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Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin was born Ioseb Jughasvili on December 21, 1879 in Gori, Georgia. As a child he was given the nickname Soso. His father was a cobbler named Vissarion Jughashvili, known as Beso, and his mother Ekaterina Geladze, was born a serf. They had two other children who died young. His father had been a serf, but after obtaining his freedom, he opened his own cobbler shop. He quickly went bankrupt and was forced to work in a shoe factory.
Stalin's grew up in an abusive family. His father was frequently drunk, and when he was, he beat Stalin and his mother. These beatings left Stalin hard and heartless and gave him a hatred of authority. It is said that anyone with power reminded him of his father. His father also instilled in him another cruel feeling - anti-Semitism. In 1888, his father went to live in Tiflis, leaving the family without any means of support.
At the age of eight, Stalin began his education at the Gori Church School. In school, Stalin was forced to speak Russian and he and his Georgian classmates were held up to ridicule by the teachers because of his accent. They also mocked him for his ragged school uniform and his pockmarked face. Young Soso soon learned to outsmart his tormenters by intimidating them and exploiting their weaknesses. He avoided physical confrontation by accusing his attackers of using violence as a substitute for brains. In this way he would assert leadership over his peers.
Stalin excelled in school and graduated first in his class at the age of fourteen. He was awarded a scholarship to the Tiflis Theological Seminary, a Russian Orthodox school which he started attending in 1894. Although his mother wanted him to be a priest, Stalin attended for the educational opportunities, rather than because of any vocation for the Church. This is where Stalin's involvement with the socialist movement began. In 1899 he was expelled from the seminary after failing to appear for an examination.
Over the next decade, Stalin worked with the political underground in the Caucasas. During this time, between 1902 and 1917, he was repeatedly arrested and exiled to Siberia. He was an adherent of Vladimir Lenin's doctrine of a strong centralist party of professioanl revolutionaries, which was called Bolsheviks. There is also some evidence that Stalin, who had taken the pseudonym of Koba, was in the employ of the Tsar's Secret police. According to Olga Shatunovskaya, a member of the party since 1916, and at one time the secreatry to Stephan Shaumyan, chairman of the Baku Commune, he was.
His work gained him a place on the movement's Central Committee in 1912, and in 1913 he adopted the name Stalin, which means "man of steel" in Russian. It was during this time that Stalin was maried briefly to Ekaterina Svanidze in 1907. She died after three years, but they had one son together, whose name was Yakov Dzhugashvili. At the funeral he is said to have made a statement about any warm feelings he had for people, having died with his wife. His son, with whom he did not get along, served in the Red Army during the Second World War, where he was captured by the Nazis. Although the Nazis offered to exchange him for a German officer of higher rank, Stalin refused and his son was later killed trying to excape.
In 1917 Stalin was editor of Pravda while Lenin was in exile. After the February revolution, the first stage in the Russian Revolution, Stalin was elected to the Politburo in May, a position he held for the rest of his life. Stalin played only a minor role in the October revolution, apparently not distinquishing himself. Later, he embellished his actions after he came to power.
In 1919 a Politburo was created initially with five members, to run the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) on a day to day basis. Previously, the highest body of the Party had been the Central Committee. The first full members of the Politburo were Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Lev Kamenev, Stalin and Nikolai Krestinsky, with Nikolai Bukharin, Grigori Zinoyiey and Mikhail Kalinin as alternate members. The governing body of the CPSU was the Party Congress which initially met annually through the 1920s, but whose meetings became less frequent, particularly under Stalin. Party Congresses would elect a Central Committee which, in turn, would elect a Politburo. Under Stalin the most powerful position in the party became the General Secretary, who was elected by the Politburo. In theory, supreme power in the party was held by the Party Congress, however, in practice the power structure became reversed and, particularly after the death of Lenin, supreme power rested with the General Secretary.
The Red Army was eventually victorious, but the war had taken an estimated 9 million lives, only a few years after the nearly bloodless October Revolution. Millions of others had been killed by the indirect effects of the war. The droughts of 1920 and 1921 and the famine of 1
Quotes talked about in this paper
Terminology mentioned in this research paper
Names talked about in this research material
Stalin, Nikolai Bukharin, The first full members, Lev Kamenev, the strongest contender, Sergei Kirov, Grigory Zinoviev, Vissarion Jughashvili, Grigori Zinoyiey, Mikhail Kalinin, Ekaterina Geladze,
Organizations mentioned in this term paper
the CPSU, Communist Party, a Central Committee, The governing body, secret police, Red Army, Gori Church School, 20th Party, movement's Central Committee, Soviet government,
Locations talked about in this paper
Soviet Union, Tiflis, Moscow, Georgia, Gori,
Keywords referenced in this paper
Stalin, Central Committee, Bukharin, Soviet Union, politburo, Communist Party, Lenin, the communist party, General Secretary, Trotsky, purges, Right Opposition, great purges, Kamenev, Nikolai Bukharin, Lev Kamenev, party leader, Second World War, secret police, five year plans, Leon Trotsky, Soviet government, Mikhail Kalinin, october revolution, right wing, supreme power, Red Army, civil war, old bolsheviks, the second world war, labor camps, Vladimir Lenin, industrialization, CPSU, Russian Civil War, Khrushchev, Grigory Zinoviev, Sergei Kirov, Left Opposition, State Political Directorate, Soviet society, leadership, Ekaterina Geladze, personal power, planned economy, Ekaterina Svanidze, Nikolai Krestinsky, February revolution, industrial economy, central planning,