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10 thoughts on “Lenin: A New Biography

  1. says:

    If there are and there are anyone who remains a fan of V.I Lenin and considers him a man unfairly maligned only due to capitalist bias, they should have their naive suppositions dispelled via this book In Volkogonov s Lenin, the author traces the details of Lenin s life beginning as a born member of the gentry through his early life as a supposed revolutionary where Lenin typically also typically 1 4th Jewish spent most of it doing almost no real work at all according to letters written by Lenin he spent most of his young adult life tanning, hunting, reading, and in leisure time, also Lenin as a fledgling lawyer even sued neighboring peasants for letting their cattle trample through his own crops and even leased his farm out to a kulak so much for the spokeperson of the proles who had kulaks massacred to his rise to his place as ruthless dictator of the Bolshevik party the most evil people in world history and Russia who willingly and deliberately brought civil war to Russia and set up the greatest state apparatus of repression that had ever existed and which Stalin used as a basis and Hitler borrowed from The author shows how policies Lenin put into place were actually harsher than those that existed under the Tsars For instance, exile and prison terms for political dissidents were far lenient under the old autocratic system of the Tsars than it was under the Bolsheviks For instance, before exiles and prisoners were sent to prisons that were already built to accommodate them and the prisoners were allowed to request transference to different locations of exile, were allowed to mingle and associate with like revolutionaries etc while under Lenin and successors exiles were taken to their place of exile and forced to build their own prisons and were not given any of the privileges mentioned above He also details the systematic and violent oppression that Lenin used to keep himself in power, jailing, exiling, and executing thousands of political dissenters via his secret police i.e Chekists Lenin gained power and kept his power through violence, state sponsored terror, and force He was differentiated from Social Democrats whereby democracy wasn t the end, but the means to his ends power.It is difficult for me to understand why Lenin is still liked by communists and still in the good graces of social liberals while Stalin is considered the only evil one Understandably, Stalin s bodycount is much greater than Lenin s at least 20 million lives although some historians argue Stalin killed many than that , but as the author states in one passage Who could have known that, after making their separate, defeatist, peace, the Bolsheviks would start liquidating not several hundred millionaires, but hundreds of thousands of private owners, middle and upper bourgeosie, and intellectuals This would lead to the civil war which the Bolsheviks had also planned Granted, in a day and age where political activists working on a Obama campaign can display flags and banners of Che Guevara another violent revolutionary who murdered young teenagers, hated homosexuals and placed them in concentration camps, and considered blacks worthless to the revolution because he believed they were too stupid and lazy who is also portrayed as a hero in Hollywood movies a la Benicio del Toro, with only Glenn Beck to complain, it really shouldn t be that surprising that Lenin still has quite a few supporters Even Maxim Gorky, a long time friend and financier of Lenin and the Bolshevik party said even though he continued to finance Lenin Lenin and his comrade in arms think they can commit any crime, like the massacre at Petrograd, the storming of Moscow, abolition of freedom of speech, the senseless arrests all the abominations that used to be committed by Plehve and Stolypin This is where today s leader is taking the proletariat, and it should be understood that Lenin is not an omnipotent magician, but a cold blooded trickster who spares neither honour nor the lives of the proletariat However, even though I agree with Volkogonov that Lenin was a ruthless, bloodthirsty monster who would let nothing stand as an obstacle in the way of attaining power, Volkogonov who is categorized on the inner back of the dust jacket as being a liberal I m assuming in the European sense of the word attempts to paint the fledgling Bolshevik regime as having undertones of anti semitism I m assuming this is because by linking Lenin to anti semitic acts this makes him look worse, but on closer examination it is an assertion that is pure poppycock Lenin not only staffed the ruling elite of the Bolshevik party with a majority of Jews, but he also made anti semitism punishable by execution The laws under Lenin against anti semitism were so strict that even ownership of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was sufficient for the possessor to recieve a bullet to the back of the head.Further, Volkogonov tries to dismiss the allegation that the ruling elite of the Bolshevik regime were driven by and consisted of mostly Jews and that Jews played a disproportionate role in the creation of the Bolshevik revolution as purely uber right wing conspiratorial fantasy First of all, it wasn t just the far right that noticed the fact that Jews played a large part in the Bolshevik revolution No less than Winston Churchill percieved the Bolsheviks and their regime as being largely Jewish Taken from Churchhill s Zionism versus Bolshevism There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews It is certainly a very great one it probably outweighs all others With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel Petrograd , or of Krassin or Radek all Jews In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even astonishing And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany especially in Bavaria , so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people Although in all these countries there are many non Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing Secondly, Jews did form an unquestionable majority in the ruling elite of the Bolshevik party For instance, Slezkine a Jew argues in his book A Jewish Century that Jews formed 40 percent of the top elected officials in the army, 5 of the 12 members of the Bolshevik Central Committee that voted to launch an armed insurrection in 1917, and much else Taken from Also by Mark Weber Although officially Jews have never made up than five percent of the country s total population, they played a highly disproportionate and probably decisive role in the infant Bolshevik regime, effectively dominating the Soviet government during its early years Soviet historians, along with most of their colleagues in the West, for decades preferred to ignore this subject The facts, though, cannot be denied.With the notable exception of Lenin Vladimir Ulyanov , most of the leading Communists who took control of Russia in 1917 20 were Jews Leon Trotsky Lev Bronstein headed the Red Army and, for a time, was chief of Soviet foreign affairs Yakov Sverdlov Solomon was both the Bolshevik party s executive secretary and as chairman of the Central Executive Committee head of the Soviet government Grigori Zinoviev Radomyslsky headed the Communist International Comintern , the central agency for spreading revolution in foreign countries Other prominent Jews included press commissar Karl Radek Sobelsohn , foreign affairs commissar Maxim Litvinov Wallach , Lev Kamenev Rosenfeld and Moisei Uritsky.Lenin himself was of mostly Russian and Kalmuck ancestry, but he was also one quarter Jewish His maternal grandfather, Israel Alexander Blank, was a Ukrainian Jew who was later baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church.A thorough going internationalist, Lenin viewed ethnic or cultural loyalties with contempt He had little regard for his own countrymen An intelligent Russian, he once remarked, is almost always a Jew or someone with Jewish blood in his veins Volkogonov s claims about the pogroms that occured during the early years of the Bolshevik power were isolated local uprisings and events that were not sanctioned or ordered by the Bolshevik central power and cannot be seriously regarded as a policy that the Bolsheviks pursued.Despite this relatively minor disagreement with the author, I thought the book was overall well worth reading and entirely destroyed any rational basis for Lenin worship.


