Most of the peasants in Russia in the nineteenth century were forced to confront poverty, young Joseph Stalin was no exception. However, he battled against this hollow factor and rose to become one of the greatest communist revolutionaries and powerful ruler of the former Soviet Union.
Joseph Stalin was born as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili on the 21st of December 1879 in Gori, Georgia (which was, at the time, a part of the Russian empire) to an alcoholic cobbler and a maid. As a young boy he earned the nickname ‘Pocky’ due to the scars he acquired to his face when he contracted smallpox. It was in his youth that Joseph realised just how he wanted the Soviet Union to be ruled and that he himself must take action to help this. He had received a scholarship to a fine theological seminary in the Georgian capital but he had no interest whatsoever in such studies. Joseph devoted himself to the revolutionary movement against the Russian monarchy and even joined a secret revolutionary organisation called ‘Messame Dassy’. This group persevered for the release of Georgia from the claws of the Russian Monarch so it could become independent. Naturally, when Joseph’s allegiance was discovered, he was expelled from the seminary.
Stalin set to work immediately after his expulsion, teaching middle class children. With a lot of spare time on his hands, Joseph effectively motivated workers and peasants to organise strikes and shut-downs. His enthusiasm and persuasiveness gained him much popularity among the people. However, he soon had to go into hiding once the Monarch’s secret police learned of his revolutionary activities. But Joseph persisted, which subsequently lead to his arrest and his exile to Siberia.
Eventually, with the assistance of other activists, the communist party came into power with Joseph in the high ranks. With sheer cunning and desperation to be leader, Joseph had the other men who were competing for leadership turn against each other and eventually they were exiled. Stalin had now become the supreme authority of the Soviet.
Joseph was arguably the Soviet Union’s most powerful and ruthless leader. With his socialist-economic policies he attained the favour of the poor and working class people and with the power endowed by this popularity he trounced the prominent party leaders of his oposition. The concept of a ‘Five-Year-Plan’ was adopted by the Soviet Union as they sought escalated industrialisation and a collectively controlled economy where peasantry was directly in political control. However, it was through these programs that the true brutality of his nature shone. Stalin was cruel and merciless and the lives of all those who he ruled were at his expense. Stalin was at the top, and he enjoyed his absolute power and authority.
In fear of any corruption in his rule or plots against him, Stalin took action to ensure his safety and supremacy. He launched the great terror of the 1930’s; a vicious campaign entitled ‘The Purge’ which constituted of the execution of the party members and other sectors of the Soviet Union who he deemed suspicious and disloyal to him and also the exile of millions to slave labour camps. Joining with the ally forces against the Nazi’s, Stalin assailed Germany due to its breach of the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union despite the fact that they once collaborated. This powerful force strongly aided in the defeat of Germany despite the huge death toll in the Soviet Union – but this did not faze him in the least. He even extended his savagery to those who had committed either political or criminal offences. The Russian archives record that, under Joseph’s ruling, around 800,000 prisoners were executed.
Joseph Stalin remained supreme ruler until his death on March 5, 1953, at the age of 74. Joseph’s supremacy acted as a drug in his system and he was continually hungry for more. The obsessive measures he took to ensure that his position was secured exceeded the necessary force of a ruler. He knew how he wanted the Soviet Union to be ruled and he took the steps that he saw fit in a desperate effort to achieve that goal. Under this monster’s treacherous rule, death and suffering was cast upon tens of millions of people.
- by Kristina Macula, 10ENG