Josef Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. This article contains some Josef Stalin pictures, as well as some biographical information.
Firstly, let’s start with a close up portrait picture of Stalin. He was a short man, and one of his arms was shorter than the other, withered after a carriage accident as a young man. As a result, he was sensitive about the way he looked in pictures, and generally preferred that close up pictures be published.
Although trained initially as a priest, Stalin discovered the works of Lenin early on, and joined the Bolsheviks in 1903. He had a reputation for being one of their most effective, and also most brutal operatives, working mostly in the Caucasus. He was arrested many times, as evidenced by this Stalin police mugshot, and exiled to Siberia seven times in total (escaping each time).
In 1922, Lenin appointed Stalin as General Secretary of the Party. This position proved an ideal launchpad for Stalin, and he used the last years of Lenin’s life to install his allies in Government positions, paving the way for him to take over the leadership of the Party once Lenin had died. Here is a picture of Lenin and Stalin.
Stalin’s rule was brutal – he was known for his purges in which millions were exiled to Siberia or killed. (For more information on this, read our article ‘Stalin Killed How Many People?’. You would have thought that, when people were executed, previous pictures of Stalin with the executed person would have caused embarrassment, but instead they were simply changed – an early version of photoshopping. The first of these two pictures shows Stalin with Nikolai Yezhov, a senior secret policeman. The second shows the version of the picture used after his execution – as you will see, Yezhov has been removed completely.
Stalin’s reputation outside of the Soviet Union varied between reviled and loved. During the Second World War, when the Soviet Union’s armies were needed to defeat Hitler’s Germany, he was lauded in the United States and Uncle Joe. He had a massive role in deciding the fate of the post-war world, and is pictured here meeting with US President Franklin D Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Tehran, December 1943.
Russia today has a mixed relationship with Stalin’s legacy. Many still view him as a hero, who saved the Soviet Union from Germany in the Second World War, whereas others view him as a ruthless, murderous dictator. As a British writer, I believe the best thing to do is to ridicule, so here’s a silly picture of Stalin to finish this article with.