Politician and Russian statesman, born in Simbirsk, on the banks of the Volga, on April 22, 1870. He was the founder of the Bolshevik Party, the driving force behind the October revolution of 1917, the INSPIRER of the Communist international and the Supreme Leader of the Soviet regime until his death in Gorki, near Moscow, on January 21, 1924.
Vladimir Ilich was the third son of the Ulyanov, a family of ennobled bourgeoisie. His adolescence was marked by two significant events: retirement forced and the death of his father, Ilya Nikoláievich, director of primary education of the Simbirsk province, on January 12, 1886, as well as by hanging on 20 May of the year following his brother mayor Alexander, activist populist revolutionary at the University of St. Petersburg, who was implicated in a crude plot to kill the Tsar in which also the name of the future appeared Joszef PilsudskiPolish dictator. In August of that same year, the young Vladimir entered the Law Faculty of Kazan, where he was arrested on December 17, and immediately expelled for their involvement in illegal assemblies convened against the educational management of the Government. In his family refuge of Kokushkino began reading political literature in 1888 and became a fervent Marxist. In May 1890, he resumed his law studies and graduated with honors in November 1891. After a brief stay in Samara, in August 1893, he settled as a lawyer in Petersburgo, where he made a mediocre career, but locked relationship with some Marxist intellectuals and became a direct revolutionary circle (the older) Stariki. It was then when he became a professional revolutionary, and in that capacity participated form increasingly influential in clandestine circles Marxists of the capital. In March 1894 he wrote the pamphlet "what are friends of the people and how to fight against the Social Democrats," which is unchecked terrorist tactics of the populists. In may 1895 traveled abroad in order to engage with the Russian exiles in Europe, and especially with Georgi Plekhanov and Pavel Axelrod, democratic leaders resident in Geneva and Zurich. He also met in Paris with the son-in-law of Marx, Paul Lafargue.
On his return to Russia in September 1895, he and Yuri Martov, menshevik leader future, founded the Union for the struggle for the release of the worker class, whose most prominent members were arrested by the Tsarist police in a major raid carried out on 21 December. After fifteen months of prison, Lenin was deported on February 10, 1897, to Eastern Siberia to serve a sentence of three years. It enjoyed a fairly benevolent monitoring regime in the village of Sushenskoie, where he met Nadezhda Krupskaya, who got married on July 22, 1898. In the autumn of 1897, he had written the tasks of Russian Democrats, whose thesis of all-out fight against the Tsarist autocracy would turn twenty years later on the basic principles of the Bolshevik Party. In April 1899 he finished writing his work of economic analysis the development of capitalism in Russia.
After his exile in February 1900, Lenin returned to his work of conspirator in a small town in the vicinity of Petersburgo. After suffering a new and brief custody, in July he returned to go to Europe, where he assumed the leadership of the newspaper Iskra (the spark), which came to light in Zurich at the end of the year in order to unify and coordinate all of the Russian social-democratic groups. In 1901, he adopted the pseudonym of Lenin, and together with the publication of Iskra in Leipzig from December 1900 and theoretical journal Zarya (the dawn), began working in the essay what to do, inspired by the novel by anticipation of Nikolai Chernichevski. In this book are condensed all his revolutionary philosophy: defended the need for a fierce partisan organization formed by a vanguard selected, capable of injecting the necessary revolutionary consciousness in the proletariat. At the time of publishing this book, Lenin left Germany to settle in London in April 1902. His stay in the British capital was consumed between long morning sessions of study at the British Library (where began to write a philosophical critique to the idealistic Socialist Alexander Bogdanov that then would lead to materialism and Lovins) and evening contact with outstanding British Socialists or characters of Marxism, such as Eduard Bernstein and the young León Trotsky.
