Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Were it not for Lenin, Karl Marx may have languished into a footnote of history, the Soviet Union and thus the Cold War might never have become a reality, and the oppressive evils of Stalin, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro and others of the Communist ilk might never have been inflicted on the world. The irony of this is, of course, the fact that Lenin's revolution was not Marxist at all in the true sense of the term. Marx predicted that the "inevitable" social revolution would grow out of the exploited working class of developed countries, and Russia was anything but developed in the early twentieth century. The name and image of Lenin watched over the Soviet Union from its conception to its dismantlement, yet how many people today really know anything about the father of Communist Russia? Even the Russian people knew less than about him than they thought, as his life was mythologized in the interests of the state over the course of four generations. With the defeat of the USSR, hidden truths of history began to emerge, Lenin's statues and images began to fall left and right, and the Russian people were - typically - left to come to terms with an ambiguous history.
Lenin's public persona as a kindly leader of the Soviet Union served to cover up the man's ruthless pursuit of power. This biography walks you through Lenin's life, including a childhood that would not seem to supply the flames of revolution. After his older brother was executed for conspiring to assassinate the czar, however, young Lenin (now watched by the government) began studying the works that inspired his brother - Marx, Engels, and especially Chernyshevskii. Soon thereafter, he began working among radical groups looking to overthrow the government; at 26 he was arrested, spending 14 months in prison and three years in Siberian exile. During this time, he worked diligently on his revolutionary writings and pamphlets, basically rewriting Marx to apply his revolution to the backward Russian state. His party of Bolsheviks was never a major player in affairs, and Lenin himself was forced to flee the country on several occasions. Through it all, he was obsessed with revolution, and his desperate moves to keep his few remaining followers together threatened to marginalize Lenin for good - and then World War I began.
The war, Lenin knew, would afford him the opportunity to realize his dreams. He was in Sweden when the Russian Revolution of 1917 took place, and he wasted little time returning home to influence events. Few listened to his harangues over continuing the revolution, and the Provisional Government branded him a German spy and a traitor. Ironically, Kerenesky's Provisional Government essentially handed themselves over to the Bolsheviks when they recruited their aid in resisting a different internal threat. Lenin quickly called for the armed overthrow of the government, and his revolution came to power with little bloodshed. Lenin seized total control, eliminating enemies, destroying vehicles of dissent, and setting the stage for the future abuses of Stalin and his successors.
All of this and more is detailed in this biographical video. You cannot truly capture Lenin's complicated essence over the course of only forty-plus minutes, but this video makes for an impressive effort. Lenin unleashed the Communist menace upon the entire world, and it is important that we fully demythologize the history of such a dangerous man."
LENIN-VOICE OF THE REVOLUTION
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 07/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Every militant who wants to fight for socialism, or put the fight for socialism back on the front burner, needs to come to terms with the legacy of Vladimir Lenin and his impact on 20th century revolutionary thought. Every radical who believes that society can be changed by just a few adjustments needs to address this question as well in order to understand the limits of such a position. Thus, it is necessary for any politically literate person of this new generation to go through the arguments both politically and organizationally associated with Lenin's name. Before delving into his works a review of his life and times would help to orient those unfamiliar with the period. Obviously the best way to do this is read one of the many biographies about him. There is not dearth of such biographies although they overwhelmingly tend to be hostile. But so be it. For those who prefer a quick snapshot view of his life this documentary, although much, much too simply is an adequate sketch of the highlights of his life.
The film goes through his early childhood, the key role that the execution of older brother for an assassination attempt on the Czar played in driving him to revolution, his early involvement in the revolutionary socialist movement, his imprisonments and internal and external exiles, his role in the 1905 Revolution, his role in the 1917 Revolution, his consolidation of power and his untimely death in 1924. An added feature, as usual in these kinds of films, is the use of `talking heads' who periodically explain what it all meant. I would caution those who are unfamiliar with the history of the anti-Bolshevik movement that three of the commentators, Adam Ulam, Richard Daniels and Robert Conquest were `stars' of that movement at the height of the anti-Soviet Cold War. I would also add that nothing presented in this biography, despite the alleged additional materials available with the `opening' of the Soviet files, has not been familiar for a long time. "
50 min. is too short .......
Pramod Chand | WV | 06/13/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"50 minutes of time is too short to talk about Lenin and the political changes he brought into Russia. Definately he is one of the Biography's bad guy. I noticed that the Biography (and interviewed american academic professors) hardly says anything good about Lenin. Was it really a political propoganda that made quarter of million people come out in that freezing cold when Lenin died? No interviews with Russians to find out their present feeling toward Lenin. Although I get irritated with the Bolsheviks I was interested in Lenin's personal life apart from his political life. Not much detail about that."
Fact or fiction
M. ravasizadeh | Andover, MA USA | 07/09/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The DVD was entertaining but it gave you the feeling as if Lenin who was such a great figure in Russia has led a very passive life... Lenin was a very weak figure always in exile. I dont know what to believe?"
Excellent product, arrived promptly.
Mary A. Lynch | 05/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Useful product to inform students on the person behind the Russian Revolution in the face of civic unrest."