Friday, May 30, 2014

Ulyanovsk, Russia

Ulyanovsk is the birthplace of Lenin.(1870 to 1920)  Lenin was the adopted ’nom de guerre’ of Vladimir Ulvanov, a pen name he used when writing political pamphlets.  Ulyanovsk was called Simbirsk until it was named Ulyanosk for Lenin in 1924.  Lenin’s original name was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. He was the son of wealth parents, his mother the daughter of Jewish physician, his father a teacher of physics and math. He was raised Christian. His father died when he was 16 and his older brother Aleksander (Sasha) was executed for involvement in an attempt to bomb the Tsar.  Lenin studied law at Kazan University. He worked as a lawyer. He lead the Bolshevik faction against the Mensheviks. He was living in exile but returned to Russia when the February Revolution of 1917 ousted the Tsar.  He played a senior role in ousting the provisional government in the October Revolution of 1917.  He became leader of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and disbanded the Russian Empire to create the Soviet Union, a one party socialist state.  Industry and business was nationalized. Wide spread social reforms followed.  He made a pact with Germany giving away  a significant portion of Russia. Germany had assisted Lenin’s return to Russia to help destabilize its WWI enemy. The treaty was voided after the Allies won the war.
Lenin did not believe that party members should express themselves independently. He believed in the need for strong leadership and complete control. He broke with Julius Martov over this issue. He supported bank robberies and violence. He called Paris a ‘foul hole’. Lenin called Stalin the ‘wonderful Georgian’.  In 1917 the Cheka (Secret Service)  was created by a decree by Lenin.  At Stalin’s proposed  There were two assassination attempts on Lenin. Lenin commenced the Red Terror in 1917. He signed lists for execution. He ordered the execution of the Royal Family. This was confirmed by Trotsky in his Exile Diaries..  Lenin said a ‘good communist is a good Chekist’ and expanded their discretionary death penalty powers. Lenin decreed the execution of the priests and expropriation of their property. Estimates of deaths of the Red Terror range to a million.  He died in 1923 of three strokes possibly a consequence of syphilis.
Lenin was an atheist and believed socialism was inherently atheistic. He was married to Nadezhda Krupskaya a fellow Marxist but they never had children. She was a subordinate wife.
This is taken from Wikipedia which I usually find very ‘left leaning’.  It’s overall rather demeaning for a man who was obviously a great leader.  Journalists, being great talkers, are more likely to ‘chop the heads off others to make themselves taller’ . Given that Lenin was such a contemptuous journalists it’s possibly the writers are having their way of getting their own back.  Lenin as a journalist founded papers and used them to savage his detractors.  (Much later in history Deconstructionists were briefly successful at ridiculing other philosophers but the founders had a regular hissy fit when their very ‘deconstructionism’ was applied to themselves.  Boys and girls destroy, men and women create.) Depending on who tells the story of Lenin there's a different picture.
A further likely explanation for the change from eulogization of Lenin to increasing criticism of him is that, as this vast Communist Empire is dissolving, to some degree,  there is a tendency to bite the hand that feeds.  It was a ruthless movement that quickly turned on anyone who wasn’t a winner by any means.  There’s an American flavour there where the American population has demonstrated repeatedly that it’s more inclined to have a leader who ‘wins’ than one who ‘loses’ even if the winners  they ‘break the rules’.  A recent example is George Bush's 'weapons of mass destruction controversy'. Robert Graves addressed this human tendency in the Golden Bough.  The taboo of cannibalism is kept in check until the leader falls then the stupid masses eat him.
Lenin was obviously more sociopathic than his arch enemy Alexander. He and his regime were more murderous than the one they replaced. That’s if we don’t look back to the beginning of the Russian Empire.  In it’s early days, as in the early days of any empire, (including the Soviet) there’s war and mass slaughter of ones enemies.  Once a new leadership is established less killing in demanded.  (Stalin is an exception but matters might have been different were it not for the Nazi invasion)
