Josef Stalin's Daughter Dies in Wisconsin

Lana Peters defected from Soviet Union in 1967
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2011 12:15 AM CST
Josef Stalin's Daughter Lana Peters Dies in Wisconsin
Josef Stalin with his daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva. Her mother committed suicide when she was 6 years old.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Icarus Films)

(Newser) – Josef Stalin's only daughter has died in Wisconsin at the age of 85. Lana Peters—born Svetlana Alliluyeva Stalin—handed the US a massive Cold War publicity coup when she defected to the US in 1967, publicly burning her Soviet passport, and declaring: "I have come here to seek the self-expression that has been denied me for so long in Russia." A memoir she published soon after arriving in the US, in which she described her father as distant and paranoid, became a best-seller.

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Peters, who left two children behind in the Soviet Union, once said she would always be "a political prisoner of my father's name," AP notes. "People say, 'Stalin's daughter, Stalin's daughter,' meaning I'm supposed to walk around with a rifle and shoot the Americans," she said in a 2007 interview. "Or they say, `No, she came here. She is an American citizen.' That means I'm with a bomb against the others. No, I'm neither one. I'm somewhere in between. That 'somewhere in between' they can't understand." (Read more Lana Peters stories.)

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