Which Kind of Dialectician Was Lenin?

  • Vesa OittinenEmail author


The paper deals with the character of Lenin’s ‘dialectics,’ of which there has, until recently, been many erroneous interpretations. I attempt to show that Lenin’s idea of a dialectical method in most cases boils down to the demand of a “concrete analysis of a concrete situation.” This demand Lenin turned against the un-dialectical and dogmatic interpretations of Marxism of the Second International. Actually, Lenin’s idea of dialectics as, above all, a method of a concrete analysis is not borrowed from Plekhanov or other Marxist theoreticians, but from the Narodnik writer Alexander Herzen. As to the claim that Lenin changed his mind after 1914 when he began to study Hegel’s ‘Logic’, there is no evidence to support the thesis. Lenin did not abandon the positions he had taken earlier, in 1907, in his ‘Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.’ This is obvious from his writings after the October Revolution of 1917; for example, in the notes he criticizes Bukharin’s inability to use dialectics correctly (i.e. to make a concrete analysis).


Dialectics Hegel Marx Narodniks Chernyshevski Russian revolution Bukharin 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aleksanteri Institute, University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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