Ulam, Adam B.
April 1970
Foreign Affairs;Apr1970, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p460
This article comments on the contributions of Vladimir Ilich Lenin to the state and society of the Soviet Union. Lenin was a great revolutionary and a great restorer, a passionate patriot and a fervent internationalist. This combination of opposites enabled him to carry the Revolution through to its logical conclusion in the virtual dissolution of the Russian state and to rescue Russia from the Revolution and lay the foundations of the most centralized state of modern times. It is no wonder that to the outside observer of the first phases of the Bolshevik Revolution Lenin and his followers appeared as nihilists bent upon wrecking the old and utterly incapable of creating a new social order. Even to some of his followers Lenin's pronouncements after his return to Russia in 1917 smacked of anarchism rather than socialism. The whole orderly world of theoretical Marxism, its canon of stages of historical development dictating the appropriate political forms, ceased to be of any interest to Lenin as contrasted with the imperative need for revolution. However, Lenin defied not only the Marxian historical laws. The whole rationalist tradition of the doctrine, its democratic accretions, appeared to him a burdensome ballast.


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