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Russian Social-Democrats

"Gorbachev Factor"

Russian Social-Democrats, led by George Plekhanov (18561918) and Vladimir Lenin, believed that the introduction of capitalism in Russia would be made difficult by the vestiges of the feudal system. But the shining prospect of socialist society inflamed their imagination, and they were determined to attain it by means of a proletarian revolution that would sweep away both nascent capitalist patterns and feudal remnants. 


This deep conviction in the scientific correctness of Marxist predictions gave Lenin and his followers a sense of purpose that many other revolutionary or reform-minded groups lacked. In 1917 Lenins Bolsheviks, who represented the radical wing of Russian Social-Democrats, took power in Russia. They hoped that by concentrating control over productive resources in their hands, they would be able to use their knowledge of the objective laws of human society to steer the country toward the Communist stage of development, when all property and power would be held in common and all people would be equal.

The collapse of the Communist experiment in the Soviet Union has seriously discredited the idea of socialism as an alternative to capitalism. Those who still cling to the socialist ideal as a model of social development try to dissociate Marx from Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state, insisting that the Bolshevik leader made a radical revision of classical Marxism and completely transformed it into a militant ideology of a totalitarian state. They find instances of complete reversals of Marxs conclusions, for example, in Lenins assertion about Russias readiness for a proletarian revolution. They say that Marx repeatedly emphasized that the new Communist society would be the result of a highly developed capitalism. In this regard, Russia was viewed by Marx as a very unlikely place in which to have a proletarian revolution, because the industrial revolution there had hardly started.

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Soviet Ideology


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