DEAD: Joseph Stalin

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Joseph Stalin (aged 74)
Soviet leader

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; 18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Sovietpolitician. He led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Premier (1941–1953). While initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, he ultimately consolidated enough power to become the country’s de facto dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninistinterpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism.

DEATH: On 1 March 1953, Stalin’s staff found him semi-conscious on the bedroom floor of his Volynskoe dacha. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He was moved onto a couch and remained there for three days. He was hand-fed using a spoon, given various medicines and injections, and leeches were applied to him. Svetlana and Vasily were called to the dacha on 2 March; the latter was drunk and angrily shouted at the doctors, resulting in him being sent home. Stalin died on 5 March 1953. According to Svetlana, it had been “a difficult and terrible death”. An autopsy revealed that he had died of a cerebral hemorrhage and that he also suffered from severe damage to his cerebral arteries due to atherosclerosis. It is possible that Stalin was murdered. Beria has been suspected of murder, although no firm evidence has ever appeared.

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