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Josef Stalin's daughter dies

Janelle Vreeland

Josef Stalin with daughter Svetlana, aka Lana Peters, in 1935

Josef Stalin’s daughter, Lana Peters, was a best-selling author

Josef Stalin’s daughter, Lana Peters, has died. She was 85.

AP reports that Peters — best known as Svetlana Alliluyeva — died of colon cancer in Wisconsin on November 22. She lived in Wisconsin off and on after defecting from the Soviet Union.

Peters’ sudden defection in 1966 gained her fame and embarrassed the ruling communists. After her defection, Peters published her memoir which quickly became a best-seller. “Twenty Letters to a Friend” gave a glimpse into Peters’ life in the Soviet Union and gave an honest look at her father, Josef Stalin.

“He was a very simple man. Very rude. Very cruel,” Peters told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2010. “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.”

Peters later spoke about the complexity of her identity as a Soviet and U.S. citizen.

“People say, ‘Stalin’s daughter, Stalin’s daughter,’ meaning I’m supposed to walk around with a rifle and shoot the Americans. 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 about Lana Peters, and her views of Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union, here.

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