Vladimir Lenin

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Vladimir Lenin

Lenin (Russian: Ленин), secret name of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ульянов) (22 April 1870 (10 April (O.S.)) - 21 January 1924) was a Russian revolutionary, the leader of the Bolshevik party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union, and the main theorist of Leninism.


  • Violence is, of course, alien to our ideals.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 23, pages 28-76.
  • What we prize most is peace and an opportunity to devote all our efforts to restoring our economy.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 32, pages 112-119
  • Disarmament is the ideal of socialism.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 23, p.94-104
  • An end to wars, peace among the nations, the cessation of pillaging and violence-such is our ideal
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Vol. 21, p.293
  • We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Vol 6, p.366
  • We love our language and our country, and we are doing our very utmost to raise her toiling masses (i.e., nine-tenths of her population) to the level of a democratic and socialist consciousness.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 26, p.107
  • The entire trend of development is towards abolition of coercive domination of one part of society over another.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 23, pages 28-76.
  • Humanity has not yet evolved and we do not as yet know a type of government superior to and better than the Soviets of Workers’, Agricultural Labourers’, Peasants’, and Soldiers’ Deputies.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 24, pages 38-41.
  • Communism cannot be imposed by force.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 29, pages 141-225
  • Our aim is to achieve a socialist system of society, which, by eliminating the division of mankind into classes, by eliminating all exploitation of man by man and nation by nation, will inevitably eliminate the very possibility of war.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 24, pages 398-421.
  • The passing of state power from one class to another is the first, the principal, the basic sign of a revolution, both in the strictly scientific and in the practical political meaning of that term.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 24, pages 42-54.
  • Man’s consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 38, p.85-241
  • The sole ‘property’ of mater with whose recognition philosophical materialism is bound up is the property of being an objective reality, of existing outside the mind
  • Human thought by its nature is capable of giving, and does give, absolute truth, which is compounded of a sum-total of relative truths.
  • The reflection of nature in man’s thought must be understood not lifelessly but in the eternal process of movement, the arising of contradictions and their solution.
  • Human reason has discovered many amazing things in nature and will discover still more, and will thereby increase its power over nature.
  • Materialism is the recognition of ‘objects in themselves’, or outside the mind; ideas and sensations are copies of images of those objects
  • History is moving in zig-zags and by roundabout ways.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 27, pages 159-63
  • A full 'definition of an object must include the whole of human experience, both as a criterion of truth and a practical indicator of its connection with human wants.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Vol. 32, p.94
  • Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness—voilà the epistemological roots of idealism.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 38, pp. 357-361
  • It is logical to assert that all matter possesses a property which is essentially akin to sensation, the property of reflection.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 14, pages 17-362.
  • The worker is becoming impoverished absolutely, i.e., he is actually becoming poorer than before; he is compelled to live worse, to eat worse, to suffer hunger more, and to live in basements and attics.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 18, pages 435-436.
  • Down with all colonial policy, down with the whole policy of intervention and capitalist struggle for the conquest of foreign lands and foreign populations, for new privileges, new markets, control of the Straits, etc.!
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Vol. 15, 229
  • To decide once every few years which members of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament--this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary- constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 25, p.381-492
  • Shame on America for the plight of the Negroes!
    • Collected Works, Volume 18, 543-44
  • America has become one of the foremost countries in regard to the depth of the abyss which lies between the handful of arrogant multimillionaires who wallow in filth and luxury, and the millions of working people who constantly live on the verge of pauperism.
    • Source: Collected Works, Volume 28,62-75
  • Do everything to demonstrate, and in the most emphatic manner, our sympathy for the Moslems, their autonomy, independence, etc.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 30, page 494
  • The real emancipation of the Chinese people from age-long slavery would be impossible without the great, sincerely democratic enthusiasm which is rousing the working masses and making them capable of miracles, and which is evident from every sentence of Sun Yat-sen’s platform.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 18, pages 163-169.
