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A Blast From The Past

Today is Nov. 26.
PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International
Page 10 of 10
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Josef Stalin
Andrei Gromyko's fluent English and in-deth knowledge of the United States led dictator Josef Stalin to name him ambassador to Washington in 1943 at the unheard age of 34. here, in 1945, Gromyko is seen on hand on the right as President Harry S. Truman (C, with glasses) visits Stalin (L) at the latter's temproary residence for the Potsdam (near Berlin), Germany, Conference held from July 17 till August 2, 1945 to decide about the fate of defeated Germany. (UPI Photo/Files)
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(Georgian: იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი)

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. While formally the office of the General Secretary was elective and was not initially regarded as top position in the Soviet state, after Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin managed to consolidate more and more power in his hands, gradually putting down all opposition groups within the party. This included Leon Trotsky, the Red Army organizer, proponent of world revolution, and principal critic of Stalin among the early Soviet leaders, who was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929. Instead, Stalin's idea of socialism in one country became the primary line of the Soviet politics.

In 1928, Stalin replaced the New Economic Policy of the 1920s with a highly centralised command economy and Five-Year Plans, launching a period of rapid industrialization and economic collectivization in the countryside. As a result, the USSR was transformed from a largely agrarian society into a great industrial power, and the basis was provided for its emergence as world's second largest economy after World War II. However, during this period of rapid economical and social changes, millions of people were sent to penal labor camps, including many political convicts, and millions were deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union. The initial upheaval in the changing agricultural sector disrupted food production in the early 1930s, contributing to the catastrophic Soviet famine of 1932–1933, one of the last major famines in Russia. In 1937–38, a campaign against former members of the communist opposition, potential rivals in the party, and other alleged enemies of the regime culminated in the Great Purge, a period of mass repression in which hundreds of thousands of people were executed, including Red Army leaders convicted in coup d'état plots.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Josef Stalin."
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