Talk:Vladimir Lenin

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Featured article Vladimir Lenin is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.

Xx236 - Please stop with the disruptive editing[edit]

Since 19 April 2017 (so just under two months ago now), User:Xx236 has begun twenty-three different sections at this Talk Page, each containing a different complaint about the article. They have also opened thirteen over at the Joseph Stalin Talk Page, and added unreferenced and poorly referenced trivia into this article itself. This is just getting silly and needs to stop. It clearly comes under the definition of WP:Disruptive editing.

If their complaints actually had merit then it would be a different kettle of fish, but they don't. Rather, XX236 is just making highly idiosyncratic claims: stating that Lenin was not a Marxist, that Christopher Hill cannot be a legitimate historian because he was a Marxist, and that the Soviet Union was not a socialist state. They have claimed that WP:Reliable sources like the biographies written by Louis Fischer and Robert Service are unsuitable. At the same time they are repeatedly claiming that this article is biased in favour of Lenin and the Soviets and that it does not deserve to be a Featured Article (despite the fact that it has been heavily scrutinised by many different editors during GAN, PR, and FAC, none of whom thought it had a pro-Soviet bias). At the same time they make it abundantly apparent that they hold passionately anti-Lenin and anti-Soviet views (in part perhaps because they had Polish relatives killed by the Soviets) and that they are clearly engaged in WP:Advocacy. For them, the article is 'biased' because it does not promulgate their own view that Lenin was a terrible human being whose every thought and deed oozed nefariousness and malice. They are not here to build an encyclopaedia in accordance with Wikipedia's guidelines and policies; they are here to 'Right Great Wrongs'.

Their constant posting has proved time consuming for myself and others — among them User:Jack Upland, User:Amakuru, User:John, User:Jimfbleak, User:Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi, User:Crossswords, User:Ian.thomson, and User:Britmax — to deal with. That their edits are disruptive has been pointed out to them by both myself and Jack but that has not stopped them. At this point I am once again asking Xx236 to cease the constant posting. However, if this disruptive editing continues then I think that we really do need to consider taking this matter further and request an article or topic ban. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:34, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Yes indeed. I think unless Xx236's take this discussion very seriously indeed (far more so than they have up until this point), then there will be absolutely no question that an ANI report will have to follow. — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 10:43, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm taking very seriously genocides, censorship, lowlessness. If I'm in a wrong place to discuss such subjects, so please do you revolutionary duty.Xx236 (talk) 07:53, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
You are in the wrong place to discuss such subjects. Please go back to the top of the page and read the notice over the door which states "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Vladimir Lenin article." Not, you notice, "to discuss the failures of the Soviet Union and that Lenin was a Bastard". Britmax (talk) 10:08, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
  • If I was between jobs and in country where buying dinner didn't involve puzzle solving and charades, I'd just go ahead and get a bunch of diffs together regarding each point and head over to ANI. Ian.thomson (talk) 07:59, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree its pretty obvious he does everything on this side to trash the USSR, Russia and to some extend Germany if you look at his editing. How else its explainable that there is so much contradiction of his points he tries to make, like the ones Midnightblueowl has pointed out. And there were several instances where he called my edits trash which is not how to behave on this site.
Also what genocide youre talking about Xx236? Its about Lenin first of all not Stalin, and genocide is killing a people for their ethnicity not for their money or class like Stalin did to some extend, learn the difference. In the Katyn massacre only 22 thousand wealthy polish elites where killed, it can be hardly classified as a genocide. So what do you mean with genocide on this page or anywhere else about the USSR?--Crossswords (talk) 00:00, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
@Crossswords. I don't know what provoked the previous descriptions, but as your characterizations of both Katyn and Stalin in one short paragraph above are both trash, I suspect that you have nothing to complain about. This article suffers badly from its emphasis on Lenin's writings and its de-emphasis on Lenin's deeds. For instance, we have a load of blarney about Lenin being an anti- imperialist, even post 1917, despite his many imperialist actions. Xx26 may be raising a lot of points, but a fair person would see that a number of them are justified. The rearguard actions to deny that any of his points have merit are preserving this page as it was, which is an unbalanced article based too much on a handful of Lenin's biographers. That's what some editors of this article want, unfortunately.
Gravuritas (talk) 03:52, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Actually at Katyn about that number of educated Poles were (sic) murdered, probably to prevent them from leading an organisation of Poland against anticipated Soviet domination. You may wish to brush up on your history here. Not that this is anything to do with Lenin, who had been dead since 1924. Britmax (talk) 08:02, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
As well as what Midnightblueowl has said, Xx236's contributions have been very cryptic, as seen under the headings "Inessa Armand" and "Respected". This wastes other editor's time in deciphering the posting. Surely, if there was a burning issue that needed to be dealt with, you would explain the problem clearly. I think Midnightblueowl has gone above and beyond in trying to deal with these objections. This is unfair.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:31, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

User:Xx236 has decided to ignore the request and has continued with their disruptive behaviour. I have thus reluctantly taken the issue to the administrator's noticeboard, here. Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:22, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

The discussion at ANI has been archived here. As per a community consensus, Xx236 has been given an indefinite topic ban preventing them from editing the articles or discussions pertaining to the Soviet Union or anything broadly related to it. They have since compared themselves to Socrates ([1]) and equated their banning to "the terror", with Wikipedia being lambasted as a "totalitarian project" ([2]). Midnightblueowl (talk) 23:33, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
As Xx236 can no longer reply on this page, then anything other than a plain vanilla reporting of his comments is unfair.
Gravuritas (talk) 03:07, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Wrong link to Social justice[edit]

Social justice informs about Marxism-Leninism only in the context of Liberation theology, so either the link should be removed or the idea of M-L social justice explained there. Xx236 (talk) 08:29, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Vladimir Lenin article.
This is not a forum to discuss my evilness. Xx236 (talk) 08:34, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
That is a valid critique of the Social justice article, but not this article.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:48, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
This is a valid critiquwe of the link to Social justice. We don't link pages because we like their names, we link their content.Xx236 (talk) 09:06, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Lenin's definition of justice has changed [3], which of the two assumes Getty? The phrase is cryptic.Xx236 (talk) 09:59, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Are you, once more, discussing the subject of the article rather than improvements to it?. If you are, please stop. Britmax (talk) 10:21, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Please explain me the logic of linking a wrong page. Kind of electric chair.Xx236 (talk) 08:47, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I've removed the link as it seems to be an example of overlinking. We know what Getty is saying, even if we don't agree, and we don't need a link to social justice to explain it.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:04, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Midnightblueowl- lay off[edit]

@Midnightblueowl. You've just trashed a series of recent edits of mine. I'd understand if you differed in a few cases, but you are just going for wholesale destruction. For instance:

  • 1 You've deleted some refs from "Poland between the wars" because Stachura was the editor, not the sole author, despite the fact that I had gone as far as to quote a page number. You could easily have made a suitable comment, and I would have modified the cite (I don't know what the format is- I need to look it up)
  • 2 You've deleted the "unexpected" from the unexpected defeat, with a comment "Unexpected by whom?" If you knew anything about this particualr war you would know that it was unexpected by just about everybody: The Soviets, the French, the Brits, and most of the Poles. A simple CN would have sufficed and I would have provided one or more refs.

