How Significant Was Lenin?

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Lenin had a great impact on Russia and the Russian people with his range of policies and events that took place during his time in power. These had huge political and economic effects and had both short-term and long-term impacts. Even in exile, Lenin’s time in Germany did not stop him from organizing yet another Bolshevik uprising in Russia in October 1917. He put the Bolshevik Central Committee under massive pressure and their final decision to hold an uprising shows Lenin’s power and influence within the party. This was only a temporary victory for the Bolsheviks as they lost support of the majority of the Russian population. In addition, he led the Reds in the Russian Civil War. The success of the Reds proved Lenin’s brilliant leadership. However, again, they lost a lot of support. Lenin had also ended the war with Germany by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. However, this was a humiliating treaty for Russia as the Germans had been extremely harsh and the treaty took land, industries and people from Russia. After the Reds’ victory in the civil war, Lenin set about creating the world’s first communist state. He introduced war communism whereby the people saw the rapid nationalization of all industries as well as the requisitioning of all surplus grain from the peasants. Even though this solved all the immediate needs of the communist state, the majority of the peasants were unhappy about the new policies and rebelled against the Bolsheviks. This, in turn, forced Lenin to change policies and introduce the New Economic Policy. The NEP was seen, in the Bolsheviks’ eyes, as a return to capitalism as it allowed small businesses to open and people to sell goods in the market, even though major industries, such as steel and iron were still under government control. Lenin had a huge impact on Russia. He made Russia a strong state and consolidated her
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