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Joseph Stalin
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Joseph Stalin

Iosif (Joseph) Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин, Iósif Vissariónovich Stálin), original name Ioseb Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვილი tentative, Russian: Иосиф Джугашвили, Iósif Dzhugashvíli; see Other names section) (December 21 [December 9, Old Style], 1879 - March 5, 1953), was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the second leader of the Soviet Union.

Under Stalin, who replaced the New Economic Policy (NEP) of the 1920s with five year plans (introduced in 1928) and collective farming, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society to a major world industrial power; meanwhile Stalin consolidated his personal power and eliminated effective political opposition during the 1930s through a combination of beneficence, tactical retreats, and purges (see Gulag) that resulted in millions of deaths. A hard-won victory in World War II (1945), made possible in part through the discipline and capacity for production that were the outcome of the collectivization, industrialization, and purges, laid the groundwork for the formation of the Warsaw Pact and established the USSR as one of the two major world powers, a position it maintained for nearly four decades following Stalin's death in 1953.

Table of contents
1 Childhood and early years
2 Marriage and Family
3 Rise to power
4 Stalin and changes in Soviet society
5 World War II
6 Post-war era
7 Policies and accomplishments
8 Other names
9 Further reading
10 Related topics
11 External links

Childhood and early years

Stalin was born in the town of Gori, Georgia, to a cobbler named Vissarion (Beso) Dzhugashvili. His mother, Ekaterina, was born a serf. Ekaterina worked doing laundry and housecleaning in rich peoples' houses, often taking Soso (as she called him) with her. The boy was bright, and David Pismamedov, a Gori Jew, used to give him books and money. (Years later, he reportedly came to the Kremlin to see what had happened to little Soso, and Stalin talked with him in public.)

Soso was often severely beaten by his father, usually while he was drunk; beatings were an accepted way of "teaching lessons" to children. Eventually, Beso left for Tiflis, leaving the family without support. When Soso was 14, his mother enrolled him in the Tiflis Theological Seminary, a Russian Orthodox institution. This was not because of any religious vocation which he had but because it was one of the few educational opportunities available as the Czarist government was leary of establishing a university in Georgia.

Stalin's involvement with the socialist movement began at seminary school, from which he was expelled in 1899 after failing to appear at scheduled examinations. He worked for a decade with the political underground in the Caucasus, facing repeated arrest and exile to Siberia between 1902 and 1917. He adhered to Vladimir Lenin's doctrine of a strong centralist party of "professional revolutionaries". His practical experience made him useful in Lenin's Bolshevik party, gaining him a place on its Central Committee in January 1912. Some historians have argued that, during this period, Stalin was actually a Tsarist spy, who was working to infiltrate the Bolshevik party. In 1913 he adopted the name Stalin, which means "man of steel" in Russian.

His only significant contribution to the development of Marxist theory at this time was a treatise written while briefly exiled in Vienna, Marxism and the national question. It presents an orthodox Marxist position on this important debate; see Lenin's article On the right of nations to self-determination for comparison. This treatise may have contributed to his appointment as People's Commissar for Nationalities Affairs after the revolution.

Marriage and Family

Stalin's first wife was Ekaterina Svanidze, to whom he was married for just three years until her death in 1907. At her funeral, Stalin said that any warm feelings he had for people died with her, for only she could melt his heart. He later ordered Ekaterina's relatives shot. With her he had a son, Yakov, with whom he did not get along in later years. Yakov served in the Red Army and was captured by the Nazis. They offered to exchange him for a German officer of higher rank, but Stalin turned the offer down, and Yakov is said to have died running into an electric fence in the camp where he was being held.

He had two children by his second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, who died in 1932; officially she died of an illness, but it believed by many that she committed suicide. With her he had a son, Vassili, and a daughter, Svetlana. Vassili rose through the ranks of the Soviet Air Force, but died an alcoholic in 1962. Stalin doted on his daughter, but she eventually adopted the name Alliluyeva and defected from the Soviet Union in 1967.

Rosa Kaganovich, the sister of Lazar Kaganovich, became Stalin's mistress while he was married to Nadezhda (Stalin's daughter, Svetlana, later married Kaganovich's brother, Mihail). They married in 1934 and divorced in 1938.

