Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Holding the post of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he was effectively the dictator of the state. Stalin remains a controversial figure today, with many regarding him as a tyrant. However, popular opinion within the Russian Federation is mixed. The exact number of deaths caused by Stalin's regime is still a subject of debate, but it is widely agreed to be in the order of millions.