  • To call a fight for the Zionist idea of a Jewish nation, for the federal principle of Party organisation, a “fight for the equality of the Jews in the world family of the proletariat” is to degrade the struggle from the plane of ideas and principles to that of suspicion, incitement and fanning of historically-evolved prejudices. It glaringly reveals a lack of real ideas and principles as weapons of struggle.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 7, pages 92-103.
  • Pacifism, the preaching of peace in the abstract, is one of the means of duping the working class.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 21, pages 158-164.
  • The status of women up to now has been compared to that of a slave; women have been tied to the home, and only socialism can save them from this. They will only be completely emancipated when we change from small-scale individual farming to collective farming and collective working of the land.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 28,pages 180-182
  • The natural scientist must be a modern materialist, a conscious adherent of the materialism represented by Marx, i.e., he must be a dialectical materialist.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 33, pp. 227-236
  • We have the following of the majority of a class, the vanguard of the revolution, the vanguard of the people, which is capable of carrying the masses with it.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 26, pp. 22-27
  • You can become a Communist only when you enrich your mind with a knowledge of all the treasures created by mankind.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 31
  • To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class. That is the first point. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. That is the second point. Insurrection must rely upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolution when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height, and when the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revolution are strongest. That is the third point. And these three conditions for raising the question of insurrection distinguish Marxism from Blanquism.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 22-27
  • The functionaries of our political organizations and trade unions are corrupted - or rather tend to be corrupted--by the conditions of capitalism and betray a tendency to become bureaucrats, i.e., privileged persons divorced from the people and standing above the people.
  • Socialism, by organising production without class oppression, by ensuring the well-being of all members of the state, gives full play to the “sympathies” of the population, thereby promoting and greatly accelerating the drawing together and fusion of the nations.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 22, pages 320-360.
  • It is not for nothing that Skaldin in one part of his book quotes Adam Smith: we have seen that both his views and the character of his arguments in many respects repeat the theses of that great ideologist of the progressive
    • Lenin᾿s Collected Works, Volume 2, pp. 491-534.
  • Although the Russian bourgeois revolution of 1905-07 displayed no such “brilliant” successes as at time fell to the Portuguese and Turkish revolutions, it was undoubtedly a "real people's" revolution, since the mass of the people, their majority, the very lowest social groups, crushed by oppression and exploitation, rose independently and stamped on the entire course of the revolution the imprint of their own demands, their attempt to build in their own way a new society in place of the old society that was being destroyed.
  • Shame on accursed tsarism which tortured and persecuted the Jews. Shame on those who foment hatred towards the Jews, who foment hatred towards other nations.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 29, p.252-53
  • Tsar Nicholas the Bloody, who has dispersed the First and Second Dumas, who has drowned Russia in blood, enslaved Poland and Finland, and is in alliance with out—and-out reactionaries conducting a policy of stifling the Jews and all “aliens”, the tsar whose loyal friends shot down the workers on the Lena and ruined the peasants to the point of starvation all over Russia—that tsar pretends to be the champion of Slav independence and freedom!"
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 41, pages 262-266
  • The Labour Party is a thoroughly bourgeois party, because, although made up of workers, it is led by reactionaries, and the worst kind of reactionaries at that, who act quite in the spirit of the bourgeoisie. It is an organisation of the bourgeoisie, which exists to systematically dupe the workers with the aid of the British Noskes and Scheidemanns.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 31, pages 213-263
  • The bourgeoisie are today evading taxation by bribery and through their connections; we must close all loopholes.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 27, pages 383-387
  • The “democratisation” of the ownership of shares, from which the bourgeois sophists and opportunist so-called “Social-Democrats” expect (or say that they expect) the “democratisation of capital”, the strengthening of the role and significance of small scale production, etc., is, in fact, one of the ways of increasing the power of the financial oligarchy.
