Born: 28 February 1926
Birth Place: Moscow
Svetlana was Communist leader Joseph Stalin’s only daughter. Her mother was his second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva. Raised by a nurse she only occasionally saw her parents. She was only six when her mother died (there are various theories as to how she met her death).
Svetlana’s first love was a Jewish filmmaker Alexei Kapler. Her father disapproved of the romance and Kepler was sentenced to ten years in a labour camp in Siberia. A year later, when she was 17, she fell in love with Grigori Morozov a fellow student at Moscow University. They married and had a son Joseph in 1945 but divorced two years later.
She married her second husband in 1949 the year she graduated from Moscow University. He was Yuri Zhdanov. They had a daughter, Ekaterina in 1950 but divorced soon afterwards.
In 1953 her father died and she adopted her mother's maiden name. She worked as a teacher and translator in Moscow. She first met Brajesh Singh, an Indian communist when he visited Moscow in 1963. He returned to Moscow in 1965 to work as a translator. Although the two became close they were not allowed to marry. A year later he died and she was allowed to travel to India to take his ashes back so that his family could scatter them in the Ganges River.
On 6 March 1967 she went to the US Embassy in New Delhi and formally asked the American Ambassador for political asylum. She left India immediately and moved via Switzerland to the United States. Upon her arrival in April 1967 Alliluyeva gave a press conference denouncing her father's regime and the Soviet government.
She settled in the United States in April 1967 and published her memoirs, Twenty Letters to a Friend, (1967), and later Only One Year (1969). She later became a United States citizen and married, William Wesley Peters, an American architect in 1970. Shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Lana, the couple separated. She moved to Cambridge, United Kingdom in 1982 but two years later returned to the Soviet Union and settled in Tbilisi. She left again in 1986 and returned to the United States. In the 1990s she moved back to England but unable to settle she returned finally to the United States. She now lives in a retirement home in Wisconsin.
I could not continue the same life, the same useless life which I had for fourteen years. 9 March 1967
It is human nature that rules the world, not governments and regimes.
As a result of half a century of Soviet rule people have been weaned from a belief in human kindness.
He is gone, but his shadow still stands over all of us. It still dictates to us and we, very often, obey.