  2. says:

    I found this biography fascinating Lenin s backstory and his discovery of Marxism were well written The author really shows the true terrors of Vladimir Lenin s rise to power I felt the author s style kept me engaged in the history Lenin was the true architect of terror throughout the revolution, exterminating the Romanov dynasty, the civil war, and in his murderous strategies at maintaining power The idea of the concentration camp system the State Camp Administration, or GULAG and the appalling purges of the 1930s are commonly associated with the name Stalin, but the true father of the Bolshevik concentration camps, the executions, the mass terror and the organs which stood above the State, was Lenin pg 235I found his dealings with religion and the church very fascinating This was a subchapter Lenin and The Church from pgs 372 87 Lenin completely severed the link to God Throughout the country military style expeditions were mounted against churches and the clergy Jewish synagogues, Muslim mosques and Roman Catholic Churches were not spared At night, in the cellars of the Cheka or nearby woods, dry crack of revolver fire could be heard pg 381 The country might have been spared the monstrous experiments of Stalinism, but the one party dictatorship of the proletariat would inevitably have led to an authoritarian regime pg 418I enjoyed this book and I liked the way it was written Thanks


  3. says:

    Easily the best book of Russian history I have yet read One must expect that the most insightful examination of Lenin and his legacy would have to be written by an insiderbut only if it were to be decidedly honest Boy, is this book ever honest Volkogonov is unrelenting in his denial of Lenin s legacy in the former USSR as the bastion of goodwill and democracy who was cut down and replaced by the evils of Stalinism before his work could be finished In truth, Lenin as the author suggests was the true father of Stalinism and laid the foundations for all that came after even the stagnation and political single mindedness of the 70s and 80s It was Leninism which ultimately killed the USSR and set the stage for the decades of re adjustment we are now only beginning to address with regard to relations between former Soviet republics and the rest of the world.The author writes that if Lenin had truly wanted a socialist democracy to take root in Russia, he would have worked with the Provisional government in 1917 rather than against it Or, at the very least, he would not have marginalized the non Bolsheviks who had supported the revolutionary movement and granted supreme power to the Politburo.A fascinating read that is structured very much unlike a traditional Western style biography, choosing to follow trains of thought based on links between Lenin and his successors rather than a simple chronology of his life and work.


