Joseph Stalin (a code name meaning "Man of Steel") was born Iosif (Joseph) Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in 1878 in Gori, Georgia, the Transcaucasian part of the Russian Empire. His father was a cobbler named Vissarion Dzhugashvili, a drunkard who beat him badly and frequently and left the family when Joseph was young. His mother, Ekaterina Gheladze, supported herself and her son (her other three children died young and Jopseph was effectively an only child) by taking in washing. She managed, despite great hardship, to send Joseph to school and then on to Tiflis Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tbilisi, hoping he would become a priest. However, after three years of studies he was expelled in 1899, for not attending an exam and for propagating communist ideas and the books of Karl Marx. Since 1898, Stalin became active in the Communist underground as the organizer of a powerful gang involved in a series of armed robberies. After robbing several banks in southern Russia, Stalin delivered

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