Contribution of Lenin to the theory of Marx and Engels on general laws of transition to socialism in different countries

Russian Communist Workers' Party

One of the main directions of bourgeois and opportunistic propaganda aimed against Leninism is an attempt to deny Leninism its international importance, an attempt to prove that Lenin’s contribution to Marxism only pertains to Russia in the beginning of the XX Century 

In Russia such “theories” are characteristic of left nationalists that are willing to “privatize” soviet history. This usually applies to Stalin, but sometimes they try to list Lenin among “theirs” as well, meaning that Lenin only formally was considered marxist, whereas in fact he was a Russian patriot who interpreted and changed marxism so as it was necessary to follow Russian national agenda of that time etc.

These national-patriots have been actually repeating the propaganda of European opportunists of the II International, those social-democrats that at the time of Lenin still proclaimed themselves marxists, though they had long ago sold themselves to bourgeoisie. Due to that fact they were obviously not willing to recognize Lenin as a true, the most consistent Marxist, as otherwise it had not been clear who they were themselves.

Similar interpretation of leninism can be found in the works of the leftist theorist Immanuel Wallerstein , one of creators of the world-systems approach. He wrote that Lenin just wanted that Russia could catch up with the developed countries and that leninism is not suitable for economically developed counties. 

It’s obvious that all these theories of opportunist and bourgeois ideologists have nothing to do with the truth and their aim is to deny international proletariat its most reliable and the only ideological weapon that leads to victory – i.e. marxism-leninism. Lenin was the leader not only of Russian but of international proletariat as well, and his contribution to marxist theory pertained to the most important issues essential not only to Russia, but to all countries both more and less developed than the then Russia, as well as to the issues of co-operation between units of proletarian movement in various types of countries. 

“Some say that Leninism is the application of Marxism to the conditions that are peculiar to the situation in Russia. This definition contains a particle of truth, but not the whole truth by any means. Lenin, indeed, applied Marxism to Russian conditions, and applied it in a masterly way. But if Leninism were only the application of Marxism to the conditions that are peculiar to Russia it would be a purely national and only a national, a purely Russian and only a Russian, phenomenon. We know, however, that Leninism is not merely a Russian, but an international phenomenon rooted in the whole of international development. (I.V. Stalin The Foundations of Leninism ).

We are not going to analyze the whole contribution of Lenin to marxism in this article, this contribution including the issues of revolutionary struggle of proletariat in the period of capitalism, contribution to dialectic materialism and many others. We are going to review the contribution of V.I. Lenin to one particular, extremely important section of Marxism that deals with the transition of society from capitalism to socialism. 

1. In the course of his struggle with opportunists, Lenin not only defended but also systematized and further justified the teaching of Marx and Engels on proletarian dictatorship as a transitional period from capitalism to socialism, the key ideas of this teaching presented in their various works: The Communist Manifesto, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, The Civil War in France, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State”. This in itself is a great achievement of Lenin. Exactly the issue of proletarian dictatorship, the most important issue of transition to socialism in practice, is a divisive point between revolutionists and opportunists. Even know these opportunist views rejecting the proletarian dictatorship pose a threat to revolutionary proletarian movement, these views including theories of “intermediate stages” and “center-left popular governments”, the theory of “XXI Century socialism (when in a “socialist” country there dominates capital and not only reactionary parties, but direct agents of imperialism as well are allowed to act), “socialism with Chinese characteristics” (when billionaires are members of “communist” party) and others. 

Lenin in his famous books “The State and Revolution”, “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky” and others not only defended but also further developed marxist teaching on transition from capitalism to socialism with the consideration of new conditions caused by the imperialistic stage of capitalism and the practical experience of revolution and socialist construction in Russia. 

