No, Stalin Was Not Really Such a Good Dad

Josef Stalin's last surviving child, Lana Peters, née Svetlana Stalina, has died. She was in Wisconsin, of all places, where she'd been living on and off since 1986; unsurprisingly, she had a hard, shitty life, thanks in no small part to her father, who was nearly as brutal a father as he was a dictator. But don't take our word for it!


Take the word of The New York Times. Stalin on...

  • ...romance: "Stalin had sent her first love, a Jewish filmmaker, to Siberia for 10 years [...] A year after her father broke up her first romance, she told him she wanted to marry another Jewish man, Grigory Morozov, a fellow student. Stalin slapped her and refused to meet him.


  • ...following one's dreams: "She wanted to study literature at Moscow University, but Stalin demanded that she study history. She did. After graduation, again following her father's wishes, she became a teacher[.]"


  • ...daddy-daughter dates: "Nikita S. Khrushchev, Stalin's successor as Soviet leader, wrote in his memoirs about the New Year's party in 1952 when Stalin grabbed Svetlana by the hair and forced her to dance."

The scars of Stalin's horrible parenting (and, likely, the undue attention Peters got as his daughter) stayed with her for the rest of her life, which took her from the Soviet Union to the U.S. in a high-profile defection, and then back to the Soviet Union (where she denounced the U.S. as strenuously as she'd earlier denounced the U.S.S.R.) and then, again, back to the U.S. Her politics were difficult to pin down ("Ms. Peters... had registered as a Republican and donated $500 to the conservative magazine National Review, saying it was her favorite publication"), but she liked to read nonfiction, and wrote two memoirs. She's survived by two daughters, one of whom lives in Oregon under a different name and refuses to speak to the press.


No, Stalin Was Not Really Such a Good Dad