Vladimir Ilich Ulanov or Lenin was the principal founder of the Communist Party in Russia and the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. He was also the mastermind behind the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922 and was its first head of state. It was under his administration and leadership the former empire of the Czars, underwent a radical change to become the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1917. Many historians in Russia regard Lenin as being more than just a charismatic political leader. They regard him as a political theorist in his own right, whose views for establishing and running an egalitarian society coincide with those of Karl Marx.
Lenin’s formative years
Orlando Figes , a renowned expert on the Russian Revolution says that that influential and charismatic leader of the Bolshevik Party was born in 1870 in Simbirsk. His parents were well educated and invoked a sense of learning among their six children. Lenin, himself was an enthusiastic reader and went to come first in his class at high school with flair for mastering both Greek and Latin. While life in Russia under Tsarist Rule was never easy for Lenin’s family, two incidents in his life shaped his political career. Lenin’s father, who was an inspector of schools when he was just a child, came under scrutiny of the prevailing government at that time. The administration, which was apprehensive of the influence of public schools on society, went to the extent threatening him with retirement at an early age.
However, the second incident involving the arrest and capital punishment of his elder brother, Alexander by the Czar that changed his life and he became the sole bread earner of the family after his father’s death. The imperial government accused his brother of being a member of radical political group that was plotting the assassination attempt of Emperor Alexander III.
Lenin’s role in the Revolution of 1917
In the years prior to the Russian Revolution of October 1917, Lenin was living in exile abroad. The collapse of the imperialist government of the Last Czar, Nicholas II and the abdication of the monarchy in the country, the responsibility of ruling the country fell on the shoulders of the interim provisional government. They shared political power with Petrograd Soviet but were ineffective in eradicating the socio-economic problems of the previous regime that was crippling the country. This proved to be fertile ground for Bolshevik Party’s rise to power under the charismatic and dynamic leadership of Lenin, who had come back from exile. On 7th November, 1917, the party was successfully in launching a bloodless coup and overthrowing the interim provisional government. On seizing political power, Lenin was the instrumental in nationalizing all aspects of the Russian economy especially industry and agriculture. With the help of the newly created secret police, the Cheka, he was able to crack down all dissents and anti-Bolshevik sympathizers, who were loyal to the former monarch.
Orlando Figes says that Lenin was ruthless in his quest for political power but was instrumental to steering a country that suffering from the after effects of the revolution to prosperity.