Vladimir Lenin was the Bolshevik leader

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Vladimir Lenin was the Bolshevik leader. He was a clever thinker and a                       practical man; he knew how to take advantage of events. When Lenin arrived in Russia, he issued a document called the April theses, promising ‘peace, bread, land and freedom’. He called for an end to the ‘Capitalist’ war, and demanded that power should be given to the soviets. He demanded a revolution against the Provisional Government as soon as possible. In November 1917, under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional government, beginning the era of Communist rule in Russia. Stalin played no real part in the events of the revolution. The revolution was the result of detailed Bolshevik planning, and of the failures and weaknesses of the Provisional government. Lenin knew that there was enough discontent amongst the people for a revolution to work. By October 1917 the Bolsheviks controlled both the Petrograd and the Moscow Soviets. His slogans and policies were popular with the people. In 1918 Lenin introduced the policy of War Communism, in order to ensure that the Red Army was well supplied during the Civil War. All industries were nationalised. Yet production fell as workers were conscripted the Red Army. In agriculture, the Cheka were sent into the countryside to seize all surplus grain and produce. Anyone who resisted was shot. Yet the simple effect of this was that peasants produced less food, so there were fewer surpluses to take. This helped to cause the dreadful famine of 1921. War communism was so unpopular that in 1921 it was abandoned, and was replaced by the NEP. War Communism was replaced by the NEP. Under the NEP peasants handed over half of the food they produced to the government. Whatever surplus was left they could sell for profit. The policy gave peasants an incentive to work – the more food they produced, the richer they became. Food production expanded. The best, most successful farmers became known as kulaks. They became rich because of the NEP. In industry, the most successful workers became known as Nepmen. The NEP resulted in huge increases in production in all sectors of the Russian economy.

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However in January 21st 1924 Lenin died. Lenin had a pragmatic and realistic approach to problems. He was able to ‘seize the moment’ which was vital in the Bolsheviks gaining power. His organisation and leadership of the Bolshevik party transformed it.

When Lenin died in January 1924 he had nominated Leon Trotsky as his chosen successor. Yet it was Joseph Stalin who was eventually to emerge as leader of the party. This was largely because Stalin was a clever and astute politician, who was seen as being a man of the people. He was able to manoeuvre himself into a ...

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