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The Growth of Internal Opposition to Tsardom : Lenin
His birth name was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.
(22 April 1870 ­ 21 January 1924)
Leading political figure
Persuasive and charismatic orator.
Produced Marxism-Leninism which emphasized the role of committed leadership in
creating revolution.
1887: Lenin's brother who had taken an interest in criticizing the absolute monarchy of
Alexander III, and was chosen due to his scientific background to construct a bomb for
use in an assassination attempt on the sovereign, was executed. Lenin gained an
interest in revolutionary leftist politics as a result.
Lenin was ejected from the university of Kazan for participation in anti-Tsarist protests.
1891: He was allowed to take his exams and practice as a lawyer. However he was
devoted to radical politics, and eventually became a Marxist.
He was particularly inspired by Nikolai Chernyshevsky's novel "What is to be Done?" and
Karl Marx's "Capital."
1893: Lenin migrated to St. Petersburg and became a senior figure within the league of
struggle for the emancipation of the working class. His role was the production of
pamphlets, the organization of strikes of factory workers and the translation of
revolutionary texts.
1895: He was introduced to Plekhanov , whom he impressed with his dedication to
He was arrested and exiled to Siberia for three years, where he then fled to Western
Europe and adopted the pseudonym "Lenin."
1898: As a result of his exile he missed the launch of the social democrat party, but he
produced a programme for it.
1902: Lenin produced a leaflet titled "What is to be done?" in which he argued that the
party needed to redirect workers away from trade unionism, towards a revolution that
would eradicate the Tsarist autocracy.
He founded a newspaper with Plekhanov called "The Spark(Iskra)" which helped gain
more support and develop an underground party network.
1903: The Social Democrats split into the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks because of Lenin's
uncompromising attitude.
When the second party congress commenced to discuss how to make progress, Lenin
argued in favour of a disciplined organisation of professional revolutionaries to lead the
proletariat, whereas Martov suggested it would be better to develop a broad party
with a mass working class membership. Lenin didn't have the support of the majority,
but after some representatives withdrew from the congress, he won the vote for a
centralised party.
Lenin claimed his supporters were the majority , translated as "bolsheveki" whilst
Martov, his opponent, was dubbed the "mensheviki", or minority.

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