Washington: The FBI kept close tabs on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s only daughter after her high profile defection to the United States in 1967, newly declassified documents have revealed, gathering details from informants about how her arrival had affected international relations.
The documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act following Lana Peters` death last year at age 85 in a Wisconsin nursing home. Her defection to the West during the Cold War embarrassed the ruling communists and made her a best-selling author, while her move was a public relations coup for the U.S, ABC News reports.
According the report, the documents claim that on April 28, 1967, a memo details a conversation with a confidential source who said the defection would have a "profound effect" for anyone else thinking of trying to leave the Soviet Union.
“It cannot help but have a profound effect upon anyone who is considering a similar solution to an unsatisfactory life in a Soviet bloc country,” according to the memo, prominently marked "SECRET" at the top and bottom.
An unnamed informant in another secret memo from that month said Soviet authorities were not disturbed by the defection because it would "further discredit Stalin’s name and family,” the documents claim.
The documents also state that when Peters defected, she was known as Svetlana Alliluyeva, but she went by Lana Peters following her 1970 marriage to William Wesley Peters, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Peters said her defection was partly motivated by the Soviet authorities` poor treatment of her late husband, Brijesh Singh, a prominent figure in the Indian Communist Party, the report said.
Stalin, a dictator held responsible for sending millions of his countrymen to their deaths in labor camps, led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced him three years later as a brutal despot, the report added.