Lana Peters, Stalin’s Only Daughter, Dies at 85

Posted November 28th, 2011 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Lana Peters, the only daughter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and a woman whose life reads like a classic Russian novel, has died at age 85 of cancer.

Born Svetlana Stalina, Peters led a privileged life in Soviet Russia. But she wrote that her father's treatment of her became brutal and tyrannical during World War Two — refusing to let her marry the men she chose and dictating what she should study in school.

She changed her name when her father died in 1953. When her Indian-born husband died in 1966 she brought his ashes to New Delhi. Evading KGB agents watching her every move, Peters went to the U.S. Embassy to announce her defection, soon arriving in New York.

Her arrival in the United States created a media sensation. She wrote a best-selling autobiography and publicly denounced the Soviet Union, calling her father a “moral monster.”

She remained, changed her name to Lana Peters, and spend the last 40 years of her life in mystery and obscurity, even moving back to the Soviet Union for a time.

Peters said she spend most of her life as a “political prisoner” of her father's name.