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|“||Fascism is a reactionary force which is trying to preserve the old system by means of violence. What will you do with the fascists? Argue with them? Try to convince them? But this will have no effect upon them at all....Communists say to the working class : Answer violence with violence; do all you can to prevent the old dying order from crushing you, do not permit it to put manacles on your hands, on the hands with which you will overthrow the old system...Communists cannot ignore facts.||„|
|~ Joseph Stalin (1934)|
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili; December 18, 1878 – March 5, 1953) was the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. He led the Soviet Union through a period of rapid growth and industrialization, and led it through World War II in which the Red Army was victorious over Nazi Party and captured Berlin in 1945, ending the war in Europe.
Stalin is considered to be one of the most brutal dictators who ever lived, with some considering him to be even worse than Adolf Hitler. His regime was responsible for numerous human rights abuses, mass repressions, ethnic cleansing, deportations, hundreds of thousands of executions, and famines which killed millions, some estimations says that Joseph Stalin killed in totally 70 millions of people.
Stalin was born as "Ioseb Jughashvili" in Gori, Tiflis Governorate, Caucasus Viceroyalty, Russian Empire (now in modern Georgia) on December 18th, 1878. He was born into a poor family, two of his siblings died in infancy prior to his birth. His father Besarion was an alcoholic and beat his wife named Keke and Joseph. He later changed his surname to "Stalin", meaning "Man of Steel" in Russian. He became interested in Marxism at a young age after reading some of Vladimir Lenin's works. It was that this time that he joined the Bolshevik party. The party needed money and the young Stalin started doing bank heists to earn money for the party. Between 1902 and 1913, he got arrested eight times.
When Joseph Stalin was in his early-30's, he had a sexual-relationship with a 13-year old girl named Lidia long before he actually became the leader of the SSSR. Apparently one night the police walked in on the two having sexual intercourse. Shortly thereafter, Lidia claimed she was pregnant and that Stalin had in fact forced himself on her.
While formally the office of the General Secretary was elective and wasn't initially regarded as the top position in the Soviet state, after Lenin's death in 1924, support became consolidated around Stalin. Instead of the ideology of world revolution professed by Leon Trotsky, the Red Army organizer, proponent of world revolution, Stalin's ideology of socialism in one country became the primary line of the Soviet politics. There exists Stalinism, an ideology that centers around Stalin's ideas and policies in the Soviet Union.
World War II
In 1939, Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler, and soon Nazi Germany and subsequently the Soviet Union invaded Poland. Hitler betrayed this pact in 1941 with the invasion of the USSR; the Red Army was soon able to defeat the Nazis, and they captured Berlin in 1945. Stalin, along with Franklin Roosevelt of the United States and Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom were among the "Big Three" in the allied leaders of WW2.
Even though the alliance was temporary, he was a very effective allied leader and has respect today for being one of the people who lead the allies to victory. After the war, communist governments gained power in eastern Europe and in other countries like China, thus causing him, as the leader of the most influential socialist state, to be branded a villain by the Western world and sparking the Cold War.
As Leader of the Soviet Union
Lenin was hesitant to the idea that Stalin would succeed him, and wrote sometime before his death "Comrade Stalin is unfit for leadership, he is too rude and undereducated." Lenin preferred Leon Trotsky to succeed him. Stalin's leadership however lead to a much more efficient military service; Stalin said "In the USSR Military it takes more courage to retreat than it does to advance."
Famously, Lenin had ordered for both homosexuality, divorce and abortion to be decriminalized once his grip on power was absolute. Stalin however recriminalized homosexuality in 1933, as well as abortion. This was possibly due to him wanting a larger population of the Soviet Union. However, lesbian activity was still legal throughout his period.
Stalin's regime was responsible for The Holodomor, a man-made famine in Ukraine directed by Stalin and coordinated by Lazar Kaganovich and Stanislav Kosior in order to eliminate the Ukrainian resistance movement. Around 12 million people died in the famine, which is considered an act of Genocide by 16 countries.
