Vladimir Lenin
Overview
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n Marxist revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 and communist politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who led the October Revolution of 1917
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years (1917–1924), as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 and worked to create a socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 economic system.

As a politician, Lenin was a persuasive orator, as a political scientist
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 his extensive theoretic and philosophical
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 developments of Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 produced Marxism–Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

, the pragmatic Russian
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 application of Marxism.
Lenin was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov on in the town of Simbirsk in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.
Encyclopedia
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n Marxist revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 and communist politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who led the October Revolution of 1917
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years (1917–1924), as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 and worked to create a socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 economic system.

As a politician, Lenin was a persuasive orator, as a political scientist
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 his extensive theoretic and philosophical
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 developments of Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 produced Marxism–Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

, the pragmatic Russian
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 application of Marxism.

Early life and background

Lenin was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov on in the town of Simbirsk in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. Simbirsk, a rural town on the River Volga nearly 1,500 miles from the capital Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, would be renamed upon Ulyanov's death fifty-four years later as "Ulyanovsk" in his honour. That same year, Saint Petersburg itself would be renamed Leningrad after Ulyanov's better-known cadre name
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

.
Lenin's parents were Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova, a schoolteacher, and Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, a government education official. Lenin was baptised on at the local church of St. Nicholas into the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

.

Lenin came from a diverse ancestry. He was of Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, Tatar
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

, German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, and Swedish
Swedes
Swedes are a Scandinavian nation and ethnic group native to Sweden, mostly inhabiting Sweden and the other Nordic countries, with descendants living in a number of countries.-Etymology:...

 descent, while his maternal grandfather may have descended from the Jewish Blank family
Blank family
The Blank family is a family of Jews, some of whom converted to Orthodox Christianity in the Russian Empire, mostly notable as the immediate ancestry of the maternal grandfather of Vladimir Lenin according to various published researchers who suggest that Lenin's maternal grandfather was a Jewish...

. Lenin is also believed to have had Kalmyk
Kalmyk people
Kalmyk people is the name given to the Oirats, western Mongols in Russia, whose descendants migrated from Dzhungaria in 1607. Today they form a majority in the autonomous Republic of Kalmykia on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Kalmykia is Europe's only Buddhist government...

 ancestry on his father's side.

Lenin was born into a comfortable middle-class family. Lenin's father Ilya was elevated into the Russian nobility
Russian nobility
The Russian nobility arose in the 14th century and essentially governed Russia until the October Revolution of 1917.The Russian word for nobility, Dvoryanstvo , derives from the Russian word dvor , meaning the Court of a prince or duke and later, of the tsar. A nobleman is called dvoryanin...

 for his work in the government bureaucracy, and, after being appointed director of Simbirsk's primary schools in 1874, was entitled to wear a blue gold-embroidered uniform and be addressed as "Your Excellency". Although later Soviet biographies tried to disguise his background, Lenin himself never made any effort to hide the fact that he was a nobleman by birth. Lenin argued explicitly in one of his most famous works What Is To Be Done?
What is to be Done?
What to do? Burning Questions of Our Movement is a political pamphlet written by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in 1901 and published in 1902...

that intellectuals from "bourgeois" backgrounds have a vital revolutionary role to play bringing political ideas to the working-class movement: "By their social status the founders of modern scientific socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia."

Athletically, Lenin was a good swimmer and ice skater, and later attended the Simbirsk Men's Gymnasium which was headed by the father of Alexander Kerensky
Alexander Kerensky
Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky was a major political leader before and during the Russian Revolutions of 1917.Kerensky served as the second Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government until Vladimir Lenin was elected by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets following the October Revolution...

 and graduated in 1887 with a gold medal.

Being of the intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

, the Ulyanovs educated
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 their children (all of which except one become revolutionaries) against the ills of their time (violations of human rights, servile psychology, etc.), and instilled a readiness in them to struggle for higher ideals, a free society, and equal rights. Lenin in particular was impressed by his father’s descriptions of the "darkness" of life in the villages and of the arbitrary treatment of peasants by officials. Lenin, an intelligent and conscientious student who loved playing chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, also became a voracious reader, enjoying the writings of Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman's Sketches, is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century...

, Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

, and Nikolay Nekrasov. Additionally, he read the works of protorevolutionary writers such as Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky was a Russian literary critic of Westernizing tendency. He was an associate of Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin , and other critical intellectuals...

, Alexander Herzen
Alexander Herzen
Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen was a Russian pro-Western writer and thinker known as the "father of Russian socialism", and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism...

, Dmitry Pisarev, and Nikolay Dobrolyubov.

Brother's execution and radicalization

Following his father's death from a brain hemorrhage in January 1886, a number of events contributed to Lenin's radicalization. In May 1887 (when Lenin was 17 years old), his eldest brother Aleksandr Ulyanov
Aleksandr Ulyanov
Aleksandr Ilyich Ulyanov was a Russian revolutionary and a terrorist, convicted of attempted assassination of Alexander III. He was an older brother of Vladimir Lenin.- Life :...

 was hanged for participating in an assassination attempt against the Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

, Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

 (1881–94). His sister, Anna Ulyanova
Anna Ulyanova
Anna Ilyinichna Yelizarova-Ulyanova was a Russian revolutionary and a Soviet stateswoman. She was a sister of Vladimir Lenin....

, who was arrested with his brother Aleksandr, was then banished to an Ulyanov family estate at Kokushkino, a village some 40 km (25 mi.) from Kazan
Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

. These events helped transform Lenin into a political radical
Political radicalism
The term political radicalism denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems in fundamental ways...

. During this time, Lenin was also influenced by the writings of Georgi Plekhanov
Georgi Plekhanov
Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov was a Russian revolutionary and a Marxist theoretician. He was a founder of the Social-Democratic movement in Russia and was one of the first Russians to identify himself as "Marxist." Facing political persecution, Plekhanov emigrated to Switzerland in 1880, where...

, and most importantly, Nikolay Chernyshevsky's 1863 novel What is to be Done?.

Complementing these personal, emotional, and political upheavals was his matriculation, in August 1887, to the Kazan University, where he studied law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and read the works of Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

. That Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

-derived political development involved Lenin in a student riot, and subsequent arrest, in December 1887; Kazan University expelled him and the police authorities barred him from other universities. After this, he was under continuous police surveillance as the brother of a known terrorist
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

. Nevertheless, he studied independently and earned a law degree; at that time, he first read Das Kapital
Das Kapital
Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie , by Karl Marx, is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy, meant to reveal the economic laws of the capitalist mode of production, and how it was the precursor of the socialist mode of production.- Themes :In Capital: Critique of...

(1867–94). Three years later, in 1890, he was permitted to study at the University of Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg State University is a Russian federal state-owned higher education institution based in Saint Petersburg and one of the oldest and largest universities in Russia....

. In January 1892, he was awarded a first class diploma in law; moreover, he was an intellectually
Intellectualism
Intellectualism denotes the use and development of the intellect, the practice of being an intellectual, and of holding intellectual pursuits in great regard. Moreover, in philosophy, “intellectualism” occasionally is synonymous with “rationalism”, i.e. knowledge derived mostly from reason and...

 distinguished student in the classical languages of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, and the modern languages of German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, but had only limited command of the latter two. In the 1917 revolutionary period, he relied upon Inessa Armand
Inessa Armand
Inessa Armand , born Elisabeth-Inès Stéphane d'Herbenville, was a French communist politician and feminist who spent most of her life in Russia. She was also known for her affair with Vladimir Lenin....

 to translate an article of his into French and English; and wrote to S. N. Ravich in Geneva, "I am unable to lecture in French".

Revolutionary

Lenin practised law in the Volga River port of Samara
Samara, Russia
Samara , is the sixth largest city in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: . The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast...

 for a few years, mostly land-ownership cases, from which he derived political insight to the Russian peasants' socio-economic condition; in 1893, he moved to St Petersburg, and practised revolutionary propaganda
Revolutionary propaganda
Revolutionary propaganda means dissemination of revolutionary ideas.While the term propaganda bears a mostly negative connotation in modern English language, this did not exist in the early 20th century, when the word "propaganda" was first coined...

. In 1895, he founded the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class
League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class
St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was a Marxist group in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was founded by Lenin, Julius Martov, Gleb Krzhizhanovsky, Alexander Malchenko, P. Zaporozhets, A. Vaneye, V. Starkov and others in the autumn of 1895. It united 20 Marxist...

, the consolidation of the city's Marxist groups; as an embryonic revolutionary party, the League was active among the Russian labour organisations. On 7 December 1895, Lenin was arrested for plotting against Tsar Alexander III, and was then imprisoned for fourteen months in solitary confinement Cell 193 of the St. Petersburg Remand Prison. In February 1897, he was exiled to eastern Siberia, to the village Shushenskoye
Shushenskoye
Shushenskoye is an urban locality in the southern portion of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located at the confluence of the Yenisei and Big Shush. Population:...

 in the Minusinsky District, Yenisei Gubernia. There, he met Georgy Plekhanov, the Marxist who introduced socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 to Russia. In July 1898, Lenin married the socialist activist Nadezhda Krupskaya, and, in April 1899, he published the book The Development of Capitalism in Russia
The Development of Capitalism in Russia
The Development of Capitalism in Russia was an early economic work by Lenin written whilst he was in exile in Siberia. It was published in 1899 under the pseudonym of "Vladimir Ilyin It established his reputation as a major Marxist theorist...

(1899), under the pseudonym of Vladimir Ilyin; one of the thirty theoretical works he wrote in exile.

