This documented life of the great revolutionary Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) is compiled with access to hitherto secret Soviet documents. Dmitri Volkogonov puts flesh on the bones of this elusive figure and destroys the myth of benevolent "Grandfather Lenin", showing conclusively how political violence and diplomatic double-dealing were part and parcel of the Soviet system from its outset in 1917. The old idea that Lenin created the communist system and Stalin took it to its extreme is shown to be flawed. The "Stalinist" methods of the Big Lie and violence against the population at home were present from the beginning (for example, Lenin's cable to local Bolsheviks in August 1918 to suppress a peasant revolt - they should "hang not less than 100 of the better-off ones, but do it so the people can see it, so that for 50 miles around they'll tremble"). The author shows how the Bolsheviks colluded with the German High Command when the Russian Provisional Government was fighting for its life in World War I, and later reveals how Lenin sold off vast numbers of tsarist treasures in the West for the express purpose of financing the launch of communist parties in the West. The book is a definitive analysis of Leninism as a state system, ideological doctrine and way of thinking.
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