Question: "Lenin was a realist who was prepared to change his policies in order to save the Bolshevik revolution"
Lenin changed his policies to save the revolution. People argue he had no choice due the threat of revolt and being overthrown. But I believe this was true because he was a realist and had seen what War communism had done and he knew he was unlikely to succeed unless the country saw some serious economic reform to recover.
Russia since 1914 had been involved in conflict one after another. They had torn the economy to shreds and the country was starving. Lenin, during the civil war between the Reds and the whites, introduced War communism which aimed to feed and supply the Red Army. This involved nationalization of private companies and confiscation of private land. Workers were drafted to where ever they were need. Any surplus harvest was brought at fixed rates.
Peasants were paid by state.
The results of this were production levels slumped to 40% of pre WW1 levels as workers drafted were not trained to do task at hand. There were many people who failed to make extra effort as there was no incentive to do well. Peasants hoarded crops and the army had to force them to give them crops.
The peasants were not happy and did not like this new policy and this was clear in the frequently happening revolts. The whole of the Soviet in Petrograd rebelled. 5 million had died of severe famine raging throughout the country. The peasants were not pleased
The final cherry on the top was the Kronstadt naval base, which had been loyal to the Bolshevik ever since before the revolution, revolted and mutinied. This was a wake up call as Lenin had always assumed they were...