At the end of his exile in 1900, Lenin left Russia and lived in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 (1900–1902), London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 (1902–1903)—where a memorial plaque at Percy Circus, King's Cross, WC1, marks his residence—and Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 (1903–1905). In 1900 he and Julius Martov
Julius Martov
Julius Martov or L. Martov was born in Constantinople in 1873...

 (later a leading opponent) co-founded the newspaper Iskra
Iskra
Iskra was a political newspaper of Russian socialist emigrants established as the official organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. Initially, it was managed by Vladimir Lenin, moving as he moved. The first edition was published in Stuttgart on December 1, 1900. Other editions were...

(Spark), and published articles and books about revolutionary politics, whilst recruiting for the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

 (RSDLP) which had held its first congress in 1898 whilst Lenin was still in exile in Siberia. In such clandestine political work, Vladimir Ulyanov assumed aliases, and, in 1902, adopted Lenin as his definitive nom de guerre, derived from the Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n Lena River
Lena River
The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

.

In 1903, Lenin attended the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which initially convened at Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 before moving to London. Here a longstanding ideological split developed within the party between the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 faction, led by Lenin, and the Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

 faction, led by Martov. These terms "Bolshevik" (from the Russian bol'shinstvo meaning "majority") and "Menshevik" (from the Russian menshinstvo meaning "minority") derive from the narrow Bolshevik electoral defeat of the Mensheviks to the party's newspaper editorial board, and to central committee leadership. The break partly originated from Lenin's book What Is to Be Done?
What is to be Done?
What to do? Burning Questions of Our Movement is a political pamphlet written by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in 1901 and published in 1902...

(1902), which proposed a smaller party organisation of professional revolutionaries
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

, with Iskra in a primary ideologic
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 role. Another issue which divided the two factions was Lenin's support of a worker-peasant alliance to overthrow the Tsarist regime as opposed to the Menshevik's support of an alliance between the working classes and the liberal bourgeoisie to achieve the same aim (whilst a small third faction led by Trotsky espoused the view that the working class alone was the instrument of revolutionary change—needing no help from either the peasants or the middle classes).
In November 1905, Lenin returned to Russia to support the 1905 Russian Revolution. In 1906, he was elected to the Presidium of the RSDLP; and shuttled between Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and Russia, but resumed his exile in December 1907, after the Tsarist defeat of the revolution and after the scandal of the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery
1907 Tiflis bank robbery
The 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, also known as the Yerevan Square expropriation, was an armed robbery by Bolshevik revolutionaries of a bank cash shipment in the Georgian city of Tiflis . The robbery occurred on 26 June 1907 in Yerevan Square...

. Until the February and October revolutions of 1917, he lived in Western Europe, where, despite relative poverty, he developed Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

—urban Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 adapted to agrarian Russia reversing Karl Marx's economics–politics prescription to allow for a dynamic revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

 led by a vanguard party
Vanguard party
A vanguard party is a political party at the forefront of a mass action, movement, or revolution. The idea of a vanguard party has its origins in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

 of professional revolutionaries.

In 1909, to disambiguate philosophic doubts about the proper practical course of a socialist revolution
Communist revolution
A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, typically with socialism as an intermediate stage...

, Lenin published Materialism and Empirio-criticism (1909), which became a philosophic
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 foundation of Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

. Throughout exile, Lenin travelled Europe, participated in socialist activities, (the 1912 Prague Party Conference
Prague Party Conference
The Prague Party Conference was the sixth party conference of Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. It was in Prague January 5-17 1912, 18 Bolsheviks attended. Stalin and Sverdlov were in exile at the time and couldn't attend. Georgi Plekhanov claimed he...

). When Inessa Armand
Inessa Armand
Inessa Armand , born Elisabeth-Inès Stéphane d'Herbenville, was a French communist politician and feminist who spent most of her life in Russia. She was also known for her affair with Vladimir Lenin....

 left Russia for Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, she met Lenin and other exiled Bolsheviks. Rumour has it she was Lenin's lover; yet historian Neil Harding notes that there is a "slender stock of evidence . . . we still have no evidence that they were sexually intimate".

In 1914, when the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 (1914–18) began, most of the mass Social Democratic parties of Europe supported their homelands' war effort. At first, Lenin disbelieved such political fickleness, especially that the Germans had voted for war credits; the Social Democrats' war-authorising votes broke Lenin's mainstream connection with the Second International (1889–1916). He opposed the Great War, because the peasants and workers would be fighting the bourgeoisie's "imperialist war"—one that ought be transformed to an international civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

, between the classes. At the beginning of the war, the Austrians briefly detained him in Poronin
Poronin
Poronin , is a village in southern Poland situated in Tatra County of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999 . It lies approximately north-east of Zakopane and south of the regional capital Kraków.-References:...

, his town of residence; on 5 September 1914 Lenin moved to neutral Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, residing first at Bern, then at Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

.

In 1915, in Switzerland, at the anti-war Zimmerwald Conference
Zimmerwald Conference
The Zimmerwald Conference was held in Zimmerwald, Switzerland, from September 5 through September 8, 1915. It was an international socialist conference, which saw the beginning of the end of the coalition between revolutionary socialists and reformist socialists in the Second International.-...

, he led the Zimmerwald Left
Zimmerwald Left
The Zimmerwald Left was a revolutionary minority fraction at the Zimmerwald Peace Conference of 1915, headed by Lenin. The Left of the Zimmerwald Congress was made up of eight out of 38 people: Lenin, Zinoviev , Jānis K. Bērziņš , Karl Radek , Julian Borchardt , Fritz Platten , Zeth Höglund and...

 minority, who failed, against the majority pacifists, to achieve the conference's adopting Lenin's proposition of transforming the imperialist war into a class war
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

. In the next conference (24–30 April 1916), at Kienthal, Lenin and the Zimmerwald Left presented a like resolution; but the conference concorded only a compromise manifesto.

In the spring of 1916, in Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Lenin wrote Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism , by Lenin, describes the function of financial capital in generating profits from imperial colonialism, as the final stage of capitalist development to ensure greater profits...

(1916). In this work Lenin synthesised previous works on the subject by Karl Kautsky
Karl Kautsky
Karl Johann Kautsky was a Czech-German philosopher, journalist, and Marxist theoretician. Kautsky was recognized as among the most authoritative promulgators of Orthodox Marxism after the death of Friedrich Engels in 1895 until the coming of World War I in 1914 and was called by some the "Pope of...

, John A. Hobson
John A. Hobson
John Atkinson Hobson , commonly known as John A. Hobson or J. A. Hobson, was an English economist and critic of imperialism, widely popular as a lecturer and writer.-Life:...

 (Imperialism: A Study
Imperialism (Hobson)
Imperialism: A Study was a political-economic discourse written by John A. Hobson in 1902.The "taproot of imperialism" is not found in nationalistic pride, but capitalist oligarchy...

, 1902), and Rudolf Hilferding
Rudolf Hilferding
Rudolf Hilferding was an Austrian-born Marxist economist, leading socialist theorist, politician and chief theoretician for the Social Democratic Party of Germany during the Weimar Republic, almost universally recognized as the SPD's foremost theoretician of his century, and a...

 (Das Finanzkapital, 1910), and applied them to the new circumstances of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 (1914–18) fought between the German and the British empires—which exemplified the imperial capitalist competition, which was the thesis of his book. This thesis posited that the merging of banks and industrial cartel
Cartel
A cartel is a formal agreement among competing firms. It is a formal organization of producers and manufacturers that agree to fix prices, marketing, and production. Cartels usually occur in an oligopolistic industry, where there is a small number of sellers and usually involve homogeneous products...

s gave rise to finance capital—the basis of imperialism, the zenith of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. To wit, in pursuing greater profits than the home market can offer, business exports capital, which, in turn, leads to the division of the world, among international, monopolist firms, and to European states colonising large parts of the world, in support of their businesses. Imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

, thus, is an advanced stage of capitalism based upon the establishment of monopolies
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

, and upon the exportation of capital (rather than goods), managed with a global financial system
Global financial system
The global financial system is the financial system consisting of institutions and regulators that act on the international level, as opposed to those that act on a national or regional level...

, of which colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 is one feature.

In accordance with this thesis, Lenin believed that Russia was being used as a tool of French and British capitalist imperialism in World War I and that its participation in the conflict was at the behest of those interests.

The February Revolution

In February 1917 popular demonstrations in Russia provoked by the hardship of war forced Tsar Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 to abdicate. The monarchy was replaced by an uneasy political relationship between, on the one hand, a Provisional Government
Russian Provisional Government
The Russian Provisional Government was the short-lived administrative body which sought to govern Russia immediately following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II . On September 14, the State Duma of the Russian Empire was officially dissolved by the newly created Directorate, and the country was...

 of parliamentary figures and, on the other, an array of "Soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

" (most prominently the Petrograd Soviet
Petrograd Soviet
The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies , usually called the Petrograd Soviet , was the soviet in Petrograd , Russia, established in March 1917 after the February Revolution as the representative body of the city's workers.The Petrograd Soviet became important during the Russian...

): revolutionary councils directly elected by workers, soldiers and peasants. Lenin was still in exile in Zurich.

Lenin was preparing to go to the Altstadt
Altstadt (Zürich)
Altstadt in the Swiss city of Zürich encompasses the area of the entire historical city before 1893, before the incorporation of what are now districts 2 to 12 into the municipality, over the period 1893 to 1934...

 library after lunch on March 15 when a fellow exile, the Pole Mieczyslav Bronski, burst in to exclaim: "Haven't you heard the news? There's a revolution in Russia!" The next day Lenin wrote to Alexandra Kollontai
Alexandra Kollontai
Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai was a Russian Communist revolutionary, first as a member of the Mensheviks, then from 1914 on as a Bolshevik. In 1919 she became the first female government minister in Europe...

 in Stockholm, insisting on "revolutionary propaganda, agitation and struggle with the aim of an international proletarian revolution and for the conquest of power by the Soviets of Workers' Deputies". The next day: "Spread out! Rouse new sections! Awaken fresh initiative, form new organisations in every stratum and prove to them that peace can come only with the armed Soviet of Workers' Deputies in power."

