DONE!! It took me about 12 days to finish this 600 pages piece. I’m back!
You know that question.. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be? And basics would usually answer eye rolling stuff like Jesus, and such? Well, although Dali, Nietzsche, Twain, or Freud are few the figures that fascinates me, I think before any of them I would have loved to meet Svetlana Alliluyeva.
Svetlana was a brilliant intellectual woman, compassionate, humble, intelligent and brave, but she was emotionally unstable and incapable to love herself before others.
Probably not surprising, having been fated to live her life in the shadow of her father… One of the most ruthless and cold-blooded dictators in recorded history, the man who defeated Nazi Germany and killed millions of his own, the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union: Josef Stalin.
Born in the early years of the Soviet Union, Svetlana Stalin spent her youth inside the walls of the Kremlin.
Communist Party privilege protected her from the mass starvation and purges that haunted Russia, but she did not escape tragedy, the loss of everyone she loved, including her mother, two brothers, aunts and uncles, and a lover twice her age, deliberately exiled to Siberia by her father.
As she gradually learned about the extent of her father’s brutality after his death, Svetlana could no longer keep quiet and in 1967 shocked the world by defecting to the United States, leaving her two children behind.
But although she was never a part of her father’s regime, she could not escape his legacy.
The biographer really brought Svetlana to life, I felt I was there in the room watching her every move, no, actually I what I felt was deeper. Since I tend to put in myself in someone’s else shoes, I felt Svetlana’s pain, but mostly her frustrations and that feeling of complete loneliness.
The last chapters were hard to read for me, it made me a bit upset how in her quest to erase her dad’s name from her life she choose seclusion and kind of abandoned herself to the point of dying poor.
At the same time it’s admirable (yet foolish) how someone who was somehow a “princess” in the Soviet Union and had and could have anything, rejected all luxury and opulence for the sake of dignity.
This is one the best book I have read in long time.
It is an incredible story and to read it at such an important juncture in history with the ascendancy of Putin (which Svetlana predicted and despised ’cause she said Putin idolised her father and was fashioning himself after him) and the insanity of Trump’s election.
Nobody knew and understood the Kremlin more than this lady.
A that alone was already a real tragedy.