2. Lenin created the teaching on communist party as a vanguard of proletariat in the periods of struggle for overturning of capitalism as well as for the period of proletarian dictatorship. He presented the key concepts (further developed in more detail by I.V. Stalin) of internal structure of proletarian dictatorship political system, i.e. he described such components of proletarian dictatorship as party, Soviets, trade unions and other organizations, their roles and relationships. The Soviet is the form of state in the period of proletarian dictatorship, the channel that proletariat uses to exercise its power. Trade unions are professional organizations of proletariat. Nevertheless, proletariat is not homogeneous, and the levels of political awareness also differ, that’s why the party as the political vanguard, and simultaneously the proletarian headquarters plays the most important role. 

“Thus, on the whole, we have a formally non-communist, flexible and relatively wide and very powerful proletarian apparatus, by means of which the Party is closely linked up with the class and the masses, and by means of which, under the leadership of the Party, the class dictatorship is exercised. (“Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder ).

3. Apart from great contribution to marxist theory of revolution, Lenin also very much successfully implemented it in practice. As Stalin wrote: 

“Lenin was born for revolution. He was, in truth, the genius of revolutionary outbreaks and the greatest master of the art of revolutionary leadership. Never did he feel so free and happy as in a time of revolutionary upheavals. I do not mean by this that Lenin approved equally of all revolutionary upheavals, or that he was in favour of revolutionary outbreaks at all times and under all circumstances. Not at all. What I do mean is that never was the genius of Lenin’s insight displayed so fully and distinctly as in a time of revolutionary outbreaks. In times of revolution he literally blossomed forth, became a seer, divined the movement of classes and the probable zigzags of the revolution, seeing them as if they lay in the palm of his hand. It was with good reason that it used to be said in our Party circles: “Lenin swims in the tide of revolution like a fish in water.” (Lenin. A Speech Delivered at a Memorial Meeting of the Kremlin Military School. January 28, 1924 )

Nobody could better than Lenin change tactics depending on concrete situation and on the stage of the revolution’s development, build relationships with the allies and companions. For example, initially he promoted union with the whole peasantry against landlords, later – the union with the poorest peasants against wealthy peasants – Kulaks, while ensuring neutral position of the middle peasantry, and finally – a firm union with the middle peasantry. Later we’ll also dwell upon the Lenin’s attitude towards use of such parliamentarian ways of political struggle as taking part in elections, or boycotting them, or dismissal of the Constituent Assembly. 

Yet another example is his choice of the main attack direction. Initially, at the time of the first Russian revolution of 1905-1907 those were Cadets (Constitutional Democrats) as they advocated reconciliation with tsarism, After the February revolution in 1917 those were Mensheviks and Esers (revolutionary socialists) that had turned into the main saviors of bourgeoisie and the main obstacle to the victory of the proletarian revolution in 1917. All that done despite the screams of many people objecting to “introducing dissent in the midst of democracy” in the first case, and “among socialists” in the second.

While adopting different tactics depending on drastic changes of the revolution’s development, Lenin demonstrated unwavering adherence to crucial issues. Though uncompromised struggle against social-chauvinism during the imperialist war, the adoption of the slogan “let’s turn imperialist war into a civil one” had caused for a while a loss of some of Bolsheviks’ sympathizers and exposed the party firstly to the repression of the tsarist government, and later to the repressions of the provisional government, still in the end of the day those tactics had brought Bolsheviks to victory. 

Lenin seriously treated armed insurrection that he considered as an art.

Marxists are accused of Blanquism for treating insurrection as an art! Can there be a more flagrant perversion of the truth, when not a single Marxist will deny that it was Marx who expressed himself on this score in the most definite, precise and categorical manner, referring to insurrection specifically as an art, saying that it must be treated as an art, that you must win the first success and then proceed from success to success, never ceasing the offensive against the enemy, taking advantage of his confusion, etc., etc.?

To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class. That is the first point. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. That is the second point. Insurrection must rely upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolution when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height, and when the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revolution are strongest. That is the third point. And these three conditions for raising the question of insurrection distinguish Marxism from Blanquism. (Marxism and Insurrection. A Letter to the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.).

