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Joseph Stalin was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzugashvili (Ио́сиф Виссарио́нович Джугашви́ли)on December 18, 1878 in Gori, a town in the Imperial Russian province of Georgia. He was the son of a poor shoemaker, who entered a seminary school to train to become an Eastern Orthodox priest. He renounced Christianity after coming across a copy of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species.
After a time, Stalin was ratted out by the Okhrana and expelled from the seminary in 1899. He spent the next few years as an informant for Marxist cells in the Caucasus. He was arrested in 1902.
When the Great War broke out, Stalin attempted to enter the Russian army, but was deemed physically unfit for service. He would take the alias "Koba" and rob banks to fund revolutionary activity instead.
In 1917, the Bolshevik Party created the Commissariat of Nationalities. Stalin was selected to be its commissar.
During the Russian Civil War , Stalin was selected to command the Red Army forces at Tsaritsyn. The Reds were boxed in and were unable to secure much support. Stalin was killed by an artillery shell on June 12, 1918.