After Lenin’s death in 1924, Josef Stalin became the leader of the Communist government. Stalin was born Josef Dzhugashvili, but he took the name Stalin, which means “man of steel.” Stalin was one of history’s cruelest leaders.Think Ivan the Terrible cruel. Under Stalin’s rule, the Soviet Union became a totalitarian country. In a totalitarian country, a dictator or a small group of people control every part of the lives of its citizens. Life under Stalin was not fun.
Like Peter the Great, Stalin wanted to modernize his country. Stalin wrote that his goal was to: “...transform our land from an agricultural [farming]
country to an industrial giant.”
He wanted the Soviet Union to catch up with the West (Europe and America). Well, that doesn’t sound too bad.To reach his goal, Stalin began a series of ‘five year plans.’ The government controlled banks, factories, mines, and other industries. The government decided that Russia needed coal, steel, and machines to become a strong industrial country.The government built a lot of tractor factories, steel mills, and electrical power plants. Consumer goods--goods that people use up such as soap, clothing, furniture, and food-- were produced in fewer amounts. So, what? Well, that meant that things we use to make our lives more pleasant, I don’t know, like toilet paper, were hard to come by. Ok, that’s not fun, but how does this make Stalin cruel? Be patient.
Under the five year plans, the government set production goals for each industry and for farming. The government told farms and factories what to produce and how much to produce. Always, it was “more, more, more.” Workers only received their regular pay if they reached their goals. If they produced more or less than their goals, they got extra or less pay. According to Spartacus.school, “every factory had large display boards ... that showed the output of workers. Those that failed to reach the required targets were publicly...