Lenin, while passionately willing that proletariat took power, was neverthless very causios and on the one hand avoided premature uprising as it was on 03-04.07 1917, and on the other hand he didn’t want to miss the most favourable moment for the insurrection, as in October 1917, and had to spend a lot of time persuading the members of the Central Committee to srat then. 

“On July 3-4 it could have been argued, without violating the truth, that the correct thing to do was to take power, for our enemies would in any case have accused us of insurrection and ruthlessly treated us as rebels. However, to have decided on this account in favour of taking power at that time would have been wrong, because the objective conditions for the victory of the insurrection did not exist.

(1) We still lacked the support of the class which is the vanguard of the revolution.

We still did not have a majority among the workers and soldiers of Petrograd and Moscow. Now we have a majority in both Soviets. It was created solely by the history of July and August, by the experience of the "ruthless treatment" meted out to the Bolsheviks, and by the experience of the Kornilov revolt.

(2) There was no country-wide revolutionary upsurge at that time. There is now, after the Kornilov revolt; the situation in the provinces and assumption of power by the Soviets in many localities prove this.

(3) At that time there was no vacillation on any serious political scale among our enemies and among the irresolute petty bourgeoisie. Now the vacillation is enormous. Our main enemy, Allied and world imperialism (for world imperialism is headed by the "Allies"), has begun to waver between a war to a victorious finish and a separate peace directed against Russia. Our petty-bourgeois democrats, having clearly lost their majority among the people, have begun to vacillate enormously, and have rejected a bloc, i.e., a coalition, with the Cadets.

(4) Therefore, an insurrection on July 3-4 would have been a mistake; we could not have retained power either physically or politically. We could not have retained it physically even though Petrograd was at times in our hands, because at that time our workers and soldiers would not have fought and died for Petrograd...

We could not have retained power politically on July 3-4 because, before the Kornilov revolt, the army and the provinces could and would have marched against Petrograd.

Now the picture is entirely different.

We have the following of the majority of a class, the vanguard of the revolution, the vanguard of the people, which is capable of carrying the masses with it.

We have the following of the majority of the people, because Chernov's resignation, while by no means the only symptom, is the most striking and obvious symptom that the peasants will not receive land from the Socialist-Revolutionaries' bloc (or from the Socialist-Revolutionaries themselves). And that is the chief reason for the popular character of the revolution.

We are in the advantageous position of a party that knows for certain which way to go at a time when imperialism, as a whale and the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary bloc as a whole are vacillating in an incredible fashion.

Our victory is assured, for the people are close to desperation, and we are showing the entire people a sure way out; we demonstrated to the entire people during the "Kornilov days" the value of our leadership, and then proposed to the politicians of the bloc a compromise, which they rejected, although there is no let-up in their vacillations.

(Marxism and Insurrection. A Letter to the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) )

4. Lenin developed Engels’ ideas on the role of elections and parliament for the preparation and carrying out of proletarian revolution.

“As long as the oppressed class – in our case, therefore, the proletariat – is not yet ripe for its self-liberation, so long will it, in its majority, recognize the existing order of society as the only possible one and remain politically the tall of the capitalist class, its extreme left wing. But in the measure in which it matures towards its self-emancipation, in the same measure it constitutes itself as its own party and votes for its own representatives, not those of the capitalists. Universal suffrage is thus the gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more in the modern state; but that is enough. On the day when the thermometer of universal suffrage shows boiling-point among the workers, they as well as the capitalists will know where they stand. (Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State)” )

Lenin tought that participation of communists in parliamentary elections could be useful and necessary then when masses still retain trust in parliament, when consequently the elections attract interest of the working people while giving them certain hopes. In such cases communists should take part in the elections, as well as use them for advancing their ideas and exposing bourgeois paliamnentarism. 

