This paper is on the topic of Vladimir Lenin has his impact on the Russian Revolution. The first section of this paper will cover the childhood of Lenin. The following section of this paper will discuss the role of Lenin in 1905 revolution and his exile. The next section will discuss his rise and impact on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the role played by Lenin in the results of the Russian Revolution. The final section of this paper will discuss the changes made by Lenin after the Russian Revolution leading to the emergence of USSR.
Introduction and Childhood
Lenin was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov on 22nd April 1870 in city of provincial city of Simbirsk. His father Ilya Nikolaevich Ulyanov taught secondary school and his mother was also a teacher as well. Both his parents were highly concerned with popular welfare and Lenin, along with his two sisters and two brothers inherited and absorbed the same at an early age. He learned from his family, the desire of learning and possessing intense commitment to bettering the lives of all ordinary Russians. In 1887, soon after his father’s death, Lenin's older brother Alexander Ulyanov got arrested in St. Petersburg for a plot against the Czar Alexander III. Alexander was only seventeen years old when he was convicted and hanged. The tragic event hardened young Lenin and although this did not make him the revolutionary he went on to become, it certainly strengthened his hatred for repressive culture in the late 19th century Russia.
In 1887, Lenin enrolled in the University of Kazan for law and political economy course but he was soon expelled for his role in the student disturbances. In the year 1891, he passed his law examinations at the University of St. Petersburg applying as an external student and scored the first position in his class. He briefly practiced law in the city of Samara before he devoted himself to Russian revolutionary movement. Between the years, 1893 and 1902, Lenin studied the issue of revolutionary change from the Marxist perspective. It was during this time that he started to revise his understanding of Karl Marx and developed the essential features that would popularly come to be known as Leninism. Lenin also agreed with other Marxists about the development of Russian industrial capitalism as the key to the radical change (Kreis).
1905 Revolution and Exile
In the year 1895, Lenin helped organize the Marxist groups in the Moscow into the “Union for the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class” (history.com). This attempted enlisting the workers for the Marxist cause. In December of 1895, he and other Union leaders were arrested; he was jailed for one year and was force exiled to Siberia for three years. After outbreak of the Russian Revolution in the year 1905, he returned to Russia. The 1905 revolution that consisted of mainly strikes across the Russian empire came to a halt when the Czar Nicholas II promised the revolutionaries reforms that included the adoption of the Russian constitution and establishment of the elected legislature. However, after the order was restored, Czar Nicholas II nullified many of these reforms and in the year 1907; Lenin was again send in a forced exile from Russia.
Impact on Russian Revolution
On the advent of World War I, Lenin openly opposed it when it began in 1914, on the terms of the war being an imperialistic conflict and he called on the proletariat soldiers to turn and shoot on the capitalist leaders who were sending them into the murderous channels. World War I for Russia ended up being an unprecedented disaster as the Russian casualties were far greater than any nation in any past war. Meanwhile, the Russian economy got hopelessly disrupted by the cost of war effort and in March of the year 1917, strikes and riots started to break in Petrograd on the issue of food scarcity. The demoralized army troops started to join the strikers, and on the day of March 15, 1917, the Czar Nicholas II was forcefully abdicated, this ended the centuries of Czarist rule in Russia (history.com).
He issued the April Theses on 4th April 1917, just one month after the February Revolution that resulted in Czar Nicholas II’s abdication and collapse of the Imperial Russia and the establishment of liberal provisional government under the leadership of Georgy Lvov and later under Alexander Kerensky. This provisional government was majorly dominated by the liberals and most moderate socialists who planned to instigate the political reform by creating a democracy having elections for a constituent assembly and an executive. Lenin arrived at his revolutionary April Theses in exile due to his work on theory of imperialism. Through his study of the economics and worldwide politics, Lenin started to view the Russian politics from an international perspective (historyguide.org).