Lenin was determined to return to Russia at once. But that was not an easy task in the middle of the First World War. Switzerland was surrounded by the warring countries of France
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

, Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 and Italy
Italian Campaign (World War I)
The Italian campaign refers to a series of battles fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary and Italy, along with their allies, in northern Italy between 1915 and 1918. Italy hoped that by joining the countries of the Triple Entente against the Central Powers it would gain Cisalpine Tyrol , the...

, and the seas were dominated by Russia's ally Britain. Lenin considered crossing Germany with a Swedish passport, but Krupskaya joked that he would give himself away by swearing at Mensheviks in Russian in his sleep.

Negotiations with the Provisional Government to obtain passage through Germany for the Russian exiles in return for German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war dragged on. Eventually, bypassing the Provisional Government, on March 31 the Swiss Communist Fritz Platten
Fritz Platten
Fritz Platten was a Swiss Communist.After the collapse of the Second International, Platten joined the Zimmerwald Movement and became a Communist....

 obtained permission from the German Foreign Minister through his ambassador in Switzerland, Baron Gisbert von Romberg, for Lenin and other Russian exiles to travel through Germany to Russia in a sealed one-carriage train. At Lenin's request the carriage would be protected from interference by a special grant of extraterritorial status.

On April 9 Lenin and Krupskaya met their fellow exiles in Bern, a group eventually numbering thirty boarded a train which took them to Zurich. From there they travelled to the specially arranged train which was waiting at Gottmadingen, just short of the official German crossing station at Singen. Accompanied by two German Army officers, who sat at the rear of the single carriage behind a chalked line, the exiles travelled through Frankfurt and Berlin to Sassnitz (arriving April 12), where a ferry took them to Trelleborg. Krupskaya noted how, looking out of the carriage window as they passed through wartime Germany, the exiles were "struck by the total absence of grown-up men. Only women, teenagers and children could be seen at the wayside stations, on the fields, and in the streets of the towns." Once in Sweden the group travelled by train to Stockholm and thence back to Russia.

Just before midnight on , Lenin's train arrived at the Finland Station in Petrograd. He was greeted, to the sound of the Marseillaise, by a crowd of workers, sailors and soldiers bearing red flags: by now a ritual in revolutionary Russia for welcoming home political exiles. Lenin was formally welcomed by Chkheidze
Nikolay Chkheidze
Nikoloz Chkheidze was a Georgian Menshevik politician who helped to introduce Marxism to Georgia in the 1890s and played a prominent role in the Russian and Georgian revolutions of 1917 and 1918....

, the Menshevik Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. But Lenin pointedly turned to the crowd instead to address it on the international importance of the Russian Revolution:
The piratical imperialist war is the beginning of civil war throughout Europe ... The world-wide Socialist revolution has already dawned ... Germany is seething ... Any day now the whole of European capitalism may crash ... Sailors, comrades, we have to fight for a socialist revolution, to fight until the proletariat wins full victory! Long live the worldwide socialist revolution!

The April Theses

On the train from Switzerland, Lenin had composed his famous April Theses
Lenin's April Theses
The April Theses were a series of directives issued by the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin upon his return to Petrograd , Russia from his exile in Switzerland. The Theses were mostly aimed at fellow Bolsheviks in Russia and returning to Russia from exile...

: his programme for the Bolshevik Party. In the Theses, Lenin argued that the Bolsheviks should not rest content, like almost all other Russian socialists, with the "bourgeois" February Revolution. Instead the Bolsheviks should press ahead to a socialist revolution of the workers and poorest peasants:
Lenin argued that this socialist revolution would be achieved by the Soviets taking power from the parliamentary Provisional Government: "No support for the Provisional Government ... Not a parliamentary republic — to return to a parliamentary republic from the Soviets of Workers' Deputies would be a retrograde step — but a republic of Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' Deputies throughout the country, from top to bottom."

To achieve this, Lenin argued, the Bolsheviks' immediate task was to campaign diligently among the Russian people to persuade them of the need for Soviet power:
The April Theses were more radical than virtually anything Lenin's fellow revolutionaries had heard. Previous Bolshevik policy had been like that of the Mensheviks in this respect: that Russia was ready only for bourgeois, not socialist, revolution. Stalin and Kamenev, who had returned from exile in Siberia in mid-March and taken control of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

, had been campaigning for support for the Provisional Government. When Lenin presented his Theses to a joint RSDLP meeting, he was booed by the Mensheviks. Boris Bogdanov called them "the ravings of a madman". Of the Bolsheviks, only Kollontai at first supported the Theses.

Lenin arrived at the revolutionary April Theses thanks to his work in exile on the theory of imperialism
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism , by Lenin, describes the function of financial capital in generating profits from imperial colonialism, as the final stage of capitalist development to ensure greater profits...

. Through his study of worldwide politics and economics, Lenin came to view Russian politics in international perspective. In the conditions of the First World War, Lenin believed that, although Russian capitalism was underdeveloped, a socialist revolution in Russia could spark revolution in the more advanced nations of Europe, which could then help Russia achieve economic and social development. A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

 argued: "Lenin made his revolution for the sake of Europe, not for the sake of Russia, and he expected Russia's preliminary revolution to be eclipsed when the international revolution took place. Lenin did not invent the iron curtain. On the contrary it was invented against him by the anti-revolutionary Powers of Europe. Then it was called the cordon sanitaire
Cordon sanitaire
Cordon sanitaire — or quarantine line — is a French phrase that, literally translated, means "sanitary cordon". Though in French it originally denoted a barrier implemented to stop the spread of disease, it has often been used in English in a metaphorical sense to refer to attempts to prevent the...

.
"

In this way, Lenin moved away from the previous Bolshevik policy of pursuing only bourgeois revolution in Russia, and towards the position of his fellow Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 and his theory of permanent revolution
Permanent Revolution
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical...

, which may have influenced Lenin at this time.

Controversial as it was in April 1917, the programme of the April Theses made the Bolshevik party a political refuge for Russians disillusioned with the Provisional Government and the war.

The October Revolution

In Petrograd dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in the spontaneous July Days
July Days
The July Days refers to events in 1917 that took place in Petrograd, Russia, between 3 July and 7 July , when soldiers and industrial workers engaged in spontaneous demonstrations against the Russian Provisional Government...

 riots, by industrial workers and soldiers. After being suppressed, these riots were blamed by the government on Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Aleksandr Kerensky, Grigory Aleksinsky, and other opponents, also accused the Bolsheviks, especially Lenin—of being Imperial German agents provocateurs
Agent provocateur
Traditionally, an agent provocateur is a person employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act...

; on 17 July, Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 defended them:
In the event, the Provisional Government arrested the Bolsheviks and outlawed their Party, prompting Lenin to flee to Finland. In exile again, reflecting on the July Days and its aftermath, Lenin determined that, to prevent the triumph of counter-revolutionary forces, the Provisional Government must be overthrown by an armed uprising. Meanwhile, he published State and Revolution
State and Revolution
The State and Revolution , by Vladimir Lenin, describes the role of the State in society, the necessity of proletarian revolution, and the theoretic inadequacies of social democracy in achieving revolution to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.Citing Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Lenin...

(1917) proposing government by the soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

 (worker-, soldier- and peasant-elected councils) rather than by a parliamentary body.

In late August 1917, while Lenin was in hiding in Finland, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army General Lavr Kornilov
Lavr Kornilov
Lavr Georgiyevich Kornilov was a military intelligence officer, explorer, and general in the Imperial Russian Army during World War I and the ensuing Russian Civil War...

 sent troops from the front to Petrograd in what appeared to be a military coup attempt
Kornilov Affair
The Kornilov Affair, or the Kornilov Putsch as it is sometimes referred to, was an attempted coup d'état by the then Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army, General Lavr Kornilov, in August 1917 against the Russian Provisional Government headed by Alexander Kerensky.-Background:Following the...

 against the Provisional Government. Kerensky panicked and turned to the Petrograd Soviet for help, allowing the revolutionaries to organise workers as Red Guards
Red Guards (Russia)
In the context of the history of Russia and Soviet Union, Red Guards were paramilitary formations consisting of workers and partially of soldiers and sailors formed in the time frame of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 to defend Petrograd. The coup petered out before it reached Petrograd thanks to the industrial action of the Petrograd workers and the soldiers' increasing unwillingness to obey their officers.

However, faith in the Provisional Government had been severely shaken. Lenin's slogan since the April Theses – "All power to the soviets!" – became more plausible the more the Provisional Government was discredited in public eyes. The Bolsheviks won a majority in the Petrograd Soviet on 31 August and in the Moscow Soviet on 5 September.

In October Lenin returned from Finland. From the Smolny Institute for girls, Lenin directed the Provisional Government's deposition
Deposition (politics)
Deposition by political means concerns the removal of a politician or monarch. It may be done by coup, impeachment, invasion or forced abdication...

 (6–8 November 1917), and the storming (7–8 November) of the Winter Palace
Winter Palace
The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Situated between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, adjacent to the site of Peter the Great's original Winter Palace, the present and fourth Winter Palace was built and...

 to realise the Kerensky capitulation
Capitulation (surrender)
Capitulation , an agreement in time of war for the surrender to a hostile armed force of a particular body of troops, a town or a territory....

 that established Bolshevik government in Russia.

