Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik (meaning Majority) faction of the Russian Social and Democratic Labour Party and took power in the October Revolution of 1917.
He was born in the city of Simbirsk in 1870 and studied Law at Kazan' university, where he was introduced to Marxist literature. His brother Alexandr was involved in a plot to assassinate Tsar Alexandr III and executed.
He spent some time in internal exile in Siberia before being exiled from Russia. It was in London that he formed his Bolshevik faction. When WWI broke out he was living in Geneva and, in Early 1917 he was put on a special sealed train to the Russian capital - Petrograd - in order to ferment trouble. In 1917 his Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government in the October Revolution and began to implement Marxist (communist) ideas about how to run the country.
Lenin's short term aims were:
To give "all power to the soviets" - councils that had sprung up all over the country - the soviets organised a Supreme Soviet to co-ordinate their activities. By 1924 this was a success. To feed the cities as they were starving. - this was a success To give the peasants the land on which they worked. - this was a partial success as the Bolsheviks granted the land to rural soviets, not to the peasants themselves. To withdraw Russia from WWI. - Success
The long term aims were:
To replace the Provisional Government with a government of workers for the workers. Success To take all the means of production into the hands of the state. Partial Success, as the New Economic Policy allowed small businesses and farmers to continue to operate. And to As Russia had comparatively few workers they reasoned that until the country was predominantly urban then the workers should be led by professional Marxists who had developed "class-conciousness". Success.
Under Lenin they set about reforming much of the country, from the structure of the army to the ownership of land. The main reforms were:...
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