Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

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Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1920)
Lenin's signature

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian Владимир Ильич Ленин , scientific transliteration Vladimir Lenin Il'ič , actually Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Russian Владимир Ильич Ульянов , scientific transliteration Ul'janov , listen ? / I ; born 10 . Jul / 22. April 1870 greg. in Simbirsk ; died on January 21, 1924 in Gorki near Moscow ) was a Russian communist politicianAudio file / audio sample   and revolutionary and Marxist theorist , chairman of the Bolshevik Party and the resulting Communist Party of Russia (1912–1924), head of government of the Russian SFSR (1917–1924) and the Soviet Union (1922–1924), whose founder he is considered to be.

After his brother Alexander Ulyanov was executed for a planned assassination attempt on the Tsar , Lenin joined the Marxist Social Democrats and devoted himself to underground work for a communist revolution in Russia . He had to emigrate into exile several times, most of the time to Switzerland . In 1903 he founded his own parliamentary group in the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party , the Bolsheviks, which later became the Russian Communist Party.

After the monarchy in Russia had been overthrown in a bourgeois revolution in early 1917 and the new government wanted to maintain Russia's participation in World War I , the Bolsheviks, under Lenin's leadership, conquered power in the October Revolution . They forcibly dissolved the constituent assembly and partially restricted freedom of expression . In the civil war that followed , the Bolsheviks succeeded in bringing the majority of the areas of the former Russian Empire under their control and , in spite of the fact, to break the resistance of the White Armies and other opposing civil war parties militarily and by using the red terror as a reaction to the white terror the material support of the White Army by numerous foreign powers and the temporary occupation of Russian territories by other states. Towards the end of the war, in 1922, the Bolsheviks founded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

At that time Lenin was already seriously ill. After his death in 1924, his body was embalmed and displayed in a mausoleum on the wall of the Kremlin . As a result, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union continued to emphasize Lenin's importance for the Soviet Union and Communism of Moscow style. To this day, the assessment of Lenin's role has remained controversial within the political left . Views that recognize a coherent ideological structure in the writings of Karl Marx regard Lenin as an outstanding theoretician who gave Marxism a decisive further development with Leninism . After Lenin's death, from the time of Stalinism , the ideology of Marxism-Leninism was constructed from this. On the other hand, there are references to the serious violations of human rights, his dogmatism and anti-democratic tendencies, which are incompatible with modern concepts of socialism. The questions of whether communism could also develop in an industrially backward country and what role a new type of party would play in this regard play a major role in assessing Lenin's theory .



Lenin came from a socially and culturally liberal family with a history of social advancement.

Lenin's paternal grandfather was a peasant freed from serfdom who settled down as a tailor. Lenin's father Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov (1831–1886) graduated from Kazan University in 1854 . In 1869 he gave up his longstanding activity as a mathematics and physics teacher at secondary schools in Penza and Nizhny Novgorod and was first inspector, later director of elementary school facilities in Simbirsk , and in 1882 he was elevated to the hereditary nobility by the tsar . In almost 20 years of its activity, the number of schools in Simbirsk Governorate has increased significantly. He also raised many progressive teachers who were called "Ulyanov".

Lenin's mother, Maria Alexandrovna Blank (1835-1916), of German descent, grew up in a village and received a home education. As an autodidact, she learned the foreign languages ​​German, English and French. She married Ilya Ulyanov in 1863. Although she passed the teacher examination in the same year as an external student, for which she had prepared herself independently, she devoted herself to her family and was therefore unable to work.


Lenin as a youth (ca.1887)

According to the tsarist hierarchy , Lenin was a dworjanin , a nobleman , even if the father had first been raised to the nobility and the family could not really join the higher society. His father died unexpectedly in January 1886 of a cerebral haemorrhage. Lenin's older brother Alexander , a student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Saint Petersburg , had joined a revolutionary group that included Tsar Alexander III. wanted to murder. He was executed on May 20, 1887. The family was subsequently shunned almost entirely, but lived in material prosperity despite the death of their father and the stigma of execution. In addition to a handsome pension, she had income from owning an estate that had been acquired from her mother's dowry while her father was still alive.

Together with the early death of his father, the execution of his brother had a decisive influence on the young Lenin. His brother was hanged at school three days after Lenin's final exams began. Lenin nevertheless passed this with distinction. He studied the books that Alexander had left behind, especially those of the exiled revolutionary Nikolai Gavrilowitsch Chernyshevsky , who advocated a classless society. Lenin had many intellectual interests, such as literature and classical philology, and also became a good chess player.

Lenin could not study in St. Petersburg, and went for the Study of Law at the University of Kazan . In his first year Lenin took part in a student protest and was expelled from the university on December 6, 1887, along with 38 other students. Lenin did not play a leading role in this meeting. His punishment by the authorities was largely based on his brother's story. The father of the later Prime Minister of the Provisional Government Alexander Kerensky , Fyodor Kerensky , who had taught Lenin at the grammar school and described him as a model student, campaigned in vain for the sentence to be overturned.

In May 1889 the family moved into a property near Samara that they had acquired with their capital; but soon afterwards she leased it. Lenin turned out to be unsuitable for the manager of the estate and made no effort. Contrary to a later widespread claim, he had no contact with peasant families, his knowledge of peasantry rather came from books such as those by Gleb Uspenski . He made negative comments about the Russian peasants, whom he accused of alcoholism , violence and xenophobia.

Lenin lived on the family's fortune, went on long hikes, tutored his younger siblings, read political literature and continued his law studies as an autodidact. In 1891 he was allowed to complete the exams as an external student, which he also achieved as the best in all subjects. The later propaganda did not mention that church and police law also belonged to it. On January 30, 1892, Lenin began working as a paralegal. He acted as a criminal defense lawyer in a few cases and took on two personal cases. Once against farmers who unjustifiably let their cattle graze on his family's estate. Another time he sued a former French nobleman who hit him in his car while visiting Paris.

Start of political activity

Index card on Lenin created in December 1895 by the Okhrana secret police

Lenin was engaged in various political theories from a young age. On the one hand, he took a critical look at the Russian “peasant socialists ” or “Narodniki” (the Narodniki ), who propagated their own variant of socialism, and on the other hand with the theses of Karl Marx , which he had already interpreted theoretically. At this point in time, Lenin considered Russia to be more economically and socially advanced than it actually was, so that he believed in an imminent proletarian revolution. Other revolutionaries found that Lenin's Marxism still placed too much emphasis on the terrorist aspects of the Narodniki, so Lenin repeated Sergei Nechayev's sentence that “the whole house of Romanovs ” must be killed.

In 1891 Lenin condemned the aid efforts of the educated class on the occasion of the famine in the province of Samara, where he worked as a lawyer. He saw the famine as a step towards socialism, since it would destroy faith in God and the Tsar. He demanded the full agreed sum from the tenant of his own estate, who in turn made the peasants pay in full despite the famine.

In 1893 he moved to Saint Petersburg. There he studied the theories of Georgi Plekhanov , whom he later met in Switzerland. After several months of traveling through Europe through Germany, France and Switzerland, he founded the “ Federation for the Liberation of the Working Class ” (“Союз борьбы за освобождение рабочего класса”). In Germany, Lenin stayed in Berlin for a long time , where he studied literature at the Royal Library . When Lenin returned to Russia in the autumn of 1895, he resumed his agitational activity.