You've made a lot of recent edits to this article, and you are sufficiently fast at editing to swamp any edits I do, so please review WP:OWN and allow me to try to make some constructive improvements. Gravuritas (talk) 12:17, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Okay, I may have been a little over-zealous here. My apologies. I'm happy to see Stachura reinstated as a source, but please ensure that it is formatted correctly this time (the other two sources that you added would probably not count as WP:Reliable references; one would be a primary source, the other appears to be a glossy picture book which counts as popular history rather than a more scholarly tome). As for "unexpected", I was aware that the Polish victory was regarded as unexpected by many; the point that I was trying to make (granted, I could have been a lot clearer) is that we were presenting the term in Wikipedia's voice, which we really should not be doing. If we are going to say that the victory was "unexpected", then we need to say who thought that it was unexpected, and that would just lengthen the whole section in a way that (I think) is unnecessary for this particular article. After all, this is an article about Lenin himself, not the Polish-Soviet War. Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:27, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I have also added a few bits that are appropriately cited to Davies, as you suggested. Again, I think that we need to be cautious not to give undue weight to this particular conflict, but I think that the additions work well and (at present) are not too excessive. Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:01, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
You're half-way there- thanks- but please remember that if you don't think the formatting of a cite is perfect, or don't agree with something, there are a range of things you can do besides outright deletion or obliteration. This series looked personal. I haven't checked, but- is there anything left of what I added? Clearly this is an article about Lenin, but that is not an argument for only using Lenin biographies or more general tomes on the Russian Revolution, which this article has suffered from imho to date:- especially if more specialist authors contradict the generalists. The weight of a section or point can be guided by the Lenin bios, but the facts are subject to verification from all WP:RS.
I'm glad that you are beginning to take the point about Davies, sorry that it has taken a month of hard work on my part to stop your obstruction in that direction. I'll take up some other individual points separately, but your point on 'unexpected' does not hold water. If it was generally unexpected, and it was, then why do you assert the need to specify by whom it was unexpected?
Gravuritas (talk) 13:17, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't think that I've been obstructing any move in that direction; I've just urged caution, and I would continue to urge caution. At no point was I completely opposed to the use of Davies, rather just cautious about how it was applied. Remember that this is an FA-rated article, so all additions really need to be scrutinised in a manner that would not be the case on other articles. Otherwise FAs effectively die a death from a thousand cuts; lots of little edits made by various well-meaning editors that ultimately end up undermining the article itself. I maintain that any additions and/or alterations be discussed on the Talk Page first, that they must be properly cited (and properly formatted) to appropriate academic texts, and that they do not place undue weight on any particular issue (if Lenin biographers generally don't think something worth including in their biographies, then I think that we need to be very cautious about adding said information into the Wikipedia article).
As for the "unexpected" issue, I disagree that my argument "does not hold water". We could perhaps say "generally unexpected", but "unexpected" would be misleading given that there were no doubt some who did expect it. Moreover, I still fail to see why we really need to mention that the victory was generally unexpected in this particular article. What does it tell us about Lenin and his government? We can always take this issue to WP:RfC to see what others have to say on it. Midnightblueowl (talk) 14:31, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
No, you haven't 'urged caution' you've just plain rejected or stone-walled Davies when used by me. You're arguing for horrifying double standards, old sport: what proportion of your additions/alterations have been 'discussed on the Talk page first'? Are you the Special One? Turning to the 'unexpected'- I could challenge your 'no doubt' by asking for a cite, which you won't find: Pilsudski was the only one who might have expected victory, and he wasn't sure he was going to get it. However, you've successfully been obstructive again: I think the adjective informs and livens the text, but I don't think it's important enough to pursue further and I'm certainly not going to bother other editors with an RfC to drive through this pettiness. Now please get a grip and stop behaving like the article is your own property, read WP:OWN, and try to grow up before the next time I edit the page.
Gravuritas (talk) 15:24, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I was the editor who got this article to GA and then FA status. It does not mean that I own this article and I have always been open to suggestions from well-meaning and constructive editors (like my conversation with Staberinde elsewhere on this Talk Page). What it does mean is that I am not going to stand by as disruptive editors come along and cause problems by adding poorly referenced and un-referenced material into the article. I'm also not going to stand by as the Talk Page is derailed by editors acting in a totally uncivil manner, particularly when they are pushing WP:Advocacy. As for "try to grow up before the next time I edit the page", might I remind you that only last year you were brought before ANI for this sort of behaviour: back then you were quite clearly informed that "this is supposed to be a mature editing environment where some level of professionalism and decorum is maintained. Knock off the childish remarks". I would hope that you heed that warning. Midnightblueowl (talk) 15:47, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
If you insist on repeatedly bringing up what was seen as my transgression then yes, a liar and a twister did get named as such. Very uncivil of me. Sticking to our knitting here: what proportion of your additions/alterations have been 'discussed on the Talk page first? The lack of answer is deafening. Let me repeat: are you the Special One? Are you granting me by your grace the permission to use Stachura? Would you like me to humbly beg y'Grace for the privilege? Retract your double standards.
Gravuritas (talk) 16:08, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I am not the one adding un-referenced and poorly referenced material into the article. I am also not the one being deliberately facetious and rude to my fellow editors. The information that I added from Davies was something that you supported on the Talk Page; indeed you were the first person to raise the issue. The merits of using Davies were then discussed at the talk page, and after no strong opposition appeared, I added Davies citations into the article. What was controversial about that addition? Nothing, so there was little or no need for further discussion. Your additions, conversely, are often (although not always) controversial given the poor use of sourcing and lack of any preceding discussion; indeed it is particularly because they are poorly sourced that they require discussion first. You claim that there is some double standard here, but there isn't. I've been here at Wikipedia for over a decade and have a large number of FAs and GAs to my name; I've demonstrated to the Wikipedia community that I know how the encyclopaedia works and I play by the rules. Conversely, you edit disruptively and show absolute disregard for rules and regulations like WP:Reliable sources and WP:Civility and yet expect to be treated with all the deference normally accorded to a constructive editor. Midnightblueowl (talk) 16:21, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
My question was: what proportion of your additions/alterations have been 'discussed on the Talk page first? Your answer only refers to some stuff from Davies, and that's just a smokescreen- it's not an honest answer. You are completely aware that you have made many more edits than those recently, so that is a strawman argument. You ask: what was controversial about your Davies edits? Nothing- when you made them; everything, according to you, when I made them. Yes, I have not sometimes immediately sourced an edit, or formatted the cite perfectly, but I am happy to do so. Which edits do you believe that I have made were 'disruptive'? Were these the ones where you didn't like a cite because it had the editor's name, not the section author's name, in it? Or is my editing so disruptive in your head that you need to throw a hissy fit about 'unexpected'?
Listen, sunshine. You are the one who has just comprehensively trashed another editor's work on a personal basis, so come off your sanctimonious high horse and don't hypocritically claim to 'play by the rules'. You are the one who sprinkles POV assertions, and other insinuations, around like confetti. My edits are being greeted by you with destruction even when they are non-controversial and even when they are properly sourced. So to return to the heading, which I thought you were half-way to accepting, lay off.
Gravuritas (talk) 18:32, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

What's the problem?[edit]

There are many heated discussions above. What's the problem? I think there is a general content problem that fuels these disputes. According to last phrase in the lead, A controversial and highly divisive individual, Lenin is viewed by Marxist-Leninists as a champion of socialism and the working class, while critics on both the left and right see him as the founder of a totalitarian dictatorship responsible for numerous deaths and repressions. Yes, this is more or less correct summary of content in the body. However, this is hardly a correct statement/summary for the page per WP:NPOV. No, this is not just an opinion by "critics". According to "majority view", the country during the rule by Lenin was in fact "a totalitarian dictatorship responsible for numerous many millions of deaths". This is the way it should be described on the page, starting from Red Terror and Civil War, and summarized in the lead. Of course it is already described to some degree, but kind of hidden. According to some historians, the actual legacy of Lenin was creating the first system of Communist totalitarian dictatorship in the world which was replicated later in a number of other Communist and even non-Communist totalitarian states. My very best wishes (talk) 20:37, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

