar to the Angelina Jolie's movie SALT.
Have bookmarked this for future reading! :)
Oldfox004 said…
yeah! I too recalled SALT!!
yeah...i was eagerly reading till the end of ur post only to be left with no dessert:(
but i'll surely read this if i get a chance...Thanks for sharing this!

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 


Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:

You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Sage Tiruvalluvar's golden advice on how friendship affects your life

Ruzbeh N Bharucha's latest book, ICE with Very Unusual Spirits, is a book that I have absolutely enjoyed reading. While reading every chapter, I began to contemplate a lot on the friendships in my life, as the book blends in some of the most valuable teachings of Sage Tiruvalluvar and Sai Baba of Shirdi. The essence of the book revolves around true friendship and how it can make us not just more human but it can make us divine beings too.

As human beings, we thrive on friendship. These days, I've started wondering, ''Is there real friendship out there?'' From experiences that span four decades now (yeah, I am that old!), I am beginning to wonder about the authenticity of most ''friendships.'' [Do read: How to Console a Friend who Lost her Spouse]

A friend whom we knew since childhood days invites us home for dinner but when we visit, we don't get served dinner, but popcorn. Our mistake? We arrived in an auto, instead of a taxi (it is a differe…

Mumbai Police Movie Review: Prithviraj breaks the typical 'hero' mold, challenges sexual stereotyping

Exploring a completely different dimension in his latest film Mumbai Police, Director Rosshan Anddrews delivers a fast-paced, thriller film after his award winning fims such as Udayananu Tharam, Notebook and others.

To flesh out the script written by Boby Sanjay, Rosshan Anddrews ropes in actors such as Prithviraj, Rahman and Jayasurya to portray three police officers: Antony Moses, Farhan and Aryan respectively.
The story begins with a phone call that Antony Moses (starring Prithviraj) makes to Farhan (starring Rahman) saying that he has solved the murder mystery of Aryan (starring Jayasurya). Just as he says this, there is an accident and Antony Moses loses his memory. From then, Farhan's attempt is to take Antony through people and places that are likely to trigger his memory so that they can solve the murder of their close friend and colleague Aryan. A series of events happen, almost hurtling us towards it.
And I am taking the liberty to hand out trophies for the following:

Book Review: When the Chief fell in Love by Tuhin A Sinha portrays second chances and forbidden love in Kashmir

Tuhin A Sinha's novel, When the Chief Fell in Love plays upon second chances to bring two of the most unlikely individuals to come into each other lives, with a big 'political' bang! In life and in love, second chances are rare, more so when two individuals who are married to others, fall in love with each other. The consequences are unlikely to be happy but this love story demolishes conventional myths in the typical love story narratives we often read. 

Seen through the eyes of lovers, there can be no greater paradise than Kashmir, which is why India's youngest Defence Minister Vihaan finally comes back to solve problems of a troubled state that is rife with political disturbances.

Given the violent times we live in, imagine the perils of a love story that involves the country's Defence Minister and the daughter of a separatist leader.  It sounds inconceivable. And that is exactly the myth the young Defence Minister Vihaan strives to demolish in his journeys to Kas…

Feeling depressed and low? This guy at Costa Coffee taught me something invaluable about being at peace!

At Costa Coffee outlet at DLF Mall in  Noida today, I hovered blankly over an iced latte. I wasn't in my best mood. You know how it is, there are days when one feels disappointed and let down by the self and withdraw into an inner shell.  [READ: Does sincerity have any value?]


And so it happens that the server at Costa Coffee who brought to our table what we had ordered is a smiling young man. He has a big, happy smile on his face.
We looked up. He was conveying something with his fingers to my son, who had his headphones switched on and was listening to music. I looked up and understood then that the young man was deaf and unable to speak, which is why he was using sign language to communicate.
This is what I think he communicated to my son, ''Enjoy your sandwich.You have a good smile and a good day.  Thank you for coming today, happy to serve you."
My son was also gesturing back to him with a bright smile and conveying thank you. [READ: Chil…

Parenting together with love and limits: 7 Time Management Tips to Manage a Super Busy Family Schedule

Last Friday, it was Holi, the festival of colours. Guess what I wanted to do? Sleep!  [MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter he loves]
I know what you are thinking, ''What kind of mother wants sleep on Holi?" 
I do. Yup! But what happened is the opposite. That's life, isn't it?
[READ: Why Parenting is Important to Child Development]

During Holi, I was busy cooking, washing the dishes, moping the floor that had messy footprints.  Yup, welcome to the Working Mom's home life on a 'Holi' day:)
Now I have put together a few things which helps me to stay focused:
1. Start the morning with something that perks you up
Anything that lifts your  dormant energy (remember, you woke up from sleep, right?) can work to get your morning rocking. What perks me up is the view from my balcony while I make tea.While the tea leaves boil, the view keeps me grounded and calm as I prepare my mind for a busy day. I see the sky light up slowly, the…

Actress Trisha's favourite actor in Malayalam cinema is.....? Her answer and the reason will leave you inspired!

If you enjoy watching movies, you are sure to have a favorite star, right? However, isn't it funny that most actors and actresses choose not to reveal their favorite stars? I find this particularly so in Malayalam cinema. Recently, I found an interesting exception to this and as a movie buff, I was delighted by the candid admission. 

When asked who her favourite Malayalam actor is besides her co-star Nivin Pauly who plays the lead role as Jude, actress Trisha's reply was immediate, 'Mohanlal sir. He's brilliant.'  In the interview hosted by Surya' TV channel, the Telugu -Tamil super star Trisha shared lighthearted moments about her role as 'Crystal' in acclaimed director Shyamaprasad's latest film, 'Hey Jude!' She didn't hesitate to say a few words in Malayalam and didn't look red-faced when she got some words mixed up - that's the spirit of a confident, vivacious personality and I really like that about Trisha.  [MUST READ: Nivin …

Compassion for All: 5 Powerful Ways to Teach Your Child to Care and Transform the World

Just the other day, I read a news report about a son who pushed his mother down the stairs simply because he was fed up with taking care of her. She fell sick too often and he was fed up with being the caregiver. I wondered, ''What kind of an environment are we creating for our children? Our actions leave an impact and how can we help create the right impact?How do we teach human values?''


As a parent, the one thing that worries me among many is how to nurture compassion for all in a growing child.  Forget about teaching compassion to a child - how do we start practicing it? For most people, these are lessons learned at home. I grew up seeing my father show compassion to all those who reach out to seek his help. Jokingly I once asked my Dad, ''What if a Pakistani soldier is dying and seeks your help, what would you do?'' He didn't have the slightest hesitation in saying, ''I'd do my very best to save his life.…