|Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin|
|General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
3 April 1922 – 16 October 1952
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионоыич Сталин; Georgian: იოსებ სტალინიბ; 18 December 1878 - 5 March 1953) was a Soviet revolutionary and politician. He governed the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Initially heading a collective one-party state government, by 1937 he was the country's de facto leader. Ideologically a Marxist and a Leonist, Stalin helped to formalize these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies became known as Stalinism.
During Stalin's tenure, Lenin's New Economic Policy was replaced with a centralized command economy, industrialization, and collectivization. These rapidly transformed the country into an industrial power, but disrupted food production and engineered catastropic famine. The most notorious aspect of Stalin's reign was the "Great Purge" or "Great Terror," a program of political repression aimed at relatively wealthy peasants (kulaks), ethnic minorities, and designated enemies of the regime. Historians estimate the death toll under Stalin to be upwards of 7-9 million.
Stalin's death in 1953 triggered a power struggle, from which Nikita Khrushchev ultimately emerged victorious.