At the time, its participation in the workers party social democratic Russian (POSDR), created in Minsk in March 1898, was increasingly troubled. Iskra control gave him opportunity to go bringing together a group of professional revolutionaries loyal to its persoa and increasingly further away from the guidelines marked by Plekhanov, who conceived the party as a representative of the workers and the exploited masses, not as an eminently proletarian Party devoted to organizing a strict dictatorship of class. Lenin was forced by the party leadership to move to Geneva to edit Iskra, and the second Congress of the party, held in Brussels and London in July-August, 1903, began to carve out a justified reputation for ruthless polemicist greedy for power. On this occasion, his thesis in favor of a strengthening of the central organization of the party, supported by Plekhanov, triumphed over both Martov and Vera Zasulich. The adoption of a political program based on the dictatorship of the proletariat opened expectations for a revolution in the short term to which Lenin was particularly predisposed. But his victory caused the split of the POSDR in a majority fraction (the Bolsheviks) and other minority (the Mensheviks, Martov-inspired), and the breaking of relations with the influential Jewish Socialist Bund. Discouraged, Lenin resigned from the Iskra Editorial Board in November 1903, and of the Central Committee of the party in March 1904. His essay one step forward, two steps back, where criticizing his enemies in the bosom of the POSDR and ensured that the conquest of power by the proletariat did not require a prior stage of democratic revolution emerged from that bitter experience.
At the beginning of 1905, he began to translate the writings of J. a. Hobson on imperialism, and published the first issue of his new newspaper Vperyod (forward). Shortly afterwards broke out the revolution in Russia (see Russian Revolution). Upon hearing the news of the killing provoked Bloody Sunday Petersburgo (22 January 1905), Lenin saw clearly the opportunity of a revolution. But not immediately came to Russia, they went through the spring reading Clausewitz strategy works and studying the practical aspects of the revolutionary war with labor and peasant support. The call for a general strike in October finally decided you to travel to Petersburgo, where Trotsky and other comrades were poking the flame of the revolt. Lenin, however, could not control the soviets (together) of workers delegates emerged spontaneously throughout the country. On November 16, police arrested of the Petrograd soviet Executive Committee, although this could not prevent the triggering of an action armed in Moscow at the end of the year.
Although the Bolsheviks in Moscow insurrection played a bit role, the failure of the uprising put Lenin fraction in minority in the bosom of the party. Subjected to an internal tribunal of the POSDR, his invective against the Mensheviks further aggravated the internal situation. At the beginning of 1907 had to flee to Finland, while the POSDR was definitely polarized by Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. At the 5th Congress of the party, held in London in April-June, Lenin was able to control the Central Committee after having attacked mercilessly to the Mensheviks, to Plekhanov (in favour of a tactical Alliance with the Russian liberal bourgeoisie) and all those who refused to support his project of "revolutionary democracy" supported exclusively in the urban proletariat.
After a brief stay in Helsinki and Geneva, where he finished his work materialism and Lovins (which would be published in May 1909), in December of 1908 went to Paris, where there was deal with a social democratic direction attempt to liquidate the left wing of the organization. There he devoted the greater part of the time to study at the Bibliothèque Nationale and write political party press articles, although in the spring of 1910, it caused a small scandal in the local Russian community to be amazed together with his mistress Inessa Armand. In November he founded the Rabochaya Gazeta, and directed a revolutionary school during the summer of 1911.
After quite a few dissensions, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks consummated their separation after the Bolshevik Conference held in Prague in January 1912, where, behind the leadership of the party, Lenin advocated three objectives: Democratic Republic, eight-hour day and distribution of land ownership among the peasants. In the middle of that year, he left Paris and settled with his wife and his supporters Grigory Zinoviev and León Kaménev in Cracow, near the Russian border, where expected better direct revolutionary action, and began publishing the newspaper Pravda (truth). By then, the Bolshevik fraction enjoyed a legal status in Russia, and he had six representatives in the Duma, one less than the Mensheviks.