  • As long as the bourgeois parliament remains a means of duping the workers, and phrases about “democracy” are used to cover up financial swindling and every kind of bribery (the particularly “subtle” brand of bribery the bourgeoisie practise with regard to writers, N.P.s, lawyers, and others is nowhere to be seen on so wide a scale as in the bourgeois parliament), we Communists are in duty bound to be in this very institution (which is supposed to express the people’s will but actually covers up the deception of the people by the wealthy) to untiringly expose this deception, and expose each and every case of the Renners and Co.’s desertion to the capitalists, against the workers
    • Lenin’s Collected WorksVolume 31, pages 267-269
  • And, indeed, there could not be any other grouping among our students, because they are the most responsive section of the intelligentsia, and the intelligentsia are so called just because they most consciously, most resolutely and most accurately reflect and express the development of class interests and political groupings in society as a whole.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 7, pages 43-56.
  • To carry on a war for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie, a war which is a hundred times more difficult, protracted and complex than the most stubborn of ordinary wars between states, and to renounce in advance any change of tack, or any utilization of a conflict of interests (even if temporary) among one’s enemies, or any conciliation or compromise with possible allies (even if they are temporary, unstable, vacillating, or conditional allies)—is that not ridiculous in the extreme?”
  • One cannot live in society and be free from society
    • Lenin's Collected Works,Volume 10, pages 44-49.
  • To picture world history as advancing smoothly and steadily without sometimes taking gigantic strides backward is undialectical, unscientific and theoretically wrong
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 22, pages 305-319.
  • Modern militarism is the result of capitalism. In both its forms it is the “vital expression” of capitalism—as a military force used by the capitalist states in their external conflicts and as a weapon in the hands of the ruling classes for suppressing every kind of movement, economic and political, of the proletariat.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 15, pages 191-201.
  • Trade unions and strikes cannot help in times of crisis when there is no demand for this “commodity”, they cannot change the conditions which, convert labour-power into a commodity and which doom the masses of working people to dire need and unemployment. To change these conditions, a revolutionary struggle against the whole existing social and political system is necessary; the industrial crisis will convince very many workers of the justice of this statement.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 5, pages 25-30.
  • All over the world, wherever there are capitalists, freedom of the press means freedom to buy up newspapers, to buy writers, to bribe, buy and fake “public opinion” for the benefit of the bourgeoisie.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 32, pp.504-509
  • Only by abolishing private property in land and building cheap and hygienic dwellings can the housing problem be solved.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 24, p. 455-480
  • The bourgeois court, which claimed to maintain order, but which, as a matter of fact, was a blind, subtle instrument for the ruthless suppression of the exploited, and an instrument for protecting the interests of the moneybags.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 26, pp. 453-482
  • Present-day society is wholly based on the exploitation of the vast masses of the working class by a tiny minority of the population, the class of the landowners and that of the capitalists. It is a slave society, since the “free” workers, who all their life work for the capitalists, are “entitled” only to such means of subsistence as are essential for the maintenance of slaves who produce profit, for the safeguarding and perpetuation of capitalist slavery.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 10, pages 83-87.
  • A United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists ... but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 21, p 341
  • Discrimination among citizens on account of their religious convictions is wholly intolerable. Even the bare mention of a citizen’s religion in official documents should unquestionably be eliminated.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 10, pages 83-87.
  • Hundreds of thousands and millions of wage slaves of capital and peasants downtrodden by the serf-owners are going to the slaughter for the dynastic interests of a handful of crowned brigands, for the profits of the bourgeoisie in its drive to plunder foreign lands.
    • Collected Works, Volume 41
  • Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations—such is the national programme that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 20, pages 393-454.
  • Whoever wants to reach socialism by any other path than that of political democracy will inevitably arrive at conclusions that are absurd and reactionary both in the economic and the political sense.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Vol 9, p29
  • The truth about Kolchak (and his double, Denikin) has now been revealed in full. The shooting of tens of thousands of workers. The shooting even of Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. The flogging of peasants of entire districts. The public flogging of women. The absolutely unbridled power of the officers, the sons of landowners. Endless looting. Such is the truth about Kolchak and Denikin.
    • Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 29, p.436-455
  • The civil war which was started by the Cadet-Kaledin counter-revolutionary revolt against the Soviet authorities, against the workers’ and peasants’ government, has finally brought the class struggle to a head and has destroyed every chance of setting in a formally democratic way the very acute problems with which history has confronted the peoples of Russia, and in the first place her working class and peasants.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 379-383
  • Terrorists bow to the spontaneity of the passionate indignation of intellectuals, who lack the ability or opportunity to connect the revolutionary struggle and the working-class movement into an integral whole. It is difficult indeed for those who have lost their belief, or who have never believed, that this is possible, to find some outlet for their indignation and revolutionary energy other than terror.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 5, pages 347-530.
  • There are at present 300,000 bourgeois in the Crimea. These are a source of future profiteering, espionage and every kind of aid to the capitalists. However, we are not afraid of them. We say that we shall take and distribute them, make them submit, and assimilate them.
    • Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 31, pages 438-459
  • Political institutions are a superstructure resting on an economic foundation.
    The Three Sources and Three Constituent Parts of Marxism (1913)
  • We know that an unskilled labourer or a cook cannot immediately get on with the job of state administration.
    Will the Bolsheviks Retain Government Power? (1917)
    This citation is often misquoted as "every cook must learn to govern the state" or even "every cook can govern the state"
  • The war is relentless: it puts the alternative in a ruthless relief: either to perish, or to catch up with the advanced countries and outdistance them, too, in economic matters.
    The Impending Catastrophe and How to Fight It (1917)
  • Let us...take the most concrete example of state capitalism...It is Germany. Here we have the 'last word' in modern, large-scale capitalist engineering and planned organization, subordinated to Junker-bourgeois imperialism. Cross out the words in italics and [substitute] a Soviet state, that is, a proletarian state, and you will have the sum total of the conditions necessary for socialism.
  • 'Left Wing' Childishness, Lenin, Pravda, May 1918
  • The Poor Peasants’ Committees are necessary to fight the kulaks, the rich, the exploiters, who shackle the working peasants. But between the kulaks, who are a small minority, and the poor or semi-proletarians there is the section of the middle peasants. The Soviet government has never declared or conducted any struggle against them. Any steps or measures to the contrary must be condemned most vigorously and stopped. The socialist government must pursue a policy of agreement with the middle peasants.
    • Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 28.
  • From the vulgar bourgeois standpoint the terms of dictatoship and democracy are mutually exclusive. Failing to understand the theory of class struggle and accustomed to seeing in the political arena the petty squabbling of the various bourgeois circles and coteries, the bourgeois understands by dictatorship the annulment of all liberties and guarantees of democracy, arbitrariness of every kind, and every sort of abuse of power, in a dictator's personal interests.
    • Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 31
Vladimir Lenin
  • Пока есть государство, нет свободы. Когда будет свобода, не будет государства.
    • While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
    • State and Revolution (1919)
  • Communism is Soviet government plus the electrification of the whole country.
    • New External and Internal Position and the Problems of the Party (1920)
  • I am not fond of the Germans by any means but at the present time it is more advantageous to use them than to challenge them. An independent Poland is very dangerous to Soviet Russia: it is an evil which, however, at the present time has also its redeeming features; for while it exists, we may safely count on Germany, because the Germans hate Poland and will at any time make common cause with us in order to strangle Poland. ... Everything teaches us to look upon Germany as our most reliable ally. Germany wants revenge, and we want revolution. For the moment our aims are the same. When our ways part they will be our most ferocious and our great enemies. Time will tell whether a German hegemony or a Communist federation is to arise out of the ruins of Europe.
