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When Stalin died in 1953 he had established the 'Red Empire' which defined the Cold War world until the fall of the Berlin Wall. What were the motives behind Stalin's ruthless and spectacular power grab? Was he intent upon imperialist expansion for its own sake? Was he simply a psychopathic killer? Using previously unavailable sources Gellately argues that Stalin is better understood as a life-long Leninist revolutionary who saw the Second World War as a chance to further the Communist mission.