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Lenin: A Contemporary Portrait

Courtesy Reuters

Editor's Note: This article by Victor Chernov, Lenin's fellow revolutionary and political rival, appeared in Foreign Affairs March 15, 1924, following Lenin's death on January 21 of that year. It is reprinted here on the 100th anniversary of Lenin's birth.

Lenin is dead-this time dead physically, for spiritually and politically he has been dead a year at least. We have got in the habit of speaking of him as a thing of the past; and for that very reason it will not be difficult now to write of him dispassionately.

Lenin was a great man. He was not merely the greatest man in his party; he was its uncrowned king, and deservedly. He was its head, its will, I should even say he was its heart were it not that both the man and the party implied in themselves heartlessness as a duty. Lenin's intellect was energetic but cold. It was above all

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