In March 2001, Russian Independent Television NTV discovered a previously unknown grandson living in Novokuznetsk. Yuri Davydov told NTV that his father had told him of his lineage, but, because the campaign against Stalin's cult of personality was in full swing at the time, he was told to keep quiet. Several historians, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, have mentioned a son being born to Stalin and his common law wife, Lida, in 1914 during his exile in northern Siberia.

Rise to power

Initially opposed to the overthrow of Alexander Kerensky's Provisional Government in the Russian Revolution of 1917, Stalin was won over to Lenin's position following the latter's return from exile in April, but only played a minor role in the Bolsheviks' seizure of power on November 7. He was political commissar of the Soviet Army (Western front) during the Russian Civil War and Polish-Soviet war. Stalin's first government position was as People's Commissar of Nationalities Affairs. He held a number of senior administrative posts within the Soviet government and party apparatus, becoming in April 1922 general secretary of the ruling Communist Party, a post which he subsequently built up into the most powerful in the country. This concentration of personal power increasingly alarmed the dying Lenin, and in Lenin's Testament he famously called for the removal of the "rude" Stalin. However, this document was later suppressed by members of the Central Committee, many of whom were also criticised by the Bolshevik leader.

After Lenin's death in January 1924, a triumvirate of Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev governed the party, placing themselves ideologically between Trotsky (on the left wing of the party) and Bukharin (on the right).

During this period, Stalin abandoned the traditional Bolshevik emphasis on international revolution in favor of a policy of building Socialism in One Country, in contrast to Trotsky's theory of Permanent Revolution. Stalin would quickly switch sides and join with Bukharin. Together, they fought a new opposition of Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev. By 1928 (the first year of the Five-Year Plans) Stalin was supreme among the leadership, and the following year, Trotsky was exiled. Having also outmaneuvered Bukharin's Right Opposition and now advocating collectivisation and industrialisation, Stalin can be said to have exercised control over the party and the country. However, as the popularity of other leaders such as Sergei Kirov and the so-called Ryutin plot were to demonstrate, Stalin did not achieve absolute power until the Great Purge of 1936-1938.

Stalin and changes in Soviet society

Industrialisation

Main article: Industrialisation of the USSR

World War I and the Russian Civil War had a devastating effect on the country's economy; industrial output in 1922 was 13% of that in 1914. Under Stalin's direction, the New Economic Policy, which allowed a degree of market flexibility within the context of socialism, was replaced by a system of centrally-ordained Five-Year Plans in the late 1920s. These called for a highly ambitious program of state-guided crash industrialisation and the collectivisation of agriculture. In spite of early breakdowns and failures, the first two Five-Year Plans achieved rapid industrialisation from a very low economic base. Russia, generally ranked as the poorest nation in Europe in 1922, now industrialized at a phenomenal rate, far surpassing Germany's pace of industrialisation in the 19th century and Japan's earlier in the 20th.

With no seed capital, little foreign trade, and barely any modern industry to start with, Stalin's government financed industrialisation by both restraining consumption on the part of ordinary Soviet citizens, to ensure capital went for re-investment into industry, and by ruthless extraction of wealth from the peasantry, both processes effectively amounting to the primitive accumulation of capital described by Karl Marx in Das Kapital. Collectivisation was instrumental in depriving peasants of the fruits of their labor.

In specific but common cases, the industrial labor was knowingly underpaid. First, there was the usage of the almost free labor of prisoners in forced labor camps. Second, there was frequent "mobilization" of communists and Komsomol members for various construction projects.

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Collectivisation

Main article: Collectivisation in the USSR

Stalin's regime moved to force collectivisation of agriculture. The theory behind collectivisation was that it would replace the small-scale un-mechanised and inefficient farms with large-scale mechanised farms that would produce food far more efficiently.

Collectivisation meant the destruction of a the way of life introduced after abolition of serfdom in 1861, and alienation from control of the land and its produce. Collectivisation also meant a drastic drop in living standards for many peasants, and it faced widespread and often violent resistance among the peasantry, and actually the productivity of agriculture dropped.

