She’s got her dedushka’s eyes — but this gun-toting, punk-rocking gal is as American as apple pie, although she does love to cook borscht. Tattooed Chrese Evans, 44, of Portland, Oregon — a Buddhist who runs an antique shop — is far removed from her notorious grandfather, Joseph Stalin, the former Soviet Union’s ruthless “man of steel.”
Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin’s only daughter, defected from the Soviet Union in 1966 and married Evans’ future father, architect William Wesley Peters. “Stalin for me was one of the three people who won the Second World War — Churchill, Roosevelt and him,” she told the Express of the UK. “Then my mother asked me to listen to her. This is when I found out about his crimes.”
Millions were killed during Stalin’s brutal regime from 1929 to 1953, when he ruled with an iron first as he transformed the USSR into a military superpower. The bleach blonde is the youngest of Alliluyeva’s three children — the only child from her third marriage to Peters — and was born Olga, but chose to change her name.
Her mother, who was married to Peters for three years, died of cancer five years ago at age 85. “My mother’s whole life has been about living this [her association with Stalin] down and trying to lead a new life of her own,” Evans once reportedly said. “Of course, she abhors what Stalin did,” she told the Daily Mail. “But there was a period when so many people held her responsible for his actions that she actually started to think maybe it was true. It’s so unjust.”
Evans posted pictures of herself in social media clutching a machine gun and with a bullet belt slung over her shoulder — along with more conventional images, such as homemade Russian soup. “Borscht from scratch. Love making it, feels like Mom was right next to me,” she wrote. She said “nyet” to a career working for the IRS and decided to start her own business.
“One had the prospect of excitement, the other one was cool,” she told the Daily Mirror. Evans expressed her love for her mom.
“She was always proud of me, when I hadn’t even really accomplished anything, the unconditional love, which I haven’t felt from anybody else, ever, because she was my mother, and that warmth of a friendship, which I probably will look for, for the rest of my life in other people,” Evans said.