When the great war broke out, Lenin, resident in Austrian Galicia, was briefly imprisoned in Novi Targ. Then he planned his return to Switzerland, where he proclaimed the need to transform the imperialist war into a revolutionary conflict against the Czarist Government, which led him to final rupture with Plekhanov, who at that time gave priority to the tactical support for the Allied forces. In May 1915 he wrote his treatise the collapse of the second international, harsh invective against Karl Kautsky and the collaborationist strategy of social democracy, substantiated in "sacred union" policies to triumph in the race. On 5 September 1915 she participated in the International Socialist Conference in Zimmerwald near Bern, convened by the Italian Socialist Party and organized by the 2nd International Socialists opposed to the war. Lenin voted against the resolution that called for a peace without indemnities or territorial annexations on the basis of the self-determination of peoples. In a new Socialist Conference in Kienthal in May of the following year, failed in his attempt to mobilize forces workers to the European conflagration would become a class war, but managed to force a motion of censure against the 2nd international and its leaders. At the beginning of 1917 he wrote imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, based largely on his study of the work of Hobson.
At the outbreak of the antizarista revolution in February-March, Lenin decided to return to Russia, but from March 20 sent instructions for revolutionary action through the Pravda, which were then published with the title of letters from afar. Finally, after management of Martov (which, at the head of the revolutionary "Mensheviks" opposed at the time the warmongering that makes itself in the right wing of the Russian social democracy), the German Government transigió to facilitate the passage of 32 Russian refugees by German territory in a sealed train that departed from Zurich on 9 April. After passing to Sweden by ferry, exiles arrived on the night of the 16th station of Finland in Petrograd.
After its entry on the Russian political scene in the smell of the crowd, Lenin made public April theses, in which the Bolshevik party waiving defensive war and the annexations, demanded the abolition of the provisional Government, of the Parliament, the State bureaucracy and the army, and proposed the nationalization of land ownership and the fusion of all the banks in a large financial institution State. I suggested also the creation of a revolutionary international and claimed all power to the soviets, who were gradually falling under the control of the Bolshevik Party. The Communists appeared as virtual owners of political power when, in the all-Russian Congress of the celebrated Soviets on June 16, Lenin was fervently applauded, while the Minister of war, the requisite Alexander Kerenski, was forced to warn of the dire consequences that could lead to the country the destruction of political freedoms achieved with the democratic revolution of February. However, the failure of the riots promoted in Petrograd by the Bolshevik Party on 4 May and 16 July forcing Lenin to again seek refuge for ten weeks in Finland, where he wrote the State and revolution, his theoretical work of larger between the foiled uprising of July and the October revolution. It is predicted the destruction of the State power and the creation of a completely free Communist society after a transitional period of dictatorship of the proletariat. We perceive here a Lenin's libertarian, tone far removed from his exegesis on party discipline, for whom "while there is the State, there is no freedom; When there is freedom, there will be no State".
Back in Petrograd from October 20, the Central Committee of the Party decided three days later, by ten votes to two (Kamenev and Zinoviev, supporters of a Government coalition with the Mensheviks to reach and social-revolucionarios), start the insurrection immediately. Since that time, Lenin led dual power strategy that ended with the isolation of the provisional Government and the seizure of power by the detachments of workers and soldiers loyal to the military Revolutionary Committee led by Trotsky from the Smolny Institute. After the easy conquest of post offices, telephones, Telegraphs, railway stations, factories of electricity, the State Bank and the neuralgic points of Petrograd, the Bolsheviks troops raided the Palacio of winter in the early hours of October 26 (November 8 of the Gregorian calendar), and captured most of the provisional Government.
The insurrection had triumphed, but the revolution had not won the whole of the country. In the II Congress of the Soviets, which took place that same day in the Smolny, the different worker tendencies, except the left Socialists, showed his total opposition to the "coup" Bolshevik, and his decision to hinder its progress by all means at its disposal. At that same event, Lenin began his speech saying solemnly: "give beginning to the task of building the socialist society". Act followed, submitted for consideration by the Assembly a decree on peace, which called on workers from France, England and Germany to join the cause of peace and the emancipation of the workers. That same night, she wrote the first decrees on the nationalization of the banking institutions and land tenure; in this latter proclaiming the end of private ownership of rural property, except the lands that belonged to "simple peasants or Cossacks".
