Vladimir Lenin

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hang (and make sure that the hanging takes place in full view of the people) no fewer than one hundred known landlords, rich men, bloodsuckers. … Do it in such a fashion that for hundreds of kilometres around the people might see, tremble, know, shout: "they are strangling, and will strangle to death, the bloodsucking kulaks".
The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament!
Pacifism, the preaching of peace in the abstract, is one of the means of duping the working class.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Russian: Владимир Ильич Ленин), born 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 communist party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union and the main theorist of Leninism.

Quotes[edit]

To accept anything on trust, to preclude critical application and development, is a grievous sin; and in order to apply and develop, “simple interpretation” is obviously not enough.
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.
Arranged chronologically

1890s[edit]

  • The progressive historical role of capitalism may be summed up in two brief propositions: increase in the productive forces of social labour, and the socialisation of that labour. But both these facts manifest themselves in extremely diverse processes in different branches of the national economy.

The Development of Capitalism in Russia (1899)[edit]

  • The progressive historical role of capitalism may be summed up in two brief propositions: increase in the productive forces of social labour, and the socialisation of that labour. But both these facts manifest themselves in extremely diverse processes in different branches of the national economy.
    • Chapter Eight


  • Perhaps the profoundest cause of disagreement with the Narodniks is the difference in our fundamental views on social and economic processes. When studying the latter, the Narodnik usually draws conclusions that point to some moral; he does not regard the diverse groups of persons taking part in production as creators of various forms of life; he does not set out to present the sum-total of social and economic relationships as the result of the mutual relations between these groups, which have different interests and different historical roles.
  • If the writer of these lines has succeeded in providing some material for clarifying these problems, he may regard his labours as not having been fruitless.

1900s[edit]

Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour.
Everyone is free to write and say whatever he likes, without any restrictions... [but the party] would inevitably break up, first ideologically and then physically, if it did not cleanse itself of people advocating anti-party views.
  • To accept anything on trust, to preclude critical application and development, is a grievous sin; and in order to apply and develop, “simple interpretation” is obviously not enough.
  • The Congress decisively rejects terrorism, i.e., the system of individual political assassinations, as being a method of political struggle which is most inexpedient at the present time, diverting the best forces from the urgent and imperatively necessary work of organisation and agitation, destroying contact between the revolutionaries and the masses of the revolutionary classes of the population, and spreading both among the revolutionaries themselves and the population in general utterly distorted ideas of the aims and methods of struggle against the autocracy.
  • 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. The teachings about this society are called socialism.
  • Only the most ignorant people can close their eyes to the bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution which is now taking place. 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, Vladimir Ilich (Summer) [1905], "Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution", Collected Works, 9, Marxists, p. 29 .
  • Everyone is free to write and say whatever he likes, without any restrictions. But every voluntary association (including the party) is also free to expel members who use the name of the party to advocate anti-party views. Freedom of speech and the press must be complete. But then freedom of association must be complete too. I am bound to accord you, in the name of free speech, the full right to shout, lie and write to your heart’s content. But you are bound to grant me, in the name of freedom of association, the right to enter into, or withdraw from, association with people advocating this or that view. The party is a voluntary association, which would inevitably break up, first ideologically and then physically, if it did not cleanse itself of people advocating anti-party views.
  • Notwithstanding all the differences in the aims and tasks of the Russian revolution, compared with the French revolution of 1871, the Russian proletariat had to resort to the same method of struggle as that first used by the Paris Commune — civil war. Mindful of the lessons of the Commune, it knew that the proletariat should not ignore peaceful methods of struggle — they serve its ordinary, day-to-day interests, they are necessary in periods of preparation for revolution — but it must never forget that in certain conditions the class struggle assumes the form of armed conflict and civil war; there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes.
  • It is necessary to be able to withstand all this, to agree to any and every sacrifice, and even—if need be—to resort to all sorts of stratagems, manoeuvres and illegal methods, to evasion and subterfuges in order to penetrate the trade unions, to remain in them, and to carry on Communist work in them at all costs.
    • Reported in "'Left-Wing' Communism, An Infantile Disorder", V. I. Lenin; Selected Works (1938), vol. 10, p. 95.
  • In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organisation. Disunited by the rule of anarchic competition in the bourgeois world, ground down by forced labour for capital, constantly thrust back to the 'lower depths" of utter destitution, savagery, and degeneration, the proletariat can, and inevitably will become an invincible force only through its ideological unification on the principles of Marxism being reinforced b the material unity of organisation, which welds millions of toilers into an army of the working class.
    • One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (1904), Lenin Anthology, pp. 119

What is to be Done? (1902)[edit]

History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks confronting the proletariat of any country. The fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark


  • We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies and are under their almost constant fire. We have combined voluntarily, precisely for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not to retreat into the adjacent marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into a an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation.
    • Chapter One, A. "What is "Freedom of Criticism"?", Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. This cannot be insisted upon too strongly at a time when the fashionable preaching of opportunism is combined with absorption in the narrowest forms of practical activity.
    • Chapter One, Section D, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • Class consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, that is, only outside of the economic struggle, outside of the sphere of relations between workers and employers. The sphere from which alone it is possible to obtain this knowledge is the phere of relationships between all the various classes and strata and the state and the government-the sphere of the interrelations between all the various classes.
    • Chapter Three, Section D, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • To Bring political knowledge to the workers the Social-Democratss must go among all classes of the population , must dispatch units of their army in all directions
    • Chapter Three, Section D, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The only platform from which public exposures can be made is an all-Russian newspaper. "Without a political organ, a political movement deserving that name is inconceivable in modern Europe."In this connection Russia must undoubtedly by included in modern Europe. The press has long ago become a power in our country, otherwise the government would not spend tens of thousands of rubles to bribe it, and to subsidize the Katkovs and Meshcherskys. And it is no novelty in autocratic Russia for the underground press to break through the wall of sponsorship and compel the legal and conservative press to speak openly of it.
    • Chapter Three, Section E, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • Hence, political exposure in themselves serve as a powerful instrument for disintegrating the system we oppose, the means for diverting from he enemy his casual or temporary allies, the means for spreading enmity and distrust among those who permanently share power with the autocracy.
    • Chapter Three, Section E, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The Social-Democrat's ideal should not be a trade union secretary. but a tribune of the people, able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it takes place, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; he must be able to group all these manifestations into a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; he must be able to take advantage of every petty event in order to explain his socialistic convictions and his Social-Democratic demands to all , in order to explain to all and every the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat.
    • Chapter Three, Section E, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • We must '"go among all classes of the people" as theoreticians, as propagandists, as agitators and as organizers.
    • Chapter Three, Section E, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • Doing all this does not at all mean forgetting that in the long run the legalisation of the working-class movement will be, to our advantage, and not to that of the Zubatovs. On the contrary, it is precisely our campaign of exposure that will help us to separate the tares from the wheat. What the tares are, we have already indicated. By the wheat we mean attracting the attention of ever larger numbers, including the most backward sections, of the workers to social and political questions, and freeing ourselves, the revolutionaries, from functions that are essentially legal (the distribution of legal books, mutual aid, etc.), the development of which will inevitably provide us with an increasing quantity of material for agitation. In this sense, we may, and should, say to the Zubatovs and the Ozerovs: Keep at it, gentlemen, do your best! Whenever you place a trap in the path of the workers (either by way of direct provocation, or by the “honest” demoralisation of the workers with the aid of “Struvism”) we will see to it that you are exposed. But whenever you take a real step forward, though it be the most “timid zigzag”, we will say: Please continue! And the only step that can be a real step forward is a real, if small, extension of the workers’ field of action. Every such extension will be to our advantage and will help to hasten the advent of legal societies of the kind in which it will not be agents provocateurs who are detecting socialists, but socialists who are gaining adherents. in a word, our task is to fight the tares. It is not our business to grow wheat in flower-pots. By pulling up the tares, we clear the soil for the wheat. And while the Afanasy Ivanoviches and Pulkheria Ivanovnas are tending their flower-pot crops, we must prepare the reapers, not only to cut down the tares of today, but to reap the wheat of tomorrow.
    • Chapter Four
  • One may become a demagogue out of sheer political innocence.
    • Chapter Four
  • The only serious organizational principle the active workers of our movement can accept is strict secrecy, strict selection of members and the training of professional revolutionaries.
    • Chapter Four, Section E, Essential Lenin
  • It would be a great mistake to believe that because it is impossible to establish real "democratic" control, the members of the revolutionary organization will remain altogether uncontrolled. They have not the time to think about he toy forms of democracy..., but they have a lively sense of their responsibility, because hey know from experience that an organization of real revolutionaries will stop at nothing to rid itself of an undesirable member.
    • Chapter Four, Section E, Essential Lenin
  • In the history of modern socialism this is a phenomenon, that the strife of the various trends within the socialist movement has from national become international.
  • If democracy, in essence, means the abolition of class domination, then why should not a socialist minister charm the whole bourgeois world by orations on class collaboration?
  • Those who are really convinced that they have made progress in science would not demand freedom for the new views to continue side by side with the old, but the substitution of the new views for the old.
  • We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now some among us begin to cry out: Let us go into the marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: What backward people you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road! Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don’t clutch at us and don’t besmirch the grand word freedom, for we too are “free” to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh!
  • In a country ruled by an autocracy, with a completely enslaved press, in a period of desperate political reaction in which even the tiniest outgrowth of political discontent and protest is persecuted, the theory of revolutionary Marxism suddenly forced its way into the censored literature before the government realised what had happened and the unwieldy army of censors and gendarmes discovered the new enemy and flung itself upon him.
  • This fear of criticism displayed by the advocates of freedom of criticism cannot be attributed solely to craftiness. No, the majority of the Economists look with sincere resentment upon all theoretical controversies, factional disagreements, broad political questions, plans for organising revolutionaries, etc.
  • History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks confronting the proletariat of any country. The fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark, not only of European, but (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction, would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat. And we have the right to count upon acquiring this honourable title, already earned by our predecessors, the revolutionaries of the seventies, if we succeed in inspiring our movement, which is a thousand times broader and deeper, with the same devoted determination and vigour.
  • To belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology; for the spontaneous working-class movement is trade-unionism, and trade unionism means the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie. Hence, our task, the task of Social-Democracy, is to combat spontaneity, to divert the working-class movement from this spontaneous, trade-unionist striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and to bring it under the wing of revolutionary Social Democracy.
  • Revolutionary Social-Democracy has always included the struggle for reforms as part of its activities. But it utilises “economic” agitation for the purpose of presenting to the government, not only demands for all sorts of measures, but also (and primarily) the demand that it cease to be an autocratic government.
  • A basic condition for the necessary expansion of political agitation is the organisation of comprehensive political exposure.
  • It is particularly necessary to arouse in all who participate in practical work, or are preparing to take up that work, discontent with the amateurism prevailing among us and an unshakable determination to rid ourselves of it.
  • This struggle must be organised, according to “all the rules of the art”, by people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity.
  • A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organiser.

Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (1908)[edit]

Full text online; Collected Works, Vol. 14
  • The sole "property" of matter 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.
  • If the world is eternally moving and developing matter (as the Marxists think), reflected by the developing human consciousness, what is there “static” here? The point at issue is not the immutable essence of things, or an immutable consciousness, but the correspondence between the consciousness which reflects nature and the nature which is reflected by consciousness.
  • Materialism is the recognition of "objects in themselves", or outside the mind; ideas and sensations are copies of images of those objects.
  • Sensation is a subjective image of the objective world.
  • To be a materialist is to acknowledge objective truth, which is revealed to us by our sense organs.

1910s[edit]

People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be, until they have learned to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.
Man's consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it.
The Bolsheviks will do everything to secure this peaceful development of the revolution.
Victory will belong only to those who have faith in the people, those who are immersed in the life-giving spring of popular creativity.
We shall not bind ourselves by treaties. We shall not allow ourselves to be entangled by treaties.
When violence is exercised by the working people, by the mass of exploited against the exploiters — then we are for it!
  • What caused the war? The greed of the Italian money bags and capitalists, who need new markets and new achievements for Italian imperialism. What kind of war was it? A perfected, civilised blood bath, the massacre of Arabs with the help of the “latest” weapons.
  • Throughout the civilised world the teachings of Marx evoke the utmost hostility and hatred of all bourgeois science (both official and liberal), which regards Marxism as a kind of “pernicious sect”. And no other attitude is to be expected, for there can be no “impartial” social science in a society based on class struggle. In one way or another, all official and liberal science defends wage-slavery, whereas Marxism has declared relentless war on that slavery. To expect science to be impartial in a wage-slave society is as foolishly naïve as to expect impartiality from manufacturers on the question of whether workers’ wages ought not to be increased by decreasing the profits of capital.
  • Political institutions are a superstructure on the economic foundation.
    • The Three Sources and Three Constituent Parts of Marxism (March 1913)
  • People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.
    • The Three Sources and Three Constituent Parts of Marxism (March 1913)
  • The bourgeoisie incites the workers of one nation against those of another in the endeavor to keep them disunited. Class-conscious workers, realising that the break-down of all the national barriers by capitalism is inevitable and progressive, are trying to help to enlighten and organise their fellow-workers from the backward countries.
  • We, the Great-Russian proletarians, who defend no privileges whatever, do not defend this privilege either. We are fighting on the ground of a definite state; we unite the workers of all nations living in this state; we cannot vouch for any particular path of national development, for we are marching to our class goal along all possible paths.
    • "Right of Nations to Self-Determination", (1904), The Lenin Anthology
  • The interests of the working class and of its struggle against capitalism demand complete solidarity and the closest unity of the workers of all nations; they demand resistance to the nationalist policy of the bourgeoisie of every nationalist.
    • "Right of Nations to Self-Determination", (1904), The Lenin Anthology
  • It is not the business of socialists to help the younger and stronger robbers. Socialists must take advantage of the struggle between the robbers to overthrow all of them. To be able to do this, socialists must first of all tell the people the truth, namely, that this war is, in three respects, a war between slave-holders with the aim of consolidating slavery.
    • Socialism and War (1914), The Lenin Anthology
  • Is a sense of national pride alien to us, Great-Russian class-conscious proletarians? Certainly not! We love our language and our country, and we are doing our very utmost to raise her' toiling masses (i.e., ninth-tenths of her population) to the level of a democratic and socialist consciousness. To us it is most painful to see and feel the outrages, the oppression an the humiliation our fair country suffers at the hands of the tsar's butchers, the nobles and the capitalists.
    • The War and Russian Social-Democracy (September 1917), The Lenin Anthology
  • Nobody is to be blamed for being born a slave; but a slave who not only eschews a striving for freedom but justifies and eulogies his slavery (e.g., calls the throttling of Poland and the Ukraine, etc., a "defense of the fatherland" of the Great Russians") - such a slave is a lickspittle and a boor, who arouses a legitimate feeling of indignation, contempt, and loathing.
    • The War and Russian Social-Democracy (September 1917), The Lenin Anthology
  • We Great-Russian workers want, come what may, a free and independent, a democratic, republican and proud Great Russia, one that will base its neighbors on the human principle of equality, and not on the feudalist principle of privilege, which is so degrading to a great nation.
    • The War and Russian Social-Democracy (September 1917), The Lenin Anthology
  • The proletarian revolution calls for a prolonged education of the workers in the spirit of the fullest equality and brotherhood.
    • The War and Russian Social-Democracy (September 1917), The Lenin Anthology
  • In no country in the world are the majority of the population oppressed so much as in Russia; Great Russians constitute only 43 per cent of the population, i.e., less than half; the non-Russians are denied all rights.
    • The War and Russian Social-Democracy (September 1917), The Lenin Anthology
  • Tsarism regards the war as a means of diverting attention from the mounting discontent within the country and of suppressing the growing revolutionary movement.
    • The War and Russian Social-Democracy (September 1917), The Lenin Anthology
  • The Soviets are a new state apparatus which, in the first place, provides an armed force of workers and peasants; and this force is not divorced from the people, as was the old standing army, but is very closely bound up with the people, From the military point of view this force is incomparably more powerful than previous forces; from the revolutionary point of view, it cannot be replaced by anything else.
    • Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?, (1917)
  • The big banks are the "state apparatus" which we need to bring about socialism, and which we take ready-made from capitalism' our task here is merely to lop off what capitalistically mutilates this excellent apparatus, to make it even bigger, even more democratic, even more comprehensive. Quantity will be transformed into quality. A single State Bank, the biggest of the big, with branches in every rural district, in every factory, will constitute as much as nine-tenths of the socialist apparatus.
    • "Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?", (1917), The Lenin Anthology
  • An end to wars, peace among the nations, the cessation of pillaging and violence — such is our ideal, but only bourgeois sophists can seduce the masses with this ideal, if the latter is divorced from a direct and immediate call for revolutionary action.
  • Peaceful surrender of power by the bourgeoisie is possible, if it is convinced that resistance is hopeless and if it prefers to save its skin. It is much more likely, of course, that even in small states socialism will not be achieved without civil war, and for that reason the only programme of international Social-Democracy must be recognition of civil war, though violence is, of course, alien to our ideals.
  • Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; consequently, disarmament will be achieved. But whoever expects that socialism will be achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist. Dictatorship is state power based directly on violence. And in the twentieth century — as in the age of civilisation generally — violence means neither a fist nor a club, but troops. To put “disarmament” in the programme is tantamount to making the general declaration: We are opposed to the use of arms. There is as little Marxism in this as there would be if we were to say: We are opposed to violence!
  • International unity of the workers is more important than the national.
    • Letter to Inessa Armand (20 November 1916) Collected Works, Vol. 35, pp. 246-247.
  • 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.
  • It is essential to grasp the incontestable truth that a Marxist must take cognisance of real life, of the true facts of reality, and not cling to a theory of yesterday, which, like all theories, at best only outlines the main and the general, only comes near to embracing life in all its complexity.
  • Our business is to help get everything possible done to make sure the "last" chance for a peaceful development of the revolution, to help by the presentation of our programme, by making clear its national character, its absolute accord with the interests and demands of a vast majority of the population.