Lenin also demonstrated brilliant examples of changing tactics regarding the attitude to parliamentary elections depending on situation. For example, at the time of 1905-07 when the revolution was on the rise, whereas the regime decided to convene the so called Bulygin’s Duma (parliament), Lenin and Bolsheviks adopted the tactics of boycotting the elections, as the country was moving towards revolution and the overturning of tsarism was next in line, whereas the fuss with the elections was intended to distract the attention of proletariat and peasantry from revolution. Nevertheless, after the defeat of the revolution Lenin insisted on participation of Bolsheviks in tsarist Dumas, despite the fact that the elections to those Dumas gradually turned even less democratic. The reason for that change of tactics was the fact that under those conditions, i.e. first the decline of the revolution, then the advance of reaction, the elections and the parliamentary stand gave important benefits for propaganda and agitation, whereas there had left no threat of distracting the attention of proletariat from more radical forms of struggle. 

Here comes a conclusion that the issue of taking part in bourgeois elections and participating in parliament is a matter of tactics. Hence the people who urge always take part (or make an attempt to do so) in all elections are as wrong as those who reject any possibility to participate in such activities. Everything should be decided depending on concrete conditions and the task of building up proletarian class struggle. 

Lenin also convincingly proved, that to take power proletariat doesn’t need to conquer parliamentary 

Only scoundrels or simpletons can think that the proletariat must first win a majority in elections carried out under the yoke of the bourgeoisie, under the yoke of wage-slavery, and must then win power. This is the height of stupidity or hypocrisy; it is substituting elections, under the old system and with the old power, for class struggle and revolution. (Greetings To Italian, French and German Communists )

“First let the majority of the population, while private property still exists, i.e., while the rule and yoke of capital still exist, express themselves in favour of the party of the proletariat and only then can and should the party take power“—so say the petty-bourgeois democrats who call themselves socialists but who are in reality the servitors of the bourgeoisie.

“Let the revolutionary proletariat first overthrow the bourgeoisie, break the yoke of capital, and smash the bourgeois state apparatus, then the victorious proletariat will be able rapidly to gain the sympathy and support of the majority of the non-proletarian working people by satisfying their needs at the expense of the exploiters“—say we. (The Constituent Assembly Elections and The Dictatorship of the Proletariat )

Let’s recollect the elections to Russian State Duma in 1999 when in the newspaper “Sovetskaya Rossiya” a representative of CPRF wrote approximately as follows: “We cannot allow that we got 50% + 1 ballots only again. Our task is to get 2/3 of the ballot. Otherwise everything is lost”. This was as if to say a quintessence of parliamentary cretinism. By the way, CPRF didn’t even get 25% of the ballot, let alone 2/3. 

We can take as an example the Chavistas in Venezuela as well – though they have considerable merits in the eyes of the workers, they still remain petty bourgeois socialists and they are also prone to parliamentary cretinism. They had kept promising that they would recognize any outcome of the elections, so when after the death of Chavez and the fall of oil prices opposition won, they turned into hostages of their promises and did not dare to dismiss the reactionary parliament. If the government had done it, it would not only have improved the situation in the country, but would also give impetus to the development of the class struggle and deepening progressive transformations. 

As a result, Venezuela plunged into an economic and political crisis, and the widely advertised "socialism" of the Chavists remained, in the main, a declaration. (But it should be noted that the reason for this behavior of the Maduro government was not only the bourgeois-democratic illusions of the Chavists, but also the petty-bourgeois nature of their entire movement, which does not set itself the goals of the actual destruction of capitalism and the radical socialist transformation of society, and, moreover, even sometimes attacks the Venezuelan Communist Party).

Bolsheviks, on the other hand, weren’t afraid to disperse the Constitutional Assembly thus only increasing their weight among working people. 

5. Lenin developed ideas of Marx and Engels on creative role of proletarian dictatorship whereas proletariat not only suppress exploiters, but organizes the construction of new society both economically and in the field of ideology and morale.