He was arrested in December 1895 while preparing an illegal newspaper, The Workers' Cause (charges: agitation ). In the remand prison he set up a library in his "study" and spent 14 months there. In February 1897 he was exiled to Shushenskoye in southern Siberia for three years , where he had to live under police supervision. In Ufa he met Nadezhda Krupskaja again , whom he married in exile in 1898 .

Immediately after his return from exile in February 1900, Lenin went to Pskov to look for a way to publish a newspaper that was independent of censorship. This was not possible in Russia, so on July 29, 1900, he went abroad for over five years. After a short stay in Geneva , where he and Plekhanov agreed to publish the Iskra newspaper (“Der Funke”), Lenin settled illegally at the social democratic innkeeper Rittmeyer at 53 Kaiserstrasse (now 46) in the Schwabing district of Munich . He did not officially register at the address and called himself "Mayer". In 1901 Lenin moved to nearby Siegfriedstrasse 14 in Schwabing . In 1901 he published the newspaper Sarja ("Dawn").

Conception of a cadre party

In 1902 he published the programmatic text What to do? In the Bavarian capital . , under the code name "N. Lenin ”. It made him known among the revolutionaries, but also polarized strongly. Because in it he outlined the concept of a secretly acting, disciplined and centralized workers' party, consisting of professional revolutionaries. The party should stand united on ideological and strategic questions and lead the mass of the population on the way to revolution. Lenin justified the need for such a conspiratorial organization by stating that in the autocratic tsarist empire no other party could successfully initiate an overthrow. He also orientated himself on the models of the Narodniki from the previous century, who would have used the same methods of political work. In his work, Lenin explicitly turned against the more liberal left, which wanted to bring about change through grassroots democratic organizations and trade unions.

The idea of ​​the party as a tightly managed secret organization was not in dispute among those willing to organize among Russia's left, and Lenin endeavored with quotations from Marx and others to justify the demands in a Marxist way. Many Russian Marxists were outraged that Lenin praised terrorist peasant leaders and the “mass terror” of Pyotr Tkachev . Lenin's emphasis on konspirativnost could be interpreted as a call to conspiracies. Later on, Lenin's organizational model came to be known as " Democratic Centralism ".


From December 1900 he used the battle name or the pseudonym "Lenin". So he gave his writing What to do? under the pseudonym N. Lenin . There is no conclusive or secure explanation as to the origin of the pseudonym. One explanation says that he was referring to the Siberian river Lena (Lenin means in Russian: "The one from the river Lena") - to be exiled to Siberia practically meant that one was considered a recognized opposition member in the Russian Empire . Another explanation says that he thought more of his nanny Lena, and that even as a small boy he used to answer the question "whose [child] he was": "Lenin!" (German: "Lenas!").

Lenin had several aliases, for example he lived in Schwabing as Iordan K. Iordanov and elsewhere in Munich under the name Mayer. Against this background, the choice of the pseudonym seems rather random.

Split into parties and build up the new cadre party

Spiegelgasse 14 in Zurich: A plaque on the middle house reminds of Lenin's stay.

Lenin promoted the establishment of a strictly organized cadre party of “professional revolutionaries” and became the most respected left social democrat because of his rigor - enforced by illegality but also inspired by Russian revolutionary terrorism - and because of his radical theoretical positions.

The views and intentions of Lenin led in 1903 at the second party congress (in London) to the de facto split in the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party (RSDLP). Lenin had successfully placed his followers on the organizing committee. With the support of Plekhanov and the departure of the reform-oriented “economists” and the Jewish delegates from the “ Bund ”, Lenin succeeded in introducing his main demands into the party program and statute, including the emphasis on the “ dictatorship of the proletariat ”. His demand to oblige party members not only to provide material support but also to work personally, was rejected by the group around Julius Martow . Lenin named his group Bolsheviks (from the Russian word for “majority”) and the moderate Mensheviks (“minority”) due to the majority vote .

In 1905 a Russian Revolution broke out while the country was at war with Japan. For Lenin it was not the domestic political struggle against the government but the struggle against the Mensheviks that was in the foreground, while he sided with Japan on foreign policy. So he was to support the enemies of Tsarist Russia later in the World War. These attitudes of Lenin were not only understood by other party members; some of Lenin's closest collaborators wanted to prepare a third party congress and bring about a reconciliation between the two camps there. A harsh letter to the Bolsheviks, which would have completely isolated him, he weakened in a later draft. Nevertheless, they must have been amazed at Lenin's unreality, writes the historian Robert Service .

During this time Lenin also took up the idea of ​​councils, while many Bolsheviks still preferred a secret conspiracy. After the Moscow attempted uprising by the Bolsheviks in December 1905, Lenin was skeptical about uprisings that the RSDLP should better be elected to the Duma, the new parliament. At that time he still advocated cooperation with the Mensheviks, which were supposed to counterbalance the impatient among the Bolsheviks.

In January 1907 Lenin fled from the Russian secret police to Finland, in November to Helsinki , and a year later he moved to Geneva . In the summer of 1911 Lenin and other Bolsheviks , including Lev Borisovich Kamenew and Grigory Yevsejewitsch Zinoviev , gave lectures on the theory and practice of socialism in Longjumeau near Paris. The SDLP sent selected cadres, including Grigori Konstantinowitsch Ordzhonikidze, to these training courses .

By 1912 the differences between the two camps grew, which is why the Mensheviks were excluded at the sixth All-Russian Party Conference in Prague . They then formed their own party, while the RSDLP now carried the enlargement (Bolsheviks) . It was not until 1918 that the Bolsheviks renamed their party the Communist Party of Russia (B) .

The split in the party had been promoted by the tsarist secret police; Lenin's close colleague Roman Malinovsky spied for them. Bolshevik members suspected Malinovsky of being a spy after some party members were arrested. Lenin dismissed these allegations as part of an internal party investigation with reference to his origin from a working-class family.

Lenin published Pravda for the first time in April 1912 . In the period that followed, while in exile in Switzerland, he devoted himself to Marxist studies, primarily his work The Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism (January to June 1916), which formed the basis of the Marxist theory of imperialism and the stamokap theory based on it . He completed this work in the old town of Zurich at Spiegelgasse 14, where he was allowed to move with Nadeschda Konstantinowna Krupskaja in February 1916 after he had justified a request with the wish to use the central library there.

First World War and support from the German Reich

Letter from the Bern authorities regarding Lenin's residence permit, October 1914

The beginning of the First World War surprised Lenin in Galicia , Austria , where he spent the summer months in Poronin , a village on the railway line from Krakow to Zakopane . Here he met regularly with Bolsheviks who were active in Russia and members of the party's Central Committee. Lenin had reckoned with the possibility of war between the major European powers since 1907, when he had a decisive influence on the anti-war resolution of the Stuttgart Socialist Congress . In a letter to Maxim Gorky in 1913, however, he still considered an Austro-Russian war to be unlikely:

"A war between Austria and Russia would be very useful for the revolution (in all of Eastern Europe), but it can hardly be assumed that Franz Joseph and our friend Nikolaus give us this pleasure."

