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Joseph Stalin

Boris Chaliapin, 1904 - May 1979
Joseph Stalin, 21 Dec 1879 - Mar 1953
Gouache on illustration board
Image: 30.5 x 27.5cm (12 x 10 13/16")
Board: 38.1 x 34.9cm (15 x 13 3/4")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mrs. Boris Chaliapin
Restrictions & Rights
© Chris Murphy
Object number
Exhibition Label
Following the death of Vladimir Lenin (Soviet Union leader and founder of the Russian Communist Party) in 1924, Joseph Stalin transformed his position as Communist Party general secretary to that of all powerful dictator of the Soviet Union. He relied on the terror of the secret police, the party's control over the economy, and the development of a cult of personality. (By 1933 he was called "Father of the Soviet People.") In a sense, Stalin's actions during and after World War II were an outward projection of his all consuming need for security. He remained convinced that the Allies' delay in opening a second European front to fight Germany was a plot to bleed Russia dry. He felt that the country's only safety in a postwar world lay in a divided, weakened Germany and the establishment of a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection