Soviet Union Dictator. Second leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Born Iosif Vissarionovich Djugashvili to peasant parents in Gori, Georgia, the future leader's harsh spirit is believed to have resulted from beatings his father gave him. His mother put him on a path to priesthood, and he studied until he was near twenty years of age. His participation in the socialist movement began at seminary school, which he was expelled from in 1899. The next decade was spent working with the political underground in the Caucasus and facing several arrests and exiles to Siberia between 1902 and 1917. He followed Vladimir Lenin's teachings of a strong socialist party of "professional revolutionaries". The Bolsheviks had much use of Stalin's practical experience, enough that he gained a place in the Central Committee in January 1912. Although originally not in favor of overthrowing the Provisional Government of Aleksandr Kerensky in the Russian Revolution, Stalin turned sides when Lenin returned from his exile, but his role in the actual seizure of power on November 7th was small. Lenin's death in 1924 brought in a scramble for power. Stalin allied himself with Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, and the trio in turn placed themselves ideologically between Leon Trotsky on the left of the party and Nikolai Bukharin on the right. It was at this time that the animosity between supporters of Stalin's "Building Socialism in One Country" and supporters of Trotsky's "Permanent Revolution" theories came to a head. Stalin allied himself with Bukharin against Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev. By 1928 Stalin was the strongest in the leadership, and Trotsky was exiled the next year. He quickly set out to lay his own foundation, scrapping Lenin's New Economic Policy and putting the infamous "Five-Year Plans" in place. These plans called for collectivization of agriculture and state-guided crash industrialization. The resistance among the peasants to the change of a centuries-old agricultural system was something Stalin blamed on the Kulaks, or rich peasants. He felt that they were "Capitalistic parasites resisting collectivisation." He ordered that all Kulaks who resisted collectivisation were to be shot, sent to Gulags or deported to remote areas of the country. But for Stalin, "Kulak" referred to anyone who opposed collectivisation, including the poorest of peasants. The deaths caused by the famine the plans caused0000..... a1re believed to run up around 5 million, mostly in the Ukraine. Soon, the Great Purge began. Stalin began ridding himself of political rivals, notable among them his old Bolshevik allies Kamonev, Zenoviev and even Bukharin. The dictator is said to have personally signed 40,000 death warrants against regime opponents, and anyone even slightly suspected to be working against the state was dealt with. The KGB estimates say that between 1937-1938, 681,692 people were shot and millions sent to gulags. The high profile "Show Trials" of key political figures were examples of what local courts were expected to do. Four major trials were the Trial of the Sixteen (August 1936), the Trial of the Seventeen (January 1937), the Trial of the Red Army Generals (June 1937), and the Trial of te Twenty One (March 1938). Trotsky's assassination by Stalinist agent Ramon Mercader left only two members of Lenin's old Politburo - Stalin himself and Vyacheslav Molotov, the foreign minister. All of the famines, state policing, political purges and other things are believed to have killed millions, although how many for sure has never been pinpointed, ranging anywhere from 8 million to 10 million from the 1920s to the 1950s, although highest estimates climb into 50 million. Stalin agreed to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in August 1939, which divided Eastern Europe up between the USSR and Nazi Germany. Hitler broke the pact in June 1941 and invaded. The unprepared Stalin and unprepared Soviet Union were both caught off guard. With the Nazis having the upper hand, Stalin made only his second national address in his entire 30 year reign. Order Number 227 came in July, and showed Stalin's ruthlessness: All deserters of the Soviet Army were to be shot. Between 21 and 28 million Soviets died in World War II altogether. Once the war was over, the dictator set about installing Soviet-friendly satellite governments, including Poland, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia. On March 1, 1953, after an all-night celebration with interior minister Lavrenty Beria and future premiers Georgi Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin collapsed and died four days later, at the age of 73. It was later published in Molotov's memoirs that Beria had bragged about poisoning his former boss. Beria himself was shot in Decemer 1953. For some time after his death, Stalin's embalmed body was displayed in Lenin's Tomb, but Khrushchev's de-Stalinization policies lead to the body being quietly buried behind the Kremlin.
Bio by: Mongoose
Besarion Vanovis Jughashvili