During the conditions of 1st World War, Lenin started to believe that although the Russian capitalism was highly underdeveloped, a socialist revolution in the Russian economy can spark the revolution in the more advanced European nations that can then help Russia to achieve social and economic development. During the July month of 1917, Lenin was again forced into exile, for the abortive uprising against the leadership of the Provisional Government. In September, he correctly perceived the radicalism in Russia and sent a letter to the Bolsheviks Executive Committee to call for an armed insurrection (historyguide.org).
On the October Revolution, he came back to Russia and successfully managed to bring the Bolsheviks to power through their Military Revolutionary Committees. By the end of October, he had brought down the government of Alexander Kerensky in a military coup. Lenin then moved quickly to consolidate the Bolshevik power. He managed to reorganize the various party factions into Russian Communist Party and he also reconstituted the Russian economy along the Marxist guidelines. In 1918, to bring Russia out of war he started to negotiate peace treaty with the Germans at Brest-Litovsk. In the same year, civil war started in Russia and he was forced to place a Red Army into the battle field against the White Army. By this time the Russian economy was in shambles as discontent started to rise among urban workers and peasants. He then issued the NEP (New Economic Policy) to shore up the sagging Russian economy (historyguide.org).
Role of Lenin Post Revolution
After the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin and his communist government started to initiate many new reforms. They took the lands from the Czar, nobles, the church and other landlords to distribute them among the peasants for reforming the agricultural sector. In addition, to reward the peasants who has supported and shown loyalty during the Bolshevik revolution. Labour conditions started to improve as working hours were limited to a maximum amount of eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. Capitalists who had owned the farms and factories had always been profit-driven and therefore they started to neglect the basic human rights of their workers. There were exploitative working conditions that existed without any time off or work breaks. Children who were born to parents coming from the working class weren’t allowed to attend schools. Under new rules the factories were placed in control of the elected worker committees (sahistory.org.za).
Lenin had realised that people who helped him overthrow provisional government after the revolution mostly were poor and they could not afford paying for their education. He started to embark on providing free education for the poor, especially the adults. In past, education was reserved only for the nobles and some members of the Russian middle-class. Lenin realised that most adults were denied to read and write, so he ended up introducing evening classes for the workers. This reform for education had included strong component on the communism in Russia. During the reform period, Bolshevik Party changed their name to the Communist Party of Russia and established many measures to restrict nay political opposition. All the newspapers that weren’t state controlled got banned for minimising criticism of the government policies. Leaders of the opposition the Liberal Party which was responsible for launching most of the communist party leaders were also banned. Even the Constitutional Democrats got banned and their leadership were arrested (sahistory.org.za). Lenin ended up becoming the virtual dictator of world's very first Marxist state. His government had made peace with Germany, nationalized their industry and distributed land but by the beginning of 1918 they had to fight devastating civil war against the czarist forces. In 1920, these czarists were defeated and by 1922, saw the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In 1924, Lenin passed away and his body was embalmed and stationed at the mausoleum near Moscow Kremlin. The city of Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in honour of his achievements and contribution. After struggle of his succession, fellow revolutionary leader Joseph Stalin ended up succeeding Lenin as Soviet Union leader (history.com).
As a communist philosopher, the founder of the USSR (Soviet Republic) and devout follower of the Marxist views, Vladimir Lenin will be remembered as leader of the Communist Party, who had played a crucial role in reshaping of Russia. Lenin proposed the state capitalism reforms in Russia that brought the radical change in the nation. Lenin is one of the most talked about leaders from the 20th century, as he fuelled the Bolshevik revolution and took charge as the 'Premier' in the newly formed USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Lenin as the leader of the Bolshevik bloc was the main orchestrator for the infamous October Revolution at the time of World War I.
Kreis, S. “Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), 1870-1924”. The History Guide: Lectures of 20th Century Europe. historyguide.org. 13 April 2012. Web. 12 April 2014
History Eduction. “Lenin returns to Russia from exile”. This day in History. history.com. 2014. Web. 12 April 2014
South African History Online. “Lenin's implementation of Leninism in Russia and the changes made”. SAHO. sahistory.org.za. Web. 12 April 2014