Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin
Иосиф Сталин ( Russian)
CroppedStalin1943.jpg
Stalin at the Tehran Conference in 1943
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
3 April 1922 – 16 October 1952
Preceded by Vyacheslav Molotov
(as Responsible Secretary)
Succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev
(as First Secretary)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
In office
6 May 1941 – 5 March 1953
First Deputies Nikolai Voznesensky
Vyacheslav Molotov
Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded by Vyacheslav Molotov
Succeeded by Georgy Malenkov
Personal details
Born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili [1]
(1878-12-18)18 December 1878
Gori, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 5 March 1953(1953-03-05) (aged 74)
Kuntsevo Dacha, Kuntsevo, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Resting place Lenin's Mausoleum, Moscow (9 March 1953 – 31 October 1961)
Kremlin Wall Necropolis, Moscow (from 31 October 1961)
Nationality Soviet, Georgian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Ekaterine Svanidze
(1906–07)
Nadezhda Alliluyeva
(1919–32)
Children Yakov Dzhugashvili
Vasily Dzhugashvili
Svetlana Alliluyeva
Parents Besarion Jughashvili and Ekaterine Geladze
Signature
Military service
Nickname(s) Koba
Allegiance   Soviet Union
Service/branch Soviet Armed Forces
Years of service 1943–53
Rank Marshal of the Soviet Union (1943–45)
Generalissimus of the Soviet Union (1945–53)
Commands All (supreme commander)
Battles/wars World War II

Leader of the Soviet Union

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin [a] ( n/; [2] 18 December 1878 [3] – 5 March 1953) was a Soviet revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He governed the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. In this capacity, he served as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1953 and as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952. Ideologically a Marxist and a Leninist, he helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism-Leninism while his own policies and theories became known as Stalinism.

Born to a poor Georgian family in Gori, Russian Empire, Stalin was educated at Tiflis Spiritual Seminary. He joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, edited Pravda, and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction via robberies, kidnappings, and protection rackets. Repeatedly arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917 and established a one-party state, Stalin sat on the Politburo during the Russian Civil War and helped establish the Soviet Union. Despite Lenin's objections, Stalin consolidated power and opposition was removed. During Stalin's tenure, the concept of " Socialism in One Country" became a central tenet of Soviet society, and a cult of personality developed around him. Lenin's New Economic Policy was replaced with a centralised command economy, industrialisation and collectivisation. These rapidly transformed the country from an agrarian society into an industrial power, [4] but disrupted food production and contributed to the famine of 1933–34. Between 1934 and 1939, Stalin organised the " Great Purge", in which millions of so-called " enemies of the working class", including senior political and military figures, were interned in Gulag-run prisons, exiled or executed, often without due process. [5] [6]

In August 1939 Stalin entered a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in their invasion of Poland in September of that year. Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial setbacks, the Soviet Red Army halted the German incursion and captured Berlin in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe. [7] [8] The Soviet Union annexed the Baltic states and backed the establishment of pro-Soviet Marxist governments both throughout Eastern Europe and in China, North Korea and North Vietnam. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as the two world superpowers, [9] and a period of tensions began between the Soviet-backed Eastern Bloc and U.S.-backed Western Bloc known as the Cold War. Stalin led the Soviet Union through its post-war reconstruction phase, during which it became the second country to develop a nuclear weapon, as well as launching the Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature in response to another major famine and the Great Construction Projects of Communism. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who denounced Stalin and initiated a de-Stalinisation process.

Stalin is widely considered one of the most significant and influential figures of the 20th century. Stalinism influenced various Marxist-Leninist groups and governments across the world, for whom Stalin was a champion of socialism and the working class. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Stalin has been praised by supporters for his role in defeating Nazi Germany and establishing the Soviet Union as a major world power. Critics emphasise his role in causing millions of deaths and numerous political, religious and ethnic repressions.