The problem seems to be that everyone seems to understand that the lead is a summary until their favoured bit is left to the main text. That's the problem. Britmax (talk) 21:48, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Up until fairly recently, that last part of the sentence stated "responsible for mass human rights abuses" rather than "responsible for numerous deaths and repressions". I prefer the older wording and concur that "numerous" is perhaps not the best of terms; I think that "mass" is preferable. "Millions" might be a little high; as I understand it (and we state in the lede), estimates for the number who were killed in the Red Terror ranges from 10,000 to 140,000. One could arrive at a number in the millions if we start adding together all of those who died in the 1921–22 famine and the Civil War, but pinning all of these deaths on Lenin would most certainly be controversial. We could have something like: "Lenin's regime is widely regarded as a totalitarian dictatorship and held responsible for mass human rights abuses. Although firmly opposed by critics on both the left and right, Lenin became an ideological figurehead behind Marxism-Leninism and thus a prominent influence over much of the international communist movement." Do you think that that would be an improvement? Or is it pushing too much of an anti-Lenin POV? (Bear in mind that there have been commentators already claiming that the article is anti-Lenin, as well as those who accuse it of being pro-Lenin). We need to move very cautiously and carefully on this issue. Midnightblueowl (talk) 21:59, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Your centre of gravity is off. Lenin's regime WAS a totalitarian dictatorship...etc. Anyone denying that is plainly wrong. You regarding this even remotely as possibly 'an anti-Lenin POV' is not tenable. Please produce some RS denying that his regime was totalitarian, denying that it was a dictatorship, or denying that it was responsible for mass killings. And, having failed to do so, adjust your assessments of NPOV.
Gravuritas (talk) 22:11, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
The article states that both Lenin himself and figures like Christopher Hill regarded Lenin's regime as democratic. I'm not going to argue their corner because I do not agree with it, but clearly there are those who regard Lenin's regime as a form of democracy, rather than a dictatorship. That stands in contrast to certain fascist governments that were very open about being dictatorships. Stating something like "critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship" or (perhaps better) "widely regarded as a totalitarian dictatorship" circumvents the problem of imposing one perspective on what is a very controversial subject. Midnightblueowl (talk) 22:18, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Lenin defined his regime as 'democratic', but defined the term to mean something other than the meaning of the term in normal English. Allowing a term to mean anything one wants is for the creations of Lewis Carroll, not for an encyclopedia. And if some fans of Lenin follow him down the rabbit hole, why should rational people allow you to take all of us half-way down there because you think that avoids 'imposing one perspective'?
Gravuritas (talk) 22:46, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
@MBO Please don't edit in text above a response. The problem remains that you keep maintaing that this is a very controversial subject. Lenin as such might be: but on parts of Lenin's record such as his setting up a dictatorship, there is no controversy. There's just plain fact.
Gravuritas (talk) 23:17, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, there was an edit clash. I was making some alterations to my above post while you were writing your response. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:03, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
The "heated discussions" are about a plethora of issues, some hard to understand and rationalise.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:24, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. The page tells that personality cult of Lenin in the Soviet Union represented the world's "most elaborate cult of a revolutionary leader" since that of George Washington in the United States. That sounds as the "most elaborate" propaganda to me. Here is the problem. There was so much written about Lenin that one can find absolutely anything to quote, from the "greatest leader of all times" to a "crazy syphilis patient who enjoyed executing children" (according to Victor Suvorov). My very best wishes (talk) 04:19, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
The "most elaborate cult" quote comes from Nina Tumarkin, who is the author of the foremost study of the Lenin cult (in the English language that is). I do not think it an exaggeration. I mean, which revolutionary leader between Washington's death in 1799 and Lenin's death had a wider and broader cult of personality developed around them? Simón Bolívar perhaps, but I can't think of anyone else who even comes close. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:07, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, we could find almost anything to quote, but this article is based on the leading biographies of Lenin. This seems to be yet another case of attacking a sentence in the article merely because you think it makes Lenin look good. Next you are going to insist that devil's horns are added to his portrait. Enough!--Jack Upland (talk) 12:44, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Founding Fathers brought the Constitution. Lenin brought Red Terror, i.e. total lawlessness. I could not not even imagine that someone can make such comparison. Yes, this is precisely what I am talking about. If you read someone who was a lot more familiar with Soviet system, like Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov, that will be a very different description. The selection of sources for this page is everything. My very best wishes (talk) 14:19, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Both Washington and Lenin were revolutionaries. They had different ideologies certainly, but they were still both revolutionaries, and both were subject to posthumous personality cults. Forgive me if I misunderstand, but your main concern seems to be that Washington might be tarnished by being cited in the same sentence as Lenin; or that Lenin's reputation might get a boost from being mentioned alongside Washington. I don't think that that is a particularly strong argument for ignoring what the leading expert on the Lenin cult actually says. Tumarkin is comparing the two personality cults, not the two personalities themselves: and in that regard, the similarities are blatant. Both had cities and regions named after them, statues erected to them, ended up with their face on postage stamps and money etc. Midnightblueowl (talk) 14:38, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
remind us all how many people felt compelled to support the erection of a statue to GW for fear of their families getting killed. And then tell us once again how blatant the similiarities were.
Gravuritas (talk) 14:53, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
I find it difficult to see any statues because there's so many people standing on soapboxes.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:06, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm standing on human bones, not because I neglect them, but and I'm not able to find any place without them. Xx236 (talk) 09:26, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
What's the problem? The paragraph describing Lenin's rules lists only two Lenin's actions:
  • in 1921 Lenin encouraged economic growth
  • Lenin expressed opposition to ... Joseph Stalin
Every reader supports economic growth and is against Stalin. Nice guy, the Vladimir. Wars, terror, famines did happen to him, poor guy.
Maybe only people trained under Soviet rules are able to realize the manipulation.Xx236 (talk) 09:20, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
As far as the Tumarkin bollox goes, let's just simplify: it's one person's view. With the vast amount of stuff written about Lenin, and the comment itself being highly contentious (can MBO & JU really not see how offensive that is to the memory of Lenin's victims?), then it doesn't have enough backing to go in. Deleted.
Gravuritas (talk) 09:49, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
And restored. There is no consensus for the removal of the text, which has quite happily been there all through the article's GAN, PR, and FAC without raising an eyebrow. If you want an RfC on the issue then we can have an RfC on the issue. Until then, it has to stay. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:32, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Gravuritas, you cannot edit the article based on what you think is offensive to the memory of Lenin's victims, any more than you can edit the George Washington article based on a seance you had with his black slaves.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:02, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
RfC started below. @JU: On the contrary- even those who believe Lenin on balance did good should edit the article in the knowledge that he was responsible for the killing and torturing of large numbers of innocent people. As asked before: can you really not see that you should not be offensive to their memory?
Gravuritas (talk) 01:06, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
How is the fact that Lenin's cult of personality was the largest of any revolutionary leader since Washington offensive to the memory of those killed in the Red Terror? I can see that denying the existence of said victims, claiming that they deserved it, or something of that nature that could be construed as offensive but not the Tumarkin quote. Midnightblueowl (talk) 00:17, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
TRy not to slither about, MBO. The quote was the 'most elaborate', not the 'largest'. I can't see why you need this level of being taken by the hand to parse an English sentence and reveal its implications, but here goes. The quote states that Lenin's was the most elaborate in the previous century or more, and implies that both Washington's and Lenin's cults of personality were very elaborate. It's not clear what exactly Tumarkin means by elaborate, but it is clear that she is drawing some sort of close parallel between the two 'cults'. You say above, 'the similarities are blatant'. But Washington's cult of personality occurred in a country that was free (unless you were a slave), and Lenin's was set up in a police state that used terror not only on individuals but also their families. From that observation alone, the differences are much more blatant than the similarities, which point is what you and, it appears from the quote, Tumarkin, are missing. If I were an admirer of Washington or, more importantly, if I had some connection to one of Lenin's victims, I would be offended at the comparison. I think the article, and you, ought not lightly to cause such offence.
Gravuritas (talk) 01:05, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Proposed alteration to third paragraph of lede[edit]

At present we have the following two sentences in the third paragraph of the lede:

Lenin's government was led by the Bolsheviks, now renamed the Communist Party. Additional powers were initially held by elected soviets, while the government called elections for the Constituent Assembly before abolishing it.

I'm wondering if this could be phrased in a different way that actually allows us to convey more information but using fewer characters. I would propose the following as an alternative:

Lenin's Bolshevik government initially shared power with the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, elected soviets, and a multi-party Constituent Assembly, although by 1918 it had centralized power in the new Communist Party.

I feel that this both reads more smoothly and gives the reader a greater amount of information while not lengthening the lede at all. It is also more chronologically accurate; the "Communist Party" was only declared in March 1918, after the Constituent Assembly had been disbanded. Does anyone have any objections to this change being made? Or are there any proposed alterations? Midnightblueowl (talk) 14:35, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

'shared power' sounds voluntary & cuddly. I don't know the facts, but is it the case that Lenin's bolshevik government's power was initially only partial, but then they took full control? If that's the case then maybe LBG..'initially had to share power...' might be more precise.
Gravuritas (talk) 14:59, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Lenin did not really want to enter a coalition government with the Left SRs or allow an election for the Constituent Assembly, but quite a few other Bolsheviks, including members of his government, pushed for it. Lenin ended up relenting but fairly quickly the Constituent Assembly was (forcibly) dismantled, the Left SRs left the coalition out of disgust at Brest-Litovsk, and the constitutional influence of the soviets was curbed. By that point, Russia had effectively become a one-party state. I also disagree that "shared power" is "cuddly" - would we say the same about the British Conservatives sharing power with the Liberal Democrats back in 2010-15? I think that "shared power" is fairly neutral wording, although would be open to hearing alternatives. "Had to share power" implies that there was some sort of direct force pressuring the government to enter a coalition and what not, but it's a bit more complex than that. Midnightblueowl (talk) 15:13, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, this is all correct, however the wording (by 1918 it had centralized power in the new Communist Party) is vague and misleading, just as many other parts of this page. The Socialist Revolutionary Party was forcefully removed from power, rebelled in July 1918 and was put on a show trial by Lenin, and the Russian Constituent Assembly was forcefully disbanded by Lenin earlier, already in January 1918. Let's call spade the spade. My very best wishes (talk) 19:17, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
"The Socialist Revolutionary Party was forcefully removed from power"? Do you mean the Left SRs? The Socialist Revolutionary Party itself was never really in power per se, unless you are referring to the fact that they were the biggest party in the Constituent Assembly... Anyway, all of this information is already documented in the article body. Incorporating it into the lede would just be unwieldy and would be undue weight. If you find the proposed wording too vague then what would you suggest as an alternative, or do you prefer the extant sentences? Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:31, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
I meant they were removed from the ruling coalition with Bolsheviks. Unfortunately, I have time only to make a couple of minor fixes here and there... My very best wishes (talk) 13:05, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps, instead of "shared power", we could go with "governed alongside"? That would of course mean switching "Lenin's Bolshevik government" to "Lenin's Bolshevik administration" or something like that to prevent repetition with "government... governed". Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:36, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
I think the first sentence is better (perhaps it could say "later renamed the CP"). The second sentence seems rushed and muddled, trying to convey too much information.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:09, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Surely the facts are that Lenin achieved partial power, then swiftly moved to take total control and eliminated all possible sources of opposition? Can those more familiar with the literature not find it in themselves to tell it like it was, instead of making it sound like the Labour/ Liberal pact of the 1970s coming to an end?
Gravuritas (talk) 09:55, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Not exactly. Lenin and the Bolsheviks secured power and declared a new government in the October Revolution, then invited the Left SRs to join them as junior partners in coalition and (against Lenin's personal wishes) called elections for a Constituent Assembly. They did not have to do either of these things, although there certainly were social pressures that made both moves desirable. Many Bolsheviks hoped that they would win, but they didn't (the Socialist Revolutionaries did) and so the Assembly was shut down. The Left SRs remained in coalition with the Bolsheviks until the latter brought an end to Russian involvement in WW1 - the Left SRs had wanted to continue the war until they could push into Central Europe in the hope of inspiring proletariat revolution in Germany and the like. The Left SRs packed their bags and left the coalition and later tried to launch a coup against the Bolsheviks (which proved unsuccessful). I really don't think it fair to say that myself and other editors are deliberately trying to not "tell it like it was". We're trying to keep the wording neutral and fairly reflect what the Reliable Sources say. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:45, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Don't forget the limitations imposed by the nature of the lead as a summary of the main text. Britmax (talk) 10:51, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
@MBO. So, according to your para above, the Bolsheviks did not share power with the SRs as far the decision to end Russian involvement in WW1. That suggests that your proposed amendment to the lede is less accurate than the original.
Gravuritas (talk) 01:19, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
The Bolsheviks never shared power with the SRs. They invited the Left SRs — a different group — to join them as junior partners in a coalition government. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:54, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

RfC regarding the parallel drawn between the cult of personality of Lenin, and that of George Washington[edit]

The article currently contains: "According to historian Nina Tumarkin, it represented the world's "most elaborate cult of a revolutionary leader" since that of George Washington in the United States,[1]" Should this stand, or should it be deleted? Gravuritas (talk) 00:57, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Tumarkin 1997, p. 2.