As an “enemy alien” in the immediate vicinity of the main theater of war, Lenin aroused the suspicion of the Austrian authorities. He was arrested on August 8, 1914 and held in Nowy Targ Prison for eleven days . After Viktor Adler intervened , he was released and was able to travel to Switzerland with his wife, where he arrived at the end of August 1914.

At this point in time Lenin had already worked out the outline of a new political line that remained decisive for him until 1917. He assessed the transition of almost all socialist parties to the position of "defense of the fatherland" as the irreparable collapse of the Second International . In particular, the approval of war credits by the SPD parliamentary group in the Reichstag surprised and dismayed Lenin, who, despite some reservations, had shared the respect of many European socialists for German social democracy. He now countered the “ defense of the fatherland” with the slogan of “revolutionary defeatism ”. The criterion and goal of a socialist policy is to bring about the defeat of one's “own” government and - as the famous phrase from the resolution of the Central Committee on War and Russian Social Democracy of October 1914 - “transform imperialist war into civil war ”. This radical program could not be fully implemented by the representatives of the opposition minorities of the European socialist parties, who met in Zimmerwald in September 1915 and in Kiental in April 1916 .

As a result of their repeated appeals to the Russian workers not to fight against the Germans but against their own government, the Bolsheviks in Russia were forced into illegality in autumn 1914 and mercilessly persecuted by the Okhrana in the following years . On August 8, 1914, the Bolshevik Duma faction had voted against the war credits and moved out of the hall. Five MPs were arrested in November 1914 and soon afterwards deported to Siberia . When the party was able to openly again after the February Revolution, it had melted down to around 24,000 members.

Return to Russia from exile in Switzerland


The approximately 600 Russian political emigrants in Switzerland were looking for a way to return to Russia in the spring of 1917. An exit through the territory of the Russian allies France and Italy turned out to be impossible. Lenin developed adventurous plans to get to Russia in disguise or by plane. The Menshevik Julius Martow finally suggested asking the German government for a transit permit. After negotiations between Robert Grimm and Fritz Plattens with the German ambassador in Bern, Gisbert von Romberg , their consent was soon available. On the German side, the Federal Foreign Office was in charge of this matter and not - as is often assumed - the Supreme Army Command . Among the 33 travelers who set off in two express train cars at the Gottmadingen border crossing on April 9, 1917 and arrived in Sassnitz on the evening of April 11, 19 were Bolsheviks - in addition to Lenin, Karl Radek , Grigori Zinoviev , Lenin's wife Nadezhda Krupskaya and his lover Inessa Armand . Further transports of this type took place up to June 1917. In total, more than 400 Russian emigrants from different political directions crossed German territory in this way.

Lenin knew about the potentially compromising circumstances surrounding this trip and had insisted that only Platten - before and during the train journey - negotiate directly with German representatives. The declaration of the compartments occupied by the emigrants as "extraterritorial" was also his idea. His confidante Platten did not respond to Romberg's attempts to stimulate political agreements on a future peace settlement. The Bolsheviks refused to meet a high German trade union official who had got on board in Stuttgart. The travelers displayed "dogged restraint" towards the two German officers who accompanied the transport.

Despite this caution, the manner in which Lenin returned - and even more so the policy he followed afterwards - provoked the suspicion as early as 1917 that he was acting on behalf of and with financial support from the Germans. When Lenin arrived in Petrograd on April 16, the Russian capital's conservative press brought this charge into play. During the July Crisis , the Provisional Government circulated large-scale rumors that Lenin was being paid by the Germans. An American government agency published the forged Sisson documents in 1918 to prove a "German-Bolshevik Conspiracy". In January 1921, the German Social Democrat Eduard Bernstein was the first to speak in a series of articles in Vorwärts of “certainly more than 50 million gold marks” that had flowed directly to the Bolsheviks in 1917. In a private letter, he named "absolutely credible people of international repute" as the source for this claim.

Sources confirm that the German government made funds available for a wide variety of revolutionary and nationalist groups in Eastern Europe during the war years. To what extent the Bolsheviks benefited from it is still a matter of dispute. While some researchers assume small amounts that would never have reached Russia or were completely insignificant for the political development in the summer and autumn of 1917, others speak of "millions of marks", with which the party's press in particular was massively expanded in 1917 . The further claim that German agencies had a direct influence on the political line of the Bolsheviks or that Lenin was even a "German agent" himself has been rejected in academic journalism for decades. The American historian Rex A. Wade calls this thesis a "myth" and the "longest-lived of the many conspiracy theories of 1917".

Revolutionary phase 1917 to 1918

Agitation against the Provisional Government

Lenin gives the speech to the Petersburg Soviet in the Tauride Palace in Petrograd, which will later form the core of the April Theses . (April 4th July / April 17th 1917 greg. )

In the second half of April 1917, Lenin and some of his comrades reached the Finnish train station in Petrograd and propagated the revolution for workers, peasants and soldiers to seize power. In his April theses he demanded - to the surprise of his supporters - the overthrow of the provisional government, denounced as capitalist and which had supported the socialists who had remained in Russia so far, true to the Marxian doctrine that a bourgeois revolution must take place before the proletarian revolution. Instead, Lenin demanded that the socialist revolution be initiated as soon as possible.

Lenin stood against the provisional government under Kerensky, whom he publicly reviled as a "fool". On June 4, Lenin announced the ambition of the Bolsheviks to take power in the country at the 1st All-Russian Congress of Soviets . His demands for the distribution of the land to the peasants without compensation and for the expropriation of the richest strata of the population quickly became popular. During the Kerensky offensive , the Bolsheviks in the Russian army agitated against the continuation of the war, even if Lenin still publicly rejected a separate peace. When the failure of the attack operations became apparent, Lenin accused the Provisional Government of having driven thousands of people into a bloody slaughter. In July Lenin tried to exploit the government's loss of prestige for the purposes of the Bolsheviks. The party called for mass demonstrations in the capital, Petrograd. However, these did not lead to an overthrow, but only resulted in chaotic armed conflicts and looting. Lenin stated that an insurrection had to be better organized in order to be effective - he himself was not in the capital at the beginning of the demonstrations, but in Finland to relax. The Provisional Government deployed the military and so brought the city back to peace. In addition, a court case for high treason was scheduled. The Bolshevik Party and its main press, Pravda , were officially banned by the Kerensky government. However, by changing the name of the party and Pravda, the party managed to largely maintain its activities. After this failure, Lenin feared the death penalty if he faced the indictment and went underground. After the government's measures against the Bolsheviks, Lenin changed his strategy, which he himself summarized as follows: “All hopes for a peaceful development of the Russian revolution have vanished to no avail. This is the objective situation: either complete victory for the military dictatorship or victory for the armed uprising of the workers. ”He was pushing for an armed uprising.

