This photograph depicts a criminal file and mugshot of Joseph Stalin, dating from Azerbaijan in 1910 when Stalin was thirty-two years old. During this time, he had been active as a militant revolutionary for the Bolshevik Party, staging riots and protests against the Tsarist government and even committing bank robberies to secure funds for the Party. Stalin was frequently arrested and exiled during this period – with a total of seven arrests and six exiles having occurred between 1902 and 1913. Exile could not stop Stalin, though – he was able to escape from exile five different times, even despite often being sent to remote areas of Siberia for his sentences.
Before becoming a revolutionary, Stalin was enrolled at a priest’s academy, according to the wishes of his mother, but slowly became enamored with Marxist ideology and political theory. He joined socialist groups and read Marxist literature in secret until he was expelled from the academy for missing his exams – after which he completely dedicated his life to becoming a revolutionary. His dedication to the Bolsheviks for the rest of the revolutionary period cemented his influence amongst their ranks, eventually entitling him to a governing position in the Soviet Politburo and furthermore setting the stage for his later assumption of leadership over the USSR.
Before all that, though, Stalin was just an underground revolutionary, committing heists and organizing rackets in the Southern Caucasus to financially sustain the Bolshevik Party. Stalin was completely enamored with the prospect of becoming a heroic revolutionary – it was during this time that he began using the pseudonym “Koba”, which was taken from the name of a fictional Robin-Hood-esque Georgian folk hero. Stalin’s exploits and subsequent arrests as Koba led to a wide variety of mugshot photographs such as this one.
If you enjoyed seeing this mugshot of Joseph Stalin, you may be interested in seeing the Al Capone Mugshot, June 17th, 1931