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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between the secret organization and the bulk of the toilers. The ‘papers’ appear regularly; they have become necessary to the population. When they fail to appear for a whole week, people are uneasy. None of the ‘rank and file’ knows the address or the members of the organization, yet its influence grows.21 The organizational goal of the spd-inspired underground is expressed by the last sentence: ‘None of the “rank and file” knows the address or the members of the organization, yet its influence

name of Marxist orthodoxy. The emotional content of Lenin’s politics during this period cannot be understand without grasping his ferocious anger at the way that socialist leaders reneged on their own word. For Lenin one of the most glaring examples of this behaviour – an example he recalled again and again – was the refusal to honour the declaration issued by the Basel International Congress of 1912. There, in solemn conclave assembled, the representatives of European Social Democratic parties

that ‘the interest of the revolution as a whole’ demanded this grisly display of violence? His primary motivation was the food-supply crisis, that is, the need to feed people living in the cities, soldiers in the army and even those peasants who lived in the grain-deficit areas of Russia. From the outbreak of war in 1914 food-supply difficulties had been the motor that drove the unrelenting economic breakdown. Lack of exchange items, transportation problems and local embargoes had led to severe

beyond ‘the textbook à la Kautsky’, yet the basic logic of the scenario remained. Because Lenin still accepted the basic Marxist axioms that guaranteed his scenario, his adjustments caused him a great deal of anxiety and gave rise to a sense of encirclement by hostile forces such as international capitalism, petty-bourgeois peasantry 197 Decade Episode Label Banner Sentence from 1894 Central Project of the Decade 1894–1904 When the advanced represenSocial Democratic tatives of this class

terror, claimed Ulyanov, was forced on ‘an intelligentsia that has been deprived of any possibility of peaceful, cultural influence on social life’. Under the present repressive circumstances, the workers could do no more than provide 30 support for a preliminary political revolution that would be led by the terror-wielding intelligentsia. This reasoning led Alexander to throw away his life with no result other than a hardening of government repression. Russian socialist radicalism had arrived

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