… and Joseph STALIN

Posted on March 31, 2008. Filed under: Personalities |

Joseph Stalin was born in 1878. He was General Secretary of the Party from 1922 until his death in 1953 and became the de facto  ruler of the Soviet Union after the death of Lenin.

His rival, Trotsky, was outmanouvred and after several failed attempts, was eventually assassinated in Mexico where he had sought asylum. The assassin was a polished, urbane, sophisticated, erudite  pro who became Trotsky’s confidante.He then hammered open , with a miniature ice axe, Trotsky’s  skull as he bent over his desk to show something to his assassin. The guy served a 20yr prison sentence before returning to the USSR in the early 60’s – it is not known whether for reward or retribution!

Stalin transformed an agrarisn economy into a major industrial powerhouse but at the cost of millions of lives. In the 30s, Stalin launched the Great Purges, against millions suspected of being personal or party threats. They were executions or exiles to the Gulag labor camps in remote Siberia. Recent researches suggest a likely total of around 20 million victims.

Stalin’s USSR then played a major role in the defeat of  Hitler’s Nazi Germany. He was eventually poisoned by his own secret police chief, Levrentia Beria, possibly at the behest of other politburo members who perceived that they were next on Stalins list of his victims.

Here are two quotes that show the thinking of the man.

“To choose one’s victim,

to prepare one’s plans minutely,

to stake an implacable vengeance,

and then to go to bed

there is nothing sweeter in the world”.

And —

“The first death is a tragedy, the millionth death is a statistic”.

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