  4. says:

    I enjoyed learning about the Bolshevik movement in such great detail, as I feel like this was somehow glossed over in all my years of schooling I just wish the book had of a linear structure it jumps forward and backward in time quite a bit It can also be repetitive It was interesting to hear from an author who admits he used to be wrapped up in the mystique of Lenininsm I felt like it gave a good glimpse into the power an authoritarian regime can have over the way one views the world My biggest takeaway is that any philosophy which is unbending in its belief that the ends justify the means is going to lead to some devastating outcomes.


  5. says:

    4.5 stars really.Wow It took me 32 days to finish this book This was not what I would call an easy read It was heavy, both in it s topic and in it s language It was a challenge It is full of Russian names, which are what make any Russian book challenging And it s about politics and every committee or group has a name which of course consists several words, thus just making much of the book slow.Prior to reading this I knew NOTHING about Lenin I only knew that I grew up during the Cold War and that Communism was the enemy I knew what I was told to know, that the Russian government would not let their people think or do for themselves in any way This book was extremely thorough and will probably be the only book on Lenin that I will ever need to read Will I read anyway It is quite possible.Within the first 100 pages or so, I was intrigued with the subject matter but really did not like the format of the book It can almost be divided into two sections Before Lenin s Illness and After Prior to his illness, the book is written topically NOT chronologically This is somewhat disconcerting It can be hard to keep track of what s happening and who s doing what However, as the book progresses, I came to understand that due to the sheer volume of information, it must be done this way To write or read this information the time from the 1905 Revolution up until Lenin s illness really paralyses him mentally and physically in 1922 ish 1923 , would overwhelm the mind At least topically, the reader is still able to keep up with events.Lenin probably was a genus in someway He certainly was tenacious I can t help it, but despite his lack of respect for life, for dignity, for religion, I like him I can see why, to some extent, he was never allowed to die And yet, the fact that I like him almost leaves me feeling as if I have somehow bought into the Leninist propaganda The writer of this book is Russian He grew up being fed the propaganda and yet he is very honest about Lenin s flaws and how Leninism came to ruin a great country I am sure that there is so much that I could say but having just finished it in the last 30 minutes, my mind is still swirling There were times when I didn t think I would finish this book I am very glad that I did.


  6. says:

    It is the best biography that I read about this man and his comrades, who destroyed Russia and were responsibles for the first concentration camps in Russia, even before Stalin, and the famine right away the revolution, which caused millions of lives The red terror was according to the author the tool used by the Bolsheviks to eliminate all the enemies of class, including the aristocracy, the gentry, peasants, officers of the Imperial Army, intellectuals who were anti Communists, the Russian middle clases from the cities, and anyone who opposed the revolution Lenin wasn t better than Stalin, both were criminals of the worst nature, the second one was a psycho indeed, the first one was like Robespierre a cold man who decided life or death, just with a single movement of his hand.


  7. says:

    Interesting pov from the end of the Soviet Union Lenin planted a mine deep in the structure of the Soviet bureaucracy that assured its eventual destruction A decidedly negative judgment of Lenin that in my view could have used a little explanation as to why Lenin should receive no credit for the NEP.


  8. says:

    Good but some part are repetitive.


  9. says:

