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Biography

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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 December 1878Gori, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire [now Republic of Georgia]
Date of Death 5 March 1953Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR [now Russia]  (cerebral hemorrhage)
Birth NameIosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili
Nicknames Uncle Joe
Soso
Man of Steel
The Red Tsar
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Joseph Stalin (a code name meaning "Man of Steel") was born Iosif (Joseph) Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in 1879 in Gori, Georgia, the Transcaucasian part of the Russian Empire. His father was a cobbler named Vissarion Dzhugashvili, a drunkard who beat him badly and frequently and left the family when Joseph was young. His mother, Ekaterina Gheladze, supported herself and her son (her other three children died young and Jopseph was effectively an only child) by taking in washing. She managed, despite great hardship, to send Joseph to school and then on to Tiflis Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tbilisi, hoping he would become a priest. However, after three years of studies he was expelled in 1899, for not attending an exam and for propagating communist ideas and the books of Karl Marx.

Since 1898, Stalin became active in the Communist underground as the organizer of a powerful gang involved in a series of armed robberies. After robbing several banks in southern Russia, Stalin delivered the stolen money to V.I. Lenin to finance the Communist Party. Stalin's gang was also involved in the murders of its political opponents; Stalin himself was arrested seven times, repeatedly imprisoned, and twice exiled to Siberia between 1902 and 1913. During those years he changed his name twice and became more closely identified with revolutionary Marxism. He escaped many times from prison and was shuttling money between Lenin and other communists in hiding, where his intimacy with Lenin and Bukharin grew, as did his dissatisfaction with fellow Communist leader Leon Trotsky. In 1912 he was co-opted on to the illegal Communist Central Committee. At that time he wrote propaganda articles, and later edited the Communist paper, "Pravda" (Truth). As Lenin's apprentice he joined the Communist majority (Bolsheviks), and was responsible for the consolidation of several secret communist cells into a larger ring. Stalin's Communist ring in St. Petersburg and across Russia played the leading role in the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the revolution the Bolsheviks Communists grabbed the power, then Communists murdered the Tsar and the Russian royal family. Stalin and Lenin took over the Tsar's palaces and used the main one in Kremlin as their private residence.

Lenin appointed Stalin the People's Commissar for Nationalities in the first Soviet government and a member of the Communist Politburo, thus giving him unlimited power. Stalin led the "Reds" against anti-Communist forces known as the "Whites" and also in the war with Poland. He also organized "Red Terror" in Tsaritsin (later renamed Stalingrad). With his appointment as General Secretary to the Party Central Committee in 1922, a post he held for the next 30 years, until his death, he consolidated the power that would ensure his control of the country after Lenin's death in 1924. He also took, or gave himself, other key positions that enabled him to amass total power in the Party and Soviet government.

Stalin was known for his piercing eyes and terrifying stare, which he used to cow his opponents into submission during private discussions. In 1927 Stalin requested medical help for his insomnia, anger and severe anxiety disorder. His doctors diagnosed him as having "typical clinical paranoia" and recommended medical treatment. Instead, Stalin became angry and summoned his secret service agents. The next day the chief psychiatrist, Dr. Bekhterev, and his assistants died of poisoning. In addition, before the doctors' diagnosis about Stalin's mental condition could become known, he ordered the executions of intellectuals, resulting in the murders of hundreds of thousands of doctors, professors, writers, and others.