Although he assumed the Presidency of the first Board of Commissioners of the people, in the following days there were with the threat of the faithful to Kerensky troops who converged on Petrograd, and the imposition (often bloody, as it was the case with the fight in Moscow from 9 to 13 November) of the Soviet order in the whole of Russia. To contribute to this end, on 10 November the Government published a decree that restricted freedom of the press, the December 1 put outside the Act party (liberal) Cadet, and the 5th of this month the military Revolutionary Committee was replaced by an extraordinary Commission to combat counter-revolution and sabotage (Cheka).
On January 18, 1918, Lenin dissolved the constituent Assembly, which since the election last November-December (where the Bolsheviks won less than 25% of the votes) had an absolute majority of socialista-revolucionario character, and instead established an Assembly of Soviets without punches. With this authentic parliamentary coup, Bolshevik leader inaugurated a partisan dictatorship regime, but the regime survival depended on much of the attitude that appear before the European conflict, he was at the decisive time. Given the possibility of maintaining the defensive struggle or start a costly revolutionary war against Germany, Lenin accepted March 3 in Brest-Litovsk a costly peace separately that mutilated the territory (with extensive assignments in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Baltic States), but viable making the journey of the new Soviet Republic. That same month, the POSDR changed its official name to the party communist Bolshevik, to avoid any association with social-democratic parties. A declaration of rights of the peoples of Russia, where the right to self-determination and the full equality of rights and sovereignty was proclaimed was also made public. This new legal framework allowed Finland to consolidate their national independence.
On July 10, 1918 the V all-Russian Congress of Soviets adopted the first Socialist Constitution of history, not to seek a balance between powers in the liberal style, but to confirm to the soviets as the source of all power, to punish the correlation of forces in the class struggle and the foundations of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Therefore, it did not have a declaration of rights and freedoms (considered as mere "formal freedoms" of bourgeois constitutionalism), but he recognized certain rights of the working people, including the freedom to organize assemblies and demonstrations, equality regardless of race or nationality and the right of asylum to foreigners persecuted for political or religious reasons. This fundamental text, which established the principle of the free union into a Federation of national and Soviet republics was adopted first by the Socialist Federal Republic of Russia, but as the Bolsheviks were triumphing in civil war new republics were incorporated: Belarus in February 1919, Ukraine in March 1919, Azerbaijan in May 1921, and Armenia and Georgia in February 1922.
At the beginning of April 1918, British and Japanese forces landed in Vladivostok, the Germans took control of Crimea and White Russian soldiers were in the vicinity of Moscow. The revolution left passage to foreign intervention and the civil war. On March 11, 1918, after miraculously Petrograd is free to fall into German hands, the Soviet Government went to Moscow, from which boosted the development of the Red Army and Cheka as instruments of revolutionary terror. This coercive policy, which the Commissioner of Guerra Trotsky justified in your Antikautsky as a legitimate defense of the Soviet regime in a context of widespread aggression, not immediately eliminated internal dissent. On 30 August, Lenin was wounded gravity in an attack perpetrated by Fanya Kaplan, a social-revolucionaria activist who tried to avenge the persecution that his comrades were subjected. A wave of terror took over for a few weeks in the country (the Petrograd Cheka fusiló at least 512 hostages), while in Europe the end of the war opened new possibilities for the expansion of communism worldwide.
With the drafting of the booklet the proletarian revolution and the renegade Kautsky in November of that year (cruel diatribe against the book the dictatorship of the proletariat, published by the German Socialist leader against the authoritarian drift of Bolshevik regime which regarded as contrary to the Marxist orthodoxy), Lenin paved the way for the creation of the Communist International, whose first Congress opened in Moscow on March 2, 1919, attended by 35 delegates (in its) (most appointed by the Bolshevik Central Committee between the leaders of the so-called communist parties of small States which had been part of the Russian Empire) and 15 guests. In the summer of 1920 had place the II Congress of the Comintern, where were officially adopted the "twenty-one conditions" for the entry in the new international labour: Revolutionary Socialist parties again minted, commitment in the defence of the "Socialist fatherland", strict internal discipline, theoretical struggle and practice for splitting social democratic parties and absolute subordination of strategic guidelines marked from Moscow.
