Not since Nikita Khrushchev visited the United States in 1959 have Americans heaped so much attention upon a Soviet citizen. Khrushchev showered his listeners with Scripture but disavowed the existence of God. The latest Soviet sensation, the 42-year-old daughter of the late Premier Joseph Stalin, refers to the Bible only obliquely but affirms belief in deity. And religion, she says, is a major factor in her repudiation of Communism.
“I was brought up in a family where there was never any talk about God,” says Mrs. Svetlana Alliluyeva. “But when I became a grown-up person I found that it was impossible to exist without God in one’s heart.”
Mrs. Alliluyeva says she was baptized in Moscow in May of 1962 by a Russian Orthodox priest whom she identified as Father Nikolai. He has since died.
“I was baptized in Moscow in Russian Orthodox Church, but it doesn’t mean that I prefer this church to others,” she added. “It was just the following of tradition, following the religion to which my parents and my ancestors belonged. I also feel the great sympathy with modern Hinduism of Rama Krishna and Girikananda and I feel greatest sympathy with Roman Catholic Church because in Switzerland I have met a lot of fine people who were Catholics and I also feel sympathy to which you know here as Christian Science. I don’t feel much controversy between these things and I do not want to attach certain label to my religious feeling.”
Mrs. Alliluyeva spelled out her convictions in an hour-long televised conference with newsmen in New York. She was flanked by lawyers Edward S. Greenbaum and Alan U. Schwartz, who screened and posed questions submitted by reporters in writing. More details were promised with the publication of a book she has written.
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