DOB/ DOD: 18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953. He ruled from mid 1920's until he died in 1953. He replaced the New Economic Policy introduced by Lenin in the early 1920's with a highly centralized command economy, launching a period of industrialization and collectivization that resulted in the rapid transformation of the USSR from an agrarian society into an industrial power.Major figures in the Communist Party, such as the Old Bolsheviks, Leon Trotsky, and most of the Red Army Generals, were killed after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the government and Stalin. In August 1939, after failed attempts to conclude anti-Hitler pacts with other major European powers, Stalin entered into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that divided their influence and territory within Eastern Europe, resulting in their invasion of Poland in September of that year, but Germany later violated the agreement and launched a massive invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Stalinist development also contributed to advances in health care, which significantly increased the lifespan and quality of life of the typical Soviet citizen.
The Great Purge was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union that was orchestrated by Joseph Stalin and occurred from 1934 to 1940. It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, and widespread police surveillance, suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. In Russian historiography, the period of the most intense purge, 1937–1938, is called Yezhovshchina.
Under the reign of Joseph Stalin, forced labor in the Soviet Union was used in order to achieve the economic goals of the Five-Year Plan. Forced labour was a vital part of the rapid industrialization and economic growth of the Soviet Union. Between 1932-1946 the Soviet secret police detained approximately 18,207,150 prisoners. The Gulag prison system had put into practice the use of forced labour by imprisoning not only dangerous criminals but also people convicted of political crimes against the communistic government Labourers had to work in freezing climates, unhygienic conditions, dangerous circumstances and worked for extensive time periods without rest. Many prisoners were able to perform the forced labour necessary but a large number of prisoners were too hungry, sick, or injured from the intense working conditions to complete the labor.
Russian Civil War, 1917–1919
Polish-Soviet War, 1919–1921
Russian Revolution of 1917