Stalin, Joseph (1878–1953) By Elliott, Emily
Joseph Stalin (Iusif Vassarionovich Dzhugashvili) was born in Gori, Russian Empire, which is part of present-day Georgia. He adopted the name ‘Stalin’ from the Russian word for ‘steel’. Although he originally attended a Georgian Orthodox seminary, he read the works of Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) and became a Bolshevik in 1903. In the pre-revolutionary period, Stalin was a leading figure in the Caucasus, raising funds through committing bank robberies. He was sent to Siberia several times as a prisoner, but he frequently managed to escape, the last time being to Petrograd (St. Petersburg) during the revolution.