Svetlana Alliluyeva


Svetlana Alliluyeva

Infobox Person
name = Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva


caption = Svetlana with father Stalin in 1935.
birth_date = birth date and age|1926|2|28
birth_place = Moscow, Russia
(then Soviet Union)
death_date =
death_place =
other_names = Lana Peters
known_for = Daughter of Joseph Stalin
occupation =
nationality = Russia
United States ("naturalized")

Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva (sometimes Stalina, later Lana Peters) (born 28 February 1926, Moscow, Soviet Union) ( _ru. Светлана Иосифовна Аллилуева) is the youngest child and only daughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. A writer and naturalized United States citizen, Alliluyeva caused an international furor by defecting to the United States in 1967. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,843812,00.html "Land of Opportunity"] , "TIME" May 26, 1967 ]

Early life

, Stalin was very abusive toward Svetlana later in life, recalling an event in his memoirs in which Stalin, during a drunken rage at a party, dragged a crying Svetlana onto a dance floor by her hair.cite book | author = Kruschev, Nikita Sergeevich| title = Kruschev Remembers| year = 1990 | pages = pp.220 | id = ISBN 0316472972 ]

Svetlana fell in love at the age of 16 with a Jewish filmmaker, Alexei Kapler (who was 40 years old). Her father vehemently disapproved of the romance. Later Kapler was sentenced to ten years in exile in the industrial city of Vorkuta near the Arctic Circle, and it is speculated that the real reason was this romance.

Marriages

At 17, she fell in love with a fellow student at Moscow University, Grigory Morozov, also Jewish. Her father grudgingly allowed the couple to marry, although he made a point of never meeting the bridegroom. After the birth of a son (Joseph) in 1945, the couple divorced in 1947.

Svetlana's second husband was a close associate of Stalin's, Yuri Zhdanov (son of his right-hand-man, Andrei Zhdanov). They were married in 1949, and had a daughter, Ekaterina, in 1950, but this marriage also dissolved soon afterward.

Though press reports (such as "TIME Magazine" [http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,890159,00.html"Social Notes"] , "TIME" July 23, 1951 ] ) sometimes claimed that Svetlana was married a third time, in 1951, to Mikhail Kaganovich, the son of Lazar Kaganovich, another primary Stalin associate, Svetlana denies this. In "Only One Year" (p. 382) she says Kaganovich had only one daughter, her friend, and an adopted son who was ten years younger than she. Svetlana reports: "he, when he grew up, married a girl student of his own age."

Death of Stalin

After her father's death in 1953, Svetlana adopted her mother's maiden name and worked as a teacher and translator in Moscow. Her education was in United States history and she had studied English, however she had little opportunity to speak it at this point. Svetlana was a Party member and, based on her parentage, remained in contact with the highest levels of the Soviet government and enjoyed the privileges of the nomenklatura. She had been granted a pension with which she supported herself after she quit working to care for her children.

In 1963, while in hospital for the removal of her tonsils, she met an Indian communist visiting Moscow, Brajesh Singh. Singh was mild-mannered and idealistic but gravely ill with bronchiectasis and emphysema. They continued and cemented their relationship while recuperating in Sochi, on the Black Sea. Singh returned to Moscow in 1965, to work as a translator, but they were not allowed to marry. Singh died in 1966 and Svetlana was allowed to travel to India to take his ashes back, for his family to pour them into the Ganges. She stayed in the family home in Kalakankar on the banks of the Ganges for two months and became immersed in local customs. At an interview on April 26, 1967 she referred to Singh as her husband, though stating that they were never allowed to marry officially. [ABC News Time Tunnel, re-broadcast April 26, 2008.]

Political asylum and later life

On 6 March 1967, after first having visited the Soviet embassy in New Delhi, Alliluyeva went to the U.S. embassy and formally petitioned Ambassador Chester Bowles for political asylum. This was granted; however, owing to concerns that the Indian government might suffer from possible ill feeling from the Soviet Union, it was arranged for her to leave India immediately for Rome and when the Alitalia flight arrived in Rome Svetlana immediately went to Geneva where the Swiss government arranged a tourist visa and accommodation in Switzerland for 6 weeks before proceeding to the United States.

Upon her arrival in April 1967 to New York City, Alliluyeva gave a press conference denouncing her father's regime and the Soviet government. Her intention to publish her autobiographical "Twenty Letters To A Friend" on the fiftieth anniversary of the Soviet revolution caused an uproar in the USSR, and the government there threatened to release an unauthorized version; publication in the West was therefore moved to an earlier date, and that particular diplomatic problem defused.

Alliluyeva moved to Princeton, New Jersey, and later to nearby Pennington [cite news | first=Patricia | last=Blake | coauthors= | title=Personalities the Saga of Stalin's "Little Sparrow" | date=1985-01-08 | publisher= | url =http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,959280,00.html | work =Time | pages = | accessdate = 2008-09-10 | language = ] [cite news | first=Bev | last=Tucker | coauthors= | title=Pennington Piano Teacher Remembers Stalin's Daughter and Granddaughter | date=2006-08-02 | publisher= | url =http://www.towntopics.com/aug0206/mailbox.html | work =Town Topics | pages = | accessdate = 2008-09-10 | language = ]

In 1970, Alliluyeva answered an invitation from Frank Lloyd Wright's widow, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, to visit Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. As she described in her autobiographical "Distant Music", Olgivanna believed in mysticism and had become convinced that Svetlana was a spiritual replacement for her own daughter Svetlana, who had married Wright's chief apprentice William Wesley Peters, and who had died in a car crash years before. Amazingly, Alliluyeva came to Arizona, agreed to marry Peters within a matter of weeks, migrated with the Taliesin Fellowship back and forth between Scottsdale and Spring Green, Wisconsin, and adopted the name Lana Peters. The couple had a daughter, Olga, in Marin General Hospital, Mill Valley, California. By her own account Alliluyeva retained respect and affection for Wes Peters, but their marriage dissolved under the pressure of Mrs. Wright's influence.

In 1982, she moved with her daughter to Cambridge, England, and, in 1984, returned to the Soviet Union, where she and her daughter were granted citizenship, and settled in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 1986, Alliluyeva returned to the United States, and later returned to Bristol, England in the 1990s. She is believed now to be living in northern California.

Bibliography

* "Twenty Letters To A Friend" - (Autobiography) First published 1967, by Hutchinson (London) and translated from Russian into English by Priscilla Johnson.
* Translated by Paul Chavchavadze, "Only One Year", Harper & Row (1969), hardcover, 444 pages, ISBN 0-06-010102-4
* "Faraway Music" (1984, India, 1992, Moscow)

References


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