Thursday, April 1, 2021

‘Alliluyeva’ - who ? - when Stalin's daugther defected from USSR

A few decades ago ! – there was cold war between USA and USSR – though India reportedly was neutral, it was leaning more towards Russia .. .. that was the policy !  .. .. .. the disintegration of USSR and the occurrences have altered the global scenario.



India is finally at the table with five other countries to decide on the roadmap for peace in Afghanistan after six months of hectic behind-the-scenes diplomacy, as reported in The Indian Express. This mechanism has been suggested by Washington even as Moscow is learnt to have suggested a plan that kept New Delhi out. Sources said that Russian interlocutors — amid growing proximity between Moscow and Beijing — suggested that Russia, China, US, Pakistan and Iran should be at the table. The United States called out Russia for its disinformation campaign against COVID-19 vaccines made in the US.

Recently, the Global Engagement Center, an extension of the State Department entrusted with the duty of monitoring foreign propaganda said that Russian intelligence was linked to four platforms running a campaign against vaccines. US said that Moscow is putting lives at risk.  The four platforms "included disinformation about two of the vaccines that have now been approved by the FDA in this country," State Department spokesman Ned Price said to reporters. "It is very clear that Russia is up to its old tricks, and in doing so is potentially putting people at risk by spreading disinformation about vaccines that we know to be saving lives every day," Price said.

Way back on  9 March 1967, Alliluyeva approached the United States Embassy in New Delhi. After she stated her desire to defect in writing, the United States Ambassador Chester Bowles offered her political asylum and a new life in the United States. The Indian government feared condemnation by the Soviet Union, so she was immediately sent from India to Rome. When the Qantas flight arrived in Rome, Alliluyeva immediately travelled farther to Geneva, Switzerland, where the government arranged her a tourist visa and accommodation for six weeks. She travelled to the United States, leaving her adult children in the USSR. Upon her arrival in New York City in April 1967, she gave a press conference denouncing her father's legacy and the Soviet government.  Wonder why this is important and who ‘Alliluyeva’ is ?!?

Once touted at 20th century's important person -  Stalin was the subject of a pervasive personality cult within the international Marxist–Leninist movement, which revered him as a champion of the working class and socialism. Hia  totalitarian government has been widely condemned for carrying out mass repression, ethnic cleansing, wide-scale deportation, and hundreds of thousands of executions and engineering famines that killed millions.

Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva (1926 – 2011) later known as Lana Peters, was the youngest child and only daughter of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his second wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva. In 1967, she caused an international furore when she defected to the United States and, in 1978, became a naturalized citizen. From 1984 to 1986, she briefly returned to the Soviet Union and had her Soviet citizenship reinstated.

Soon after the formation of the Soviet Union, emigration restrictions were put in place to keep citizens from leaving the various countries of the Soviet Socialist Republics, though some defections still occurred. During and after World War II, similar restrictions were put in place in non-Soviet countries of the Eastern Bloc,  which consisted of the Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe (except Communist Yugoslavia) and the People's Republic of Mongolia.  On August 13, 1961, a barbed-wire barrier, which would become the Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin, was erected by East Germany. 

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin  [1878 -  1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who ruled the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953. He served as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he consolidated power to become the Soviet Union's de facto dictator by the 1930s. His own policies are known as Stalinism.  

On 9 March 1967, Alliluyeva approached the United States Embassy in New Delhi. After she stated her desire to defect in writing, the United States Ambassador Chester Bowles offered her political asylum and a new life in the United States. The Indian government feared condemnation by the Soviet Union, so she was immediately sent from India to Rome. When the Qantas flight arrived in Rome, Alliluyeva immediately travelled farther to Geneva, Switzerland, where the government arranged her a tourist visa and accommodation for six weeks. She travelled to the United States, leaving her adult children in the USSR. Upon her arrival in New York City in April 1967, she gave a press conference denouncing her father's legacy and the Soviet government.   In a 2010 interview, she described herself as "quite happy here [Wisconsin]". Her children who were left behind in the Soviet Union did not maintain contact with her.    On 9 November 1932 Stalin's mother shot herself.  To conceal the suicide, the children were told that she had died of peritonitis, a complication from appendicitis.  At the age of sixteen, Alliluyeva fell in love with Aleksei Kapler, a Jewish Soviet filmmaker who was 38 years old. Her father vehemently disapproved of the relationship and Kapler was sentenced to five years of exile in 1943 to Vorkuta and was then sentenced again in 1948 to five years in labor camps near Inta.

Alliluyeva was first married in 1944 to Grigory Morozov, a student at Moscow University's Institute of International Affairs.  Her father did not like Morozov, who was Jewish, though he never met him.  The couple divorced in 1947 due to personal reasons. Alliluyeva's second marriage was arranged for her to Yuri Zhdanov, the son of Stalin's right-hand man Andrei Zhdanov and himself one of Stalin's close associates. The couple married early in 1949.   From 1970 to 1973, she was married to American architect William Wesley Peters (an acolyte of Frank Lloyd Wright), with whom she had a daughter. After her father's death in 1953, Alliluyeva worked as a lecturer and translator in Moscow. Her training was in History and Political Thought, a subject she was forced to study by her father, although her true passion was literature and writing. In 1963, while in hospital for a tonsillectomy, Alliluyeva met Kunwar Brajesh Singh, an Indian Communist  visiting Moscow. Singh was  gravely ill with bronchiectasis and emphysema. They were not allowed to marry. He died the following year, in 1966. She was allowed to travel to India to take his ashes to his family to pour into the Ganges river. In an interview on 26 April 1967, she referred to Singh as her husband but also stated that they were never allowed to marry officially.

History .. .. mostly unknown to many of us.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9.3.2021. 

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