Stalin's daughter dead at 85

Nov. 28, 2011 at 5:41 PM
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RICHLAND CENTER, Wis., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Lana Peters, the daughter of the brutal Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, has died of colon cancer in Wisconsin, a county official said. She was 85.

Peters died Nov. 22, Richland County attorney Benjamin Southwick told The New York Times. The newspaper said efforts to contact her daughter in Portland, Ore., were unsuccessful. No details on funeral arrangements were available.

Born Svetlana Stalina, Peters defected to the United States in 1967 but returned to Moscow in 1984, denouncing the West.

Peters, who wrote two best-selling autobiographies, spent the years after her father's death in 1953 sampling various religions.

"You can't regret your fate," the Times quoted Peters as once saying, "although I do regret my mother didn't marry a carpenter." By 1983, however, she recanted her condemnation of her father, acknowledging he "would have shot me for what I have done."

Peters, who had married twice in the Soviet Union and had two children, escaped Russia in 1967 after getting permission to take the ashes of her dead fiance, Indian communist Brijesh Singh, back to India. She evaded her KGB escort and took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, becoming the most high-profile Soviet defector since ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev in 1961, the Times said.

In 1970 she married William Wesley Peters, who had been chief apprentice to architect Frank Lloyd Wright. They divorced in 1973 and Lana Peters was granted custody of their 8-month-old daughter Olga, who now goes by the name Chrese Evans.

During her return to Moscow in the mid-'80s, relations with her two elder children deteriorated, the Times said. Peters and Olga moved to Tblisi, Georgia, and then returned to the United States in 1986.

Peters is survived by Evans, and her older daughter, Yekaterina Zhdanov. Her son, Iosif Morozov, died in 2008, the Times reported.

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