Iosif Vissarionovich Djugashvili, also known as Joseph Stalin, was the 2nd leader of the Soviet Union. He was born in Gori, Georgia, into a peasant family. Both of his parents were illiterate and were born serfs at birth. During his childhood, Stalin had a harsh spirit and vengeful feelings towards anyone who had power over him because his father used to beat him. His mother wanted him to become a priest and sent him to seminary. There is where his involvement with the socialist movement began. He was then expelled from the school in 1899 for these beliefs.
Rise to Power
After being expelled from the seminary, he worked with the political underground for ten years. During this time, he followed the ideology of Vladimir Lenin. His practical experience made him useful in Lenin's Bolshevik party leading up to the 1917 October Revolution (http://www.jewishvirtuallibraray.org).
Five years after the revolution, Stalin spent most of his time building his status as general secretary. In 1924 after Lenin's death, two sides began to fight over control of Russia. Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev were against Trotsky and Bukharin. Eventually Stalin switched sides and joined Bukharin, and together defeated Trotsky. By 1928 Stalin was said to have control over the communist party in Russia.
Final Stage of Stalin's Rise to Power
The ordered assassination of Trotsky was the final stage of Stalin's rise to power. Stalin ordered that this took place in Mexico, where he had lived when he was exiled from the Soviet Union. Only a few members of the "Old Bolsheviks", Stalin and the foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov, remained after Trotsky's death.
Once Stalin composed the base of his power with the great purges against his opponents, both politically and ideologically, he used different measures against them ranging from assassination to imprisonment in work camps. Stalin also terrorized the soviet population. He created a massive famine in Ukraine, in which five million people died (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org). Between the purges, state terrorism, labor camps, forest migrations and famines, Stalin was responsible for the deaths of forty million people within the borders of the Soviet Union(http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org).