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Vladimir Lenin

Birthdate: 10. April 1870
Date of death: 21. January 1924
Other names: Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by the alias Lenin , was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He served as head of government of the Russian Republic from 1917 to 1918, of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic from 1918 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration, Russia and then the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party. Ideologically a Marxist, he developed political theories known as Leninism.

Born to a wealthy middle-class family in Simbirsk, Lenin embraced revolutionary socialist politics following his brother's execution in 1887. Expelled from Kazan Imperial University for participating in protests against the Russian Empire's Tsarist government, he devoted the following years to a law degree. He moved to Saint Petersburg in 1893 and became a senior figure in the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party . In 1897, he was arrested for sedition and exiled to Shushenskoye for three years, where he married Nadezhda Krupskaya. After his exile, he moved to Western Europe, where he became a prominent party theorist through his publications. In 1903, he took a key role in a RSDLP ideological split, leading the Bolshevik faction against Julius Martov's Mensheviks. Encouraging insurrection during Russia's failed Revolution of 1905, he later campaigned for the First World War to be transformed into a Europe-wide proletarian revolution, which as a Marxist he believed would cause the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with socialism. After the 1917 February Revolution ousted the Tsar and established a Provisional Government, he returned to Russia to play a leading role in the October Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks overthrew the new regime.

Lenin's Bolshevik government initially shared power with the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, elected soviets, and a multi-party Constituent Assembly, although by 1918 it had centralised power in the new Communist Party. Lenin's administration redistributed land among the peasantry and nationalised banks and large-scale industry. It withdrew from the First World War by signing a treaty with the Central Powers and promoted world revolution through the Communist International. Opponents were suppressed in the Red Terror, a violent campaign administered by the state security services; tens of thousands were killed or interned in concentration camps. His administration defeated right and left-wing anti-Bolshevik armies in the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1922 and oversaw the Polish-Soviet War of 1919–1921. Responding to wartime devastation, famine, and popular uprisings, in 1921 Lenin encouraged economic growth through the market-orientated New Economic Policy. Several non-Russian nations secured independence after 1917, but three re-united with Russia through the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922. In increasingly poor health, Lenin expressed opposition to the growing power of his successor, Joseph Stalin, before dying at his dacha in Gorki.

Widely considered one of the most significant and influential figures of the 20th century, Lenin was the posthumous subject of a pervasive personality cult within the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. He became an ideological figurehead behind Marxism-Leninism and thus a prominent influence over the international communist movement. A controversial and highly divisive individual, Lenin is viewed by supporters as a champion of socialism and the working class, while critics on both the left and right emphasize his role as founder and leader of an authoritarian regime responsible for political repression and mass killings.

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What Is to Be Done?
Vladimir Lenin

„Nobody is to be blamed for being born a slave; but a slave who not only eschews a striving for freedom but justifies and eulogies his slavery“

—  Vladimir Lenin

The War and Russian Social-Democracy (September 1917), The Lenin Anthology
1910s
Context: Nobody is to be blamed for being born a slave; but a slave who not only eschews a striving for freedom but justifies and eulogies his slavery (e. g., calls the throttling of Poland and the Ukraine, etc., a "defense of the fatherland" of the Great Russians") - such a slave is a lickspittle and a boor, who arouses a legitimate feeling of indignation, contempt, and loathing.

„There are decades when weeks happen, and weeks when decades happen.“

—  Vladimir Lenin

or: There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.
Always without citation but supposedly describing the Russian Revolution; earliest quotes online dating ~2005-2006 "Exposing the Big Lie: Interview with George Galloway by Eric Ruder" http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Europe/ExposingBigLie_GGalloway.html
"Johann Hari: Why won't Israel just exchange prisoners? This is such a wacky, left-wing ideal that it was pursued by Ariel Sharon two years ago" http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-why-wont-israel-just-exchange-prisoners-6094888.html, 19 July 2006; popularized describing the Arab Spring. May be loosely based on a similar phrasing by Karl Marx:
How soon the English workers will throw off what seems to be a bourgeois contagion remains to be seen. So far as the main theses in your book [Condition of the Working Class in England] are concerned, by the by, they have been corroborated down to the very last detail by developments subsequent to 1844. For I have again been comparing the book with the notes I made on the ensuing period. Only your small-minded German philistine who measures world history by the ell and by what he happens to think are ‘interesting news items’, could regard 20 years as more than a day where major developments of this kind are concerned, though these may be again succeeded by days into which 20 years are compressed.
Letter, Marx to Engels, 9 April 1863 in Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence 1965, 140 http://marxists.catbull.com/archive/marx/works/1863/letters/63_04_09.htm
Misattributed

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„We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.“

—  Vladimir Lenin

According to the book, "They Never Said It", p. 64, there is no evidence Lenin ever said this. Lenin was supposed to have made his observation to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious.
Misattributed

„An oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms, to acquire arms, only deserves to be treated like slaves. We cannot, unless we have become bourgeois pacifists or opportunists, forget that we are living in a class society from which there is no way out, nor can there be, save through the class struggle. In every class society, whether based on slavery, serfdom, or, as at present, wage-labor, the oppressor class is always armed. Not only the modern standing army, but even the modern militia - and even in the most democratic bourgeois republics, Switzerland, for instance - represent the bourgeoisie armed against the proletariat. That is such an elementary truth that it is hardly necessary to dwell upon it. Suffice it to point to the use of troops against strikers in all capitalist countries.
A bourgeoisie armed against the proletariat is one of the biggest fundamental and cardinal facts of modern capitalist society. And in face of this fact, revolutionary Social-Democrats are urged to “demand” “disarmament”! That is tantamount of complete abandonment of the class-struggle point of view, to renunciation of all thought of revolution. Our slogan must be: arming of the proletariat to defeat, expropriate and disarm the bourgeoisie. These are the only tactics possible for a revolutionary class, tactics that follow logically from, and are dictated by, the whole objective development of capitalist militarism. Only after the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie will it be able, without betraying its world-historic mission, to consign all armaments to the scrap-heap. And the proletariat will undoubtedly do this, but only when this condition has been fulfilled, certainly not before.“

—  Vladimir Lenin

Source: The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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