| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

FBI declassifies files on Stalin's daughter

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, 7:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. — Newly declassified documents show the FBI kept close tabs on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's only daughter after her high-profile defection to the United States in 1967, gathering details from informants about how her arrival was affecting international relations.

The documents were released on Monday under the Freedom of Information Act after Lana Peters' death last year at age 85 in a Wisconsin nursing home. Her defection to the West during the Cold War embarrassed the communists and made her a best-selling author. And her move was a public relations coup for the United States.

One April 28, 1967, memo details a conversation with a confidential source who said the defection would have a “profound effect” for anyone thinking of trying to leave the Soviet Union.

“Our source opined that the United States government exhibited a high degree of maturity, dignity and understanding during this period,” according to the memo. “It cannot help but have a profound effect upon anyone who is considering a similar solution to an unsatisfactory life in a Soviet bloc country.”

A memo dated June 2, 1967, describes a conversation an unnamed FBI source had with Mikhail Trepykhalin, identified as the second secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Washington.

The source said Trepykhalin told him the Soviets were “very unhappy over her defection” and asked wondered the United States would use it “for propaganda purposes.”

When she defected, Peters was known as Svetlana Alliluyeva, but she went by Lana Peters upon her 1970 marriage to William Wesley Peters, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Though Peters denounced communism and her father's policies, Stalin's legacy haunted her.

“People say, ‘Stalin's daughter, Stalin's daughter,' meaning I'm supposed to walk around with a rifle and shoot the Americans,” she said in a 2007 interview for a documentary about her life. “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.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. 4 dead in Fort Hood chopper crash
  2. Scandals leave Oklahomans in dark
  3. Chicago cop charged with murder in killing of black teen
  4. Poor roads cost Connecticut motorists $5.1B annually, report finds
  5. Obama, Hollande pledge solidarity against Islamic State
  6. Lawyer reveals details of arrest of ‘clock kid’ Ahmed, plans to file suit
  7. 4 crew members dead after helicopter crashes at Fort Hood
  8. New York City emergency responders go through active shooter drill
  9. Nation’s $1 billion defense against biological terrorism faulty, GAO watchdog warns
  10. Obama moves to shore up allies coalition as rival Russia courts France
  11. Feds tell railroads they must meet deadlines for lifesaving technology