• Late 19th early 20ths
    • Russia Is Czarist state: they are conservative
    • Caused hostility in peasant society
    • Still an unindustrialized, agrarian society, serfdom
    • Destabilizing wars
    • 1904-1905: Russo-Japanese war humiliates Russia
    • 1905 Revolution: protest to petition at Winter Palace, ended in a massacre of 150 people
    • October Manifesto permitted to establish the Duma and grant rights, not respected by Czar
    • WWI: Czar defends ally Serbia triggering world war despite not having the technology for modern warfare
    • Logistic failures, loss of life and starvation led to later revolutions
    • Army turned against the Czars, leading to the fall of the Czar and his abdication
    • Provisional government overthrown by Bolsheviks
  • Early life
    • Born 1870
    • Middle class family, received good education
    • Studied law, during his studies his brother was arrested and executed for an assassination attempt on the Czar
    • Expelled and exiled after a year in university, became more vocal Marxist
    • Received a law degree and moved to Samara
    • Moved to St. Petersburg and convened with revolutionaries, exiled to Serbia
    • Worked on the Iskra Marxist newspaper in Munich
  • Revolution
    • Did not find the reform sufficient
    • 1912: Bolshevik Menshevik split
    • WWI: Lenin stayed in Geneva and returned because of Feburary Revolution
    • Wanted Soviet Marxist government
    • 1917: October Revolution: Lenin overthrows government, civil war ensues between red Bolsheviks and nobility-backed whites
    • Begins measures to eliminate opposition
  • Later years and death
    • Suffered three rehabilitating strokes
    • Dies in 1924 and succeeded by Stalin



  • Bridge between Capitalism and socialism
    • Hard to implement Marx’s views
    • Proletariat was actually improving
    • Cites imperialism as a new form of exploitation that explained increase in quality of life
    • Russia still feudal, there could be no phase of proletariat revolution
    • No proletariat, so he creates a vanguard of intellectuals who would convince the people and use violence
    • Called the Vanguard
    • Highly-trained intellectually dedicated force
    • Provide necessary leadership (top down change)
    • Allowed Russia to transition from feudalism to socialism without capitalism
  • Need to adapt Marxism
    • Phases of Marxism: Tribal > Ancient > Feudal > Capitalist > Socialist > Communist
    • Leninism used this as a guide to his revolution
    • Leninism is unleashed upon Russia, Germans send him back to destabilize Russia
    • Adjusted Marxism in 1917 Russia, through the lens of Marxism it was in the feudal phase
    • No large industrialization, which was prerequisite for Marx’s proletarian revolution
    • Imperialism was the answer to why the proletariat was not dissatisfied
    • Imperialism was a global form of capitalism, therefore impossible in colonized revolutions
    • 1917: Lenin thought the WWI showed capitalism was in its final stage, mutual annihilation, capitalist destroying itself
    • Saw the Feburary Revolution as the dictatorship of the bourgeoise, enough to say it was a capitalist country
    • Dictatorship of the proletariat not possible without proletariat, his solution was democratic centralism ruled by the communist party (partocratic regime in the name of proletariat)
    • Important elements of the socialist phase were education, industrialization, world revolution
    • Education: indoctrinate the youth and educate people to become proletariat
    • Industrialization: Would create the proletariat, enabled a war industry in WWII
    • World revolution: Communism should be exported and inspired in other countries: Hungary, Berlin, suppression of communism
    • Russian politics wanted socialism under one state, and consolidated communist states within the U.S.S.R
  • Violence
    • Believed in violent revolution as a necessary evil
    • Ensures royal family slaughtered to end legitimacy to the old regime
  • Government
    • Democratic centralism: centralized economy and government
    • Party rule to prevent dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and allow proletariat rule
    • Wanted to spread this movement to other countries, created the Communist International
    • Government determined how to distribute resources to those that needed it
    • Centralized, planned economy
    • Believed workers would voluntarily work towards centralized economy
  • Society

    • Breakdown of class distinctions
    • Access to education to allow indoctrination



  • Spread of communism
    • Spreads to other authoritarian regimes
    • Lenin-Marxism became an agrarian plan
    • Established first communist state
  • WWI

    • Put in place the mechanisms to modernize Russia’s economy
    • Allowed Russia to have the military needed to be a power in the second World War


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