Biography Documentary hosted by Jack Perkins, published by A&E broadcasted as part of A&E Biography series in 1996 - English narration.
He held absolute power over the Soviet Union for 29 years. Stalin succeeded his hero Lenin in 1924. From then on, he induced widespread famines to enforce farm collectives and eliminated perceived enemies through massive purges. In 1953, as Joseph Stalin lay dying, doctors were afraid to even examine him. This harsh leader of the Soviet Union was known to turn on even his closest advisors, sending them to prison to be tried as enemies of the state. Stalin came to power by joining a group of revolutionaries that in 1917 overthrew the Russian Czar, or emperor. They created a Communist government, in which the state controlled all parts of peoples lives. The first leader of the Soviet Union, as it was now called, was Vladimir Lenin. Stalin became one of his aides. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin took control and ruled the Soviet Union with an iron hand for almost thirty years. In the end an unbelievable twenty million people died from starvation or executions under Stalins rule. This documentary explores the life of Joseph Stalin from his childhood in Georgia to the ruthless terror that left only those too weak to challenge his iron rule. Biographers Robert Conquest and Edvard Radzinsky explore his disastrous reforms, including the collectivization of agriculture and his massive purges. Former interpreter Valentin Berezhkov offers a first-person view of the dictator's motivations, while purge victim Dr. Janusz Bardach talks about his time in the Gulags. And in a rare interview former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev reflects on the legacy of his notorious predecessor. BIOGRAPHY proudly presents a definitive history of one of the most important, compelling and hated men in history.