Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) - Soviet communist activist, leader and dictator. He was born in Gori, Georgia, as Josif Dzugashvili. He was educated at an orthodox church school and at an Orthodox theological seminary, which, however, he did not graduate. From 1898 he was associated with social democratic circles. From 1903, a member of the Bolshevik party, arrested several times and deported into the Russian Empire. Co-organizer of the October Revolution of 1917, member of the first Soviet government (the Council of People's Commissars). Constantly from 1918 to 1953 he belonged to the political bureau of the communist party, in its successive versions. In the face of Vladimir Lenin's illness, he was elected secretary general in 1922.
Taking advantage of this position, he gradually made the state structures and the party apparatus dependent on himself. He removed competitors such as Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and Lev Trotsky, accumulating full dictatorial power in his own hands. He was responsible for the mass purges in the 1930s, known as the Great Terror, as well as for the construction of the repression apparatus, the most famous element of which was the network of labor camps included in the so-called Gulag. In 1939, he concluded a pact with the Third Reich known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement, under which he took part in the invasion of Poland. Co-responsible for the outbreak of World War II. From 1941, after Adolf Hitler's unexpected attack on his former ally, he found himself in the camp of the Allied countries. As a result of the victory over the Third Reich, he vasalized the entire Central Europe, extending his influence to Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and eastern Germany, among others. He died on March 5, 1953, officially of a cerebral hemorrhage.