Anna Demidova (Russian: Анна Деми́дова) was the wife of Stepan Demidov and adoptive mother of Leo Demidov.


Child 44

Along with her husband, Anna was a native of the Ukrainian village of Chervoy. Before the onset of the Holodomor, the pair had a son named Leo. On 23 January 1933, with the famine at its peak and their son dying of starvation, Stepan was forced to attack and knock unconscious the young Pavel Sidorov, hoping that he could save their son by feeding him Pavel's body. The effort proved fruitless, as Leo had already died by the time Stepan returned. Anna decided to adopt Pavel, feeding him their son's remains. Suffering from a concussion and memory loss, Pavel adopted the name of their dead son, and traveled with them to Stepan's uncle's house in Moscow in a bid to escape the famine.[1] Life in Moscow was initially difficult, as Stepan's uncle's home was overcrowded and lacked sanitation or hot water.[2]

By 1953, Anna was living with her husband in a comfortable apartment in northern Moscow, thanks to Leo's influence in the MGB. On 19 February, she was visited by Leo, who was troubled by the fact that his wife was suspected of being a subversive. Stepan advised Leo to denounce her, as maintaining her innocence would result in their being eventually arrested.[3]

Three weeks later, after Leo had declared his wife innocent, Anna and her husband were evicted from their home and assigned shoddy housing more suited to their new status as the parents of a disgraced MGB officer.[4] The couple was secretly visited three months later by Leo and Raisa, who were on the run from the MGB. Accepting that this would likely have been the last time they ever saw each other, Stepan handed Leo a note containing information on his true origin, which Leo later threw away without reading.[5]

After Leo came back into favour within the MGB, Anna and Stepan were returned to their old apartment.[6]

The Secret Speech


  1. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 372-374, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  2. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, p. 134, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  3. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, p. 127-139, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  4. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 196-198, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  5. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 331-337, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  6. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 461-463, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
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