Joseph Stalin * Valerie *
1. Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) was the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929 to 1953. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower
2.However, he ruled by terror, and millions of his own citizens died during his brutal reign. Born into poverty, Stalin became involved in revolutionary politics, as well as criminal activities, as a young man.
3.After his death, the Soviets initiated a de-Stalinization process.
4.Stalin grew up poor and an only child. His father was a shoemaker and alcoholic who beat his son, and his mother was a laundress. As a boy, Stalin contracted smallpox, which left him with lifelong facial scars.
5. After leaving school, Stalin became an underground political agitator, taking part in labor demonstrations and strikes. He adopted the name Koba, after a fictional Georgian outlaw-hero, and joined the more militant wing of the Marxist Social Democratic movement, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin.
6.In 1906, Stalin married Ekaterina “Kato” Svanidze (1885-1907), a seamstress. The couple had one son, Yakov (1907-1943), who died as a prisoner in Germany during World War II.
7.In 1912, Lenin, then in exile in Switzerland, appointed Joseph Stalin to serve on the first Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party. Three years later, in November 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia.