Vladimir Lenin is a name of great significance in world history. Lenin is the symbol of the socialist revolution of 1917 in Russia, an uncompromising fight for equality, as well as a symbol of the Red Terrora period of political repression and mass killings carried out by Bolsheviks after the beginning of the Russian Civil War in 1918. After Lenin came to power, Moscow became the capital of Russia again. It is here in the Red Square that the table tomb of the leader of the revolution is located – the Lenin MausoleumRussian: Mavzoley Lenina or Мавзолей Ленина. He spent the last years of his life in the museum estate Gorki LeninskiyeRussian: muzey-usadba Gorki Leninskiye or музей-усадьба Горки Ленинские.
HISTORY OF THE LEADER’S RISE
Vladimir Ulyanov was born in SimbirskRussian: Симбирск (UlyanovskRussian: Ульяновск at present) on 22 April 1870. He invented his pseudonym “Lenin” (derived from the name of the Siberian river LenaRussian: Лена) in the years of his underground struggle. His father Ilya Ulyanov was a public school inspector. His mother Maria Ulyanova, according to one of her biographies, belonged to the nobilily. As an Orthodox nobleman from a well-off family, Vladimir Ilyich received a good education in a gymnasium and the Kazan UniversityRussian: Kazanskiy universitet or Казанский университет and had excellent career prospects. He became a professional lawyer and worked as an attorney-at-law in the Samaraa city located in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers court.
A tragedy happened to the Ulyanov family in 1887. Alexander Ulyanov, Vladimir’s elder brother, was executed for having a part in organising an assassination attempt on the Tsar. At the time, Vladimir was arrested for participating in students’ protests and expelled from the university. Soon, he developed a passion for reading social-democratic literature and became an active partcipant of a Marxist circle.
By 1893, V. Ulyanov received recognition among social democrats. His influence on people was described as hypnotic, as he comprised will power, discipline, energy, austerity, and an unshakable faith in Marxist ideology. All the rest of Ulyanov’s complicated life is a history of passionate preaching for the reconstruction of society and for the ideas of communism. Clandestine and organisational activities, numerous exiles and emigration, the creation of the Bolshevik party – Lenin’s way to the summit of power was fraught with difficulty.
Soviet power was established in Russia after the coup d’état committed under Lenin’s direction in PetrogradSaint Petersburg changed its name to Petrograd in 1914 in October 1917. Lenin became the head of the new state. In 1918, the capital of Soviet Russia was moved to Moscow, and from then on, the government occupied the Moscow Kremlin and neighbouring buildings.
LENIN AND MOSCOW
Many important events in Lenin’s life took place in Moscow. For this reason, there are numerous places in the city linked with him in various ways.
The young attorney-at-law Ulyanov first visited Moscow in 1894. He made his first speech at a meeting of the Moscow social-democratic circle which then gathered at 13, VozdvizhenkaRussian: Воздвиженка street. Unfortunately, the building no longer exists. His contemporaries recalled Ulyanov as a young fair-haired man with a red beard who passionately criticised the speakers and was a confirmed Marxist. The following note appeared on Ulyanov’s speech in a police report: “Ulyanov, who is supposedly the executed Ulyanov’s brother and who knowingly defended the Marxists’ views”.
4, Mansurovsky side streetRussian: Mansurovsky pereulok or Мансуровский переулок is another address in Moscow connected with Lenin’s name. In 1906, on the orders of wealthy peasant P. Loskov, an unusual house in the “northern Art Nouveau” style was constructed close to OstozhenkaRussian: Остоженка street. It was built to the design of architect A. Zelenko. The house is reminiscent of a castle; it is decorated with profiled elements characteristic of Art Nouveau and has a spacious balcony. Lenin’s mother Maria Ulyanova often stayed in the small wooden house which stood on this site before the mansion was built. The smaller house had also belonged to Loskov. When his mother was here, Lenin visited, and a police report written after he had arrived from abroad states: “[he] immediately went to his mother in Moscow. PrechistenkaRussian: Пречистнека street, Mansurovsky side street, Loskov’s house”.
On 10 March 1918, Lenin and his party comrades secretly left Petrograd in a special train. However, not long before this, they had declared that “all the rumours about the evacuation of the Council of the People’s Commissars and the Central Executive Committee from Petrograd are totally false”. In this way, the status of capital city was given back to Moscow. It was then turned into the capital of socialism. V. Lenin stayed in the city’s best hotel, NationalRussian: Националь (1, TverskayaRussian: Тверская str., room #107). This hotel was chosen because the Kremlin had been damaged in the Bolsheviks proponents’ attack on it.
