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1967: Stalin's daughter defects to the West

VIDEO : Stalin's daughter arrives in the USA

The daughter of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has requested political asylum at the United States Embassy in India.

The American Mutual Radio network broke the news but the American State Department has so far refused to comment.

Since her father's death in 1953, little has been heard of 42-year-old Svetlana Alliluyeva - who prefers to be known by her mother's maiden name.

She has been living in a flat in Moscow near the British Embassy working as a researcher and translator.

Mother's suicide

Svetlana is the only daughter of Joseph Stalin by his second wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva who committed suicide in 1932 when Svetlana was nine years old.

When she was just 18, Svetlana, married a Jewish fellow student at Moscow University against her father's wishes.

She had a son by him but the marriage was dissolved and her ex-husband sent to his death in a Siberian labour camp.

Her second husband was Yuri Zhdanov, the son of Andrei, a close ally of Stalin.

This marriage was also dissolved.

In 1964 she married Brajesh Singh, an Indian communist.

He died last November and Svetlana came to India on 20 December last year to bury his ashes.

She is believed to be planning to go to Geneva, Switzerland, after the Indian authorities refused her permission to stay in the country for fear of marring relations with the Soviet Union.

She leaves behind a grown-up son and daughter in Moscow.

In Context
Svetlana Alliluyeva was allowed to stay in Switzerland for three months.

She went to the United States in April 1967.

On arrival at New York, she held a press conference and astonished the world by denouncing her father's regime - much to the irritation of the Soviet leader of the time, Alexei Kosygin, who said she was a "sick person".

Later that year, she published her memoirs, Twenty Letters to a Friend, and another autobiography in 1969 called Only One Year.

Svetlana became a US citizen and changed her name to Lana Peters when she married American architect, William Peters in 1970. But they separated after their daughter, Olga, was born.

She returned to the Soviet Union in 1984 and settled in Tbilisi, Georgia - her father's homeland.

In 1986 she left the USSR for the second time to live in the US and then during the 1990s settled in England.


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