Lenin: life and legacy

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9780002552707: Lenin: life and legacy

The special assistant to Boris Yeltsin radically alters the traditional image of Lenin with a biography based on secret Soviet archives, revealing the Founding Father as a cruel, totalitarian leader who was responsible for the worst excesses of the Soviet state.

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian

Review:

At KGB headquarters in Moscow, classified files were always carefully marked with the words khranit' vechno - to be preserved forever. For years, Westerners have wondered what secrets were preserved in the KGB archives and in dozens of other off-limits locations. Now that Dmitri Volkogonov, historian and former general in the Soviet Army, has been entrusted with the management of the archives as a special assistant to Boris Yeltsin, we know. For the past three years Volkogonov has combed through more than 3,700 once-secret documents covering every piece of information in the archive system concerning Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin. Volkogonov has woven this mountain of information into a compelling story of the Soviet founding father and the system he created, and offers a radical departure from the traditional interpretation of Lenin. He demonstrates that many of the characteristics of so-called Stalinism were firmly laid down in Lenin's lifetime, usually on Lenin's direct orders. From the creation of concentration camps to brutal repression of the church and the media, to a strategic formation of a cult of personality, Lenin's leadership was cruel and totalitarian. And with select revelations from the post-Lenin years, Volkogonov shows that all the worst excesses of the Soviet state had their roots in its founding father. -- Midwest Book Review

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VOLKOGONOV, Dmitri
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