Lenin's View Of Socialism In Russia

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At the time of the victory of the Russian Revolution in October 1917, Lenin’s views on socialism and how to build it were limited. He held that socialism was characterized by several principal features. These were public ownership of the means of production, an end to exploitation,[1] and the dictatorship of the proletariat.[2]

As of October 1917, Lenin had not yet translated these general points into an actual plan for socialism in Russia. This reflected not a lack of preparation on Lenin’s part, but rather his approach to political problems. Lenin was an eminently practical person. During the long years of struggle before 1917, he devoted little attention to the question of socialism because it was not yet an immediate issue. In Lenin’s
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The oppression endured by the Russian people was extreme. Peasants barely survived tilling the fields of wealthy landlords, and workers labored 14-hour days in the industrial sweatshops of Russia’s capitalists. Frequent uprisings against these conditions rocked city and countryside, and the people were open to revolutionary ideas. Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) showed the people that the source of their oppression was capitalism, and the solution lay in socialism.

At the time of the victory of the Russian Revolution in October 1917, Lenin’s views on socialism and how to build it were limited. He held that socialism was characterized by several principal features. These were public ownership of the means of production, an end to exploitation,[1] and the dictatorship of the proletariat.[2]

As of October 1917, Lenin had not yet translated these general points into an actual plan for socialism in Russia. This reflected not a lack of preparation on Lenin’s part, but rather his approach to political problems. Lenin was an eminently practical person. During the long years of struggle before 1917, he devoted little attention to the question of socialism because it was not yet an immediate issue. In Lenin’s words, “We must bear firmly in mind that we have never set ourselves ’insoluble’ social problems.” (“Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?” Sept.
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Marx expected socialism to develop first in one of the highly developed capitalist countries of Western Europe, with their extensive industrial production and large urban proletariat. Russia’s population was mostly peasantry, and the industrial working class was small. Some European Marxists viewed Russia as the backward stepchild of Europe which would be one of the last countries to have a socialist revolution.

But Lenin saw in Russia the potential, and desperate need, for socialism. The oppression endured by the Russian people was extreme. Peasants barely survived tilling the fields of wealthy landlords, and workers labored 14-hour days in the industrial sweatshops of Russia’s capitalists. Frequent uprisings against these conditions rocked city and countryside, and the people were open to revolutionary ideas. Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) showed the people that the source of their oppression was capitalism, and the solution lay in
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