Lenin was one of the most influential characters in contemporary history. For better or for worse, he altered a monarchical system that had been established for centuries in one of the most extensive countries of its time: Russia. History would make him go down in history as the theoretical and practical leader of the Leninism, a political, social and economic theory created by himself.
The future leader of Russia was born under the name of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in Simbirsk (Russia) in April 1870. From a young age he excelled in the study of Latin and Greek, but his youth had two key moments: the death of his father in 1886 and the execution of his brother in May 1887.
There are theories that relate Lenin's resentment with the tsars, due to the execution of his brother at the hands of the tsarist police.
In any case, that point was vital for the young man Lenin.
Lenin and Marxism
After finishing his studies with great recognition at the Lyceum, he entered the Law Faculty of the Kazan University. This is where he came into contact with the revolutionary movement and began to criticize Marxist of populism.
In 1895 he was arrested by the authorities and deported to Siberia. under police surveillance. This confinement lasted five years and served him to write his work “The development of capitalism in Russia". When he returned, he was forced into exile. That was another of the most important moments of his life, since abroad he reinforced and expanded his thesis, to the point of writing several works.
His first refuge was Switzerland. There he met Plekhanov, with whom he founded a newspaper called Iskra (“The spark”). In addition, he wrote a brochure called “¿What to do? " between 1901 and 1902 to later participate in the II Congress of POSDR (Russian Social Democratic Labor Party).
There the fraction among Bolsheviks (most) and Mensheviks (the minority), due to Lenin's theses, who offered a new conception of the internal organization of the party, inspired by "What to do?"
It spoke of composing the party based on the so-called "Professional Revolutionaries”, That is, people who should be the vanguard of the working class and direct their efforts towards the seizure of power to achieve the dictatorship of the proletariat that they defended Karl Marx.
In 1905, Lenin took his thesis on the organization of the party to the Second International. But after the revolution of January 1905, a strike broke out in Russia, and a completely spontaneous organization appeared for the first time: the soviets or workers councils.
These were controlled by the Bolsheviks and made up of workers and peasants. However, the tsar crushed the strikes organized by the soviets and Lenin had to go into exile again.
His new destination this time was Finland, although he did not stay there long, but visited other countries such as Switzerland or France. In 1908 he settled in Geneva, where he wrote “Materialism and empirocriticism”. The "empirocriticism”Was a theory that had spread for some years in socialist circles in Germany and Russia.
Lenin fervently criticized this theory and that is why he wrote his text. Over the years he moved to Paris, where he remained until 1912. There he received a large amount of correspondence from the revolutionaries who had remained in Russia, so he was always aware of what was happening in his country.
At the Prague congress in 1912, as they did in the St. Petersburg strike and in the autumn elections, the Bolsheviks beat the MensheviksWhile Lenin advocated participation in the Duma elections, the rejection of collaboration with the bourgeois democrats and the alliance of the workers and peasants of Russia. With these measures, the bourgeoisie and the Mensheviks united, beginning to carry out postulates against the Bolsheviks.
For its part, the opposition of Lenin and the Bolsheviks to the Social Democrats became apparent during the Great War.
The analysis carried out by the Soviet leader on imperialism allowed him to show that war was indispensable for the imperialist countries and that in Russia, the smallest link in their chain, it was possible to transform the imperialist war into a civil war. These ideas were collected in his book "Imperialism, the supreme stage of capitalism”In 1917.
While the Social Democrats collaborated with the war governments and the Provisional Government, Lenin and his supporters accentuated his action in relation to the military. Exiled again in Switzerland, he learned in March 1917 of an uprising in Petrograd in which the Mensheviks, allied with Kerensky, they managed to dominate the soviet that was formed there.
To turn this situation around in your favor, Lenin returned to Petrograd again in April and published the calls “April Thesis”: “Bread, land and peace”. From here on, the majority of the POSDR joined him. In August, faced with the counterrevolutionary offensive, he had to flee again to Finland, where he wrote his work “The state and the revolution”. But this time the exile was short-lived, as in October he returned clandestinely.
Lenin and the Russian Revolution
The Bolsheviks took power in the call Red October and they began to establish their political, social and economic system throughout the country. In December 1917, the Brest-Lotovsk peace negotiations were interrupted by the German offensive and Lenin demanded peace, despite the importance of the territorial losses it would cause.
The international front closed, Lenin focused on the civil war in which Russia was mired. The VIII Congress of the Party met in March 1919 and organized the so-called “war communism”. But it did not reach the maximum possible extreme, since Lenin successively opposed Trotsky's theses on the militarization of the unions and those of Kollontai, advocating workers' control at the base.
The country's political crisis suffered a decisive turn with the uprising and the crushing of the Kronstadt sailors. It was at that moment when the repression exerted by the Bolsheviks it caused pro-revolution anarchists to oppose Leninism for decades.
Seeing the terrible social, economic and political state of the country, Lenin decided to restore freedom of commerce and small industries. It was the step prior to abandoning the communism war and the establishment of the New Economic Policy (NEP).
But a very important problem appeared and that would mark the future of the Soviet Union until its end: the bureaucratization of the party. The Soviet leader saw the danger it posed, so he wrote:
Our worst enemy, our internal enemy, is bureaucratic communism. Therefore, to overcome it we must turn to the last source of energy that we have left: the mass of workers and peasants, as well as their level of consciousness and their degree of organization.
But Lenin could not develop this line of action, due to the hemiplegia attack that he suffered in May 1922.
Lenin's break with Stalin
As has been known over the years, in March 1923 broke with Stalin Y in his will he asked the Party Congress to replace Stalin. But this was not known until 1956, when his will was made public.
Finally, on January 21, 1924 he died in Gorky, a town near Moscow.
Russian civil war
The February Revolution of 1917, the origin of the Russian Revolution
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.