LENIN, WHO WAS BORN Vladimir Ilyich Ulanov, emerged as the leader of the Bolshevik branch of the Russian Social Democrats in the decade before the Russian Revolution. A dedicated revolutionary, an incisive writer, and a compelling speaker, he brought his considerable powers of logic and legal training to bear on organizing an elite core of radicals to lead a successful revolutionary movement. After the revolution, he headed the Soviet Communist Party and was head of the Soviet State until his death in 1924. After his death, international communists regarded him as the father of the movement, recognition enshrined in the popular term Marxism-Leninism.

Lenin was born into a well-off family in the city of Simbirsk in central Russia, where his father was head of the provincial ...

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