The latter years of the Communist Empire there saw less killing.  The American Empire opened with its killing and  expulsion of the Loyalist and not many years later it's Civil War. Today it merely Gulags those who disagree.  It may be all Empires mellow and this may or may not be why they fall.
Economic inefficiency appears to be the cause of the fall of the Communist Empire.  However my own tendency, as a scientist, is to say that ‘technologically’ especially weaponry develop which favour the little guy over the big guy.  The chariot lead empire fell to the masses carrying spikes and shields.  Machine guns and tanks certainly were Germany’s advantage. The British was it's Navy.  America right now is its rule of  the skies and space.
Regardless Lenin was a great leader.  Compared to Alexander the Great or Caesar he like Stalin held their own.  Barbarian certainly.  I find he parallels Lincoln somewhat. Who knows what crackdown Lincoln would have had if he'd survived his assassination attempt.  He could be likened to Moses to for he lead his people out of the desert and his attacks his own and others was certainly not dissimilar.   Certainly I prefer Christians to atheists and raised in Canada supported Adams over Marxism-Leninism.
In the Bible there were the men trying to build the wall and whenever they picked up their hammers their enemies attacked them so they had to split their forces with half being soldiers and the other half being builders.  By contrasts the ‘contrarians’ (the enemy) had only one aim and that was to ‘steal the wall’.  They could devote all their forces to destruction.
Once the Communist Empire was in place it was faced with this greater difficulty of holding power.
Violence begets violence. In Canada today, according to my now dead friend, Dugald Christie, the courts are only serving the rich.  Those in power then become an elite and increasingly since the ‘rules don’t apply to them’ and they act ‘above the law’ then the rest of the country feels less obliged to respect the law.  As Canada becomes a ‘2 law’ nation it faces what all nations face to maintain power.  Some figure the corruption in the Communist government lead to inferior production.
My Checkoslovakian friend who had fleed communism was nevertheless sorry to see it’s fall. He felt that America, when Russia was strong, had to be ‘good’ and now with ‘one world order’ there no longer was any need to be  ‘good’.  Rather there is a devolution into a chaos of infighting and tribalism. There is a new ‘anti white’ racism to replace the ‘anti black’ racism.  The secular state attacks the religious.  The Bible condemned in America while in Russia it's welcomed back. Perhaps Russia isn't behind in this regard?  Personally, as a Canadian I think we're right but that's got a lot to do with basic patriotism.  God save the Queen!
I think it must have been ‘heady’ days when Lenin and his friends were ‘reinventing’ the wheel and trying to make a ‘new world order’.  The psychiatrist in me can only see the terrible sadness and tragedy of the man who saw his older brother killed, his father die when he was 16, the loving worrying mother .Then  as an idealist himself he was wounded and nearly killed by assassination.  It was a confusing life.  There is much Doystoyevsky would have admired in the passionate man who had an ‘idea’ which lacked ‘heart’. But I’m a physician not a politician and I think in terms of individual lives not empires.
I’ve devoted my own life to not killing.  I’d love to whack the opposition and reign holy terror on those who disagree with me but instead I’ve built my own faith around non violence.  I can defend myself but I don’t feel right about attacking others especially to get what I want.  I can certainly identify with Lenin. He was first and foremost a man, Indeed being of nobility and the educated upper middle class I can say he was like me.  Theres a ‘scale’ difference when we consider the ‘greats’  but it’s only in ‘scale’.  Jesus said, "Pluck the log out of your own eye before you try to take the twig out of your neighbours'.  Again I'm thankful I'm Canadian but understand better now the patriotic fervour Russians have and how they admire Lenin as the Americans admire their Washington.
History will tell, but I don’t think his tomb will last long in Red Square.  Even the Vatican buries it’s Popes underground eventually.  The difficulty with leadership is it's always 'herding cats' and even Lenin couldn't get his last wish met, that is to be buried.
 I love the nearby Volga.  As a child I learned the Volga Boatman song and here I am today. Barrett’s long time friend Victor met us at the plane and took us to this lovely modern Barcelona Hotel.



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