Joseph Stalin


Stalin was born in Gori, Georgia, on December 18th, 1878. He overcame physical disadvantages that afflicted him as a young child to become one of the most influential politicians of all time. When he was seven, a bad case of smallpox permanently scarred his face. He was also involved in two horse-carriage accidents in his teen years that damaged his left arm. Despite this, he excelled in school. He was accepted to the Georgian Orthodox Seminary, but was expelled because of his rebellious manner and his refusal to attend final exams.
After leaving the seminary, Stalin was inspired by Lenin's Marx teachings, and decided to join Soviet politics. He organized paramilitaries and strikes, spread propaganda, and raised money for Communist organizations through bank robberies, ransom kidnappings, and extortions. When Russia entered World War I, Stalin was drafted but was discharged because of his mangled left arm.
Stalin was exiled to Siberia because he organized illicit Communist activities. However, he always managed to escape. He changed his name from Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili to "Stalin" during this time period, because "Stalin" was Russian for "Steel". After exile, he returned to St. Petersburg and continued to push for more Communist influence in the government. He helped Lenin evade capture, removed influential Republican politicians, and supported the provisional government. He led the Bolsheviks as they gradually began to prepare for Revolution.
After seizing Petrograd, Lenin came to power, while Stalin continued to rise ranks.