National got the nickname ‘The First House of SovietsRussian: Pervyi dom Sovetov or Первый дом Советов‘. Dzerzhinsky, Kollontai, Lunacharsky, Krylenko, and writer Serafimovich also stayed here.
On 19 March, Lenin moved to the Kremlin. He was driven in through the Troitsky GateRussian: Troitskie vorota or Троицкие ворота of the Kremlin. At present, there is a memorial plaque on the right side of the tower commemorating the event. His followers Trotsky, Sverdlov, Stalin and others settled behind the solid Kremlin walls in the empty halls of the palace after their former owners were forced out.
In the autumn of 1918, Lenin was allocated an apartment on the SenateRussian: Сенат premises. The rooms were warm and comfortable, with windows overlooking the ArsenalRussian: Арсенал. The apartment also included a reception room, a Politbureauthe executive committee and chief policymaking body of a Communist Party meeting hall, a study, a switchboard and an operators’ room. A lift was installed especially for him so that he could get to the roof to visit the summer house. Lenin had his own kitchen, a maid’s room, a combination bathroom equipped with a bath, a shower hose, and a water-closet.
The biggest room was the living room with nearly 55 sq.m. of floor space. Lenin’s younger sister Maria and his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya had their own rooms next door. Sometimes his sister Anna Yelizarova-Ulyanova also stayed in Lenin’s flat for the night.
In the Soviet time, Lenin’s study was a museum which millions of people visited. In 1995, the exhibit within the study was moved to the Gorki Leninskiye museum (Moscow regionRussian: Moskovskaya oblast or Московская область, Leninsky districtRussian: Leninskiy rayon or Ленинский район).
On the buildings in Moscow associated with Lenin (including those where he made speeches and met congress delegates, workers, and soldiers) you can see numerous memorial plaques. Among the most interesting is the memorial plaque on the Moscow City CouncilRussian: Mossovet or Моссовет building (at present it is the building of the Moscow MayoraltyRussian: Meriya Moskvy or Мэрия Москвы, 13, Tverskaya str.). From a balcony of this building, Lenin made two speeches in front of the revolutionary troops which gathered in the square.
On 6 July 1918, German ambassador Wilhelm von Mirbach-Harff was assassinated in Moscow in the German Mission building situated in Berg’s houseRussian: dom Berga or дом Берга (5, Denezhny side streetRussian: Denezhny pereulok or Денежный переулок). The event shook the whole of Europe. The fragile peace with the Germans was jeopardised. Lenin himself came to Berg’s house the day after the tragedy. He read out apologies to Germany in the German language and promised to punish the assassins. However, afterwards, Yakov Blumkin, who had received the bombs to assassin Mirbach in the hotel National, lived comfortably in Moscow and worked for the secret services of the Soviet state.
On 30 August 1918, at the Moscow Mikhelson PlantRussian: zavod Mikhelsona or завод Михельсона Social Revolutionary, Fanya Kaplan attempted to assassinate Lenin after he had finished his public speech. Later, the plant was renamed the V. Lenin Electromechanical PlantRussian: Elektromekhanicheskiy zavod im. V. I. Lenina or Электромеханический завод им. В. И. Ленина (1, Partiyny side streetRussian: Partiynyi pereulok or Партийный переулок. The main office of the plant features a plaque recalling Lenin’s speeches, with a monument in his honour located in front of the building.
From May 1922, Lenin was partially disabled after having been affected by a brain disease, thought to be a stroke.
Lenin made his last public speech at the Moscow City Council plenary session on 20 November 1922. In December of that year, he had a second stroke from which he did not recover. The last time Lenin visited the Moscow Kremlin was 18-19 October 1923.
MAUSOLEUM AND LENIN MUSEUMS
On 21 January 1924, following a long period of illness, Lenin died in the Gorki estate. His body was transported to Moscow by the Paveletskaya rail roadRussian: Paveletskaya doroga or Павелецкая дорога and placed into a temporary tomb in the Red Square. The Mausoleum’s construction started soon after the news about his death arrived. Vladimir Ilyich’s embalmed body was placed there for a public farewell and later left there for the public so that everyone could approach the country leader. In the spring of 1924, a new wooden mausoleum was built, and a new monumental concrete Mausoleum was built in its place in 1936. Even today, you can see Lenin’s embalmed body in a glass sarcophagus there. The Order of the Red Banner is on his jacket. It was placed there during the mourning ceremony in the Hall of ColumnsRussian: Kolonnyi zal or Колонный зал by Lenin’s secretary, N. Gorbunov.
The remains of Lenin’s legal wife Nadezhda Krupskaya as well as the remains of Inessa Armnad (1874‒1920) were buried in the Kremlin wall nearby. According to historians, Inessa Armand was Lenin’s mistress as far back as his emigration. After the revolution of 1917, “comrade Armand” was in charge of the “female workers department” of the Central Committee of the party. She died of cholera at the age of 46.
