With access to unpublished Lenin documents held in the Communist Party archives and elsewhere, Volkogonov shows that the violence and coercion that characterized the Soviet system derived entirely from Lenin, and that Lenin's regime designed and set in motion the machinery of the Stalinist terror of the 1930s and 1940s. The author also describes in detail the personal life of Lenin: his family antecedents, his private finances, the early funding of the Bolshevik Party, his relationship with his mistress Inessa Armand, and the illness that crippled the final months of his life.
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