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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Smirnov Dmitrij

Smirnov Dmitrij

Professor of World History and International Relations Department, University of Ivanovo, 39 Ermaka str., Ivanovo 153025, Russia.


Vladimir Lenin in Walter Benjamin’s Reflections Before, During and After “The Moscow Diary” / Logos. 2018. № 1 (122). P. 99-114
annotation:  This article analyzes the image of Vladimir Lenin as a Bolshevik leader as depicted in Walter Benjamin’s reflections under the influence of his works, memories of his contemporaries, and his own observations during his trip to Moscow. This was reflected in The Moscow Diary and his other works that were inspired by his trip to Soviet Russia. The trip to Moscow in 1926–1927 allowed Benjamin to observe and evaluate Lenin’s position in culture and mass consciousness directly, and to compare these observations and evaluations with the image of Lenin he had developed prior to the journey. Based on an analysis of Benjamin’s works and correspondence, the salient features of his image of Lenin are outlined, and attention is drawn to a range of factors that influenced the process of forming, preserving, and changing his perception of the leader of the world proletariat. Benjamin’s attempts to critically evaluate the tools of creating Lenin’s image in the collective consciousness, including the machinery of Soviet propaganda, are also analyzed. The reasons Benjamin preserved the image of Lenin he created before travelling to Russia, even decades after the trip, and the circumstances leading to the revision of this image later, are investigated. Benjamin’s impressions of “Lenin” are reflected in the theoretical constructions on various subjects. This is particularly true for his writings concerning the politicization, or even proletarization, of intellectuals whose activity has often been connected with the sphere of art and is far from the class interests of the proletariat. The influence of “Lenin” on Benjamin can be traced up to the beginning of World War II. The negative news coming from “the new world” were not capable of destroying the picture of Soviet Russia created on the basis of Lenin’s image.
Keywords:  Walter Benjamin; Vladimir Lenin; Soviet propaganda; collective consciousness; Bolshevism
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