  • Where and when have riots and anarchy been provoked by wise measures? If the government had acted wisely, and if their measures had met the needs of the poor peasants, would there have been unrest among the peasant masses?
  • The government considers it the greatest of crimes against humanity to continue this war over the issue of how to divide among the strong and rich nations the weak nationalities they have conquered, and solemnly announces its determination immediately to sign terms of peace to stop this war on the terms indicated, which are equally just for all nationalities without exception.
  • No mercy for these enemies of the people, the enemies of socialism, the enemies of the working people! War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals; war on the rogues, the idlers and the rowdies!
  • 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 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).
  • Does not the whole history of socialism, particularly of French socialism, which is so rich in revolutionary striving, show us that when the working people themselves take power in their hands the ruling classes resort to unheard-of crimes and shootings if it is a matter of protecting their money-bags.
    • "Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars" (24 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 459-61.
  • We must not depict socialism as if socialists will bring it to us on a plate all nicely dressed. That will never happen. Not a single problem of the class struggle has ever been solved in history except by violence. When violence is exercised by the working people, by the mass of exploited against the exploiters — then we are for it!
    • "Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars" (24 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 459-61.
  • We shall not achieve socialism without a struggle. But we are ready to fight, we have started it and we shall finish it with the aid of the apparatus called the Soviets.
    • Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars (24 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 459-61.
  • After retaining power for two months and ten days, the workers of Paris, who for the first time in history established the Commune, the embryo of Soviet power, perished at the hands of the French Cadets, Mensheviks and Right Socialist-Revolutionaries of a Kaledin type. The French workers had to pay an unprecedentedly heavy price for the first experience of workers' government, the meaning and purpose of which the overwhelming majority of the peasants in France did not know.
  • You cannot do anything without rousing the masses to action. A plenary meeting of the Soviet must be called to decide on mass searches in Petrograd and the goods stations. To carry out these searches, each factory and company must form contingents, not on a voluntary basis: it must be the duty of everyone to take part in these searches under the threat of being deprived of his bread card. We can't expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot. Moreover, bandits must be dealt with just as resolutely: they must be shot on the spot.
  • The most reliable and best armed groups of the mass of revolutionary contingents organised to take extreme measures to overcome the famine shall be detailed for dispatch to all stations and all uyezds of the principal grain supplying gubernias. These groups, with the participation of railwaymen delegated by local railway committees, shall be authorised, firstly, to control the movement of grain freights; secondly, take charge of the collection and storage of grain; thirdly, adopt the most extreme revolutionary measures to fight speculators and to requisition grain stocks. When making any record of requisition, arrest or execution, the revolutionary contingents shall summon at least six witnesses to be selected from the poorest section of the population closest at hand.
    • “Meeting of the Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet With Delegates From the Food Supply Organisations” (27 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 503.
  • 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.
    • Statement (9 August 1918) Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 349
  • It is not national interests we are upholding — we claim that the interests of socialism, the interests of world socialism, rank higher than national interests, higher than the interests of the state. We are defenders of the socialist fatherland.
    • Address to the Party Central Committee (14 May 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 27, pp. 365-381.
  • 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", Pravda (May 1918).
  • Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers.
    • "Lenin's Hanging Order" (11 August 1918), an order for the execution of kulaks, as translated in The Unknown Lenin : From the Secret Archive (1996) by Richard Pipes, p. 50
    • Variant translation: Hang (and make sure that the hanging takes place in full view of the people) no fewer than one hundred known landlords, rich men, bloodsuckers. … Do it in such a fashion that for hundreds of kilometres around the people might see, tremble, know, shout: "they are strangling, and will strangle to death, the bloodsucking kulaks".
      • As translated in Lenin : A Biography (2000) by Robert Service, p. 365.
  • You must act with all energy. Mass searches. Execution for concealing arms.
    • Also quoted as "Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms."
    • Letter to G. F. Fyodorov, August 9, 1918, Collected Works, vol. 35. 35
  • 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.
  • It is necessary — secretly and urgently to prepare the terror. And on Tuesday we will decide whether it will be through SNK or otherwise.
  • Recovery proceeding excellently. 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; the recovery he mentions was of the wounds he received in the assassination attempt on him a few days earlier; published in Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 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,
  • No Bolshevik, no Communist, no intelligent socialist has ever entertained the idea of violence against the middle peasants. All socialists have always spoken of agreement with them and of their gradual and voluntary transition to socialism.
  • Из всех искусств важнейшим для нас является кино.
    • You are known among us as a protector of the arts so you must remember that, of all the arts, for us the cinema is the most important.
    • Conversation with A.V.Lunacharsky (April 1919); also quoted in A Concise History of the Cinema: Before 1940 (1971) by Peter Cowie, p. 137, Complete Works of V.I.Lenin - 5th Edition - Vol. 44. - p. 579.
  • Hundreds of thousands of rouble notes are being issued daily by our treasury. This is done, not in order to fill the coffers of the State with practically worthless paper, but with the deliberate intention of destroying the value of money as a means of payment… Experience has taught us it is impossible to root out the evils of capitalism merely by confiscation and expropriation… The simplest way to exterminate the very spirit of capitalism is therefore to flood the country with notes of a high face-value without financial guarantees of any sort. …[T]he great illusion of the value and power of money, on which the capitalist state is based will have been definitely destroyed.
    • The Daily Chronicle and New York Times (April 23, 1919), Paul Miliukov, Bolshevism: An International Danger, London: UK, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2010, pp. 75-76, first published in 1920
  • When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party and, as you have heard, a united socialist front is proposed, we say, "Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position because it is the party that has won, in the course of decades, the position of vanguard of the entire factory and industrial proletariat. This party had won that position even before the revolution of 1905. It is the party that was at the head of the workers in 1905 and which since then — even at the time of the reaction after 1905 when the working-class movement was rehabilitated with such difficulty under the Stolypin Duma — merged with the working class and it alone could lead that class to a profound, fundamental change in the old society.
  • When the Soviet government is experiencing a difficult period and plots are being hatched by bourgeois elements and when at a critical moment we manage to lay bare these plots — do they think they are discovered accidentally? Oh, no, not accidentally. They are discovered because the plotters live among the masses, because they cannot succeed in their plots without the workers and peasants and it is there that, in the long run, they run up against people who go to that badly organised, as they said here, Cheka and say that exploiters are gathered in a certain place.
  • When the speeches of Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George, the worst of the predators, the wild beasts of imperialism, are repeated here by Martov in the name of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party … then I say to myself that we have to be on the alert and to realise that the Cheka is indispensable!
    • Address to the Seventh All-Russia Congress (5 December 1919); Collected Works, Vol. 30.
  • The intellectual forces of the workers and peasants are growing and getting stronger in their fight to overthrow the bourgeoisie and their accomplices, the educated classes, the lackeys of capital, who consider themselves the brains of the nation. In fact they are not its brains but its shit.