Takeover and consolidation of power

Lenin in the box of the Tauride Palace in Petrograd during the session of the Russian Constituent Assembly (January 5 jul. / January 18, 1918 greg. )

After further military failures by the moderately socialist-liberal "Provisional Revolutionary Government" under Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky , the Bolsheviks and the newly founded Soviets succeeded in overthrowing the bourgeois government in November 1917 (according to the Julian calendar still in force in Russia in October) (October Revolution ). Leon Trotsky , Lenin's confidante, organized the uprising on October 25th, which met with little opposition. Six people were killed at the start of the October Revolution. On November 8, 1917, the 2nd All-Russian Congress of Soviets also met in Petrograd . The Bolsheviks did not initially have a majority in this central workers 'and soldiers' council. In protest against the actions of the Bolsheviks, however, many MPs, including the Mensheviks, left the meeting room and left the field to the Bolsheviks. Lenin became the head of government of Russia overnight as chairman of the Council of People's Commissars . “A steep climb from the cellar to power”, he said, “my head is spinning”.

At the Second Congress of Soviets, Lenin stated that his government would respect the Russian Constituent Assembly and see itself only as a temporary measure until it was elected. The election was democratic and uneventful. But it brought the Bolsheviks a serious defeat, since the majority of the votes went to the Social Revolutionaries and Lenin's party only won around a quarter of the seats. A takeover of power was therefore legally impossible. Thereupon Lenin, who had previously criticized the legitimacy of the assembly, had it forcibly dissolved the day after the election. This led to demonstrations and violent clashes in Petrograd, in the course of which several people were killed.

The immediate effect of the slogans was the immediate conclusion of peace , the distribution of the land to the peasants and the taking over of the factories by the workers. Under Lenin's presidency, the party established the Council of People's Commissars as the Bolshevik government. In February 1918, the Red Army under the leadership of Leon Trotsky and the Cheka secret police under Felix Dzerzhinsky were established to support them .

On March 3, 1918, the Brest-Litovsk Agreement ended the war with Germany with massive territorial losses for Russia. Within his own party, Lenin had great difficulty in getting approval for this German dictate . His government coalition with the Left Social Revolutionaries broke up. The civil war was fueled rather than slowed down by Brest-Litovsk, which did not give the young Soviet regime any respite. The German historian Gerd Koenen suspects that Lenin's primary concern was to prolong the world war between Germany and the Entente powers because he hoped that this would lead to a world revolution. In his work On “Left” Childhood and Petty Bourgeoisie , he declared that it was important “to wait until the wrestling of the imperialists against each other weakens them even more”.

Assassination and diseases

On August 30, 1918, Lenin was shot twice in an assassination attempt. The projectiles struck him in the shoulder and neck. As assassin was arrested shortly afterwards Fanny Kaplan , a supporter of the Socialist Revolutionaries , Lenin held because of the violent dissolution of the Constituent Assembly for a "traitor to the revolution." After interrogation by the Cheka, she was executed without trial. Lenin never recovered from the consequences of the assassination throughout his life.

The bullet in the neck was not surgically removed until 1922, after a German doctor ruled that Lenin's headache was caused by lead, which poisoned the brain. During the examinations during this time the following ailments were found: eye problems, stomach problems, headaches, insomnia, rash and circulatory disorders in the brain. Lenin had also reported to a neuropathologist that he suffered from obsessions that were not explained in detail.

One month after the operation, Lenin suffered a severe stroke on May 25, 1922 , after several smaller ones before; two more heavy ones followed. The stroke paralyzed Lenin's right side, made it difficult to speak, confused the mind and made recovery questionable. Georg Klemperer and his brother Felix Klemperer were called several times from Berlin for consultation in Moscow. The doctors discussed several possibilities for the root cause of Lenin's complaints without reaching an agreement: syphilis , neurasthenia , hardening of the arteries (as with Lenin's father) or the consequences of the operation. Lenin thought of suicide and asked Stalin for poison. According to a study published in 2004, Lenin is said to have suffered from long-term neurosyphilis .

Civil War period from 1918 to 1922

Lenin inspects general Red Army troops in Moscow's Red Square with commanders (May 25, 1919)

How long the civil war that began in 1918 lasted is controversial. The last fighting ended in the Asian part of Russia in 1922, while in core areas of the empire they had subsided by 1920. The civil war was shaped by the conflicting parties of the whites, the reds and with the so-called Greens also by the fighting of the rural population against red and white troops. National uprisings and anarchist currents also played a role. In order to win the war, the Bolshevik Party resorted to measures of war communism and successfully asserted itself militarily.

Lenin was the undisputed leader of the party and the government during these years, despite many openly expressed differences of opinion, and was also regarded as the highest authority of the third “Communist International” ( Comintern ), which was formed in 1919 .

Basic economic policy decisions

Shortly after the October Revolution, Lenin tried to convert the Russian economy into a centrally planned economy by decree . First, the banks were nationalized by early 1918. According to the Bolshevik party program, money should be completely abolished as a means of payment. Since the money could not be abolished by decree, the government allowed additional money printing to bring about hyperinflation until 1922 , which devalued all money in circulation. In 1918 Lenin commissioned the journalist Jurij Larin to create a central planning authority for the nationalization of industry. From this emerged the Supreme Economic Council , which implemented the expropriation of private companies, whose owners (if they had not already fled abroad) usually had to cede their businesses without compensation. The company's assets were confiscated by the state.

Literacy and education policy

In addition to this restructuring of the economy, Lenin also carried out reforms in the education system. The literacy of the country has been vigorously pursued by him. In December 1919 he created compulsory courses for illiterate people by decree. In the summer of 1920, a network of small libraries was set up to ensure everyone had access to books. At the level of higher education, Lenin's government opened up access to poorer sections of the population and abolished the multi-tier school system. In 1919, the workers' faculties were also introduced, which also gave adults who had not been able to study, access to university education.

Beginning of the civil war

Resistance formed against the Bolshevik government in many parts of the country. In order to secure its power and to break the resistance, the government set up the Red Army established by the People's Commissar for Warfare Leon Trotsky in 1918 . A civil war developed in which the USA, Great Britain and numerous other states interfered with the massive support of the white troops . This civil war was marked by great military severity (see also Red Terror , White Terror ) and lasted until the defeat of the White Troops at the end of 1921.

Lenin himself limited himself largely to the political leadership of the Soviet state during the civil war. By his own admission, it was too late for him to acquire military knowledge. He contented himself with determining the rough strategy , but hardly interfered in the planning of military operations . He refrained from visiting the front during the entire war.

Beginning of terror and counter-terror

In the context of his authority as head of state, however, he suggested that civilians and members of officer's families be held hostage because he feared high treason among the officers trained in the old regime. As head of state, Lenin promoted and demanded the red terror in the civil war. In a letter to the authorities in Nizhny Novgorod on August 9, 1918, he ordered : "Immediately organize mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who turn soldiers into drunkards, as well as former officers, etc." On the same day he ordered to the authorities of the Penza to set up a concentration camp in. Lenin wrote in 1918:

“The English bourgeoisie forgot about it in 1649, the French about it in 1793. Terror was just and justified when the bourgeoisie used it in their favor against the feudal lords. Terror became outrageous and criminal when the workers and poor peasants dared to use it against the bourgeoisie. Terror was just and justified when it was used to replace one exploiting minority with another exploiting minority. Terror became outrageous and criminal when it was used to overthrow EVERY exploiting minority [...] The international imperialist bourgeoisie murdered 10 million people in "their" war and crippled 20 million in a war that therefore it is determined whether the English or the German robbers are to rule the whole world. If our war, the war of the oppressed and exploited against the oppressors and exploiters, costs half a million or a whole million victims in all countries, the bourgeoisie will say that the victims of their war are justified, but those of our war are criminal. […] The representatives of the bourgeoisie understand well that… the overthrow of slave rule [note: in the USA] was worth it, that the whole country had long years of civil war, an abyss of destruction, devastation and terror, these side effects of everyone War, took on. But now ... the representatives and lawyers of the bourgeoisie, just like the reform socialists, who have been intimidated by the bourgeoisie and are afraid of the revolution, cannot and do not want to understand that the civil war is necessary and just. "

