Vladimir Lenin was one of the leading political figures and revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century, who masterminded the Bolshevik take-over of power in Russia in 1917, and was the architect and first head of the USSR.
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov was born in Simbirsk on the Volga River on 22 April 1870 into a well-educated family.
He excelled at school and went on to study law. At university, he was exposed to radical thinking, and his views were also influenced by the execution of his elder brother, a member of a revolutionary group.
Expelled from university for his radical policies, Lenin completed his law degree as an external student in 1891.
He moved to St Petersburg and became a professional revolutionary. Like many of his contemporaries, he was arrested and exiled to Siberia, where he married Nadezhda Krupskaya.
After his Siberian exile, Lenin – the pseudonym he adopted in 1901 – spent most of the subsequent decade and a half in western Europe, where he emerged as a prominent figure in the international revolutionary movement and became the leader of the ‘Bolshevik’ faction of the Russian Social Democratic Worker’s Party.
In 1917, exhausted by World War One, Russia was ripe for change. Assisted by the Germans, who hoped that he would undermine the Russian war effort, Lenin returned home and started working against the provisional government that had overthrown the tsarist regime.
Vladimir Lenin eventually led what was soon to be known as the October Revolution, but was effectively a coup d’etat.
Almost three years of civil war followed. The Bolsheviks were victorious and assumed total control of the country. During this period of revolution, war and famine, Lenin demonstrated a chilling disregard for the sufferings of his fellow countrymen and mercilessly crushed any opposition.
Although Lenin was ruthless he was also pragmatic. When his efforts to transform the Russian economy to a socialist model stalled, he introduced the New Economic Policy, where a measure of private enterprise was again permitted, a policy that continued for several years after his death. In 1918, Lenin narrowly survived an assassination attempt, but was severely wounded.
His long term health was affected, and in 1922 he suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. In his declining years, he worried about the bureaucratization of the regime and also expressed concern over the increasing power of his eventual successor Joseph Stalin. Lenin died on 24 January 1924.
His corpse was embalmed and placed in a mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square.
Best Quotes From Vladimir Lenin .
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.
There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.
The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.