Stalin's policy of amassing dictatorial power under the guise of building "socialism in the country" resulted in brutal extermination of all real and perceived anti-Communist opposition. His purges of the Soviet military brought about the execution of tens of thousands of army officers, many of them experienced combat veterans of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Polish campaigns and other military operations (this decimation of the Russian officer corps would result in the Soviet Union's initial defeats at the hands of Nazi invaders at the beginning of World War II). He also isolated and disgraced his political rivals, notably Trotsky. Stalin's economic policies of strict centralized planning (i.e., the "five-year plans") resulted in the near ruination of the Soviet economy and mass famines in many areas of the Soviet Union, notably in Central Russia and the Ukraine. Popular resistance to Stalin's policies, such as nationalization of private lands and collective farming, by independent farmers ("kulaks"), brought about brutal retaliation, in which millions of kulaks were either forced off their land or executed outright. Altogether Stalin's economic and political policies resulted in the deaths of up to 10 million peasants during 1926-1934. Between 1934 and 1939 he organized and led massive purge (known as "The Great Terror") of the party, government, armed forces and intelligentsia, in which millions of so-called "enemies of the Soviet people" were imprisoned, exiled or executed. In the late 1930s, Stalin sent some Red Army forces and material to support the Spanish Republican government in its fight against the rebels led by Gen. Francisco Franco and aided by troops and material from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Stalin made the Non-Aggression Pact with Adolf Hitler in 1939, which bought the Soviet Union two years' respite from involvement in World War 2. After the German invasion in 1941, the USSR became a member of the Grand Alliance and Stalin, as war leader, assumed the title of Generalissimus. He had no formal military training and scorned the advice of his senior officers, due to suspicion and his rising paranoia, actions that resulted in horrific losses to the Russian military in both men and material (not to mention civilian losses). He rejected military plans made by such experienced officers as Marshal Georgi Zhukov, and insisted they be replaced by his own plans, which led to even more horrific losses. Towards the end of WWII he took part in the conferences of Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Harry S. Truman. The agreements reached in those conferences resulted in Soviet military and political control over the liberated countries of postwar Castern and Central Europe.

From 1945 until his death Stalin resumed his repressive measures at home, resulting in censorship of the arts, literature and cinema, forced exiles of hundreds of thousands and the executions of intellectuals and other potential "enemies of the state". At that time he conducted foreign policies that contributed to the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. Stalin had little interest in family life, although he was married twice and had several mistresses. His first wife (Ekaterina Svanidze, married c. 1904) died three years after their marriage and left a son, Jacob (also known as Yacov), an officer in the Russian army during World War II who was captured by the Nazis and died in a POW camp (his father refused German offers to exchange him for captured German officers). His second wife (Nadezhda Alliluyeva, married 1919) attempted to moderate his politics, but she died by suicide, leaving a daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, and an alcoholic son, Vasili Stalin, who later died in exile. Increasingly paranoid, Stalin launched attacks on such intellectuals as Osip Mandelstam, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Anna Akhmatova, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Boris Pasternak, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and many other cultural luminaries. Stalin personally intervened in the fate of "counterrevolutionary" Yiddish writers and changed their sentences from exile to execution. Thirteen of them were executed by the Soviet secret police; their leader, Perets Markish, was executed in the typical KGB manner by a single gunshot to the head on August 12, 1952, in Moscow.

Stalin died suddenly on March 5, 1953, under somewhat mysterious circumstances, after announcing his intention to arrest Jewish doctors, whom he believed were plotting to kill him. The "official" cause of death was announced as brain hemorrhage. Stalin's apprentice, Georgi Malenkov, took the power, but was soon ousted by Nikita Khrushchev. Three years after death, Stalin was posthumously denounced by Nikita Khrushchev at the 20th Party Congress in 1956 for crimes against the Party and for building a "cult of personality." In 1961 Stalin's body was removed from Lenin's Mausoleum, where it had been displayed since his death, and buried near the Kremlin wall. In 1964 Leonid Brezhnev dismissed Khrushchev and brought back some of Stalin's hard-line policies. After 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev initiated a series of liberal political reforms known as "glasnost" and "perstroika", and many of Stalin's victims were posthumously rehabilitated, and the whole phenomenon of "Stalinism" was officially condemned by the Russian authorities.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Lester A Dinerstein <lester1@earthlink.net>

Spouse (3)

Rosa Kaganovich (1934 - 1938) (divorced)
Nadezhda Alliluyeva (24 March 1919 - 8 November 1932) (her death) (2 children)
Ekaterina Svanidze (1903 - 1907) (her death) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Moustache

Trivia (48)

