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            Joseph Stalin held absolute authority in the Soviet Union for twenty nine years. During his time as dictator he moved the Soviet Union to a world power, while starving and arresting his own people. His brutal dictatorship was one of the bloodiest in history. He can be compared to such leaders like Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein. The full extent of his ruthlessness may never be known, but the actions we do know about are truly appalling. Stalin was conditioned to be ruthless, from his abusive father to his work in the Bolshevik Party; he would follow a destructive path through out his life. .
             Stalin was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhuggashvili on December 21, 1879 in Gori, Georgia. He grew up in a very poor household. His father, Vissarion was a shoemaker, and a violent alcoholic, and he would beat Joseph and his wife constantly. Although neither of his parents spoke Russian Joseph was forced to learn it because it was the language spoke at the Gori church school that he attended from 1888-1894. He was known for his outstanding school work, and was later earned a full scholarship to the Tbilisi Theological Seminary.
             While attending the Seminary he would read plenty of forbidden books. He would read literature written by Karl Marx, a German political philosopher, and soon he would join the revolution called Russian Marxism. He would continue to read other books, including the works of F. Engels and V. I. Lenin.
             In 1899 Stalin dropped out (other sources say he was expelled) of the Tbilisi Theological Seminary to become a full time revolutionary. His career in the Social Democratic party began as a propagandist among T"bilisi railroad workers. Stalin started to make a name for himself over the next few years. He would hold protests, and continue to network with other members of the revolution. Then in 1902, he was arrested and spent over a year in prison. He was later exiled to Siberia, but escaped in 1904.

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