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Russian Personalities

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Vladimir Lenin – Leader of the proletarian revolution

Vladimir Lenin - Leader of the proletarian revolution

Vladimir Lenin – Leader of the proletarian revolution


Vladimir Ulyanov, known around the world under the pseudonym “Lenin”, was one of the most controversial figures in Russian history the late XIX – early XX centuries. For some, he is – the personification of the evil of the world, for someone – the greatest theorist and revolutionist. Who was he – a man who sincerely tried to find the path to a brighter socialist future or a clever politician who knew how to keep his nose in the wind?
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was born on April 22, 1870, in Simbirsk. His father, Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, was an inspector of schools, who did everything possible to help working people to get a good education. Lenin’s mother, Maria Alexandrovna, knew French, German and English and was a very good pianist.
Vladimir had two brothers, Alexander and Dmitry, and three sisters, Anna, Olga, and Maria.
Vladimir’s mother taught him how to read when he was still very young. She also taught him music, which he loved for the whole of his life. But he was most interested in reading and history, and in the life of the people around him.

When he was nine, he entered the gymnasium 3 and became an excellent student. He always listened in class and did his homework. In the evening at home he always finished his homework before reading his favorite book or going to play in the garden. And he not only studied very well himself, he also helped others, especially a poor man who had to work and could not go to the gymnasium.
Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin


In 1886 the Ulyanovs lost their father, and as Alexander, the eldest brother, was in St. Petersburg, Vladimir had to help his mother with his younger brother and sisters. Alexander was hanged in 1887 for his revolutionary activity, Vladimir also had revolutionary ideas, but he said: “That is not our way; we shall go another way.”
The way he chose was the Socialism taught by Marx and Engels, whose works he studied. He wished to free the working people from the capitalists and to build a happy life for all the workers and their children.
When Vladimir had finished his studies at the gymnasium, the director did not want to award a gold medal to the brother of a revolutionary. But it was impossible not to give a gold medal to such a good student, and so, when Vladimir left the gymnasium, he entered the University of Kazan. There he took an active part in students’ demonstrations, and soon he was expelled from the university and sent away to live in the village of Kokushkino. Now he could not enter any university. However, in 1891 he passed the state examination and graduated from St. Petersburg University.
Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin


Vladimir and his sister Maria spent much time with their revolutionary comrades teaching the workers Socialism, organizing Marxist groups and preparing them to fight to free the workers from capitalism.
In 1917, the Communist Party of Russia, which Lenin had organized, and the workers of Russia won the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution. And Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was their leader.
Lenin worked non-stop for his cause and comrades, he would eventually live to usher in the Revolution, but not to save it from those who would manipulate it to further their own ends. The very events that enabled him and his party to come to power would eventually take their toll on his personal health, reducing him, in a few years, from an active Bolshevik to an invalid.
During the October Revolution and the ensuing civil war in Russia, Lenin worked almost continuously under huge pressure. Society was re-fashioning itself in his image and Lenin’s obligations to that society could not but exhaust him. He was everywhere at once: guiding, threatening, maneuvering, cajoling and, of course, leading the masses.
Lenin and the cat

Lenin and the cat


When he was just past 50, he began to show symptoms of cerebrospinal sclerosis. This disease was compounded by his grueling daily schedule, as well as the lasting physical effects of Fanny Kaplan’s 1918 assassination attempt on his life.
Yet, in spite of his worsening condition, Lenin remained firmly in control as the idealized father of the Party, the one human being who could maintain a firm hold over the Party’s numerous, quarreling and ambitious revolutionaries. Yet his illness became increasingly pronounced, and Lenin was forced to move to Gorky, a retreat near Moscow. He took up residence there on December 13, 1922. Hoping for a quick return to the Kremlin, he refused to give in to his doctors’ wishes and retire from politics. During his first days at Gorky, Lenin worked several hours a day, but frequent and acute pains, as well as a heightening exhaustion, compelled him to limit his activity first to 15, and then 10 minutes a day. He used that time to dictate articles and letters to his devoted sister, Maria Ulyanova and to his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya.
Vladimir Lenin and Nadezhda Krupskaya