Lenin legitimized the red terror as a temporarily necessary measure in the civil war, it served the defense against the white terror. As early as 1920 he declared: “Terror was imposed on us by the terrorism of the Entente, when the strongest powers in the world, shrinking from nothing, attacked us with their hordes. We could not have lasted two days if we had not met these attempts by officers and White Guards without mercy and that means terror ... We declared that the use of force results from the task of suppressing the exploiters, the landlords and the capitalists; if this is done, we will forego all extraordinary measures. ”Later, Lenin specified that he in no way intended to abolish terror: in a letter from 1922 on the reform of the judiciary, he rather expressed his intention to subject terrorism to legal conventions ; he described the idea of ​​abolishing it, however, as self-delusion.

Failed expansion to Poland

Illustration of the speech of May 5, 1920 as a statue in Minsk

In the summer of 1920, after internal party disputes, Lenin attempted to establish communism abroad. After Polish units and Ukrainian nationalists tried in vain to occupy Ukraine and detach it from the Soviet Union in April, the party let the Red Army march into Poland ( Polish-Soviet War ). The hope that a revolution would begin there, however, was not fulfilled. Regardless of their class, the Poles fought against the Russian invasion. The Red Army was defeated by Polish troops under Marshal Józef Piłsudski with French support ( miracle on the Vistula ).

Agricultural crisis and Kronstadt sailors' uprising

There was a supply crisis during the civil war. The reason for this was the agricultural policy of the Bolsheviks. According to the teachings of Marxism, they viewed the independent peasants as a petty bourgeois class with no future. In the course of the centralization of agriculture, the farmers were supposed to give their yields to the state authorities at low fixed prices . When the peasants refused to do this, Lenin had the crops collected from the cities by armed commandos. This procedure claimed numerous lives. The farmers reacted to the coercive measures with military resistance and the reduction of the cultivated areas, which in turn led to even lower yields and, above all, to famine in the cities. The food situation was exacerbated by the ongoing civil war.

In 1921 there was the Kronstadt sailors' uprising (“For Soviets without Bolsheviks!”), Which was dangerous for the Bolsheviks because it came from parts of their own base. However, he was bloodily suppressed. To secure their rule, the Bolsheviks set up camps for opponents of the regime, but their function was not yet comparable with the extensive labor camps later set up by Stalin , which are also known as the Gulag .

Religious politics

During the civil war, Lenin initially pursued a cautious policy towards the Orthodox Church . At the II All-Russian Congress of Soviets in November 1918, Lenin spoke out in favor of fighting religion only with non-violent means of agitation. Shortly after taking power, he enforced the separation of church and state by decree. A year after the Civil War, Lenin directed a large-scale state and party campaign against the Church. The pretext was the famine prevailing in large parts of the country , which reached catastrophic proportions as a result of the forced requisition of grain, including seed grain.

Leading church people had voluntarily released parts of the church property as donations to help the hungry. Lenin tightened this measure by ordering the, if necessary, violent confiscation of all church property, including consecrated objects, in February 1922. These measures met with resistance from parts of the population.

Thus Lenin of the approach expressed in a letter to the Politburo on March 19, 1922 regarding the city Shuya where it should collect the church property to violent clashes between soldiers and the faithful had come as follows:

“Now, and only now with all the starved, human-fleshed people and the streets littered with hundreds, thousands of corpses, we can (and must) confiscate church property with energetic zeal and mercilessness. Right now and only now is the moment to put down the priests of the Black Hundred with such determination, ruthlessness and brutality that they will remember it for decades to come. "

“The more representatives of the reactionary priesthood and the reactionary bourgeoisie are put on the wall, the better for us. We must teach such a lesson to all these people immediately that they will not think of any resistance for decades to come ”. This procedure led to state-directed pogroms against believers, priests and religious institutions throughout the Soviet state. The number of open Orthodox churches fell from around 80,000 to 11,525. Over 14,000 Orthodox clergy, nuns and lay people were shot dead by state organs. The state's Catholic , Jewish and Muslim minorities were also affected. On Lenin's initiative, the influential Patriarch of Moscow, Tikhon , was imprisoned by decision of the Politburo.

The Orthodox Church has always been a pillar of tsarism since the establishment of the Russian Empire. For this reason, too, the Bolsheviks' struggle was directed against them. In his secret letter of March 19, 1922, Lenin expressed his fears of a clergy-led counter-revolution and affirmed that, as a former part of the ruling class under tsarism, it must be fought.

Control of the party and use of bourgeois experts

Lenin was also instrumental in controlling intellectual life in the interests of the party. In June 1922, under his chairmanship, the Politburo decided to only allow scientific congresses with the approval of the secret police. In the same year Lenin directed a wave of repression against leading scholars, artists and students in the country. Some of the victims were exiled abroad or within the Soviet state. There were also prison terms and shootings. Lenin himself edited the lists of victims drawn up by the high GPU officer Josef Unschlicht . In response to complaints from the socialist writer Maxim Gorky , the party leader justified himself in a letter as follows: “The intellectual strength of the workers and peasants is growing in the struggle against the bourgeoisie and their accomplices , the so-called intellectuals, the lackeys of capital who think they are the brains of the nation. In reality they are only the rubbish of the nation. "

Lenin also endeavored to win over the so-called “bourgeois intelligentsia” for the revolution, he said in November 1919: “The new society cannot be built without knowledge, technology and culture, but these are in the possession of bourgeois specialists . Most of them do not sympathize with Soviet power, but without them we cannot build communism. You have to create a comradely atmosphere around them. "The specialists must therefore be made from" servants of capitalism, servants of the working masses, to their advisors. "In January 1922 Lenin even demanded of the Communist Party that who works conscientiously, with expertise and devotion, even if his ideology is completely alien to communism, as watch the apple of our eye. "

Policy towards workers and peasants

Where the workers did not want to follow the ideas of the Bolsheviks, they showed little inhibition against using violence against members of the working class: after several thousand workers went on strike in the Putilov works in Petrograd in 1919 , their demands against the dictatorial one were defeated Bolshevik rule had turned and Lenin's attempt to discipline them personally with a speech was lost in the protest calls from the workforce, armored vehicles were sent to the factories and units of the Cheka were called in, who arrested and shot 200 strike leaders.

Lenin pursued a variable policy towards the rural population. In June 1918 he ordered the establishment of village poverty committees . At that time Lenin divided the village into poorer peasants and farm workers, who were opposed to middle-class farmers and wealthy "kulaks". With the help of the committees he wanted to bind the former two to the Bolsheviks. They should also serve to enforce the forced confiscation of food in the village. In order to arouse motivation among the members of the committees, they were allowed to keep a portion of the requisitioned grain from their fellow villagers themselves. However, the committees did not achieve the desired effect, since in most cases the loyalty of the poor peasants to the village community was greater than the loyalty to the communist regime. Lenin viewed the committees as a great success in public, but de facto abolished them in December 1918. During 1919 Lenin changed his policy and focused on winning over the majority of the peasantry. Because of the simultaneous forced collection of grain, despite this turning point, there was still a deep split between Lenin's regime and the peasantry.