In 1944, he ordered the deportations of Chechens, Ingush, and Tartars, all of whom are majority Muslim, from their homelands to Central Asia after accusing them of collaborating with Nazi Germany. Over 400,000 people were killed during these deportations. They were not allowed to return to their homelands until 1957.
A large number of Stalin's allies throughout his tenure as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were killed. Most notably, many of his opponents were killed during the Great Purge of the late 30's. Stalin died in 1953. His successor, Nikita Khrushchev, then began the capitalistic Soviet policy that continued into the 1980s and led to its collapse.
His health began slowly declining in the 1940s. In 1945, he suffered a heart attack which he put down to his lifelong heavy smoking.
He died from a stroke on March 5, 1953 at the age of 74. Many in the west were skeptical if his death was faked, which lead to his corpse being publicly displayed at his state funeral four days later.
It has been theorised that Stalin was in fact murdered by his right-hand man Lavrentiy Beria in order to avoid being killed in the Purges. However, this has never been proved.
Stalin led the Soviet Union through rapid industrialization and through victory in World War II. He remains very popular; popular opinion within the Russian Federation is mixed.
Results of a poll taken in 2006 stated that over 35% of Russians would vote for Stalin if he were still alive. Fewer than a third of all Russians regarded Stalin as a "murderous tyrant". In a July 2007 poll, 54% of the Russian youth agreed that Stalin did more good than bad, and 46% (of them) disagreed that Stalin was a "cruel tyrant". Half of the respondents, aged from 16 to 19, agreed Stalin was a wise leader. In 2011, a poll by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found that 45 percent of Russians had a "generally positive" view of Stalin. In his home country of Georgia, that number rises to 68 percent. Only a few years beforehand, a TV poll of 50 million Russians named Stalin the “third-greatest Russian of all time.” Western Ukraine still commissions statues of him on a regular basis.
The Soviet press constantly praised Stalin, describing him as "Great", "Beloved", "Bold", "Wise", "Inspirer", and "Genius". It portrayed him as a caring yet strong father figure, with the Soviet populace as his "children". From 1936, the Soviet press started to refer to Stalin as the Father of Nations. Interactions between Stalin and children became a key element of the personality cult. Stalin often engaged in publicized gift giving exchanges with Soviet children from a range of different ethnic backgrounds. Beginning in 1935, the phrase, "Thank You Dear Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood!" appeared above doorways at nurseries, orphanages, and schools; children also chanted this slogan at festivals.
Speeches described Stalin as "Our Best Collective Farm Worker", "Our Shockworker, Our Best of Best", and "Our Darling, Our Guiding Star". The image of Stalin as a father was one way in which Soviet propagandists aimed to incorporate traditional religious symbols and language into the cult of personality; the title of "father" now first and foremost belonged to Stalin, as opposed to the Russian Orthodox priests. The cult of personality also adopted the Christian traditions of procession and devotion to icons through the use of Stalinist parades and effigies. By reapplying various aspects of religion to the cult of personality, the press hoped to shift devotion away from the church and towards Stalin.
Initially, the press also aimed to demonstrate a direct link between Stalin and the common people; newspapers often published collective letters from farm or industrial workers praising the leader, as well as accounts and poems about meeting Stalin. Shortly after the revolution of October 1917 the Ivan Tovstukha drafted up a biographical section featuring Stalin for the Russian Granat Encyclopedia Dictionary. Even though most of the description of Stalin's career was very much embellished, it had gained so much favor with the public that they released a fourteen-page pamphlet of it alone named Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin: A Short Biography with a print run of 50,000. However, these sorts of accounts declined after World War II; Stalin drew back from public life, and the press instead began to focus on remote contact (i.e. accounts of receiving a telegram from Stalin or seeing the leader from afar). Another prominent part of Stalin's image in the mass media was his close association with Vladimir Lenin. The Soviet press maintained that Stalin had been Lenin's constant companion while the latter was alive, and that as such, Stalin closely followed Lenin's teachings and could continue the Bolshevik legacy after Lenin's death. Stalin fiercely defended the correctness of Lenin's views in public, and in doing so Stalin implied that, as a faithful follower of Leninism, his own leadership was similarly faultless.
