In the same vein, it will be apt to discuss about another champion of communism - Vladimir Lenin. It would be worthwhile to note that Lenin was in power in the erstwhile USSR only for a period of less than six years. Yet, he has made a profound impact on Russia and the world, and the followers of communism (I'm not one of them).
To start with his birth, Lenin was not born as Lenin. He was born as Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov on 22nd April 1870. The Russians and the communists commemorated his 141st birth anniversary yesterday.
Lenin was considered as an intelligent boy from his younger days. However, events over a period time resulted in Lenin becoming a leader with radical thoughts.
It all started with the assassination of his elder brother in 1887. His brother participated in an attempt to kill the Russian Tsar and was hanged. His sister was also arrested with his brother before his death. His father had died just an year back, and all these events had a deep impact on Lenin's mind and triggered an revolutionary outlook within himself.
Lenin studied Karl Marx in his Law course. And later he went on to profess about his own theory of communism - known as Leninism. As a student, he participated in student riots and was arrested too.
While he was exiled in Siberia in 1898, he married a lady by the name Nadezhda Krupskaya. She herself was a socialist. At the end of his exile in 1990, he moved onto various countries in western Europe. And in 1902, he adopted the name Lenin - inspired by the Lena river in Siberia.
What did Leninism propose?
The below quotes by Lenin would give you an idea about his radical thoughts.
“A lie told often enough becomes truth."
“One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”
What was it that possibly triggered the these radical thoughts in Lenin's mind? It was possibly the Bloody Sunday - when 92 people were killed while marching to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg at the possible orders of the Tsar.
You can understand Lenin's opposition to capitalism with his quote below.
“Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.”
All along, since the early part of the decade(1900 - 1915), Lenin was a member of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He was a part of the Bolshevik faction.
In the middle of the World War I, the Russian Tsar Nicholas was forced to abdicate the throne. A provisional government had taken over. With the beginning of the revolutions in Russia, Lenin came back to his country from Europe.
However, the provisional government faced riots and a coup in its nascent stages. And finally, it was overthrown in October 1917 - resulting in the creation of Bolshevik Government in Russia.
Lenin became the head of the Government. And he went on to create Socialist Russia.
And after assuming power, he created what is known as the Cheka - a.k.a the extraordinary commission. It was some sort of secret service. It gave the Bolshevik's total control on all media platforms. It opposed non-Bolshevik soviets. It suppressed media freedom. Net in net, it supported Lenin in creating a totalitarian regime.
Lenin escaped an assignation attempt in August 1918. Later, he ordered shooting of several Tsarist ministers and civil servants. It is also alleged that he had earlier ordered the killing of the last Russian Tsar - Nicholas Romanov and his family in Ekaterinburg in July 1918.
The Russian Civil war which commenced after the collapse of the provisional government in 1917 continued till 1921. With the difference of opinion between the Lenin led Bolshevik's and the anti-Bolshevik faction (known as White Russians), the war continued resulting a lot of destruction and death. Some countries to supported the White Russians and all this further strengthened the totalitarian regime supported by Lenin.
Learning lessons from this mayhem, he worked on implementing a New Economic Policy, a significant deviation from socialism.
However, his own brand of extremism had spawned a set of leaders like him - among whom was Josef Stalin. Stalin was the General Secretary of the Communist Party since 1922. Surprisingly, Lenin was not happy with the "unlimited authority" available with Stalin, since he himself was a totalitarian leader.
And at an young age of 53, Lenin died on 21 Jan, 1924. Just six days later, Lenin's body was embalmed and rested at Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow. And till this date, it stands there on the Red Square, just behind the centre of Russian power - The Kremlin.
What we now know as the city of St. Petersburg was known as Petrograd in those days. And immediately after Lenin's death, it was renamed Leningrad in his honor - and that was the case till 1991.
Just yesterday, hundreds of communists in Russia laid flowers at his mausoleum in Moscow, Russia. And astonishingly, in Tajikistan - an ex-Soviet nation, workers began pulling down the biggest statue of Lenin in Central Asia to move it to another place. Read the news here.
And more than 90 years after his death, Lenin continues to inspires scores of communists and socialists around the world.