Survey[edit]

  • Delete - Why directly quote a single semi-notable historian on such an notable historical figure? NickCT (talk) 05:40, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
    • "Semi-notable historian"? You mean the foremost scholar on the cult of Lenin to publish in the English language? Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:42, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
      • Citation needed. NickCT (talk) 20:05, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep - as noted above, the comment seems entirely fair and I see no evidence that it is WP:FRINGE.  — Amakuru (talk) 10:09, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete- see threaded discussion Gravuritas (talk) 13:08, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete - The quote seems completely out of place given what follows (i.e., the description of the veneration of Lenin goes far beyond that of George Washington).Dbrote (talk) 14:29, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep - Tumarkin is the foremost scholar to have published on the cult of Lenin in the English language. This quote—from her monograph study of the Lenin cult—helps to demonstrate the sheer size and scale of the cult. The sentence has been present in the article for a long time and attracted no concern during its FAC. Moreover—as can be seen from Talk Page comments made by those editors seeking the removal of this sentence ([4] [5] [6])—their whole approach is rooted in a strong anti-Lenin and anti-Soviet POV and is contrary to Wikipedia's ethos of neutrality. If one reads through the entire Talk Page, one can see that this attempt at removal is part of a wider pattern of WP:Advocacy by a small number of editors seeking to remove anything from the article which could potentially cast Lenin in a non-hostile light. To this end they are even undermining Reliable Sources produced of academic specialists on Lenin's life and times, for instance by dismissing Tumarkin's work as "bollox" ([7]) or Soviet "propaganda" ([8]). Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:42, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep - per Midnightblueowl.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 20:21, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep — a valid inclusion in the article. I would not oppose rewording to take note of some of the objections raised.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:57, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong delete—Why should Lenin be compared to Washington? What could that possibly mean to a non-American? Even to an American? This would need a lot of context to even be meaningful, and even then is almost certainly WP:UNDUE and otherwise unencyclopaedic. Ditch this garbage. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 05:02, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
    • Well, it means something to me, and I'm not American.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:48, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
      • What did it mean to you, what should it mean to the average reader, and why? I'm Canadian and had no idea there was some "cult of personality" surrounding George Washington that could be compared to Lenin.—let alone one so overwhelming as to be become a historical milepost, skipping Napoleon, et al. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 08:51, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
        • I think the point is that in the U.S., a pervasive, long lasting, and elaborate cult of personality was established after Washington's death. Similarly, in the USSR, a pervasive, long lasting, and elaborate cult of personality was established after Lenin's death. The situation with Napoleon was a little different, given that he was removed from power and not really subject to a posthumous personality cult; moreover, Napoleon was not necessarily a "revolutionary" in the same way as Washington and Lenin - rather, he was someone who swept to power on the back of a revolution but had not really been a leading figure in bringing it about. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:44, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
          • Regarding Napoleon, as you don't think he was the subject of a posthumous personality cult, you've clearly never been to Les Invalides. Go and learn. And even if the 'non-revolutionary' bit were true of Napoleon, its inclusion in your comment is just another slither, MBO: there is no mention in the Tumarkin quote of her comment being restricted to revolutionaries, so why do you think you are entitled to introduce this as some extra criterion to be included in the personnel selection? Gravuritas (talk) 13:03, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
            • "there is no mention in the Tumarkin quote of her comment being restricted to revolutionaries" - erm, yes there is. Tumarkin says that Lenin's was the "most elaborate cult of a revolutionary leader" since that of George Washington. The word "revolutionary" is pretty prominent there. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:24, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
              • Oh bother. On this point, you are right, I am wrong, and I apologise for the 'slither' assertion. Gravuritas (talk) 13:17, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
            • There's no indication in the George Washington article that there was a "cult of a revolutionary leader" behind him. Naming things after people is hardly a "cult", and the position of Washington in American history is hardly comparable to the position of Lenin in the USSR. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:11, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Modify: If "the point is that in the U.S., a pervasive, long lasting, and elaborate cult of personality was established after Washington's death. Similarly, in the USSR, a pervasive, long lasting, and elaborate cult of personality was established after Lenin's death", the relevant part is only the second half. So just say that part, with this source, and without the misleading and non sequitur comparison to Washington.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:39, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Modify per SMcCandlish or delete, this comparison is unnecessary and begs more questions than it answers since G Washington is not normally thought of as a 'benchmark' political-cult-figure (even in the USA?). Maybe GW should be, but the article is about V I Lenin and the section is about the "pervasive, long lasting, and elaborate cult of personality" which surrounded him. How does this comparison help? Pincrete (talk) 16:43, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Question: can this now be wrapped up in whatever form WP uses? Gravuritas (talk) 15:16, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

    • sorry to all if my change to the article was premature: having asked for a wrap-up, I thought the next contribution (from L3X1) WAS the wrap-up. So what does happen to wrap this up?
    • Gravuritas (talk) 13:19, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Gravuritas RfCs can be closed using the {{atop}} {{abot}} templates. As for whether it should be closed, rough counting brings up 5keep 4 delete 3 modify, which seems to indicate a consensus for changing the sentence is some way. Personally, I don't think the matter is quite clear enough, so would recommend waiting a bit longer, or posting at the CLosure noticeboard. d.g. L3X1 (distænt write) )evidence( 14:03, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Summoned by bot Keep in principle, because I see no evidence that this statement is from a fringe source, or that it constitutes undue weight. Personally, I'd modify it a little bit: I'd say that there was a huge Lenin cult, and say that in Wikipedia's voice, because it's uncontroversial; and then say that it has invited comparisons, such as this historian making the comparison to Washington. But that's a relatively minor point. Vanamonde (talk) 09:08, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep per Midnightblueowl. Sourcing by an academic who is the expert on this topic seems like it should probably be included. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:57, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep since it is attributed to what appears to be a well respected, Harvard-educated historian. 23 editor (talk) 12:08, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep per 23 editor. I don't see a good reason to delete it. The book clearly meets WP:RS, and if the quote can indeed be found in the book (I have not checked) then that should be good enough. Still, SMcCandish's proposed modification is another way of going about it since it keeps all the most important aspects of the text. If it solves the dispute I'd suggest going with that. Banedon (talk) 09:36, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

  • On the face of it, the comparison is completely numpty- Lenin's cult of personality started under him in murderous revolutionary conditions and continued and was taken further under Stalin. Can you imagine the fate of a local leader in Nowheresville, Siberia in 1938 if he tried to decide that the time wasn't right for another statue of Lenin to be erected? He would have died quickly, if he was lucky. That clearly did not apply in George Washington's case. Now, in fairness to Tumarkin she may be making a more subtle, nuanced point in her book, but this article is no place to go into that, and the prima facie statement just looks like naïve bollox. It can only distract from the Lenin article, as well as being offensive to some people.

