One life was more valuable for Stalin than lives of millions. The quote “A single death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic” is attributed to him but many people do not believe he could say something like this.
The real surname of Joseph Stalin was Jughashvili, he named himself Stalin based on the Russian word “steel”. So he has a superhero name, cause he’s a “man of steel”. As for his own original surname Jughashvili, it also contributed to his choice of a new last name – from the ancient Georgian language “Jugha” is translated as “damask steel”.
Stalin insisted on his photographs to be air-brushed. He had permanent scars on his face – traces of the smallpox he suffered when he was a child, he didn’t want others to see them. Some artists are even rumored to have been shot for not flattering their portraits of the leader.
Stalin liked movies very much, especially American westerns. Sometimes he invited his friends to his private cinema. His own translator would help them to understand what the characters were saying.
Stalin executed his own guards for trying to help him. He demanded from his guards they would never enter his private bed chambers no matter what, even if they hear him cry or yell. Then he decided to test them and started to scream as if in agony, the guards finally entered to help and forfeited their lives. Such deed played a mean trick on Stalin himself: when he really needed help nobody dared to enter his quarters.
The man of huge plans and ambitions was surprisingly small. Stalin was only 5 feet 4 inches tall. In fact he was utterly self-conscious about his appearance, as I have mentioned above he had scars on his face, and one of his arms was shorter than the other.
Stalin was responsible for the death of at least 20 million people. His reign was full of terror – he sent people to prison for their political views or even for nothing, tortured, exiled, starved and forced them into hard labor.
He would not even pay ransom for the return of his own son. When his son was captured by the Nazis, Hitler dared to make a ransom offer to Stalin, who refused it without any hesitation. Yakov died in a Nazi prison.
Stalin was suffering from atherosclerosis. Many experts believe this could explain his cruelty.
In 1906-1907 Joseph Stalin was planning and organizing bank robberies in South Caucasus. His purpose was to get money for his political party.
Stalin was arrested eight times, exiled, and managed to escape four times. Each time the friends of his father were helping him to escape. Only from the last exile he was saved by the February revolution in 1917.
Stalin passionately loved to read. He did it everywhere – in his office, at home, in a summer house… He had huge libraries mainly consisting of books about economy, history, philosophy, Marxism.
Due to the deformity of his arm, he was not admitted to be physically qualified for military service in 1916.
Stalin didn’t drink vodka. He liked Georgian wine and sometimes would agree to have some cognac.
Most Soviet parks in Russia were built at the initiative of Stalin. He also ordered to restore forests and parks destroyed during the war.
One of Stalin’s prominent quotes: “It does not matter what the votes are, more important is how they were counted”. That’s what he said in 1934.
“Times” called him the man of the year twice. The first one was in January 1940 for making a non-aggression pact with Hitler and initiation of the Soviet-Finnish War. The second time – in 1943.
There are still over thirty streets named after Stalin in former Soviet states and in Russia. There was also the city named after Stalin – the city of Stalingrad which was renamed in Volgograd in 1961.
During WWII his other son Vasiliy was recommended for the title of general twelve times, but each time Joseph Stalin rejected it. Nevertheless, Vasily Stalin, who was a military pilot, eventually became the youngest general of the Soviet army.