Obsessed, aggressive and manipulative: who was Vladimir Lenin

When he was a baby who could sit up but not yet crawl or walk, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov fell over very often and repeatedly headbutted the crib rails. The family believed that the problem was due to the size of the head, which was disproportionate to the arms and legs. But he grew up, and continued to behave in a more aggressive manner than his brothers — among those who did not die within a few days of life, he was the third; Anna and Alexander were born before him, and then Olga, Dmitri and Maria would come.

On one occasion, on his birthday, when he received a papier-mâché horse from his parents, he ran to his room. He was found smiling peacefully, sitting up in bed, with the wreckage of the gift all around him. At just three years old, he destroyed a collection of theater posters that Brother Alexander had placed in the living room, on the carpet.

“There was a certain malice in his behavior, and the family was annoyed. with it”, reports British historian Robert Service in ‘Lenin: The Definitive Biography’, the main biographical account written after the release of the archives of the Soviet Union, in the years 90 — and which shed new light on the life of the man who ultimately founded the socialist regime in Russia and built the theoretical foundations that supported communism to spread throughout the world throughout the world. century 16.

Rage attacks

“Lenin” was just one of more than 700 nicknames he would adopt throughout his life. His hometown of Simbirsk, located 700 kilometers from Moscow, was renamed in honor of the leader in

. But the name chosen for the municipality was Ulyanovsk, because that was how he and his family had become known in the region.

Identified from early childhood, Lenin’s evil and aggressive personality, which came to the world on April 1922 , remained until the end of his life. “His outbursts of rage were legendary, especially after 1893,” reports the biographer. “Shortly before his death, they were so frequent that his companions raised serious questions about his sanity. He was a human time bomb.”

But the future leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) reconciled the peaks of aggression with a certain selective charm, chosen according to the moment, and the capacity for manipulation that led him, throughout his life, to assume the right things for himself and distribute the mistakes to other people.

Added together, these two qualities prevented him, for example, from being bullied at school. school — the only classmate who dared to tear up one of his notebooks was strangled in class. But they allowed the strong-willed women around him, including his sisters and his future wife, first-time revolutionary Nadezhda Krupskaya, to maintain a civilized society. “He was a manipulator of women, he had a habit of pitting women against each other,” says Service.

And they also led Vladimir to assume a leading role in the Russian movement to challenge tsarism from the very end. century 19 until death, at 53 years, on 21 January 1924. In this regard, the environment in which it was created was also decisive. His father, Ilya Nikolayevich Ulianov, was an education inspector in the province, a cultured, withdrawn man, absent from domestic life, who valued education above all.

More sociable, and also dedicated to ensuring the best academic training for her children, Maria Alexandrovna Blank encouraged all the cultural activities that the children adopted. Children played in the living room reading excerpts from novels and poems. She won whoever got the author right. The family experienced typical Russian middle-class life at the time, with his mother supported by a nanny, cook and piano teachers.

“Lenin emerged as an extraordinarily ambitious and determined young man, who he believed in the importance of the printed word”, says Service, who recalls that, later on, the leader would need, at great cost, to learn to speak in public. His father was an Orthodox Christian, his mother a Lutheran of Jewish origin, both critics of Tsarism, but not to the point of wanting radical changes. Lenin could have followed the path of his father, an influential intellectual, with high and respected positions, maintaining a position of independence from the aristocracy. Everything changed when Vladimir was 16 years old.

Death of brother

In January 1887, father passed away, possibly as a result of a stroke . It was sudden, the family doctor did not arrive in time, and the children were in shock. The mother had to rent half of the house, in addition to making budget cuts, while watching Vladimir worsen his behavior even more – the verbal abuse against her became part of the routine.

Months later, on the first of March 1887, on the six-year anniversary of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, a group was arrested carrying homemade bombs filled with dynamite. Apparently, they intended to detonate them when the Emperor visited the church to pray for his father’s soul. The mastermind of the attack, and responsible for making the bombs, was quickly identified. It was Alexander, Lenin’s older brother.

On trial, he did not deny the accusations and defended the socialist revolution. He ended up hanged, along with four companions, on 8 May. He was 16 years old. As was to be expected, Vladimir, who admired his brother, although until then he had not paid attention to his political activities and had never shown an interest in personally knowing the dramas of the poor population, was deeply affected by the event.

Influential theorist

From then on, everything happened very fast. Expelled from Kazan Imperial University, one of the country’s eight higher education institutions, for participating in demonstrations against the Tsar, he moved to St. Petersburg in 1893. Four years later, he would be arrested and exiled to Siberia, where he married. From there, he went to Western Europe, where he experienced a long exile and became a respected Marxist theorist — over the course of the century 20, Marxism —Leninism would become one of the most influential ideologies on the planet, which guided the practices and concepts of different dictators and communist leaders, from Mao Zedong to Che Guevara.

Both during the attempted revolution of 1905, in Russia, and during the First World War, Lenin would continue defending the role of the Bolsheviks to appropriate these movements and lead communism for the entire continent. Since that time, expressions such as “armed insurrection”, “mass terror” and “expropriation of noble lands” were already part of his texts.

In 1917, at the beginning of the Russian Revolution, Lenin was in Switzerland. He celebrated the event and began to articulate a definitive return to his native country. From then on, he played a decisive role in the consolidation of communism in the country, culminating in the formal emergence of the USSR in 1922.

His birthday 53 years, in 1920, was celebrated throughout the country, while his followers organized his writings, initially published in 21 volumes. At the end of his life, already very weakened, he tried to reduce Stalin’s power, without success — it was said in Moscow that, if he had not died and become a martyr of the revolution, eventually Lenin would have been arrested.

Poisoned widow

After three strokes, the leader died. His brain was extracted for studies and the body, since then, remained mummified and exposed in Red Square, in Moscow – secret, the procedure of conservation of the body would also be used in the body of the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and the northern dictator. -Korean Kim Il-sung. He pioneered the establishment of a cult of personality, which would become standard practice in communist dictatorships.

Lenin left no children. But his legacy remained, even if his shadow remained troubling Stalin. Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin’s widow and first-time revolutionary, became one of the main voices critical of the dictator. Still, she remained out of the ruler’s reach until 27 February , when she passed away, the day after her 70 birthday. The sudden end, despite her advanced age, raised suspicions that she had been poisoned the day before, when she gathered some close friends.

As the biographer recalls, throughout his entire career, Lenin he remained attached to his own temperament and worldview. “From the formulation of his theory on Marxism, in the years 1886, until his death, there were few changes in his way of thinking”, reports the biographer.

“He could live for years in different locations, whether London, Zurich or Moscow, and not capture insights about surroundings that might seem obvious to other people. He believed in enlightenment, progress, science and revolution, but always with his own interpretation. Nothing shook the confidence that his ideas were the right ones.” In short, “he lived and died a Leninist.”

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