Early life

Stalin was born in the Georgian town of Gori on 18 December 1878. [3] His father was Besarion Jughashvili and his mother was Ekaterine Geladze, both ethnic Georgians. [10] He was their third child. Their two previous sons had died in infancy. [11]

Stalin's birth name in Georgian was Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili. [1] [12] As Georgia was then part of the Russian Empire, his name was Russified to Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. [13]

Gori was then part of the Russian Empire, and was home to a population of 20,000, the majority of whom were Georgian but with Armenian, Russian, and Jewish minorities. [14] Stalin was baptised on 29 December. [15] He was nicknamed "Soso", a diminutive of Ioseb. [16] His father, Besarion, was a cobbler, [17] and in the early years of their marriage the couple prospered. [18] However, Besarion did not adapt to changing footwear fashions, and his business began to fail. [19] The family soon found themselves living in poverty, [20] moving through nine different rented rooms in ten years. [21]

Stalin in 1894, at the age of 15

Beso was also an alcoholic, [22] and drunkenly beat his wife and son. [23] To escape the abusive relationship, Keke took Stalin and moved into the house of a family friend, Father Christopher Charkviani. [24] She worked as a house cleaner and launderer for several local families who were sympathetic to her plight. [25] Keke was determined to send her son to school, something that none of the family had previously achieved. [26] In late 1888, when Stalin was ten, he enrolled at the Gori Church School. [27] This was normally reserved for the children of clergy, although Charkviani ensured that Stalin received a place. [28] Stalin excelled academically, [29] displaying talent in painting and drama classes, [30] writing his own poetry, [31] and singing as a choirboy. [32] He got into many fights, [33] and a childhood friend later noted that Stalin "was the best but also the naughtiest pupil" in the class. [34] Stalin faced several severe health problems; in 1884, he contracted smallpox and was left with facial pock scars. [35] Aged 12, he was seriously injured after being hit by a phaeton; the accident resulted in a lifelong disability to his left arm. [36]

At his teachers' recommendation, Stalin proceeded to the Spiritual Seminary in Tiflis. [37] He enrolled at the school in August 1894, [38] enabled by a scholarship that allowed him to study at a reduced rate. [39] Here he joined 600 trainee priests who boarded at the seminary. [40] Stalin was again academically successful and gained high grades. [41] He continued writing poetry; five of his poems were published under the pseudonym of "Soselo" in Ilia Chavchavadze's newspaper Iveria ("Georgia"). [42] Thematically, they dealt with topics like nature, land, and patriotism. [43] According to Stalin's biographer Simon Sebag Montefiore, they became "minor Georgian classics", [44] and were included in various anthologies of Georgian poetry over the coming years. [44] As he grew older, Stalin lost interest in his studies; his grades dropped, [45] and he was repeatedly confined to a cell for his rebellious behaviour. [46] Teachers complained that he declared himself an atheist, chatted in class, and refused to doff his hat to monks. [47]

He had joined a forbidden book club active at the school, [48] and was particularly influenced by Nikolay Chernyshevsky's 1863 pro-revolutionary novel What Is To Be Done?. [49] Another influential text was Alexander Kazbegi's The Patricide, with Stalin adopting the nickname "Koba" from that of the book's bandit protagonist. [50] He also read Capital, the 1867 book by German sociological theorist Karl Marx. [51] Stalin devoted himself to Marx's socio-political theory, Marxism, [45] which was then on the rise in Georgia, one of various forms of socialism opposed to the governing Tsarist authorities. [52] At night, he attended secret workers' meetings, [53] and was introduced to Silibistro "Silva" Jibladze, the Marxist founder of Mesame Dasi ('Third Group'), a Georgian socialist group. [54] In April 1899, Stalin left the seminary and never returned, [55] although the school encouraged him to come back. [56]

Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party: 1899–1904

Stalin in 1902

In October 1899, Stalin began work as a meteorologist at a Tiflis observatory, [57] a position that allowed him to read while on duty. [58] Stalin gave classes in socialist theory and attracted a group of radical young men around him. [59] He co-organised a secret mass meeting for May Day 1900, [60] at which he successfully encouraged many of the men to take strike action. [61] By this point, the Tsarist secret police—the Okhrana—were aware of Stalin's activities within Tiflis' revolutionary milieu. [61] They attempted to arrest him in March 1901, but he escaped and went into hiding, [62] living off the donations of friends and sympathisers. [63] Remaining underground, he helped to plan a demonstration for May Day 1901, in which 3000 marchers clashed with the authorities. [64] He continued to evade arrest by using aliases and sleeping in different apartments. [65] In November 1901, he was elected to the Tiflis Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), a Marxist party founded in 1898. [66]

That month he travelled to the port city of Batumi. [67] His militant rhetoric proved divisive among the city's Marxists, with some suspecting that he might be an agent provocateur. [68] He found employment at the Rothschild refinery storehouse. There he helped organise two workers' strikes. [69] After several strike leaders were arrested, he co-organised a mass public demonstration against the arrests that led to the storming of the prison; troops fired upon the demonstrators, 13 of whom were killed. [70] Stalin organised a second mass demonstration on the day of their funeral, [71] before being arrested in April 1902. [72] He was initially held at Batumi Prison, [73] and later moved to the more secure Kutaisi Prison. [74] In mid-1903, Stalin was sentenced to three years of exile in eastern Siberia. [75]

