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 interference of the Belgian authorities
to move to London, where the proceedings were concluded. The Second
Congress was the occasion for bitter wrangling among the
representatives of various Russian Marxist Factions, and ended in a
deep split that was mainly caused by Lenin -- his personality, his
drive for power in the movement, and his "hard" philosophy of the
disciplined party organization. At the close of the congress Lenin
commanded a temporary majority for his faction and seized upon the
label "Bolshevik" (Russian for Majority), while his opponents who
inclined to the "soft" or more democratic position became known as the
"Mensheviks" or minority (Daniels, 19).

Though born only in 1879, Trotsky had gained a leading place
among the Russian Social-Democrats by the time of the Second party
Congress in 1903. He represented ultra-radical sentiment that could
not reconcile itself to Lenin's stress on the party organization.
Trotsky stayed with the Menshevik faction until he joined Lenin in
1917. From that point on, he acomidated himself in large measure to
Lenin's philosophy of party dictatorship, but his reservations came to
the surface again in the years after his fall from power (Stoessinger,

In the months after the Second Congress of the Social Democratic
Party Lenin lost his majority and began organizing a rebellious group
of Bolsheviks. This was to be in opposition of the new majority of the
congress, the Menshiviks, led by Trotsky. Twenty-two Bolsheviks,
including Lenin, met in Geneva in August of 1904 to