The Lenin MuseumRussian: Muzey Lenina or Музей Ленина operated in Soviet times to maintain the traction of the leader’s personality. It was located in the building of the former city duma (2/3, Revolution SquareRussian: Ploschad Revolyutsii or Площадь Революции). It used to be one of the main museums of the country, and visiting it was on school and higher educational institution curriculums. It was also obligatory for workers of enterprises and institutions all throughout the time of the USSR. The profound display covered all aspects of Lenin’s life and showed it in a light favourable to the Soviet state. In 1992, the museum was closed down and all his repositories were given to the neighbouring State Historical MuseumRussian: Gosudarstvennyi istoricheskiy muzey or Государственный исторический музей.
Since 1948, there has been a museum called “Lenin’s Funeral TrainRussian: Traurnyi poezd Lenina or Траурный поезд Ленина” not far from Paveletskaya railway stationRussian: Paveletsky vokzal or Павелецкий вокзал (2, KozhevnicheskayaRussian: Кожевническая str.). Its main focus is exhibiting the genuine locomotive and car which transported Lenin’s body to Moscow.
Lenin is represented in works of Soviet artists and sculptors which are kept in the State Tretyakov GalleryRussian: Gosudarstvennaya Tretiakovskaya galereya or Государственная Третьяковская галерея (2, Krymsky ValRussian: Крымский вал) and the Muzeon Park of ArtsRussian: park iskusstv «Muzeon» or парк искусств «Музеон» nearby (2, Krymsky Val).
Most of the artwork displayed at the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of RussiaRussian: Gosudarstvennyi tsentralnyi muzey sovremennoy istorii Rossii or Государственный центральный музей современной истории России (21, Tverskaya str.) is also dedicated to Lenin’s life and activities. In particular, you can see a sculpture of V. Lenin (1924), banners, and artifacts dating from 1917-1924.
Moscow’s most famous monument to Lenin stands at the beginning of Leninsky AvenueRussian: Leninsky prospekt or Ленинский проспект on Kaluzhskaya SquareRussian: Kaluzhskaya ploschad or Калужская площадь. It was created in 1985 by sculptor L. Kerbel. Its massive pedestal is made of granite; its base depicts workers, peasants, and soldiers marching in the direction the leader is indicating.
Today, you can still find places in Moscow that bear Lenin’s name: Leninsky Avenue, Biblioteka Imeni LeninaRussian: Библиотека имени Ленина metro station. Sparrow HillsRussian: Vorobyovy gory or Воробьевы горы in the south-west of Moscow used to be called Lenin HillsRussian: Leninskie gory or Ленинские горы.
Moscow region’s only museum dedicated to Lenin (the Lenin Museum) is currently situated on the Gorki estateRussian: usadba “Gorki” or усадьбa “Горки” (Moscow region, Leninsky district, Gorki Leninskie urban locality), where Lenin died. This unique estate was acquired by Zinaida Morozova, the widow of businessman, arts patron and philanthropist Savva Morozov in 1909 and rebuilt in 1909-1912 by architect Fyodor Schechtela Russian architect, the most influential and prolific master of Russian Art Nouveau and late Russian Revival. Apart from being an interesting museum connected with Lenin’s name, Gorki is one of the most beautiful and best equipped estates of the early 20th century. It had an allocated power station, steam heating, and a telephone line. All this determined the choice of a country estate for Lenin’s residence after the government relocated to Moscow. On 15 May 1923, Lenin finally moved to Gorki due to his illness.
While Lenin lived there, New Year festivities were organised for kids in the neighbourhood. While in Gorki, Lenin went hunting a few times and drove to Moscow along Kashirskoye highwayRussian: Kashirskoye shosse or Каширскоe шоссе in a Rolls-Royce confiscated from the Tsar’s garage. There is an interesting fact connected with this route to Moscow: on 19 January 1919, the car with Lenin and his sister inside was attacked by Yakov Koshelkov’s gang on Kashirskoye highway near TsaritsynoRussian: Царицыно. The bandits didn’t recognize the country leader, forced everyone out of the car, and stole it.
In 1972, the Lenin Museum was opened on the estate. Surprisingly, the estate, its layout and furnishings have hardly changed since his death. During a visit, you can see Vladimir Lenin’s study and flat; they were transferred here from the Kremlin and reconstructed. The Museum of Peasant LifeRussian: Muzey krestianskogo byta or Музей крестьянского быта and the “Lenin Museum” Scientific and Cultural CentreRussian: Nauchno-kulturnyi tsentr «Muzey V. I. Lenina» or Научно-культурный центр «Музей В. И. Ленина» are also open here.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com