The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (Annals of Communism) Paperback – 1 Jun 1999
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From the Back Cover
Lenin - the man, the revolutionary, and the world leader - has remained an enigma, part myth arising from the tumult of the Russian Revolution and part image carefully controlled for nearly seventy years by the leaders of the Soviet Union and their sympathizers abroad. The Unknown Lenin, containing long concealed documents from the Soviet archives, helps correct the myth and revise the image. Lenin emerges here as a ruthless, manipulative leader who used terror, subversion, and persecution to achieve his goals.
About the Author
V. I. Lenin (18701924) was a leader of the Russian Revolution and wrote extensively on the issues facing the working-class movement of his time.
Richard Pipes is Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of History, Emeritus, at Harvard University.
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Top Customer Reviews
The "unknown" Vladimir Ilyich organized Red terror, exported revolution with the aid of the Red Army, financed Communist organizations abroad, and hated the Russian Orthodox Church. He also spied on foreigners visiting Soviet Russia.
Somehow, this sounds pretty old hat. In fact, many of these things can be exegeted even from Lenin's published writings. Others are unsurprising, for instance that Soviet Russia often signed agreements they had no intention of keeping (standard practice in international diplomacy, but apparently verboten if Bolshies do it).
As for Lenin's opponents, they organized White terror, imported counter-revolution, hated Jews and eventually financed Nazi organizations. Of course, Pipes says nothing about this. Cold Warrior much?
So who would get an ontological shock by reading "The Unknown Lenin" (edited by the talented Mr. Pipes)? Perhaps a very naïve member of the Khrushchevite-Brezhnevite CPUSA, who really believes that Nikita and Leonid were men of peace, and that this policy originated with Lenin. But surely such people no longer exist? Another possibility would be a super-revolutionary Trotskyist, who might get shocked by the fact that Lenin actually *invited* the Allies to Murmansk (in secret, of course). Later, he signed the (secret) Rapallo agreement with Germany. Lenin, the great anti-imperialist internationalist revolutionary, exposed as a common "bourgeois" diplomat.
Poor Trots.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first one was Lenin, by creating a one party state ruled by him.
One should remember that in the free elections of 1919 in Russia, the bolshevik party got only a good 17% of the votes. But Lenin kept his power. As Tomsky said : there was only one party, the others were in prison.
Pipes' picture is all too real: Lenin was - and there are reasons for it : his brother's death for instance - a cynical, ruthless, aggressive agitator, who despised humanity and the workers to whom he told he was to create a paradise for them.
He understood that farmers and industrial workers saw only their own interests, not his: to create a new society with new human beings.
The results of his policies were dreadful: the USSR stopped to communicate health statistics to the WHO in the seventies, because they were too disastrous.
When I was in Moscow, an important person in Russia (I saw recently a quote from him in an international newspaper) told me the following joke: why are Lenin's statues on the market place of every village? Because his arm indicates where vodka is sold. That was the future of the country.
No, Julia Voznesenskaya is more than right: communism was the power of the soviets and the alcoholisation of the country (The women's Decameron).
I recommend this necessary political essay to everybody.
Dr. Richard Pipes, a great scholar on Soviet history, has done a great service for us in putting this material together so concisely and powerfully. It is another important volume in the Annals of Communism series that I cannot praise enough.
Dr. Pipes provides an introduction and a biographical sketch of Lenin, a few pictures, commentary on the importance of each document. The documents themselves are often excerpts while many are presented in full translation. There are a couple of them also provided in the original by a photograph of the actual document.
This is a vital book in understanding the origins of the Soviet Union and the nature of the relationships among the founders of what led to so many horrors and so many deaths.
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