Stalin was diagnosed with "Typical clinical form of paranoia" in 1927, by the leading psychiatrist Doctor Bekhterev and his assistant doctors. Next day Doctor Bekhterev and his assistant died of poisoning. Clinical paranoia explains ruthless killings of millions and brutal treatment of his own wives and children.
Was responsible for the most deaths in Europe between the end of World War I and the end of World War II. His legacy of sacrificing soldiers, starving civilians, mass executions and genocide resulted in more deaths than those caused by the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Hirohito, Zedong Mao and Pol Pot.
Supported the production of Sergei M. Eisenstein's films Battleship Potemkin (1925) (US title: "Battleship Potemkin"), October (Ten Days that Shook the World) (1928) (US title: "October") and Alexander Nevsky (1938), but prevented the completion of Eisenstein's trilogy about Czar Ivan IV, Ivan the Terrible (1938).
Has been portrayed in movies by actors including F. Murray Abraham, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, José Ferrer, Bernard Hill, and Andro Kobaladze.
Much of the early archive footage of Stalin is actually an actor portraying him in scenes taken from October (Ten Days that Shook the World) (1928).
He was an admirer of the Polish author Boleslaw Prus, in particular his novel "The Pharaoh and the Priest", filmed as Faraon (1966).
His real birthday is actually December 18, 1878 (or December 6 on the Julian calendar, used in Russia during the 19th century), but he had it changed to December 21, 1879 in official papers for unknown reasons.
First wife died of tuberculosis, second wife committed suicide.
Stalin's adopted revolutionary name -- "Stalin" -- literally means "Man of steel" in Russian. His mother called him "Soso," his undercover party nickname was "Koba."
Two sons, Yakov (b. 1907, d. 1943 in a Nazi camp) and Vasili Stalin (b. 1921, d. 1962 in exile), and one daughter, Svetlana (b. 1926, d. 2011, defected to USA).
Once stated that the happiest time of his life was when he was in exhile in Siberia. There, in the north, Stalin felt that the true spirit of Russia resided.
Stalin loved the "Tarzan" movies and often watched them at the Kremlin. For some reason, he was amused by the concept of a man being able to communicate with apes. Stalin ordered an expedition in Africa, which gathered over 100 apes and monkeys for his plans of breeding an obedient soldier. The secret research center was set in Sukhumi for breeding experiments on apes and monkeys under personal patronage of Stalin. After several years of non-results Stalin ordered the principal scientists executed and lost interest in breeding soldiers from apes. Today this research center is known as "Obeziannii pitomnik" in Sukhumi.
Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" (1939)
In March 2001, Russian Independent Television NTV discovered a previously unknown grandson of Stalin, Yuri Davydov, living in Novokuznetsk, Siberia. 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, told him to keep quiet about it. NTV said several historians, including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, mention a son being born to Stalin and his common-law wife, Lida, in 1914 during his exile in northern Siberia.
At the funeral of his first wife, Ekaterina, Stalin commented that any warm feelings he had for people died with her, for she was the only person who was able to melt his heart. He later ordered Ekaterina's relatives shot.
The rate of which the USSR was industrialised under his rule, was the fastest in history. Health care and education were also dramatically improved.
Had two nicknames during his lifetime. His mom called him "Soso," his undercover party nickname was "Koba."
His father was an alcoholic who often physically abused his son.
As a youth, he was struck down and almost killed by a runaway carriage. The accident left him with a stiff left shoulder and for the rest of his life he was unable to use his left arm.
He suffered recurrent bouts of smallpox as a child, which badly disfigured his face as he grew older.
He despised his son Yakov so much that when Yakov attempted suicide, Stalin was reported to have said: "Ha! He couldn't even shoot straight!"
During their historic meeting he asked Winston Churchill if he ever had any of his subordinates shot. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt thought it was a joke and went along with the "gag", but the question terrified Churchill so much that he allegedly never openly spoke to Stalin again.
His body was moved from the Lenin Mausoleum to the Kremlin Wall in 1961.
His trademark hat sat atop the coffin at his funeral.
So much was the disbelief at his death that his coffin had a bubble top over his head so that passersby could see it was actually him.
Was referred to as "Uncle Joe" by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Stalin was not ethnically Russian. He was a native of Georgia, a Transcaucasian part of the Russian Empire and later a Southern part of the Soviet Union. Stalin was bilingual and spoke Russian fluently, but had a heavy Georgian accent.
Early in his life, Stalin had entered an Orthodox seminary to study for the priesthood. He left, partly because the priests discovered his dabbling in communist and anarchist thought, as well as his growing resentment towards authority.