Approaches to a personality cult

During the early days of the Soviet Union the first signs of a personality cult around Lenin, which was expanded considerably after his death. Lenin himself, however, expressed himself disparagingly about this glorification of himself and complained about it in private letters. In this context there is also an example of the release of a Soviet citizen who had defaced one of his images.

New economic policy

In order to improve the poor supply situation after winning the civil war, Lenin and Trotsky implemented the “ New Economic Policy ” in 1921 against their own concerns and great resistance in the party. It replaced the requisitions of war communism with a tax in kind and allowed the peasants to trade with the surpluses to a limited extent. For Lenin this was a temporary tactical step backwards for pragmatic reasons of maintaining power, which was not easy for him. In 1922 he stated: "It is a big mistake to think that the New Economic Policy means the end of terror". And: We “will return to terror, including economic terror”.

Prohibition of factions and establishment of the USSR

Lenin in Gorky in 1923 , drawn by several strokes

At the same time, the formation of factions within the party was forbidden at the 10th party congress - and thus “de facto freedom of expression” in the party's decision-making process.

After Lenin's first severe stroke in May 1922, the Politburo shielded him from the outside world in order to facilitate his recovery. However, he refused to cease work and continued to be kept informed of the policy. He recovered a little and took part again in discussions, such as on the constitutional question and the foreign trade monopoly, also prevailed against Stalin on the question of a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Stalin wanted the other republics to simply join the RSFSR ). In November and December 1922 Lenin had seven strokes. After a stroke in March 1923, his health deteriorated considerably again and he was barely able to make himself understood.

Death, Political Testament and Fear of Bureaucratisation

Lenin died on January 21, 1924 at 4:23 a.m. at the age of 53. The exact cause of death remained hidden from the public for decades. The biography authorized by the CPSU and Dmitri Volkogonov speak of massive circulatory disorders or another stroke .

After Lenin's death, a power struggle broke out in the CPSU between supporters of the camp around Joseph Stalin and the left opposition around Leon Trotsky .

In a letter to the party congress of the CPSU, which he dictated on December 25, 1922, regarded as a political will, he assessed his potential successors as follows:

“Comrade Stalin, in becoming Secretary General, has concentrated immeasurable power in his hands, and I am not convinced that he will always know how to use this power with sufficient caution. On the other hand, as his fight against the Central Committee on the question of the People's Commissariat for Transport has already shown, Comrade Trotsky is not only distinguished by excellent skills. Personally, he is probably the most capable man in the current Central Committee, but also a person who has an excess of self-confidence and an excessive passion for purely administrative measures. "

In a postscript dated January 4, 1923, it became clearer in relation to Stalin:

“Stalin is too rude, and this mistake, which is tolerable in our midst and in dealings between us communists, cannot be tolerated in the function of General Secretary. I therefore suggest that comrades consider how they could replace Stalin and put someone else in this position who differs from comrade Stalin in every respect only by one advantage, namely that he is more tolerant, loyal, is more polite and more attentive to the comrades, less capricious, etc. It might seem like a tiny thing. I believe, however, that from the point of view of avoiding a split and from the point of view of the relations between Stalin and Trotsky that I have described above, this is no small matter or such a small matter that can be of decisive importance. "

Despite Lenin's attempt to prevent Stalin's rise, “Stalin is also a legitimate offspring of Lenin. He has just more ruthlessly and more consistently than others exhausted the possibilities that were offered to a man of power in communist Russia within the almighty party apparatus created by Lenin himself, ”says Edgar Hösch .

Wolfgang Leonhard notes that Lenin followed the party's development into a “bureaucratic power apparatus” with concern. Between 1920 and 1922 he repeatedly criticized the “lack of implementation of democracy” and the “bureaucratic excesses” within the party. More and more narrow-minded apparatchiks with a provincial horizon, who saw their fulfillment in power, had taken the place of internationally minded intellectual revolutionaries permeated by revolutionary Marxism and socialist objectives. These clustered around the organization office and the secretariat of the party leadership, where Stalin, the party's general secretary since March, resided. In March 1922 Lenin complained that Soviet development was only determined by the “authority of that very thin layer that could be called the old party guard.” A minor internal struggle could mean that Soviet development “no longer depends on it is. "
After Lenin's death they had ignored his warnings about Stalin, his urgent proposal to replace Stalin no longer followed. As Lenin had foreseen, developments in the Soviet Union no longer depended on the old Bolshevik guard, but on the new bureaucratic apparatchik, whose advocate and leader was Stalin.


Lenin cult

People queue in front of the Lenin mausoleum on Red Square, in the background St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin . 1925
Lenin Monument on Leninplatz in East Berlin (1970)

With the burial of Lenin on January 27, 1924 in Moscow's Red Square, an ongoing cult of Lenin began to develop. The Politburo ordered the body to be embalmed and displayed. A wooden building on the Kremlin wall was replaced by the current Lenin mausoleum in 1930 . Even if his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya rejected these measures, "she [she] zealously propagated the image of Lenin, the perfect revolutionary, thinker and spouse" (Robert Service). Stalin and others also contributed to portraying Lenin as Marx and Engels on an equal footing and ultimately authoritative. It was suppressed that Lenin had non-Russian ancestors, was once hereditary and wealthy and had sympathized with the terror of the peasant socialists; Likewise, the relationship with Inessa Armand could not be mentioned.

Since it was assumed that Lenin was a special genius and that any signs of this could be found on or in his brain, his brain was examined by doctors such as the German brain researcher Oskar Vogt and cut into 30,983 thin sections fixed in paraffin. In June / July 1941, because of the approaching Second World War, Lenin's mummy was relocated to Tyumen with a special train in a secret operation . The changing of the guard at the empty Moscow mausoleum continued unchanged, the so-called guard post No. 1 existed twice until spring 1945, in Tyumen and in Moscow. The mausoleum in Moscow was closed to visitors during this time. Lenin was first embalmed in uniform, but later he was given a suit. Because of aggressive chemicals, it has to be replaced about every ten years. The corpse in the Lenin Mausoleum has been open to the public without interruption since 1945, and there are regularly long lines of people in front of it.

At the time of Real Socialism , Lenin assumed the role of a leading political figure , which is why many countries around the world erected monuments in his honor . The doctrine of Leninism was named after him; After Lenin's death in 1924, social theorists in the Soviet Union developed what is known as Marxism-Leninism as a new worldview .

Name formations such as Vilenas or Wladilena for people and the asteroid (852) Wladilena or Leningrad , Leninakan or Leninabad were common during the Soviet era.

In honor of Lenin's 100th birthday, friendship relays were held in the GDR in 1970 . These were under the slogan: "By strengthening the German Democratic Republic on all sides, consolidating the fighting alliance with the Soviet Union, we honor Lenin, we fulfill his legacy."