    • Speech to followers (Ost-Information (Berlin), No. 81, December 4, 1920).
    • A. L. O. Dennis, The foreign Policies of Soviet Russia (New York, 1924), pp. 154-5.
  • When we say "the state," the state is we, it is we, it is the proletariat, it is the advanced guard of the working class.
    • Speech (May 27, 1922)
  • It is true that liberty is precious—so precious that it must be rationed.
    • Attributed. Quoted by Sidney & Beatrice Webb, Soviet Communism:A New Civilization? (1936)
  • Из всех искусств важнейшим для нас является кино.
    • Translation: Cinema is the most important of all the arts for us.
    • Complete works of V.I.Lenin - 5th Edition - Vol. 44. - p. 579: Conversation with A.V.Lunacharsky
  • Ничего не знаю лучше «Apassionata», готов слушать ее каждый день. Изумительная, нечеловеческая музыка. Я всегда с гордостью, может быть, наивной, детской, думаю: вот какие чудеса могут делать люди ... Но часто слушать музыку не могу, действует на нервы, хочется милые глупости говорить и гладить по головкам людей, которые, живя в грязном аду, могут создавать такую красоту. А сегодня гладить по головке никого нельзя — руку откусят, и надобно бить по головкам, бить безжалостно, хотя мы, в идеале, против всякого насилия над людьми.
    • Translation: I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps with a childish naiveté, to think that people can work such miracles! ... But I can’t listen to music very often, it affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things, and pat the little heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. These days, one can’t pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. Hence, those little heads must be beaten, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people.
    • As quoted by Maxim Gorky in "V.I. Lenin" (1924)
  • "Am sure that the crushing of the Kazan Czechs and whiteguards, as well as of the kulak extortioners supporting them, will be exemplarily ruthless."
    • Telegram to Leon Trotsky (7 September 1918) as translated by Andrew Rothstein; published in Lenin Collected Works, Volume 35, page 359
    • I am confident that the suppression of the Kazan Czechs and White Guards, and likewise of the bloodsucking kulaks who support them, will be a model of mercilessness.
    • As translated in The Cheka : Lenin’s Political Police (1981) by George Leggett, p. 119,
  • It is obvious that a whiteguard insurrection is being prepared in Nizhni. You must strain every effort, appoint three men will) dictatorial powers (yourself, Markin and one other), organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, former officers and the like.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 35, page 350, 9 August 1918.
  • To hoard surpluses of grain and other food products at a time when the people in Petrograd, in Moscow, and in dozens of non-agricultural uyezds are not only suffering from a shortage of bread, but are cruelly starving, is an enormous crime deserving the most ruthless punishment.
    • Lenin Collected Works, Volume 42, pages 94-95
  • When we are victorious on a world scale I think we shall use gold for the purpose of building public lavatories in the streets of some of the largest cities of the world.
    • "The Importance of Gold Now and After the Complete Victory of Socialism", Lenin Collected Works, Volume 33, page 113


  • What a waste that we lost Mussolini. He is a first-rate man who would have led our party to power in Italy.
    • Addressed to a delegation of Italian socialists in Moscow after Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922.
    • Carlos Rangel, Third World Ideology and Western Reality (Transaction, 1986), p. 15.
  • The state does not function as desired. The car does not obey. A man is at the wheel and he seems to lead it, but the car does not drive in the desired direction. It moves as another force wishes.
    • Susan George, A Fate Worse than Debt 1988
  • Every cook must learn to rule the State.
    • Florence Becker, Woman's Place (from New International, Vol.2 No.5, August 1935, pp.175-176)

On Lenin

  • Lenin is an artist who has worked men, as other artists have worked marble or metals. But men are harder than stone and less malleable than iron. There is no masterpiece. The artist has failed. The task was superior to his capacities.
    • Benito Mussolini. Quoted in "Mussolini in the Making" - Page 326 - by Gaudens Megaro - 1938

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