Vladimir Lenin

Lenin’s Inspiration and Rise to Power
Vladimir Lenin was one of the leading political figures and revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century, born in Simbirsk on the Volga on April 22nd 1870, Vladimir came from a comfortable middle-class background and had been well educated. It was only at the age of seventeen when his brother Aleksandr, was hung for his part in a plot to assassinate Tsar Alexander III did Lenin begin to use his education as a radical revolutionist. After being accepted to study law at Kazan University, and later on his own (due to his expulsion for attending a peaceful protest some three months later) He moved to St. Petersburg in 1893 where he practised law.

In St. Petersburg he began to developing a Marxist underground movement which lead him to travel Switzerland to meet minded Social democrats. While Rise_to_Power.jpgthere, he encountered Georgi Plekhanov where they talked about changing the government of Russia. Georgi Plekhnov had many different views that Lenin did not always agree with. Plekhanov wanted to include the liberal middle class as their output to change Russia and to establish a social-democratic government. Lenin however favoured the rise of the proletariat (lower-class, peasants), to eventually establish a socialist government. This eventually led to the split of The Social Democratic party into Mensheviks (minority) and Bolsheviks (majority). The Mensheviks believed that the party should have an open membership which would allow anyone to join as long as they sympathized with the party’s ideas. They also wanted co-operation with wealthy factory owners and other middle-class groups to overthrow the Tsar. The Bolshevik group (led by Lenin), wanted the party membership to consist only of dedicated professional revolutionaries. Lenin also didn’t see the point of co-operating with the wealthy groups against the Tsar. Lenin like his brother fiercely opposed to the Tsar, but believed that Terrorism could never solve Russian’s problems. Lenin wanted the workers in alliance with the peasants to seize power and establish socialism.
This strong view and eager attitude made Lenin eventually returned to Russia to begin his plot against the current situation.

When Lenin returned to Russia he carried with him illegal pamphlets, this unfortunately was enough for his plan to come to a halt. He was imprisoned for fifteen years, and then eventually exiled to Serbia. It was only after the years of exile did he continue where he left off. He moved to Switzerland where he finally managed to establish his paper, and had led social-democratic movement, which consisted of the many idea’s he had to abolish the Tsar. During these times the overthrowing of the Tsar had already been done, furious he returned to Russia with the help of Germany.

Once in Russia, Lenin's willingness to lower his standards of behaviour, his personal charisma and the unwillingness of the other socialist political parties and the Russian army to use violence; allowed him and his Bolsheviks to gain more and more influence in the Soviet Councils, army garrisons and even other socialist political parties to seize power and remove his opponents. Lenin gained the support of the workers and soldiers with his simple yet very effective slogan: ‘Peace, Land and Bread’. He promised an end to Russia's involvement in World War one, a redistribution of land among the peasants and an end to shortages of food and other goods.

Unfortunately not all these promises had been met for the Provisional Government still refused to let go of the war, and Lenin at this point was not considered yet in power. It became clear that the Provisional Government was going to fail, so Lenin and the Bolsheviks staged what amounted to a military coup, rather than a true revolution on October 25, 1917 (The November Revolution). The revolution was planned that All Russian Congress of Soviets was to meet in Petrograd. This meeting was to have presented all the representatives from the entire city and village soviets in Russia. On the night of 6-7 November the Red Guards in Petrograd seized control of the stations, telegraph offices, bridges and government buildings. The Provisional Government at that point crumbled away and the power quickly shifted to Lenin’s hand.

Lenin in Power (1917-47)
Few people expected Lenin’s government to last long, for seizing control of the capital and major cities did not make the Bolsheviks masters of all Russia. Lenin however to did not waste time while in power. He quickly made a few changes and immediately issued new Laws that he had proposed before in power. First off he called off the war with Germany. Second he made all five-hundred-and-forty million acres of Russia’s land belong to the peasants of Russia. The Bolsheviks had won over 80% of Russia’s populations support and although having private ownership of land by peasants went against communist principles Lenin was still rather fair and compromised when necessary.

Lenin’s constituent assembly also was addressed. His long wait for elections eventually went through, however with a rather unexpected outcome. The results of the election gave 17million votes out of 41million to the Socialist Revolutionaries, making them first and of course the Bolsheviks second. When the constituent Assembly met in January it bitterly criticised the Bolsheviks and their revolution, Lenin extremely upset shut it down, for the Bolsheviks decided that the new Soviet Government could not permit such opposition.

Lenin set up a new secret police force “the Cheka” to deal with any serious opponents – e
xcept Lenin, unlike Stalin, his successor, was prepared to accept and take criticism in the Communist Party (the new official title of the Bolsheviks).

After having established a secret police, Lenin continued with government affairs just as any leader would. The Soviet government still had to deal with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk which consisted of Russia loosing 26% of their population, 27% if farm land and 74% of their iron ore and coal, although Lenin did go through with the treaty, it did eventually get overthrown after the War when Germany had lost.