    I begin with two quotes He Lenin saw in liberal politicians the chief obstacle to his plans His anti liberalism was a mark of his general antipathy to liberty as a political and moral value believing everything is moral that facilitates the victory of Communism For Communism, substitute any idea of an ideal government.Both of these are from Lenin A New Biography Chap The Mausoleum of Leninism The first difficulty in reading a work by and about Russians is Russian names Almost every name consists of a mouthful of syllables In Mr Volgonov s history the problem is exacerbated by the seeming ease with which people may change them.That said, this new biography has been culled from here to fore secret archival documents It provides a fascinating, and important, if sometimes bewildering, read More often than I wished, I had to lay the book aside to allow what I read to come to some kind of sensible clarity in my head.Lenin proves to be even brutal than he has previously been sketched His brutality was never personal, as it would prove to be with Stalin, his successor, but out of a real idealism that degenerated into crimes against his own people His goal was not just Russian revolution, but a world wide proletariat uprising against Capitalism Consequently, he stole from his own people, reduced them to famine and death, to finance the Party in other countries, including the United States.As events in this country are proving, antipathy to liberty as a political and moral value is not a blindness limited only to Leninism We can see it take root, today, in Uganda, in Arab countries and even in America The Manhattan Document recently released by a coterie of one hundred and forty five fundamentalist, evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox Christian activists, who pledge themselves not to obey state rules unless they were aligned with their sectarian Church beliefs Volgogonov claims, rightly, so it seems to me, that Leninism carried the seed to its own destruction The Manhattan Document will probably fall victim to its excesses, as well The problem is that it may, if carried out as its signers wish, destroy liberty as we know it, today.I recommend this book to any nascent historian Its not a fun book, but I think it an important one.


  10. says:

    I struggled for a while over the choice of which Lenin biography to read My concern was that anything written by westerners would be slanted against the man and that anything produced by a Soviet author would be hagiographic I settled on Volkogonov s book as perhaps in that sweet spot in the middle He was a Soviet general, and as such would have found it impossible to advance without embracing Leninism, or at least appearing to At the end of the Soviet era, he was chairman of Yeltsin s commission examining the Soviet archives.Of course, it would not be possible to have a biography of Lenin without covering Leninism, the Bolshevik revolution, and, indeed, no small portion of Soviet history It would be possible to cover these things without including a biography of Lenin This book seems, to me, to be closer to the latter than the former That is, this book struck me of a history of Leninism than a biography of the man.I accept that biographies of political leaders do not conform well to strict chronological telling There are many cases where the large issues of the day should be addressed by topic rather than according to the calendar This book, though, goes to a bit of an extreme The first few pages cover Lenin s life before October, 1917, and a chapter near the end covers the months of his decline The vast middle is accurately a history of the revolution rather than the story of the man Also, in my experience, a whole life biography ends with a short denouement covering, perhaps, the funeral and a few pages of legacy As a book about Leninism than Lenin, Volkogonov devotes quite a bit of space to all the Soviet leaders Stalin, obviously, who was a contemporary of Lenin, but also to the rest Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, and Gorbachev None of this is meant to malign the book in any way It s that it failed to meet my expectations It s a pretty good book about the Bolshevik revolution, it s underpinnings, the motives of the principal actors, and not least, it s brutality.


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download Lenin: A New Biography, read online Lenin: A New Biography, kindle ebook Lenin: A New Biography, Lenin: A New Biography ec56b63feeb1 For Years, Westerners Have Wondered What Secrets Were Preserved Not Only In The KGB Archives, But Also In Dozens Of Other Off Limits Locations Now That Dmitri Volkogonov, Historian And Former General In The Soviet Army, Has Been Entrusted With The Management Of The Archives As A Special Assistant To Boris Yeltsin, We At Last Have A Chance To Find Out For The Last Three Years He Has Combed Through Than Once Secret Documents Covering Every Piece Of Information In The Archive System Concerning Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin And His Legacy He Has Woven This Mountain Of Information Into A Compelling Story Of The Soviet Founding Father And The System He Created Volkogonov Offers A Radical Departure From The Traditional Interpretation Of Lenin As An Idealist Many Of The Characteristics Of So Called Stalinism, He Shows, Arose In Lenin S Lifetime, Often On Lenin S Direct Orders From The Creation Of Concentration Camps, To Brutal Repression Of The Church And The Media, To The Strategic Cultivation Of A Cult Of Personality, Lenin S Leadership Was Cruel And Totalitarian Volkogonov Also Offers Select Revelations From The Post Lenin Years In Order To Demonstrate That The Worst Excesses Of The Soviet State All Had Their Roots In Its Founding Father In Volkogonov S Words, For Years We Asked Ourselves Where Stalin Had Acquired The Cruelty Which He Inflicted On His Fellow Countrymen None Of Us The Present Author Included Could Begin To Imagine That The Father Of Domestic Russian Terrorism, Merciless And Totalitarian, Could Have Been Lenin