Forming a government

Lenin had argued in a newspaper article in September 1917:
The peaceful development of any revolution is, generally speaking, extremely rare and difficult ... but ... a peaceful development of the revolution is possible and probable if all power is transferred to the Soviets. The struggle of parties for power within the Soviets may proceed peacefully, if the Soviets are made fully democratic
The October Revolution had been relatively peaceful. The revolutionary forces already had de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

control of the capital thanks to the defection of the city garrison. Few troops had stayed to defend the Provisional Government in the Winter Palace
Winter Palace
The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Situated between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, adjacent to the site of Peter the Great's original Winter Palace, the present and fourth Winter Palace was built and...

. Most citizens had simply continued about their daily business while the Provisional Government was actually overthrown.
It thus appeared that all power had been transferred to the Soviets relatively peacefully. On the evening of the October Revolution, the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets
All-Russian Congress of Soviets
The All-Russian Congress of Soviets was the supreme governing body of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic from 1917–22 and of the Soviet Union until 1936. The 1918 Constitution of the Russian SFSR mandated that Congress shall convene at least twice a year...

 met, with a Bolshevik-Left SR majority, in the Smolny Institute in Petrograd. When the left-wing Menshevik Martov
Julius Martov
Julius Martov or L. Martov was born in Constantinople in 1873...

 proposed an all-party Soviet government, the Bolshevik Lunacharsky stated that his party did not oppose the idea. The Bolshevik delegates voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

However, not all Russian socialists supported transferring all power to the Soviets. The Right SRs
Socialist-Revolutionary Party
thumb|right|200px|Socialist-Revolutionary election poster, 1917. The caption in red reads "партия соц-рев" , short for Party of the Socialist Revolutionaries...

 and Mensheviks walked out of this very first session of the Congress of Soviets in protest at the overthrow of the Provisional Government, of which their parties had been members.

The next day, on the evening of 26 October O.S., Lenin attended the Congress of Soviets: undisguised in public for the first time since the July Days, although not yet having regrown his trademark beard. The American journalist John Reed described the man who appeared at about 8:40 pm to "a thundering wave of cheers":
A short, stocky figure, with a big head set down in his shoulders, bald and bulging. Little eyes, a snubbish nose, wide, generous mouth, and heavy chin; clean-shaven now, but already beginning to bristle with the well-known beard of his past and future. Dressed in shabby clothes, his trousers much too long for him. Unimpressive, to be the idol of a mob, loved and revered as perhaps few leaders in history have been. A strange popular leader—a leader purely by virtue of intellect; colourless, humourless, uncompromising and detached, without picturesque idiosyncrasies—but with the power of explaining profound ideas in simple terms, of analysing a concrete situation. And combined with shrewdness, the greatest intellectual audacity.

According to Reed, Lenin waited for the applause to subside before declaring simply: "We shall now proceed to construct the Socialist order!" Lenin proceeded to propose to the Congress a Decree on Peace
Decree on Peace
The Decree On Peace, written by Vladimir Lenin, was passed by the Second Congress of the Soviet of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies on the 26 October 1917, following the success of the October Revolution. It was published in the Izvestiya newspaper, #208, October 27, 1917...

, calling on "all the belligerent peoples and to their Governments to begin immediately negotiations for a just and democratic peace", and a Decree on Land
Decree on Land
The Decree on Land, written by Vladimir Lenin, was passed by the Second Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies on 26 October 1917, following the success of the October Revolution. It decreed an abolition of private property, and the redistribution of the landed estates...

, transferring ownership of all "land-owners' estates, and all lands belonging to the Crown, [and] to monasteries" to the Peasants' Soviets. The Congress passed the Decree on Peace unanimously, and the Decree on Land faced only one vote in opposition.

Having approved these key Bolshevik policies, the Congress of Soviets proceeded to elect the Bolsheviks into power as the Council of People's Commissars by "an enormous majority". The Bolsheviks offered posts in the Council to the Left SRs: an offer which the Left SRs at first refused, but later accepted, joining the Bolsheviks in coalition on 12 December O.S. Lenin had suggested that Trotsky take the position of Chairman of the Council—the head of the Soviet government—but Trotsky refused on the grounds that his Jewishness would be controversial, and he took the post of Commissar for Foreign Affairs instead. Thus Lenin became the head of government in Russia.

Trotsky announced the composition of the new Soviet Central Executive Committee: with a Bolshevik majority, but with places reserved for the representatives of the other parties, including the seceded Right SRs and Mensheviks. Trotsky concluded the Congress: "We welcome into the Government all parties and groups which will adopt our programme."

Lenin declared in 1920 that "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the entire country" in modernising Russia into a twentieth-century country:
Yet the Bolshevik Government had to first withdraw Russia from the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 (1914–18). Facing continuing Imperial German
German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

 eastward advance, Lenin proposed immediate Russian withdrawal from the West European war; yet, other, doctrinaire Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 leaders (e.g. Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin , was a Russian Marxist, Bolshevik revolutionary, and Soviet politician. He was a member of the Politburo and Central Committee , chairman of the Communist International , and the editor in chief of Pravda , the journal Bolshevik , Izvestia , and the Great Soviet...

) advocated continuing in the war to foment revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

 in Germany. Lead peace treaty negotiator Leon Trotsky proposed No War, No Peace, an intermediate-stance Russo–German treaty conditional upon neither belligerent annexing conquered lands; the negotiations collapsed, and the Germans renewed their attack, conquering much of the (agricultural) territory of west Russia. Resultantly, Lenin's withdrawal proposal then gained majority support, and, on 3 March 1918, Russia withdrew from the First World War via the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, mediated by South African Andrik Fuller, at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year,...

, losing much of its European territory. Because of the German threat Lenin moved the Soviet Government from Petrograd to Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 on 10–11 March 1918.
On 19 January 1918, relying upon the soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

, the Bolsheviks, allied with anarchists and the Socialist Revolutionaries, dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly
Russian Constituent Assembly
The All Russian Constituent Assembly was a constitutional body convened in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. It is generally reckoned as the first democratically elected legislative body of any kind in Russian history. It met for 13 hours, from 4 p.m...

 thereby consolidating the Bolshevik Government's political power. Yet, that left-wing coalition collapsed consequent to the Social Revolutionaries opposing the territorially expensive Brest-Litovsk treaty the Bolsheviks had concorded with Imperial Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

. The anarchists and the Socialist Revolutionaries then joined other political parties in attempting to depose the Bolshevik Government, who defended themselves with persecution and jail for the anti-Bolsheviks.

To initiate the Russian economic recovery, on 21 February 1920, he launched the GOELRO plan
GOELRO plan
GOELRO plan was the first-ever Soviet plan for national economic recovery and development. It became the prototype for subsequent Five-Year Plans drafted by Gosplan...

, the State Commission for Electrification of Russia (Государственная комиссия по электрификации России), and also established free universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

 and free education
Free education
Free education refers to education that is funded through taxation, or charitable organizations rather than tuition fees. Although primary school and other comprehensive or compulsory education is free in many countries, for example, all education is mostly free including...

 systems, and promulgated the politico-civil rights of women
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

. Moreover, since 1918, in re-establishing the economy
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, for the productive business administration of each industrial enterprise in Russia, Lenin proposed a government-accountable leader for each enterprise. Workers could request measures resolving problems, but had to abide the leader's ultimate decision. Although contrary to workers' self-management
Workers' self-management
Worker self-management is a form of workplace decision-making in which the workers themselves agree on choices instead of an owner or traditional supervisor telling workers what to do, how to do it and where to do it...

, such pragmatic industrial administration was essential for efficient production and employment of worker expertise. Yet Lenin's doctrinaire Bolshevik opponents argued that such industrial business management
Management
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

 was meant to strengthen State control of labour, and that worker self-management failures were owed to lack of resources, not incompetence. Lenin resolved that problem by licencing (for a month) all workers of most factories; thus historian S. A. Smith's observation: "By the end of the civil war
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, not much was left of the democratic forms of industrial administration promoted by the factory committees in 1917, but the government argued that this did not matter since industry had passed into the ownership of a workers' state."

Internationally, Lenin's admiration of the Irish socialist revolutionary James Connolly
James Connolly
James Connolly was an Irish republican and socialist leader. He was born in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Scotland, to Irish immigrant parents and spoke with a Scottish accent throughout his life. He left school for working life at the age of 11, but became one of the leading Marxist theorists of...

, led to the USSR's being the first country to grant diplomatic recognition
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

 to the Irish Republic
Irish Republic
The Irish Republic was a revolutionary state that declared its independence from Great Britain in January 1919. It established a legislature , a government , a court system and a police force...

 that fought the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

 from Britain. In the event, Lenin developed a friendship with Connolly's revolutionary son, Roddy Connolly
Roddy Connolly
Roderick James Connolly was a socialist politician in Ireland.The son of Irish socialist James Connolly and Lillie Connolly, he was involved in the Easter Rising in 1916, where he served in the GPO under his father. He joined the Socialist Party of Ireland in 1917...

.

Establishing the Cheka

On December 20, 1917, "The Whole-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage", the Cheka
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 (Chrezvychaynaya Komissiya – Extraordinary Commission) was created by a decree issued by Lenin to defend the Russian Revolution. The establishment of the Cheka, secret service
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

, headed by Felix Dzerzhinsky, formally consolidated the censorship established earlier, when on "17 November, the Central Executive Committee passed a decree giving the Bolsheviks control over all newsprint and wide powers of closing down newspapers critical of the régime. . . ."; non-Bolshevik soviets were disbanded; anti-soviet newspapers were closed until Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

(Truth) and Izvestia
Izvestia
Izvestia is a long-running high-circulation daily newspaper in Russia. The word "izvestiya" in Russian means "delivered messages", derived from the verb izveshchat . In the context of newspapers it is usually translated as "news" or "reports".-Origin:The newspaper began as the News of the...