Other problems such as Anti-Bolshevik (Anti-Communist) forces, the Whites backed by troops and weapons from the Entente powers (France, England, USA) still fighting Germany were also causes difficulties. The secret police “Cheka” which in the first six months of its existence shot only 22 people, now began to seriously invest there attention against the Whites. By the end of the year 6000 counter-revolutionaries had been shot.

Lenin’s just thinking left people to support him, but many democratic countries such as France, Great-Britain and the US were keen on shutting down communism.

Lenin’s Economic Policy
Lenin’s first intent was to move gradually yet slowly on Russia’s economy. Big industries such as banks, railways, steel, iron and coal were nationalised or taken over by the state. But the urgent needs created by the Civil War led to more drastic changes called ‘War Communism’. Peasants were forced to give up all their crops and food to the government to feed the Red Army. Work was all controlled by the government workers were told where to work and where forcefully moved workers around to new factories, firms with more than 10 workers were nationalised and the industrial production fell rapidly. The sacrifice for war however was debated to continue like this in after war for it made Russia much more equal. Lenin however refused such a thought and eventually abolished ‘War Communism’ but proposed that peasants should handover a fixed proportion of their crops as a tax to the state, anything above they had a right to sell privately, firms and workers were returned to their previous owners, agriculture shot up and began to increase rapidly.

Lenin a realist
Vladimir Lenin was a man of idealism, and therefore his views focused on running Russia with his concepts. Although he was very idealistic in terms of change and revolution for Russia, he was still very much a realist. Lenin had made many exceptions than what he proposed, for he knew that the reality of things could not always be changed to meet his idea on things. Knowing this Lenin can therefore be considered very much a realist and practical, in terms of his thoughts on change, his exceptions towards communism, and his rather recognition and acceptance of other outputs.

Lenin, even at the very beginning was very much a realist. He was someone with a mind of ideas; nevertheless he kept his ideas limited to the reality of situations. We can see this at the very beginning of his life; for Lenin as his brother opposed the Tsar but decided to take on the revolution of Russian in a significantly different fashion. Lenin’s brother Aleksandr most obviously was against the Tsar and their authority thought that the only way to free Russia and its people from them was by assassination. Lenin however was very sensible and dealt with the view of Russia in a human and fair manner, he saw that to overthrow the Tsar and change Russia it would not be necessary for an assassination to take place. He realistically could instantly see that the power lied within the people of Russia and that if he could get a minority (the peasants) to support his views, he could quickly abolish the Tsar and begin to establish socialism.
Another example that shows Lenin’s very realistic point of view is the way he managed to establish communism all without eliminating compromise. Ideally communism is a political figure of equality within most aspects which is given by one ruler. Lenin although rather communist and the starter of communism in Russia still sees that the majority of the land should be given to the majority of the people (peasants) even thought communism abolishes the idea of land being owned by anyone. Lenin simply ignores the fact of full radical communism and still gives land to the peasants as he promised his people, and realistically gives the majority of Russians land to the majority of people.

Not only does Lenin think realistically in terms of changing Russia or his platform of his party but he also thinks realistically of other people’s views. When Lenin creates his secret police, he allows his people to verbally express their disbeliefs and criticism. He realistically thinks and believes that people have freedom of speech and that stopping people from opposing ones ideas with terrorism is senseless for eventually Russia’s people will be ruled by unfair power. Although Lenin did order his police to assassinate any anti-revolutionist that caused a rebellion by force such as the Whites, he didn’t however kill off those that verbally talk in the negative sense about him or his party, which makes him a realist in terms of punishing those that have disobeyed the law and permitted those that are simply expressing ones thoughts.

Lenin very much an idealistic man yet can be conceived as someone rather realistic is someone very sensible, especially in terms of his restriction to a communist government and others. He is someone that can definitely allow exceptions towards certain things. In conclusion Lenin is very idealistic but only to an extent, for he realistically thinks in terms of his thoughts on change, his exceptions towards communism, and his rather recognition and acceptance of other outputs.
Universal Support for Lenin
“Peace, Land, and Bread” was one of Lenin’s many slogans once he returned from Switzerland in early 1917. Cheering crowds surrounded him as peace,land,bread.gifhe returned from exile in hopes that the leader of Bolshevik would pull Russia out of the war. Although many people did not like his socialist attitude, he was very inspirational to the people of Russia in a sense of overthrowing the provisional government. His promising “Peace” meant ending Russia’s involvement in the war, “Land” meant ending of privately owned property, and “Bread” meant meeting basic food needs. Russia’s support for Lenin began during his plan for socialism. Russia very much supported Lenin’s power because he took control of Russia’s insufficient government, run by the Tsar regime, and created a better working socialist government where everyone was ‘equal’. Preaching to the largest social class, workers and peasants, created an alliance which ensured an overrun for the government and ensured Russia’s support.
Therefore one can say that the people of Russia did reinforce Lenin’s ideas as well as his realism. For the majority of the Russian population consisted of peasants and the lower-class. His platform was an output towards this majority and so his idea sympathized and returned hope to the ‘less privileged’.

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