Friday, May 21, 2021

Joseph Stalin

Born on December 18, 1879, in Gori, Georgia, Joseph Stalin rose to power as General Secretary of the Communist Party, becoming a Soviet dictator upon Vladimir Lenin's death. The son of Besarion Jughashvili, a cobbler, and Ketevan Geladze, a washerwoman, Joseph was a frail child. At age 7, he contracted smallpox, leaving his face scarred and his left arm slightly deformed.

Joseph's mother, a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, wanted him to become a priest. In 1888 Stalin began attending the Gori Church School, where he learned Russian and excelled at his studies, winning a scholarship to the Tbilisi Theological Seminary in the Georgian capital in 1894.

A year later, Joseph came in contact with Messame Dassy, a secret organization that supported Georgian independence from Russia. While employed as an accountant in Tbilisi, Stalin spread Marxist propaganda among railway workers on behalf of the local Social Democratic organization.

After moving to the seaport of Bat'umi, where he organized a large workers' demonstration in 1902, Stalin was hunted down and arrested by the imperial police. A year later he was sentenced to exile in the Russian region of Siberia. He soon managed to escape, however, and was back in Georgia by early 1904.

Stalin joined up with the Bolshevik revolutionaries. This was an underground group of people that followed the communist writings of Karl Marx and were led by Vladimir Lenin. After the Bolsheviks seized power during the October Revolution and created a one-party state under Lenin's newly renamed Communist Party in 1917, Stalin joined its governing Politburo.

Joseph Stalin became leader of the Soviet Union after the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, died in 1924.

Joseph Stalin was general secretary of the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1922 to 1953. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower. However, he ruled by terror, and millions of his own citizens died during his brutal reign.

Stalin forced rapid industrialization and the collectivization of agricultural land, resulting in millions dying from famine while others were sent to camps. His Red Army helped defeat Nazi Germany during WWII.

In death as in life, Joseph Stalin was both revered and feared. The day after his death, 5 March 1953, 109 people died in the crush to pay their last respects.
Joseph Stalin

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