Compare the characters and beliefs of Lenin and Stalin

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Josh Weinberg 11C

Compare the characters and beliefs of Lenin and Stalin

Lenin, born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, was the leader of the Bolsheviks and the ruler of Russia from 1917 to his death in 1924, and then Stalin, born Joseph Djugashvili, took over, taking undisputed control of Russia in 1928 and remaining in power until his death in 1953.

As characters, Lenin was a humble man even when in great power. He was not openly vain or arrogant. Stalin was far more interested in the cult of personality – he was obsessed with being the centre of attention and giving himself credit for everything and had huge posters erected just to remind everybody who he was and what he was doing for Russia. Lenin was an extreme person with dogmatic beliefs.  He, like Stalin was hard hearted, so that they could achieve their aims.  They were both ruthless - the Red Terror under Lenin arrested anybody speaking out against the government, and the Police State and the NKVD of Stalin were responsible for the deaths of millions and for the Great Purges.

Lenin was forceful, decisive and knew exactly what he wanted for the Bolshevik Party.  It was he who initiated the November Revolution and Trotsky described him as ‘the most active figure.’  Lenin was absolutely vital to bringing the Communists into power and Trotsky himself said that ‘had I not been present in 1917 in Petersburg, the October [November] Revolution would still have taken place – on the condition that Lenin was present and in command. If neither Lenin nor I had been present in Petersburg, there would have been no October Revolution…If Lenin had not been in Petersburg I doubt whether I could have managed to overcome the resistance of the Bolshevik leaders.’

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Kerensky, talking about the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, said that ‘Lenin’s betrayal of Russia, at the most crucial moment in the war, is an indubitable, established fact.’ Conversely, many think it was Stalin who betrayed the Revolution. Others though think that he completed what Lenin had started.  Trotsky thought Lenin was ‘a man of great moral passion’ and ‘a thinker, observer and strategist’ whereas Stalin was ‘gifted with practicability, a strong will, and persistence in carrying out his aims’ and his ‘strength lies in his political blindness.’

Lenin’s brother was executed because he was involved in a plot to kill a ...

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