Lenin (April 22, 1870 – January 21, 1924). Russian communist leader. His real name was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, he was born in Simbirsk, his family is full of intellectuals. His father, during his life, was devoted to popular education, shared the ideas of the revolutionary democrats of the time. On the other hand, his mother, Maria Alexandrovna Blank, a woman of extensive culture, a follower of music and supported the school activities of her children. She was always very aware of Lenin, her fourth son, affectionately called Volodia. When he was young his family went through a tragic moment. His older brother, Alexander, was executed for being a participant in the preparations to attempt against Tsar Alexander III. His animosity against the tsarist regime was exacerbated by this painful event.
After having completed with honors his studies of a bachelor. In 1887 Lenin entered the University of Kazan to study law, during his studies he had a revolutionary attitude and exercised his anti-establishment activities. He was arrested on one occasion for suspicion against him, this also led to the expulsion by the University.
His desire to study did not vanish, so he entered the University of St. Petersburg. It was linked to Marxist circles and the nascent proletarian movement of this city, his contribution to the growth of proletarian groups was strong. He published in 1894 an essay that elucidated the struggle of the people against the Social Democrats, an argumentative criticism of the populists. His reformist spirit never ceased, was linked in the newly founded Union for the emancipation of the working class, again stopped him.
“The truth is always revolutionary.” Lenin
His activism against the Tsarist autocracy led him to meet the revolutionary Russian leader, Georgy Plekhanov. Under his influence and support, he helped to found in Saint Petersburg the Combat League for the Liberation of the Working Class, the embryo of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party headed by Plekhanov.
The Russian government persecuted Lenin incessantly, was arrested and deported to Siberia, this episode was taken by him in his favor, he devoted himself to the systematic study of the works of Karl Marx and Engels and drafted his first work which was an inquiry into the application of Marxist thought to the Russian country. After his liberation he founded the Iskra newspaper in Geneva with the faithful help of Plekhanov; in this, he spread the ideal to make a socialist revolution triumph in Russia led by professional revolutionaries decided and organized as an army.
In 1905 Lenin returned to St. Petersburg to participate in the revolution that had broken out in Russia as a result of the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War; Although the tsarist regime overcame the crisis, Lenin considered that movement as a good start of the socialist revolution. The fiasco of that revolution forced him to exile again in 1907.
The outbreak of the First World War was the culminating and decisive moment to put his postulates on the table, in this case: it defined the dispute as fruit of the contradictions of the capitalist and imperialist system, in the name of proletarian internationalism, invited the socialist movement world to use the World War to produce a generalized civil war, but this did not have great impact.
In February 1917 the revolution broke out and the government of Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown, Kerensky seized power, Lenin hurried back to Russia with the help of the German army. In the first days of November of 1917, Trotsky commanded the coup d’etat and finally, the October Revolution triumphed. Lenin left his refuge in Finland and returned immediately to preside over the Council of People’s Commissaries.
He became the undisputed leader of the Communist Party, undertook the construction of the first socialist state in history. He fulfilled his initial promises of the expropriation of large estates to landlords to move to divide them among the peasants. He took a radical attitude, repudiated the democratic tradition of Western socialism and welcomed a violent one-party dictatorship, using repressive methods, an example of which was the creation of a police force to persecute the dissidents. However, to fulfill these purposes he had the help of Trotsky in regard to the organization of the Red Army, with which he managed to resist the attack of the white armies and foreign intervention during the Civil War.
“If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem, act!” Lenin
Lenin was a man of insatiable and ambitious spirit, following his clear ideological convictions, he imputed a policy of socialist cut to the economy, nationalizing the main means of production and submitting the economic activities to an arduous central intervention. These drastic changes in the life of a country caused the cataclysm of production and a general disorganization of the Russian economy.
His last moments of life he spent suffering from a serious illness, which made him withdraw from the political leadership little by little. At that moment there was a quarrel between Trotsky and Stalin for power. In short, the emotional concerns were physical, he frequently expressed his concern about the progressive bureaucratization of the Party and the State, and he was not very convinced of the role of Stalin if he became the leader of the Party. It was indeed Stalin who succeeded him after his death.
The communist movement, founded on the Marxist-Leninist ideology, spread throughout the world, inspired revolutions and political regimes as important as those instituted in Central and Eastern Europe, China, Cuba or Vietnam. The figure of Lenin was the object of a sacred or mythical cult under the Soviet regime. Such was that his body was embalmed and exposed in a mausoleum on the Red Square in Moscow; in his honor, his city of origin was renamed Ulyanovsk and the capital where he developed his political struggle changed his name to Leningrad.