11 Jun Iosif Stalin
Dead: 5 March 1953
In: Red Square, Red Square, Moskva, Russia, 109012
He was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1953) and Premier (1941–1953).
Initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, by the 1930s he was the country's de facto dictator.
A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalize these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, alongside his own policies known as Stalinism.
Born to a poor family in Gori in the Russian Empire (now Georgia), Stalin joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party as a youth.
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 during the 1917 October Revolution and created a one-party state under Lenin's newly renamed Communist Party, Stalin joined its governing Politburo.
Serving in the Russian Civil War before overseeing the Soviet Union's establishment in 1922, Stalin assumed leadership over the country following Lenin's 1924 death.
Under Stalin, "Socialism in One Country" became a central tenet of the party's dogma.
Through the Five-Year Plans, the country underwent agricultural collectivisation and rapid industrialisation, creating a centralized command economy.
This led to significant disruptions in food production that contributed to the famine of 1932–33.
To eradicate accused "enemies of the working class", Stalin instituted the "Great Purge", in which over a million were imprisoned and at least 700,000 executed between 1934 and 1939.
By 1937, he had complete personal control over the party and state.