April Thesis (1917)[edit]

  • In our attitude towards the war, which under the new government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably remains on Russia’s part a predatory imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government, not the slightest concession to “revolutionary defencism” is permissible.
  • In view of the undoubted honesty of those broad sections of the mass believers in revolutionary defencism who accept the war only as a necessity, and not as a means of conquest, in view of the fact that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary with particular thoroughness, persistence and patience to explain their error to them, and to prove that without overthrowing capital it is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic peace.
  • The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government.
  • Abolition of the police, the army and the bureaucracy. The salaries of all officials, all of whom are elective and displaceable at any time, not to exceed the average wage of a competent worker.
  • It is not our immediate task to “introduce” socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.
  • It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain.

Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917)[edit]

  • Capitalism in its imperialist stage arrives at the threshold of the most complete socialization of production. In spite of themselves the capitalists are dragged, as it were, into the new social order, which marks the transition from complete free competition to complete socialization. Production becomes social, but appropriation remains private. The social means of production remain the private property of a few. The framework of formally recognized free competition remains, but the yoke of a few monopolists on the rest of the population becomes a hundred times heavier, more burdensome and intolerable.
    • Chapter One
  • The statement that cartels can abolish crises is a fable spread by bourgeois economists who at all costs desire to place capitalism in a favorable light. On the contrary, when monopoly appears in certain branches of industry, it increases and intensifies the anarchy inherent in capitalist production as a whole.
    • Chapter One
  • Crises of every kind - economic crises more frequently, but not only these - in their turn increase very considerably the tendency towards concentration and monopoly
    • Chapter One
  • The principal and primary function of banks is to serve as an intermediary in the making of payments. In doing so they transform inactive money capital into active capital, that is, into capital producing a profit; they collect all kinds of money revenues and place them at the disposal of the capitalist class.
    • Chapter Two
  • The transformation of numerous intermediaries into a handful of monopolists represents one of the fundamental processes in the transformation of capitalism into capitalist imperialism.
    • Chapter Two
  • All the rules of control, the publication of balance sheets, the drawing up of balance sheets according ot a definite form, the public auditing of accounts, the things about which well-intentioned professors and officials - that is, those imbued with he good intention of defending and embellishing capitalism - discourse to the public, are of no avail. For private property is sacred, and no one can be prohibited from buying, selling, exchanging or mortgaging shares, etc.
    • Chapter Three
  • A monopoly, once it is formed and controls thousands of millions, inevitably penetrates into every sphere of public life, regardless of the form of government and all other "details".
    • Chapter Three
  • Generally speaking, under capitalism, the ownership of capital is separate from the application of capital to production; money capital is separate from industrial or productive capital; the rentier, living entirely on income obtained from money capital, is separated from the entrepreneur' and from all those directly concerned in the management of capital.
    • Chapter Three
  • Thus, in one way or another, the whole world is more or less the debtor to and vassal of these forn international banker countries, the four "pillars" of world finance capital.
    • Chapter Three
  • Under the old type of capitalism, when free competition prevailed, the export of goods was the most typical feature. Under modern capitalism, when monopolies prevail, the exporter of capital has become the typical feature.
    • Chapter Four, "The Export of Capital"
  • The principal feature of modern capitalism is the domination of monopolist combines of the big capitalists.
    • Chapter Six
  • Finance capital is not only interested in the already known sources of raw materials; it is also interested in interested in possible sources of raw materials, because present-day technical development is extremely rapid, and because land which is useless today may be made fertile tomorrow if new methods are applied (to devise these new methods a big bank can equip a whole expedition of engineers, agricultural experts, etc.), and large amounts of capital are invested.
    • Chapter Six
  • We must now try to sum up, to draw together the threads of what has been said above on the subject of imperialism. Imperialism emerged as the development and direct continuation of the fundamental characteristics of capitalism in general. But capitalism only became capitalist imperialism at a definite and very high stage of its development, when certain of its fundamental characteristics began to change into their opposites, when the features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher social and economic system had taken shape and revealed themselves in all spheres. Economically, the main thing in this process is the displacement of capitalist free competition by capitalist monopoly.
    • Chapter Seven
  • Imperialism is capitalism in that stage of development in which the domination of monopolies and finance capital has established itself; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; i which the division of the world among the international trusts has begin; in which the partition of all the territories of the globe among the great capitalist powers has been competed.
    • Chapter Seven
  • Capitalism is commodity production at the highest stage of development, when labor power itself becomes a commodity. The growth of internal exchange, and particularly of international exchange, is a special feature of capitalism. The uneven and spasmodic character of the development of individual enterprises, of individual branches of industry and individual countries, is inevitable under the capitalist system.
    • Chapter Four, "The Export of Capital"
  • The war of 1914-18 was imperialist (that is, an annexationist, predatory, war of plunder) on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies and spheres of influence of finance capital.
  • When nine-tenths of Africa had been seized (by 1900), when the whole world had been divided up,there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly possession of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the redivision of the world.
  • Modern monopolist capitalism on a world-wide scale — imperialist wars are absolutely inevitable under such an economic system, as long as private property in the means of production exists.
  • The war of 1914-18 was imperialist (that is, an annexationist, predatory, war of plunder) on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies and spheres of influence of finance capital.
  • Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for freedom, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations — all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism.

The State and Revolution (1917)[edit]

We set ourselves the ultimate aim of abolishing the state, i.e., all organized and systematic violence, all use of violence against people in general.
The State and Revolution (August - September 1917)
While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
The state is an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another; it creates "order," which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the collision between the classes.


  • During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes relentlessly persecute them, and treat their teachings with malicious hostility, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaign of lies and slanders. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to surround their names with a certain halo for the "consolation" of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping them, while at the same time emasculating the revolutionary doctrine of its content, vulgarizing it and blunting its revolutionary edge.'
    • 1.1, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • At the present time, the bourgeoisie and the opportunists in the labor movement concur in this "revision" of Marxism. They omit, obliterate and distort the revolutionary side of its doctrine, its revolutionary soul. They push to the foreground and extol what is or seems acceptable to the bourgeoisie.
    • 1.1, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • In such circumstances, in view of the incredibly widespread nature of the distortions of Marxism, our first task is to restore the true doctrine of Marx on the state.
    • 1.1, Essential Workers of Lenin (1966)
  • The state is an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another; it creates "order," which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the collision between the classes.
    • 1.1, Essential Workers of Lenin (1966)
  • The state is the product and the manifestation of the irreconcilability class antagonisms. The state arises when, where and to the extent that class antagonisms cannot be objectively reconciled. And, conversely, the existence of the state proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable.
    • 1.1, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The proletariat needs state power, a centralized organisation of force, an organisation of violence, both to crush the resistance of the expo loiters and to lead the enormous mass of the population - the peasants, the petty bourgeoisie , and semi-proletarians - in the work of organising a socialist economy.
    • 1.1, The Lenin Anthology
  • 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.
  • We are justified in speaking of special bodies of armed men, because the public power which is an attribute of every state is not "directly identical" with armed population, with its "self-acting armed organization"
    • 1.2, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • A state arises, a special force is created in the form of special bodies of armed men, and every revolution, by destroying the state apparatus, demonstrates to us how the ruling class strives to restore the special bodies of armed men which serve it, and how the oppressed class strives to create a new organization of this kind, capable of serving not the exploiters but the exploited.
    • 1.2, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • In a democratic republic, Engels continues, "wealth wields its power indirectly, all the more effectively," first, by means of the "direct corruption of the officials (America); second, by the means of "the alliance between the government and the Stock Exchange (France and America).
    • 1.3: The State as an Instrument for the Exploitation of The Oppressed Class, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • Revolution alone can "put an end" to the bourgeois state. THe state in general, i.e., the most complete democracy, can only "wither away".
    • 1.3: The State as an Instrument for the Exploitation of The Oppressed Class, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • We are in favor of a democratic republics the best form of state for the proletariat under capitalism; but we have no right to forget that wage-slavery is the lot of the people even in the most democratic bourgeois republic.
    • § 1.4, "The Withering Away of the State and Violent Revolution", Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • We are in favor of a democratic republic as the best form of state for the proletariat under capitalism; but we have no right to forget that wage-slavery is the lot of the people even in the mots democratic bourgeois republic.
    • § 1.4, "The Withering Away of the State and Violent Revolution", Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The substitution of the proletarian state for the bourgeois state is impossible without a violent revolution. The abolition of the proletarian state, i.e., of the state in genral, is impossible except through the process of "withering away".
    • § 1.4, "The Withering Away of the State and Violent Revolution", Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The exploiting classes need political rule in order to maintain exploitation, i.e., in the selfish interests of an insignificant minority and against the interests of the vast majority of the people. The exploited classes need political rule in order completely to abolish all exploitation, i.e., in the interests of the vast majority of the people, and against the interests of the insignificant minority consisting of the modern slave-owners - the landlords and the capitalists.
    • 2.1, "The Eve of The Revolution", Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The proletariat needs state power, the centralized organization of force, the organization of violence, for the purpose of crushing the resistance of the exploiters and for the purpose of leading the great mass of the population - the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie, the semi-proletarians - in the work of organizing a socialist economy.
    • 2.1, "The Eve of The Revolution", Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The centralized state power that is peculiar to bourgeois society came into being in the period of the fall of absolutism. Two institutions are most characteristic of this state machine: bureaucracy and a standing army.
    • 2.2, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • Imperialism - the era of bank capital, the era of gigantic capitalist monopolies, the era of the transformation of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism - has particularly witnessed an unprecedented strengthening of the "state machine"and an unprecedented growth of its bureaucratic and military apparatus, in connection with the increase in repressive measures against the proletariat in the monarchical as well as in the freest republican countries.
    • 2.2, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • For the state to wither away completely, complete communism is necessary.
    • Ch. 3
  • We ourselves, the workers, will organize large-scale production on the basis of what capitalism has already created; we shall rely on our own experience as workers, we shall establish strict, iron discipline supported by the state power of the armed workers, we shall reduce the role of he state officials to that of simply carrying out our instructions as responsible, revocable, moderately paid "managers"( of course, with the aid of technicians of all sorts, types and degrees). This is our proletarian revolution
    • 3.3, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • It is still necessary to suppress the bourgeoisie and crush its resistance. This was particularly necessary for the Commune; and one of the reasons for its defeat was that it did not do this with sufficient determination. But the organ of suppression is now the majority of the population, and not the minority, as was always the case under slavery, serfdom and wage-slavery. And since the majority of the of the people itself suppresses its oppressors, a "special force" for suppression is no longer necessary. in this sense the state begins to wither away. Instead of the special institutions of a privileged minority.. the majority can directly fulfill all these functions, and the more the functions of state power devolve upon the people generally, the less need is there for the existence of this power.
    • 3.2, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • We are not utopians, we do not indulge in "dreams" of dispensing at once with all administration, with all subordination; these anarchist dreams ... serve only to postpone the socialist revolution until human nature has changed. No, we want the socialist revolution with human nature as it is now, with human nature that cannot dispense with subordination, control and "managers." ... The united workers themselves ... will hire their own technicians, managers and bookkeepers, and pay them all, as, indeed, every state official, ordinary workmen's wages.
    • § 3.4, Essential Works of Lenin (1966), pp. 307-308
  • We set ourselves the ultimate aim of abolishing the state, i.e., all organized and systematic violence, all use of violence against people in general. We do not expect the advent of a system of society in which the principle of subordination of the minority to the majority will not be observed.
    In striving for socialism, however, we are convinced that it will develop into communism and, therefore, that the need for violence against people in general, for the subordination of one man to another, and of one section of the population to another, will vanish altogether since people will become accustomed to observing the elementary conditions of social life without violence and without subordination.
  • 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.
    • Ch. 5
  • Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners.
    • Ch. 5.
  • Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich – that is the democracy of capitalist society. If we look more closely into the machinery of capitalist democracy, we see everywhere, in the "petty" – supposedly petty – details of the suffrage (residential qualifications, exclusion of women, etc.), in the technique of the representative institutions, in the actual obstacles to the right of assembly (public buildings are not for "paupers"!), in the purely capitalist organization of the daily press, etc., etc., – we see restriction after restriction upon democracy. These restrictions, exceptions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor seem slight, especially in the eyes of one who has never known want himself and has never been in close contact with the oppressed classes in their mass life (and nine out of 10, if not 99 out of 100, bourgeois publicists and politicians come under this category); but in their sum total these restrictions exclude and squeeze out the poor from politics, from active participation in democracy.
  • In capitalist society, under the conditions most favorable to its development, we have more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always restricted by the narrow framework of capitalist exploitation and consequently always remains, in reality, a democracy for the minority, only for the possessing classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave owners
    • 5.2, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • Democracy is of great importance for the working class in ts struggle for freedom against the capitalists. But democracy is by no means a boundary that must not be overstepped; it is only one of the stages in the process of development from feudalism to capitalism, and from capitalism to communism.
    • 5.4, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • The whole of society will have become a single office and a single factory with equality of work an equality of pay.
    • 5.4, Essential Works of Lenin (1966)
  • It is still necessary to suppress the bourgeoisie and crush its resistance.
  • The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament!
    • Ch. 5 Lenin, Vladmir Illych (1917). The State and Revolution. "Marx grasped this essence of capitalist democracy splendidly when, in analyzing the experience of the Commune, he said that the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament!" 
  • 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.
  • Democracy for the cast majority of the people, and suppression by force, i.e., exclusion from democracy, of the exploiters and oppressors of the people - this is the change democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to Communism.
    • Marxism: Essential Writings, "The State and Revolution"
If it is necessary for the realization of a well-known political goal to perform a series of brutal actions then it is necessary to do them in the most energetic manner and in the shortest time, because masses of people will not tolerate the protracted use of brutality.
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.

"Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)[edit]

  • It is I think, almost universally realized at present that the Bolsheviks could not have retained power for two and a half month, let alone two and a half years, without the most rigorous and truly iron discipline in our Party, or without the fullest unreserved support from the entire mass of the working class, that is, from all thinking, honest, devoted and influential elements in it, capable of leading the backward strata or carrying the latter along with them.
    • CH. 2 An Essential Condition of the Bolsheviks' Success
  • I repeat: the experience of the notorious dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia has clearly shown even to those who are incapable of thinking or have had no occasion to give thought to the matter that absolute centralisation and rigorous discipline in the proletariat are an essential condition of victory over the bourgeoisie.
    • CH. 2 An Essential Condition of the Bolsheviks' Success
  • Repudiation of the Party principle and of Party discipline - that is what the opposition has arrived at . And this is tantamount to completely disarming the proletariat in the interests of the bourgeoisie It all ads up to that pretty-bourgeois diffuseness and instability, that incapacity for sustained effort, unity and organized actions, which, if encouraged, must inevitably destroy any proletarian revolutionary movement.
    • CH 5, "Left Wing Communism in Germany. The Leaders, the Party, the Class, the Mass"
  • The Party is carried on though the Soviets, which embrace the working masses, irrespective of occupation. The district congresses of Soviet are democratic institutions, the like of which even the best of the democratic republics of the bourgeois world have never known; through these con tresses, as well as by continually appointing class-conscious workers to various posts in the rural districts, the proletariat exercises its role of leader of the peasantry, gives effect to the dictatorship of the urban proletariat, wages, a systematic struggle against the rich, bourgeois, exploiting and profiteering peasantry, etc.
    • CH 5, "Left Wing Communism in Germany. The Leaders, the Party, the Class, the Mass"
  • We are waging a struggle against the "labour aristocracy" in the name of the masses of the workers and in order to win them over to our side; we are waging struggle against he opportunist and social chauvinist leaders in order to win the working class over to our side.
    • CH 5, "Left Wing Communism in Germany. The Leaders, the Party, the Class, the Mass"
  • Classes still remain, and will remain everywhere for years after the proletariat's conquest of power.
    • CH 5, "Left Wing Communism in Germany. The Leaders, the Party, the Class, the Mass"
    • The abolition of classes means, not merely ousting the landowners and the capitalists - that is something we accomplished with comparative ease; it also means abolishing the small commodity producers, and they cannot be ousted, or crushed; we must learn to live with them.
    • CH 5, "Left Wing Communism in Germany. The Leaders, the Party, the Class, the Mass"
  • For any truth, if overdone (as Dietzgen Senior put it), if exaggerated, or if carried beyond the limits of its applicability, can be reduced to absurdity.

1920s[edit]

  • We stand for an alliance with all countries without exception.
  • 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 utilisation 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?
  • In particular, a free market and capitalism, both subject to state control, are now being permitted and are developing; on the other hand, the socialised state enterprises are being put on what is called a profit basis, i. e., they are being reorganised on commercial lines, which, in view of the general cultural backwardness and exhaustion of the country, will, to a greater or lesser degree, inevitably give rise to the impression among the masses that there is an antagonism of interest between the management of the different enterprises and the workers employed in them.
    • “The Role and Functions of the Trade Unions under the New Economic Policy”, LCW, 33, p. 184. Decision Of The C.C., R.C.P.(B.), January 12, 1922. Published in Pravda No. 12, January 17, 1922; Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 188–196.
  • Communism is Soviet government plus the electrification of the whole country. Otherwise the country will remain a country of small peasant economy, and it is up to us to realize this quite clearly.
    • New External and Internal Position and the Problems of the Party (1920); as quoted in The Soviet Power : The Socialist Sixth Of The World (1940) by Hewlett Johnson.
  • We must pursue the removal of church property by any means necessary in order to secure for ourselves a fund of several hundred million gold rubles (do not forget the immense wealth of some monasteries and lauras). Without this fund any government work in general, any economic build-up in particular, and any upholding of soviet principles in Genoa especially is completely unthinkable. In order to get our hands on this fund of several hundred million gold rubles (and perhaps even several hundred billion), we must do whatever is necessary. But to do this successfully is possible only now. All considerations indicate that later on we will fail to do this, for no other time, besides that of desperate famine, will give us such a mood among the general mass of peasants that would ensure us the sympathy of this group, or, at least, would ensure us the neutralization of this group in the sense that victory in the struggle for the removal of church property unquestionably and completely will be on our side.
    One clever writer on statecraft correctly said that if it is necessary for the realization of a well-known political goal to perform a series of brutal actions then it is necessary to do them in the most energetic manner and in the shortest time, because masses of people will not tolerate the protracted use of brutality. … Now victory over the reactionary clergy is assured us completely. In addition, it will be more difficult for the major part of our foreign adversaries among the Russian emigres abroad, i.e., the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Milyukovites, to fight against us if we, precisely at this time, precisely in connection with the famine, suppress the reactionary clergy with utmost haste and ruthlessness.
    Therefore, I come to the indisputable conclusion that we must precisely now smash the Black Hundreds clergy most decisively and ruthlessly and put down all resistance with such brutality that they will not forget it for several decades. … The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and the reactionary bourgeoisie that we succeed in shooting on this occasion, the better because this "audience" must precisely now be taught a lesson in such a way that they will not dare to think about any resistance whatsoever for several decades.
    • Letter to Comrade Molotov for the Politburo (19 March 1922)
    • Variant translation:
    • It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables. … I come to the categorical conclusion that precisely at this moment we must give battle to the Black Hundred clergy in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come. The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.
      • As translated in The Unknown Lenin : From the Secret Archive (1996) edited by Richard Pipes, pp. 152-4
  • In Italy, comrades, in Italy there was but a Socialist able enough to lead the people through a revolutionary path, Benito Mussolini.
    • As quoted in Revolutionary Fascism, Erik Norling, Lisbon, Finis Mundi Press (2011) p. 28. Lenin express this to Nicola Bombacci during a reception in the Kremlin.
  • The trial of the insurrectionists from Shuia, for opposing aid to the starving, should be carried out in utmost haste and should end not other than with the shooting of the very largest number of the most influential and dangerous of the Black Hundreds in Shuia, and, if possible, not only in this city but even in Moscow and several other ecclesiastical centers.
    • Letter to Comrade Molotov for the Politburo (19 March 1922).
  • 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 (27 May 1922).
  • I absolutely do not pretend in the slightest fashion to knowledge of military science.
    • As quoted in Stalin : A Biography (2004) by Robert Service, p. 183.

