FBI declassifies files on Stalin's daughter
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.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Source: Fire at black church in South Carolina wasn’t arson
- Advocate pushes IRS on nonprofits’ tax forms
- Supreme Court to take up mandated dues for public employees unions in next term
- Charter lapses for Export-Import Bank; conservatives vow to block revival in House
- FDA review of OxyContin abuse-deterrent version put on hold by maker
- Emails from Clinton’s first year as secretary of State out
- New York prison chief, 11 employees put on leave in escape
- NSA resumes collection of phone data
- Nike’s chairman plans to step aside
- Ten Commandments monument orderered removed from Oklahoma Capitol grounds
- U.S., Cuba to announce plan to open embassies