Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born on 18 December 1879 in Gori, Georgia, which was then part of the
Russian empire. His father was a cobbler and Stalin grew up in modest circumstances. He studied at a theological
seminary where he began to read Marxist literature. He never graduated, instead devoting his time to the
revolutionary movement against the Russian monarchy. He spent the next 15 years as an activist and on a number of
occasions was arrested and exiled to Siberia.
Stalin was not one of the decisive players in the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, but he soon rose through the
ranks of the party. In 1922, he was made general secretary of the Communist Party, a post not considered particularly
significant at the time but which gave him control over appointments and thus allowed him to build up a base of
support. After Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin promoted himself as his political heir and gradually outmanoeuvred his
rivals. By the late 1920s, Stalin was effectively the dictator of the Soviet Union.
His forced collectivisation of agriculture cost millions of lives, while his programme of rapid industrialisation
achieved huge increases in Soviet productivity and economic growth but at great cost. Moreover, the population
suffered immensely during the Great Terror of the 1930s, during which Stalin purged the party of 'enemies of the
people', resulting in the execution of thousands and the exile of millions to the gulag system of slave labour camps.
After World War Two, the Soviet Union entered the nuclear age and ruled over an empire which included most of
eastern Europe. Increasingly paranoid, Stalin died of a stroke on 5 March 1953.
One death is a tragedy, A million is a statistic.
Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom
it is aimed.
Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why should we let
them have ideas?
History has shown there are no invincible armies.
People who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide
It is not heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes.
When there's a person, there's a problem. When there's no person, there's no problem.
Music's a good thing, it calm the beast in the man.
Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem.
In the Soviet Union, it's takes more courage to retreat than advance.
The only real power comes out of a long rifle.
You do not lament the loss of hair of one who has been beheaded.
When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use.
The writer is the engineer of the human soul.
A sincere diplomat is like dry water or wooden iron.
The Pope? How many divisions has he got?
If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.
You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.
If any foreign minister begins to defend to the death a "peace conference," you can be sure his
government has already placed its orders for new battleships and airplanes.
I believe in one thing only, the power of human will.
Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.
I trust no one, not even myself.
It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes
decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its
morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will
collapse from within.
I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is
extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how.
Die, but do not retreat.
We think that a powerful and vigorous movement is impossible without differences.
"True conformity" is possible only in the cemetery.
We do not want a single foot of foreign territory; but of our territory we shall not
surrender a single inch to anyone