I've seen the following picture on multiple websites including these two, Is this really Joseph Stalin as a young man? and Beware, girls: even Stalin could switch on the 'charm offensive', saying that it depicts a young Joseph Stalin. There are many physical similarities to later photographs of him, especially his eyebrows.

Supposed picture of 23 year old Joseph Stalin

Recently I've seen on a few websites that this is supposedly another person that looked similar to young Stalin and that the picture was released for propaganda purposes.

Who is really on this photograph?

  • 2
    Can you at least link the sites you mentioned? Where did you find the picture?
    – Rathony
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 8:25
  • Two links: Straight dope discussion, Sydney Morning Herald. I can't really find an original source at the moment.
    – swit
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 8:28
  • 1
    Why do you doubt the claim?
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 11:36
  • It's not unusual for the soviets to use pictures as propaganda tools. In this case Stalin looks a lot more attractive (to my modern eyes) than I'd expect. Here are two comments of a reddit discussion where the uses assume that it's propaganda: 1, 2.
    – swit
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


The Joseph Stalin museum in Gori, Georgia shows many more of his (youth) photographs* - it's unlikely these have all been forged.

The (currently) 4th picture is the one you refer to*.

Note: Many of the pictures there are not originals, but copies (and often from newspapers) - very disappointing to look at. Still, given the abundance of pictures there (two or three large rooms full, IIRC), it would be hard to 'insert' just that one being not of Stalin but still resembling all the others throughout his life.

* WebArchive link, http(s)://www.stalinmuseum.ge is dead. The picture refered to is no longer available in that archive.


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