Russia on Thursday marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, the first head of the Soviet state.
Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) was born in the provincial city of Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk) April 22, 1870, to a family of a secondary-school teacher.
In 1887, soon after the death of his father, Lenin's older brother Alexander was arrested in St Petersburg for plotting against the Tsar. He was convicted and hanged. The tragic event affected young Vladimir deeply, laying the foundation for his revolutionary ideas.
After graduating from high school with a gold medal, Lenin entered the University of Kazan later that year, but was soon expelled for his radical views.
In 1895, he travelled to Switzerland, where he talked with Social Democrat Georgy Plekhanov. After returning to Russia in 1895, Lenin established the Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class. He was soon arrested and exiled to Siberia, where he spent three years.
In 1900, Lenin left for Switzerland where he wrote a paper titled “Iskra”, to promote his ideas. Inspired by Lenin's views, his supporters began creating underground organisations across Russia.
After the 1917 February Revolution overthrew Tsar Nicholas II, Lenin returned to his homeland. He came to power in October 1917 after a nearly bloodless coup.
Lenin led the Soviet state until 1924. He died Jan 21, 1924, following a series of strokes.
Lenin's embalmed body has been displayed in a glass case in a mausoleum in Red Square since his death. His continuing presence in the heart of Moscow has been an ongoing source of controversy since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. It has been suggested that Lenin's body could be buried in a new national military cemetery to be opened in 2011.