Stalin’s Daughter Returns to ‘Wonderful’ United States
The daughter of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin said Thursday she had to leave her adopted country of the United States for a while to realize “Oh, my God! How wonderful it is!”
Svetlana Alliluyeva, who returned Wednesday from the Soviet Union she first fled 20 years ago, said in an interview with the Washington Post that she and her American-born daughter, Olga Peters, have already renounced the Soviet citizenships she said she was forced to apply for when she and Olga arrived in Moscow in October, 1984.
“After this visit, I don’t believe anymore that I belong to both countries,” she said. “I know that the people who care for me are in America.”
Alliluyeva, 60, who was interviewed by phone from a friend’s house in Wisconsin, said personal action by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev helped her efforts to leave the Soviet Union with her daughter after a stay of 18 months.
She said she also received help from the American Consulate in Moscow, which “made Olga and me understand that as American citizens we do have certain rights. You forget about this. You are made to feel (in Russia) that you are out of everything. You can’t do this, you can’t do that. Well, actually, we had certain rights--we could leave and we did.”
Alliluyeva arrived in Chicago on Wednesday from Moscow after a brief stop in Zurich. Her daughter had left before her, arriving in Britain on Monday in time to begin spring term at the boarding school in Essex she attended before her stay in the Soviet Union.
Alliluyeva said that living in the Soviet Union had disillusioned her. She found the country much changed. People were “terribly embarrassed and afraid” to be friends with her. Life was “hard and uncomfortable, food and clothing were scarce, especially outside of Moscow.” And though Olga made friends, she found Soviet schools too different, especially since at first she didn’t speak Russian or Georgian. By the end of the year, Alliluyeva realized that she wanted her American passport back.