Владимир Ильич Ленин
Photo of comrade Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov
22 April 1870
Simbirsk, Russian Empire
21 January 1924 (aged 53)|
Gorki, Russian SFSR [note 1], Soviet Union
|Political line||Marxism (developed Marxism-Leninism, as synthesized by Stalin)|
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (22 April 1870 — 21 January 1924) was a Russian revolutionary, political and economic theorist and an important figure in proletarian history. He is often considered one of the most important figures for communism and socialism. Author of several books contributing to Marxist theory, Lenin was responsible for the development of the understanding of the imperialist trend in capitalist mode of production and was a key figure in the 1917 revolution that led to the establishment of the Soviet Union.
Lenin was born April 22, 1870, in Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk), Russia. His father, Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, was an inspector of the public schools of Simbirsk Province. In his student years Lenin came into conflict with the authorities for his activities in Marxist circles.
In 1895 Lenin united the Marxist workers’ study circles of St. Petersburg into the “League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class” which represented the embryo of the revolutionary proletarian party in Russia.
At the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party which took place in July 1903, Lenin, having exposed and isolated the opportunist trend of economism, made possible the victory of revolutionary Marxism and united around himself the group known as the “Bolsheviks”. In the struggle with the Mensheviks during and after the Congress, he worked out the organizational foundations of the Bolshevik Party, a party of a new type.
Lenin’s book, Materialism and Empiriocriticism, which appeared in 1909, made an immense contribution to the task of forming a party of social revolution conceived along new lines. In this book Lenin defended the theoretical foundations of the Marxist dialectical and historical materialism, in a struggle against revisionists, defeatists, and falsifiers, and developed further the philosophy of Marxism, incorporating the results of developments in science since the days of Engels.
During World War I, in addition to his other activities, Lenin worked strenuously to develop further the philosophical foundations of Marxism. His philosophical notes, abstracts, and fragments of this period represent an important source of material for Marxist philosophy. These appear in Philosophical Notebooks.
In April 1917, Lenin returned to Russia from exile and immediately began preparing the Bolshevik Party for the proletarian revolution which came in November. During the summer he completed his celebrated work, The state and revolution, in which he developed further the teachings of Marx and Engels on the dictatorship of the proletariat.
With the establishment of the Soviet Republic, Lenin threw his full energies into organizing the new socialist state, winning the support of the peasantry for the new order, and conducting a successful struggle against the forces of counter-revolution and foreign intervention. In 1919, as a result of many years of work, the Third Communist International was established, reviving the best traditions of the revolutionary struggles of the working class.
At the conclusion of the Civil War, Lenin organized and directed the work of reconstructing the Soviet national economy, effected the transition from war communism to the “New Economic Policy” and carried on a struggle against the Trotskyites, Bukharinites, and other enemies of Bolshevism who were undermining the unity and sapping the fighting strength of the Party.
The difficult conditions of Lenin’s life in the days of tsarism, his inhumanly strenuous practical and theoretical work, together with the serious wound he received from a would-be assassin in 1918, overtaxed the strength of the great leader and shortened his life. He died on January 21, 1924.
- Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic