COMPETITION: Win our Russian Revolution Bundle!


Do you know your Lenin from your Lunacharsky? Your Krupskaya from your Kerensky? If so, then we have just the quiz for you!

In the centenary year of the Russian Revolution, and to celebrate the launch of Tariq Ali's The Dilemmas of Lenin, we're giving away a huge bundle of Russian Revolution books to two lucky people! One person from North America and one from the rest of the world will win copies of The Dilemmas of Lenin, China Miéville's OctoberRed Rosa, Moshe Lewin's Soviet CenturyThe Communist Manifesto/April ThesisThe Prophet, and Revolutionary Yiddishland.

How it works:

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to answer these eight questions which are sure to stretch your knowledge of Lenin to its limits (maybe). The first four are below, and we'll be releasing the final four at 4pm GMT/11am EST on Friday 26 May. When we release the final 4 questions we will provide you with the email address to sumbit your answers.

You have until 5pm UK time/12pm EST on Monday 29th May to email us your answers to all eight questions, and the winners will be picked at random from all the correct entries. We will also be giving away a copy of The Dilemmas of Lenin to 10 runners-up.

To enter: email your answers to with the subject line "LENIN QUIZ". Please tell us if you are located in North America or UK/ROW.

The winners will be announced and all the answers will be posted on Tuesday 30th May.

Please do not post the answers on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else—entries accepted by email only. Any comments posting the answers will be deleted. 

For all those whose Russian Revolution knowledge isn't quite strong enough to enter our quiz, then we also have 50% off our full Revolution reading list until May 28th!

Good Luck!


  • Q: Who were the first ultra-leftists Lenin turned his pen against, and what occasioned his polemic?
    A: A small group of Russian Left Communists around the journal Kommunist presented some ’Theses on the Present Situation’ that denounced the signing of the Brest-Litovsk treaty, and on the home front, criticized the drift to ’state capitalism.’

  • Q: What novelist was most closely studied by Lenin in the aftermath of the 1905 Russian revolution?
    A: Tolstoy

  • Q: John Milios, a Marxist theorist and former member of SYRIZA’s central committee, has argued that Lenin’s idea of imperialism broke with theories of global capitalism advanced by Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin.On what grounds does he think Lenin’s concepts were different?
    A: The starting point for Lenin’s theory is not the already homogenized and interconnected level of global capitalism, but instead the encounter between distinct social formations, with their own internal balance of forces, organized and cohered by a national state. Luxemburg and Bukarin approached the question of imperialism was “upheld by, and introduced, a specific viewpoint on the global character of the capitalist mode of production This viewpoint is precisely that the capitalist mode of production, and the fundamental structural relationships and class relations that characterize the capitalist system are reproduced in their most fully developed form only at the level of the global economy. . .” Lenin, by contrast, breaks with the theory of global capitalism, opting instead for a conception of the imperialist chain, which was to recognize the central strategic importance of the national state and distinct social formations. “Lenin’s insistence on the Marxist theory of the state and of political power was to lead him to differentiate himself from the predominant conception of imperialism as a uniform global socio-economic structure. He accordingly went on to formulate the theory of the global imperialist chain. . .What this entails is not a uniform, global socioeconomic structure, but the meshing together at the international level of the different (nation-state_ economic and social structures, each of which develops at a different rate, largely because of the different class and political relationships of force that have crystallized within them.”

  • Q: A year before he died, Lenin called for a ‘cultural revolution’ in the USSR. In an article published in Pravda at the start of 1923, he lays out concretely what this would entail. What sorts of measures does he suggest?
    A: He raises it in the context of discussing the importance of cooperatives, which are to take on a different character in socialist construction than they did under capitalism. This sort massive taking on of productive tasks in a cooperative and democratic way is the mechanism he describes as a cultural revolution, but he says its success will also require things like universal literacy, some technical efficiency, the habit of book reading, the material wealth to allow for the habits of book reading, etc. Elsewhere Lenin calls for trade unions as schools in the art of socialist governance.

  • Q: According to a retrospective account by Lenin, what were the near-fatal mistakes made by the Bolsheviks during the ‘July Days’?
    A: “. . . the Party considered the general situation in the country less revolutionary than it proved to be, that the Party still considered a peaceful development of political changes through an alternation of the Soviets’ policies, whereas in reality the Mensheviks and the S.R.s had become so much entangled and bound by the compromising with the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie had become so counterrevolutionary, that peaceful development was impossible. . .”

  • Q: Towards the end of his life, Lenin argued for the turn to the New Economic Policy and the re-introduction of trade union democracy. Why did he endorse these policies, and did any leading Bolshevik revolutionaries take opposing positions?
    A: The NEP was supposed to represent a transit to “regular socialist exchange of products” and was an anti-bureaucratic measure, as was trade union democracy. It was also about the social power of both groups. NEP allowed peasantry to develop some of its own social power, rather than having its interests immediately subordinated to industrialization or proletarian interests. So in part it was about politics — retaining allies of the revolution — but also about training and politically developing those forces as revolutionary subjects. Lenin encountered a number of older Bolsheviks who opposed those measures — Leon Trotsky most notably.

  • Q: In 1982, the US-based Marxist-Leninist journal Theoretical Review published a parody of the dogmatic, overly exegetical relationship that communists maintained to Lenin’s written works. They suggested in jest that the idealistic problematic of a particular natural science could be demolished simply by reading Lenin’s ’silences’ on the subject. What field were they referring to?
    A: Geology. lol.

  • Q: Name three major 20th century works of philosophy that name the words and deeds of Lenin as their inspiration.
    A: This will inevitably vary, but I had in mind books by Lukacs Althusser, Colletti, Balibar, or even Gramsci. A number of possibilities though!

    To enter: email your answers to with the subject line "LENIN QUIZ". Please tell us if you are located in North America or UK/ROW.

The winners will be announced and all the answers will be posted on Tuesday 30th May.