- 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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During World War I Lenin went into exile again, this time taking up residence in Switzerland. As always, his mind stayed focus on revolutionary politics. During this period he wrote and published Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), a defining work for the future leader, in which he argued that war was the natural result of international capitalism.
In 1917, a tired, hungry and war-weary Russia deposed the tsars. Lenin quickly returned home and, perhaps sensing his own path to power, quickly denounced the country’s newly formed Provisional Government, which had been assembled by a group of leaders of the bourgeois liberal parties. Lenin instead called for a Soviet government, one that would be ruled directly by soldiers, peasants and workers.
In late 1917 Lenin led what was soon to be known as the October Revolution, but was essentially a coup d’état. Three years of civil war followed. The Lenin-led Soviet government faced incredible odds. The anti-Soviet forces, or Whites, headed mainly by former tsarist generals and admirals, fought desperately to overthrow Lenin’s Red regime. They were aided by World War I Allies, who supplied the group with money and troops.
Determined to win at any cost, Lenin showed himself to be ruthless in his push to secure power. He launched what came to be known as the Red Terror, a vicious campaign Lenin used to eliminate the opposition within the civilian population.
In August 1918 Lenin narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, when he was severely wounded with a pair of bullets from a political opponent. His recovery only reinforced his larger-than-life presence among his countrymen, though his health was never truly the same.
Despite the breadth of the opposition, Lenin came out victorious. But the kind of country he hoped to lead never came to fruition. His defeat of an opposition that wished to keep Russia tethered to Europe’s capitalist system,\ ushered in an era of international retreat for the Lenin-led government. Russia, as he saw it, would be void of class conflict and the international wars it fostered.
But the Russia he presided over was reeling from the bloody civil war he’d helped instigate. Famine and poverty shaped much of society. In 1921, Lenin now faced the same kind of peasant uprising he’d ridden to power. Widespread strikes in cities and in rural sections of the country broke out, threatening the stability of Lenin’s government.
To ease the tension, Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy, which allowed workers to sell their grain on the open market.
Lenin suffered a stroke in May 1922, and then a second one in December of that year. With his health in obvious decline, Lenin turned his thoughts to how the newly formed USSR would be governed after he was gone.
Increasingly, he saw a party and government that had strayed far from its revolutionary goals. In early 1923 he issued what came to be called as his Testament, in which a regretful Lenin expressed remorse over the dictatorial power that dominated Soviet government.
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