April 10 (22), 1870 in the town of Simbirsk was born a politician and statesman, the founder of the Soviet Socialist state, one of the leaders of the international communist movement Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (born Ulyanov). His father was an instructor of people’s school who had become a gentleman by birth.
Having graduated from a Simbirsk classical school in 1887 with a golden medal, V. I. Lenin entered the University of Kazan but three months later was expelled due to participation in student disturbances. The same year his older brother Alexander, a revolutionary and a member of People’s Freedom, who had made an attempt on the life of Alexander III the Emperor, was hanged. This fact had a great impact on the worldview of the younger brother.
In 1891 V. Lenin passed the examinations without attending lectures at the Law faculty of Petersburg University. Then he worked in Samara as an attorney at law assistant. In August of 1893 he moved to Petersburg where he joined the Marxist circle of the Technological Institute students. In April of 1895 Lenin went abroad and met the group ‘Labor liberation’. In the autumn of the same year at the initiative and under the leadership of V. Lenin Marxist circles of Petersburg joint in a single ‘Alliance for struggle for the working class liberation’. December 1895 Lenin drew up a draft program of the Social Democratic Party and insisted on convening the Congress. Soon a young revolutionary was arrested and in March of 1897 was exiled for three years to the village of Shushinskoye, Minusinsky district, Krasnoyarsk territory.
Despite of this, in 1898 in Minsk members of the “Alliance” held the first congress of Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP).
In 1900 Lenin managed to escape abroad and organize there the issue of the first all-Russian Marxist newspaper ‘Iskra’. From 1905 to 1907 Lenin had lived in Petersburg illegally leading the left forces. From 1907 to 1917 Lenin had spent in emigration where he defended his political views in the 2nd International. In the beginning of the World War I being in the territory of Austria-Hungary, he was arrested on suspicion of espionage in favor of the Russian government but with collaboration of the Austrian social democrats he was released and left for Switzerland. There he had attended the meeting of a Bolsheviks emigrants group and advanced a slogan to transform the imperialist war into a civil one.
In the spring of 1917 Lenin returned to Russia and proposed a program for passing from a bourgeois democratic revolution to the socialist one. He also started preparations for the armed revolt and the Provisional government overthrow. In the beginning of October he moved illegally from Vyborg to Petrograd. On October 10 (23) during a meeting of the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks’ RSDRP on his proposal was approved the resolution on the armed revolt. On October 24 (November 6) in his letter to the Central Committee Lenin demanded to attack immediately: arrest the Provisional government and seize the power. To lead the revolt himself Lenin arrived to Smolny on the eve of it. The next day, October 25 (November 7), 1917 in Petrograd took place the revolt and Bolsheviks seized the state power. In the evening of the same day opened a meeting of the Second all-Russian Congress of the Soviet during which was proclaimed the Soviet government – the Soviet of People’s Commissars presided by V. I. Lenin. The congress adopted the first decrees developed by Lenin: cessation of hostilities and transfer of the private land for the use of workers.
On the initiative of Lenin in 1918 the Brest Treaty with Germany was concluded. After the end of the Civil war and the military intervention in 1922, the process of the national economy restoration started. On Lenin’s insistence the ‘military communism’ was abolished and the surplus-appropriation system was replaced by the food tax. Lenin introduced the so-called new economical policy (NEP) which authorized a free private commerce. At the same time he insisted on the development of the state enterprises, electrification and cooperation.
In May and December of 1922 due to a heavy load V. I. Lenin suffered from two strokes but continued governing the state. The third stroke in March of 1923 made him almost incapable. He died on January 21, 1924 in the village of Gorky. On January 23 his coffin was transported to Moscow and set up in the Column Hall of the House of the Unions. The official ceremonies had lasted for five days. On January 27 the coffin with the embalmed body was placed in the Mausoleum designed by architect A. V. Shchusev and specially constructed on the Red Square.
In 1923 the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks’ RKP created the Institute of V. I. Lenin. In 1932 it was merged with K. Marx and F. Engels Institute to become a single Institute of Marx, Engels and Lenin under the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks’ VKP (later it was renamed to the Institute of Marxism and Leninism under the Central Committee of KPSS). The Central Party archive of the Institute stores over 30 thousand of documents written by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
Lit.: Воспоминания о В. И. Ленине. Т. 1-5. М., 1968-1969; Кара-Мурза С. Г. Плодотворные ошибки Ленина. К столетию книги «Развитие капитализма в России» // Наш современник. 1999. № 10; Зевин В. Я. Ленин Владимир Ильич [Электронный ресурс] // Большая советская энциклопедия. М., 1973. Т. 14; Крупская Н. К. О Ленине. Сб. ст. и выступлений. 2-е изд.. М., 1965; Ленин В. И. Полное собрание сочинений. 5-е изд. Т. 1-55. М., 1958-65; Ленин. Собрание фотографий и кинокадров. Т. 1-2. М., 1970-72; Ленинские сборники. Кн. 1-37. М.; Л., 1924-70.
Based on the Presidential Library’s materials: