Patrick Nielsen paints a vivid case of how Lenin neither led to Stalin nor did he lay the foundations of the Russian Revolution’s demise (“From the dream to a nightmare”, January SR). All the more refreshing that he does so by concentrating on the objective circumstances and the state of the Russian working class, rather than going on about what a great guy Lenin was.
However, it begs the question as to whether the Bolsheviks actually thought they’d won, since I doubt they did. I have spent the last decade arguing that the West has lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. When viewing the Russian Civil War through the same prism, I find it difficult to see how the Bolsheviks could have maintained that they won.
At best it was surely the Pyrrhic victory of a crushed baby.