Gravuritas (talk) 13:07, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

  • First, Wikipedia isn't supposed to tiptoe around issues so as not to cause offense to certain groups. It is supposed to relay, in a neutral manner, the information provided in Reliable Sources. That is what this FA-rated article, through the use of the Tumarkin quote, does. Neither Tumarkin nor the article is saying that Lenin's cult of personality was totally akin to Washington's, and certainly not that Lenin himself was totally akin to Washington. There were differences between these individuals, the contexts in which they lived, and their respective personality cults. At the same time there were many similarities between the two cults; both were state-sponsored, both featured cities and regions being named after the deceased leader, and both included the depiction of the leader's face on coinage and postage stamps. Moreover, what Tumarkin is saying with her quote is that Lenin's cult was the largest cult of a revolutionary leader since Washington's - effectively that it was the largest that the world had seen in over a century. In doing so she is emphasising how significant in size and scale it was. That is important information for the reader of this article to know. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:49, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • The quote states that the cult was less elaborate than Washington's. But that's at odds with the rest of the paragraph. There certainly aren't busts or statutes of George Washington in nearly every American village. Either her statement is wrong or the implication of the rest of the paragraph is wrong. Why not rephrase it to avoid the direct comparison to George Washington? Your language that it "was the largest that the world had seen in over a century" seems like a fair paraphrase that avoids the issue. Dbrote (talk) 20:39, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • That would be an acceptable compromise, in my view, but I also think it unnecessary. I think that the current wording is fine and does not need to be changed. I also have to agree with Jack Upland's earlier observation that the calls for the removal of this passage are rooted in an attempt by a small group of editors to eliminate any passage in this article that could potentially be read as casting Lenin in a non-hostile light. More broadly, there is a move to push this Featured Article in a much more openly anti-Lenin direction, and I see the current proposed removal as part of that. Comments like this and this just make that attitude crystal clear, in my opinion. Midnightblueowl (talk) 20:50, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
  • It's certainly possible that there's a concerted effort to do that. I don't really have a dog in that fight though (and I'm certainly not enough of a Lenin expert to know if the article as a whole's POV is too far to one side or another). But I'd just suggest that even if that is the case, it's not impossible for them to occasionally have meritorious ideas. I'd suggest that this is one of them. The current phrasing is jarring because the following sentences appear to conflict with it. I think the reading experience would be improved by altering the phrase and I don't think the compromise language (or something similar) reduces the amount or quality of information conveyed. Dbrote (talk) 00:56, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
"The quote states that the cult was less elaborate than Washington's". No, it doesn't. Saying that "it's the most elaborate cult since Washington's" makes no comment on the size of Washington's cult, only that Lenin's is the largest since, which could be any size. Britmax (talk) 20:59, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
You're right, it doesn't state it directly. But it's clearly implied and that's the most natural reading. Claiming that it's not implied that Washington's was more elaborate is disingenuous. Dbrote (talk) 00:56, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't want any tiptoeing in WP- quite the contrary. I would like due respect paid to those who were killed by Lenin's government, so the mealy-mouthed elements of this article should go. When somebody suggests that 'reunited' is not an appropriate word for those countries conquered by Lenin, that's not anti-Lenin. When I suggest that Lenin's imperialist actions are far more important than his anti-imperialist speeches, that's not anti-Lenin. MBO and JU have consistently fought against these sort of changes being made, in the apparent belief that triangulation between the facts and some PR spin is a NPOV. When I make an edit to clarify that only one cite asserts that Lenin was demonized, that's following the sources, it's not being anti-Lenin. When I make an edit to show that various countries that achieved their independence around 1920 did so despite armed attempts to squash them by Lenin, that's not anti-Lenin. (The previous wording, in this -oh-so-wonderful FA article, defended by MBO, suggested that it was by Lenin's graciousness that they achieved independence.) When I say that Lenin's cult differed from Washington's in that the population of the USA was not cowed by terror into going along with the personality cult, that's not anti-Lenin. There is indeed a pattern here, and its not an anti-Lenin pattern by me and others, it's let's-not-use-a-nasty-word-for-a-nasty-act by MBO. There's the tiptoeing, and there's the bias.
Gravuritas (talk) 22:12, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
There are two reasons why I believe that there is a group of two or three editors pushing a particular POV here. First, it's the (often emotional and hyperbolic) use of language on the Talk Pages and edit summaries that consistently reflects a passionate anti-Lenin and anti-Stalin perspective: "I admit, I'm anti-Lrenin, like I'm anti-Stalin and anti-Hitler" ([9]); "People, stop your dreams about good Lenin" ([10]); "I'm against mass crimes, slave work, ethnic cleansing, censorship, terror. You call it anti-Soviet. Shall I understand that you support the crimes? Pleae name one acceptable result of Lenin's life. Soviet Union, kolkhoses, censorship, world revolution - everything caused terrible sufferings" ([11]); "Which part of Soviet was Socialist - mass executions, starvation, rapes, atomic weapons?" ([12]); "Anyone denying that... [Lenin's government was] a totalitarian dictatorship... is plainly wrong" ([13]); "Go and read some more about the period and about Stalin's mass-murdering proclivities, then come back and use this talk page to apologise to any representatives of his victims, O ignoramus." ([14]); "can MBO & JU really not see how offensive that is to the memory of Lenin's victims?" ([15]); "It doesn't matter whether he killed people 'for fun' or to while away those long boring afternoons, the fact is that he did so on an (almost) unprecedented scale. Which makes you, as a denier of that fact, scum" ([16]); "Maybe an apology from you to Stalin's millions of victims would be a good idea, for defending the scum who deny their existence" ([17]) etc. The rather uncivil language not withstanding, many of these are valid opinions for anyone to hold, and no-one is criticising these editors for being anti-Lenin or anti-Soviet. However, the emotional intensity and passion of their views is clearly influencing the manner in which these editors want to reform the article (an article which, it needs to be stressed, has already been repeatedly scrutinised for bias at GAN, PR, and FAC).
Second, it's the pattern of edits and suggested edits which all lean in a certain direction: one which undermines anything potentially 'good' about Lenin and over-emphasises anything 'bad'. Calling for the removal of a sentence mentioning George Washington lest it paints Lenin in a positive light. Trying to change a statement that Lenin's government were involved in the Polish-Soviet War to one that they "lost" it ([18]). Claiming that the article needs more information on press censorship in Lenin's Russia ([19]). Stating that Christopher Hill, an academic historian who was sympathetic to Lenin, should not be referred to as a historian in the article ([20]), or that the pro-Lenin views of Marxist-Leninists do not need to be mentioned ([21]); these acts clearly seek to delegitimise or make invisible those who held pro-Lenin views. Dismissing the views of academic specialists in Russian history as "bollox" ([22]) or "obviously untrue" ([23]) if they happen to say something deemed insufficiently hostile towards Lenin. This is coupled with some claims of dubious accuracy on the Talk Page, for instance the statement that it is "widely held" that Lenin was responsible for "many millions of deaths" ([24]) when the highest estimates regarding the Red Terror death toll place it just above 100,000 (a horrific number in itself), or that Lenin "hated peasants" ([25]) when no such claim is made in a reliable source. The pattern is clear. Conversely, not one of the edits or proposed edits removes anything from the article that might be construed as painting Lenin in a 'bad' light. It's all one sided.
Now, I am not unsympathetic to the personal view of these editors; I regard Lenin as an intolerant zealot whose regime brought significant misery to many and cast a very dark shadow over the 20th century. But I also don't think that Wikipedia should push this perspective on its readership. We don't have to editorialise and load the article with anti-Lenin bias. That is why I have opposed many of the proposed edits - not all, it should be noted. When a concern was raised that the article over-emphasised Lenin's words regarding imperialism over his actions then I made some properly referenced additions to the article to correct that imbalance (at the same time I expressed concern that these editors were trying to over-emphasize the USSR's actions in comparison to Lenin's words). Gravuritas and others have raised some pertinent concerns but at the same time I do not think we can escape the fact that there is a level of POV pushing in evidence. Midnightblueowl (talk) 23:57, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
It's a pity you have to use such propagandistic devices. Much of what you quote above is the work of another editor, who so far has not involved himself in this RfC, so what have his comments to do with this thread, or me? And why misstate the story so much? "When a concern was raised" you "made some properly referenced additions"? That's not my recollection- I recall most of our interactions being you blocking, filibustering, and smokescreening until either the evidence and argument on the Talk page was so overwhelming that even you couldn't ignore it, or I gave up because a minor change I was trying to make was not worth all,the hassle. You even suggested I call for an RfC over one referenced word I would have liked to insert- 'unexpected', for goodness sake. In that case, I am still unsure as to how you can interpret that as anti-Lenin. To repeat, my attempted edits have not been anti-Lenin, they have been mainly correcting pro-Lenin errors or oversights in the article, which is not the same at all. Your pride in what seems to be, in considerable part, your own work, is blinding you to these errors.
Gravuritas (talk) 00:35, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I cite both Xx236 and your own edits because you have both appeared on this Talk Page in the past month making a number of suggestions for alterations, all of which are presented as an attempt to correct what you regard as pro-Lenin bias that no-one picked up on during GAN, PR, and FAC. In my view, many of these proposed edits actually seek to replace neutral wording and information with a distinctly anti-Lenin angle (but which the pair of you sincerely regard as neutral). This present RfC cannot be divorced from that wider context. Midnightblueowl (talk) 00:45, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
As for the "unexpected" comment, I did not claim that that was anti-Lenin; I just thought it unnecessary and imprecise, as I stated at the time. Midnightblueowl (talk) 00:45, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I also disagree with the statement that I have been "blocking, filibustering, and smokescreening" your attempted changes, and I am sorry if that is the impression that I have given. However I have maintained that—because this is an FA-rated article—any changes that are (in any way) controversial need to be discussed here at the Talk Page first and given proper scrutiny. That is why I have been critical of many proposed changes and strongly questioned the reasons for such changes, even when I have ultimately made changes in the article body based upon them. I do not really think it fair to characterise my scrutiny as "blocking, filibustering, and smokescreening". Midnightblueowl (talk) 00:57, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
1. On the contrary, the present RfC absolutely needs to be divorced from your wider blather: it stands or falls on its own merits and demerits. Otherwise, You're asking previously uninvolved editors to get involved in a beauty contest between the two of us (plus other random contestants you wish to introduce), concerning the whole range of edits on this page, which is a ludicrous waste of their time.
2. You are incorrect. You claim above that all my edits 'lean in a certain [anti-Lenin] direction', and the 'unexpected' edit shows that to be untrue.
3. On the Davies-sourced edits, blocking etc is precisely what you did, for more than a month, and then you eventually made the edits which I had been trying to make. I don't mind who makes the edits, though clearly you do- I just don't like the amount of effort you're demanding of me to get perfectly reasonable edits into the article. Shall I mention the refs I introduced that you deleted because I had only put in the title, editor and page, and omitted the section author? I think filibustering is a fairly polite term for your actions.
Gravuritas (talk) 01:35, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Clearly there has been a campaign over the past month to incrementally turn this article into an anti-Lenin diatribe with a special focus on Poland, a campaign in which personal attacks and soapboxing form a fundamental strategy. Clearly this RfC is part of this campaign. I'd be inclined to oppose any of those incremental changes because I think the agenda is wholly destructive of this article.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:39, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - Not to rant, but; this entire debate is really, really dumb. With almost any important historical subject or event there are going to be half a dozen historians or scholars who've produced some random narrative about the subject. Do the "supporters" here think it's appropriate to fill articles up with quotations like; "Historian X thinks subject Q was a naughty blighter" or "Historian Y thinks subject R was a dandy"? There are two obvious issues with doing this kind of thing. 1) It's essay-ish, and not something that's usually done in professional encyclopedic literature. 2) Where does it end? Are we meant to quote every random scholar who happens to have an opinion on a thing? We could fill an article this fluff. As a general rule, we really ought to avoid random narrative in articles like this. NickCT (talk) 18:01, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
    • So the RfC was whether or not to delete one particular random comment. Your comment sounds like a delete, but you haven't said so.
    • Gravuritas (talk) 19:04, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
      • @Gravuritas: - I already supported deleting. I guess I'm trying to say that I see this piece of "random" narrative as being emblematic of a larger stylistic problem. We really need a NOTNARRATIVE policy or guideline somewhere, to specifically discourage this kind of thing. NickCT (talk) 14:14, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
        • Yes, sorry didn't spot the early 'delete'. Agree that wood and trees need to be distinguished.
        • Gravuritas (talk) 16:54, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: There seem to be two main objections to this text: (1) the historian is not notable, (2) the comparison to George Washington. An easy compromise would be to leave them out. Don't mention Tumarkin in the text; just cite her to the effect that Lenin's cult was one of the greatest in world history...--Jack Upland (talk) 16:15, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
    • How's this: "In the Soviet Union, a cult of personality devoted to Lenin began to develop during his lifetime, but was only fully established after his death. It was one of the world's most elaborate personality cults of a revolutionary leader, and has been repeatedly described as "quasi-religious" in nature."

