Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mugshot of Joseph Stalin held by Okhrana: the Tsarist Secret Police, 1911

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Mugshot of Joseph Stalin held by Okharna: the Tsarist Secret Police, 1911
On the picture it just says "looks around 32 ... 34"; it also says his ear form is "06". And it has a separate paragraph for "race (if colored)". For Stalin it's vacant.  If that's from 1911 then it was just forwarded to St.Petersburg Okhrana branch to watch if he escapes the exile in Solvychegodsk and Vologda (he was exiled there for terrorism, robbery and revolutionary agitation at Caucasus). It might be taken in 1912 when he was arrested in St.Petersburg for escaping the exile and publishing 'Pravda' newspaper.

Many say how handsome he was. Undoubtedly, this is true, he wasn't all that charming at all. He had very poor oratorical skills and he worked with (the name escapes me at the moment) a speech mentor who suggested he speak in a more calm and slow tone, like a father. It was in direct opposition to the way Hitler approached speeches, all flailing about and screaming. Stalin was also described as 'dull and pock marked'. What he did have was great skills in deception, a very good memory, and he was well organised. He gained his charisma not by actually having it, but saying that Lenin designated him as the next in line to lead (which is also up in the air as to its truth). Stalin created the cult of personality because he didn't really have one. Szelenyi's Weber on Charismatic Authority talks about Stalin in this manner. It is a great read about the different types of leaders throughout history and the various designations of charisma.

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