Svetlana Alliluyeva, the only daughter of Joseph Stalin, has returned to the Soviet Union 17 years after she defected to the United States and repudiated the Soviet system.
An official announcement issued this afternoon said the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, or parliament, had restored Soviet citizenship to Alliluyeva, 58. It had been taken from her in 1969.
The Presidium also conferred Soviet citizenship on her 13-year-old daughter, Olga, who was born in the United States. Olga's father is an American architect, William Wesley Peters, whom Alliluyeva married in 1970. The marriage broke up two years later.
Alliluyeva's defection in 1967 caused a worldwide sensation and caused a major propaganda blow to the Kremlin. Her return created a considerable stir here tonight as the official announcement was read over the main television evening news broadcast and published in the government newspaper Izvestia.
The circumstances of her return to Moscow were not disclosed, and it was not possible to reach her or members of her family.
Alliluyeva's former husband Peters, reached in Spring Green, Wis., said he is concerned that she "may have rushed into a decision she may regret" by returning to Moscow, United Press International reported. He said news of Alliluyeva's decision was "kind of a shocker."
Alliluyeva seems to have arrived here within the past 10 days. She has a son from her first marriage, Joseph Morozov, 39, who is a physician and head of an experimental surgical laboratory in Moscow. Her daughter from her second marriage, Yekatarina Zhdanova, is 34.
Both children had publicly dissociated themselves from their mother following her defection and sharp Soviet criticism of her actions.
Perhaps the harshest attack on Alliluyeva was made by Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin during a 1967 press conference at the United Nations in New York.
"Alliluyeva," Kosygin said, "is a morally unstable person, and she is a sick person, and we can only pity those who wish to use her for a political aim of discrediting the Soviet country." That same year Alliluyeva destroyed her Soviet passport at the Pennsylvania farm of George F. Kennan, historian and former U.S. ambassador to Moscow.
Although she later became a U.S. citizen, Alliluyeva was reported to have become increasingly disillusioned with the United States. She moved to Britain two years ago and settled near Cambridge, where Olga was attending a boarding school.
Reuter reported from London that Alliluyeva told John Woods, the headmaster of the Quaker school attended by her daughter, on Oct. 22 that she would soon be visiting Moscow.
Political observers here drew parallels with the case of Soviet journalist Oleg Bitov, who defected to Britain last year but suddenly appeared in Moscow this past summer. He said at a news conference that he was kidnaped by British intelligence officers while visiting Venice and that subsequently he pretended to be a dissident to gain their confidence and than make his way back to the Soviet Union.
There were several other publicized cases recently of Soviet defectors returning home.
It is highly unusual for the Soviet government to restore citizenship to anyone who had been deprived of it.
But Alliluyeva, as Stalin's daughter, is a special case. Her return must have delighted the leadership offering as it did possibilities for propaganda advantages.
In her books "Twenty Letters to a Friend" and "Only One Year," she provided facts and insights about her father and the system he created from her unique position at the heart of the old Soviet establishment.
Although she denounced the system and described the Soviet Union as a "land of uninterrupted pain and trauma," Alliluyeva did not completely denounce her father. He was, she said, a victim of himself, blinded and misled by his associates.
Her life was difficult despite the fact that she was a Communist princess. Her mother committed suicide when Svetlana was 6, her brother Yakov died in a German prison and her other brother Vassily was an alcoholic and later died.
She married and divorced two Russians and then, in 1963, began living with Indian Communist Brijesh Singh, who was gravely ill. There are conflicting reports over whether they were permitted to marry.
Alliluyeva left the Soviet Union in 1966, accompanying Singh's ashes to his native India. She appeared at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in March of 1967 seeking asylum in the United States. Most of the time she lived in Princeton, N.J., before moving to England.
The Associated Press reported the following from London:
Alliluyeva was quoted by the London Observer in March as saying that she yearned to see her son, daughter and two grandchildren in Moscow but that she did not regret living in the West.
"Anyway, I could not go back even if I wanted to because of my young daughter -- she's as American as apple pie," she was quoted as saying.
Donald Denman, a Cambridge University professor and close friend of Alliluyeva, said she had given no indication that she was returning to Moscow and that he found it hard to believe that she had applied for Soviet citizenship.
Malcolm Muggeridge, who filmed a television program about her life for the British Broadcasting Corp. in 1982, said of Alliluyeva: "I had an idea she might go back. I think she is fed up with America and fed up with here.