Lenin (Reaktion Books - Critical Lives)

Lenin (Reaktion Books - Critical Lives)

Language: English

Pages: 235

ISBN: 1861897936

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

After Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) is the man most associated with communism and its influence and reach around the world. Lenin was the leader of the communist Bolshevik party during the October 1917 revolution in Russia, and he subsequently headed the Soviet state until 1924, bringing stability to the region and establishing a socialist economic and political system.


In Lenin, Lars T. Lih presents a striking new interpretation of Lenin’s political beliefs and strategies. Until now, Lenin has been portrayed as a pessimist with a dismissive view of the revolutionary potential of the workers. However, Lih reveals that underneath the sharp polemics, Lenin was actually a romantic enthusiast rather than a sour pragmatist, one who imposed meaning on the whirlwind of events going on around him. This concise and unique biography is based on wide-ranging new research that puts Lenin into the context both of Russian society and of the international socialist movement of the early twentieth century. It also sets the development of Lenin’s political outlook firmly within the framework of his family background and private life. In addition, the book’s images, which are taken from contemporary photographs, posters, and drawings, illustrate the features of Lenin’s world and time.


A vivid, non-ideological portrait, Lenin is an essential look at one of the key figures of modern history.

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more than thirty thousand, organized something like a general strike.’ The demands of the workers were sensible and moderate, the conduct of the strike was disciplined and peaceful. The strike was not instigated by socialists from the intelligentsia, and ‘all the proclamations and other papers published during the strike were written by the men themselves, in a plain, half-educated language’. Thus the 1896 strikes stand in startling contrast to earlier more destructive and anarchic worker

unveiling of a monument in Moscow to Marx and Engels: The great world-historic service of Marx and Engels is that they showed the workers of the world their role, their task, their mission, namely, to be the first to rise in the revolutionary struggle against capital and to unite around themselves in this struggle all working and exploited people. We are living through a happy time, when this prophecy of the great socialists is beginning to be realized.42 153 5 Beyond the ‘Textbook à la

isolated from these tensions and thrived in an atmosphere that combined intense application and individual expression. Once a teacher had difficulty carrying on a conversation with Vladimir’s mother because Vladimir was running all over the house as a Red Indian, screaming at the top of his voice. ‘Children are supposed to scream’, the mother told the teacher.4 But as Vladimir entered his teens, the tensions of the outside world began to close in on the family. In 1881 the subversive potential

cultural deficit was much more substantive: mass education for the narod. We might call this Lenin’s kukharka strategy, after his famous boast in 1917 that the Bolsheviks would teach the kukharka, the female cook, how to administer the state. In ‘Pages from a Diary’, the most eloquent of Lenin’s final articles – and one that has not received the attention it deserves – we see for the last time Ilich, son of Ilya Ulyanov, the tsarist educational reformer. After going through some statistics

successful fight for socialism in Russia requires the dissolution of the peasantry into bourgeoisie and proletariat. Small-scale production for the market engenders capitalism. The proletariat will achieve socialism on the basis of the cultural achievements of capitalism. Lenin believed 188 Lenin fades away, but the new elite remains (one of Lenin’s last public appearances, October 1922). in these axioms all his life, and he couldn’t stop believing them simply because they had become

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