Lenin Vladimir Ilich

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I Introduction Lenin, Vladimir Ilich (1870-1924), Russian revolutionary leader and theorist, who presided over the first government of Soviet Russia and then that of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Lenin was the leader of the radical socialist Bolshevik Party (later renamed the Communist Party), which seized power in the October phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the revolution, Lenin headed the new Soviet government that formed in Russia. He became the leader of the USSR upon its founding in 1922. Lenin held the highest post in the Soviet government until his death in 1924, when Joseph Stalin assumed power.

II EARLY YEARS Lenin was born Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov in the city of Simbirsk in central European Russia. (He adopted the pseudonym Lenin, probably derived from the river Lena in Siberia, while doing secret work as a revolutionary. ) He was the third of six children born to Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov and Maria Alexandrovna Blank. Ilya Ulyanov was the director of public education for the province of Simbirsk during Lenin s childhood, and his service to the state earned him the title of hereditary nobleman. While Lenin was finishing school in Simbirsk in 1887, his older brother, Aleksandr, was arrested and executed in Saint Petersburg (then the capital of Russia) for his involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate Russian emperor Alexander III. Later that year Lenin entered Kazan University (now Kazan State University), where he intended to study law. Before completing his first term at the university, however, Lenin was expelled for his involvement in a student demonstration. He settled on his mother s estate in the village of Kokushkino and pursued his study of law as an external student of Saint Petersburg University (now Saint Petersburg State University). While living on the estate, Lenin began to immerse himself in the radical political literature of the time. A particular favorite was the novel What Is To Be Done? (1863), by Russian writer Nikolay Chernyshevsky. One of the novel s main characters, a man named Rakhmetev, lived a life of extreme self-discipline and single-minded focus on revolutionary politics. Rakhmetev served as a model for Lenin, and it was largely these ideals of the Russian revolutionary tradition-which glorified political action and a life fully committed to the cause of revolutionary political change-that shaped Lenin s political personality. Also about this time, Lenin became acquainted with the revolutionary ideas of German philosopher Karl Marx through Marx s greatest work, Das Kapital (published in three volumes from 1867 to 1895). Marx s ideas had a profound impact on Lenin, and he soon came to consider himself a Marxist.

Lenin received his law degree in 1892. He moved to the city of Samara and took a position as a lawyer s assistant. Lenin s earlier brush with the authorities limited his prospects as a lawyer, however, and he soon began channeling his ambitions into ...

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