Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Russian: Владимир Ильич Ленин; ; born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Russian: Владимир Ильич Ульянов; 22 April 1870 – 21 January 1924) was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist who served as the leader of the Russian SFSR from 1917, and then concurrently as Premier of the Soviet Union from 1922, until 1924.

Born into a wealthy middle-class family in Simbirsk, Lenin gained an interest in revolutionary leftist politics following the execution of his brother in 1887. Briefly attending the University of Kazan, where he was ejected for his involvement in anti-Tsarist protests, he devoted the next few years to gaining a degree in law and to radical politics, becoming a Marxist. In 1893 he moved to Russia's capital at St. Petersburg, where he continued with his political agitation, becoming a senior figure within the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. Arrested and exiled to Siberia for three years, he subsequently fled to Western Europe, living in Germany, England and then Switzerland. Following the February Revolution of 1917, in which the Tsar was overthrown and a provisional government took power, he decided to return home.

As the leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, he took a senior role in orchestrating the October Revolution in 1917, which led to the overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government and the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world's first constitutionally socialist state. Immediately afterwards, Lenin proceeded to implement socialist reforms, including the transfer of estates and crown lands to workers' soviets. Faced with the threat of German invasion, he argued that Russia should immediately sign a peace treaty—which led to Russia's exit from the First World War. In 1921 Lenin proposed the New Economic Policy, a system of state capitalism which started the process of industrialisation and recovery from the Russian Civil War. In 1922, the Russian SFSR joined former territories of the Russian Empire in becoming the Soviet Union. The Bolshevik faction later became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which acted as a vanguard party presiding over a single-party dictatorship of the proletariat.

As a politician, Lenin was a persuasive and charismatic orator. As an intellectual, his extensive theoretic and philosophical developments of Marxism produced Leninism, a pragmatic Russian application of Marxism that emphasises the critical role played by a committed and disciplined political vanguard in the revolutionary process, while defending the possibility of a socialist revolution in less advanced capitalist countries through an alliance of the urban proletarians with the rural peasantry. This political theory alongside Marxian economic theory was later fused into Marxism–Leninism. After his death, Marxism–Leninism developed into a variety of schools of thought, namely Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism. Lenin remains a controversial and highly divisive world figure. Detractors have labelled him a dictator whose administration oversaw multiple human rights abuses, but supporters have countered this criticism citing the limitations on his power and have promoted him as a champion of the working class. He has had a significant influence on the international Communist movement and was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

Read more about Vladimir LeninThe February Revolution, The April Theses, The October Revolution, Forming A Government, Retirement and Death, Politics and World Revolution, Personal Life and Characteristics, Legacy

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Famous quotes containing the words lenin and/or vladimir:

    Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.
    —Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870–1924)

    I’m the boss, you’re an idiot. You’re the boss, I’m an idiot.
    Russian army saying, trans. by Vladimir Ivanovich Shlyakov (1993)