1) I loathe Lenin. Here is why

It’s been sitting on my desk for a few weeks now, the great biography of Lenin by Victor Sebesteyn, to which I’ve referred numerous times.

The reason it’s there? Because I see many Post-Its in turquoise and neon green sticking to pages throughout the book. There can be only one reason for them: I found Lenin’s character to be bereft of any admirable qualities and whenever I found a particularly repulsive one, I marked it.

Let’s see if I’m right. I open the book to the first Post-It and…

Famine hit the Volga region in 1891-2…this disaster was the worst for generations. More than 400,000 people, almost all of them peasant, starved to death, or were victims of typhus and cholera….

The central government did almost nothing to help the millions of starving peasant who poured into the towns begging for food…The novelist Leo Tolstoy launched a famine relief campaign, supported by other writers like Anton Chekhov…

Vladimir Ulyanov [Lenin], though he had lived all his life around the worst-hit famine areas, would have nothing to do with relief or charitable work to help the dying peasants. For him the important thing was that the famine would weaken the autocracy and might further the cause of the Revolution. The thousands of people who died of hunger were simply unfortunate casualties of a war against Tsarist oppression…

He was an isolated, almost lone voice among the revolutionaries. Even his family could hardly believe his unsentimental, apparently cruel attitude…His…sister, Maria, was appalled by his hard-heartedness.

Yep. I’m right.

And there’s so many more Post-Its to come.

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