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Stalin: The Early Years

Josef Stalin rose from obscure origins in Georgia to rule the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. RFE/RL takes a look at some images from his early life. (11 PHOTOS)

Ioseb Besarionis dze Dzhugashvili (Josef Stalin) (1879-1953) in 1894, during his studies at the Georgian Orthodox Seminary in Tbilisi, Georgia.
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Ioseb Besarionis dze Dzhugashvili (Josef Stalin) (1879-1953) in 1894, during his studies at the Georgian Orthodox Seminary in Tbilisi, Georgia.

A portrait of Josef Stalin's mother, Ketevan Gheladze Dzhugashvili (1858-1937), a housewife, seamstress, and laundress. Photo probably from the 1930s.
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A portrait of Josef Stalin's mother, Ketevan Gheladze Dzhugashvili (1858-1937), a housewife, seamstress, and laundress. Photo probably from the 1930s.

Stalin's father, Besarion Vanovis Dzhugashvili (1849/1850-1909), a cobbler. Photo undated.
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Stalin's father, Besarion Vanovis Dzhugashvili (1849/1850-1909), a cobbler. Photo undated.

Shown here in 1902, Dzhugashvili was already a professional revolutionary and a member of the Bolshevik group Iskra (Spark). He began using the name Stalin in 1912.
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Shown here in 1902, Dzhugashvili was already a professional revolutionary and a member of the Bolshevik group Iskra (Spark). He began using the name Stalin in 1912.

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