Pennant for the relay of friendship in the GDR on the occasion of the 100th birthday of VI Lenin

The cult of Lenin was an integral part of the educational programs for kindergartens and schools. But in the end of the Soviet Union, disrespectful "Lenin jokes" found widespread use. In them the cult of Lenin was satirically exaggerated, their main motive was the mockery of the "omniscient Lenin".

Lenin and Terror

In just under seven years after the October Revolution, Lenin established the first workers-and-peasants state and thus initiated socialism in Russia. To reshape Russian society in the civil war, based on the bourgeois French revolution, the means of terror ( red terror ) were used, which Lenin unreservedly affirmed in the civil war and which he repeatedly demanded to be intensified in response to objections raised within the party. Especially at the time of the civil war , millions of people fell victim to the red and white terror . This gave various historians an opportunity to subject Lenin as a person to comprehensive criticism, especially since there is often no reference to the fact that Lenin ever deplored the victims of the Red Terror.

Lines of continuity from Lenin to Stalin

Particular attention is paid to the question of a possible direct continuity between Lenin and the terror of later Stalinism . After Lenin's death in 1924 and a certain period of calm since the introduction of NEP, Stalin increasingly resorted to violent measures. In the waves of purges of the 1930s, Stalin let the entire revolutionary guard of 1917 such as B. Bukharin , Radek , Kamenew and Zinoviev humiliate and execute what - at least in the treatment of his own party - can be understood as a break from Stalin with the tradition of the October Revolution and Lenin. Further aspects are the transition from Lenin's policy of self-determination of the peoples to the restrictive nationality policy of Stalinism and the partial reversal of the social gains of the October Revolution. Accordingly, Leninism and Stalinism are not to be equated.

In clear contrast to this, however, is the widespread view that important elements of Stalin's totalitarian model of society were already present in Lenin's work, without any fundamental contradiction between the two in the choice of terror as a means of social transformation. “The foundations of the Stalinist system were largely laid under Lenin.” Historians such as Michael Woslenski and Gunnar Heinsohn accuse Lenin of having inflicted countless victims through the revolution and the establishment of the socialist order. Woslenski even speaks of at least 13 million, Heinsohn of 4 million. Numerous authors, including Hannah Arendt , Karl Popper , Friedrich August von Hayek and Zbigniew Brzeziński , accuse Lenin of at least facilitating the Soviet system's path to totalitarianism before the revolution through his concept of the elitist cadre party.

Although Lenin is regarded by his followers as one of the most important Marxist theorists and communist revolutionaries after Marx and Engels, some historians rank him among the great communist state criminals of the last century, along with Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot . These assessments meet with opposition from the defenders of Lenin, since in view of the turmoil of the revolution and civil war, the number of victims of this magnitude cannot be proven beyond doubt and the victims in the civil war cannot be attributed solely to the Bolsheviks under Lenin.

On the other hand, the objection is made that war and terror were not just means for the Bolsheviks, but rather structural principles of their government from the outset, which they neither could nor wanted to do without. According to Heinrich August Winkler  , “the first of the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century emerged from the upheaval that Lenin was largely responsible for during and after the October Revolution ”.

Wolfgang Leonhard takes a differentiated stance on the core question of the extent to which Lenin's relationship to political terror was unreservedly affirmative. On the one hand, Lenin affirmed and promoted terror to enforce the Bolsheviks' claim to power during the civil war, and precisely in his tightening of Marxist terminology, "the oppression of opponents and the use of dictatorial means were now at the center of his conception of the 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. “In the last phase of the civil war - that is, before its end - a“ clear change ”was recognizable in Lenin, which was aimed at“ reducing terror and the organs of oppression ”, and in March 1922 it was adopted resulted in wanting to move from the "All-Russian Cheka" to "state political courts". All in all, Lenin began in 1920 and 1921 to view Cheka, terror and the death penalty only as temporary combat measures and institutions during the civil war, which should be abolished and ceased after it was over.

In this context, Manfred Hildermeier sees the Bolsheviks under Lenin at a crossroads in the spring of 1921, after their victory in the civil war. Increasingly, within society and within the party, doubts about the course of political violence had been voiced. In the Kronstadt sailors' uprising of 1921, which was immediately suppressed , parts of their own base called for a "return to council democracy". However, this did not take place: “Lenin and Trotsky did not think of keeping old promises of October and risking more democracy,” instead the Cheka - after its only temporary dissolution - was reintroduced under the name of the GPU and received its most important “powers, deportation and Death penalty, back ”, so that the“ fundamental deformations as legacy of the October coup and the civil war ”were retained and permanently transferred to the new state order.

Lenin after the fall of the Soviet Union

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Lenin myth became less and less popular in Russia. According to a 2017 poll by Russian polling institute Levada Center , 32% of the Russian population said they were positive about Lenin's political legacy; thus he landed well behind Stalin and Putin . In 1989, 72% of those questioned had described him as an outstanding personality.

At a meeting with Russian scientists in Moscow in January 2016, President Putin drew a critical assessment of the communist leader: "Lenin placed an atom bomb under the building called Russia, and it then exploded."

On the occasion of Lenin's 150th birthday in 2020, a memorial was unveiled in his honor in Sayansk, Russia . In the same year a statue was erected in front of the party headquarters of the MLPD in Gelsenkirchen-Horst .

Cinematic reception

Works (selection)

Work editions

  • WI Lenin: Полное собрание сочинений ( Memento from December 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Collected Works (55 volumes), 5th edition (PDF, Russian).
  • VI Lenin. Complete Works. Only edition authorized by the Lenin Institute in Moscow. Transferred from the 2nd, supplemented and revised Russian edition, Vol. 3–8. 10, 13, 18-21. 25. Verlag für Literatur und Politik, Vienna 1927–1931.
  • VI Lenin: Works. (40 volumes, 2 supplementary volumes, index, comparative table of contents). Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 1956–1972 ISBN 3-320-00752-1 . "Translated into German after the fourth Russian edition"
  • VI Lenin: Letters. (10 volumes). Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 1967–1976, ISBN 3-320-00754-8 .
  • WI Lenin: brochure on the "Correspondence between Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 1844 - 1883". Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1963.
  • VI Lenin: Selected Works in Two Volumes. Volume I: 1884-1917. Dietz Verlag 1953.
  • VI Lenin: Selected Works in Two Volumes. Volume II: 1917-1923. Dietz Verlag 1953.
  • VI Lenin: Selected Works in Three Volumes. eighth edition. Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 1970.
  • VI Lenin: Selected Works in Six Volumes. Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 1970–1971, ISBN 3-320-00756-4 .