Stalin left Batumi in October, arriving at the small Siberian town of Novaya Uda in late November. [76] There, he lived in the two-room house of a local peasant, sleeping in the building's larder. [77] Stalin made several escape attempts; on the first he made it to Balagansk before returning due to frostbite. [78] His second attempt was successful and he made it to Tiflis. [79] Here, he co-edited a Georgian Marxist newspaper, Proletariatis Brdzola ("Proletarian Struggle"), with Philip Makharadze. [80] His calls for a separate Georgian Marxist movement resulted in several RSDLP members calling for his expulsion, claiming that his views were contrary to Marxist internationalism. [81] Under Mikha Tskhakaya's influence, Stalin renounced these views. [82] During his exile, the RSDLP had split between Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks and Julius Martov's Mensheviks. [83] Stalin now aligned with the Bolsheviks, growing to detest many of the Georgian Mensheviks. [84] Although Stalin established a Bolshevik stronghold in the mining town of Chiatura, [85] Bolshevism remained a minority force in the Menshevik-dominated Georgian revolutionary scene. [86]

The Revolution of 1905 and its aftermath: 1905–1912

In January 1905, government troops massacred protesters in St Petersburg. [87] Unrest soon spread across the Russian Empire in what came to be known as the Revolution of 1905. [87] Georgia was one of the regions particularly affected. [88] In February, Stalin was in Baku when ethnic violence broke out between Armenians and Azeris; at least 2000 were killed. [89] Stalin publicly lambasted the "pogroms against Jews and Armenians" as being part of Tsar Nicholas II's attempts to "buttress his despicable throne". [90] He formed a Bolshevik Battle Squad which he used to try and keep Baku's warring ethnic factions apart, also using the unrest to steal printing equipment. [90] Amid the growing violence throughout Georgia, Stalin formed further Battle Squads, with the Mensheviks doing the same. [91] Stalin's Squads disarmed local police and troops, [92] raided government arsenals, [93] and raised funds through protection rackets on large local businesses and mines. [94] They launched attacks on the government's Cossack troops and pro-Tsarist Black Hundreds, [95] co-ordinating some of their operations with the Menshevik militia. [96]

Stalin first met Vladimir Lenin (pictured) at a 1905 conference in Tammerfors

In November 1905, the Georgian Bolsheviks elected Stalin as one of their delegates to a Bolshevik conference in St. Petersburg. [97] On arrival, he met Lenin's wife Nadezhda Krupskaya, who informed them that the venue had been moved to Tammerfors in the Grand Duchy of Finland. [98] At the conference Stalin met Lenin for the first time. [99] Although Stalin held Lenin in deep respect, he was vocal in his disagreement with Lenin's view that the Bolsheviks should field candidates for the forthcoming election to the State Duma; Stalin saw the parliamentary process as a waste of time. [100] In April 1906, Stalin attended the RSDLP Fourth Congress in Stockholm; this was his first trip outside the Russian Empire. [101] At the conference, the RSDLP—then led by its Menshevik majority—agreed that it would not raise funds using armed robbery. [102] Lenin and Stalin disagreed with this decision, [103] and later privately discussed how they could continue the robberies for the Bolshevik cause. [104]

Stalin married Kato Svanidze in a church ceremony at Tskhakaya in July 1906. [105] In March 1907 she bore a son, Yakov. [106] By that year—according to the historian Robert Service—Stalin had established himself as "Georgia's leading Bolshevik". [107] He attended the Fifth RSDLP Congress, held in London in May-June 1907. [108] After returning to Tiflis, Stalin organized the robbing of a large delivery of money to the Imperial Bank in June 1907. His gang ambushed the armed convoy in Yerevan Square with gunfire and home-made bombs. Around 40 people were killed, but all of his gang escaped alive. [109]

