Lenin: A Revolutionary Life (Routledge Historical Biographies)
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From a highly distinguished author on the subject, this biography is an excellent scholarly introduction to one of the key figures of the Russian Revolution and post-Tsarist Russia. Not only does it make use of archive material made newly available in the glasnost and post-Soviet eras, it re-examines traditional sources as well, providing an original interpretation of Lenin's life and historical importance.
Focal points of this study are:
- Lenin's revolutionary ascetic personality
- how he exploited culture, education and propaganda
- his relationship to Marxism
- his changing class analysis of Russia
- his 'populist' instincts.
A prominent figure at the forefront of debates on the Russina revolution, Read makes sure that Lenin remains in his place as a highly influential and significant figure of the recent past.
to teach them the methods and objects of their work.’ [SW 3 777] Even the supervisors of the supervisors needed supervising! Here was the unrecognized core of the problem. Everything had to come from the centre. All Lenin’s reforms were simply ways of trying to make the centre’s grip more effective. To start out with such a requirement was bound to lead to ‘bureaucratism’. In another revealing comment, at the Eleventh Party Congress, Lenin had complained that, although the Party had ‘quite enough
the same theme. The essence of his argument, as it appeared in a letter to a fellow social democrat, P.P. Maslov, was that ‘The disintegration of our small producers (the peasants and handicraftsmen) appears to me to be the basic and principal fact explaining our urban and large scale capitalism, dispelling the myth that the peasant economy represents some special structure.’ [CW 43 37] 1894 marks Lenin’s emergence as a significant figure in the as yet tiny social-democratic circles. In early
very nature of the system meant that a number of like-minded people were gathered in the same region so lively discussions about politics were possible from time to time. Lenin himself undertook some translation work to earn a little money and was able to continue some of his own research into the state of Russian agriculture and the economy. His ability to work creatively was in no small part due to the unhesitating support of Nadezhda Krupskaya. When sentenced to exile herself she applied for
enforced and prolonged vacation but continued developing his ideas and following, as closely as the controls on him would allow, the evolution of Russian and world politics. Some of his most important ideas matured while he was in exile. Clearly, these were important years in the formation of Lenin. Let us take a closer look at them. LIFE IN PRISON AND SIBERIAN EXILE After his arrest, Lenin was at first kept in prison in St Petersburg and subjected to a series of interrogations. Prison, as
1886, Lenin began to form in the soul of Volodya. LENIN: THE FIRST INFLUENCES Although hard information is sparse and what we have tends to be hagiographical, it seems that Alexander had become something of a role model for his younger brother. Through hard, academic work Alexander had succeeded in getting to university, no mean feat at a time when there were only some ten thousand university students in the whole Russian Empire. His fate raised the question: what had driven him to sacrifice