Joseph Stalin Quotes
HTML may be malformed and/or unbalanced and may omit inline images. Use at your own risk. Known problems are listed at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:TextExtracts#Caveats.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Soviet revolutionary and politician of Georgian nationality. Governing the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, he served as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952 and as the nation's Premier from 1941 to 1953. Initially the head of a collective party elite that governed by consensus, he ultimately removed his rivals and accumulated power to become the Soviet Union's de facto dictator by the late 1930s. Ideologically a Marxist and a Leninist, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies became known as Stalinism.
Born to a poor family in Gori, Russian Empire, Stalin began his revolutionary career in his youth by joining the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. There, he edited the party's newspaper, Pravda, and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction via robberies, kidnappings, and protection rackets. Repeatedly arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia during the 1917 October Revolution, Stalin joined the party's governing Politburo where he was instrumental in overseeing the Soviet Union's establishment in 1922. Despite Lenin's opposition, he assumed leadership over the country shortly after the former's death in 1924. During Stalin's rule, "Socialism in One Country" became a central tenet of the party's dogma, and Lenin's New Economic Policy was abandoned in favour of a centralized command economy. Under the Five-Year Plan system, the country underwent rapid industrialization but also experienced significant disruptions in food production that contributed to the famine of 1932–33. To eradicate those regarded as "enemies of the working class", Stalin instituted the "Great Purge" in which over a million were imprisoned and at least 700,000 were executed from 1934 to 1939.
Stalin's government promoted Marxism–Leninism abroad through the Communist International and supported anti-fascist movements throughout Europe during the 1930s, particularly in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939 it signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in their joint invasion of Poland. Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial setbacks, the Soviet Red Army halted the German incursion and captured Berlin in 1945, ending World War II in Europe. The Soviets annexed the Baltic states and helped establish pro-Soviet Marxist–Leninist governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the two world superpowers, and a period of tensions began between the Soviet-backed Eastern Bloc and U.S.-backed Western Bloc known as the Cold War. Stalin led his country through its post-war reconstruction, during which it developed a nuclear weapon in 1949. In these years, the country experienced another major famine and a period of antisemitism peaking in the 1952–53 Doctors' plot. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who denounced his predecessor and initiated a de-Stalinisation process throughout Soviet society.
Widely considered one of the 20th century's most significant figures, Stalin was the subject of a pervasive personality cult within the international Marxist–Leninist movement, for whom Stalin was a champion of socialism and the working class. Since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, Stalin has retained popularity in Russia and Georgia as a victorious wartime leader who established the Soviet Union as a major world power. Conversely, his autocratic government has been widely condemned for overseeing mass repressions, hundreds of thousands of executions, and between 6–9 million non-combatant deaths through its policies.