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How did Vladimir Lenin come to power?

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Quick Answer

Vladimir Lenin came to power after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, also known as the October Revolution. He denounced Russia's government and called for a Soviet government instead. This revolution led to three years of civil war that ended when Lenin's Soviet forces were victorious.

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Lenin's forces were known as the Red, while his opposition was known as the White. Lenin was ruthless during the war, particularly during his Red Terror campaign. The campaign used arrest, imprisonment and murder to remove any civilian opposition to Lenin. Estimates for deaths caused by the Red Terror range widely, from 50,000 to more than a million.

Although Lenin won the war, the Russia he took over was in poor shape due to the civil war he started. Strikes began in many areas due to famine and poverty, causing Lenin to create his New Economic Policy, a more liberal policy allowing private enterprise.

Lenin survived an assassination attempt in 1918, but his health deteriorated afterward. He suffered his first stroke in 1922 and suffered three more before his death in 1924. In early 1923, he issued his testament, where he regretted how dictators dominated the Soviet government. He was particularly disappointed in Joseph Stalin, who had attained significant power.

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