Vladimir Lenin and Nadezhda Krupskaya


In these final years, Lenin was especially concerned with the problem of naming a political heir. Lenin had achieved Party leadership because the people considered him to be the living embodiment of the Bolshevik cause, in all its flaws and virtues.
On March 9, 1923, Lenin suffered a severe stroke, or cerebral thrombosis. After his right leg and arm were paralyzed, his consciousness dimmed and he lost the ability to speak. Leading German and Swedish neurologists and hematologists were asked to treat Lenin. Special news bulletins were issued on a daily basis, keeping the whole country informed about Lenin’s health.
By the autumn of 1923, Lenin began to show signs of improvement; he was able to communicate by means of gesticulation and he even regained his motor skills somewhat. Hopeful that Lenin would pull through, the entire USSR was shocked to hear of his death on the evening of January 21, 1924.
Exhibiting methods that would soon become ritual, Joseph Stalin was lead pallbearer of Lenin’s coffin and spoke eloquently at the graveside of the man he had, slyly, helped to eliminate.
With Lenin safely dead, the path to power was clear.
(From Russian life, May 1997)
Lenin and Stalin

Lenin and Stalin


Lenin in London
In 1902 and 1903 Lenin worked on the Russian working-class newspaper Iskra. He left England after a year, but went back to London in July, 1903, for the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, in 1905 for the Third Congress, and in 1907 for the Fifth Congress.
In 1908 he worked for two months in the library of the British Museum to prepare one of his most important books. This was his last visit to London. In a book about Lenin, his wife, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, told of Lenin’s life in London, of his interest in the life of the working people there. When Lenin saw how different were the London of the rich and the London of the poor, he said that London had two different worlds, the world of the rich and the world of the poor workers.
Not far from the offices of the Communist newspaper, the Morning Star, in London is the building, in which Lenin worked on the Iskra in 1902 and 1903. This house is now Marx House, a memorial to Marx and Lenin.
Zhukov Nikolai. Lenin and children

Zhukov Nikolai. Lenin and children


Assassination attempts on Lenin’s life

On January 14 (January 1, old style), 1918 there was the first assassination attempt on Lenin’s life. Lenin, his sister and a friend of Lenin, the Swiss figure of the international communist movement and the socialist Friedrich Platt were in the car which was fired on by unknown. Platt was wounded. Only after several years Prince Ivan Shakhovskoy took responsibility for the assassination attempt, he gave half a million rubles for this purpose.

Mid-January 1918
About the second planned attempt became known when a soldier who introduced himself as a Knight of St. George Spiridonov came to Bonch-Bruevich. The soldier said that he was offered 20 thousand rubles in gold to hunt down and, if possible, kill the head of the Soviet government. It was found out that it was the Union of Knights of St. George in Petrograd who wanted to see the leader dead. On January 22, 1918 security officers raided on the organizers. Participants were taken red-handed: there were rifles, revolvers, hand bombs in the apartment.

August 30, 1918
The most famous assassination attempt on Lenin’s life was after his speech at the Michelson Moscow plant. After finishing the meeting, Lenin was going to sit in the car when three shots were made. Lenin was severely wounded. Doctors discovered he had a dangerous shot in the neck, under the jaw, the blood got into the lungs. The second bullet hit him in the arm, and a woman talking with Lenin at the beginning of shots was wounded by the third bullet.

Fanny Caplan

Fanny Caplan


According to the official version, it was Fanny Kaplan, who fully admitted her guilt.
Modern criminology has insisted that the investigation in 1918 was carried out superficially – there were no ballistic examinations, no witnesses were questioned, and other investigations necessary for an objective investigation weren’t made. There is doubt that it was Kaplan. It is known that the former anarchist had very poor eyesight, and an attempt was made at about 11 pm, when it was already dark. However, Kaplan was arrested three days later and sentenced to death.

January 6th, 1919
In 1919 there were many gangs in Moscow, and the victim of one of them happened to be Lenin, who went to visit sick Krupskaya in Sokolniki (according to another version, Lenin went to visit a Christmas celebration in the Forest School in Sokolniki). Six bandits stopped the car in which there were Vladimir Lenin, his sister, Maria Ulyanova, Lenin’s personal driver Stepan Gil and bodyguard Ivan Chabanov. Lenin gave them his purse, the gun and the car and continued his way on foot.

