Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for more than a quarter of a century, overseeing its transformation from a backward nation to a superpower. Creator of the most vast and inhuman prison system in world history, Stalin was a one-time invaluable ally to democracy in World War II. He quickly turned into its most feared enemy with the rise of the Iron Curtain. His death ended a reign of terror, yet his spirit still overshadows the pieces of his dismantled empire.
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