Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume
. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference
that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana
became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring
that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again
return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin
. Mrs. Peters passed away
from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 28, 2011 -
is often revered as the deadliest sniper in history. Using nothing more than a Mosin-Nagant
sniper rifle with stock iron sights, Häyhä is credited with felling 542 Soviet soldiers during the Finnish Winter War
(with as many as 150 more kills by SMG). Nicknamed "The White Death"
, Häyhä spent weeks in snow-covered forests, enduring sub-zero temperatures while sniping Russian officers, weapons crews and snipers. The Soviets placed a bounty on Häyhä's head, utilizing counter-snipers and artillery fire in an attempt to kill him. Over the course of only three months, the 5'3" Häyhä (a farmer by trade) killed upwards of 800 of the Red Army soldiers deployed to Finland. Despite eventually being shot in the face
by a Russian sharpshooter, Häyhä recovered and passed away in 2002 at the age of 96.
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo
on Jan 28, 2010 -
has died. ( BBC
) The great author and opponent of totalitarianism lived to see the end of Communism in the Soviet Union and almost everywhere else. He survived WWII as a commander in the Soviet army before being put into gulags where he spent 20 years. He went on to write the Gulag Archipelago
and win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970.
posted by sien
on Aug 3, 2008 -