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Born Vladimir Ilich Ulanov in 1870, Lenin was the founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, and the architect, builder, and first head of the Soviet Union. Lenin spent the years leading up to the 1917 revolution in exile, within Russia and abroad. The Bolshevik's quickly consolidated power; privatizing all aspects of the Soviet economy, cracking down on dissent through the Cheka, or secret police and instituting the Red Terror, aimed at destroying monarchist and anti-Bolshevik symapthizers during the Russian Civil War. Despite a series of strokes in his final years, Lenin attempted to shape the future of the Soviet Union, warning against the unchecked power of party members, including Joseph Stalin. His warnings went unheeded, and Stalin emerged victorious from the protracted power struggle following Lenin's 1924 death. Early Years

Widely considered one of the most influential and controversial political figures of the 20th century, Vladimir Lenin engineered the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 and later took over as the first leader of the newly formed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). He was born Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov on April 10, 1870, in Simbirsk, which was later renamed Ulyanovsk in his honor. He later adopted the last name Lenin in 1901 while doing underground party work. His family was well-educated, and Lenin, the third of six children, was close to his parents and siblings. School was a central part of Lenin’s childhood. His parents, both educated and highly cultured, invoked a passion for learning in their children, especially Vladimir. A voracious reader, Lenin went on to finish first in his high school class, showing a particular gift for Latin and Greek. But not all of life was easy for Lenin and his family. Two situations in particular shaped his life. The first came when Lenin was a boy and his father, an inspector of schools, was threatened with early retirement by a suspicious government...
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