Lenin for children

A picture gallery

Image: Detail from poster encouraging literacy:
“Lenin is dead; Leninism lives”

From Krupskaia’s Reminiscences of Lenin

Lenin’s solicitude for the children was strikingly manifested during the famine that prevailed in 1919. The food situation became critical in May. At the second meeting of the Economic Commissium Ilyich raised the question of rendering relief in kind to the children of the workers.

Towards the end of May 1919 the situation got worse. There were lots of grain, thousands of tons of it, in the Ukraine, the Caucasus and in the East, but the civil war had cut off all communications, the central industrial districts were starving. The Commissariat of Education was swamped with complaints about there being nothing to feed the children with.

Lenin and Children, Young Guard

Lenin and Children, Young Guard (1924)

On May 14, 1919, the army of the North-Western Government launched an offensive against Petrograd. On May 15 General Rodzyaako had taken Gdov, the Estonian and Finnish White Guard troops started to advance, and fighting began at Koporskaya Bay. Ilyich was concerned about Petrograd. It was characteristic of him that at this very same time, on May 17, he put through a decree for children to be fed free of charge. This decree provided for the improvement of the food supply for children and the welfare of the working people, and ordered that such supplies should be issued free of charge to all children up to 14 irrespective of their parents’ ration class. The decree applied to the large industrial centres of sixteen non-agricultural gubernias.

June 12 brought news of the treachery of the Krasnaya Gorka garrison. On the same day Ilyich signed an order of the Council of People’s Commissars extending the decree of May 17 concerning free food supplies for children to a number of other localities. The age limit was raised to 16 years.

Socialist reconstruction (1927)

“Socialist reconstruction,” depicting Lenin (1927)

Red tape in the matter of rendering relief to the needy was particularly hateful to Ilyich. On January 6, 1919, he wired to the Cheka in Kursk:

Immediately arrest Kogan, member of the Yursk Central Purchasing Board, for not having helped 120 starving workers of Moscow and sent them away empty-handed. Publish it in newspapers and leaflets so that all employees of purchasing agencies and food supply authorities should know that those guilty of a formal and bureaucratic attitude and failure to help the starving workers will be severely punished, if need be — shot.

— Chairman of the Council
of People’s Commissars,

Lenin in the classroom

2 thoughts on “Lenin for children

  1. You have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of these original documents, photos and oddities from the early USSR. Where do you get this stuff?

    This indoctrination of children into the cult of personality that the early CP created around Lenin probably paved the way for the growth (provided the growth medium for) the later Stalin cult. This childish search for the “Great Leader” upon whom all responsibility for the success or failure of the Revolution is to be placed… this is just flat-out wrong, sub-Marxist and leads to all kinds of dangerous cultish practices. If the socialist parties of today go down this same road, they are doomed to experience the same type of crises which befell the USSR. There never have been, are none now and never will be “infallible leaders”; the do not exist in science, engineering, architecture, art or any other sphere of human endeavor. Why do people expect them to exist in POLITICS, of all places?

    Putting that photo of Lenin alone in that classroom made it easy to replace it with another one upon his death, of the next “Great Leader” – who would it be? Is there only room for ONE personality out of all the excellent leaders that Bolshevism brought to the fore? Whose portrait will replace Lenin’s in the frame – Trotsky or Stalin? Or should Lenin just stay there alone?

    Better to not have that kind of idol worship at all. It retards rather than advances the cause of socialism and leads people to think like automatons. This crap has nothing at all to do with scientific Marxism – in fact, it’s diametrically opposed to it.

    No revolution was – or ever will be – made by gods. Lenin would have hated the subservient cult-worship of his person by supposed “revolutionaries”, especially the public display of his corpse like the body of a saint in an Orthodox Church. It’s positively hideous!
    And now the Venezuelans want to place the rotting corpse of opera bouffe “revolutionary” Hugo Chavez in a similar public eternal display case! How ridiculous and revolting!

    We human have to evolve beyond this cowardly and facile worship of idols and learn to see ourselves collectively as “leaders” – a socialist society will be a society of leaders, a collective of leaders, where a meritocracy reigns, and responsibility for the future of the society falls not upon the inherently weak power of a single human being but on the collective. We have to avoid this idol worship at all costs – and this hideous idea of indoctrinating schoolchildren with this idol-worship… even the idol-worship of a man as worthy of respect and admiration as Lenin – it’s disgusting!


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