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I'm working on cleaning this up and expanding it a bit. If you could put comments on the effort on its Talk page I'd appreciate it. Snarglefoop (talk) 08:57, June 2, 2018 (UTC)
StalinDM2109 468x551

The leader of the USSR and the man who stopped the dictatorship of Nazi Germany.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the ruler of the USSR from Lenin’s death in 1924 until he died in 1953. Under his regime the Great Terror was carried out killing several hundred thousand.

During Stalin’s tenure, the GDP of the USSR increased from 231,886 million 1990 USD to 569,260 million 1990 USD[1]. This was despite the fact that it was not until 1949 that Soviet economy recovered from the impact of World War II.[2]

Stalin had a role in Mao Zedong's rise to power in China. He was also instrumental in the creation of a number of Communist governments in Eastern Europe, which were largely modeled after the government of the Soviet Union.

Many of his polices were abandoned after his death. Stalin's policies have been blamed for the deaths of some 20 million people in the Soviet Union.[3] He was the subject of a substantial "cult of personality", and many people still view him very positively.

1878-1917: Early Life

Stalin was born as Iosif Vissarionovich dze Jughashvili in Gori, Georgia, an area of the Russian Empire particularly oppressed by the Tsarist government, owing to the nationalism of many Georgians. He was educated from the time he reached the age of 10, being probably one of the poorest pupils in his school, as well as one of the smartest. At 16 he enrolled in a seminary, but in 1898 Stalin joined the Social Democrats, the organization which included both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Soon thereafter, he was expelled from the seminary, after being disciplined several times for possessing forbidden literature[4].

Stalin's Mug Shot

Stalin after one of his arrests at the hands of the Okhrana (circa 1902-1910).

Stalin soon became a very active revolutionary, and in 1901 the Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana, attempted to arrest the Social Democratic leaders in Tbilisi, including Stalin (now operating under the revolutionary pseudonym Koba[5]). Stalin narrowly managed to escape arrest[6], but he was not so lucky during the following year. Stalin was organizing strikes at an oil refinery in Batumi, and, when some of the workers involved were arrested, a large demonstration which was fired on by the Cossacks[7]. For this, Koba was sentenced to internal exile (in Siberia). He arrived in Siberia on Dec. 9th, 1903, and escaped on January 17th, 1904. It was during this time that Koba joined the Bolshevik faction of the Social Democrats. During the Russian revolution of 1905, Koba was very active. He not only organized demonstrations, but he also obtained weapons and organized a Bolshevik guerrilla force. These activities were so successful that Stalin was involved in the January 1906 Bolshevik conference, and the April 1906 Fourth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Party. In 1908 the Okhrana again arrested Stalin, who had been very active in robbing the nobility in order to gain funds for the Party[8]. He escaped after seven months, the delay being due to a case of typhus[9], but was arrested again in 1910. After yet again escaping, he was made a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee in 1912[10]. Soon after he was arrested, but Koba escaped very quickly[11]. Stalin, however, was arrested in 1913, and this time sentenced to internal exile in Turukhansk, north of the Arctic Circle, the climate extremes of which prevented escape[12]. He did not leave Turukhansk until the February Revolution of 1917. ----



  1. Young Stalin, Simon Sebag Montefiore, 2007 (Knopf, ISBN 978-1-4000-4465-8), pp 95-96. See also, online New York Times review of the text.
  2. This represents an average growth rate in constant dollars of about 3% per annum. Note that Stalin's rule spanned the Great Depression as well as World War II, both of which which presumably impacted the average growth rate.
  3. According to The Black Book of Communism, Courtois et al, 1999 (English) (Harvard University Press), Stalin was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people. A summary and discussion of the Black Book is available on Wikipedia. Courtois's figures are disputed, however.
  4. Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives, Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky, 1997 (Anchor, ISBN 9780385479547), pp 40-41.
  5. Radzinsky, 1997, p.57
  6. Radzinsky, 1997, p.65-66
  7. Maddison, 2003, p.98-99
  8. Montefiore, 2007, p.62-63
  9. Radzinsky, 1997, p.43 ----
  10. Montefiore, 2007, p.243
  11. Montefiore, 2007, p.261
  12. Radzinsky, p.77 ----