(The News) established their communications monopoly. According to Leonard Schapiro
Leonard Schapiro
Leonard Bertram Naman Schapiro was a British academic and scholar of Russian politics. He taught for many years at the London School of Economics, where he was Professor of Political Science with Special Reference to Russian Studies...

 the Bolshevik "refusal to come to terms with the [Revolutionary] socialists, and the dispersal of the Constituent
Russian Constituent Assembly
The All Russian Constituent Assembly was a constitutional body convened in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. It is generally reckoned as the first democratically elected legislative body of any kind in Russian history. It met for 13 hours, from 4 p.m...

 assembly, led to the logical result that revolutionary terror
Revolutionary terror
Revolutionary terror ) refers to the institutionalized application of force to counterrevolutionaries, particularly during the French Revolution from the years 1793 to 1794...

 would now be directed, not only against traditional enemies, such as the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 or right-wing
Right-wing politics
In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects the egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming that the imposition of equality is...

 opponents, but against anyone, be he socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, worker, or peasant, who opposed Bolshevik rule". On December 19, 1918, a year after its creation, a resolution was adopted at Lenin's behest that forbade the Bolshevik's own press from publishing "defamatory articles" about the Cheka. As Lenin put it: "A Good Communist is also a good Chekist."

Lenin on anti-Semitism

Lenin was enthusiastic about new mass communication technology like the radio and the gramophone
Phonograph
The phonograph record player, or gramophone is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing sound recordings, although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds...

 and its capacity for educating Russia's mostly illiterate peasant population. In 1919 Lenin recorded eight speeches on to gramophone records. During the Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 era (1953–64), seven were published. The eighth speech, which was not published, outlined Lenin's thoughts on anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

:
The tsarist police, in alliance with the landowners and the capitalists, organised pogroms against the Jews. The landowners and capitalists tried to divert the hatred of the workers and peasants who were tortured by want against the Jews. ... It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all countries. Among the Jews there are working people, and they form the majority. They are our brothers, who, like us, are oppressed by capital; they are our comrades in the struggle for socialism. ... The capitalists strive to sow and foment hatred between workers of different faiths, different nations and different races. ... Rich Jews, like rich Russians, and the rich in all countries, are in alliance to oppress, crush, rob, and disunite the workers. ... Shame on those who foment hatred towards the Jews, who foment hatred towards other nations.

Failed assassinations

The first occasion was on 14 January 1918 in Petrograd, when assassins ambushed Lenin in his automobile after a speech. He and Fritz Platten
Fritz Platten
Fritz Platten was a Swiss Communist.After the collapse of the Second International, Platten joined the Zimmerwald Movement and became a Communist....

 were in the back seat when assassins began shooting, and "Platten grabbed Lenin by the head and pushed him down... Platten's hand was covered in blood, having been grazed by a bullet as he was shielding Lenin".

The second event was on 30 August 1918, when the Socialist Revolutionary Fanya Kaplan approached Lenin at his automobile after a speech; he was resting a foot on the running board as he spoke with a woman. Kaplan called to Lenin, and when he turned to face her she shot at him three times. The first bullet struck his arm, the second bullet his jaw and neck, and the third missed him, wounding the woman with whom he was speaking; the wounds felled him and he became unconscious. Fearing in-hospital assassins, Lenin was brought to his Kremlin
Kremlin
A kremlin , same root as in kremen is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there...

 apartment; physicians decided against removing the bullets lest the surgery endanger his recovery, which proved to be slow.

Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

publicly ridiculed Fanya Kaplan as a failed assassin, a latter-day Charlotte Corday
Charlotte Corday
Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d'Armont , known to history as Charlotte Corday, was a figure of the French Revolution. In 1793, she was executed under the guillotine for the assassination of Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat, who was in part responsible, through his role as a politician and...

 (the murderess of Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat , born in the Principality of Neuchâtel, was a physician, political theorist, and scientist best known for his career in France as a radical journalist and politician during the French Revolution...

) who could not derail the Russian Revolution, reassuring readers that, immediately after surviving the assassination: "Lenin, shot through twice, with pierced lungs spilling blood, refuses help and goes on his own. The next morning, still threatened with death, he reads papers, listens, learns, and observes to see that the engine of the locomotive that carries us towards global revolution has not stopped working..."; despite unharmed lungs, the neck wound did spill blood into a lung.

The Russian public remained ignorant of the gravity of the physical wounds of the Soviet Head of State. Other than from panegyrics of immortality (viz. the cult of personality), they knew nothing about the (second) failed assassination attempt, the assassin, Fanya Kaplan, or about Lenin's health. Historian Richard Pipes
Richard Pipes
Richard Edgar Pipes is an American academic who specializes in Russian history, particularly with respect to the Soviet Union...

 reports that "the impression one gains ... is that the Bolsheviks deliberately underplayed the event to convince the public that, whatever happened to Lenin, they were firmly in control". Moreover, in a letter to his wife (7 September 1918), Leonid Borisovich Krasin
Leonid Krasin
Leonid Borisovich Krasin July 1870, Kurgan – November 24, 1926) was a Russian and Soviet Bolshevik politician and diplomat.-Early years:Krasin was born in Kurgan, near Tobol'sk in Siberia. His father, Boris Ivanovich Krasin was the local chief of police...

, a Tsarist and Soviet régime diplomat
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

, describes the public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 atmosphere and social response to the failed assassination attempt on 30 August and to Lenin's survival:
A cult of personality originated from his having survived the second assassination attempt. This Lenin, per his intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

 origins and pedigree, disliked and discouraged as the revival of superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

; nevertheless, his health, as a fifty-three-year-old man, declined from the effects of the two bullet wounds, later aggravated by three stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

s, culminating in his death.

Red Terror



In response to Fanya Kaplan's failed assassination of Lenin on 30 August 1918, and the successful assassination of the Petrograd Cheka
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 chief Moisei Uritsky
Moisei Uritsky
Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary leader in Russia.He was born in the city of Cherkasy, Kiev Governorate, to a Jewish family. His father, a merchant, died when Moisei was little and his mother raised her son by herself.Moisei studied law at the University of Kiev...

, Stalin proposed to Lenin "open and systematic mass terror . . . [against] . . . those responsible"; the Bolsheviks instructed Felix Dzerzhinsky to commence a Red Terror
Red Terror
The Red Terror in Soviet Russia was the campaign of mass arrests and executions conducted by the Bolshevik government. In Soviet historiography, the Red Terror is described as having been officially announced on September 2, 1918 by Yakov Sverdlov and ended about October 1918...

, announced in the 1 September 1918 issue of the Krasnaya Gazeta (Red Gazette). To that effect, among other acts, at Moscow, execution lists
Execution warrant
An execution warrant is a writ which authorizes the execution of a judgment of death on an individual...

 signed by Lenin authorised the shooting of 25 Tsarist ministers, civil servants, and 765 White Guards
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 in September 1918. In his Diaries in Exile, 1935, Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 recollected that Lenin authorised the execution of the Russian Royal Family
Shooting of the Romanov family
The shooting of the Romanov family, of the Russian Imperial House of Romanov, and those who chose to accompany them into exile, Dr. Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp, and Ivan Kharitonov, took place in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918 on the orders of Vladimir Lenin, Yakov Sverdlov, and the...

. However, according to Greg King
Greg King (author)
Greg King is an American author, best known for his biographies of prominent historical figures.-Biography:Born in 1964, King first became interested in history at the age of twelve, after watching two films about Imperial Russia's last royal family, the Romanovs: Nicholas and Alexandra , and...

 and Penny Wilson's investigation into the fate of the Romanovs, Trotsky's recollections on this matter, seventeen years after the events described, are unsubstantiated, inaccurate and contradicted by what Trotsky himself said on other occasions. Most historians say there is enough evidence to prove Lenin ordered the killings. According to the late Soviet historian Dmitri Volkogonov
Dmitri Volkogonov
Dmitri Antonovich Volkogonov was a Russian historian and officer.-Biography:...

:

Indirect evidence shows that the order to execute the royal family was given verbally by Lenin and Sverdlov
Yakov Sverdlov
Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov ; known under pseudonyms "Andrei", "Mikhalych", "Max", "Smirnov", "Permyakov" — 16 March 1919) was a Bolshevik party leader and an official of the Russian Soviet Republic.-Early life:...

. The object of 'exterminating the entire Romanov kin' is confirmed by the almost simultaneous murders of Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Feodorovna, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich
Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich of Russia
Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich of Russia was the fifth son of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaievich of Russia and a first cousin of Alexander III of Russia. He followed a military career and served as General Inspector of the Artillery with the rank of Adjutant General during World War I...

, Prince Ivan Konstantinovich, Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich, Prince Igor Konstantinovich and Count Vladimir Paley
Vladimir Pavlovich Paley
HSH Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley was a Russian poet.Prince Vladimir was born Vladimir von Pistohlkors in Saint Petersburg, Russia...

 (son of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia was the eighth child of Tsar Alexander II of Russia by his first wife Empress Maria Alexandrovna. His birth was commemorated by the naming of the city of Pavlodar in Kazakhstan...

), all of them in Alapaevsk, a hundred miles from Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg is a major city in the central part of Russia, the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Oblast. Situated on the eastern side of the Ural mountain range, it is the main industrial and cultural center of the Urals Federal District with a population of 1,350,136 , making it Russia's...

.


