V. N. Lenin
1870 - 1924
Statesman of the USSR
Lenin - whose real name was Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov - was the author of a revolutionary theory that called for the dictatorship of the working class and the central authority of the Communist party, an ideology called 'Leninism'.

Ulyanov studied at Kazan, and Petersburg where he graduated in law. From 1897 to 1900 he was exiled to Siberia for revolutionary activities. At the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1905 he caused the split between Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.

After the February revolution in 1917 he returned to Petrograd from Zurich and urged immediate seizure of political power with the slogan
'All power to the Soviets'. Lenin assumed the leadership of the October revolution that lead to the establishment of the Soviet state in Russia in 1917.

Lenin immediately introduced a communist economy and nationalized factories, mines, banks, and public utilities. He took Russia out of World War I but a civil war continued to ravage Russia until 1921. During this time foreign interventionist troops supported the so-called 'White Armies' against the the 'Red Army' created by Leon Trotsky. 'White Terror' was answered with 'Red Terror' which led to the killing of millions of people on both sides.

By that time the economy was in shambles and Lenin called for a temporary retreat from so-called war communism. Following a revolt by the sailors of Kronstadt he introduced a New Economic Policy (NEP) which returned some industries and trades to private enterprise. During the last year of his life Lenin was paralyzed; he died of a stroke in January of 1924.

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