After the heist, Stalin settled in Baku with his wife and son. [110] There, Mensheviks confronted Stalin about the robbery and voted to expel him from the RSDLP, but he took no notice of them. [111] In Baku, Stalin secured Bolshevik domination of the local RSDLP branch, [112] and edited two Bolshevik newspapers, Bakinsky Proletary and Gudok ("Whistle"). [113] In August 1907, he attended the Seventh Congress of the Second International in Stuttgard, Germany. [114] In November 1907, his wife died of typhus, [115] and he left his son with her family in Tiflis. [116] In Baku he had reassembled his gang, the Outfit, [117] which continued to attack Black Hundreds, and raised finances by running protection rackets, counterfeiting currency, and carrying out robberies. [118] They also kidnapped the children of several wealthy figures in order to extract ransom money. [119] In early 1908, he travelled to the Swiss city of Geneva to meet with Lenin and the prominent Russian Marxist Georgi Plekhanov, who exasperated him. [120]

In March 1908, Stalin was arrested and interred in Bailov Prison, [121] where he led the imprisoned Bolsheviks, organised discussion groups, and ordered the killing of suspected informants. [122] He was eventually sentenced to two years exile in the village of Solvychegodsk, Vologda Province, arriving there in February 1909. [123] In June, he escaped the village and made it to Kotlas disguised as a woman, and from there to St Petersburg. [124] In March 1910, he was arrested again, [125] and sent back to Solvychegodsk. [126] There he had affairs with at least two women; his landlady, Maria Kuzakova, later gave birth to his second son, Konstantin. [127] In June 1911, Stalin was given permission to move to Vologda, where he stayed for two months. [128] There, he had a relationship with Pelageya Onufrieva. [129] He proceeded to St Petersburg, [130] where he was arrested in September 1911, [131] and sentenced to a further three year exile in Vologda. [131]

Editing Pravda and the Central Committee: 1912–1917

Stalin in 1911 mugshots taken by the Tsarist secret police.

The first Bolshevik Central Committee had been elected at the Prague Conference, after which Lenin and Grigory Zinoviev invited Stalin to join it. [132] Still in Vologda, Stalin agreed, remaining a Central Committee member for the rest of his life. [133] Lenin believed that Stalin would be useful in helping to secure support for the Bolsheviks from the Empire's minority ethnicities. [133] In February 1912, Stalin escaped to St Petersburg, [134] tasked with converting the Bolshevik weekly newspaper, Zvezda ("Star") into a daily, Pravda ("Truth"). [135] The new newspaper was launched in April 1912, [136] although Stalin's role as editor was kept secret. [136] In May 1912, he was arrested again and imprisoned in the Shpalerhy Prison; in July he was sentenced to three years exile in Siberia. [137] In July he arrived at the Siberian village of Narym, [138] where he shared a room with fellow Bolshevik Yakov Sverdlov. [139] After two months, Stalin and Sverdlov escaped and returned to St Petersburg. [140]

Stalin returned to Tiflis, [141] where the Outfit planned the ambush of a mail coach, in which most of them were arrested. [142] Stalin returned to St Petersburg, where he continued editing and writing articles for Pravda. [143] After the October 1912 Duma elections resulted in six Bolsheviks and six Mensheviks being elected, Stalin wrote articles calling for reconciliation between the two Marxist factions, [144] for which he was criticised by Lenin. [144] In late 1912, he twice crossed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire to visit Lenin in Krakow, [145] eventually bowing to Lenin's views on reunification with the Mensheviks. [146] In January 1913, Stalin travelled to Vienna, [147] there focusing his attention on the 'national question' of how the Bolsheviks should deal with the Russian Empire's national and ethnic minorities. [148] Lenin wanted to attract these groups to the Bolshevik cause by offering them the right of secession from the Russian state; at the same time, he hoped that they would remain part of a future Bolshevik-governed Russia. [149] Stalin's finished article was titled Marxism and the National Question; [150] Lenin was very happy with it. [151] According to Montefiore, this was "Stalin's most famous work". [149] The article was published under the pseudonym of "K. Stalin", [151] a name he had been using since 1912. [152] This name derived from the Russian language word for steel (stal), [152] and has been translated as "Man of Steel". [153] Stalin possibly retained this name for the rest of his life because it had been used on the article which established his reputation among the Bolsheviks. [154]

In February 1913, Stalin was arrested while back in St. Petersburg. [155] He was sentenced to four years exile in Turukhansk, a remote part of Siberia from which escape was particularly difficult. [156] In August, he arrived in the village of Monastyrskoe, although after four weeks was relocated to the hamlet of Kostino. [157] In March 1914, concerned over a potential escape attempt, the authorities then moved Stalin to the hamlet of Kureika on the edge of the Arctic Circle. [158] In the hamlet, Stalin had an affair with Lidia Pereprygia, who was thirteen at the time, and thus a year under the legal age of consent in Tsarist Russia. [159] Circa December 1914, Pereprygia gave birth to Stalin's child, although the infant soon died. [160] She gave birth to another of his children, Alexander, circa April 1917. [161] In Kureika, Stalin lived closely with the indigenous Tunguses and Ostyak, [162] and spent much of his time fishing. [163]

