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Lenin’s Russia Essay

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The painting shows that Lenin is pleased to be back in Russia. He has his hand up waving at the crowd. Lenin looks happy and he looks pleased to be back. He also looks to be pleased by the way that the crowd are reacting to his return. The crowd are happy to have Lenin back. The people’s faces are all looking at him and they are all waving back at him. There are people playing musical instruments at what looks like a celebration to welcome him back. They are celebrating the return of Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, who later changed his name to Lenin, from exile in Finland.

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The people are pleased to see Lenin and they would therefore be the people that agree with Lenin and his ideas and decisions. The crowd is not just townspeople that have gone to meet Lenin. There are men there with bullets over their shoulders. These people are soldiers that agreed with Lenin’s ideas. They had some force with their guns and this means that Lenin had some force. All of these townspeople see Lenin as a leader for Russia that is why they are there. This is not a true reflection over all of Russia. This source is very inaccurate as it is painting and could have been a forgery to make Lenin look popular and make it look like there are a lot of people there.


The painting does show that Lenin was popular in Finland station, which is in Russia like Waterloo station is in London, but this is not a true reflection over the whole of Russia. The people that were at Finland station are clearly pleased to have him back but in other parts of Russia this was not the case. Lenin was only popular with the people that supported communism and supported Bolshevik rule. These were known as the reds and the opposition was known as the whites due to the color of their uniforms that their armies wore.

It is clear that this painting does not show the feeling over the rest of Russia because the civil war came. This tells us that Lenin was not popular all over Russia and he had opposition in the whites that he fought in the civil war. This was not only the case in Russia but also all over the world. When the civil war started Lenin and the reds didn’t have any outside allies while the Americans, the French and the British supported the whites. These countries wanted to help the whites against Lenin because Lenin had pulled Russia out of the First World War before it had ended. They were bitter about it and so they helped fight against him.

In conclusion Lenin was popular and respected in certain areas of Russia like Finland station but across the rest of Russia and the World he was not admired or acclaimed.

Source B


Each photograph has Lenin on the left standing on a podium talking to the crowd that are surrounding him. On the first photograph Lenin has two men standing to his right on the stairs. These men are Trotsky and Kamenev who were the right hand men to Lenin. In the second photo Lenin is again standing on the podium but in this photo there is no Trotsky or Kamenev, photographic experts have removed Trotsky and Kamenev.


These pictures are so different because in the first one Lenin is accompanied by two men, Trotsky and Kamenev but in the second picture they have disappeared from the image. These pictures were used as propaganda pictures by Stalin after the death of Lenin to inform the people that Trotsky and Kamenev were not anymore involved with Stalin. It is as if they have disappeared. Trotsky was the man behind the red army. He was the man that gained a great victory in the civil war and saved the Revolution. Trotsky would have been the man to take over from Lenin after his death but due to the fact he was clever he was hated by the other Communist leaders and was never supported, so a man that was lower down in rank was given the job, Joseph Stalin. Stalin and the other communist leaders hated Trotsky.

He was removed from any position of power in the country so that he couldn’t cause any problem for Stalin. Stalin took power with Zinovliev and Kamenev after Lenin’s death. They accused Trotsky of trying to split the communist party and take power for himself. No one defended Trotsky. After Trotsky had all of his positions of power removed he was exiled internally and then in 1929 Leon Trotsky was forced out of Russia and was exiled to Mexico. Once Stalin had taken power away from Trotsky before he was exiled, Stalin turned on Kamenev and Zinoviev.

They were becoming worried and in 1926 they joined Trotsky in a United Opposition to Stalin’s policies. Stalin got his supporters to help him and both were sacked from their party and government positions. They were both allowed back into the party in 1928 but into positions with no power. So Stalin had ended up the solitary leader of Soviet Union. This trouble had left him very apprehensive of his colleagues. Stalin used the two photographs to show that Trotsky and Kamenev had fallen from their days of power when Lenin was alive and in charge.

Source C 5. (i)

Lenin is sweeping the entire world of Royalty, Aristocratic and Religious people. Lenin was against rich and powerful people and so that is why he is sweeping them off the globe. The people he is targeting are all the rich people. The man standing on top of the globe is Lenin. The first two men to his right of Lenin, with crowns on, look to be some kind of royalty. The person in the bottom left of the picture looks like an Orthodox Russian Church member. The man in the bottom right of the cartoon looks like a rich aristocrat. Lenin is using a broom and sweeping because that is traditionally associated with workers and not the rich. It is signifying the fight back of the workers to show that Lenin is on the workers side and that they will fight against the rich.