The difference between a socialist revolution and a bourgeois revolution is that in the latter case there are ready-made forms of capitalist relationships; Soviet power—the proletarian power—does not inherit such ready-made relationships, if we leave out of account the most developed forms of capitalism, which, strictly speaking, extended to but a small top layer of industry and hardly touched agriculture. The organisation of accounting, the control of large enterprises, the transformation of the whole of the state economic mechanism into a single huge machine, into an economic organism that will work in such a way as to enable hundreds of millions of people to be guided by a single plan—such was the enormous organisational problem that rested on our shoulders. (Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) MARCH 6-8, 1918 Political Report Of The Central Committee) )

Apart from suppression of the dismissed exploiters and the defense of socialist state against possible capitalist intervention and organization of socialist economy, there is yet another task of proletarian dictatorship – this is the guidance of the allies of proletariat and even indoctrinating them in the spirit of communism, as well as overcoming of petty-bourgeois habits and influences within proletariat itself. 

6. There is yet another issue that was theoretically developed by Lenin, whereas his conclusions were successfully implemented in practice. This is the issue of the role of peasantry and middle strata in general both at the time of revolution and in the period of socialist construction. Based on the prediction by marxist classics, Lenin proved that peasantry can and should be an ally of proletariat during the revolution and that this union can and should be retained in the period of socialist construction (Trotskyites argued fiercely against this thesis), whereas in the course of such co-operation peasantry shall be transformed and turn socialist. This subject was very much important then, and retains its import worldwide nowadays in many capitalist countries (especially with an average level of development, i.e. in the countries where the class conflicts are the most acute and a revolutionary situation is likely) where petty owners constitute considerable part of population. Lenin also proved that under proletarian dictatorship that exercises control over industry, finance and other crucial branches of national economics, peasantry can and should willingly (obviously with a support and promotion from proletarian state) come over to collective forms of economic.

(At the same time, in order to avoid misunderstandings, it must be understood that the cooperation of small peasant farms, carried out under the leadership of the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, representing a giant step towards socialism, at the same time preserves group ownership and commodity production, and is therefore only a transitional stage to complete concentration of the means of production in the ownership of the whole of society. In case of favorable conditions, the transition of small owners directly to public ownership is possible, bypassing the cooperative form).

7. On having analyzed the changes that had taken place by the beginning of XX Century, Lenin created teaching on imperialism describing it as the ultimate and the last stage of capitalism. Imperialism, as Lenin substantiated in his work “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” is at first of all monopolistic capitalism. Marx and Engels didn’t live up to the appearance of transition from capitalism of free competition to imperialism, that’s why they couldn’t develop a theory for this process. Lenin demonstrated that monopolistic capitalism even more contributes to objective economic preconditions (i.e. large scale production centralized within big companies along with the complete system of its management, the degree of centralization close to national level) for transition to socialism and ensures that such transition after the victory of proletarian 

“A witty German Social-Democrat of the seventies of the last century called the postal service an example of the socialist economic system. This is very true. At the present the postal service is a business organized on the lines of state-capitalist monopoly. Imperialism is gradually transforming all trusts into organizations of a similar type, in which, standing over the “common” people, who are overworked and starved, one has the same bourgeois bureaucracy. But the mechanism of social management is here already to hand. Once we have overthrown the capitalists, crushed the resistance of these exploiters with the iron hand of the armed workers, and smashed the bureaucratic machinery of the modern state, we shall have a splendidly-equipped mechanism, freed from the “parasite”, a mechanism which can very well be set going by the united workers themselves, who will hire technicians, foremen and accountants, and pay them all, as indeed all “state” officials in general, workmen's wages. Here is a concrete, practical task which can immediately be fulfilled in relation to all trusts, a task whose fulfilment will rid the working people of exploitation, a task which takes account of what the Commune had already begun to practice (particularly in building up the state)”. (The State and Revolution ).

Lenin also demonstrated that imperialism is not only the highest stage of capitalism, but also its last stage with no intermediate stages between imperialism and socialism. 

“That the period of imperialism is the eve of the socialist revolution” (Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. PREFACE April 26, 1917 )

8. In his article “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” Lenin put forward the thesis on the possibility of victory of socialism in several countries first, or even in one country, these thesis based on the law of uneven development in various capitalist countries. 

Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organizing their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world—the capitalist world—attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists, and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states. The political form of a society wherein the proletariat is victorious in overthrowing the bourgeoisie will be a democratic republic, which will more and more concentrate the forces of the proletariat of a given nation or nations, in the struggle against states that have not yet gone over to socialism. The abolition of classes is impossible without a dictatorship of the oppressed class, of the proletariat. A free union of nations in socialism is impossible without a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle of the socialist republics against the backward states. (On the Slogan for a United States of Europe )

Before that, marxists were of the opinion that socialist revolution would take place in all developed countries simultaneously. Nevertheless, one should remember that those views were only based on one paragraph in an early work of Engels “Principles of communism” written in 1847 even before the Communist Manifesto.

Lenin demonstrated, that in case of imperialist stage of capitalism, the victory of socialism in several countries or even in one country is much more likely. In this case, the said country would not just enjoy its transformation, but would turn into the bridgehead of world revolution. This world revolution while taking different forms, i.e. both the form of proletarian insurrection in capitalist countries and the form of wars between socialist and capitalist countries, will conquer from capitalism in favour of socialism one country after another. This is exactly the theory of continuous (‘permanent”) revolution of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin that Trotsky later tried to distort and ascribe to himself. This theory was confirmed with the examples of October revolution in Russia, socialist construction in USSR, the creation of the pool of socialist countries after the WWII and its subsequent extension.

9. Lenin made great contribution to the marxist teaching on the national issue, both for the conditions of revolutionary struggle of proletariat and for the conditions of proletarian state construction.

The role of Lenin for the theory of national liberation movement in colonies is tremendous. Before Lenin social-democrats of the II International ignored the most important at that time part of the national issue – the issue of colonies, while actually going about their local bourgeoisie. It was Lenin who put this issue first. He considered national-liberation movement of the people in colonies as a great force that disrupted capitalism. Lenin promoted the union between proletarian revolutionary movement in imperialist countries and national-liberation movement in colonial and dependent countries. He demanded that communist parties in imperialist countries actively supported the struggle of people in colonies for their liberation, and that communist parties in colonies should introduce in their liberation movement the issue of class struggle, and that they should preferably acquire control over that movement in order to immediately come over from national-liberation revolution to socialist revolution. 

Lenin put forward the slogan of “self-determination up to separation”. Meanwhile the abstract principle of sovereignty was not in the focus of his attention, as marxists are not liberals to put the main stress on abstract principles or nationalists that strive independence by any means. Lenin considered the most important the perception that the only way to break the wall of mistrust between proletarians of big and small nations, of exploiting and subdued nations, of colonies and metropolitan states, the proletarians of the nations-exploiters should give up any imperial ambitions and not only recognize but also actively support the full right of subdued and small nations to break away from “their states”.

Still, the right for self-determination doesn’t necessarily mean separation. Lenin stressed that “as, let us say, the way to a paint in the centre of this page runs left from one edge and right, from the opposite edge”. (The Discussion On Self-Determination Summed Up -, so a correct politics of marxists in national issue while having the same goal, differ for workers from nations-exploiters and subdued nations. When communists from metropolitan states should put a stress upon the separation from “their” state, the communists from subjugated states should focus on the opposite issue – i.e. on the unity with proletariat of the great power state, and if it’s possible, on the benefits to retain unified state. Exactly this way one can deliver the strongest blow to bourgeois nationalism and to strengthen mutual trust of proletarians. The matter is that bourgeois nationalism with these two types of nations has different forms and concrete forms of propaganda in favour of proletarian internationalism should consequently differ. 

Lenin’s politics in national issues played great role for the success of October revolution, for the victory over interventionists and the whites in the course of the civil war in the Soviet republics of Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia and the Transcaucasian Federation. Lenin, while basically preferring a centralized state rather than a federal one, in this particular case insisted on exactly federal union and criticized the plans to include other republics into the Russian one as autonomies. 