Gravuritas (talk) 17:13, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

      • I don't think we need the bit about "quasi-religious". A "cult" is religious or quasi-religious by definition.--Jack Upland (talk) 20:09, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
  • We have five reliable sources describing the personality cult as "quasi-religious". While I would agree with you that personality cults are virtually all quasi-religious by definition, I think that the fact that so many RS authors use this term would strongly suggest that we should too. Midnightblueowl (talk) 14:09, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
  • For what it's worth, I still think that the comparison with Washington is useful for the reader, but at the same time I find Gravuritas' suggestion to be perfectly okay. If it does become clear that there is a consensus to remove the Tumarkin/Washington quote at the RfC, then I would endorse Gravuritas' suggestion as its replacement. Midnightblueowl (talk) 14:12, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I think it's pretty obvious that people object to the comparison with Washington because they think he was good and Lenin was bad. Also, they simply don't see the honouring of Washington as a "personality cult", and in fact it's so normalised that it's invisible. See the assertions above that there weren't many monuments to Washington. They should look at this: List of memorials to George Washington. You could also look at the "personality cult" of Queen Victoria (though she wasn't a revolutionary). The cult of Lenin wasn't really out of place in its era, but it jarred with Communist principles. The term "personality cult" (or "cult of the personality") was coined by Khrushchev in his Secret Speech, in which he contrasted Stalin's emphasis on the exceptional individual with the Marxist theory of class struggle. Therefore it probably isn't appropriate outside that context, even though non-Marxists have adopted Khrushchev's critique of Stalin, just as they adopted Trotsky's.--Jack Upland (talk) 21:02, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

Democracy and the national question - the mixture[edit]

The section contains a mixture of Lenin's statements and government actions from different periods. The opinions should be separted from actions and ordered. Xx236 (talk) 11:03, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Millions is not sourced[edit]

https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/explorefurther/digital/russia/famine/

The numbers are so low thanks to the American Relief Administration, Russian Famine Relief Act.

Xx236 (talk) 06:38, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

This relates to a sentence in the lead — "A controversial and highly divisive individual, Lenin is viewed by Marxist-Leninists as a champion of socialism and the working class, while critics on both the left and right see him as the founder of a totalitarian dictatorship responsible for numerous deaths and repressions." — which I agree could be improved. However, substituting "millions" for "numerous" doesn't help. That source you cite describes Lenin's government as only one factor in the famine, and in the article here we say that the victims of the Red Terror were less than a million. Anyway, it's problematic to lump deaths from famine, deaths from execution etc together. Of course, "deaths" is qualified by "and repressions" which is an odd expression that makes the claim quite nebulous — millions of repressions? This has already been discussed — this month! — and I agree with Midnightblueowl that "mass human rights abuses" is better, so I will change it back.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:45, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Millions of dead people described as "mass human rights abuses". Some people believe that anti-smoking laws abuse their human rights. Xx236 (talk) 07:52, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
it's problematic to lump deaths from famine, deaths from execution etc together. - One of the methods is a comparison of pre-x and post-x population data (where x is a war, Lenin's government, Nazism). You may share your opinion with the Holocaust historians who lump deths from famines in ghettoes, from Zyklon B, mass shootings, suicides. Xx236 (talk) 08:07, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/RM1.LENIN.FAM.VIC2.HTM Rudi Rummel was a professor.Xx236 (talk) 08:10, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
The totalitarian dictatorship founded by by Lenin did not cease with his death. So whether or not the victims of the Red Terror were less than a million is irrelevant. A change to to 'repressions and millions of deaths' covers the facts. 'Human rights abuses' is mealy-mouthed.
Gravuritas (talk) 08:22, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
The lead of an article also has to cover those who did not die, but suffered, in few words. Once again an editor is trying to make the lead do the job of the detailed sections in the article. And are you two edit warring during a continuing discussion? Britmax (talk) 08:37, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
This is getting into alternative history scenarios. If Lenin had lived longer, he might have removed Stalin. If Lenin had died before 1917, World War One might have continued longer and claimed more lives. If the USSR did not exist, Hitler might have won, and the genocide might have been extended beyond anything we could imagine. No, I think we have to deal with what Lenin did during his life. Of course, we can talk about his legacy, but we shouldn't lump together what he did with what came after. And, yes, we need to talk about deaths he was responsible for, not deaths that occurred when he was in government, or after he died!!!--Jack Upland (talk) 08:44, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
We know that Lenin created a totalitarian system, led by a team. No member of the team was obsessed by ideas of freedom and democracy. Trotsky declared ideas similar to Stalin.
Stalin exterminated Red Army officers so the Army was ineffective during the Winter War. Nazi Germany planned the war on the basis of Winter War knowledge.
Stalin created a long Soviet-German border. The best way to defend the SU in 1939 was to support Poland.
Stalin terrorized Soviet peasants. Their sons refused to fight in 1941. The idea that Russia needed Stalin to survive is racist.Xx236 (talk) 12:06, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
@JU. The sentence in question needs reading with some precision. 'founded by' is key here. If the words were 'led by', then the consequences should be restricted to his lifetime, or possibly even cut short somewhat because of his illness. If the 'founded by' words stand, then the consequences of Stalin's rule need to be included. I don't feel strongly which of the two are included in the lede, but JU's current stance: including the words 'founded by' and then curtailing the consequences to Lenin's lifetime, is untenable.
Gravuritas (talk) 09:53, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
To make the lede a little clearer we could flip the sentence structure: rather than "as the founder of a totalitarian dictatorship responsible for numerous deaths and repressions" we could have "as responsible for mass human rights abuses and as the founder of a totalitarian dictatorship". That might clarify things a little. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:40, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
"Mass human rights abuses" see WP:EUPHEMISM. "Do not assume that plain language is inappropriate"
Gravuritas (talk) 12:56, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I just think that "mass human rights abuses" covers more ground than "repressions" or "killings/deaths". Again, I'm open to a change but have yet to see any suggestions that don't bring their own problems. Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:21, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
"Crimes against humanity" might also be an option. Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:22, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
CaH preferable to MHA, imho
Gravuritas (talk) 17:03, 30 May 2017 (UTC)


This is a recurrent topic in Communist leader biographies. Some users come back again and again to push their fantastic million death figures in the lead, to show the world how bad communism is. If we check Britannica article for Lenin, we don't see anything remotely similar. I neither see death figures by famine in Tsar biographies, Russia had other famines before revolution. --emijrp (talk) 16:55, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

