Lenins Consolidation of Power

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Lenin and his principals are the subject of a huge historiographical debate. The controversy surrounding Lenin's pragmatism in the face of social, political and economic instability begs the question: did Lenin compromise his principals in the race for survival? It is astonishing that surrounded by the turmoil that was Russia in the early 20th century Lenin actually survived for so long. During the years of 1917-18 he encountered food shortages, war and a vast amount of strikes. In 1921 he had to deal with civil war and a collapsing economy. Thus Lenin's primary task was survival which he accomplished. However one must question his method and in his quest for survival did he abandon his principals? To realise weather or not Lenin did actually abandon his principals we must first decide what those principals were. One of Lenin's most important principals was the idea of vanguardism – the elite. This was seen essential for the construction of the intelligentsia who could run the country in the name of the proletariat. Conformity through democratic centralism was also a key aspect. Lenin ensured a one party state. This would ensure the "dictatorship of the proletariat". Lenin saw himself not simply as representing the Russian worker

Economic Policy. This was a dramatic change with some aspects of capitalism. They were: Å small factories were given back to private ownership Å Peasants were allowed to sell their grain and other food on the open market Some communists were angry because they thought it was a retreat for the communist revolution. But, the Russian economy revived quite rapidly and steadily. Communists tried to bring equality for women but met lots of resistance. The church was attacked, many Russians chose not to have a church wedding. Divorce was made easier. A mass literacy campaign began. Peasants children could go to university for free. Most people remained unsure of communism but were won over by Lenin and became devoted party activists. When Lenin died he became a hero to the Russian people; his body was laid out instate and Petrograd was renamed Leningrad BEN BROWN11L9 ...

controlled. Towns were burned, property destroyed or stolen, peasant farmers' crops and livestock taken by force - if people objected, they faced torture and execution. Inevitably, the Whites became hated and feared because of this. Inevitably, Bolshevik propaganda homed in on this. Given the choice between the Bolsheviks or the Whites, it was hardly surprising that Bolshevik support increased dramatically. These factors became major reasons which coagulated to become a cause of the Bolsheviks winning the Russian Civil War. By The end of the civil war in 1921, the Bolsheviks had succeeded in securing their grip on power in Russia. The White Armies and the foreign powers fighting on Russian soil had been defeated. Just as importantly, rival political parties had been outlawed and, thanks to the CHEKA secret police, dissenting voices permanently silenced. Lenin had achieved his ultimate goal of steering his small Bolshevik party to total control ofRussia. ...

used his secret police in his plans to use terror to achieve his goals and as a political weapon against his enemies. Anyone opposed to the communist state was arrested. Many socialists who had backed Lenin's revolution at first now had second thoughts. To escape punishment, they fled. By 1921 Lenin had strengthened his control and the White armies and their allies had been defeated (Farah, 582). Communism had now been established and Russia had become a socialist country. Russia was also given a new name: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This in theory meant that the means of production was in the hands of the state. The state, in turn, would build the future, classless society. But still, the power was in the hands of the party (Farah,583). ...

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