When you come to Russia, you will probably notice, how often the name of Lenin is used here. Almost every city has Lenin street or Lenin Avenue, somewhere there are universities, libraries, cultural centers of the name of Lenin. But why? Who is this person and what did he do for Russia?
Well, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870 – 1924) was a great statesman, the leader of two revolutions, the head of the first state in the world history based on socialist doctrine (Soviet Union), and the influential politician of his time. Also, he was a thinker, the ideological ally of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and, in general, the teacher and leader of the working people of the whole world!
The mystery of pseudonym
By the way, “Lenin” is not a real surname of this person. In fact, he is Ulyanov, but nobody knows exactly, why he chose this pseudonym. The first version is connected with the name of big Russian river Lena. Another legend says, that friends helped Vladimir to leave the country and provided him a passport of another man, whose surname was Lenin, so someone else’s name became his pseudonym.
Childhood and youth
He was born in Simbirsk (not your must-see place in Russia). His father was an inspector and principal of public schools, and mother got a good home education and then entirely devoted herself to the upbringing of children. The elder brother, Alexander, was executed for taking part in the preparation for the assassination of Emperor Alexander III in 1887, while none of his family members knew about his revolutionary spirit.
Firstly, Vladimir received home education – the family spoke several languages and attached great importance to discipline, which was strictly controlled by mother. Later he studied at the local gymnasium. After graduating from high school with an excellent certificate, Lenin entered the Kazan University, but was arrested, expelled from the university and from the city due to the active participation in the revolutionary students’ assembly. Since that time Lenin devoted his whole life to the struggle against capitalism, to the liberation of the working people from exploitation. A decisive role in shaping Lenin’s worldview was played by works of Marx and Engels. He studied them and discussed with like-minded people. Subsequently, Lenin externally passed the examinations for a lawyer and became the youngest lawyer of the Russian Empire – he turned 21 just.
Leaving his native Simbirsk, he began to study political economy and to be interested in social democracy. The future leader traveled widely throughout Europe; on his return he founded the Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. That is why revolutionary was arrested and exiled to the Yenisei province, where he not only wrote most of his work, but also met his future wife N. Krupskaya. After exile, Lenin began publishing the magazine “Zarya” (“Dawn” as a metaphor – the birth of something new and light) and the newspaper “Iskra” (“Spark” – the ideas, which can cause the fire in society).
Mature years – political activity
For some time, Lenin lived in Munich and published “Iskra” there. In London he organized the first congress of the RSDLP, and then moved to Geneva. During the first Russian revolution (from 1905 to 1907), Lenin lived in Switzerland, but after the arrest of all its instigators, Lenin headed the party. Despite the constant travel, the decade from the first to the second revolution was very successful for Lenin: he published the newspaper “Pravda” (“The truth”), worked on the preparation of the February insurrection, and after – the October revolution, which ended with the victory of the proletariat.
It was Lenin who reached an agreement with Germany on peace during the First World War, softened domestic policy, created conditions for private trade, and regulated the land tenure system. Under his leadership, the Red Army was founded, and in 1922 – a whole new state called the USSR appeared on the world map. Lenin also introduced an initiative for widespread electrification and insisted on a legislative settlement of terror.
The death (and life after death)
Then the health of the leader of the proletariat suddenly deteriorated and he died after a two-year illness. People really respected and loved him; they hung his portrait and posters on the walls, monuments were erected all over the country and numerous infrastructure facilities were renamed. Subsequently, a lot of books and films for children and adults were devoted to the life of Vladimir Lenin, who was always painted exclusively in positive colors. And his quote “Study, study and study again” was on posters in every school.
Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow
The body of the leader was embalmed and placed in the Mausoleum on Red Square in Moscow on the orders of Stalin. Now it is opened for tourists, but only 3 hours a day and 5 days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday from 10-00 to 13-00). There are a dim lighting and absolute silence inside the mausoleum. The room is decorated in black and red colors. It is difficult to look at the details because of the faint light. To photograph and shoot video is forbidden. Visiting the mausoleum is absolutely free.
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