Vladimir Ilitch Lenin, who died in 1924 at the age of fifty-four, went through two distinct periods in his life. He spent twenty years in exile dreaming of the revolution and creating his political tool--the Communist Party--with the Russian Revolution happening in his absence. But eight months after the Revolution, in October 1917, he gained total power. Within four years, amidst a society that had previously rejected him, he created the Party for Global Revolution and established the Communist Party. How can the conquest and the preservation of a party's power that originated with only a few thousand members in a country of 140 million people be explained? How can the longevity and the global influence of Leninism be explained? In spite of the horrifying death toll of Lenin's regime--more than 14 million died--one must admit to his political genius. Lenin founded a system of power unprecedented in the history of the twentieth century.
Helene Carrere d'Encausse is a leading French authority on Russian and Slavic history. She is the second woman to be admitted to the French Academy in its 350 years of existence. She is also the author of The Russian Syndrome, Big Brother, and The Great Challenge.
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