5. (ii)

The Revolution of March 1917 that overthrew the tsarist regime caught Lenin by surprise, but he managed to secure passage through Germany in a sealed train. His dramatic arrival in Petrograd occurred one month after rebellious workers and soldiers had toppled the tsar. The Bolsheviks, including Joseph Stalin, had agreed with the deference the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies showed to the provisional government. Lenin immediately refused this line of policy. In his “April Theses” he argued that only the Soviet could respond to the hopes and needs of Russia’s workers and peasants. Under the slogan “All Power to the Soviets”, the Bolshevik party conference accepted Lenin’s programme. After an unsuccessful workers’ uprising in July, Lenin spent August and September 1917 in Finland, hiding from the provisional government.

There, he formulated his concepts of a socialist government. He also bombarded the party’s Central Committee with demands for an armed uprising in the capital. His plan was finally accepted; it was put into effect on November 7th. A few days after the November Revolution, Lenin was elected head of government. He acted sensibly to consolidate the power of the new Soviet state. His main concern was the protection of the Revolution and Soviet power against enemies both abroad and at home. In line with these practical considerations Lenin accepted the heavy German terms for the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty. Lenin took power of Russia from the provisional government that didn’t put up that much of a fight at all to stop him from taking over. Lenin took power after the Tsar had fallen and the country was in disarray after the First World War. Lenin took power after being in exile from Russia so he hadn’t seen all of the effects that the war had on Russia.

Source D 6. (i)

Robert Lansing had a bad attitude towards the Russian revolution. He didn’t think that Russia could survive after the takeover by the Bolsheviks in the civil war. Lansing believed that the revolution would end in ‘brutality and destruction of life’. Lansing compares the Russian revolution with the French revolution. He says that before the French revolution France had a legal system and a government, Russia possesses neither. This means that he didn’t think that they would be capable of running the country. Lansing says that the country wouldn’t end up further developed. Which indicates that there is no point in fighting. To stop the problem they should get a government and a legal system. To advance his speech he hammers home his point that there is no authority or control.

He continues to say that the country is full of anarchy and violence. He gives a comparison to a cauldron as though it is waiting to overflow, it is boiling up nicely. Finally he thinks of the people of Russia and how they will be affected by the war. He gives the sense that he feels sorry for the things that will happen to them. Robert Lansing’s attitude was that Russia would be worse off if the Bolsheviks took control of all Russia. His view is not necessarily correct, as Robert Lansing has biased opinion due to the fact that he was the US Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He has a bad attitude towards Russia because they pulled out of the First World War. The Americans would be bitter and wouldn’t support anything that the Russians do.

6. (ii)

When Robert Lansing said the words ‘Russian Terror’ he was referring to the pain that Russian people would feel. By terror he means that blood will be shed and life will be lost. He thinks that the death rate and property destruction will be higher than the French Revolution. He is saying that people have a hard time ahead of them if they live in Russia.

Source E


This source comes from Winston Churchill at the time when he was the British Secretary of War and Air. Churchill has a very definite opinion of the Bolsheviks and there ideas, he doesn’t support them at all. You can tell from the first sentence he said ‘the Bolshevik Tyranny is the worst’. This is a very hard statement to take in. This means that a Tyrant ran the Bolshevik party so Churchill is calling Lenin a Tyrant and Churchill was calling Lenin cruel. He was calling the Bolshevik party cruel.

This is a statement that sets out from the start that he doesn’t support the Bolsheviks. In the next sentence Churchill states that the things that had been done in Russia by Lenin and Trotsky are far worst than anything that the Kaiser of Germany did. To compare Trotsky and Lenin to the Kaiser is a very strong statement, as he was not at all liked by anyone in Germany. He was hurting everyone. Churchill doesn’t say that they are equal to the Kaiser but that they are worst than him. Churchill view on Russia would be biased because he is British and he still wouldn’t be too happy because Russia pulled out of the First World War. Churchill has more reason to be infuriated than most British people as he was in charge of Britain’s war effort.

Source F 8. This source doesn’t show that the Bolshevik government was successful. They didn’t do the job that they set out to do which was to help the working class people. This source is bound to be accurate as it out of a history textbook it will be accurate because it is looking back on the incident and not looking forward like source D and E the book will also not have biased opinion. The first line says that Russian people suffered terribly in the civil war. This proves that Robert Lansing and Winston Churchill were correct with their prediction. Both said that the Russian people would suffer terribly and both were right. The Bolshevik government did not handle the civil war at all well. This source gives us some facts to back the suggestion that the government was not successful.