The October Revolution: 1917

During WWI, upon his exile in Siberia, Stalin was conscripted into the Russian Army but his damaged left arm disqualified him for service. He had to travel to Achinsk, only 100 km from the Trans-Siberian Railway for his medical exam, and was allowed to stay there after the army rejected him.[ citation needed]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Josef Stalin
Alemannisch: Josef Stalin
Ænglisc: Iosep Stalin
العربية: جوزيف ستالين
aragonés: Josef Stalin
asturianu: Yósif Stalin
Aymar aru: Iosif Stalin
azərbaycanca: İosif Stalin
تۆرکجه: ايستالین
Bân-lâm-gú: Iosif Stalin
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ёсіф Сталін
Bikol Central: Josep Stalin
Bislama: Joseph Stalin
български: Йосиф Сталин
Boarisch: Josef Stalin
bosanski: Josif Staljin
brezhoneg: Jozef Stalin
Cebuano: Joseph Stalin
Cymraeg: Joseff Stalin
Deutsch: Josef Stalin
dolnoserbski: Jozef Stalin
Ελληνικά: Ιωσήφ Στάλιν
español: Iósif Stalin
Esperanto: Josif Stalin
estremeñu: Josif Stalin
euskara: Iosif Stalin
Fiji Hindi: Joseph Stalin
føroyskt: Jósef Stalin
français: Joseph Staline
Gàidhlig: Iosif Stalin
galego: Iosif Stalin
贛語: 斯大林
ગુજરાતી: સ્ટાલિન
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Joseph Stalin
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Joseph Stalin
Հայերեն: Իոսիֆ Ստալին
hornjoserbsce: Józef Stalin
hrvatski: Josif Staljin
Ilokano: Joseph Stalin
Bahasa Indonesia: Josef Stalin
interlingua: Josef Stalin
isiZulu: Joseph Stalin
íslenska: Jósef Stalín
italiano: Iosif Stalin
Basa Jawa: Josef Stalin
kernowek: Joseph Stalin
Kiswahili: Josef Stalin
Kurdî: Josef Stalin
لۊری شومالی: جوزئف ئستالین
latviešu: Josifs Staļins
lietuvių: Josifas Stalinas
Limburgs: Jozef Stalin
Livvinkarjala: Josif Stalin
la .lojban.: stalin.
lumbaart: Josif Stalin
македонски: Јосиф Сталин
Malagasy: Joseph Stalin
मराठी: स्टॅलिन
მარგალური: იოსებ სტალინი
مازِرونی: ژوزف استالین
Bahasa Melayu: Joseph Stalin
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Joseph Stalin
Mirandés: Josef Staline
မြန်မာဘာသာ: စတာလင်၊ ဂျိုးဇတ်
Nederlands: Jozef Stalin
नेपाली: स्टालिन
नेपाल भाषा: जोसेफ स्टालिन
Napulitano: Stalin
norsk bokmål: Josef Stalin
norsk nynorsk: Josef Stalin
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Iosif Stalin
پنجابی: جوزف سٹالن
Papiamentu: Joseph Stalin
Piemontèis: Josif Stalin
português: Josef Stalin
Qaraqalpaqsha: Yosif Stalin
Runa Simi: Yosif Stalin
русиньскый: Осиф Сталін
संस्कृतम्: जोसेफ़ स्टालिन
sicilianu: Giuseppi Stalin
Simple English: Joseph Stalin
ślůnski: Josif Stalin
کوردیی ناوەندی: جۆزێف ستالین
српски / srpski: Јосиф Стаљин
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Josif Staljin
svenska: Josef Stalin
Tagalog: Joseph Stalin
татарча/tatarça: Иосиф Сталин
తెలుగు: స్టాలిన్
Türkçe: Josef Stalin
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ستالىن
Vahcuengh: Joseph Stalin
vepsän kel’: Stalin Iosif
walon: Staline
文言: 斯大林
Winaray: Joseph Stalin
吴语: 史太林
Yorùbá: Joseph Stalin
粵語: 史太林
žemaitėška: Josips Stalėns