Collected Works[edit]

Quotes as yet only identified by location in the volumes of the Collected Works — Individual titles and dates of writing or publication should be provided for these, so they can be further sorted by date.
One cannot live in society and be free from society.
To picture world history as advancing smoothly and steadily without sometimes taking gigantic strides backward is undialectical, unscientific and theoretically wrong.
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.
To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class.
Only by abolishing private property in land and building cheap and hygienic dwellings can the housing problem be solved.
The state does not function as we 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.
Human reason has discovered many amazing things in nature and will discover still more, and will thereby increase its power over nature.
The world is eternally moving and developing matter, reflected by the developing of human consciousness.
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.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 5, pp. 25–30.
  • 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 bourgeoisie.
    • Lenin᾿s Collected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 491–534
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 5, pp. 347–530
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 7, pp. 43–56
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 7, pp. 92–103.
  • One cannot live in society and be free from society.
    • Collected Works,Vol. 10, pp. 44–49.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 10, pp. 83–87.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 10, pp. 83–87.
  • We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action.
    • "Lessons of the Moscow Uprising" Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 174.
  • The proletariat should not ignore peaceful methods of struggle — they serve its ordinary, day-to-day interests, they are necessary in periods of preparation for revolution — but it must never forget that in certain conditions the class struggle assumes the form of armed conflict and civil war; there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes. This was first demonstrated by the French proletariat in the Commune and brilliantly confirmed by the Russian proletariat in the December uprising.
  • It is logical to assert that all matter possesses a property which is essentially akin to sensation, the property of reflection.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 14, pp. 17–362.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 15, pp. 191–201.
  • 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.!
    • Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 229.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 18, pp. 163–169.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 18, pp. 435–436.
  • Shame on America for the plight of the Negroes!
    • Collected Works, Vol. 18, p. 543–544.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 20, pp. 393–454.
  • Pacifism, the preaching of peace in the abstract, is one of the means of duping the working class.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 21, pp. 158–164.
  • 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
    • Collected Works, Vol. 21, p 341.
  • To picture world history as advancing smoothly and steadily without sometimes taking gigantic strides backward is undialectical, unscientific and theoretically wrong
    • Collected Works, Vol. 22, pp. 305–319.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 22, pp. 320–360.
  • The entire trend of development is towards abolition of coercive domination of one part of society over another.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 23, pp. 28–76.
  • To become a power the class-conscious workers must win the majority to their side. As long as no violence is used against the people there is no other road to power. We are not Blancists, we do not stand for the seizure of power by a minority.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 38–41.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 38–41.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 42–54.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 398–421.
  • Only by abolishing private property in land and building cheap and hygienic dwellings can the housing problem be solved.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 455–480.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 381–492.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 22–27.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 22–27.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 107.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 379–383.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 453–482.
  • History is moving in zig-zags and by roundabout ways.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 27, pp. 159–63.
  • The bourgeoisie are today evading taxation by bribery and through their connections; we must close all loopholes.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 27, pp. 383–387.
  • The capture of Simbirsk, my home town, is a wonderful tonic, the best treatment for my wounds. I feel a new lease of life and energy.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 98.
  • No revolution is worth anything unless it can defend itself.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 113–126.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 62–75.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 180–182.
  • Communism cannot be imposed by force.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, pp. 141–225.
  • The practical activity of man had to lead his consciousness to the reptetition of various logical figures thousands of millions of times in order that these figures could obtain the significance of axioms.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 172.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 252–53.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 436–455.
  • The proletarian revolution is impossible without the sympathy and support of the overwhelming majority of the working people.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 30, pp. 52–62.
  • For the first time the peasant has seen real freedom — freedom to eat his bread, freedom from starvation.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 30, pp. 107–117.
  • Do everything to demonstrate, and in the most emphatic manner, our sympathy for the Moslems, their autonomy, independence, etc.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 30, p. 494.
  • You can become a Communist only when you enrich your mind with a knowledge of all the treasures created by mankind.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 31.
  • From the vulgar bourgeois standpoint the terms dictatorship 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 conceives dictatorship to mean the annulment of all the liberties and guarantees of democracy, tyranny of every kind, and every sort of abuse of power in the personal interests of a dictator.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 31.
  • The proletarian state must effect the transition to collective farming with extreme caution and only very gradually, by the force of example, without any coercion of the middle peasant.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 31, pp. 152–64.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 31, pp. 213–63.
  • 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
    • Collected Works, Vol. 31, pp. 267–69.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Vol. 31, pp. 438–59.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 32, p.  94.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 32, pp. 504–9.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 33, pp. 227–36.
  • Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness — voilà the epistemological roots of idealism.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 38, pp. 357–61
  • 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!"
    • Collected Works, Vol. 41, pp. 262–66
  • 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, Vol. 41.
  • 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.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 42, pp. 94–95.

Attributions[edit]

Every cook must learn to rule the State.
It is true that liberty is precious — so precious that it must be rationed.
  • 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.
    • Quoted from a "Speech to followers" by Ost-Information (Berlin), No. 81 (4 December 1920); as quoted in The Foreign Policies of Soviet Russia (1924) by A. L. O. Dennis, p. 154.
  • 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. Гм-гм, - должность адски трудная!
    • 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, you have to beat people's little heads, beat mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people. Hm — what a devillishly difficult job!
  • Every cook must learn to rule the State.
    • As quoted in Woman's Place by Florence Becker, in New International, Vol. 2 No. 5 (August 1935), pp.175-176; also in Woman in Soviet Russia (1935) by Fannina W. Halle.
  • It is true that liberty is precious — so precious that it must be rationed.
    • As quoted in Soviet Communism : A New Civilization? (1936) by Sidney & Beatrice Webb
  • The nearer we come to the full military suppression of the bourgeoisie, the more dangerous becomes to us the high flood of petty-bourgeois Anarchism. And the struggle against these elements cannot be waged with propaganda and agitation alone. … The struggle must also be waged by applying force and compulsion.
    • The Guillotine At Work : Twenty Years of Terror In Russia (1940) by Grigoriĭ Petrovich Maksimov, p. 38.
  • They will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide.
    • Reported by I. U. Annenkov in an article entitled, "Remembrances of Lenin", Novyi Zhurnal/New Review (September 1961), p. 147.
  • I don't care what becomes of Russia. To hell with it … All this is only the road to a World Revolution.
    • Statement after the October Revolution of 1917, as quoted in "Communists: The Battle over the Tomb" in TIME (24 April 1964).
  • It is in prison … that one becomes a real revolutionary.
    • Attributed in "Communists: The Battle over the Tomb" in TIME (24 April 1964).
  • The state does not function as we 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.
    • As quoted in A Fate Worse than Debt (1988) Susan George.
  • It is stupid to tolerate "Nikola;" all Chekists have to be on alert to shoot anyone who doesn't turn up to work because of "Nikola."
    • Nikola" here is St. Nickolas' Day, as quoted in Autopsy for an Empire (1998) by Dmitri Volkogonov, p. 74.
  • Russians are too kind, they lack the ability to apply determined methods of revolutionary terror.
  • Disorderly, unorganised and petty terrorist acts may, if carried to extremes, only scatter and squander our forces. That is a fact, which, of course, should not be forgotten. On the other hand, under no circumstances should it be forgotten that a slogan calling for an uprising has already been issued, that the uprising has already begun. To launch attacks under favourable circumstances is not only every revolutionary’s right, but his plain duty. The killing of spies, policemen, gendarmes, the blowing up of police stations, the liberation of prisoners, the seizure of government funds for the needs of the uprising—such operations are already being carried   out wherever insurrection is rife, in Poland and in the Caucasus, and every detachment of the revolutionary army must be ready to start such operations at a moment’s notice. Each group should remember that if it allows a favourable opportunity for such an operation to slip by today, it will be guilty of unpardonable inactivity, of passivity—and such an offence is the greatest crime a revolutionary can commit at a time of insurrection, the greatest disgrace that can befall anyone who is striving for liberty in deed, and not in word alone.
    • As quoted in Tasks of Revolutionary Army Contingents, Collected Works, Vol. 9, pages. 420-24.
  • We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action.
    • As quoted in Lessons of the Moscow Uprising, Collected Works, Vol. 11, page 174.
  • There are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes.”
    • As quoted in Lessons of the Commune, Collected Works, Vol. 13, page 478.
  • He who accepts the class struggle cannot fail to accept civil wars, which in every class society are the natural, and under certain conditions inevitable, continuation, development and intensification of the class struggle… To repudiate civil war, or to forget about it, is to fall into extreme opportunism and renounce the socialist revolution.
    • As quoted in The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution, Collected Works, Vol. 23, pages 78-9.
  • War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals... ‘He who does not work, neither shall he eat’ – this is the practical commandment of socialism... [Our] common aim [is] to clean the land of Russia of all vermin, of fleas – the rogues, of bugs – the rich, and so on and so forth.
    • As quoted in How to Organise Competition? Collected Works, Vol. 26, pages. 411, 414.
  • Not a single problem of the class struggle has ever been solved in history except by violence... The class struggle did not accidentally assume its latest form, the form in which the exploited class takes all the means of power in its own hands in order to completely destroy its class enemy, the bourgeoisie...
    • As quoted in Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars, Collected Works, Vol. 26, pages 459-61.
  • We can’t expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot. Moreover, bandits must be dealt with just as resolutely: they must be shot on the spot.
    • As quoted in Meeting of the Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet With Delegates From the Food Supply Organisations, Collected Works, Vol. 26, page 501.
  • Surely you do not imagine that we shall be victorious without applying the most cruel revolutionary terror?
    • As quoted in George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (1981), page 57.
  • … prepare eveything to burn Baku to the ground, if there is an attack…
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), page 46.
  • … carry out merciless mass terror against the kulaks, priests and White Guards; unreliable elements to be locked up in a concentration camp outside the town.
    • As quoted in George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (1981), page 103.
  • The uprising of the five kulak districts should be mercilessly suppressed… Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers... Do it in such a way that for hundreds of versts [km] around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucker kulaks.
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), page 50.
  • About three million must be regarded as middle peasants, while barely two million consist of kulaks, rich peasants, grain profiteers... Ruthless war on the kulaks! Death to them! … [Class struggle entails] ruthless suppression of the kulaks, those bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who batten on famine.
    • As quoted in Comrade Workers, Forward To The Last, Decisive Fight! Collected Works, Vol. 28, pages 53-7.
  • 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 quoted in George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (1981), p. 119.
  • Dictatorship is rule based directly upon force and unrestricted by any laws. The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is rule won and maintained by the use of violence by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, rule that is unrestricted by any laws.
    • As quoted in The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1972), p. 11.
  • … when people charge us with harshness we wonder how they can forget the rudiments of Marxism.
    • As quoted in Speech All-Russia Extraordinary Commission Staff, Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 169-70.
  • … catch and shoot the Astrakhan speculators and bribe-takers. These swine have to be dealt [with] so that everyone will remember it for years.
    • As quoted in Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy (1994), p. 201.
  • When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party... we say, ‘Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position...’”
    • As quoted in Speech to the First All-Russia Congress of Workers in Education and Socialist Culture, Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 535).
  • Russians are too kind, they lack the ability to apply determined methods of revolutionary terror.
    • As quoted in Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy (1994), p. 203.
  • Use both bribery and threats to exterminate every Cossack to a man if they set fire to the oil in Guriev.
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), p. 69.
  • Treat the Jews (express it politely: Jewish petty bourgeoisie) and urban inhabitants in the Ukraine with an iron rod, transferring them to the front, not letting them into the government agencies (except in an insignificant percentage, in particularly exceptional circumstances, under class control).
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), p. 77.
  • To become the ruling class and defeat the bourgeoisie the proletariat must be schooled, because the skill this implies does not come ready-made, The proletariat must do its learning in the struggle, and stubborn, desperate struggle in earnest is the only real teacher. The greater the extremes of the exploiters' resistance, the more vigorously, firmly, ruthlessly and successfully will they be suppressed by the exploited.
    • "Fight at the fall of the old and the Fight for the New", Lenin Anthology
  • It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables... I come to the categorical conclusion that precisely at this moment we must give battle to the Black Hundred clergy in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come… The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.”
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), pp. 152-4.
  • The train of history makes sharp turns and those who are not skilled riders fall off the train.
    • As quoted in Dorothy Healey, California Red: A Life in the American Communist Party (1993), p. 81.
    • Variant: "When the train of history makes a sharp turn, said Lenin, the passengers who do not have a good grip on their seats are thrown off." Whittaker Chambers, The Revolt of the Intellectuals, TIME magazine, January 6, 1941.


