Born in Russia, Vladimir Lenin was the founder of the Russian Communist party, the Bolsheviks, and the first head of the Soviet state. The question is, was his rise to power pure luck because he happened to be in the right place at the right time, or did out-of-the-box scheming reward him with the position?
How much importance does his personality hold in comparison to the significance of his position—could anyone have done what Lenin did? From a young age, Lenin was immersed in the world of politics after the execution of his brother; his family was already a target for government officials wary of public education due to his extensive educational background.
Lenin continued to explore politics, soon declaring himself a Marxist and getting expelled to Siberia in the process. It was around this time when he began his endeavors through Europe, that he established the Bolshevik Party and adopted the name, Lenin. From this point onward, the question arises: could anyone have done what Lenin did?
Lenin, who was still living in Europe during WWI, advocated for Russia’s defeat in the war with the ideology that it would urge the political revolution he was after. He wrote and published “The Highest Stage of Capitalism” in which he explained why a revolution would benefit Russia.
The Germans saw his ideology as a way to weaken the Russian leadership from the inside in order to secure a win in WWI. So, with German aid, Lenin was able to board a train in time to overthrow the provincial government. This series of events is imperative to Lenin’s story as a dictator; even a slight alternative would have led to a different outcome altogether, one that Lenin might not even have been a part of.
His ideology was spread through his book in which he stated his claims and openly declared his opinions on the war. If he had not been educated from a young age to such a degree, he would have never been able to execute the writing and publishing of a book. Plus, at that time public education was frowned upon and had made Lenin’s family a target from the beginning.
Not many people with the same ideology would have had the opportunity to pursue education and a political background like Lenin did—it’s what set him apart. He was experienced and unlike many fellow Marxists, he had the vision to go beyond just being a part of a political party.
Having published a book with a background in politics, he made a name for himself, and that’s how he was able to get German aid all the way to Russia. However, some may argue that this feat was pure luck, a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
Anyone could have been on the German train capable enough to lead a revolution. After all, Lenin was not the only one who believed Russian involvement in WWI should end, as many people were itching for a revolution. Perhaps Lenin was just the catalyst—if Lenin didn’t end up taking charge, someone else just as intense about their ideology would have stepped up to the position.
Lenin overthrew the provincial government in a way that rewarded him with a number of existing support when he declared himself the first head of a Soviet state. His journey was what led him to rise up with the number of support and opposition that he faced. The mass of people assisting him were factory workers and middle-class citizens who desired change; they agreed with Lenin’s ideology and thought that he would make a good replacement for their current situation.
If it were anyone else, the ratio of support and opposition would have been bound to be different, leading to an altered outcome. One of Lenin’s first policies was War Communism. This was put into place in order to assist Lenin’s army against the White Army which was made up of monarchs, capitalists, and supporters of democratic socialism.
War Communism was greatly opposed by the masses due to its leech-like conditions and harrowing effects on the people of Russia, but it was a success in terms of serving its purpose, which was to aid the civil war between the White Army and Lenin’s army. This was one of Lenin’s more controversial decisions while in power.
He established the Cheka, a secret police, which was used to silence his opposition, from within his own party and outside it. Moving forward, it became more and more violent, killing almost 100,000 people in under a month. These actions show how desperate Lenin was to ensure he remained in power despite his opposition.
This is a similar strategy many politicians and people of power use to maintain their power. Even if someone else had been in place of Lenin, there’s a good chance that the events would have unfolded similarly. Vladimir Lenin is still remembered as the head and creator of the first Soviet state. Although he is a prominent figure in history, his journey proves that if someone similar were to have taken the reins, history might not be so contrasting.
One thing is for sure, not just any person would have been capable of establishing the Russian state the way Lenin was able to. He was prepared to take on the role from a young age; he was determined and had the motivation to do so.
The skills he possessed were rare but not unique; any capable individual would have prompted the revolution, but they’d need to have a background similar to Lenin’s in order to come close to what he did. The reason for this is that his actions were led and influenced by what he experienced in adolescence, which molded his life journey, leading him to ultimately rule the very first Soviet state.
If you want to submit your articles and/or research papers, please check the Submissions page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.