In July 1917, when the Provisional Government issued a warrant for his arrest, Lenin fled from Petrograd; later that year, The October Revolution swept him to supreme power. In the short intervening period he spent in Finland, he wrote his impassioned, never-completed master work on The State and Revolution ... This powerfully argued book offers both the rationale for the new regime and a wealth of insights into Leninist politics. It was here that Lenin justified his personal interpretation of Marxism, savaged his opponents and set out his trenchant views on class conflict, the lessons of earlier revolutions, the dismantling of the bourgeois state and the replacement of capitalism by the, dictatorship of the proletariat. The result, as Robert Service suggests in his stimulating Introduction, is 'a choral ode to action, intolerance, combat and collectivism, the anthem of Bolshevism in its revolutionary era'. Immediately established as a standard text, it was selectively cited by leaders from Stalin to Gorbachev in support of programmes which differed in important ways. As both historical document and political statement, its importance can hardly be exaggerated.
Vladimir Lenin was born in 1870 and was one of the most influential people of the 20th century. He became a Russian revolutionary, a communist politician, the principal leader of the October Revolution, the first head of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic and, from 1922, the first de facto leader of the Soviet Union.