- NAME: Vladimir Lenin
- OCCUPATION: Political Leader, Political Scientist, Journalist
- BIRTH DATE: April 22, 1870
- DEATH DATE: January 21, 1924
- EDUCATION: Kazan University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Simbirsk, Russia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Gorki, Russia
- Originally: Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov
- Full Name: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
- AKA: Vladimir Ulyanov
- AKA: Vladimir Lenin
Best Known For
Vladimir Lenin was founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and architect and first head of the Soviet state.
Vladimir Lenin - World War I (4:11)
Vladimir Lenin - Early Life (3:10)
Vladimir Lenin - Death (3:59)
As Germany stood on Russia's doorstep, Vladimir Lenin tired to turn the war into an opportunity for the lower class to turn against their oppressors.
As Vladimir Lenin gained power, he moved quickly to dissolve all democratic structures in favor of the newly formed Communist Party.
At an early age, Vladimir Lenin was exposed to the ideas and actions that would form his communist thinking.
As Vladimir Lenin's health began to decline, he worked to try and keep his influence on Russia alive.
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Their struggles against what Lenin saw as a class-biased legal system only reinforced his Marxist beliefs.
In time, Lenin focused more of his energy on revolutionary politics. He left Samara in the mid-1890s for a new life in St. Petersburg, the Russian capital at the time. There, Lenin connected with other like-minded Marxists and began to take an increasingly active role in their activities.
The work did not go unnoticed,
and in December 1895 Lenin and several other Marxist leaders were arrested. Lenin was exiled to Siberia for three years. His fiancée and future wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, joined him.
Following his release from exile and then a stint in Munich, where Lenin and others co-founded a newspaper, Iskra, to unify Russian and European Marxists, he returned to St. Petersburg and stepped up his leadership role in the revolutionary movement.
At the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903, a forceful Lenin argued for a streamlined party leadership community, one that would lead a network of lower party organizations and their workers. “Give us an organization of revolutionaries,” Lenin said, “and we will overturn Russia!”
Lenin’s call was soon supported by events on the ground. In 1904 Russia went to war with Japan. The conflict had a profound impact on Russian society. After a number of defeats put a strain on the country’s domestic budget, citizens from all walks of life began to vocalize their discontent over the country’s political structure and called for reform.
The situation was heightened on January 9, 1905, when a group of unarmed workers in St. Petersburg took their concerns directly to the city’s palace to submit a petition to Emperor Nicholas II. They were met by security forces, who fired on the group, killing and wounding hundreds. The crisis set the stage for what would be called the Russian Revolution of 1905.
Hoping to placate his citizens, the emperor issued his October Manifesto, offering up several political concessions, most notably the creation of an elected legislative assembly known as the Duma.
But Lenin was far from satisfied. His frustrations extended to his fellow Marxists, in particular the group calling itself the Mensheviks, led by Julius Martov. The issues centered around party structure and the driving forces of a revolution to fully seize control of Russia. While his comrades believed that the power must reside with the bourgeoisie, Lenin passionately distrusted that segment of the population. Instead, he argued, a real and complete revolution, one that could lead to Socialist Revolution that could spread outside of Russia, must be led by the workers, the country’s proletariat.
From the Mensheviks’ point of view, however, Lenin’s ideas really paved the way for a one-man dictatorship over the people he claimed he wanted to empower. The two groups had sparred since party’s Second Congress, which had handed Lenin’s group, known as the Bolsheviks, a slim majority. The fighting would continue until a 1912 party conference in Prague, when Lenin formally split to create a new, separate entity.
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