Read Lenin: A Revolutionary Life Online
Authors: Christopher Read
‘An excellent biography, which captures the real Lenin – part intel
lectual professor, part ruthless and dogmatic politician.’
Geoffrey Swain, University of the West of England
‘A fascinating book about a gigantic historical figure. Christopher Read is an accomplished scholar and superb writer who has produced a first-rate study that is courageous, original in its insights, and deeply humane.’
Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University
Vladimir Il’ich Ulyanov, known as Lenin was an enigmatic leader, a resolute and audacious politician who had an immense impact on twentieth-century world history. Lenin’s life and career have been at the centre of much ideological debate for many decades. The post-Soviet era has seen a revived interest and re-evaluation of the Russian Revolution and Lenin’s legacy.
This new biography gives a fresh and original account of Lenin’s personal life and political career. Christopher Read draws on a broad range of primary and secondary sources, including material made available in the glasnost and post-Soviet eras. 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; and his ‘populist’ instincts.
This biography is an excellent and reliable introduction to one of the key figures of the Russian Revolution and post-Tsarist Russia.
Christopher Read is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Warwick. He is author of From Tsar to Soviets: The Russian People and Their Revolution, 1917–21 (1996), Culture and Power in Revolutionary Russia (1990) and The Making and Breaking of the Soviet System (2001).
Series Editor: Robert Pearce
Routledge Historical Biographies provide engaging, readable and academically credible biographies written from an explicitly histori
cal perspective. These concise and accessible accounts will bring important historical figures to life for students and general readers alike.
In the same series:
Bismarck by Edgar Feuchtwanger Churchill by Robert Pearce Gladstone by Michael Partridge Henry VII by Sean Cunningham Henry VIII by Lucy Wooding Hitler by Martyn Housden Jinnah by Sikander Hayat Martin Luther King Jr. by Peter J. Ling Mary Queen of Scots by Retha Warnicke Martin Luther by Michael Mullet Mao by Michael Lynch Mussolini by Peter Neville Nehru by Ben Zachariah Emmeline Pankhurst by Paula Bartley Richard III by Ann Kettle Franklin D. Roosevelt by Stuart Kidd Stalin by Geoffrey Roberts Trotsky by Ian Thatcher Mary Tudor by Judith Richards
First published 2005 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.
“To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.”
© 2005 Christopher Read
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Read, Christopher, 1946– Lenin : a revolutionary life / by Christopher Read.-- 1st ed.
p. cm. --(Routledge historical biographies
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Lenin, Vladimir Il’ich, 1870-1924--Juvenile literature.
literature. I. Title. II. Series. DK254.L455R43 2005 947.084'1'092--dc22
ISBN 0-203-64479-4 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN 0-203-67416-2 (Adobe eReader Format)
ISBN 0–415–20648–0 (hbk) ISBN 0–415–20649–9 (pbk)
1 Choosing revolution
2 Laying the foundations of Leninism (1896–1902)
3 Constructing Leninism
4 Imperialism, war and revolution
5 From the Finland station to the Winter Palace
6 From classroom to laboratory – early experiments
7 Revolutionary war
8 Re-evaluation, succession and testament
Conclusion: Lenin lived! Lenin lives! Lenin will live forever!
|(between pages 180 and 181)|
|1||The Ulyanov family in Simbirsk, 1879, Vladimin is bottom right|
|2||Lenin as a university student, 1891|
|3||Lenin and the Petersburg League of Struggle, 1895. Lenin is in|
|the centre seated behind the table|
|4||Forged passport, 1917|
|5||Lenin sitting at his desk, c. 1921|
|6||Lenin, Krupskaya and children on a bench, 1922|
|7||Lenin in a wheelchair, 1923|
|8||Crowd at Lenin’s funeral, 1924. The cult begins|
|9||Lenin’s work goes on – Pravda editors at work (Bukharin and|
|Maria Ulyanova, Lenin’s sister), 1925|
Many people have helped me understand something of Lenin and develop my ideas about him, especially colleagues, visitors and students in the History Department of the University of Warwick and at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies in Birmingham. I am deeply indebted to them all. While my ideas differ from theirs (and theirs differ from each other) two people I initially met as my teachers have exerted a lasting influence over the subsequent decades. James White, at Glasgow, opened up what were, for me, hidden aspects of the Russian Revolution and the creative differences we have had since con
tinue to stimulate. The influence of the late Leonard Schapiro also looms large over this study. His sharply critical but well-founded and path-breaking studies remain a model of liberal scholarship.
This volume was initially commissioned by Heather McCallum who has since left Routledge. She did, however, have a decisive influence on its emergence. When I signed up to write it I was attracted by two aspects above all: the challenge, for a temperamentally and unfashionably structuralist historian like myself, of writing about an individual and secondly the fact that no up-to-date one-volume scholarly study of Lenin’s life had been published for nearly two decades. However, the ink had hardly dried on the contract when I attended a study day in London for college students studying the Russian Revolution. During a break between lectures I was leaning on the imposing lectern in the hallowed Victorian lecture theatre of the Royal Institution. I turned to my two friends and fellow speakers asking them about the progress of their current research. Beryl Williams replied that she was in the throes of completing her one-volume biography of Lenin. Robert Service said he was nearing completion of his one-volume life of Lenin which was complementary to his three-volume political biography. Beryl’s excellent book came out some months later and Bob’s heavyweight tome went on to win prizes and appear in many ‘book of the year’ lists in the cultural journals. In the meantime, knowing by then that James White was also working on his biography of Lenin, I went back to Heather and pointed out that, apart from mine, there were at least three other
s in preparation. Was it worth continuing? ‘Why ever not?’, she replied.
‘There are sixteen Gladstones out there being written.’ Only the reader will judge whether she was right to encourage me.
Since Heather’s departure Vicky Peters has been a friendly, supportive and patient editor. I am, above all, indebted to Robert Pearce, the series editor, for very helpful and detailed comments on the first draft and also to Dan Orlovsky and Geoff Swain who have made many pertinent, penetrating, helpful, positive and supportive observations on the typescript. Despite all their efforts to put me right there will still be errors and misunderstandings. These are entirely my responsibility.
|Year||Lenin's Life||Russian Events||World Events|
|1870||born in Simbirsk (10/22 April)|
|1871||Germany unified; German Empire proclaimed|
|1881||Tsar Alexander II assassinated|
|1886||father dies; Alexander Ulyanov arrested for terrorist offences; takes school leaving exams and enters Kazan University|
|1887||Alexander Ulyanov executed (May); expelled from university|
|1892||awarded first-class degree in law from University of St Petersburg|
|1893||first pamphlet published|
|1895||first foreign journey; returns to help found League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class; first arrest (December)|
|1896||spends the year in prison|
|1897||exiled to Shushenskoe in Siberia|
|1898||marries Nadezhda Krupskaya||Russian Social Democratic Labour Party founded in Minsk|
Year Lenin's Life Russian Events World Events
|1899||Development of Capitalism in Russia published|
|1900||returns from Siberia||first issue of Iskra|
|(January) and leaves for western Europe (July); lives in Munich||published; Liberation movement, later Constitutional|
|Democratic Party (Kadets), set up|
|1901||Krupskaya joins Lenin; pseudonym ‘Lenin’ used for first time||Socialist Revolutionary (SR) Party founded|
|1902||What is to be Done?|
|1903||with Krupskaya moves to London and later Geneva||Second Party Congress held in Brussels and|
|1904||One Step Forward: Two Steps Back published|
|1905||Two Tactics of Social||revolution in|
|Democracy in the Democratic Revolution published; returns to Russia (November); goes into hiding (December)||Russia; Bloody Sunday (January); October Manifesto; Moscow Uprising (December)|
|1906||remains in hiding making frequent forays into Russia from||Duma system set up; First Duma elected|
|1907||leaves Finland and||Second Duma|
|returns to western Europe (December)||disbanded; Third Duma elected on limited franchise|
|1908||with Krupskaya settles in Geneva|
Russo–Japanese War begins
Treaty of Portsmouth ends Russo–Japanese War
Russian Events World Events
|1909||Materialism and Empiriocriticism published; with Krupskaya moves to Paris; meets Inessa Armand|
|1912||with Krupskaya moves to Poland||Prague Conference of Bolsheviks; Pravda first First Balkan War|
|published; Fourth Duma elected|
|1913||Second Balkan War|
|1914||with Krupskaya leaves Poland for Switzerland||First World War begins; Second Socialist International|
|1915||hopelessly split over war Zimmerwald Conference|
|1916||completes Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline; first published in truncated version in||Brusilov offensive Kienthal Conference; battles of Somme, Jutland and Verdun|
|1917||returns to Russia and proclaims his April Theses; flees to Finland after July Days; writes State and||February Revolution; July Days; Kornilov affair; October Revolution United States enters First World War|
|Revolution; takes part in October Revolution; becomes head of the new Soviet state||proclaims soviet power; Constituent Assembly elected|
Year Lenin's Life Russian Events World Events
|1918||Lenin, and Soviet government, move to Moscow Kremlin; writes Immediate Tasks of the Soviet||Constituent Assembly disbanded; Civil War flares up (July)||Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ends war on eastern front (March); armistice on western front|
|Government (March) signalling shift to ‘iron discipline’||(November)|
|1919||Civil War at its peak||Communist International|
|(Comintern) founded; Versailles Conference (Russia excluded)|
|1920||Whites virtually defeated; war with Poland; Tambov Uprising|
|1921||dominates Tenth Party Congress; NEP adopted||Tenth Party Congress; Kronstadt Uprising|
|1922||suffers first stroke (May) and second in December||Stalin appointed General Secretary of Communist Party|
|1923||composes the various elements of his so-called Last Testament; last article, ‘Better Fewer but Better’, is written (March); suffers third stroke||Soviet Union (USSR) formally established|
|1924||dies (21 January)|