Monday, September 10, 2007

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924)

Sierra Club


...the concentration of capital and the growth of their turnover is radically challenging the significance of the banks. Scattered capitalists are transformed into a single collective capitalist. When carrying the current accounts of a few capitalists, the banks, as it were, transact a purely technical and exclusively auxiliary operation. When, however, these operations grow to enormous dimensions we find that a handful of monopolists control all the operations, both commercial and industrial, of capitalist society. They can, by means of their banking connections.


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Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (April 22, 1870 - January 21, 1924) who used the alias Lenin, was a Russian revolutionary, first leader of the Soviet Union and the namesake of Leninism. Born in Simbirsk, Russia and died in Gorki, Soviet Union (now Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), after a series of strokes resulting from an assassination attempt. His embalmed body is on permanent exhibition in Moscow.

Lenin was the son of a civil service official, and distinguished himself in the study of Latin and Greek. In May of 1887 his eldest brother Alexander was hanged for participation in a plot on the life of TsarAlexander III. This radicalised Lenin and later that year he was arrested, and expelled from Kazan University for participating in student protests. He continued to study independently and by 1892 he gained a license to practise law. However, rather that settle into a legal career he became more involved in propaganda efforts, and the study of Marxism, much of it in St. Petersburg. On December 7 1895 he was arrested and held by authorities for an entire year, followed by exile to Siberia. In July of 1898 he married N.K. Krupskaya and in April of 1899 he publishes the book The Development of Capitalism in Russia. In 1900 his exile ends. He travelled in Russia and Europe, and published the paper Iskra as well as other tracts and books related to the movement. He is active in the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), and in 1903 he leads the Bolshevik faction after the split with the Mensheviks in 1903 that was partly inspired by his pamphlet What is to be Done?. In 1906 he was elected to the Presidium of the RSDLP. In 1907 he moved to Finland for security reasons. He continued to travel in Europe and partipated in many socialist meetings and activities. In 1917 he returned to Petrograd after Tsar Nicholas II abdicates and took a leading role with the Bolsheviks, publishing the April Theses. After a failed Bolshevik uprising in July Lenin fled to Finland, and returned in October to successfully lead an armed coup against the Kerensky provisional government. A Soviet government was formed with Lenin as Chairman. In August of 1918 he survived a failed assassination attempt by Fanny Kaplan.

In 1921, on Lenin's initiative, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was adopted, allowing a limited amount of private enterprise in an attempt to rebuild industry and especially agriculture. In May of 1922 Lenin had his first stroke. His role in government declined and after a second stroke in December the Politburo ordered that he be kept in isolation. In March of 1923 he suffered a third stroke and was no longer able to speak and died of a fourth stroke in January of 1924. After his first stroke he published a number of papers indicating future directions for the government and critisising Stalin; however, some of these were surpressed for decades and after his death Stalin gained control of the party. Lenin was known for his great intellect (he was a friend of Albert Einstein), his modesty and was not given to personal excess. While he was kind in personal matters, he was hard willed in political matters and was not above exiling, imprisoning and executing thinkers and artists who opposed his regime. [This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.]

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