Misattributed[edit]

  • By destroying the peasant economy and driving the peasant from the country to the town, the famine creates a proletariat... Furthermore the famine can and should be a progressive factor not only economically. It will force the peasant to reflect on the bases of the capitalist system, demolish faith in the tsar and tsarism, and consequently in due course make the victory of the revolution easier... Psychologically all this talk about feeding the starving and so on essentially reflects the usual sugary sentimentality of our intelligentsia.
    • From V. Vodovozov's memoirs about Lenin's position regarding the famine of 1891-1892, which is often cited
      • Was falsely attributed to Lenin by Michael Ellman, The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1934, Europe-Asia Studies, September 2005, page 823
  • First, we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.
    • Cardinal Francis Spellman used this attribution in his speech to the 1954 National Convention of the American Legion. It has been debunked repeatedly, for example in They Never Said It (1999) by Paul F. Boller and John H. George. The last two sentences have also been misattributed to Nikita Krushchev. The metaphor of the ripe fruit appears much earlier in US policy discussions about Cuba:
      • If an apple, severed by the tempest from its native tree, cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its unnatural connexion with Spain, and incapable of self-support, can only gravitate towards the North American Union.
      • The fruit will fall into our hands when it is ripe, without an officious shaking of the tree. Cuba will be ours … in due season, without the wicked impertinence of war.
        • Parke Godwin, "Annexation" (February 1854)
  • We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.
    • According to the book, "They Never Said It", p. 64, there is no evidence Lenin ever said this. Lenin was supposed to have made his observation to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious.
  • Practice is the criterion of truth.
  • Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state.
    • Fabricated quote from The Voluntary Way is the American Way (1949) by PR firm Whitaker and Baxter. According to The Heart of Power by David Blumenthal and James Morone (pp. 91-92)
      Whitaker and Baxter published a fifteen-page pamphlet of questions and answers entitled The Voluntary Way is the American Way, which, deep in the Q&A, concocted a quotation from Lenin:
      Q: Would socialized medicine lead to socialization of other phases of American life?
      A: Lenin thought so. He declared: socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state.
      Senator Murray asked the Library of Congress to track down the quote and, as expected, they found nothing like it—most scholars assume Whitaker and Baxter dreamed it up.
    • Alternate form: "Socialized medicine is a keystone to the establishment of a socialist state."
  • One man with a gun can control 100 without one.
    • Not found in Lenin's Collected Works. Began to surface on the internet in the mid-1990s.

Quotes about Lenin[edit]