Earlier, in October, Lev Kamenev
Lev Kamenev
Lev Borisovich Kamenev , born Rozenfeld , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet politician. He was briefly head of state of the new republic in 1917, and from 1923-24 the acting Premier in the last year of Lenin's life....

 and cohort, had warned the Party that terrorist rule was inevitable, given Lenin's assumption of sole command. In late 1918, when he and Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin , was a Russian Marxist, Bolshevik revolutionary, and Soviet politician. He was a member of the Politburo and Central Committee , chairman of the Communist International , and the editor in chief of Pravda , the journal Bolshevik , Izvestia , and the Great Soviet...

 tried curbing Chekist excesses, Lenin over-ruled them; in 1921, via the Politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

, he expanded the Cheka's discretionary death-penalty powers.

The foreign-aided White Russian
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 counter-revolution failed for want of popular Russian support, because the Bolshevik proletarian state
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

, protected with "mass terror against enemies of the revolution", was socially organised against the previous capitalist establishment, thus class warfare
Class conflict
Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

 terrorism in post–Tsarist Russia originated in working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 (peasant and worker) anger against the privileged aristocrat
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

 classes of the deposed
Deposition (politics)
Deposition by political means concerns the removal of a politician or monarch. It may be done by coup, impeachment, invasion or forced abdication...

 absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

. During the Russian Civil War, anti-Bolsheviks faced torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 and summary execution
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

, and by May 1919, there were some 16,000 enemies of the people
Enemy of the people
The term enemy of the people is a fluid designation of political or class opponents of the group using the term. The term implies that the "enemies" in question are acting against society as a whole. It is similar to the notion of "enemy of the state". The term originated in Roman times as ,...

 imprisoned in the Tsarist katorga
Katorga
Katorga was a system of penal servitude of the prison farm type in Tsarist Russia...

 labour camps
Labor camp
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

; by September 1921 the prisoner populace exceeded 70,000.

In pursuing their revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

 and counter-revolution the White and the Red Russians committed atrocities, against each other and their supporting populaces, yet contemporary historians disagree about equating the terrorisms—because the Red Terror
Red Terror
The Red Terror in Soviet Russia was the campaign of mass arrests and executions conducted by the Bolshevik government. In Soviet historiography, the Red Terror is described as having been officially announced on September 2, 1918 by Yakov Sverdlov and ended about October 1918...

 was Bolshevik Government policy (e.g. Decossackization
Decossackization
Decossackization is a term used to describe the Bolsheviks' policy of the systematic elimination of the Cossacks of the Don and the Kuban as a social and ethnic group...

) against given social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

es, whilst the class-based White Terror
White Terror
White Terror is the violence carried out by reactionary groups as part of a counter-revolution. In particular, during the 20th century, in several countries the term White Terror was applied to acts of violence against real or suspected socialists and communists.-Historical origin: the French...

 was racial and political, against Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, anti-monarchists, and Communists, (cf. White Movement
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

). Such numbers are recorded in cities occupied by the Bolsheviks:


In Kharkov there were between 2,000 and 3,000 executions in February–June 1919, and another 1,000-2,000 when the town was taken again in December of that year; in Rostov-on-Don
Rostov-on-Don
-History:The mouth of the Don River has been of great commercial and cultural importance since the ancient times. It was the site of the Greek colony Tanais, of the Genoese fort Tana, and of the Turkish fortress Azak...

, approximately 1,000 in January 1920; in Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

, 2,200 in May–August 1919, then 1,500-3,000 between February 1920 and February 1921; in Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, at least 3,000 in February–August 1919; in Ekaterinodar, at least 3,000 between August 1920 and February 1921; In Armavir
Armavir
Armavir is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the left bank of the Kuban River. Population: 144,000 . Armavir was formerly the second-largest industrial center of Krasnodar Krai, after Krasnodar....

, a small town in Kuban
Kuban
Kuban is a geographic region of Southern Russia surrounding the Kuban River, on the Black Sea between the Don Steppe, Volga Delta and the Caucasus...

, between 2,000 and 3,000 in August–October 1920. The list could go on and on.


Professor Christopher Read states that though terror was employed at the height of the Civil War fighting, "from 1920 onwards the resort to terror was much reduced and disappeared from Lenin's mainstream discourses and practices". However, after a clerical
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 insurrection in the town of Shuia, in a 19 March 1922 letter to Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

 and the Politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

, Lenin delineated action against defiers of the decreed Bolshevik removal of Orthodox Church valuables: "We must... put down all resistance with such brutality that they will not forget it for several decades... The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 we succeed in executing... the better." As a result of this letter, historian Orlando Figes
Orlando Figes
Orlando Figes is a British historian of Russia, and Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London.-Overview:Figes is the son of the feminist writer Eva Figes. His sister is the author and editor Kate Figes. He attended William Ellis School in north London from 1971-78...

 estimates that perhaps 8,000 priests and laymen were executed. And the crushing of the revolts in Kronstadt
Kronstadt rebellion
The Kronstadt rebellion was one of many major unsuccessful left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War...

 and Tambov
Tambov Rebellion
The Tambov Rebellion which occurred between 1920 and 1921 was one of the largest and best-organized peasant rebellions challenging the Bolshevik regime during the Russian Civil War. The uprising took place in the territories of the modern Tambov Oblast and part of the Voronezh Oblast, less than...

 in 1921 resulted in tens of thousands of executions.

Civil War

In 1917, as an anti-imperialist
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

, Lenin said that oppressed peoples had the unconditional right to secede from the Russian Empire; however, at end of the Civil War, the USSR annexed Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, because the White Movement used them as attack bases. Lenin pragmatically defended the annexations as geopolitical
Geopolitics
Geopolitics, from Greek Γη and Πολιτική in broad terms, is a theory that describes the relation between politics and territory whether on local or international scale....

 protection against capitalist imperial depredations.

To maintain the war-isolated cities, keep the armies fed, and to avoid economic collapse
Economic collapse
There is no precise definition of an economic collapse. While some might consider a a severe, prolonged depression with high bankruptcy rates and high unemployment an economic collapse, others would additionally look for a breakdown in normal commerce, such as hyperinfalation, or even a sharp...

, the Bolshevik government established war communism
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

, via prodrazvyorstka
Prodrazvyorstka
Prodrazvyorstka , translated as food apportionment or surplus appropriation system, was a governmental program in Russia which obliged peasantry to surrender the surpluses of almost any kind of agricultural produce for a fixed price...

, food requisitioning from the peasantry, for little payment, which peasants resisted with reduced harvests. The Bolsheviks blamed the kulak
Kulak
Kulaks were a category of relatively affluent peasants in the later Russian Empire, Soviet Russia, and early Soviet Union...

s' withholding grain to increase profits; but statistics indicate most such business occurred in the black market economy. Nonetheless, the prodrazvyorstka resulted in armed confrontations which the Cheka
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 and Red Army suppressed with shooting hostages, poison gas, and labour-camp deportation; yet Lenin increased the requisitioning.

The six-year long White–Red civil war, the war communism, the famine of 1921
Russian famine of 1921
The Russian famine of 1921, also known as Povolzhye famine, which began in the early spring of that year, and lasted through 1922, was a severe famine that occurred in Bolshevik Russia...

, which killed an estimated 5 million, and foreign military intervention reduced much of Russia to ruin, and provoked rebellion against the Bolsheviks, the greatest being the Tambov rebellion
Tambov Rebellion
The Tambov Rebellion which occurred between 1920 and 1921 was one of the largest and best-organized peasant rebellions challenging the Bolshevik regime during the Russian Civil War. The uprising took place in the territories of the modern Tambov Oblast and part of the Voronezh Oblast, less than...

 (1919–21). After the March 1921 left-wing Kronstadt Rebellion
Kronstadt rebellion
The Kronstadt rebellion was one of many major unsuccessful left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War...

 mutiny, Lenin replaced war communism with the New Economic Policy
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade,...

 (NEP), and successfully rebuilt industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 and agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. The NEP was his pragmatic recognition of the political and economic realities, despite being a tactical, ideological
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 retreat from the socialist ideal; later, the doctrinaire Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 reversed the NEP in consolidating his control of the Communist Party and the USSR.

Lenin and World Revolution

As stated in his Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism Lenin's revolutionary project embraced not just Russia but the world. To implement world revolution the Third or Communist International was convened in Russia in 1919, to replace the discredited Second International. Lenin dominated the first, second (1920) and third (1921) Congresses of the International and hoped to use the organisation as an agency of international socialist revolution. After the failure of revolutionary ambitions in Poland, in the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–21, and after various revolutions in Germany and Eastern Europe in 1919 had been crushed, Lenin, increasingly, saw that anti-colonial struggles in the Third World would be the foci of the revolutionary struggle. In 1923 Lenin said:
The outcome of the struggle will be determined by the fact that Russia, India, China, etc,. account for the overwhelming majority of the population of the globe. And during the last few years it is this majority that has been drawn into the struggle for emancipation with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this respect there cannot be the slightest doubt what the final outcome of the world struggle will be. In this sense the complete victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured.


Lenin praised Chinese socialist
Chinese socialism
Chinese socialism is the unique form of socialism and socialist thought developed in China in the modern era. The Tongmenghui revolutionary organization led by Dr...

 revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yatsen and his Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 party for their ideology and principles. Lenin praised Dr. Sun, his attempts on social reformation and congratulated him for fighting foreign Imperialism. Dr. Sun also returned the praise, calling him a "great man", and sent his congratulations on the revolution in Russia. The Kuomintang was a nationalist revolutionary party, which had been supported by the Soviet Union. It was organised on Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

.

After Lenin's death in 1924, world revolution was soon rejected by his successor Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 in favour of Socialism in One Country
Socialism in One Country
Socialism in One Country was a theory put forth by Joseph Stalin in 1924, elaborated by Nikolai Bukharin in 1925 and finally adopted as state policy by Stalin...

 which contributed to the split with Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

.