Web links

Commons : Lenin  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b collective: VI Lenin - biography. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1964.
  2. a b Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005, p. 16.
  3. ^ Robert Service : Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 88-89.
  4. Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror. Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 30-33, pp. 54 f.
  5. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 97-98.
  6. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 96, 107.
  7. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 102/103, 105.
  8. Dimitri Volkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror. Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 33, 38 f.
  9. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 110-112.
  10. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 113/114.
  11. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 121, 123/124.
  12. Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror ; Düsseldorf 1994, p. 40.
  13. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 137-139.
  14. Nicolas Werth : A state against its people. In: Stéphane Courtois et al .: The Black Book of Communism . 4th edition Munich 1998, pp. 140, 141.
  15. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 126.
  16. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 151.
  17. ^ A b Robert Service: Lenin: A biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 190-192.
  18. Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005, pp. 52-59.
  19. Lenin in Schwabing.
  20. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography . Beck, Munich 2000, p. 189.
  21. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 205/206.
  22. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 208/209.
  23. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 228/229.
  24. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 238.
  25. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 240/241.
  26. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 248.
  27. Helen Rappaport: Conspirator. Lenin in exile . Hutchinson, London 2009, ISBN 978-0-091-93093-6 , pp. 196-202.
  28. Michael David-Fox: Revolution of the mind. Higher learning among the Bolsheviks, 1918-1929 . Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1997, ISBN 0-8014-3128-X , pp. 27-35.
  29. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 278.
  30. Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror ; Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 354f
  31. Bernard Degen: Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  32. ^ Neue Zürcher Zeitung, June 7, 1951
  33. ^ Willi Gautschi: Lenin as an emigrant in Switzerland . Benziger, Zurich / Cologne 1973, p. 185.
  34. Adi Kälin: The Russian Revolutionary and the Spiesser In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung from February 22, 2017.
  35. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 305.
  36. ^ Robert Service: Lenin. A biography . Munich 2000, p. 311.
  37. ^ Hugh Seton-Watson: The Russian Empire 1801-1917 . Oxford 1967, p. 699.
  38. Werner Hahlweg: Lenin's journey through Germany in April 1917 . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, vol. 5 (1957) No. 4, p. 333 ( online , accessed on August 9, 2014).
  39. Werner Hahlweg: Lenin's journey through Germany in April 1917 . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, vol. 5 (1957) No. 4, p. 320 ( online , accessed on August 9, 2014)
  40. Werner Hahlweg: Lenin's journey through Germany in April 1917 . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, vol. 5 (1957) No. 4, p. 323 ( online , accessed on August 9, 2014).
  41. Quoted from Werner Hahlweg: Lenin's journey through Germany in April 1917 . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, vol. 5 (1957) No. 4, p. 325 ( online , accessed on August 9, 2014).
  42. ^ Alexander Rabinowitch: The Bolsheviks come to power. The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd , New York 1976, p. 14.
  43. Manfred Hildermeier : History of the Soviet Union 1917-1991. The rise and fall of the first socialist state . Munich 1998, p. 85; Alexander Rabinowitch: The Bolsheviks come to Power. The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd , New York 1976, p. 15 ff.
  44. ^ Committee on Public Information : The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy , Washington 1918. German as: The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy. 70 documents on the relations of the Bolsheviks to the German Army Command, large-scale industry and finance, together with a number of photographic reproductions , Bern 1919.
  45. Quoted from Eva Bettina Görtz (ed.): Eduard Bernstein's correspondence with Karl Kautsky (1912–1932) , Frankfurt am Main 2011, p. 86 (see also footnote 21, 22, 23 there).
  46. Semion Lyandres: The Bolsheviks' "German Gold" Revisited. An Inquiry into the 1917 Accusations , Pittsburgh 1995 (The Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies, No. 1106), pp. 102, 104.
  47. See Alexander Rabinowitch: The Bolsheviks come to Power. The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd , New York 1976, p. 14.
  48. ^ Robert Service, Lenin, p. 387 f.
  49. ^ Rex A. Wade: The Russian Revolution 1917 , Cambridge 2005, p. 194.
  50. ^ Rolf HW Theen: Lenin. Genesis and Development of a Revolutionary . Princeton University Press, Princeton 1973, ISBN 069105289-1 , p. 126 ff. (Accessed via De Gruyter Online); Manfred Hildermeier : The Russian Revolution 1905–1921. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989, p. 159 ff.
  51. Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror ; Düsseldorf 1994, p. 133.
  52. Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror ; Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 133-141
  53. Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror : Düsseldorf 1994, p. 141.
  54. a b c Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror. Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 140-146.
  55. Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005, p. 159.
  56. Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005, pp. 161-163.
  57. Quoted from Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005 p. 163; Original text in English : “All hopes for a peaceful development of the Russian revolution have vanished for good. This is the objective situation: either complete victory for the military dictatorship or victory for the workers' armed uprising. "
  58. Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005, pp. 191-192.
  59. Gerd Koenen: The color red. Origins and history of communism . Beck, Munich 2017, p. 792 ff .; the same: game for world power. Germany and the Russian Revolution . In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 67, Heft 34–36 (2017), p. 19 ( online ), accessed on October 21, 2017.
  60. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 566, 572.
  61. Victor Klemperer : “I want to give testimony to the last.” Volume 1: Diaries 1933–1945 . Aufbau-Verlag Berlin 1995. ISBN 3-351-02340-5 . P. 733, note on p. 266.
  62. ^ Robert Service: Lenin. A biography . Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2000. ISBN 0-674-00330-6 . P. 443.
  63. Nina Tumarkin: Lenin Lives !: The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia , Harvard University Press 1997, ISBN 978-0-674-52431-6 . P. 112.
  64. ^ Robert Service: Lenin: A Biography. CH Beck, Munich 2000, pp. 573-576.
  65. ^ V. Lerner, Y. Finkelstein and Witztum: The enigma of Lenin's (1870-1924) malady . In: European Journal of Neurology, 11: 371-376
  66. Manfred Hildermeier: Russian Revolution. Frankfurt a. M. 2004 pp. 81-83.
  67. Evan Mawdsley : The Russian Civil War. Edinburgh 2005, p. 277.
  68. a b Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005, p. 251.
  69. Evan Mawdsley : The Russian Civil War. Edinburgh 2005, p. 81; Original text in English : "organize immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, as well as former officers, etc."
  70. Evan Mawdsley : The Russian Civil War. Edinburgh 2005, pp. 81-82.
  71. ^ VI Lenin: Letter to the American Workers. August 20, 1918.
  72. a b Wolfgang Leonhard: The triad split of Marxism. Origin and Development of Soviet Marxism, Maoism & Reform Communism. Düsseldorf / Vienna 1979, p. 115.
  73. Peter Schreibert: Lenin in Power - The Russian People in the Revolution 1918–1922. Weinheim, 1984, p. 99. (English translation of the letter)
  74. a b Dimitri Volkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror. Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 391-401.
  75. Gerd Koenen: The color red. Origins and history of communism . Beck, Munich 2017, p. 821.
  76. Nicolas Werth: A state against its people. In: Stéphane Courtois et al .: The Black Book of Communism. 4th edition Munich 1998, p. 142 f .; Quote: p. 143.
  77. Lenin's secret letter of March 19, 1922, quoted from Gerd Stricker: Religion in Russia. Gütersloh 1993, p. 84 f.
  78. Dimitri Volkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror. Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 374-377, 385-387.
  79. Dimitri Wolkogonow: Lenin - Utopia and Terror. Düsseldorf 1994, pp. 374-377, 379-380.
  80. Wolfgang Leonhard: The triad split of Marxism. Origin and Development of Soviet Marxism, Maoism & Reform Communism. Düsseldorf / Vienna 1979, p. 108.
  81. Jörg Baberowski : The red terror. Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn 2007, p. 45.
  82. a b Christopher Read: Lenin. Abingdon 2005, pp. 217-219.
  83. Manfred Hildermeier: Russian Revolution. Frankfurt a. M. 2004, p. 69.
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