Well, Hagger seems a bit fringe.[27]--Jack Upland (talk) 00:27, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
It is entirely misleading, that book states that Lenin killed 30 million people and Stalin 40 million. If you check Demographics of the Soviet Union#Population, you will understand a few things:
  • There is a gap (-30 million) from Russian Empire in 1911 (167 millions) to Russian SFSR in 1920 (137 millions) because they lost territories with 30 million inhabitants.
  • There is a gap (-26 million) from 1941 to 1946 because the well known 20-30 million casualties that Soviet Union suffered in World War II.
When anti-communist "researchers" come with their fantastic figures, it is easy to disprove them checking the demographic figures. emijrp (talk) 08:07, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
From the same article, the natural population increase was at least 2M/ yr. So your first 9-year 'gap' means the population 'missing' is 18M. That's alright then.
Gravuritas (talk) 08:37, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
The increase wasn't 2M in wartime but lower, you should remember that WWI happened between 1911 and 1920 (1914-1918) and many lives were lost because that. Oh, and the 1921-22 famine started after 1920, and from 1920 to 1926 there is a growth of 11 million people. That disproves the fantastic death figures that "researches" give to the 1921-22 famine. emijrp (talk) 08:47, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
The 11M difference you refer to in your link is between the Russian SFSR in 1920 and the Soviet Union in 1926, (dja think they might cover different areas?) so all you've 'disproved' is any claim you have to understand statistics. I'd stick to easier concepts like "the 1921-22 famine started after 1920" if I were you.
Gravuritas (talk) 10:21, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Of course I know. Do you know how many inhabitants were incorporated from 1920 to 1926? Did you know that 7-12 million people died during the Russian Civil War (1917-1922)? Despite all that, population increased in 11 million. Famine deaths are grossly exaggerated and they were caused by droughts and war. Not by Lenin, which is the point of this thread. --emijrp (talk) 12:41, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
  • So, you are telling that 7-12 million people died during the Russian Civil War. OK. More than 5 millions died during Russian famine of 1921–22. And so on, and so on. However, how many people were born during this time is completely irrelevant. But here is the bottom line: we do not count any numbers ourselves (that would be WP:OR), we only quote numbers provided by RS. If you do not like the numbers by Hagger, that's fine. Please find any other numbers about it in the literature. I only said there is nothing "fantastic" about it; this is just a common place. My very best wishes (talk) 18:28, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Literature is plenty of other numbers for Russian famines and other events. I just used Demographics figures to disprove the grossly exaggerated death figures. But some users keep pushing the minimum deaths to sensationalist levels. emijrp (talk) 08:20, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Not only that. Russian famine deaths can't be a crime against humanity because 1) It wasn't deliberated 2) It wasn't caused by Lenin, but by drougths and war. emijrp (talk) 08:20, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
The Russian famine of 1921–22 is widely known to be caused by the policy of War Communism and prodrazvyorstka (hence the Bolshevik government was responsible), although droughts also contributed to the hunger. A major difference with Holodomor was that Soviet government publicized this famine and accepted help from American Relief Administration. My very best wishes (talk) 00:46, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Nicholas Hagger is a prolific, yet obscure and apparently fringe author. The article was deleted in 2010s, recreated via DR, then deleted at the 2nd AfD. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:58, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Who said he is fringe author? You? But that was just a random ref to a book. Here is another one [28]. Author tells Lenin "was responsible for the deaths of nine millions Russians". This is just a common place. Only numbers are different: one should make a range. My very best wishes (talk) 05:09, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Hagger is a fringe author, specialising in conspiracy theories as he says himself.[29] He has written prolifically but not about Lenin. Yes, that was a "just a random ref". And you've just produced another one from a book prophesying the Apocalypse, which again is not about Lenin. These "random refs" do not help. The reason you keep hitting the fringe is that this claim is not very common. (But, sure, I've seen claims that Hoxha killed "millions" of Albanians, even though there aren't that many Albanians.) What we need is the claim from a key historian of Lenin or (maybe) a key critic. No more "random refs", thanks!--Jack Upland (talk) 06:45, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

mass human rights abuses[edit]

Please define the fuzzy phrase. Xx236 (talk) 07:11, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

It means human rights abuses commited on a widespread scale. In this case it is fuzzy as the lead is a summary, not a precise description. Britmax (talk) 07:29, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
not mentioned in the body of the article.Xx236 (talk) 07:14, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
As the lead is not a precise description, it is a summary of the information in the body of the article, where it is sourced. To prevent information that is not sourced sneaking through, any information in the lead should be reflected at depth in the body of the article and sourced there. If it is not in the body it should not be summarised in the lead. Britmax (talk) 07:29, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Is Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity reliable?Xx236 (talk) 07:21, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
&@Finnusertop 'Crimes against humanity' is anachronistic for the period, but 'mass human rights abuses' is not? Larf. For goodness sake, WP editors, can we not just say 'deaths and suffering'.
Gravuritas (talk) 14:27, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
No, because we are covering a wider range than that, including political marginalisation. This is still the lead and details of particular cases belong in the text where they can be cited. Then we can cite to what degree the policies of Lenin (the title of the article, remember?) is responsible for those. Britmax (talk) 15:04, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

In my opinion, in order for this section to avoid anachronisms and be neutral and accurate, I'd say the best way to put it would be "critics on both the left and right see him as the founder of an authoritarian regime responsible for political repression and mass killings".--C.J. Griffin (talk) 15:10, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

Second half seems OK, but have you got any RS denying it? If not, then how is the "critics...see him" clause justified?
Gravuritas (talk) 15:28, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Sources are required support the idea that it happened, not to prove a negative. Britmax (talk) 15:52, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
It already states that, Gravuritas. I borrowed that from the article as it currently exists. The bolded part is what I added. Historian Stephen Wheatcroft states the following, which is where I got the idea from regarding the last part of the sentence above: "The events we are discussing are sometimes referred to as 'the terror', 'the purges', repression, 'the holocaust', genocide and mass killings. The most neutral of these terms are repression and mass killings." [source, p. 1320]--C.J. Griffin (talk) 15:57, 1 June 2017 (UTC)


@C.J. Griffin . Possibly I explained my comment badly. I am not disputing that critics criticized him, and I respect your suggestion of 'repression and mass killings' as a suitable choice ot terms which are a) true and b) broad enough to cover the significant events. However, whether in the lede or the article body, if it is stated that "critics...see him..." as X, then there is an implication that others don't see him as X. I have read the article and, unless I am missing something, there appears to be no RS that denies that he was the "founder of a...regime...responsible for .....mass killings". Therefore your clause including "critics" has an untrue implication. This implication could be avoided if we simply said "He was the founder...[the rest of your suggestion]".
Gravuritas (talk) 17:29, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
But what you speak of is not at issue here; what is at issue is the last part of the sentence of the lede. If anything, it should perhaps be similar to the solution regarding the same issue with the Stalin article a little while back, saying something to the effect that "critics emphasize his role as founder of an authoritarian regime responsible for political repression and mass killings".--C.J. Griffin (talk) 17:56, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not clear what you are saying. There's an edict somewhere that only half a sentence can be considered?
Gravuritas (talk) 18:58, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I echo C.J. here that "critics emphasise" might be a good option to go with here. As Gravuritas points out, the current wording could be read to imply that only Lenin's critics regard him as a totalitarian dictator, which is misleading. At the same time, I do want to avoid an unequivocal "Lenin was a totalitarian dictator" because there are those who certainly dispute that characterisation, however (comparatively) marginal they may be. Midnightblueowl (talk) 21:16, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
@MBO you've slightly misstated my point. I understand from the body of the article that there are some who dispute that Lenin was a totalitarian dictator, but that's not the point in question, and it's not an answer to the question I asked. Does anyone not WP:FRINGE claim that Lenin was not the founder of an authoritarian regime?
Gravuritas (talk) 22:03, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
You may have to iron out that double negative question so people know what they are answering. Britmax (talk) 22:45, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
OK. Does any WP:RS claim that Lenin was not the founder of an authoritarian regime?
Gravuritas (talk) 02:45, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, we are talking about the wording "totalitarian dictatorship" rather than "authoritarian", just to keep our terminology clear (I know there are some political scientists that draw a distinction between totalitarianism and authoritarianism). I am not personally aware of any RS that claim that Lenin was not totalitarian, however the article does cite the fact that certain Marxist historians, like Christopher Hill, did not consider Lenin's regime to be a dictatorship. Now, granted they did not have access to all of the information about Lenin and his regime that has appeared since the early 1990s, but I do not think it is easy to dismiss these individuals as WP:Fringe. After all, Hill was a respected historian, not some wackjob on an internet forum or anything like that. Midnightblueowl (talk) 22:59, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
We also have to factor in that virtually all of the sources used here are written by Westerners who have written in the English language. I'm not a Marxist, but—to play devil's advocate for a moment—many Marxists would probably label these as "bourgeois historians" whose attitude is influenced by their own liberalism or conservatism. Would a Chinese Marxist biographer of Lenin claim that Lenin's regime was a dictatorship, for example? I'm not endorsing these sort of views, but I do think that we need to tread carefully here. Midnightblueowl (talk) 23:04, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
No, MBO. I have been referring to Griffin's suggestion of 'founder of an authoritarian regime', not your wording of 'totalitarian dictatorship', so your first para fails as a counter. Your second para fails for the same reason, and also because speculation about what RS you think might exist somewhere is of no significance. So, to spell it out, does anyone have any RS against: "He was the founder of an authoritarian regime responsible for political repression and mass killings".
Gravuritas (talk) 02:57, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
I understand where this debate is coming from, but it seems to be going away from the point. The point was to have a sentence that says Marxist-Leninists (or supporters) think X, but critics think Y. Anything attempt to destroy the balance destroys the point of the sentence, and anything that says or implies that the critics are right destroys that balance. Anything that says that it's simply a matter of emphasis is wrong, and also destroys the balance. There is simply not point in saying: supporters feebly cling to fading icons of a "good Lenin", while critics have been vindicated by triumphant advance of reliable sources. Either you acknowledge differences of opinion or you don't. Perhaps the solution is to remove the sentence.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:05, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
With regard to sources, there are certainly still supporters of Lenin such as Tariq Ali[30], Slavoj Žižek [31], Lars T Lih [32] who have recently published books. They are certainly "reliable sources" to what some supporters say, which is all that is required for the purpose of this sentence.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:11, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
JU's 'point' is not fulfilled by the current sentence. If you want balance in the sentence, then you can choose a sentence which contrasts a contentious support with a contentious criticism- but in that case the critics half of the sentence would have to harsher than the current version. At the moment you have the contentious view of supporters contrasted with a false 'critical' view- false because the view attributed to critics is just the plain fact. The punches are being pulled. Let's face it, there are two views of Lenin. One is that he was a ruthless bastard responsible for a lot of deaths and suffering. The other is that he was a ruthless bastard responsible for a lot of deaths and suffering, who needed to do it to overthrow an oppressive regime. Going back to the sentence I suggested above, none of your cites contradict it in any way. So your point is only that he has some supporters. So what?
Gravuritas (talk) 08:55, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, I disagree. I have read the spiels of supporters of Lenin over decades but I have never heard any of them say "he was a ruthless bastard responsible for a lot of deaths and suffering, who needed to do it to overthrow an oppressive regime". Do you have a source that says that they do??? As I said, there is no point in distorting what Lenin supporters actually say. I agree that to balance the sentence each side should be contentious, but is saying that he was a champion of socialism really contentious? Many opponents emphasise that he was champion of socialism, and condemn both him and socialism as a result. It would be better to say that he was seen as a champion of liberation: see people like Taslima Nasrin[33]. But I think logic left on a train a long time ago. And I'm not sure the train was stopping at the Finland station.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:23, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Personal attacks[edit]

