Stalin's daughter, famed defector, dies in US

29th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The only daughter of brutal Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin -- who defected to the West in 1967 and became a vocal critic of the Soviet Union -- has died at age 85, the New York Times reported Monday.

Born Svetlana Stalina on February 28, 1926, she led an epic and complex life "worthy of a Russian novel" which ended in obscurity and poverty after decades of wandering, the Times wrote.

She died of colon cancer on November 22 in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

Her name changes reflected her shifting fortunes. She took her mother's last name, Alliluyeva, after Stalin's 1953 death and fall from grace.

She then became Lana Peters in 1970 after her defection and brief marriage to American architect William Wesley Peters.

But she could never escape her father's shadow.

In a 2010 interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Peters said she was "quite happy" in rural Wisconsin but said of her father: "He broke my life."

"Wherever I go," she said, "here, or Switzerland, or India, or wherever. Australia. Some island. I always will be a political prisoner of my father's name."

When asked if she thought Stalin loved her, she said yes, adding, "I looked like his mother."

"He was a very simple man," she told the paper. "Very rude. Very cruel. There was nothing in him that was complicated. He was very simple with us. He loved me and he wanted me to be with him and become an educated Marxist."

© 2011 AFP

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