The first communist revolution occurred in Russia in 1917. Vladimir Lenin was the first dictator of this new social order, of this new Soviet Union. After Lenin’s death, there was a struggle in the Communist Party to see who the next dictator of the Soviet Union would be. Through political machination and cunning, Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin as the new leader of the Soviet Union. Stalin had used his position as General Secretary of the Communist Party to gain power. Stalin controlled all political appointments and over time, everyone who counted for anything owed their position to Stalin. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin removed all of his enemies from positions of power. His purges or executions of enemies ensured his complete power over the Communist Party and the nation! Stalin also established gulags or forced labor camps for enemies of his policies or ideas. While ensuring his absolute power over the Communist Party and the state, Stalin set about changing the Soviet economy. Stalin implemented a series of five-year plans to rapidly industrialize the Soviet Union. By 1939, only Germany and the United States outranked the Soviets in industrial capacity. Land was taken from peasants and a period of collectivization of agriculture began. Farms were owned by communities not individuals. Peasants hated the loss of individual control over agriculture. Sometimes they burned their crops. Famine resulted. Stalin’s rule was the rule of a totalitarian dictator. Complete government control of production and ideas resulted. The free exchange of ideas was not permitted. Yes, Stalin changed life in the Soviet Union. He increased industrial production while facing resistance among farmers. He increased literacy rates while restricting the free exchange of information. Yes, Stalin changed life in the Soviet Union and ordered the executions of many Soviets.