25 Joseph Stalin Quotes From the Influential and Controversial Soviet Leader

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was born to a poor family in Gori (now Georgia) in the Russian Empire.

He ruled the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953, serving as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953).

He began governing the country through collective leadership, but by the 1930s he had become the Soviet Union’s de facto dictator.

Stalin’s government was responsible for the deaths of millions due to engineered famines, ethnic cleansing, and executions.

He also supported mass repression and deportation.

However, there are things we can learn from these Stalin quotes; things that remind us where dangerous thoughts lead.

He joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party and became an editor for the party’s newspaper in his youth.

Through a series of robberies, kidnappings, and racketeering schemes he raised funds for Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik faction.

This resulted in multiple arrests and several exiles.

It isn’t surprising that when he became the country’s leader; he ruled using a blend of ideologies from Marxism and Leninism.

There are also some Stalin quotes that impart a little wisdom and wit.

It is this mix of dangerous and wise thoughts that have kept his ideals both popular and controversial.

Don’t forget to also check out these Napoleon Bonaparte quotes on success, love, and leadership.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration. 

If you enjoy this collection, check out our inspirational quotes category page.

Famous Joseph Stalin quotes about death, war, and the Red Army

1. “Artillery is the god of war.” ― Joseph Stalin

2. “In war, I would deal with the Devil and his grandmother.” ― Joseph Stalin

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3. “It takes a brave man to be a coward in the Red Army.” ― Joseph Stalin

4. “Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.” ― Joseph Stalin

5. “In the Soviet army, it takes more courage to retreat than advance.” ― Joseph Stalin

6. “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” ― Joseph Stalin

7. “If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.” ― Joseph Stalin

8. “Remember how the first world war broke out. It broke out as a result of the desire to redivide the world.” ― Joseph Stalin

9. “I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of History will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy.” ― Joseph Stalin

10. “The Red Army and Navy and the whole Soviet people must fight for every inch of Soviet soil, fight to the last drop of blood for our towns and villages…onward, to victory!” ― Joseph Stalin

11. “World War II was fought for the abolition of racial exclusiveness, equality of nations and the integrity of their territories, liberation of enslaved nations and restoration of their sovereign rights, the right of every nation to arrange its affairs as it wishes, economic aid to nations that have suffered and assistance to them in attaining their material welfare, restoration of democratic liberties, and destruction of the Hitlerite regime.” ― Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin quotes about the Soviet Union, and other governments and armies

12. “History shows that there are no invincible armies.” ― Joseph Stalin

13. “A sincere diplomat is like dry water or wooden iron.” ― Joseph Stalin

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14. “Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union.” ― Joseph Stalin

15. “Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party.” ― Joseph Stalin

16. “Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.” ― Joseph Stalin

17. “The leaders come and go, but the people remain. Only the people are immortal.” ― Joseph Stalin

18. “We [U.S.S.R. and U.S.A.] can exist peacefully together if we don’t indulge in too much mutual fault-finding in all kinds of trifles.” ― Joseph Stalin

19. “Nobody respects a country with a poor army, but everybody respects a country with a good army. I raise my toast to the Finnish army.” ― Joseph Stalin

20. “Ah, these diplomats! What chatterboxes! There’s only one way to shut them up – cut them down with machine guns. Bulganin, go and get me one!” ― Joseph Stalin

21. “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” ― Joseph Stalin

22. “If any foreign minister begins to defend to the death a ‘peace conference’, you can be sure his government has already placed its orders for new battleships and airplanes.” ― Joseph Stalin

23. “By May, 1st, 1937, there should not be one single church left within the borders of Soviet Russia, and the idea of God will have been banished from the Soviet Union as a remnant of the Middle Ages, which has been used for the purpose of oppressing the working classes.”― Joseph Stalin

24 “Divide the world into regional groups as a transitional stage to world government. Populations will more readily abandon their national loyalty to a vague regional loyalty than they will for a world authority. Later, the regions can be brought together all the way into a single world dictatorship.” ― Joseph Stalin

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Josef Stalin quotes on capitalism, socialism, and pauperism

25. “When we hang the capitalists, they will sell us the rope we use.” ― Joseph Stalin

What did you learn from these Joseph Stalin quotes?

By 1937, Stalin had achieved personal control over the political party and the state.

Despite an earlier pact with Nazi Germany, the two nations would clash when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

This act ended the pact, and the Red Army pushed back the German forces.

They captured Berlin in 1945, bringing an end to World War II in Europe.

Tensions between the Soviet government (and its allies) and the US contributed to the Cold War.

Stalin’s leadership through the post-war reconstruction period included developing a nuclear weapon.

The country also experienced another major famine and an antisemitic campaign.

His historical significance has been championed and condemned.

Some see him as a fighter for the working class, and a leader that built his country into a world power.

Others see him as a murderous, vicious monster.

These Stalin quotes depict both the ruthless leader with little regard for people and the leader who was concerned about the state of his country.

Some of these quotes also prove he could be wise and witty.

What is important is that we learn something from everyone that has impacted history, so we can be better in the future.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Joseph Stalin quotes and sayings?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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