The source tells us the economy collapsed. This meant that money was worthless. So the Bolsheviks didn’t mange to keep the money useable. The fact that industrial production had gone down means that they are going backwards and not improving the country, so Lansing was right when he said that this wasn’t the way to go. The civil war wasn’t killing as much as the diseases were which meant that innocent people were dying not just soldiers. The Bolsheviks were not fighting for their idea of workers, they were killing them instead. The communist was now becoming a dictatorship. This means that Churchill was right in his analysis comparing the Bolsheviks to the Kaiser who was a dictator. The source says that the Bolsheviks were losing support as well. This means that they were not successful at all. They didn’t have success at all from the civil war.



Source A

This source gives us a false sense of the popularity of Lenin in Russia. This painting is only of Finland station and does not give a good representation of the rest Russia. Lenin is proven not to liked all over Russia because there is the civil war and this means that one opposition party doesn’t like Lenin so this source is only a good indication as to where Lenin is liked. You can tell that he is liked at Finland station and the surrounding area. We do not know about the rest of the country but he is certainly liked in is one area. This source does not give us an accurate sense of Lenin’s popularity. This source could also be a forgery if it were a photograph it would be true but a painting can easily be made up. You cannot be certain if this is the true event that happened.

Source B

This source was used as propaganda for Stalin after Lenin’s death. These sources real point is the fact that Trotsky and Kamenev have fallen from the limelight, but the source can also be used to look at the popularity of Lenin and the message he was giving out to the people of Russia. In both pictures you can see the crowd covering the whole of the area. There are no gaps anywhere. This shows that Lenin was popular at this time and that people did listen to him. As I have already said this sources main point that Trotsky and Kamenev have gone but the photo can give other information.

You can only see behind Lenin at the number of people but I would imagine that in front of him there would be more people as his voice would be projected that way. So this means there would be about triple the amount of people in photograph listening to Lenin. That may seem like a lot but over the whole of Russia it is small amount considering the vast size that is Russia. We are not told where this is and so might in an area where Lenin is popular like Finland station. You can tell that this event actually happened as it a photograph not a painting like the source before.

Source C

Source C is a political cartoon that is aiming to put across the message that Lenin is working with the working class. Lenin has the broom and is sweeping because that is associated with the working class people. He is sweeping the upper class and privileged people off of the world and taking over. If this cartoon were a true reflection on the job that Lenin was doing, you would assume that he would be popular with working class but not so the upper class people whom he wants to get rid of. This is not the case. The upper classes, rich people, were not impressed with Lenin trying to get rid of them. So he didn’t really become very popular with them. They didn’t like him and because they owned massive pasts of Russia this was a problem. This cartoon would have won some votes with the lower and working class the fact that he was trying to make it an even playing field for all.

Source D

This cannot really tell us much about the situation in Russia but it does give us a global sense of the feelings towards Lenin and his government. The first couple of lines give us a feel for what the Russian people would be in for. If the things Robert Lansing predicted happen then Lenin and his government would not be popular in Russia. The mass deaths would not go down well with the people in Russia. This did come true and so Lenin government didn’t look good. This source tells that the government didn’t have a lot of friends outside of the country. Lansing was an American and they were a major power but Lenin didn’t have their support as you can see from this statement. The statement written by Robert Lansing is a biased account though as the Americans were fighting the First World War with Russia until they pulled out and so there would be some bitterness between the two countries.

Source E

This source came from Winston Churchill. This again tells that Lenin was not popular outside of Russia. It gives a comparison to the Kaiser. If Lenin were thought of like the Kaiser then he would be hated like the Kaiser. Churchill gives a good comparison but his opinion is biased and should be not be used as fact it is only an opinion.

Source F

The final source gives reasons why Lenin was unpopular. This source is taken from a textbook and therefore will be correct. It gives facts why Lenin was not popular; economic collapse, Industrial production had dropped by 20 per cent of the level it was in 1913, harvest produced only 60 per cent of the normal amount and during the civil war famine and disease caused 8 million deaths. These facts give hard evidence why the Russian people have cause to not like Lenin.

All of these sources tell us that Lenin and the Bolsheviks popularity changed over the time they were in power. If we can trust the early sources you would believe that he was popular. In 1917 Lenin would have been popular as the country was in disarray and would have supported any leader. However as his time went on the true view of Lenin came out. Towards 1924 he started to go down hill and wasn’t as respected by the people. When source F gives the final facts of what was happening it is easy to say that Lenin was not as successful as first thought. Lenin early high popularity dropped towards the end of his time to be hated by the people of Russia.

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