Among his most heinous crimes was the forced, intentional famine within the Ukraine, meant to force the destruction of the land-owning "kulak" farmers. It is believed that as many as 10 to 30 million died in the wave of famine that ran rampant throughout the late '20s-early '30s. However according to R.J. Rummel, a political scientist at the University of Hawaii who has studied mass killing Joseph Stalin was responsible for 43 million dead, from 1929-'53.
Raised money for the Communist Party by committing several armed robberies.
Called "Old Whiskers" behind his back, usually by prisoners in the gulags he sent them to.
Staunchly believed Adolf Hitler would honor the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression treaty. When Hitler's forces attacked, Stalin locked himself in his rooms and refused to believe it for several days; his denial caused unnecessary huge numbers of MIAs and millions of Russian civilians taken into Nazi death camps.
Stalin had a secret plan to invade Western Europe in 1944. He believed that by then Europe and Germany would be so exhausted by war that it would be an easy conquest.
When the full impact of Adolf Hitler's betrayal of the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression treaty struck Stalin, he locked himself in his rooms for several days, leaving the country leaderless.
Stalin did not wish to share a historic legacy with anyone, so he ordered the creation of revisionist history which wiped out all mention of Leon Trotsky and actually removed him from existing photographs.
Ordered the assassination of Leon Trotsky.
Somewhat ironically, he was a huge fan of movies starring John Wayne, Hollywood's most vocal anti-Communist and a rabid supporter of blacklisting and the McCarthy witch hunts.
His mother had the same name as his first wife.
His mother was a washerwoman and a seamstress.
Even after Stalin's rise to power, his mother refused to leave her home in the Caucasus.
When Stalin would enter the Soviet Politburo people would applaud him, sometimes for hours. The reason the clapping went on so long was because everybody was afraid to be the first one to stop.
In a testament written just before his death, Lenin denounced Stalin's ambitions and tried to warn the other Soviet leaders about them. Unfortunately, Stalin managed to blunt the effect of the testament and still seized power after Lenin's death anyway.
Was known for completely erasing any and all record of a person's existence as punishment and ascribing Their accomplishments to others or himself. In an ironic turn of events, this also happened to Stalin himself after Khrushchev's secret speech to a certain extent (in Yugoslavia this happened to Stalin even earlier, due to the Tito-Stalin split). While he was never completely written out of history, he was marginalized and became a scapegoat for most problems in the USSR, while his positive achievements were ascribed to Lenin instead. In addition, most of his statues were torn down, and streets and towns named for him were re-named. Finally, his body was removed from Lenin's mausoleum.
It is believed by some historians that Stalin's lust for power and the reasons behind many of his decisions and actions were the result of a tendency as a child to slip into fantasies about what he would have done if he were in charge of the country as a means of escaping his abusive father.
Was a voracious reader and had a personal library of 20,000 academic books (including a handful of basic German texts), and checked out an annual average of 500 books from state libraries. He personally annotated many drafts of Russian-language texts with 'suggestions', and supported Mikhail Sholokhov and Mikhail Bulgakov, authors of the some of the best Russian-language literature ever produced.
Although known for his stoic, reserved and unemotional demeanor, he was far less reserved in private and noted by his closest underlings and his enemies as being given to explosive rages and crushing depressions.
He could be quite kind to people whom he only met in passing. There is one account of him making sure a man was set free from the Gulag after receiving a letter from the man's young daughter. Another instance was when he and some of his staff had to stay at a old lady's cottage for the night while traveling between Moscow and a military headquarters during the war, he ensured the woman was compensated for the trouble despite the lady declaring that she was happy to provide the service for free.
The first time Lenin mentioned Stalin in a 1917 memo he forgot his name, mad a guess at it, then scribbled it out and just called him 'that Georgian guy'.

Personal Quotes (12)

A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.
Death solves all problems.
If you're afraid of wolves, don't go into the woods.
Those who cast the vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.
[regarding what would happen to the Politiburo after his death] After I'm gone, the capitalists will drown you like blind kittens.
[after the death of his first wife, Ekaterina] This warm creature was able to soften my heart of stone. Now she is gone, and with her my only warm feelings for humans.
I trust no one, not even myself.
It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance.
Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.
Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division; and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.

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