Lilya Brik

Lilya Yuryevna Brik (11 November 1891 – 4 August 1978), maiden name Kagan, was instrumental in the release of the legendary filmmaker Sergei Parajanov from the Soviet prisons where he spent over 4 years from 1973 to 1977 after years of KGB persecution.

After the well publicized but ultimately unsuccessful campaign by such luminaries as Fellini, Truffaut, Bunuel and Pasolini in Europe, as well as Tarkovsky and Vartanov in the Soviet Union, Lilya Brik asked her sister Elsa Triolet to urge her husband Louis Aragon to petition the Soviet leader Brezhnev for the release of Paradjanov. Brezhnev agreed and Parajanov was freed.

So it was fascinating to learn that Lilya Brik may have been a KGB (NKVD) agent.

Parajanov and Brik

Lilya Brik and Sergei Parajanov

Wikipedia sources state that Boris Pasternak, Sergei Yesenin, Anna Akhmatova and even Maya Plisetskaya all believed that Lilya Brik worked for KGB/NKVD along with her husband Osip Brik. Wikipedia also states that while the son of Lilya Brik’s third husband Katanyan tried to downplay those claims, an investigative journalist Valentin Skoryatin uncovered Lilya and Osip Brik’s KGB/NKVD serial numbers/IDs which reveal that the Briks had been agents since early 1920s.

(Wikipedia also notes that Skoryatin  investigated the circumstances of poet Mayakovsky’s mysterious death and the inheritance Brik received after his passing).

In Parajanov: The Last Spring, Mikhail Vartanov included the Lilya Brik doll made by Parajanov in the prison. Parajanov also gifted Vartanov a tea-set which Lilya Brik had given him in Moscow.

Boy With a Movie Camera