She was the only daughter of Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union from the mid-1920 s until his death in 1953. Stalin also had two sons, but she was his favourite. It was also the one that defected to the United States.
His life was a paradox, between obedience and rebellion. And as a result, nothing was easy for Svetlana.
Even to change her name she had to ask permission from the Kremlin, where many criticized her for violating Stalin’s memory.
“She lived at the heart of her father ‘s name throughout her life , “ says Rosemary Sullivan, author of the biography Stalin’s daughter: the extraordinary and tumultuous life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, awarded with the Plutarch Prize, Biography 2016 and named book of the year by the Daily Mail of the United Kingdom.
According to Sullivan, who researched Svetlana’s life for four years in several countries and interviewed dozens of relatives, friends and acquaintances, Stalin’s daughter was, nevertheless, a fighter.
“She was a woman with imagination, passionate about writing, frustrated, and imprisoned in her father’s name, she never stopped struggling against that, her determination was impressive,” she tells Conspiracy Talk News Team, who interviews her participation in the Hay Festival Cartagena, which takes place this week in the Colombian city.
Svetlana was born on February 26, 1926. She was the youngest of Stalin’s children.
She inherited the reddish hair and blue eyes of the maternal grandmother, Olga.
She was the Kremlin princess , although she claimed that her life was quite modest.
The show of affection in the family was scarce. And happiness did not reign in the house.
But J. Stalin had a weakness for his daughter. He called her “little sparrow” or “little butterfly”.
“The only person who could soften Stalin was Svetlana,” said a friend of Nadya, Svetlana’s mother.
She was 6 and a half years old when Nadya committed suicide.
Svetlana used to say that the death of her mother marked a before and an after in her life.
As an adult, Svetlana concluded that she had committed suicide because she believed there was no way out of stalins cruelty .
The game of power
Stalin seems to have understood the psychological impact on his daughter after Nadya’s death.
The nicknames, he used it as a sign of affection, Stalin created a game between them that lasted until Svetlana turned 16.
When she asked her father for something, he would reply: “Why are you asking? Give an order, and I will do it immediately . ” She was the one in charge and he was her secretary.
Svetlana left notes with her orders taped to the wall near the telephone. Other ” junior secretaries “ of the Kremlin also participated in the game , such as government ministers Lazar Kaganovich and Vyacheslav Molotov who had no choice but to play.
My father could not bear to see tears “
Disappearance of people
Svetlana recalls that in his childhood, she could not understand how people ” just disappeared “ and no one gave any explanations.
In 1939, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) tried to get rid of Alexandra Andreevna, Svetlana’s nanny, accusing her of being “unreliable”.
Svetlana begged her father not to take her away. “My father could not bear to see tears,” Svetlana wrote in one of her books. “Maybe it was the only thing he could not tolerate,” Sullivan analyses.
The author points out another phrase that Stalin’s daughter wrote in one of her books: “The life of a man depended entirely on a word from my father” .
From idol to villain
Stalin was proud of his daughter. She had become one of the small ” warriors of communism . “
As an adult, she reflected on “how that ideology demanded the censorship of any private thought through mass hypnosis”. She called it “the mentality of the slaves.”