September 25, 1919
One of the most successful terrorist attacks in which the head of state was nearly killed, was planned and carried out by terrorists from the anarchist group Russian Rebel Committee of the Revolutionary Guerrilla.
P. Sobolev threw a bomb of great destructive power into the window. As a result, the house was badly damaged. 12 people were killed. The most prominent victim was the secretary Vladimir Zagorski, who tried to throw a bomb in the window. Another 55 people were injured, including Nikolai Bukharin. In October-November 1919 Moscow Cheka managed to liquidate the anarchists: the organizer of a terrorist attack Casimir Kavalevich and bomber Peter Sobolev, were killed during the arrest, the other, realizing that they were surrounded by security officers have committed suicide by bombing themselves, others were arrested and executed.

Vladimir Lenin and his twin brother

Vladimir and Sergei Ulyanov. Ufa, 1885

Vladimir and Sergei Ulyanov. Ufa, 1885


Not so long ago, historians got interesting photos of twins. They said that the founder of the Soviet state Vladimir Ulyanov Lenin had a twin brother.
Sergei loved animals and after receiving the diploma he became a vegetarian.
Vladimir’s revolutionary views separated brothers. At the age of 16 Sergei left his home and settled in Ufa province, where he married a local girl – beautiful Zukhra. The parents and brother did not come to the wedding.
For thirty years, Sergei Ilyich had made a good capital.
After the uprising of 1905, times began challenging for the young Communist cell. In February 1906 Vladimir Ilyich asked his wealthy brother for help: “The revolution will collapse without a livelihood”. Sergei took money and went to Petrograd to give them for Revolution.
Lenin always listened to the advice of his brother. “Together we are strong”
When a young country became stronger Sergei Ilyich went to his home in Ufa province.
After the Lenin’s death Stalin came to power and Sergei was forced to flee to Lithuania, and from there through Romania to Switzerland.
Vladimir and Sergei Ulyanov. Petrograd. 1917

Vladimir and Sergei Ulyanov. Petrograd. 1917


Mexico and its kind inhabitants became the second home for Sergei Ilyich. There he published his famous work Turning Back The Clock Of History. The book was translated into many languages and reprinted 40 times.
In the 50s, at the personal invitation of Fidel, he came to Cuba, where he stayed until the end of his life.
Sergei Ilyich died in Cuba in 1965.

The Young Pioneers’ Republic

artek stamp

Artek stamp


As you know, Artek was the All-Union Young Pioneer camp, which was situated on the Black Sea coast. Every year children of all nationalities traveled by train, air or ship to the camp from all parts of the Soviet Union. They came to Artek to enjoy the sun, and the sea, to make new friends and to talk about their lives and the places where they lived.
The day in camp began with morning exercises. Then came the parade. The Young Pioneers saluted their country’s flag. A new day began in the Young Pioneers’ republic.
Soviet Camp - Artek

Soviet Camp – Artek


In Artek there was something for everyone to do. But most important of all, Young Pioneers learned to love the work. “Do everything yourself, don’t wait for someone to do it for you” was an Artek rule. Sometimes Young Pioneers went to state and collective farms where they helped to gather fruit and vegetables, learned about farm work and gave performances.
Young Pioneers came to Artek not only to swim in the sea and enjoy themselves. They came to learn from each other how to make Pioneer life more interesting, how to organize school celebrations and sports competitions. All-Union gatherings were held in Artek, in which Young Pioneers from every Soviet republic took part.
Very often Artek was called a friendship camp. Each summer thousands of boys and girls from other countries came here to stay with Soviet schoolchildren. Soviet Young Pioneers were friends to children on all continents.
Soviet Camp - Artek

Soviet Camp – Artek


V.S. Ivanov. Subbotnik in Kremlin

V.S. Ivanov. Subbotnik in Kremlin

V. Serov. Lenin proclaims Soviet power. 1962

V. Serov. Lenin proclaims Soviet power. 1962

E.N. Shirokov. Lenin and M. Cachin, Clara Zetkin, B. Kuhn, S. Katayama

E.N. Shirokov. Lenin and M. Cachin, Clara Zetkin, B. Kuhn, S. Katayama

V. Serov. News from the village

V. Serov. News from the village