Stalin: Inside the TerrorThis is a BBC2 documentary and probably one of the best on Stalin. The archive footage is very good and it draws upon some excellent evidence from close witnesses, including Stalin’s own family. Uploaded for educational purposes only.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian-born Soviet revolutionary and political leader. He governed the Soviet Union as its dictator from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, serving as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952 and as Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1953. Ideologically a Marxist and a Leninist, he helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies became known as Stalinism.

Born to a poor family in Gori, Russian Empire, as a youth Stalin joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He edited the party newspaper Pravda and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin‘s Bolshevik faction via robberies, kidnappings and protection rackets. Repeatedly arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks gained power in the October Revolution of 1917 and established the Soviet Russian Republic, Stalin sat on the governing Politburo during the Russian Civil War and helped form the Soviet Union in 1922. Despite Lenin’s objections, Stalin consolidated power and a cult of personality developed around him. During Stalin’s tenure, the concept of “Socialism in One Country” became a central tenet of Soviet society, and Lenin’s New Economic Policy was replaced with a centralised command economy, industrialisation and collectivisation. These rapidly transformed the country from an agrarian society into an industrial power, but disrupted food production and contributed to the famine of 1933–34. Between 1934 and 1939, Stalin organised the “Great Purge“, in which millions of so-called “enemies of the working class“, including senior political and military figures, were interned in Gulag-run prisons, exiled or executed.

 


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