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Josef Stalin

He was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, in Gori, which is now in the Republic of Georgia, in 1879, but in 1910 adopted the pseudonym Josef Stalin, Staling meaning "a man of steel." Both his parents were Georgian peasants neither of whom spoke Russian. Stalin however was forced to learn the language of instruction during his school life at the Gori church school which he attended between 1888 until 1894. Suposedly the best pupil in the school, "Soso" as his friends referred to him earned a full scholarship to the Tbilisi Theological Seminary and later became leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Between 1922 and 1953 he was the secretary general of Communist party.


Josef Stalin He was the longtime ruler who more than any other individual molded the features that characterized the Soviet regime and shaped the direction of Europe following the end of World War II in 1945.

At one point he studied for priesthood, and during this time read forbidden literature, including the works of German political philosopher Karl Marx, but prior to his graduation, he quit to become a full-time revolutionary. In 1899 he began a career in the Social-Democratic party (Marxist revolutionary group) as a propagandist among T'bilisi railroad workers.

The police caught up with him in 1902 where he was arrested and spent more than a year in prison. He was later exiled to Siberia, where he escaped in 1904 when he married his first wife, Yekaterina Svanidze. She died six years later in 1910. He was subsequently arrested eight times, but escaped six times. The government contained him only once; his last exile in 1913 lasted until 1917. In 1919 he married for the second time, a woman called Nadezhda Alliluyeva, who later committed suicide in 1932.

Between 1905 to 1917, Stalin became more of an up-and-coming follower than a leader and supported the Bolshevik faction of the party, and in 1907 he helped organize a bank holdup in T'bilisi "to expropriate" funds. He was co-opted by Lenin the leader of the Bolsheviks' Central Committee in 1912 and the following year he briefly edited the new party newspaper, Pravda (Truth). At Lenin's request he wrote his first major work, Marxism and the Nationality Question. However, before this treatise appeared in 1914, Stalin was sent to Siberia.

Following the Russian Revolution of February (March, New Style) 1917, Stalin returned to Petrograd (now known as Saint Petersburg), where he resumed the editorship of Pravda.

In 1922 Stalin became secretary general and after Lenin's death he joined in a troika with Grigory Zinovyev and Kamenev to lead the country. With these temporary allies, Stalin acted against his archrival Trotsky. Subsequently he had Trotsky and his supporters expelled from the Party and exiled. At the age of 50 in 1929, Stalin became leader of the USSR and that year, he expanded what had been a moderate collectivization program into a nationwide offensive against the peasantry. Millions were displaced, and countless millions died in the massive collectivisation. By the mid '30s he launched a major campaign of political terror and deportations to labor camps which touched virtually every family.

The USSR suffered greatly in World War II and Stalin personally directed the war against Nazi Germany despite the fact that in 1938 he signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler. After the German invasion in 1941, the USSR became a member of the Grand Alliance, and Stalin, as war leader, assumed the title of generalissimo. He turned against the Germans, notably at the Battle of Stalingrad, and in 1943 participated in the Allies' meetings at Tehran, Yalta, and 1945 at Potsdam.

After the war he extended Communist domination over most of the countries liberated by the Soviet armies.

In his last years, increasingly paranoid and physically weak, Stalin apparently was about to start another purge. In January 1953 he ordered the arrest of many Moscow doctors, mostly Jews, charging them with medical assassinations, but Stalin's sudden death in 1953 forestalled another bloodbath.

Figures

There exists no equivalent portrait figure made by Lineol or Hausser. However, after 1945 a composition figure of Stalin was produced by Durso, Belgium. This figure has the same scale as the 7 cm Lineol and Hausser/Elastolin figures and can easily be combined with them.

List of References

  1. Who's Who in World Politics, from 1860 to the present day, Alan Palmer, Routledge, New York, USA, 1996.
  2. Who's Who in Military History, from 1453 to the present day, John Keegan and Andrew Wheatcraft, Routledge, New York, USA, 1996.
  3. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica LTD., London, 1964.

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