Stalin blamed this drop in food production on kulaks (Russian: fist; rich peasants), who he believed were capitalistic parasites who were organising resistance to collectivisation. Those who resisted collectivisation were to be shot, transported to Gulag labour camps or deported to remote areas of the country. In reality however, the term "kulak" was a loose term to describe anyone who opposed collectivisation, which included many peasants who were anything but rich.

The two-stage progress of the collectivization, interrupted for a year by Stalin's famous editorial "Dizzy with success" (Pravda, March 30, 1930), is a prime example of his ability for tactical retreats.

Many historians agree that the disruption caused by forced collectivisation was largely responsible for major famines which caused up to 5 million deaths in 1932-33, particularly in Ukraine and the lower Volga region.

Science

Under Stalin's rule, sciences suffered from heavy ideological pressure. In the middle of the 1930s, the agronomist Trofim Lysenko started a campaign against genetics and was supported by Stalin. Between 1934 and 1940, many geneticists were executed (including Agol, Levit, Nadson) or sent to labor camps (including the most well-known Soviet geneticist, Nikolai Vavilov, who died in prison in 1943). Genetics was stigmatized as a "fascist science". Some geneticists, however, survived and continued to work in genetics, dangerous as it was. In 1948, genetics was officially declared "a bourgeois pseudoscience"; all geneticists were fired from work (some were also arrested), and all genetic research was discontinued. The taboo on genetics continued even after Stalin's death. Only in the middle of 1960s was it completely waived. (See Lysenkoism.)

Cybernetics was also outlawed. It was officially declared that "a machine cannot think", and any research in computer-related fields was prohibited. As with genetics, the taboo continued for several years after Stalin's death.

In the late 1940s, there were also attempts to suppress special and general relativity, as well as quantum mechanics. However, top Soviet physicists made it clear that without using these theories, they would be unable to create a nuclear bomb.

In fact, scientific research in nearly all areas was hindered by the fact that many scientists were sent to labor camps (including Lev Landau, later a Nobel Prize winner, who spent a year in prison in 1938-1939), or executed (like Lev Shubnikov, who was shot in 1937). They were persecuted for their (real or imaginary) dissident views, and seldom for "politically incorrect" research.

Prohibition of genetics and cybernetics caused serious harm to Soviet science and economics. Soviet scientists never won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine or Turing Award. (In comparison, they received seven Nobel Prizes in Physics.) The USSR always suffered from severe lag in the fields of computers, microelectronics and biotechnology.

Social services

Stalin's government placed heavy emphasis on the provision of basic medical services. Campaigns were carried out against typhus, cholera, and malaria; the number of doctors was increased as rapidly as facilities and training would permit; and death and infant mortality rates steadily decreased. Education was also dramatically expanded, with many more Russians learning to read and write, and higher education expanded. The generation that grew up under Stalin also saw a major expansion in job opportunities, especially for women.

Culture and religion

It was during Stalin's reign that the official and long-lived style of Social Realism was established for painting, sculpture, music, drama, and literature. Previously fashionable "revolutionary" expressionism, abstract art, and avant-garde experimentation were discouraged or denounced as formalism.

Careers were made and broken, some more than once. Famous names were repressed, both "revolutionaries" (among them Isaac Babel, Vsevolod Meyerhold) and "non-conformists" (for example, Osip Mandelstam). Others, representing both the "Soviet man" (Arkady Gaidar), and remnants of the older pre-revolutionary Russia (Konstantin Stanislavski), thrived. A number of former emigrés; returned to the Soviet Union, among them Alexei Tolstoi in 1925, Alexander Kuprin in 1936, and Alexander Vertinsky in 1943. It is of note that Anna Akhmatova was subjected to several cycles of suppression and rehabilitation, but was never herself arrested, although her first husband, Nikolai Gumilev the poet, had been shot already in 1920, and her son, Lev Gumilev the historian, spent two decades in the Gulag.

The degree of Stalin's personal involvement in both the general and the specific developments has been assessed variously. His name, however, was constantly invoked during his reign in discussions of culture as in just about everything else; and in several famous cases, his opinion was final.

Stalin's occasional beneficence showed itself in strange ways. For example, Mikhail Bulgakov was driven to poverty and despair, yet, after a personal appeal to Stalin, was allowed to keep working. His play "The Days of the Turbins", with its sympathetic treatment of an anti-Bolshevik family caught in the Civil War, was finally staged, apparently also on Stalin's intervention, and began a decades-long uninterrupted run at the Moscow Arts Theatre.

