One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(1879–1953), Soviet statesman, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR 1922–53; born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili.
His adoptive name Stalin means ‘man of steel’. Having isolated his political rival Trotsky, by 1927 Stalin was the uncontested leader of the Communist Party. In 1928 he launched a succession of five-year plans for rapid industrialization and the enforced collectivization of agriculture; as a result of this process some 10 million peasants are thought to have died. His large-scale purges of the intelligentsia in the 1930s were equally ruthless. After the victory over Hitler in 1945 he maintained a firm grip on neighbouring Communist states
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