Lenin pin from Moscow

Lenin pin from Moscow

This pin is from Moscow circa 1980s well before Gorbachev and the Wall coming down. It celebrates the initiator of the Russian Revolution and the birth of the first communist nation. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Russian: Владимир Ильич Ленин); born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (22 April 1870 – 21 January 1924) was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He served as the leader of the Russian SFSR from 1917, and then concurrently as Premier of the Soviet Union from 1922, until his death. Politically a Marxist, his theoretical contributions to Marxist thought are known as Leninism, which coupled with Marxian economic theory have collectively come to be known as Marxism–Leninism.

Born to a wealthy middle-class family in Simbirsk, Lenin gained an interest in revolutionary leftist politics following the execution of his brother in 1887. Briefly attending the Kazan State University, he was ejected for his involvement in anti-Tsarist protests, devoting the following years to gaining a law degree and to radical politics, becoming a Marxist. In 1893 he moved to Saint Petersburg, becoming a senior figure within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP). Arrested for sedition and exiled to Siberia for three years, he married Nadezhda Krupskaya, and fled to Western Europe, living in Germany, France, England, and Switzerland and becoming known as a prominent party theorist. In 1903, he took a key role in the RSDLP schism, leading the Bolshevik faction against Julius Martov’s Mensheviks. Briefly returning to Russia during the Revolution of 1905, he encouraged violent insurrection, later campaigning for the First World War to be transformed into a Europe-wide proletariat revolution. After the February Revolution of 1917 ousted the Tsar he returned to Russia.

He took a senior role in orchestrating the October Revolution in 1917, which led to the overthrow of the provisional government and the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. Immediately afterwards, the new government under Lenin’s leadership proceeded to implement socialist reforms, including the transfer of estates and crown lands to workers’ soviets. He supported world revolution and immediate peace with the Central Powers, agreeing to a punitive treaty that turned over much of the former Russian Empire to Germany. The treaty was voided after the Allies won the war. In 1921 Lenin proposed the New Economic Policy, a system of state capitalism that started the process of industrialization and recovery from the Civil War. In 1922, the Russian SFSR joined former territories of the Russian Empire in becoming the Soviet Union, with Lenin elected as its leader.

After his death, Marxism-Leninism developed into a variety of schools of thought, namely Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism. Lenin remains a controversial and highly divisive world figure. Detractors label him a dictator whose administration oversaw multiple human rights abuses, while supporters reject this criticism and promote him as a champion of the working class. Lenin had a significant influence on the international Communist movement and was one of the most influential and controversial figures of the 20th century.

Location: 18-A2

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