In architecture, a Stalinist Empire Style (basically updated neoclassicism to a very large scale, exemplified by the seven skyscrapers of Moscow) replaced the constructivism of the 1920's. An amusing anecdote has it that the Moskva Hotel in Moscow was built with mismatching side-wings because Stalin had signed off both of the two proposals submitted.

Stalin's role in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church is complex. Continuous persecution in the 1930s resulted in near-extinction: by 1939 active parishes numbered in the low hundreds (1917: 54,000), many churches had been levelled, and tens of thousands of priests, monks, and nuns were dead or imprisoned. During WWII, however, the Church was allowed a partial revival, as a patriotic organisation: thousands of parishes were reactivated until a further round of suppression in Khrushchev's time. The Church Synod's recognition of the Soviet government and of Stalin personally led to a schism with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia that remains not fully healed to the present day.

Purges and deportations

The purges

Main article: Great Purge.

Stalin consolidated near-absolute power in the 1930s with the Great Purge against his suspected political and ideological opponents, culminating in the extermination of the majority of the original Bolshevik Central Committee, and over half of the largely pliant delegates of the 17th Party Congress in January 1934. Measures used ranged from imprisonment in labour camps of the Gulag to execution after a show trial or assassinations (such as that of Trotsky and, it has been argued, Leningrad party chief Sergei Kirov).

Several show trials known as the Moscow Trials were held, but the procedures were replicated throughout the country. There were four key trials during this period: the Trial of the Sixteen (August 1936); Trial of the Seventeen (January 1937); the trial of Red Army generals, including Marshal Tukhachevsky (June 1937); and finally the Trial of the Twenty One (including Bukharin) in March 1938.

Trotsky's August 1940 assassination in Mexico, where he had lived in exile since 1936, eliminated the last of Stalin's opponents among the former Party leadership. Only two members of the "Old Bolsheviks" (Lenin's Politburo) now remained - Stalin himself and his foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov. The repression of so many formerly high-ranking revolutionaries and party members led Leon Trotsky to claim that a "river of blood" separated Stalin's regime from that of Lenin.

What began as a purge of the Party expanded to leave no segment of society untouched. Article 58 of the legal code, listing prohibited "anti-Soviet activities", was applied in the broadest manner. Initially, the execution lists for the enemies of the people were confirmed by the Politburo. Over time the procedure was greatly simplified and delegated down the line of command. The Russian word troika gained a new meaning: a quick, simplified trial by a committee of three.

Deportations

Main article: Population transfer in the Soviet Union.

Shortly before, during and immediately after World War II, Stalin conducted a series of deportations on a huge scale which profoundly affected the ethnic map of the Soviet Union. Over 1.5 million people were deported to Siberia and the Central Asian republics. Separatism, resistance to Soviet rule and collaboration with the invading Germans were cited as the main official reasons for the deportations, although an ambition to ethnically cleanse regions in a process known as "Russification" may have also been a factor.

The following ethnic groups were deported completely or partially: Poles, Koreans,Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachayss, Meskhetian Turks,Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians. Large numbers of Kulaks, regardless of their nationality, were resettled to Siberia and Central Asia.

In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninist principles, and reversed most of them, although it was not until as late as 1991 that the Tatars, Meskhs and Volga Germans were allowed to return en masse to their homelands. The deportations had a profound effect on the peoples of the Soviet Union. The memory of the deportations played a major part in the separatist movements in the Baltic republics, Tatarstan and Chechnya.

Death toll

About one million people were shot during the periods 1935-38, 1942 and 1945-50 and millions of people were transported to Gulag labour camps. In Georgia about 80,000 people were shot during the periods 1921, 1923-24, 1935-38, 1942 and 1945-50 and more than 100,000 people were transported to Gulag camps.

On March 5, 1940, Stalin himself and other Soviet leaders signed the order to execute 25,700 Polish intelligentsia including 14,700 Polish POW. It became known as Katyn massacre. Some other infamous massacres: massacre of prisoners 30,000-40,000 people.

