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Lenin's Revolution Essay

895 words - 4 pages

Lenin's Revolution

At the start of the 20th century, the ruling Tsar of Russia had absolute power and his Government was corrupt, hence, the majority of the people were against him. Vladimir Ilich Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks Socialist Party wanted a revolution to overthrow the Government. Relative to these times, it was Lenin who directed the course of the oncoming Russian October Revolution.

The outbreak of the unrest, in January 1905, found Lenin anxious to set down a novel strategy for revolution: the need for the proletariat (the working class) to win "hegemony" in the democratic revolution. He flatly declared to both major political parties of the time (the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) that the proletariat was the driving force of the revolution and that its only reliable ally was the peasantry. He branded the bourgeoisie as hopelessly counterrevolutionary and too cowardly to make their own revolution. However, after the defeat of the Revolution of 1905, Lenin was forced into exile from 1907 to 1917. He found serious challenges to his policies not only from the Menshevik party (formed by the dissatisfied minority of the intelligentsia) but within his own faction as well. The combination of repression and modest reform effected by the tsarist regime led to a decline of party membership (Merringer 79). Disillusionment and despair in the chances of successful revolution swept the dwindled party ranks, rent by controversies over tactics and philosophy. Attempts to unite the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions came to naught, all breaking on Lenin's intransigent insistence that his conditions for reunification be adopted. Yet, throughout the struggle, Lenin?s directing force was still felt by both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. As one Menshevik opponent described Lenin,
There is no other man who is absorbed by the revolution twenty-four hours a day, who has no other thoughts but the thought of revolution, and who even when he sleeps, dreams of nothing but revolution. (Tybursky 182)

Placing revolution above party unity, Lenin would accept no unity compromise if he thought it might delay, not accelerate the revolution. This makes it quite apparent that without Lenin; there may have not been a revolution. He clearly pushed its commencement.

Ten years in exile had not swayed Lenin?s determination to create and direct a powerful revolution. Lenin returned to Russia from exclusion in February 1917, believing that the time was ripe to seize power. The Russian economy was in ruin after the army was nearly defeated and the people exhausted as a result of the First World War. The country was in an unstable state, suitable for a revolution (Levinthal 119). Around October 20, Lenin, in...

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