Joseph Stalin is credited as being one of the most powerful leaders of all time. He helped his country, the Soviet Union, become a dominating world power. Born on December 21, 1879 under his original name Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, he renamed himself Stalin meaning “man of steel.” Stalin was the unchallenged leader of the USSR from 1929 until his death in 1953.
A product from a very shaky childhood environment, Stalin, became overwhelmed with radical ideas. In fact, he won a scholarship in 1894 to attend the Orthodox theological seminary in Tiflis, from which he ran away to join Mesame Dasi, a secret group of revolutionists. This was the beginning of a life of secrecy. As a result of his actions within the group he was arrested and thrown in jail, only to escape. He repeated this several times prior to 1917. In contrast to his fellow revolutionists he began to show an interest in Bolshevism. As a result he came to fully support Lenin. During all of this Stalin had been writing articles for Caucasian Workers’ Newssheet. His articles were very supportive of Bolshevism. Also, while he was working for the newspaper he was key in organizing such things as: robberies, exploitation, and other extreme revolutionary tactics to financially support his group. He made his first big appearance serving as a representative in the first nationwide conference of Bolsheviks in Tammerfors, Finland in December 1905. This conference is where Stalin first met Lenin. Stalin was exciled for his beliefs and later escaped to help Lenin set up a new newspaper and write a very controversial paper entitled Marxism and the National Problem, which outlined the Bolsheviks’ position on minority races.