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Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich (1870–1924)

Paul Le Blanc


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Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was born on April 22, 1870 (April 10, according to the Old Style calendar then used in Russia) in Simbursk (later renamed Ulyanovsk), a provincial town on the Volga River. He was the third of six children in what was at first a relatively happy family. His father, Ilya Nikolaevich Ulyanov, was a respected director of public schools. His mother, Maria Alexandrovna Blank, was the daughter of a physician and taught her children a love of reading and music. His father died in 1886, and in 1887 his beloved older brother, Alexander, was arrested and hanged for involvement in an unsuccessful plot by revolutionary university students to assassinate Tsar Alexander III. At the end of 1887, Lenin himself was briefly arrested for involvement in a peaceful demonstration against the oppressive tsarist regime and for membership in a radical political group. A brilliant student, he had just entered the University of Kazan, but his involvement in protest activities resulted in his immediate expulsion and banishment to a small village near Kazan, where he lived under police surveillance. In 1888 he was permitted to return to Kazan, but he was denied entry to any university and therefore embarked on his own rigorous course of study. In 1891 he passed law examinations at the University of St. Petersburg. Lenin worked as a lawyer for only a few months before becoming a full-time ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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