It is generally agreed upon by historians that if famines, prison and labour camp mortality, and state terrorism (deportations and political purges) are all taken into account, Stalin and his colleagues were directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions. How many millions died under Stalin is greatly disputed. Although no official figures have been released by the Soviet or Russian governments, most estimates put the figure at between eight and twenty million. Comparison of the 1926-39 census results suggests 5-10 million deaths in excess of what would be normal in the period, mostly through famine in 1931-34. The census of 1926 shows the population of Soviet Union of 147 million while the census of 1939 shows the population of 162 million. The later census figures were classified and remained so until 1990s. This census is also known as the "wrecker's census." The highest estimates put the figure as high as 50 million from the 1920s to the 1950s, but these estimates are probably greatly exaggerated.

A quote popularly attributed to Stalin is "Death of one man is a tragedy. Death of a million is just statistics."

World War II

Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Yalta Conference.]]

In his speech on August 19, 1939, Stalin prepared his comrades on the general turn in Soviet policy, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany which divided Central Europe into the two powers' respective spheres of influence. In June 1941, however, Hitler broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Stalin had not expected this and the Soviet Union was largely unprepared for this invasion. Until the last moment, Stalin had sought to avoid any obvious defensive preparation which might provoke German attack, in the hope of buying time to modernise and strengthen his military forces. Even after the attack commenced Stalin appeared unwilling to accept the fact and, according to some historians, was too stunned to react appropriately for a number of days. A controversial theory put forward by publicist Victor Suvorov asserts that Stalin had been preparing an invasion of Germany while neglecting preparations for defensive warfare, which left Soviet forces vulnerable despite their heavy concentration near the border. Such speculations are difficult to either support or reject, as information on the Soviet Army from 1939 to 1941 remains classified.

The Nazis initially made huge advances, capturing or killing hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops. The earlier execution of many of the Red Army's experienced generals had a severely negative effect on Russia's ability to organise defenses. In response on November 6, 1941, Stalin addressed the Soviet Union for only the second time during his three-decade rule (the first time was earlier that year on July 2). He claimed that even though 350,000 troops were killed in German attacks so far, that the Germans have lost 4.5 million soldiers (a gross over-estimation) and that Soviet victory was near. The Soviet Red Army did in fact put up fierce resistance, but during the war's early stages was largely ineffective against the better-equipped and trained Nazi forces until the invaders were halted and then driven back before Moscow (December 1941).

Stalin's Order No. 227 of July 27, 1942 illustrates the ruthlessness with which he sought to stiffen army resolve: all those who retreated or otherwise left their positions without orders to do so were to be summarily shot. In the war's opening stages, the retreating Red Army also sought to deny resources to the enemy through a scorched earth policy of destroying the infrastructure and food supplies of areas before the Germans could seize them. Unfortunately, this, along with abuse by German troops, caused starvation and suffering among the civilian population that was left behind.

The Soviets bore the brunt of civilian and military losses in World War II. Between 21 and 28 million Soviets, most of them civilians, died. The Nazis considered Slavs to be "sub-human," ranking the killings of them in the eyes of many as ethnically targeted mass murder, or genocide. This concept of Slavic inferiority was also the reason that Hitler did not accept many Russians who wanted to free their country from the Stalinist regime into his army until 1944 when the war was lost for Germany. In the Soviet Union, the conflict left a huge deficit of men of the wartime fighting-age generation. To this day World War II is remembered very vividly in Russia, Belarus, and other parts of the former Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War, and May 9, Victory Day, is one of Russia's biggest national holidays.

Post-war era

Following World War II, the Red Army occupied much of the territory that had been formerly held by the Axis countries: there were Soviet occupation zones in Germany and Austria, and Hungary and Poland were under practical military occupation, despite the fact that the latter was formally an Allied country. Soviet-friendly governments were established in Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and homegrown communist regimes existed in Yugoslavia and Albania. Finland retained formal independence, but was politically isolated and economically dependent on the Soviet Union. Greece, Italy and France were under the strong influence of local communist parties, directed from Moscow. Stalin hoped that the withdrawal of Americans from Europe would lead to Soviet hegemony over whole continent. The foundation of Trizonia and American help for the non-communist side in the Greek Civil War changed the situation. East Germany was proclaimed a separate country in 1949, ruled by German communists. Moreover, Stalin made a decision to switch to direct control over his satellites in Central Europe: all of the countries were to be ruled by local communists parties that tried to implement the Soviet template locally.

