By Brandon Torng ‘20
Stalin’s son is a senior in high school and gets expelled for lying and cheating
Your expulsion has come to my attention, and I write to offer you my thoughts. I wish to open by making clear that I feel neither anger nor disappointment towards your actions. In fact, I view your “wrongdoing” as a symbol of individuality—a vital quality for a future leader such as yourself. To many people, your punishment is a consequence of your irresponsible behavior. But who are they to judge the merit in your behavior? In my eyes, your former school’s decision represents its inability to understand children who do not conform to the rules. But look at me. I became successful by intentionally breaking the rules.
Beliefs must be fought for. In my youth, I was a follower. My grades were perfect, my record was clean. The adults saw in me a sharp intellect, one poised for a bright future in the academic realm. I was a model child; however, that was not my true self. Looking back on those years, I—Ioseb—was a coward. Ioseb walked mindlessly along paths carved by others, all the while neglecting to challenge his predecessors. It was not until Ioseb began to disobey, to question, that he found his individuality. And when that happened, he decided to change the core of his identity: his name. I became Joseph, which as you know derives from the Russian word for “steel.” Joseph, unlike Ioseb, did not care what others thought of him or his actions, and followed only his own beliefs.
In 1899, I was expelled from school, and began my underground political life. In 1902, I was imprisoned. I went in and out of prison numerous times, but never lost faith in my beliefs. The government realized my will, and attempted to put me in exile. Even then, my focus never wavered. I was a man of steel. In 1917, the same year I returned from exile, the revolution occurred. My beliefs were coming closer to reality. Over the next seven years, in a seat of limited authority, I worked to rise up the ranks. In 1924, achieving unequivocal power, I brought my beliefs to life.
The story of my life you are certainly familiar with, but at this critical point in your development, I wish to remind you of my journey. I predict your expulsion marks the beginning of your rise, the same way it did for me.
Now, think carefully and act wisely, for your upcoming years will define your future. In particular, take note of the people you meet and the connections you build. These people you will employ as pawns. In the developmental stages, you and your pawns shall work together to promote your beliefs. They are integral to early success. But over time, pawns lose value. At this point, they may be maneuvered and sacrificed for the greater good. The pawns have already fulfilled their role: to support the king. You, my son, are that king. When the time comes, you—like I did—will consolidate your authority until you have absolute control. Power is not achieved by one individual, but in the end, one individual must hold all the power.
I, the leader of our beloved country, raised you in my image. You were shaped to carry my name, to continue my legacy. Nothing should hinder you in fulfilling your destiny. Though I cannot walk you through each step of your journey, keep my words in mind and you too will become a leader.