Lenin did not want Stalin to succeed him, stating that "Comrade Stalin is too rude" and suggesting that the party find someone "more patient, more loyal, more polite". Stalin did not completely succeed in suppressing Lenin's Testament suggesting that others remove Stalin from his position as leader of the Communist party. However some such as historian Stephen Kotkin have argued that these statements of Lenin were actually forgeries, they were not written or signed by Lenin but were allegedly spoken by him and taken down. According to V. Sakharov the dates on these allegedly forged portions also contradict the dates in the diaries of Lenin's secretaries and doctors. Kotkin argues that the leaders of the party, both Stalin and his opponents knew these segments were forged and for this reason they didn't have much impact and Stalin wasn't removed from his post even though he offered to step down. Stalin did not contest the validity of the forged segment but turned it into a propaganda weapon against his enemies. The allegedly forged section called him "too rude"; in answer Stalin admitted and apologized for his rudeness, but said he could not help being rude to those who harm the party. Lenin's sister Maria also defended Stalin against his opponents regarding his friendship with Lenin. Later even Lenin's wife Nadezhda Krupskaya came to Stalin's defense, despite earlier being a supporter of Zinoviev.
After Lenin's death 500,000 copies of a photograph of the Lenin and Stalin apparently chatting as friends on a bench appeared throughout the Soviet Union. Before 1932, most Soviet propaganda posters showed Lenin and Stalin together. This propaganda was embraced by Stalin, who weaponized this relationship in speeches to the proletarian, stating Lenin was "the great teacher of the proletarians of all nations" and subsequently identifying himself with the proletarians by their kinship as mutual students of Lenin. However, eventually the two figures merged in the Soviet press; Stalin became the embodiment of Lenin. Initially, the press attributed any and all success within the Soviet Union to the wise leadership of both Lenin and Stalin, but eventually Stalin alone became the professed cause of Soviet well-being.
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- Joseph Stalin's mother was Keke Geladze. Stalin had a better relationship with his mother than his father. However, his daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, claims the only person her father had any fear of was his mother. This could be attributed to his strict upbringing, his mother was a pious and raised him devout in the Russian Orthodox Church. At one point in fact, she was hoping for him to train as a priest in the church.
- When his wife, Kato Svanidze, died from typhus, Stalin apparently said at her gravesite "This warm creature could soften my feelings towards humans, now she's gone, and along with her, all my feelings for humanity."
- He would marry again to a woman called Nadezhda Alliluyeva in 1919, however his relationship with her was abusive, and she committed suicide in 1932. Stalin never married again.
- In the Tsarist Russian Empire, Stalin, along with other future members of the party, would rob bourgeois banks to donate to the Communist Party prior to the Revolution.
- In his personal life, Stalin was known for having a strained relationship with his eldest son, Yakov, due to their heated relationship Yakov once tried in vain to commit suicide, when Stalin was informed of this he replied "He couldn't even do that right."
- Yakov's son, Galina is an admirer of his Grandfather, a neo-Stalinist and currently resides in his Grandfather's homeland of Georgia.
- Stalin was awarded the title “Man of Steel.” It fit perfectly with his stern image as leader of the industrial-powerhouse of the USSR.
- When being interviewed by HG Wells in 1934, Stalin explained his communist ideologies in detail. In the interview, he explained the faults of capitalism, stating "There is much we Bolsheviks can learn from the capitalist".
- While visiting Moscow in 1934, Stalin granted the famed journalist an interview.
- Stalin's final speech, October 14, 1952; less than five months prior to his death.
- There are rumors that Stalin did not die from a stroke, but that he was actually poisoned by Josip Broz Tito, dictator of Yugoslavia.