Vladimir Lenin

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Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) was and still is, one of the greatest and most important revolutionaries known to mankind.[1][2][3][4] He was the founder of the Soviet Union and he was the leader of the Bolshevik Party during the Russian Revolution. After the Russian Civil War, Russia had a ruined economy but Lenin then made it grow very fast with making rights for civilians like decriminalizing homosexuality and giving equal rights to women. Lenin has been described as a murderer by right-wing media but viewed by others as a hero, both in Russia and elsewhere. Sadly, Lenin died in 1924 and years after Lenin's death, Joseph Stalin became leader of the Soviet Union. His body is still displayed at his mausoleum at Red Square.

Early Life

Lenin was born on April 22, 1870, in Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk[5]), a quiet town on the Volga River. His real name was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. He adopted the name Lenin in 1901. Lenin's father, Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, was a teacher who became director of schools in Simbirsk province. Lenin inherited his father's dark complexion, high cheekbones, and dark brown eyes. His mother, Maria Aleksandrovna Blank, was the daughter of a doctor. She was an educated woman and was deeply devoted to her children. Lenin had two brothers and three sisters. All the children, except one sister who died at the age of 20, became revolutionists.

Lenin had a pleasant childhood. He often imitated his brother Alexander, who was four years older. When Alexander was a young man, he was executed for conspiring to assassinate the Tsar. This brought so much anger and dispair into Lenin that he soon become a revolutionary himself.

Lenin received a law degree from St. Petersburg University in 1891 and joined a law firm in Samara. By this time, he was absorbed in the study of Marxism. In 1893, Lenin joined a Marxist organization. Later that year, he moved to St. Petersburg and became an active revolutionary. In those days, St. Petersburg was Russia's capital.

Activity

Between April and September 1895, Lenin traveled to France, Germany, and Switzerland to contact other Marxists. In December, Lenin was arrested in St. Petersburg by the Tsar's police while preparing a revolutionary newspaper, The Workers' Cause. After being held for questioning for more than a year, Lenin was exiled to Siberia in 1897. On July 22, 1898, while in exile, Lenin married Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, another revolutionary.

In 1898, while Lenin was in exile, a number of secret Marxist groups in Russia joined and formed the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. After Lenin's exile ended in January 1900, he got permission from the government to leave Russia. He went to Germany to help found the party newspaper, Iskra ("Spark"). Iskra was an illegal paper that had to be smuggled into Russia. The editors of Iskra also published Zarya ("Dawn"), which dealt with Marxist theory. It was in Zarya in 1901 that Vladimir Ulyanov began using the name Lenin. Many revolutionaries changed their names to confuse the police.

In 1903, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party split into two groups over disputes about tactics. Lenin became the leader of the Bolsheviks, the majority group. The other, more moderate, group became known as the Mensheviks ("minority")

Revolution and rule

Lenin speaking in 1920

In February, 1917, Lenin and the Bolsheviks joined a number of other political opposition groups in ousting Tsar Nicholas II from power. A provisional government was set up consisting of Monarchists, "Cadets" (capitalists), moderate socialists, and the Bolsheviks. All the other groups attempted to remove the Bolsheviks from the government, but this plan only backfired. In August 1917, Lenin published State and Revolution which 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. In November, 1917 (October according to the Russian calendar at that time), the Bolsheviks rose up and overthrew the provisional government, forming the Council of People's Commissars with Lenin at its head.

Lenin led the Soviet Union for seven years. He couldn't finalize his decision of whether Leon Trotsky or Joseph Stalin was to lead once he'd gone, he died of a stroke. (The doctors at the time identified Lenin's condition as "excessive intellectualization.") Lenin's body was preserved and buried in the Kremlin. Stalin's interpretation of Lenin's ideas on Marxism became codified as Marxism-Leninism and dominated popular conceptions of communism throughout the world for many years.[6]

Philosophy

Law

Lenin, trained as a lawyer, looked at law as an administrative mechanism subordinate to the state, as was the view of the Czarist government. Lenin viewed law as a mechanism serving the dictatorship of the proletariat,[7] never as enforceable principles which limited state action.
At the centre we must find about half a score of men to exercise the functions of the central procurator authority represented by the Procurator General, the Supreme Tribunal, and the Collegium of the People’s Commissariat of Justice (I leave aside the question as to whether the Procurator General should he the sole authority, or whether he should share his authority with the Supreme Tribunal and the Collegium of the People’s Commissariat of Justice, for this is purely a secondary question, and can be settled, one way or another, in accordance with whether the Party will delegate vast authority to one person, or divide that authority among the three aforesaid bodies). These ten should work at the centre, under the closest supervision of and in closest contact with the three Party bodies which provide the most reliable barrier against local and personal influences, viz., the Organising Bureau of the Central Committee, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, and the Central Control Commission. The latter body, i.e., the Central Control Commission, is responsible only to the Party Congress, and is constructed in such a way that no member of it can hold a position in any People’s Commissariat, government department, or any organ of the Soviet government. It is clear that under these circumstances we have the greatest guarantee so far devised that the Party will set up a small central collegium that will be really capable of resisting local influences and local, and all other, bureaucracy, and which will establish real uniformity in the application of the laws throughout the Republic, and throughout the Federation. Hence, any mistake that this central legal collegium may make can be at once rectified on the spot by the Party bodies, which determine all the fundamental concepts and lay down all the fundamental rules for all our Party and Soviet activities throughout the Republic.[8]
Lenin defined counterrevolutionaries with respect to the effect, or likely effect,[9] of their actions.
Propaganda or agitation, or membership of, or assistance given to organisations the object of which (propaganda and agitation) is to assist that section of the international bourgeoisie which refuses to recognise the rights of the communist system of ownership that is superseding capitalism, and is striving to overthrow that system by violence, either by means of foreign intervention or blockade, or by espionage, financing the press, and similar means, is an offence punishable by death, which, if mitigating circumstances are proved. may be commuted to deprivation of liberty, or deportation.[7]

Commercial law was tolerated during the New Economic Policy only in a subordinate role, not in the foundational role it plays in a bourgeois system of law guaranteeing property and contract rights.

References

  1. Lenin entry from the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 1968
  2. Time 100:Vladimir Lenin by David Remnick, April 13, 1998.
  3. Biography (TV series) - Vladimir Lenin, Voice of Revolution, A&E Network, 2005, ASIN B000AABKX6
  4. Historian J. Arch Getty 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."
  5. named in honour of Lenin
  6. Триумф и Трагедия И. В. Сталин: политический портрет. (Triumph and Tragedy – I. V. Stalin : A Political Portrait) Дмитрий Волкогонов (Dmitriy Volkogonov). Book 1, Part 1, pp. 95–114. Новости Publications. Moscow. 1989.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Letter To D. I. Kursky" V.I. Lenin Written: 17 May 1922 First Published: 1924; Published according to the manuscript; Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 358-359; Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
  8. “Dual” Subordination and Legality Letter from V. I. Lenin to Comrade Stalin for the Political Bureau, Dictated by phone: 20 May 1922; First Published: Dictated by telephone; on May 20, 1922; First published in Pravda No. 91, April 23, 1925; Published according to the stenographers notes (typewritten copy). Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 363-369; Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
  9. Intent is not required; what matters is the likely result.
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