George Orwell’s use of 2+2=5 as a catchphrase of the dystopian government in his book 1984 is based on Joseph Stalin’s use of that equation in propaganda. Soviet posters declared “2 + 2 plus the enthusiasm of the workers = 5” long before Orwell wrote his novel. The USSR reached the goals of that Five Year Plan in four years, therefore meaning that the “enthusiasm of the workers” did five years worth of work in four years.
Stalin hired people to edit photographs throughout his reign. People who became his enemy were removed from every photograph pictured with him. Sometimes, Stalin would even insert himself in photos at key moments in history, or had technicians make him look taller in them.
When Stalin visited his mother in 1935, she asked him what he did. He said “Do you remember the tsar? Well, I’m like a tsar” his mother’s response was “You’d have done better to have become a priest”.
As a revolutionary, Josef Stalin was arrested and exiled to Siberia 6 times. He escaped the first 5. So for his 6th, he was sent to a hamlet just south of the Arctic Circle where he lived as a hunter gatherer alongside an arctic tribe for 2 years.
Nikita Khrushchev made a speech denouncing Stalin that was so shocking it caused heart attacks for some in attendance and others committed suicide afterwards.
Stalin tried to kill Yugoslavian leader Tito 22 times. Tito then wrote a letter in reply saying: “Stop sending people to kill me. If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.”
After the entire national Soviet hockey team was killed in an airplane crash in 1950, Stalin’s son Vasily, the manager of the team, covered up the disaster and replaced everyone on the team to avoid his father’s wrath. Stalin never noticed.
Nikita Khrushchev made a speech denouncing Stalin that was so shocking it caused heart attacks for some in attendance.
Stalin’s guards were so afraid of him that no one called a doctor until 12 hours after he had a stroke. They feared he might recover and execute anyone who had acted outside of his orders.
When the big three leaders of the Allied nations met during WWII, FDR managed to achieve a warm relationship with the rather icy Stalin by making fun of their British counterpart Winston Churchill.