The years 1919 and 1920 were the toughest of the young Soviet State. At the beginning of 1919 he failed Communist revolution in Kiel and Berlin, winter spread hunger and typhus by all Russia (about 27 million victims are calculated), the blockade of the capitalist powers was suffocating the economy of the country and the white armies that dominated the nine-tenths of the territory were at the gates of Petrograd. In response to this chaotic situation, the Bolshevik Government intensified the repression and the collection of funds through "war communism", imposed in mid-1918 as a trump card for the consolidation of the revolutionary power. Movable property and crops, were seized despite the working and peasant resistance the factories and the land were nationalized, and under supervision and centralized planning was placed. Capitalist rules of distribution and change disappeared, and instead settled theoretically oriented social needs planning, but which in practice sought to divert resources to the priority fight against counterrevolutionary armies.
Although, in a moment of despair, Lenin was seriously considering the possibility of a transfer of the Government and the Soviet bureaucracy to the Urals, little by little the political and military situation was improving. The Red Army won a decisive victory in the Crimea in November 1919, Kolchak was captured and executed and Denikin fled at the beginning of 1920. The Polish offensive of April 1920 ended with a Soviet counter-offensive that accelerated the peace signed in October. On the domestic front, Lenin maintained his typical cruel determination. Executions of the revolutionary socialists followed the publication of the childhood disease of leftism in communism, where condemned leftist deviations that were occurring in the game. After obtaining the ultimate victory in the civil war by the end of 1919, Lenin tried to liquidate the "war communism", which had been ineffective to solve the problem of the keeps, the decline in industrial production (which was 5% of the 1914) and agricultural (60% before European war) and deterioration of the living conditions.
The year 1921 brought peace to Russia, but the political unrest continued, especially among workers and soldiers that had carried the brunt of the civil war, and who were now demanding the re-establishment of political and trade union freedoms. Peasant revolts against the requisitions were multiplied in the lower Volga, Russia Central, Altai and Omsk, and the spirit of rebellion was gaining ground in the cities and even within the Communist Party itself, where emerged a "worker opposition", directed by Alexandra Kollontai and Alexander Shliapnikov, showing support for the fight against corruption, and bureaucratic abuse. After the rebellion of the sailors of Kronstadt, weed-choked bloodily Trotsky on 18 March, Lenin decided in the X Congress of the Communist Party arbitrate three measures to tackle the crisis of postwar. He proposed to speed up the dissolution of the opposition parties, refine the internal disagreements proletarizando party and demanding absolute obedience to the decisions of the Central Committee, and stabilize the economy by enacting on August 11, 1921 decree announcing the new economic policy (NEP). Left thus the collectivist ideology of "war communism" and began a short-lived return to forms of controlled capitalism, in order to stimulate production, particularly of consumer goods. For this purpose is desnacionalizaron small businesses and ventures with foreign capital part were created. The abolition of the State monopoly on grain allowed an increase in production and a reduction in the prices of agricultural products, processes that were also favored by the recognition of the free provision of land by the peasantry and the freedom of internal trade, although the State continued to control strategic trade, heavy industry and construction sectors. At the time, the Goelro plan gave an important boost to the electrification of the country (Lenin said with pride that "communism is Soviet Government more electrification of the whole country"), and created a State Commission for planning (Gosplan) that accumulated technical expertise for the implementation of the five-year plans from 1928.
In 1922, as the health of Lenin resented the efforts made in previous years, the old Tsarist imperial structure was transformed into a federative regime precursor of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After participating with his usual energy in the 11th Congress of the Communist Party at the end of March (where attacked mercilessly to the new party bureaucracy and hinted that it was necessary to put an end to the NEP), proposed to Stalin for the party's general Secretary. Shortly thereafter underwent an operation which was extracted one of the bullets from the attack of August 1918, but on May 26 he suffered his first attack of hemiplegia, which gradually away you from the political scene.
