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The Rise of Communism in Russia

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Essay title: The Rise of Communism in Russia

The Rise of Communism In Russia

"Unless we accept the claim that Lenin's coup d'etat gave birth

to an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history of

mankind, we must recognize in today's Soviet Union the old empire of

the Russians -- the only empire that survived into the mid 1980's"

(Luttwak, 1).

In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich

Engels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in

which all class differences would disappear and humankind would live

in harmony. Marx and Engels claimed to have discovered a scientific

approach to socialism based on the laws of history. They declared that

the course of history was determined by the clash of opposing forces

rooted in the economic system and the ownership of property. Just as

the feudal system had given way to capitalism, so in time capitalism

would give way to socialism. The class struggle of the future would be

between the bourgeoisie, who were the capitalist employers, and the

proletariat, who were the workers. The struggle would end, according

to Marx, in the socialist revolution and the attainment of full

communism (Groiler's Encyclopedia).

Socialism, of which "Marxism-Leninism" is a takeoff, originated

in the West. Designed in France and Germany, it was brought into

Russia in the middle of the nineteenth century and promptly attracted

support among the country's educated, public-minded elite, who at that

time were called intelligentsia (Pipes, 21). After Revolution broke

out over Europe in 1848 the modern working class appeared on the scene

as a major historical force. However, Russia remained out of the

changes that Europe was experiencing. As a socialist movement and

inclination, the Russian Social-Democratic Party continued the

traditions of all the Russian Revolutions of the past, with the goal

of conquering political freedom (Daniels 7).

As early as 1894, when he was twenty-four, Lenin had become a

revolutionary agitator and a convinced Marxist. He exhibited his new

faith and his polemical talents in a diatribe of that year against the

peasant-oriented socialism of the Populists led by N.K. Mikhiaiovsky

(Wren, 3).

While Marxism had been winning adherents among the Russian

revolutionary intelligentsia for more than a decade previously, a

claimed Marxist party was bit organized until 1898. In that year a

"congress" of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of

the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party. The Manifesto issued in

the name of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up by

the economist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate "legal Marxist"

group who soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. The

manifesto is indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russian

conditions, and of the special role for the proletariat (Pipes, 11).

The first true congress of the Russian Social Democratic

Workers' Party was the Second. It convened in Brussels in the summer

of 1903, but was forced by the

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