Later life and death

The mental strains of leading a revolution, governing, and fighting a civil war aggravated the physical debilitation consequent to the wounds from the attempted assassinations; Lenin retained a bullet in his neck, until a German surgeon removed it on 24 April 1922. Among his comrades, Lenin was notable for working almost ceaselessly, fourteen to sixteen hours daily, occupied with minor, major, and routine matters. About the man at his life's end, Volkogonov
Dmitri Volkogonov
Dmitri Antonovich Volkogonov was a Russian historian and officer.-Biography:...

 said:
When already sick, Lenin remembered that, since 1917, he had only rested twice: once, whilst hiding from the Kerensky Provisional Government (when he wrote The State and Revolution
State and Revolution
The State and Revolution , by Vladimir Lenin, describes the role of the State in society, the necessity of proletarian revolution, and the theoretic inadequacies of social democracy in achieving revolution to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.Citing Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Lenin...

), and whilst recovering from Fanya Kaplan's failed assassination. In March 1922, when physicians examined him, they found evidence of neither nervous nor organic pathology
Pathology
Pathology is the precise study and diagnosis of disease. The word pathology is from Ancient Greek , pathos, "feeling, suffering"; and , -logia, "the study of". Pathologization, to pathologize, refers to the process of defining a condition or behavior as pathological, e.g. pathological gambling....

, but, given his fatigue and the headaches he suffered, they prescribed rest. Upon returning to St. Petersburg in May 1922, Lenin suffered the first of three stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

s, which left him unable to speak for weeks, and severely hampered motion in his right side; by June, he had substantially recovered. By August he resumed limited duties, delivering three long speeches in November. In December 1922, he suffered the second stroke that partly paralyzed
Paralysis
Paralysis is loss of muscle function for one or more muscles. Paralysis can be accompanied by a loss of feeling in the affected area if there is sensory damage as well as motor. A study conducted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, suggests that about 1 in 50 people have been diagnosed...

 his right side, he then withdrew from active politics. In March 1923, he suffered the third stroke that rendered him mute
Muteness
Muteness or mutism is an inability to speak caused by a speech disorder. The term originates from the Latin word mutus, meaning "silent".-Causes:...

 and bed-ridden until his death.

After the first stroke, Lenin dictated government papers to Nadezhda; among them was Lenin's Testament
Lenin's Testament
Lenin's Testament is the name given to a document written by Vladimir Lenin in the last weeks of 1922 and the first week of 1923. In the testament, Lenin proposed changes to the structure of the Soviet governing bodies...

(changing the structure of the soviets), partly inspired by the 1922 Georgian Affair
Georgian Affair
The Georgian Affair of 1922 was a political conflict within the Soviet leadership about the way in which social and political transformation was to be achieved in the Georgian SSR...

 (Russian cultural assimilation of constituent USSR republics), and it criticised high-rank Communists, including Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Yevseevich Zinoviev , born Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky Apfelbaum , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician...

, Lev Kamenev
Lev Kamenev
Lev Borisovich Kamenev , born Rozenfeld , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet politician. He was briefly head of state of the new republic in 1917, and from 1923-24 the acting Premier in the last year of Lenin's life....

, Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin , was a Russian Marxist, Bolshevik revolutionary, and Soviet politician. He was a member of the Politburo and Central Committee , chairman of the Communist International , and the editor in chief of Pravda , the journal Bolshevik , Izvestia , and the Great Soviet...

, and Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

. About the Communist Party's General Secretary (since 1922), Joseph Stalin, Lenin reported that the "unlimited authority" concentrated in him was unacceptable, and suggested that "comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post." His phrasing, "Сталин слишком груб", implies "personal rudeness, unnecessary roughness, lack of finesse", flaws "intolerable in a Secretary-General".

At Lenin's death, Nadezhda mailed his testament to the central committee, to be read aloud to the 13th Party Congress in May 1924. However, to remain in power, the ruling troika
Troika (triumvirate)
Troika is a committee consisting of three members. The origin of "troika" comes from the term in Russian used to describe three-horse harnessed carriage, or more often, horse-drawn sledge.- Communist states :...

—Stalin, Kamenev, Zinoviev—suppressed Lenin's Testament; it was not published until 1925, in the United States, by the American intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

 Max Eastman
Max Eastman
Max Forrester Eastman was an American writer on literature, philosophy and society, a poet, and a prominent political activist. For many years, Eastman was a supporter of socialism, a leading patron of the Harlem Renaissance and an activist for a number of liberal and radical causes...

. In that year, Trotsky published an article minimising the importance of Lenin's Testament, saying that Lenin's notes should not be perceived as a will, that it had been neither concealed, nor violated; yet he did invoke it in later anti-Stalin polemics.

Lenin died at 18.50 hrs, Moscow time, on 21 January 1924, aged 53, at his estate at Gorki settlement (later renamed Gorki Leninskiye
Gorki Leninskiye
Gorki Leninskiye is an urban locality in Leninsky District of Moscow Oblast, Russia, south of Moscow city limits and the MKAD. Population:...

). In the four days that the Bolshevik Leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin lay in state
Lying in state
Lying in state is a term used to describe the tradition in which a coffin is placed on view to allow the public at large to pay their respects to the deceased. It traditionally takes place in the principal government building of a country or city...

, more than 900,000 mourners viewed his body in the Hall of Columns; among the statesmen who expressed condolences to Russia (the USSR) was Chinese premier Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

, who said:


Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, who encouraged British intervention against the Russian Revolution, in league with the White Movement
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

, to destroy the Bolsheviks and Bolshevism, said:
Three days after his death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 in his honour, so remaining until 1991, when the USSR dissolved, yet the administrative area remains "Leningrad Oblast". In the early 1920s, the Russian cosmism movement proved so popular that Leonid Krasin
Leonid Krasin
Leonid Borisovich Krasin July 1870, Kurgan – November 24, 1926) was a Russian and Soviet Bolshevik politician and diplomat.-Early years:Krasin was born in Kurgan, near Tobol'sk in Siberia. His father, Boris Ivanovich Krasin was the local chief of police...

 and Alexander Bogdanov
Alexander Bogdanov
Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov –7 April 1928, Moscow) was a Russian physician, philosopher, science fiction writer, and revolutionary of Belarusian ethnicity....

 proposed to cryonically preserve
Cryonics
Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of people or large animals is not reversible with current technology...

 Lenin for future resurrection, yet, despite buying the requisite equipment, that was not done. Instead, the body of V. I. Lenin was embalmed
Embalming
Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus sanitization, presentation and preservation of a corpse to achieve this...

 and permanently exhibited in the Lenin Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924...

, in Moscow, on 27 January 1924.
Despite the official diagnosis of death from stroke consequences, the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov reported that Lenin died of neurosyphilis
Neurosyphilis
Neurosyphilis is an infection of the brain or spinal cord caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It usually occurs in people who have had untreated syphilis for many years, usually about 10 - 20 years after first infection.-Symptoms and signs:...

, according to a publication by V. Lerner and colleagues in the European Journal of Neurology in 2004. The authors also note that "It is possible that future DNA technology applied to Lenin's preserved brain material could ultimately establish or disprove neurosyphilis as the primary cause of Lenin's death."

In January 2011, United Russia party created a website «goodbyelenin.ru» with voting on a question whether Lenin's body should be buried.

Personal life and characteristics

According to Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, who knew him well:
Lenin's outward appearance was distinguished by simplicity and strength. He was below the middle height, with the plebeian features of the Slavonic type of face, brightened by piercing eyes; and his powerful forehead and still more powerful head gave him a marked distinction.

According to most reports, in his personal life Lenin was a modest and unassuming man. He liked children and cats and his enthusiasms included bicycling, amateur photography, chess, skating, swimming, hunting, music and hiking. When in exile in Switzerland, Lenin, accompanied by his wife Krupskaya, developed a considerable passion for mountain walking in the Swiss peaks. Lenin's personal life is documented in detail in his wife's book Memories of Lenin.

Writings

Lenin was a prolific political theoretician and philosopher who wrote about the practical aspects of carrying out a proletarian revolution; he wrote pamphlets, articles, and books, without a stenographer
Shorthand
Shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed or brevity of writing as compared to a normal method of writing a language. The process of writing in shorthand is called stenography, from the Greek stenos and graphē or graphie...

 or secretary
Secretary
A secretary, or administrative assistant, is a person whose work consists of supporting management, including executives, using a variety of project management, communication & organizational skills. These functions may be entirely carried out to assist one other employee or may be for the benefit...

, until prevented by illness. He simultaneously corresponded with comrades, allies, and friends, in Russia and world-wide. His Collected Works comprise 54 volumes, each of about 650 pages, translated into English in 45 volumes by Progress Publishers, Moscow 1960–70. The most influential include:
  • What is to be Done?
    What is to be Done?
    What to do? Burning Questions of Our Movement is a political pamphlet written by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in 1901 and published in 1902...

    (1902) states that a revolution requires a professional vanguard party
    Vanguard party
    A vanguard party is a political party at the forefront of a mass action, movement, or revolution. The idea of a vanguard party has its origins in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

    .
  • Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism
    Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism
    Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism , by Lenin, describes the function of financial capital in generating profits from imperial colonialism, as the final stage of capitalist development to ensure greater profits...

    (1916) explains why capitalism had not collapsed, as Marx had posited, presenting the First World War as a capitalist war for land, resources, and cheap labour.
  • The State and the Revolution
    State and Revolution
    The State and Revolution , by Vladimir Lenin, describes the role of the State in society, the necessity of proletarian revolution, and the theoretic inadequacies of social democracy in achieving revolution to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.Citing Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Lenin...