Lenin and Stalin have evidenced their outstanding brilliance as mass leaders in every revolutionary requirement… ― William Z. Foster
Alphabetized by author or source
The names of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler will forever be linked to the tragic course of European history in the first half of the twentieth century. ― Robert Gellately
  • Lenin is a fighter --- revolutionary leaders must be such. In this sense Lenin is great --- in his oneness with himself, in his single-mindedness; in his psychic positiveness that is as self-sacrificial as it is ruthless to others, in the full assurance that only his plan can save mankind.
  • Lenin was sent into Russia by the Germans in the same way that you might send a phial containing a culture of typhoid or cholera to be poured into the water supply of a great city, and it worked with amazing accuracy.
    • Winston Churchill, On Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, in the House of Commons, November 5, 1919 as cited in Churchill by Himself (2008), Ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs, p. 355.
  • There was an old bastard named Lenin
    Who did two or three million men in.
    That's a lot to have done in
    But where he did one in
    That old bastard Stalin did ten in.
  • We are doing what Lenin did. You cannot build socialism without Red Terror.
    • Asrat Destu, Ethiopian revolutionary, as quoted by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2006). The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World, pp. 467-8)
  • I honor Lenin as a man who completely sacrificed himself and devoted all his energy to the realization of social justice. I do not consider his methods practical, but one thing is certain: men of his type are the guardians and restorers of humanity.
    • Albert Einstein, as quoted in Einstein and the Generations of Science (p.25) by Lewis Samuel Feuerl.
  • Lenin and Stalin have evidenced their outstanding brilliance as mass leaders in every revolutionary requirement: in Marxian theory, political strategy, the building of mass organizations, and in the development of the mass struggle. The characteristic feature of their work is its many-sidedness. Both men of action as well as of thought, they have exemplified in their activities that coordination of theory and practice which is so indispensable to the success of the every-day struggles of the masses and the final establishment of socialism. Both have worked in the clearest realization of the twin truths that there can be no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory, and that revolutionary theory unsupported by organized mass struggle must remain sterile.
  • The names of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler will forever be linked to the tragic course of European history in the first half of the twentieth century. Only weeks after the Russian Revolution the Bolsheviks created secret police forces far more brutal than any that had existed under the tsar. The Nazis followed suit and were no sooner in power than they instituted the dreaded Gestapo. Under both regimes millions of people were incarcerated in concentration camps where they were tortured and frequently worked to death.
    • Gellately, Robert (2007), Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe .
  • Not since Marx had the proletarian struggle for emancipation given the world a thinker and leader of the working class and all toilers of Lenin’s stature. He combined scientific genius, political wisdom, and perspicacity with great organizational ability, an iron will, courage, and daring. He had a boundless faith in the creative powers of the popular masses, was close to them, and enjoyed their total confidence, love, and support. All of Lenin’s activity embodied the organic unity between revolutionary theory and practice. As leader and man Lenin possessed a selfless devotion to communist ideals and to the cause of the party and of the working class and a supreme conviction of the righteousness and justice of that cause. He subordinated every facet of his life to the struggle for the emancipation of the toilers from social and national oppression. He both loved his homeland and was a consistent internationalist. Intransigent toward the class enemy, he had a touching concern for comrades. He was highly exacting toward himself and others and was morally pure, simple, and modest.
  • The great actors and theorists of twentieth-century politics, on the right and left, agree on this point: 'Max Weber and Vladimir Lenin say, in almost identical words, that with regard to the use of force the state is always a dictatorship.
  • The monstrous evils of the twentieth century have shown us that the greediest money grubbers are gentle doves compared with money-hating wolves like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, who in less than three decades killed or maimed nearly a hundred million men, women, and children and brought untold suffering to a large portion of mankind.
  • Lenin sprung a leak in the cesspool of Russian history and the stench has poisoned the civilized world.
    • Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath, Harper & Row 1979, p. 104
  • Today I shot at Lenin. I did it on my own. I will not say from whom I obtained my revolver. I will give no details. I had resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the Revolution.
    • Fanni Kaplan, in a statement during her interrogation after an assassination attempt on Lenin, as quoted in Shub, David (1976), Lenin: A Biography, p. 362 .
  • Lenin was the greatest man, second only to Hitler, and that the difference between communism and the Hitler faith was very slight.
    • Joseph Goebbels, as quoted in The New York Times, “HITLERITE RIOT IN BERLIN: Beer Glasses Fly When Speaker Compares Hitler and Lenin,” (Nov. 28, 1925) p. 4.
  • Vladimir Ilyich, your concrete actions are completely unworthy of the ideas you pretend to hold.
    Is it possible that you do not know what a hostage really is — a man imprisoned not because of a crime he has committed, but only because it suits his enemies to exert blackmail on his companions?... If you admit such methods, one can foresee that one day you will use torture, as was done in the Middle Ages.
    I hope you will not answer me that Power is for political men a professional duty, and that any attack against that power must be considered as a threat against which one must guard oneself at any price. This opinion is no longer held even by kings... Are you so blinded, so much a prisoner of your own authoritarian ideas, that you do not realise that being at the head of European Communism, you have no right to soil the ideas which you defend by shameful methods... What future lies in store for Communism when one of its most important defenders tramples in this way every honest feeling?
    • Peter Kropotkin, in a letter to Lenin (21 December 1920); as quoted in Woodcock, George; Avakumovic, Ivan (1990), Peter Kropotkin: From Prince to Rebel, p. 426 .
  • Lenin is not comparable to any revolutionary figure in history. Revolutionaries have had ideals. Lenin has none. He is a madman, an immolator, wishful of burning, and slaughter, and sacrificing.
  • "Progress" is for the convinced ochlocrats a consoling Utopia of madly increased comfort and technicism. This charming but dull vision was always the pseudoreligious consolation of millions of ecstatic believers in ochlocracy and in the relative perfection and wisdom of Mr. and Mrs. Averageman. Utopias in general are surrogates for heaven; they give a meager solace to the individual that his sufferings and endeavors may enable future generations to enter the chiliastic paradise. Communism works in a similar way. Its millennium is almost the same as that of ochlocracy. The Millennium of Lenin, the Millennium of Bellamy, the Millennium as represented in H. G. Wells's, "Of Things to Come," the Millennium of Adolf Hitler and Henry Ford — they are all basically the same; they often differ in their means to attain it but they all agree in the point of technical perfection and the classless or at least totally homogeneous society without grudge or envy.
    • Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, writing under the pen name Francis Stewart Campbell (1943), Menace of the Herd, or, Procrustes at Large, Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, pp. 35-36
  • 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, as quoted in Megaro, Gaudens (1938), Mussolini in the Making, p. 326 .
  • Lenin was a right-wing deviation of the socialist movement and he was so regarded…by the mainstream Marxists. … Bolshevism was a right-wing deviation.
    • Noam Chomsky, Speech on “Lenin, Trotsky and Socialism & the Soviet Union”, (March 15, 1989) [2]
  • There was nothing remotely like socialism in the Soviet Union. … [Lenin] didn’t believe that it was possible to have socialism in the Soviet Union. … He kept the view that the Soviet revolution was a holding action, they just kind of hold things in place, until the real revolution took place in Germany… That, presumably, gave some sort of justification for eliminating the socialist institutions.
    • Noam Chomsky, Speech on “Lenin, Trotsky and Socialism & the Soviet Union”, (March 15, 1989) [3]
  • Lenin was the most pliable politician in history. He could be an ultra-revolutionary, a compromiser and conservative at the same time. When like a mighty wave the cry swept over Russia, "All power to the Soviets!" Lenin swam with the tide.[A] When the peasants took possession of the land and the workers of the factories, Lenin not only approved of those direct methods but went further. He issued the famous motto, "Rob the robbers," a slogan which served to confuse the minds of the people and caused untold injury to revolutionary idealism. Never before did any real revolutionist interpret social expropriation as the transfer of wealth from one set of individuals to another. Yet that was exactly what Lenin's slogan meant. The indiscriminate and irresponsible raids, the accumulation of the wealth of the former bourgeoisie by the new Soviet bureaucracy, the chicanery practised toward those whose only crime was their former status, were all the results of Lenin's "Rob the robbers" policy. The whole subsequent history of the Revolution is a kaleidoscope of Lenin's compromises and betrayal of his own slogans.
  • In dealing with the issue, Lenin was candid. He stated, “One therefore cannot deny the justice of [the] remark that in ‘Marxism itself there is not a grain of ethics from beginning to end’; theoretically it subordinates the ‘ethical standpoint’ to the ‘principle of causality’; in practice it reduces it to the class struggle.”
    • A. James Gregor, Giovanni Gentile: Philosopher of Fascism, Transaction Press (1924) p. 45
  • Lenin, the greatest man of action in our century and at the same time the most selfless.
    • Romain Rolland, as quoted in Fülöp-Miller, René (1930), Lenin and Gandhi, p. 102 .
    • Variant: Lenin was the greatest man of action in our century and at the same time the most selfless.
      • As quoted in Through the Eyes of Foreigners, 1917–1932, 1932, p. 222 .
  • Soon after my arrival in Moscow I had an hour's conversation with Lenin in English, which he speaks fairly well... I have never met a personage so destitute of self-importance. He looks at his visitors very closely, and screws up one eye, which seems to increase alarmingly the penetrating power of the other. He laughs a great deal; at first his laugh seems merely friendly and jolly, but gradually I came to feel it rather grim. He is dictatorial, calm, incapable of fear, extraordinarily devoid of self-seeking, an embodied theory. The materialist conception of history, one feels, is his life-blood. He resembles a professor in his desire to have the theory understood and in his fury with those who misunderstand or disagree, as also in his love of expounding, I got the impression that he despises a great many people and is an intellectual aristocrat. ... He described the division between rich and poor peasants, and the Government propaganda among the latter against the former, leading to acts of violence which he seemed to find amusing. ... I think if I had met him without knowing who he was, I should not have guessed that he was a great man; he struck me as too opinionated and narrowly orthodox. His strength comes, I imagine, from his honesty, courage, and unwavering faith—religious faith in the Marxian gospel.
  • Bolshevism is not merely a political doctrine; it is also a religion, with elaborate dogmas and inspired scriptures. When Lenin wishes to prove some proposition, he does so, if possible, by quoting texts from Marx and Engels. A full-fledged Communist is not merely a man who believes that land and capital should be held in common, and their produce distributed as nearly equally as possible. He is a man who entertains a number of elaborate and dogmatic beliefs—such as philosophic materialism, for example—which may be true, but are not, to a scientific temper, capable of being known to be true with any certainty.
  • Here we see the possible significance of Lenin’s book for the future working-class movement. The Communist Party, though it may lose ground among the workers, tries to form with the socialists and the intellectual class a united front, ready at the first major crisis of capitalism to take in its hands the power over and against the workers. Leninism and its philosophical textbook then will serve, under the name of Marxism, to overawe the workers and to impose upon the intellectuals, as the leading system of thought by which the reactionary spiritual powers are beaten, Thus the fighting working class, basing itself upon Marxism, will find Lenin’s philosophical work a stumbling-block in its way, as the theory of a class that tries to perpetuate its serfdom.
  • Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.
    • John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Chap. VI: “Europe After The Treaty,” New York: NY, Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920, p. 235
  • My impression [of Lenin] was not so good as I'd rather thought it would be. I, of course, realised that he had immense strength of will, and integrity in the sense that I think all his public acts were dictated by something that he really believed to be for the public good. But his defects, as they struck me, were two. One, that he was very narrowly orthodox in his adherence to Marx. If he wanted to prove a point, he thought it enough to quote a text of Marx. No fundamentalist was ever more addicted to scripture than he was to Marx. And I thought that seemed to me rather narrow. The other thing I didn't like about him was that he was quite clearly rather cruel. In both these respects I thought he resembled Oliver Cromwell. In fact, I thought he might be a reincarnation of Oliver Cromwell.
  • Lenin taught us to be merciless towards the enemies of the revolution, and millions of people had to be eliminated in order to secure the victory of the October Revolution.
  • This most powerful machinist of the revolution... was irrevocably controlled by one and the same idea, the goal. He was probably the most extreme utilitarian whom the laboratory of history has produced. But his utilitarianism was of the broadest historical scope. His personality did not grow flat or poor thereby, but on the contrary developed and enriched itself in extent, as his experience of life and sphere of activity grew.
  • Through the ages of world history thousands of leaders and scholars appeared who spoke eloquent words, but these remained but words. You, Lenin, were an exception. You not only spoke and taught us, but translated your words into deeds. You created a new country. You showed us the road of joint struggle. ... You, great man that you are, will live on in the memories of the oppressed peoples through the centuries.
    • Sun Yat-sen in a 1924 response to Lenin's death, as quoted in Manfred, Albert Zakharovich (1974), A Short History of the World, 2 ; also in Lenin: A Biography, Moscow: Progress, 1983 .

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Commons
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Selected works