|Portrayed By||Masha Borovikova|
|First Appearance||In Control|
|Images of Elizabeth's Mother|
|Portrayed By||Elizabeth Myrna|
|First Appearance||March 8, 1983|
|Images of Elizabeth's Mother|
Elizabeth’s mother makes only a handful of appearances in The Americans - most of which are played by Masha Borovikova in the form of flashbacks. Her only ‘real life’ appearance, played by Elizabeth Myrna, in the show is during the March 8, 1983 episode.
She is portrayed as a stern and very serious mother to Elizabeth. As a bookkeeper for her local Communist party committee, she was an ardent Soviet patriot and firm believer in the Communist dream. This determination is reflected in her unflinching support of Elizabeth joining the KGB.
Elizabeth’s mother is shown as a single parent in every appearance in the show. Elizabeth’s father was a coal miner who died during World War II, when Elizabeth was a baby. Elizabeth’s father was a deserter during the war, something her mother openly resents him for - she refuses to attend a war memorial service despite young Elizabeth’s pleas - instead, peeling potatoes in the accommodation they share with three other families.
Her husband’s desertion and death during the war left Elizabeth’s mother having to face the cold reality of raising Elizabeth alone in a breadline economy. Shown to be a proud, yet economically-challenged, self-sufficient woman, Elizabeth’s mother refuses a donation of considerable rations - telling a young Elizabeth that the man would have wanted something back in return
Contact between Elizabeth and her mother is maintained after her deployment in America via cassette recordings of Elizabeth’s mother that are passed down the chain to Gabriel who gives them to Elizabeth. The cassettes contain Elizabeth mother’s voice speaking directly at Elizabeth about how much she is missing her daughter, how proud she is of Elizabeth’s family, and the unfortunate news of her illness. Recorded entirely in Russian and of a very personal nature, the conversations are one way. An example of one recording;
- “My darling Nadezhda… This year has been hard. Your uncle, Anatoli - in the fall I noticed he was starting to forget things. Now he’s… it’s like her not here anymore. When we were children he was the smartest one in the family. Good at math, good at everything. After you left, I saw him much more. And now… well - I miss you so much. I’m sure it’s hard for you to hear over and over how much I miss you, but it’s the truth. You always did insist on the truth. They brought me a picture of you this year, with your children. And husband. Your family is so beautiful. I look at it every day. You look happy Nadezhda. I know I’ll never meet them, but knowing you have them… that makes me happy. They are my family too… “
During EST Men it is revealed that Elizabeth’s mother is dying. Prompted by this and the realization by Elizabeth that Paige may never meet her grandmother, Elizabeth and Philip arrange, without KGB permission, for Elizabeth and Paige to meet with Elizabeth’s mother one last time.
March 8, 1983 Edit
Under the pretense of having travel agent related business in Germany, Elizabeth and Paige travel to Kreuzberg, West Berlin in order to meet with Elizabeth’s mother. In 1983, Kreuzberg was a pro-democracy enclave surrounded by Soviet-influenced East Berlin. Three quarters of the area’s boundaries were defined by the Berlin Wall. The close proximity of the area to the East-West Berlin borders would have provided many opportunities for the KGB to transport Elizabeth’s mother.
When Elizabeth reunites with her mother, she bares little resemblance to the once youthful and physically strong woman Elizabeth remembers in the flashbacks. Now bound in a wheel-chair, Elizabeth’s mother appears washed out with much thinner hair. Elizabeth’s reunion with her mother is one of the few on-screen examples of Elizabeth speaking Russian. Elizabeth’s mother reflects on the many years that have passed since their last meeting but defends her decision to let Elizabeth join the KGB by telling her “I had to let you go. Everything was at stake.”