Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva (born 28 February 1926, Moscow, Soviet Union) 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.
Like most children of high-ranking Soviet officials, Alliluyeva was raised by a nanny and only occasionally saw her parents. Her mother Nadezhda Alliluyeva died on November 9, 1932, when Svetlana was six. Nadezhda's death was officially ruled as peritonitis resulting from a burst appendix. While there were various other theories as to the cause of her death (murder on the orders of Stalin, or that she was killed by Stalin himself), it now appears the real cause of death was suicide.
After the death of her mother Svetlana mainly lived in the Kremlin or at the family dacha. She did well at school and was her Stalin's favorite. After finishing school she entered historical department of Moscow State University and later got PHd at Linguistics. Svetlana became a quite successful translator and writer. He literary works include translation of "The Munich Conspiracy" by Andrew Roshtein; her own famous book of memories "Twenty Letters To A Friend" written and published in emigration, another autobiography "Only One Year" and a book "Faraway Music".
At the age of 19 love Svetlana Alliluyeva in fell in love with Aleksei Kapler, a Jewish filmmaker 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. It is speculated that the underlying reason for his exile was this romance
Being a student she married Grigory Morozov, a fellow student at Moscow University. Her father grudgingly allowed the couple to marry, although he made a point of never meeting the bridegroom. A son, Joseph, was born in 1945. The couple divorced in 1947.
Alliluyeva's second husband was Yuri Zhdanov, the son of Stalin's right-hand-man Andrei Zhdanov and himself one of Stalin's close associates. They were married in 1949. In 1950, Alliluyeva gave birth to a daughter, Yekaterina. The marriage was dissolved soon afterward. Her third marriage to Ivan Svanidze also soon ended in divorce.
After her father's death in 1953, Alliluyeva adopted her mother's maiden name Allilueva and worked as a teacher and translator in Moscow. She was a Party member and, based on her parentage, remained in contact with the highest levels of the Soviet government, enjoying the privileges of the nomenklatura. Alliluyeva was granted a pension with which she supported herself after she stopped working to care for her children. She was also said to become religious and have secretly baptized.
In 1963 she met Brajesh Singh, an Indian Communist visiting Moscow. The two fell in love. However Brajesh Singh was seriously ill and soon died. He, however had made Svetlana promise to take his ashes to his family to pour into the Ganges. Alliluyeva was allowed to travel to India in 1967. On March 6, 1967, Alliluyeva visited the Soviet and then the United States embassy in New Delhi. While at the United States embassy, she formally petitioned Ambassador Chester Bowles for political asylum. This was granted. Because the Indian government feared condemnation by the Soviet Union, she was immediately sent from India to Rome in Italy, lived some time in Switzerland and then traveled to the United States. Her grown-up son and daughter stayed in Russia and the relationship with them never restored since Sveltana's first departure
Upon her arrival in April 1967 in New York City, Alliluyeva gave a press conference denouncing her father's regime and the Soviet government. Her autobiographical book "Twenty Letters To A Friend" was soon published. She did well financially as the magazine version of her book was sold to Hamburg weekly newspaper. In 1970 she married an American architect William Wesley Peters, changed her name to Lana Peters and gave a birth to her daughter Olga a year later. The marriage soon collapsed.
In 1982, Alliluyeva moved with her daughter to Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She registered her daughter with a boarding school and became an avid traveler. The journalists write that she had problems with drinking and depression and was haunted by the specter of her mother's suicide and her father's tyranny. Sveltana sought to restore relationship with her son Joseph Morozov and daughter Yekaterina Zhdanova she had left behind in Russia and the two grandchildren she had never seen. In 1984 Svetlana was notified that her son was seriously ill in a Moscow hospital. She petitioned the Soviet Embassy in London for visas. After granting permission Svetlana took her American-born child, Olga Peters, aged 13 and returned to the Soviet Union, where she and her daughter were granted citizenship. The move was traumatic for her younger daughter, who was thoroughly Western child and did not speak Russian.
Right after Svetlana's returning things soured almost immediately She quarreled bitterly with Joseph, and Yekaterina refused to meet her. She settled in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR. Sveltana and her daughter felt alienated in Russia and could not adapt even despite the special benefits she was granted from Moscow. In December 1985 Stalin's daughter wrote Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to ask for permission to leave the country once again. In 1986, Alliluyeva returned to the United States. In the 1990s, she moved to Bristol, England. As of 2010, she is living in Richland Center, Wisconsin, United States.
In 2008, Alliluyeva was the subject of a short biographical film Svetlana about Svetlana written and directed by Lana Parshina
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