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Lenin, Stalin, and Gorbachev: Their Impact on Russia's History

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Lauren O'Grady

Lenin, Stalin, and Gorbachev: Their Impact on Russia's History

Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, and Mikhail Gorbachev all played remarkable roles in

Russia's history, although in very different ways. Though each could be criticized or praised for

various different policies, these three leaders were perhaps undeniably the most influential leaders

of Russia's history in the last hundred years.

Vladimir Lenin's influence on Russia started with the release of his book What's to be

Done? In 1902. When the leaders of Russian Marxism gathered for a meeting in 1903, Lenin's

ideas clashed with Iuli Martov's idea of a looser, more democratic workers' party. Due to this

disagreement, was complicated by other conflicts, and from this meeting Russian Marxism was

split into two factions (Simkin). Lenin's faction was called the Bolsheviks (majority) while the

other referred to themselves as the Mensheviks (minority).

When the Revolution of 1905 occurred in Russia, widespread revolt against the czar's

government spread throughout the country. However, it was eventually demolished by the

government. This revolt surprised all Russian leaders, including the Bolsheviks, Lenin managed

to return to Russia only in November, when the defeat of the revolution was pretty much certain

(Talbot). Over the next twelve years, Bolshevism, with Lenin at it's head, gradually emerged as an

independent party that had cut it's ties with all other Russian Marxists. Since about 1905, the

international socialist movement had also begun to discuss the possibility of a major war breaking

out among European nations (Talbot). Lenin urged active opposition to the war effort and a

transformation of any war into a proletarian revolution. When WWI broke out, most socialist

leaders in the countries involved supported the war effort. For…...

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