A Bolshevik activist with whom Lenin became close friends during his years in Western Europe. It is unconfirmed whether the two had an affair, but her death in 1920 was a great blow to Lenin.
A leading Bolshevik, and a member of Lenin's Politburo in the early '20s. He would be executed by Stalin in 1936.
A socialist (but not a Marxist), he became the leader of the Provisional Government in the summer of 1917, and fled to America after the Bolshevik coup.
Lenin's wife, and a tireless Bolshevik activist, she assisted her husband throughout his rise to power.
A prominent figure within the Social Democrats, he led the opposition to Lenin's proposal for a party of professional revolutionaries, and became the leader of the Menshevik faction.
The 19th-century German intellectual who, in his philosophical work The Communist Manifesto, developed the theory that bears his name, Marxism.
The last Tsar of Russia, executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
One of the founders of Russian Marxism, he worked with Lenin on the Marxist newspaper Iskra in the early 1900s, but eventually split with Lenin and came to ally himself with the Mensheviks.
Born Iosef Vissarionovich Djugashvili, he took the name "Stalin," meaning steel, around 1912. A committed Bolshevik, he was part of Lenin's Politburo and a key figure in the Revolution and Civil War. After Lenin's death, he outmaneuvered his rivals and made himself master of the Soviet Union, which he ruled until his death in 1953. (For more information, see theSparkNote on Joseph Stalin.)
A former ally of the Mensheviks, he joined the Bolsheviks before the Revolution and was responsible for organizing the Red Army and winning the Civil War. He was one of Lenin's favorites in the Politburo, but was outmaneuvered by Stalin, exiled in 1929, and assassinated in Mexico City in 1940 by one of Stalin's agents.
Lenin's older brother. His arrest and execution in 1887, for conspiring to assassinate Tsar Alexander III, inspired Lenin to become a revolutionary.
Lenin's father, Ulyanov was a prosperous government employee. During Lenin's childhood, he worked as an inspector of schools.
A member of Lenin's Politburo, and a friend and ally of Kamenev. He would be executed by Stalin in 1936.