Born Iosif Visarionovich Dzhugashvili in 1879. His birthplace was a town called Gori in Georgia. Born into crushing poverty, and beaten by his drunken father, he was steered with the help of his stern mother into education at a Seminary during his teens.
Here he disovered literature (then banned) by Karl Marx and became influenced by a small group who met secretly to discuss his concepts. From these experiences, being exposed to Marxist ideology, he rejected his religious education and became an atheist and professional revolutionary.
Firstly adopting the pseudonym Koba, a romantic fictional character of Georgian novels he read, he became obsessed with Lenin and the revolutionary movement occurring against the Tsars in Russia.
A bank robber, and ruthless agitator, he spent alot of time in Siberian exile, earning himself a reputation as a committed revolutionary.
Later he changed his pseudonym to Stalin, meaning Man Of Steel, and rose through the ranks of the Bolshevik faction of the Social Democratic Workers Party, although he was not able to fully penetrate the inner intellectual circles of the movement until the Bolsheviks took full power in 1917.
He was never considered a theorist or fellow intellectual by members of the top ranks in the movement, but his genius was demonstrated in the loyalty and influence he had garnered when orgainsing the rank and file of the revolutionary movement. His power base lay firmly in the grass roots. He used this to gain control of the Party and rid the revolution of his Nemesis, Leon Trotsky.
His second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva became his lover while he fought against Tsarist forces during the Russian civil war following the revolution. She shot herself dead in despair during the 1930's, during the time of the Ukrainian famine, a result of Stalin's polices of forced collectivisation. And, vindictive subjugation of those who opposed him.
When he took power, Stalin then ruled with ruthless disregard for human life for nearly quarter of a century until 1953. The revolution was turned into his own tool of revenge and narrowmindedness, the state reorganised into his own personality cult.
Killing millions with his polices of modernisation and collectivisation, he transformed the Soviet Union into a major world power, and at one time the second largest industrial giant (America being No 1). But the human cost leaves his achievments tainted permanently.
The Soviet Union's role in the Second World War was instrumental in defeating the Nazis, and this is sorely and disrespectfully not recognized.
A great man, no doubt, but great for too many wrong reasons. A Modernizer, and mass murderer.
He had the affectionate name Uncle Joe attached to him by American propagandists who wanted to create an image of the man in which the American people could trust, while the anti-communist USA was allied with the USSR during WWII.
"Lenin left the people a great legacy, and we his heirs have fucked it up"
Stalin upon hearing of the Nazi invasion of the USSR- 1941.