Lenin (Reaktion Books - Critical Lives)
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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.
1907 was a new, highly restrictive electoral law imposed, allowing the government to get a Duma with which it could work. The new electoral law in 1907 was imposed by an unconsti tutional coup carried out by the newly appointed minister Petr Stolypin. Stolypin was the outstanding figure of the new postrevolutionary regime, representing both its repressive face (the nooses that were used to hang peasant rebels were called ‘Stolypin 89 neckties’) and its reformist face (the ‘Stolypin land reform’
had resolved that in the event of war, Social Democrats would ‘use the economic and political crisis created by the war to rouse the masses and thereby hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule’.6 Lenin had a personal relation to the mandate of the Basel Congress, since he himself, along with Rosa Luxemburg and L. Martov, had been instrumental in adding a similar pledge to a resolution passed by an earlier international socialist congress in 1907. This personal connection was just one more
they were always based on ni-ni logic. But the moderate socialists who placed their political wager on ni-ni coalitions saw their original prestige dissolve and their reputations destroyed. Starting in September, Lenin began to bombard his fellow Bolsheviks with letters, articles, whatever it took, in order to convince them that the time for an uprising had come and could not be delayed. The stars were now all in alignment: coalitionmongering was completely discredited, the Bolsheviks had
servants, cooks, washerwomen, small shopkeepers, and persons of similar type’. The government now felt safer giving its support to obscurantist church parish schools rather than to the village schools to which Ilya Ulyanov had devoted his career. This steady erosion of his life’s work helped bring Ilya to the grave in 1886 at the early age of 55. The following year the contradictions of Russian modernization struck the Ulyanov family with an even more devastating blow. From Worms to Bombs:
issue stemmed from his enormous emotional investment in his original scenario. April 1919: ‘The peasants say: long live the Soviet vlast, long live the Bolsheviks, but down with kommuniia! They curse the kommuniia when it is organized in a stupid way and forced upon them. They are suspicious of everything that is imposed upon them, and quite rightly so. We must go to the middle peasants, we must help them, teach them, but only in the field of science and socialism. In the area of farm management