The rise of communism in Russia

Essay by Dick JohnsonUniversity, Bachelor'sB, March 1993

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The Rise of Communism in Russia

ÒUnless we accept the claim that LeninÕs coup dÕ tat gave birth

to an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history of

mankind, we must recognize in todayÕs Soviet Union the old empire of the

Russians -- the only empire that survived into the mid 1980ÕsÓ (Luttwak,


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

(GroilerÕs Encyclopedia).

Socialism, of which ÒMarxism-LeninismÓ 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 countryÕs 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...