Joseph Stalin was the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929 to 1953. He ruled Russia with terror and fear.
Stalin became the leader of the communist party and Dictator of Russia in 1929 and is responsible for the deaths of at least 34 million people.
Starting in the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin launched a series of five-year plans that were supposed to transform the Soviet Union from a poor society into an industrial superpower. His development plan was based on government control of the economy and included the forced "collectivization" of Soviet agriculture, in which the government took control of farms. Millions of farmers refused to cooperate with Stalin’s orders and were shot or exiled as punishment. The forced "collectivization" also led to famine across the Soviet Union that killed millions.
He gave more power to the secret police, encouraged citizens to spy on one another and had millions of people killed or sent to the Gulag system of forced labor camps.
Additionally, Stalin built a cult of personality around himself in the Soviet Union. Cities were renamed in his honor. Soviet history books were rewritten to give him a better image and bigger role in the revolution and other aspects of his life. He was the subject of flattering artwork, literature and music, and his name became part of the Soviet national anthem. His government also controlled the media.
Stalin is also remembered for his non-agression pact with Adolf Hitler during WWII which Hitler broke in 1941 which encouraged Stalin to side with the allied powers.
Stalin died on March 5, 1953, at age 74, after suffering a stroke