The matter is that the peoples of former provinces in the outskirts of tsarist Russia still remembered their being oppressed, the counterrevolutionary forces actively used national issue and there were cases of counterrevolutionary “independent” nationalistic governments in the period of the civil war. Under such conditions to strengthen the union of working people of all nations of the country fully in line with the above described logics of leninism, it was necessary that the formerly suppressed nations should be granted absolute equality, so that the workers and peasants of those nations would not have the slightest doubt in the sincerity of Russian workers’ class that had given up great power chauvinism of bourgeoisie and land lords. 

Tales about mistakes allegedly committed by Lenin, the attempts to oppose Lenin and Stalin while stipulating that Stalin’s autonomy plan was better, are all beyond any serious critical analysis. 

President Putin has recently not for the first time verbally attacked Lenin’s legacy when claiming that Lenin’s plan of federalization had “planted a bomb under Russia”, though it was exactly Lenin who retained the unity of the majority of the nations of former tsarist empire, that unity based on social property of means of production and proletarian dictatorship, whereas those were counterrevolutionaries who had broken the country, including Putting, who himself took part in the counterrevolutionary coup and who got his presidential position as a successor 

Communists treat the schemes of national structure of state not as abstract principles that are universal and fixed (such approach would be anti-marxist, so incorrect), they treat them as means to develop socialism. Under above described conditions the plan of Lenin was the most correct that was confirmed both by the socialist construction in USSR and by the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazism. Stalin not only recognized that Lenin had been right, he also actively defended Lenin’s stance. When Stalin was the leader of the state the Soviet republics were not turned into autonomous ones, vice versa – Turkestan autonomy that had been part of Russian republic was separated from R.S.F.S.R and turned into five Soviet republics 

10. Lenin didn’t neglect the issue of national peculiarities of transition to socialism. In particular, he commented on Engels who had written on the necessity to break bourgeois state machinery “on the continent”, thus making a pleasant exception for Britain and USA where bureaucracy and militarism had been underdeveloped then. Lenin demonstrated that this exception was outdated and that both Britain and USA had also turned into military-police states and that the capitalist machine of the government there would have to be broken as anywhere else, if not in a more radical way (Lenin, The Revolution and State). By the way, from here goes the conclusion that the role of national peculiarities in transition to socialism rather diminishes. 

These are some new contributions by Lenin, that have enriched marxist theory on proletarian revolution preparation and accomplishment and beginning of the socialist construction.

Having analyzed the main topic of the article, let us briefly dwell upon the question that is usually asked by the people who just started studying Marxism and by some of our foreign comrades: what type of Socialism we had in USSR (and what are the types of Socialism in general)?

Various theoreticians, both supporters of the socialist idea and even more its adversaries presented many characteristics of the Soviet Socialism. There were so many definitions of the Soviet social order: early, underdeveloped, characterized by total socialization, deformed, barrack Socialism, with bureaucratic perversions etc. 

There is a widespread point of view, which is supported in particular by the leading theoreticians of CPRF, that it was exactly the early model of Socialism that failed, because whereas this model had been well suited for the first half of the XX Century, it stopped to correspond to the changing conditions of scientific-technical progress and of the less inhibited democratic society. 

We base our consideration of the issue on the Lenin’s definition that Socialism is incomplete Communism, a lower stage of the Communist formation. This type of social order inevitably bears the imprint of the old, capitalist order that Socialism originates from. Under Socialism each person is still objectively interested both in the growth of social wealth as well as in the increase of one’s personal share in this wealth. 

Using these circumstances, opportunists in communist movement have been trying to theoretically separate Socialism from Communism, to construct models of Socialism with private property, unemployment, political and economic pluralism that are naturally built into it. Nevertheless, there cannot be any other type of Socialism, but the one, that is the first stage of Communism. Meanwhile the basis of genuine Communism are general communist relationships that in their development (obviously with different degrees of maturity) go through the transitional period (from Capitalism to Socialism) and through both stages of Communism. Such general communist relationships developing simultaneously with the movement towards complete Communism, are characterized by social property on land and all essential means of production and circulation, planned development of national economic as well as other spheres of social life, full employment of population, support by society of both people yet incapable of work (children) as well as those who cannot work any longer (elderly and disabled people), establishing of equal conditions for detection and development of each person’s abilities (free of charge, equally accessible education and healthcare), both production and social life are managed through the system of Soviets on all levels. 

