Svetlana Alliluyeva
Overview
 
Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva , later known as Lana Peters, was the youngest child and only daughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Stalin's second wife. In 1967, she caused an international furor when she defected
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

 and became a naturalized
Naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

 citizen of the United States.
Like most children of high-ranking Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 officials, Alliluyeva was raised by a nanny and only occasionally saw her parents.
Encyclopedia
Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva , later known as Lana Peters, was the youngest child and only daughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Stalin's second wife. In 1967, she caused an international furor when she defected
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

 and became a naturalized
Naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

 citizen of the United States.

Early life

Like most children of high-ranking Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 officials, Alliluyeva was raised by a nanny and only occasionally saw her parents. Her mother, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, died on November 9, 1932. The death was officially ruled as peritonitis
Peritonitis
Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, the serous membrane that lines part of the abdominal cavity and viscera. Peritonitis may be localised or generalised, and may result from infection or from a non-infectious process.-Abdominal pain and tenderness:The main manifestations of...

 resulting from a burst appendix
Vermiform appendix
The appendix is a blind-ended tube connected to the cecum , from which it develops embryologically. The cecum is a pouchlike structure of the colon...

. 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 appears Nadezhda Alliluyeva actually committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

. According to Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

, Stalin was very abusive toward Alliluyeva in the later part of their marriage. In his memoirs, Khrushchev recalled an occasion when Stalin, during a drunken rage at a party, dragged a crying Alliluyeva onto a dance floor by her hair.

At 16, Svetlana Alliluyeva fell in love with Aleksei Kapler
Aleksei Kapler
Aleksei Yakovlevich Kapler ;Kiev, was a Soviet filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, and writer. He was known as an anchor and director of the TV program Kinopanorama...

, a Soviet 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
Vorkuta
Vorkuta is a coal-mining town in the Komi Republic, Russia, situated just north of the Arctic Circle in the Pechora coal basin at the Usa River. Population: - Labor camp origins :...

, near the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

.

Marriages

A year later, aged 17, she receive a marriage proposal from 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, Iosif
Joseph Alliluyev
Iosif Grigor'evich Alliluyev was a Russian cardiologist and the grandson of Joseph Stalin.The son of Stalin's daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva, Iosif was seven-years-old when his father and famous grandfather died, both in 1953. Although he kept a low profile, he did take part in a television...

, was born in 1945. The couple divorced in 1947, but remained close friends for decades.

Alliluyeva's second marriage was arranged for her, that husband was Yuri Zhdanov
Yuri Zhdanov
Yuri Andreyevich Zhdanov was a Russian chemistry professor and rector of the University of Rostov. He was the son of Soviet politician Andrei Zhdanov and a former husband of Joseph Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva....

, the son of Stalin's right-hand-man Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov was a Soviet politician.-Life:Zhdanov enlisted with the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1915 and was promoted through the party ranks, becoming the All-Union Communist Party manager in Leningrad after the assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934...

 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. From 1970-73, she was married to an American architect William Wesley Peters
William Wesley Peters
William Wesley Peters was a noted architect and engineer, apprentice to and protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright.Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Peters was educated at Evansville College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...

, with whom she had a daughter, Olga.

After the death of Stalin

After her father's death in 1953, she worked as a lecturer and translator in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. Her training was in history and political thought, a subject she was forced to study by her father, although her passion was literature and writing. Stalin forbade her to school in these subjects. She had also studied four languages since childhood, including German, French and English and was fluent in all. She was granted a pension with which she supported herself and her two children.

Relationship with Brajesh Singh

In 1963, while in hospital for the removal of her tonsils, she met Brajesh Singh
Brajesh Singh
Brajesh Singh or Kunwar Brijesh Singh was an Indian politician belonging to the Communist Party of India. He hailed from the royal family of Kalakankar near Allahabad and his cousin Dinesh Singh was a minister in the Indian cabinet.He first married Kunwarani Laxmi Devi, followed by Leela, an...

