The Men

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Lenin's real name was Vladimir Illych Ulyanov. He changed it to Lenin while on the run from the secret police to avoid arrest. Lenin's importance to Russia's history cannot be overstated; in November 1917, Lenin established the first communist government when he overthrew the Provisional Government. Russia had the first communist government in the world.

Lenin lead the Russian Communists to power in November 1917. Strictly this should read Russian Bolsheviks as the party Lenin had joined as a young man split in two in 1903. Those who left the party were few in number and became known as the Mensheviks. The majority stayed with Lenin and they became known as the Bolsheviks which means majority in Russian.

Lenin was born in 1870. His family was reasonably well off and Lenin wanted for nothing. At school, Lenin was a very gifted pupil but bossy. In 1887, Lenin’s elder brother - Alexander - was arrested for plotting to kill the tsar (king) of Russia. He was hanged. The people where Lenin lived refused to have anything to do with the family as Alexander had brought great shame on the town. At this time nearly all Russians saw the tsar as a god. It is claimed that when Lenin heard about the execution, he said "I’ll make them pay for this. I swear I will." Many years later, Lenin’s wife said that it was this event that turned Lenin into a revolutionary with a desire to rid Russia of the system that had been responsible for Alexander’s execution.

In 1887, Lenin was expelled from his university for starting a student riot. In 1890, he got into another university and got a law degree in one year when the course usually took three years. He became a lawyer. He also started to visit communists in the city of St. Petersburg.

In 1895, he went on a visit to Europe. When he returned he brought back communist books and leaflets. This was strictly forbidden in Russia and he was arrested and sent to prison. He was exiled to an area called Siberia. He had to stay there...
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