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Details & Cataloguing

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian Books

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London

Stalin, Svetlana Alilluyeva
SERIES OF TWENTY LONG AUTOGRAPH LETTERS IN RUSSIAN BY STALIN'S DAUGHTER, SIGNED ("SVETLANA"), WITH TWELVE PHOTOGRAPHS, 1985-1992
to her school-friend Yura Gerchikov in Stockholm, and to Yura's daughter Katya, about her life in Wisconsin and London with her daughter Olga Peters, her alienation from the USSR and her children there (Katya, who refused contact or to permit contact with her granddaughter, and Joseph, who joined the KGB), her fond hope that the Communist Party might disappear for ever, her Russian pension and her financial troubles, God, Disneyworld, friends in Europe, the photographs showing Svetlana and Olga together, their house in Spring Green and Olga's wedding

over 60 pages, mainly 4to, one written on 5 postcards of Wisconsin, one letter on a Christmas card, one other incomplete, 10 autograph envelopes (some return-addressed as Lana Peters), 12 photographs (inscribed by her on verso), Tblisi, Spring Green (Madison WI) and London, 30 June 1985 to 4 February 1992, tears to one letter


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Catalogue Note

The letters present correspondence between Svetlana Alilluyeva (1926-2011) and her former male school-friend Yura (the name is a diminutive of Yuri) dating from 1985. Her primary topic of discussion is her life in the United States after she has been granted political asylum. She talks a lot about her loneliness; she eventually asks Yura for his daughter’s address so that she can write her letters. Besides her life in the small town of Spring Green, which she herself classifies as ‘middle-class’, Svetlana addresses her relationship with daughter Katya, from her second marriage to Yuri Zhdanov, the son of Stalin's henchman Andrei Zhdanov. She is distraught as Katya refuses to keep contact and refuses to let Svetlana see her granddaughter. In one of the letters to Yura’s daughter, she writes, "I can not, can not believe why she really hates me...", and then "I love her so much and think about her and my granddaughter Anuta a lot". Svetlana then writes dismissively of her son Joseph, "I don’t think about my son at all. He completely sold out to KGB".

Towards 1987 Svetlana speaks more and more about her financial struggles, being sixty-one and unemployed is difficult and her 18-month trip to USSR has alienated her completely from the small circle of friends that she knew. Though, implying her life in the US is far from easy, she concludes, "Please don’t think that I want to return again. The road there is closed for me forever…". As her correspondence between Yura's daughter Katya continues, she asks her to reach out to her relatives and her daughter. In her letters to Yura she talks about nature in Michigan and her daughter Olga, whom she sent to study in an English boarding school. She further discusses that she herself would like to move there, prevented by her finances.

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian Books

|
London