Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir's Biography

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) was born April 22, 1870 in Simbirsk (now called Ulyanovsk), Russia. Vladimir was the third oldest out of six children and was closest to his brother Alexander. Since Alexander was four years older, Vladimir idolized him and followed in his foot steps. Both of his parents were well educated people with strong democratic values. Maria Aleksandrovna Blank, Lenin's mother, was the daughter of a physician and became a house wife when she had children. Ilia Nikolaevich Ulianov, Lenin's father, was an educator and supervisor in the Simbirsk province earning him nobility. Lenin received the same education as the Russian upper class due to his father's social rank. He graduated with honors from secondary school and then enrolled at Kazan University. Vladimir was expelled from the university for participating in a demonstration with a student group who protested against school policies. He was then sent to live with his sister on his grandfather's estate. When he was finally allowed to return to Kazan, the university would not accept his admission. Vladimir eventually received his law degree in 1891. Despite Lenin's conventional education, he became very radical. In 1887, Lenin's older brother Alexander was hung for conspirirng to kill the Emperor, Czar Alexander III. His older sister Anna was also involved in the conspiracy. This was one of the first events that led to Lenin's conversion to communism.


Vladimir's Conversion

Vladimir's first sign of becoming communist was his interest in Marx's political ideas. In 1893, he moved to St. Petersburg, Russia to practice law. Here he joined a Marxist group and eventually took over and became the leader. Vladimir modified the original ideas of Marxism into Marxism-Leninism, the basis of communist ideology. The Marxism-Leninism doctrine stated that capitalism existed in Russia and would help abolish the social class system. In 1894, Czar Alexander III passed away making his son Nicholas II next in line to take the throne. Nicholas ruled Russia until he was overthrown during the Russian Revolution in 1917. Vladimir spent his time as a lawyer mostly for poor people. He found himself disgusted by the social class bias of the legal system. In December I895 Vladimir and Martov, another Marxist leader, were arrested for forming the Union for the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Classes. They were exiled to Siberia in 1897 after being questioned for fifteen months about a revolutionary paper they wrote called The Workers' Cause. Lenin met his wife Nadezhda Konstantinova Krupskaya while his was exiled in Siberia. In 1900 Vladimir was released and left for Munich, Germany. He wrote a paper with Martov and others called Iskra (The Spark). He also wrote Zarya (Dawn) and changed his last name to Lenin when it was published to avoid being caught by the police. These publications were a huge success and led Lenin's decision to create a Marxist Party. In 1902 Lenin wrote the book What is to be Done? which explained how the political party worked. The Marxist group was then split in two when Lenin's friend Martov thought Lenin's ideas were too dictator like. The group was split into the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Lenin's side of the Marxist Party, the Bolsheviks, was the majority and pushed for revolution and violence to defeat capitalism. Lenin thought the 1905 revolution was necessary to prepare the people for a bigger upcoming one. He wanted a proletariat revolution which would lead to a democratic dictatorship. Lenin was caught by the police and was exiled once again in 1907. He did not return to Russia until April of 1917.

Russian Revolution (1917)

After Nicholas II left power in March 1917, Lenin was smuggled into Russia by the Germans in April to resume his revolutionary activities and take Russia out of the war. In July 1917 he attempted his first revolution but failed. Shortly after, he lead a successful revolution and took over Kerensky's government. Lenin was appointed the head of the Soviet government by the Bolshevik Party in November 1917. Lenin's first move was to end the war with Germany which lead to the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on March 3, 1918. In 1918 there was an assassination attempt on Lenin's life damaging his health. However, Lenin remained in power and created the Third (Communist) International in 1919. By 1921, Lenin had the tremendous task of reconstructing Russia and its economy after the brutal civil war. Communism was proving to be inadequate in rebuilding the country, so Lenin established the New Economic Policy. This new policy proved to be very successful and helped Russia's economy recover. Lenin appointed Leon Trotsky as leader of the Red Army as the Russian civil war continued. In 1922-1923, Lenin suffered three strokes which left him paralyzed on the right side of his body, dumb, and bed-ridden until his death in 1924.

Works Cited:

Service, Robert. (2000). Lenin: a biography. Retrieved from http://www.brain-juice.com/cgi-bin/show_bio.cgi?p_id=129

Skulnick, Marc. (2005, October). The Roaring twenties. Retrieved from http://sks.sirs.com/cgi-bin/hst-article-display?id=SDE0210-0-6748&artno=0000243451&t...

(2004). Lenin, vladimir ilyich (1870-1924). Retrieved from http://sks.sirs.com/cgi-bin/hst-clean-copy?id=SDE0210-0-6748&type=ART&artno=00001...