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Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Il'ič Ul'janov (Lenin)

b. 10/22 Apr 1870, Simbirsk, Russian Empire
d. 21 Jan 1924, Gorki, near Moscow, USSR

Title: Председатель Совета Народных Комиссаров (Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars) [1]
Term: 27 Oct/9 Nov 1917 - 21 Jan 1924
Chronology: 27 Oct/9 Nov 1917, appointed, resolution of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of workers', soldiers' and peasants' deputies [2]
  21 Jan 1924, died [3]
Names/titles: Original surname: Ульянов (Ul'janov); known under pseudonym Lenin (Ленин);
  Председатель Совета Народных Комиссаров СССР (Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR) [6 Jul 1923 - 21 Jan 1924] (see details)
Biography:
The founder of the Russian Communist Party, inspirer and leader of the Bolshevik revolution, Vladimir Ul'janov received a degree in law. He briefly worked as a lawyer in Samara (1892-1893), but soon turned to writing and revolutionary activities. After his arrest in St. Petersburg, Ul'janov was exiled to Siberia and served his term until 1900, when he moved abroad and started building a party of professional revolutionaries. The theory of Ul'janov caused a split within the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party (RSDWP), of which he was a member since 1893. Ul'janov emerged as a leader of the party's radical wing, known as the Bolsheviks (Majority), who opposed the moderate politics of the Mensheviks (Minority). The 2nd RSDWP Congress (1903) elected Ul'janov as a member of the Central Editorial Body and party Council. In November 1903 he was co-opted to the RSDWP Central Committee. Ul'janov returned to Russia by the time of the 1905 Revolution, but defeat of the revolutionaries forced him to flee abroad. He was dropped from the Central Committee at the party conference in December 1905 and the radical wing temporarily reconciled with the Mensheviks. The 5th party Congress elected Ul'janov as a candidate member of the Central Committee (19 May/1 Jun 1907 - 17/30 Jan 1912). It took almost five years for Ul'janov to turn the Bolsheviks into a separate party, which was formed at the Prague conference. Ul'janov was nominated a full member of the Central Committee (17/30 Jan 1912 - 21 Jan 1924), a post he held until his death [3]. Ul'janov lived in Switzerland during World War I and returned to Russia in April 1917, a month after the fall of Russian monarchy. The Bolsheviks unsuccessfully participated in the July uprising against the Provisional Government and Ul'janov fled to Finland. He was unable to attend the 6th party congress (August 1917), which set a course for armed coup. Ul'janov, by that time mostly known as Lenin, returned to Petrograd (former St. Petersburg) in early October 1917. He was elected to the Political Bureau at the Central Committee plenum on 10/23 Oct 1917 and supervised the preparation for coup from the underground. In the night of 25-26 Oct/7-8 Nov 1917, revolutionary troops stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd and deposed the Provisional Government. The Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of workers' and soldiers' deputies voted a resolution appealing for transfer of authority to local Soviets and elected the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government - Council of People's Commissars chaired by Lenin. Facing the advance of German armies, the Lenin government conceded to signing the Brest peace treaty (3 Mar 1918) resulting in significant territory losses for Russia. The Central Committee and government led by Lenin fought the anti-Bolshevik armies during the years of Civil War and Foreign Intervention (1918-1921). On 30 Aug 1918 Lenin was wounded as a result of assassination attempt. Lenin chaired the Council of Workers' and Peasants' Defense (2 Nov 1918 - 21 Jan 1924), renamed the Council of Labor and Defense in April 1920; he initiated the creation of the Communist International (1919). When the permanent bodies of the party Central Committee were formed, Lenin was elected a full member of the Politburo (25 Mar 1919 - 21 Jan 1924) and effectively governed the Soviet state using his personal authority rather than his party and state posts. The process of extermination of rival parties was complete by 1921. In 1922 the Soviet regimes set up in the neighbor republics agreed to creation of a new political entity, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). However, in the spring of 1922, Lenin fell seriously and became partially paralyzed after a medical operation. He made his last public speech on 20 Nov 1922 and never addressed the auditory again as a stroke deprived him of speech on 10 Mar 1923. The formation of a Union government was accomplished by appointing the first Council of People's Commissars of USSR with incapacitated Lenin as chairman (6 Jul 1923). Lenin was also re-elected as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Russian SFSR (7 Jul 1923), but he never came to work and his political activity came to an end. He suffered yet another stroke in the morning of 21 Jan 1924, and passed away that evening in the village of Gorki (now known as Gorki Leninskie), near Moscow.
Biographical sources: Государственная власть СССР. Высшие органы власти и управления и их руководители. 1923-1991 гг. Историко-биографический справочник / Сост. В.И.Ивкин. М.: РОССПЭН, 1999.

[1] From 27 Oct/9 Nov 1917 to 18/31 Jan 1918 the Council of People's Commissars was also known in official documents as "Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government". On 18/31 Jan 1918, the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets adopted the resolution "On the New Designation of the Existing State Authority", which provided for a new name of the Soviet government - "Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Russian Soviet Republic". The first Constitution of Soviet Russia, which legalized the official name of the state (Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic [RSFSR]), became effective on 19 Jul 1918, whereupon, the head of Russian government was known as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of RSFSR (Председатель Совета Народных Комиссаров РСФСР). The term "RSFSR" was in semi-official use from early 1918.
[2] It is a commonly accepted concept that Ul'janov (Lenin) was Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars from 26 Oct/8 Nov 1917. His term is counted retroactively from the opening hour of the second meeting of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets (21:00, 26 Oct/8 Nov 1917). Primary sources including recollections of contemporaries point out that the resolution on state authority, which approved the Council of People's Commissars chaired by Lenin, was adopted by the Congress at about 04:00 27 Oct/9 Nov 1917. Having adopted the resolution, the congress proceeded with elections of the (All-Russian) Central Executive Committee and then finished its work.
[3] Lenin never held any official position as party chairman or secretary general. The highest post in the Russian Communist Party of Bolsheviks he ever had was a full member of Politburo (член Политбюро).
[4] Правда, 1924, 22 января.

This page was last updated on: 23 Sep 2011 03:54:19

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