Family History

The Lessons of Stalin's Daughter

When Stalin’s last child, Svetlana Stalina, died this week, she left the world to ponder the legacy of one of the world’s bloodiest mass murderers. In the Financial Times, historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore writes that even Svetlana, who was publicly estranged from her father, left out part of her story. “Her father adored her, always kissing her, feeding her from his plate, comparing her red hair and freckles to his own mother Keke.” She later broke off the relationship when she learned her mother had committed suicide and when she fell in love with a Jewish screenwriter. “Even the indulgence of paternal love cannot withstand the autocratic craving for total control."