, an Indian Communist
Communist Party of India
The Communist Party of India is a national political party in India. In the Indian communist movement, there are different views on exactly when the Indian communist party was founded. The date maintained as the foundation day by CPI is 26 December 1925...

 visiting Moscow. The two fell in love. Singh was mild-mannered and highly educated but gravely ill with bronchiectasis
Bronchiectasis
Bronchiectasis is a disease state defined by localized, irreversible dilation of part of the bronchial tree caused by destruction of the muscle and elastic tissue. It is classified as an obstructive lung disease, along with emphysema, bronchitis, asthma, and cystic fibrosis...

 and emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

. The relationship grew deeper and stronger still while the couple were recuperating in Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

 beside the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. Singh returned to Moscow in 1965 to work as a translator, but he and Alliluyeva were not allowed to marry. The following year, 1966, he died. She was allowed to travel to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 to take his ashes to his family to pour into the Ganges. She stayed in the family home in Kalakankar on the banks of the Ganges for eight months and became immersed in local customs abandoning atheism. In an interview on April 26, 1967, she referred to Singh as her husband but also stated that they were never allowed to marry officially.

Political asylum and later life

On March 6, 1967, Alliluyeva approached the United States embassy in New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

. After she stated her desire to defect in writing, the United States Ambassador Chester Bowles
Chester Bowles
Chester Bliss Bowles was a liberal Democratic American diplomat and politician from Connecticut.-Biography:...

 offered her political asylum and a new life in the United States. Alliluyeva accepted. Because the Indian government feared condemnation by the Soviet Union, she was immediately sent from India to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. When the Alitalia
Alitalia
Alitalia - Linee Aeree Italiane S.p.A. , in its later stages known as Alitalia - Linee Aeree Italiane S.p.A. in Extraordinary Administration, was the former Italian flag carrier...

 flight arrived in Rome, Alliluyeva immediately traveled onward to Geneva, Switzerland, where the government arranged a tourist visa and accommodation for six weeks. She traveled to the United States, leaving her adult children back in the USSR. Upon her arrival in April 1967 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, she gave a press conference denouncing her father's regime and the Soviet government. Her intention to publish her autobiographical book Twenty Letters to a Friend on the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 caused an uproar in the Soviet Union and the government threatened to release an unauthorized version. Publication in the West was therefore moved to an earlier date.

Alliluyeva moved to Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

, where she lectured and wrote.

In 1970, Alliluyeva answered an invitation from Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...

's widow, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright
Olgivanna Lloyd Wright
Olgivanna Lloyd Wright was the third and final wife of Frank Lloyd Wright and had significant influence in his life and work, due in part to her extensive Theosophical associations. She was a Serb Montenegrin dancer...

, to visit Taliesin West
Taliesin West
Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and school in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today it is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.Open to the public for tours, Taliesin...

 in Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, adjacent to Phoenix. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010 the population of the city was 217,385...

. Alliluyeva described the experience in her autobiographical book Far Away Music. Olgivanna believed in mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 and had become convinced that Alliluyeva was a spiritual replacement for her own daughter, also named Svetlana. Years previously, Svetlana Wright (Olgivanna's daughter) had married Wright's chief apprentice William Wesley Peters
William Wesley Peters
William Wesley Peters was a noted architect and engineer, apprentice to and protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright.Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Peters was educated at Evansville College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...

 and had died in a car crash. She came to Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 and, within a matter of months, was engaged to Peters. They married and had a daughter, Olga. William Peters was a member of the Taliesin Fellowship, a group of architects and designers who had been Wright's apprentices and acolytes and had remained dedicated to his work. Alliluyeva took the name Lana Peters, became part of the Fellowship community and migrated back and forth and with them between the Scottsdale and Taliesin
Taliesin (studio)
Taliesin , near Spring Green, Wisconsin, was the summer home of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright began the building in 1911 after leaving his first wife, Catherine Tobin, and his Oak Park, Illinois, home and studio in 1909. The impetus behind Wright's departure was his affair with...

 studios.

By her own account, Alliluyeva retained respect and affection for Wes Peters, but their marriage dissolved both under the pressure of Mrs. Wright's influence and because of Svetlana's inability to adjust to the Taliesin cult-like lifestyle, which she compared to life in the Soviet Union under her father. In 1982, Alliluyeva moved with her daughter to Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. In 1984, she returned to the Soviet Union, where she and her daughter were granted citizenship, albeit apparently retaining her acquired United States citizenship.

Alliluyeva settled in Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, Georgian SSR. In 1986, she returned to the United States, after "feuding with relatives".

Death

Alliluyeva died on November 22, 2011 from complications arising from colon cancer in Richland Center, Wisconsin
Richland Center, Wisconsin
Richland Center is a city in Richland County, Wisconsin, United States, which also serves as the county seat. The population was 5,184 at the 2010 census.-History:Richland Center was founded in 1851 by Ira Sherwin Hazeltine, a native of Andover, Vermont...

,, where she resided.

External links

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