Differences between manual and brainwork, as well as between rural work and the work in cities shall gradually vanish along with the along with the development of socialist society. Work as social obligation that requires material interest shall turn into creative activity and thus shall become remuneration itself, as the desire to create is the first vital need of human beings. The basic rule of Socialism – “from each according to his ability, to each according to his work” shall be replaced by the rule of complete Communism – “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. 

In the process of its development Socialism (the first stage, incomplete Communism) discards all traces of Capitalism in the fields of economics, morale and mentality, and reaches its highest stage – complete Communism. 

The movement towards Communism is natural and the whole humankind is to go along this path. 

The more conscious and organized is the struggle and historical creativity of working class and its allies, the more successful is the progression to Communism. Socialist revolution becomes possible only providing its necessity is percepted by the real political majority of organized workers capable of raising to fight masses of working people. Revolutions are carried out neither by plotters or parties, these are performed by masses led by revolutionary class. Revolution in people’s minds is followed by revolutionary change of social order. Communist party sees its duty in arming working class with proper ideology, in adding to the movement more purposefulness, thus avoiding excessive casualties and false illusions. Communist idea only turns into actual material force providing it conquers the masses. 

Marxist-Leninist theory doesn’t provide detailed prescriptions and ideal models of the future society. Marx and Engels used to write that Communism is not a state that should be reached, not an ideal to reproduce in reality. They described Communism as actual movement that rejects the current unjust state hindering the development of society. 

Socialism bears features of Capitalism it emerges from under different circumstances. Socialism can be severe, harsh, insatiable, and even bloody. Class struggle under Socialism doesn’t stop, it just takes different forms, it goes on in the form of struggle between communist constructive tendency and the petty bourgeois, proprietary one. A power that performs proletarian dictatorship and ensures the victory of the positive communist tendency is an indispensable feature of Socialism. 

Socialism is characterized as follows:

According to Lenin Socialism in the field of politics means destruction of classes, i.e. the movement towards discarding of class differences, of the differences between mental and manual work etc. V.I. Lenin clarifies that “the destruction of classes is the matter of long, difficult, stubborn class struggle, that doesn’t vanish after the power of capital is discontinued, bourgeois state destroyed and proletarian dictatorship is established (as the philistines of the old socialism and the old social democracy dream), it only changes its forms growing even more embittered in many aspects”. 

In the field of economics Socialism means overcoming of commoditization’s elements in the directly socialized production 

In the field of morale Socialism provides conditions for ever more opportunities for free development of each and all. 

Did Soviet leadership make mistakes in the course of socialist construction? Yes, they undoubtedly did them. It would be an extreme manifestation of political hypocrisy and arrogance to expect no mistakes from people who not only follow totally unknown and very difficult path, but also doing it under conditions of embittered resistance from the whole old capitalist world, to say that “they shouldn’t have done so and so”. We differentiate between the mistakes in the course of the struggle and the manifestations of apostasy and petty tyranny. Our predecessors, Communist-Bolsheviks under the guidance of Lenin and Stalin decently passed their stretch of the path. Bolsheviks were orthodox Marxist revolutionaries. In their practice they didn’t stick to any dogma, but rather rigorously followed basic principles of Marxism, first of all the ones referring to class struggle. That’s why despite existing mistakes and miscalculations there was kept the direction of “forward and up”. The inertia of the movement forward lasted for quite a while even after them, still with ever growing slowdown. THe rejection of the communist science inevitably led Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the present defeat of Socialism. This should learn these lessons. 

Let’s check our course with Lenin, with the science of Communism!