Refugee in Gorki since that summer, Lenin could continue chairing that autumn sessions of the Soviet Government and of the Politburo and party. At the time, it engaged in a harsh tirade with Stalin with regard to the question of nationalities, for whose resolution envisaged the implementation of a Federation of independent republics governed by a Central Executive Committee of the Federation, and similar federal institutions that place the Soviet Republics on equal footing. But it was gradually losing effective control over the Affairs of Russia, who relapsed more bureaucrats like Stalin or ruthless enforcers as Dzerjinski. He suffered a second attack on December 16, 1922. This Christmas handed down a number of provisions which were considered as his political legacy after his death. They expressed their concern for the future leadership of the party, disputed with increasing ferocity by Stalin and Trotsky, but acknowledged the greater political capacity of the latter and suggested a significant expansion of the Central Committee of the party, incorporating members of the working class.
On March 9, 1923 he suffered a third attack, after which definitively lost speech. He died at 18:50 hours on 21 January of the year following a cerebral arteriosclerosis as a result. At that time, the fight was waged in the upper echelons of power had been settled in favour of the troika consisting of Kamenev, Zinoviev and Stalin, after the condemnation of Trotsky by the XIII Conference of the party. His corpse was blurred from 23 to 27 January in the House of the unions in Moscow. It was then deposited in a crypt built in the walls of the Kremlin. Four months after his death was embalmed, and in 1930 was transferred to a huge mausoleum of Australian red granite and porphyry of Karelia, located in Moscow's red square. During the second world war, the body was evacuated to Kuybyshev, and later at Kazan, to prevent its capture by the Germans. In 1945 he returned back to Moscow.
Eduardo González Calleja
Works complete, Madrid: Akal, 1976-78, 40 vols. collected works, Madrid: Akal, 1975, 3 vols. The bankruptcy of the I International, Barcelona: Anagrama, 1975. About trade unions, Madrid: Akal, 1975. About the press, Moscow: progress, 1980. Carlos Marx: brief biographical sketch, Barcelona: Anagrama, 1974. Against revisionism, Madrid: Akal, 1976. Private correspondence, Barcelona: Fontamara, 1975. Philosophical notebooks, Madrid: Ayuso, 1974. The development of capitalism in Russia, Barcelona: Ariel, 1975. Two tactics of social-democracy in the democratic revolution, Madrid: Akal, 1975. The childhood disease of leftism in communism, Moscow: editions in foreign languages, 1975. Economic writings, Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1974, 3 vols. Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, Madrid: Fundamentals, 1974. Marx, Engels, Barcelona: Laia, 1976. Marxism and the State, Barcelona: Júcar, 1977. Marxism and insurrection, Madrid: Akal, 1976. Parliamentarism and revolution, Barcelona: initiatives publishers, 1978. One step forward, two steps back, Madrid: Akal, 1975. Press and literature, Madrid: Akal, 1976. Problems of international politics and proletarian internationalism, Madrid: Akal, 1975. The foreign policy of the Soviet State, Moscow: progress, 1977. The agrarian programme of social democracy in the first Russian Revolution, Madrid: Ayuso, 1975. What to do, Madrid: Akal, 1978. The proletarian revolution and the renegade Kautsky, Madrid: Rufino Torres, 1976. On art and literature, Barcelona: Júcar, 1975. On the proletarian internationalism, Madrid: Akal, 1975. On the emancipation of women, Barcelona: Ediciones workshop, 1976. About the bourgeois revolutionism, Moscow: Ed. of the Novosti press agency, 1979. Annotations to the correspondence between Marx and Engels, 1844-1883, Montevideo: Pueblos Unidos; Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1976. On Marx, Engels and Marxism, Madrid: Akal, 1976. The tasks of the revolution, Madrid: Akal, 1976. April theses, Madrid: Akal, 1976. The great October revolution, Moscow: Agency of Novosti press, 1977. Political testament, Barcelona: Anagrama, 1975. Texts about imperialism, Madrid: Castellote, 1976. Pragmatic philosophy, Barcelona: Laia, 1982. A caricature of Marxism, Madrid: Rufino Torres, 1976. Intimate letters, Barcelona: Fontamara, 1976. Materialism and Lovins, 2 vols., Barcelona: Planeta-Agostini, 1986, 2 vols. unpublished works. Works and unpublished documents, found by researchers at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, not included in the 4th Russian ed. of complete works, Buenos Aires: Ed. study, 1972.
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