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Svetlana Alliluyeva

  • It seems to me that in our time faith in God is the same thing as faith in good and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

  • Moscow seethes and bubbles and gasps for air. It's always thirsting for something new, the newest events, the latest sensation. Everyone wants to be the first to know. It's the rhythm of life today.

  • Everything on our tormented earth that is alive and breathes, that blossoms and bears fruit, lives only by virtue of and in the name of Truth and Good.

  • History is a stern judge.

  • I lay down on a camp bed in the farmyard under the open sky. The stars twinkled and I wanted to weep from joy at being alive and breathing those sweet-smelling grasses and seeing those stars above me.

  • The one good thing about not seeing you is that I can write you letters.

  • On, those ever-changing moods of Moscow! How swiftly they go from black to white, from one extreme to another, from friendship to accusations, from adoration to hatred, from the permissive 'da' to that annihilating 'nyet.' Those eternal swings from a thaw to a freeze, whims that disregard their own rules, norms, and regulations!

  • Trees and flowers were often more meaningful to me than people. They always helped me, consoled me, giving the soul a chance to believe once more than the world was beautiful and sensible, that the mad absurdities and cruelties of men were against the laws of Nature and the Universal Mind; that sooner or later violence would suffer utter defeat on this Earth. No words collected in books were more effectively convincing to me than foliage, clouds, rippling waters, rain.

  • For twenty-seven years I was witness to the spiritual deterioration of my own father, watching day after day how everything human in him left him and how gradually he turned into a grim monument to his own self ...

  • When you have once gained sight, it is impossible to feign blindness.

  • It became clear to the whole world that a totalitarian regime could neither accuse nor transform itself: suicide was not in its nature, it could only kill others.

  • Why did Americans smile so often? Was it out of politeness or because of a gay disposition? Whatever it was, I for one had never been spoiled with smiles. I found it very pleasant! ... I was beginning to understand that with Americans smiling was, as with healthy infants, a natural need. And my reaction was to respond in the same way.

  • I like old people, just as I like old trees: in their shadow there is freshness and peace, one admires them, and around them everything is so calm.

  • Go to meet destiny halfway and destiny will come to your assistance.

  • A sense of religion is something one is born with, like a musical ear. One can develop it, cultivate it, enrich it, but if one hasn't got its seed to begin with, no powers of the intellect, no sophistication of 'evidence' can awaken it.

  • The melody of a religious feeling is the music of life itself. To those who do not hear it I could not explain what it sounds like ... If the spark isn't smoldering somewhere inside one, no efforts can ever bring it into existence. Water cannot catch fire.

  • Religion means a binding. If a man does not feel himself a part of the Universe, and does not hear its pulse, he is not religious. But once he has heard that pulse, he will be hearing it always. Every day his life will replenish itself from this inexhaustible source, eternal and powerful as the sun.

  • Nowhere have I found words more powerful than those in the Psalms. Their fervid poetry cleanses one, gives one strength, brings hope in moments of darkness. Makes one look critically into oneself, convict oneself, and wash one's heart clean with one's own tears. It is the ever-burning fire of love, of gratitude, humility, and truth.

  • ... all large cities are alike at night.

  • The American spring is like the country itself: abundant, rich, flowing over you like a full tide. ... Azaleas were suddenly ablaze. White dogwoods stood like brides in the wood — these trees of all colors were new to me; one does not meet them in Europe, and dogwood cannot even be transplanted to other continents. White and pink magnolias, yellowish rhododendrons, all of them lived happily side by side with our ordinary lilacs and lilies of the valley — the Russian symbols of spring.

Svetlana Alliluyeva, Russian-born U.S. writer

(1925 - 2011)

Full name: Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva. Her father was Joseph Stalin; she defected to the U.S.