This decision lead to Stalinist turn of 1948 in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, the later "Communist Bloc". Communist Albania remained an ally, but Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito broke with the USSR. Stalin's friends in Western Europe explained Soviet consolidation of power in the region as a necessary step to protect itself by ensuring that it was surrounded by countries with friendly governments, to act as a buffer against any future invaders, a reversal of inter-war western hopes for a sympathetic Eastern European cordon sanitaire against Communism.

But this action confirmed the fears of many in the west that the Soviet Union still intended to spread communism across the world. The relations between the Soviet Union and its former World War II western allies soon broke down, and gave way to a prolonged period of tension and distrust between east and west known as the Cold War. See also Iron curtain.

At home Stalin presented himself as a great wartime leader who had led the USSR to victory against the Germans. By the end of 1940s, an increase in Russian nationalism was noted. Some scientific discoveries were "reclaimed" by ethnic Russian researchers, for example, Watt's boiler engine - by father and son Cherepanovs, Edison's electric bulb - by Yablochkov and Lodygin, Marconi's radio - by Popov, Wright brothers' airplane - by Mojaisky, etc.

Stalin's internal (including newly acquired territories) repressive policies continued and intensified, but never reached the extremes of the 1930s.

According to some witness accounts, the anti-Semitic campaigns of 1948-1953 (see Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, rootless cosmopolitan, doctors' plot) were only the harbingers of larger hostilities to come, but if these plans did indeed exist, Stalin died before he could implement them.

On March 1, 1953, after an all-night dinner with interior minister Lavrenty Beria and future premiers Georgi Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin collapsed, having suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body. He died four days later, on March 5, 1953, at the age of 73. Officially, the cause of death was listed as a cerebral hemorrhage. His body was left in state in Lenin's Mausoleum until October 31, 1961, when de-Stalinisation was taking place in the Soviet Union. Stalin's body was then buried by the Kremlin walls.

It has been suggested that Stalin was murdered. The ex-Communist exile Avtorkhanov argued this point as early as 1975. The political memoirs of Vyacheslav Molotov, published in 1993, claimed Beria had boasted to Molotov that he poisoned Stalin. Unless an autopsy is performed (his corpse is embalmed), the facts about his death will probably never be known with certainty. But in 2003, a joint group of Russian and American historians announced their view that Stalin ingested warfarin, a powerful rat poison that thins the blood and causes strokes and hemorrhages. Since it is flavorless, warfarin is a plausible murder weapon.

Policies and accomplishments

Under Stalin the Soviet Union was industrialised to the point that by the time of World War II the country was able to survive and defeat the German invasion, though at an enormous cost in human lives.

While the social and economic transformations over which he presided laid the foundations for the USSR's emergence as a global superpower, the harshness of means employed by Stalin to conduct Soviet affairs was subsequently repudiated by his successors in the Communist Party leadership, notably in his denunciation by Khrushchev in February 1956. His immediate successors, though, continued to follow the basic principles on which Stalin based his rule -- the political monopoly of the Communist Party presiding over a command economy and a security service able to suppress dissent.

The large-scale purges were never repeated.

Other names

His first name is also transliterated as Josif. His surname is sometimes transliterated as Dzhugashvili and occasionally rendered as Djugashvili. Shvili is a Georgian suffix meaning "son of." Neither the word nor the name Jugha (or Dzhuga) are known in Georgian.

He was also known as Koba (a revolutionary nickname, after a Georgian folk hero, a Robin Hood-like brigand). The name Stalin (derived from combining Russian stal, "steel" with the possessive suffix "-in") originally was a conspiratorial nickname; however, it stuck with him and he continued to call himself Stalin after the Russian Revolution. Stalin is also reported to have used at least a dozen other names for the purpose of secret communications, but for obvious reasons most of them remain unknown. His other nicknames were Ivanovich, Soso, David, Nijeradze, and Chizhikov.

Further reading

Related topics

External links

Preceded by:
Vladimir Lenin
Leaders of the Soviet Union Succeeded by
Georgy Malenkov


For places named after Joseph Stalin, see: List of places named after Stalin