    (1917) interprets the ideas of Marx and Engels, the October Revolution's theoretic basis, and opposes the social-democratic tendency as indecisive in effecting revolution.
  • April Theses (1917) propose the socio-economic need for a socialist revolution.
  • "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920) sharply criticizes the "ultra-left"

Soviet censorship of Lenin

After Lenin's death, the USSR selectively censored
Censorship in the Soviet Union
Censorship in the Soviet Union was pervasive and strictly enforced.Censorship was performed in two main directions:*State secrets were handled by Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press was in charge of censoring all publications and broadcasting for state...

 his writings, to establish the dogma
Dogma
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...

 of the infallibility
Infallibility
Infallibility, from Latin origin , is a term with a variety of meanings related to knowing truth with certainty.-In common speech:...

 of Lenin, Stalin (his successor), and the Central Committee; thus, the Soviet fifth edition (55 vols., 1958–65) of Lenin's œuvre deleted the Lenin–Stalin contradictions, and all that is unfavourable to the founder of the USSR. The historians Richard Pipes
Richard Pipes
Richard Edgar Pipes is an American academic who specializes in Russian history, particularly with respect to the Soviet Union...

 and David Brandenberger published a documentary collection of letters and telegrams excluded from the Soviet fifth edition. They proposed them as proof that the Soviet fifth edition is incomplete.

Legacy

When Lenin died on January 21, 1924, near Moscow, he was acclaimed as "the greatest genius of mankind" and "the leader and teacher of the peoples of the whole world". Historian J. Arch Getty
J. Arch Getty
John Archibald Getty, III is an American historian and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is noted for his research on Russian and Soviet history, especially the period under Joseph Stalin and the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.-Life and career:Getty was...

 has remarked that "Lenin deserves a lot of credit for the notion that the meek can inherit the earth, that there can be a political movement based on social justice and equality". Time Magazine also named Lenin one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century is a compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, published in Time magazine in 1999....

, and one of their top 25 political icons of all time; remarking that "for decades, Marxist-Leninist rebellions shook the world while Lenin's embalmed corpse lay in repose in the Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

". Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, reverence for Lenin declined among the post-Soviet generations, yet he remains an important historical figure for the Soviet-era generations.

According to the article in Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

 written by Professor of Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University is a state university and research institution located in DeKalb, Illinois, with satellite centers in Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Rockford, and Oregon. It was originally founded as Northern Illinois State Normal School on May 22, 1895 by Illinois Governor John P...

 Albert Resis
Albert Resis
Albert Resis is an American historian, Professor of Northern Illinois University in 1964-1992. Since 1992 he is a Professor emeritus and a writer....

:
In space, Lenin is commemorated by asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 852 Wladilena
852 Wladilena
852 Wladilena is a minor planet orbiting the Sun. It is named after the Russian Communist leader Vladimir Lenin.-External links:*...


Statues and city names

Although many Eastern European countries have removed most statues of Lenin, Russia still retains some. Furthermore, also in 1991, after a contested vote between Communists and liberals, the Leningrad government reverted the city's name to St. Petersburg, whilst the surrounding Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . It was established on August 1, 1927, although it was not until 1946 that the oblast's borders had been mostly settled in their present position...

 remained so named; like-wise the city of Ulyanovsk
Ulyanovsk
Ulyanovsk The city is the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin , for whom it is named.-History:Simbirsk was founded in 1648 by the boyar Bogdan Khitrovo. The fort of "Simbirsk" was strategically placed on a hill on the Western bank of the Volga River...

 (V. I. Lenin's birthplace) remains so named. Gyumri
Gyumri
Gyumri is the capital and largest city of the Shirak Province in northwest Armenia. It is located about 120 km from the capital Yerevan, and, with a population of 168,918 , is the second-largest city in Armenia.The name of the city has been changed many times in history...

 in Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 was named Leninakan from 1924 to 1990, Khujand
Khujand
Khujand , also transliterated as Khudzhand, , formerly Khodjend or Khodzhent until 1936 and Leninabad until 1991, is the second-largest city of Tajikistan. It is situated on the Syr Darya River at the mouth of the Fergana Valley...

 in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 Leninabad from 1936 to 1991.

Film

  • Sergei Eisenstein
    Sergei Eisenstein
    Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein , né Eizenshtein, was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage"...

    's October: Ten Days That Shook the World (1927) became an influential celebratory dramatization of the 1917 October Revolution
    October Revolution
    The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

    .
  • Three Songs About Lenin
    Three Songs About Lenin
    Three Songs About Lenin is a documentary silent film by Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov. It is based on three admiring songs sung by anonymous people in Soviet Russia about Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. It is made up of 3 episodes and is 57 minutes long....

    (1934) is a documentary silent film by Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov
    Dziga Vertov
    David Abelevich Kaufman , better known by his pseudonym Dziga Vertov , was a Soviet pioneer documentary film, newsreel director and cinema theorist...

    .
  • Lenin appeared as a character in the Soviet films Lenin in October (1937) and Lenin in 1918
    Lenin in 1918
    Lenin in 1918 is a 130-minute long Soviet revolution film released in 1939. It gives the background of the Russian Civil War after the October Revolution.The film was directed by Mikhail Romm with E. Aron and I. Simkov as co-directors...

    (1939), both directed by Mikhail Romm
    Mikhail Romm
    Mikhail Ilych Romm was a Soviet film director.He was born in Irkutsk. His father was a social democrat of Jewish descent who had been exiled there. He graduated from gymnasium in 1917 and entered the Moscow College for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture...

    .
  • Sergei Yutkevich
    Sergei Yutkevich
    Sergei Iosifovich Yutkevich was an award-winning Soviet film director and screenwriter.-Life and career:He began work as a teen doing puppet shows. Later he helped found the Factory of the Eccentric Actor , which was primarily concerned with circus and music hall acts. He entered films in the...

     directed a series of films about Lenin, featuring Maxim Straukh. These include The Man With the Gun (1938), Yakov Sverdlov
    Yakov Sverdlov
    Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov ; known under pseudonyms "Andrei", "Mikhalych", "Max", "Smirnov", "Permyakov" — 16 March 1919) was a Bolshevik party leader and an official of the Russian Soviet Republic.-Early life:...

    (1940), Stories of Lenin (1957), Lenin in Poland
    Lenin in Poland
    Lenin in Poland is a 1966 Soviet drama film directed by Sergei Yutkevich. Yutkevich won the award for Best Director at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.-Cast:* Maksim Shtraukh - Vladimir Ilich Lenin* Anna Lisyanskaya - Krupskaya, Lenin's Wife...

    (1966) and Lenin in Paris
    Lenin in Paris
    Lenin in Paris is a Soviet film directed by Sergei Yutkevich in 1981 on Mosfilm.-Synopsis:Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin spent four years in Paris , and this historical docudrama explores those years with a certain amount of humor...

    (1981).
  • Lenin was portrayed by Michael Bryant
    Michael Bryant (actor)
    Michael Dennis Bryant was a British stage and television actor.-Biography:Bryant attended Battersea Grammar School and after service in the Merchant Navy and Army, he attended drama school and appeared in many productions on the London stage. He made his film debut in 1955...

     in the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra
    Nicholas and Alexandra
    Nicholas and Alexandra is a 1971 biographical film which tells the story of the last Russian monarch, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra....

    .
  • All My Lenins (1997) is a historical comedy by Hardi Volmer
    Hardi Volmer
    Hardi Volmer is an Estonian film director, puppet theatre set decorator and musician. Volmer is the singer in the Estonian punkrockband Singer Vinger.- Animated cartoons :*"Imeline nääriöö"...

    .

Television

  • Lenin was portrayed by Patrick Stewart
    Patrick Stewart
    Sir Patrick Hewes Stewart, OBE is an English film, television and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career in theatre and television for around half a century...

     in the 1974 BBC miniseries Fall of Eagles
    Fall of Eagles
    Fall of Eagles is a 13-part British television drama aired by the BBC in 1974. The series was created by John Elliot and produced by Stuart Burge....

    .

See also

  • Leninism
    Leninism
    In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

  • Lenin's national policy
  • Lenin's stance on anti-Semitism
  • Marxist–Leninist atheism

  • Lenin's Testament
    Lenin's Testament
    Lenin's Testament is the name given to a document written by Vladimir Lenin in the last weeks of 1922 and the first week of 1923. In the testament, Lenin proposed changes to the structure of the Soviet governing bodies...

  • Anti-Leninism
    Anti-Leninism
    Anti-Leninism is the opposition to thought known as Leninism or Bolshevism.-Opposition from Marxists:Opposition to Leninism can be traced back to the split in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party into the Menshevik and Bolshevik factions at the 2nd Congress of the RSDLP...

  • Lenin Prize
    Lenin Prize
    The Lenin Prize was one of the most prestigious awards of the USSR, presented to individuals for accomplishments relating to science, literature, arts, architecture, and technology. It was created on June 23, 1925 and was awarded until 1934. During the period from 1935 to 1956, the Lenin Prize was...

  • Lenin Peace Prize
    Lenin Peace Prize
    The International Lenin Peace Prize was the Soviet Union's equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize, named in honor of Vladimir Lenin. It was awarded by a panel appointed by the Soviet government, to notable individuals whom the panel indicated had "strengthened peace among peoples"...


  • Order of Lenin
    Order of Lenin
    The Order of Lenin , named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union...

  • Lenin's Mausoleum
    Lenin's Mausoleum
    Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924...

  • List of statues of Lenin
  • List of places named after Lenin


External links


Selected works


|-
|-

|-
|-
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK