Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and the founder of the Soviet Union, is one of the most influential and controversial figures in history. But did you know that he did not hold any formal position of power in the new state? That’s right, Lenin was not the leader of the state or the party, but the chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, which was the executive branch of the government. He did not have any constitutional authority over the legislative branch, the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, or the supreme governing body, the Central Executive Committee. He also did not have any control over the Communist Party, which was led by a collective leadership of the Central Committee and the Politburo.
So how did Lenin manage to rule Soviet Russia for six years and two months, from November 1917 to January 1924, when he died? The answer is that he relied on his personal charisma, his revolutionary prestige, and his ability to persuade and compromise with other party leaders. Lenin was a master of political maneuvering, who could change his tactics and even his principles depending on the situation. He was not a saint, but a politician, who made mistakes and committed crimes. He faced many challenges and oppositions from within and outside the party, and he had to deal with the civil war, the economic crisis, and the foreign intervention.
Lenin’s last days were a nightmare of pain, frustration and despair. He suffered several strokes in his last years and became increasingly isolated from the political scene. He tried to warn his comrades about the dangers of bureaucracy, factionalism, and Stalin’s ambition, but his words were ignored or distorted. He died on January 21, 1924, at the age of 53, leaving behind a legacy that still shapes Russian politics today. He created the model of a one-party dictatorship, a cult of personality, and a centralized state.
Lenin’s life and death are still a source of fascination and debate for historians, scholars, and the public. His body is preserved in a mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square, where millions of people have visited him over the years. His image is displayed on monuments, statues, and posters all over the country. His ideas are studied and interpreted by different schools of thought and ideologies. His museum is a place where history and art meet, where visitors can learn about the past and reflect on the present.
Lenin was not the formal ruler of Soviet Russia, but he was the informal leader of a revolution that changed the world. He was a man of contradictions, who inspired admiration and hatred, admiration and fear, loyalty and betrayal. He was a man who made history, and history made him.
– Lenin didn’t formally rule Soviet Russia, by Boris Egorov, published on April 22, 2020
– How Lenin’s legacy still shapes Russian politics, by Andrei Kolesnikov, published on April 21, 2023
– Lenin’s last days: How the Soviet leader spent his final months in agony, by Will Stewart, published on April 20, 2023
– The Lenin Museum: A relic of the Soviet past or a symbol of the future?, by Anastasia Manuilova, published on April 19, 2023