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Joseph Stalin

By Stephanie L. McKinney, PhD, Contributing Writer

13 of 14

Stalin Dies
Picture of Stalin, after his death, lying in state in the hall of Trade Union House, Moscow.

Soviet Communist leader Joseph Stalin lying in state in the hall of Trade Union House, Moscow. (March 12, 1953)

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Rebuilding and One Last Purge

In his final years, Stalin tried to reshape his image to that of a man of peace. He turned his attention to rebuilding the Soviet Union and invested in many domestic projects, such as bridges and canals – most were never completed.

While he was writing his Collected Works in an attempt to define his legacy as an innovative leader, evidence suggests that Stalin was also working on his next purge, an attempt to eliminate the Jewish population that remained in Soviet territory. This never came to pass since Stalin suffered a stroke on March 1, 1953 and died four days later.

Embalmed and Put on Display

Stalin maintained his cult of personality even after his death. Like Lenin before him, Stalin’s body was embalmed and put on public display. In spite of the death and destruction he inflicted upon those he ruled, Stalin’s death devastated the nation. The cult-like loyalty he inspired remained, although it would dissipate in time.
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