I think we can close this now, as it's not about the content of the article. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:25, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Gravituras, can you please stop the personal attacks on Midnightblueowl on this page? You have repeatedly made false accusations. While you apologise when each one is exposed, you go on to make another one, again and again. You have repeatedly accused her of "slithering" as if she is reptilian, merely because she is explaining her position as an editor. You have repeatedly supported accusations that she is some kind of Communist agent though that is patently untrue and (in my opinion) ridiculous. You have repeatedly addressed her with disrespectful terms like "sunshine" and "sport". I accept that you have your own opinion about Lenin, which differs from hers, but that is no reason to personally target her. Please do not continue these personal attacks as they are not conducive to the improvement of the page.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:54, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

I have been mistaken twice recently. MBO was kind enough to patiently explain my error on one of these occasions, and I was sorry for the error and particularly apologised for a totally inappropriate use of slither. I am happy to repeat that apology. However, it is unfortunately not uncommon on Talk pages for editors to misquote or misrepresent the words of their opponents. They then waste everybody's time attacking a target that doesn't exist. That's a strawman error of rhetoric, and you, JU, for instance, have performed this during our discussions. When it appears unintentional, I call for more precision or words to that effect. When it appears less accidental, particularly if repeated, I have called it a slither. Since my recent errors, I am trying to be more careful not to use it inappropriately. What would you like me to call it? Perhaps better still, you could join me in pointing out, or agreeing when I point out, our fellow editors' frequent use of the strawman error. A good example is the thread above where I have repeatedly called for RS for a specific issue, and all I've got is strawmen and smokescreens.
Er, btw neither 'sunshine' nor 'sport' is pejorative or disrespectful in my vocab.
Gravuritas (talk) 13:00, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
I would definitely avoid the likes of "slither", "sunshine" and "sport" in future, Gravuritas. Although these terms clearly have demeaning connotations, I have mostly ignored them and only raised concern when you have used more obviously derogatory language (calling someone an "ignoramus" or "scum", for example). Remember WP:Civility - it's a key pillar of Wikipedia and has to be adhered to. Civility is not something you can opt-in and opt-out of. If you want to edit Wikipedia, you are expected to abide by it. This has been pointed out to you on many previous occasions and you were already given a warning about it at ANI only last year. By all means say when you disagree with my argument or that of anyone else, but always stick to criticising the argument. Only comment on the editor themselves when you think that they have engaged in an actual policy violation (advocacy, disruptive editing, sock puppetry etc), and even then avoid emotive language. Even if you don't think that some of your more colourful language is uncivil, many others will clearly interpret it as such. Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:14, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Lecturette on civility would go down better if you had not been so free from the word go with assertions of POV-pushing; so eager to delete my citations for non-reasons; so obstructive generally; or so keen to construct strawmen. No problem with striking you off my sunshine and sport lists- those really were not intended unpleasantly.
Gravuritas (talk) 15:52, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
If you can't accept a lecturette about civility, how about accuracy? If you are going to claim that another editor said something, you could at least check. You have falsely accused Midnightblueowl multiple times (and apologised) and me twice (and not apologised). It's not about the apologies, or lack of them; it's about getting your facts straight before you launch into a diatribe. It's not that hard. I also don't think there's any place on Earth where saying "sunshine" and "sport" in this kind of context is not unpleasant. It's not about specific words or misguided allegations; it's about the whole attitude behind them, and the presumption that this should be interpreted as a genuine attempt to improvement the article. Midnightblueowl might be gracious enough to accept your apologies, but I don't.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:13, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
This is supposed to be about VI, not you, me, or MBO, but given that the attacks continue, I suppose a response is needed. No apologies have been made to you because I'm not aware of doing anything to that merited an apology. You've asserted it, now back it up. Let's start with you specifying the two false accusations I have made in your direction. Then, wrt to the various edits that I have attempted to make to this article, demonstrate the lack of a genuine attempt to improve the article. Or withdraw the alllegations.
Gravuritas (talk) 17:21, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
As you said, it is not appropriate to discuss this further in this forum.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:59, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
No, it is absolutely not appropriate to make a false accusation of false accusations, and a false accusation that I am not genuinely trying to improve the article, then back away when challenged. Back it up or withdraw, twerpikins.
Gravuritas (talk) 05:38, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
"twerpikins"? Gravuritas, you really need to cease with the incivility. You were given a serious warning at ANI last time. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:53, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I really do not want to take this to ANI but you need to stop with comments like this. That has to be the last incident of incivility. The very last. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:55, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I see that—independently of me—an administrator has stepped in and given Gravuritas a 31-hour block for their "twerpikins" comment. Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:53, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, I don't think I've ever been called "twerpikins", but it's far from being the worst insult! I think we should all strive to play the ball, not the other player.--Jack Upland (talk) 13:19, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
So, to conclude, your personal attack on me has neither been backed up nor withdrawn. Gravuritas (talk) 11:46, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
@Gravuritas: You stop this "personal attack" feud *now* or you get blocked again. Move on. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 16:08, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Lenin on Wars of National Liberation[edit]

"He thus accepted in 1916 that wars of national liberation might be necessary for a minority group to break away from a socialist state, because socialist states are not "holy or insured against mistakes or weaknesses". is the version that DrKay prefers- the previous version is very similar but uses 'supported' instead of 'accepted'. In both cases I have asked for extra citations to explain the difference between these words and his actions. If need be I can find some RS to show that he didn't in practice support wars of national liberation- quite the contrary. However, it would be preferable if somebody else found a form of words to explain this dichotomy, as I seem to be having difficulty getting anything accepted without a major argument. Gravuritas (talk) 15:13, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

As far as I'm aware, your comment above is your first request for extra citations or balancing material. You requested a date; I provided one. My involvement only relates to the date tag and its resolution. I have no current knowledge, interest or involvement in any other content issue. Editors can avoid arguments by avoiding ascribing views to editors that they do not hold and by avoiding wilful disruptive tagging and edit-warring. DrKay (talk) 15:27, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
The bit you have deleted three times said: "when?|in practice, not writing|date=May 2017" . (curly brackets deleted for clarity) That seems moderately clear, that I am not just asking for a date. If I picked the wrong short term to query this then please let me know what I should have put, and I'll put that in instead. To explain further: I am not questioning that Lenin said words to this effect in 1916- I am saying that his actions for the next few years were completely contrary to this statement. I can find the necessary RS if desired, but I am having great difficulty getting any of my wording accepted here, so I would prefer that another editor finds a form of words to explain the apparent dichotomy between Lenin's words and his subsequent actions. On the face of it, using this quote is ludicrous.
Gravuritas (talk) 15:34, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
Your opinion overall is rather strange. You have repeatedly insisted that what Lenin did in government is more important than what Lenin said. However, this is not an article about Lenin's government. Lenin was in power from 1917 to 1924, and at the end he was incapacitated by illness. Most of Lenin's famous works, such as What Is To Be Done and The State and Revolution were written before he was in government. Your position could be boiled down to saying that the article should be mostly about Lenin's life between 1917 and 1924, and everything else dealt with as mere background. Lenin's writings, which have inspired revolutionary movements around the world (misguided or otherwise), are apparently to be viewed as mere scribblings, something Lenin did in his holidays. The whole article should be about the few years he was in government. Well, I think that is strange. No biographer of Lenin takes that view, as far as I know. No one who discusses Lenin, negatively or positively, takes that view, as far as I know. You seem to have a unique view that Lenin's importance in world history, again, as far as I know. Since you're keen on demanding sources from others, why don't you provide sources for this?--Jack Upland (talk) 10:58, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
I fail to understand what is 'strange' about wishing that an apparent dichotomy between words and actions is explained. Lenin's writings, and the actions of his government, for instance, on independence for the constituent parts of the USSR or whatever it was called then, cannot be described as being in harmony. Certainly in terms of blood spilt, his government's actions were much more important than his words, and as he was effectively in power to varying degrees between 1917 and 1924, then that is the era when his actions were of most importance. So why were his actions so discordant with his (previous) words? In the case of the (words) right to secession vs. the (deeds) various Soviet imperialist wars against neighbouring countries/ previous constituents of the Tsarist empire, I've seen a convoluted explanation in one of the bios regarding differences between national governments (entitled to secede) vs local Communist parties (under rigid control by the Russian CP). I didn't find the explanaion satisfactory, but at least the author (sorry- can't remember which- away from sources for one week) recognised that some explanation of this dichotomy is needed. Why don't you also recognise this?
Gravuritas (talk) 17:41, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but this is an encyclopedia article, not an essay exploring the dichotomy between Lenin's words and deeds.--Jack Upland (talk) 02:39, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
So you recognise the dichotomy, but don't want any mention of it in the article? That's called a whitewash. Why do you want to whitewash Lenin, and which policies of WP tell you this is appropriate?
Gravuritas (talk) 05:45, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
There is no "dichotomy". There is the difference between what Lenin wrote and what acually occurred when the real events took place, involving, you know, events and other people. And as we know, these things always go to plan...Britmax (talk) 07:39, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
So @Britmax, can I try to understand your view? When the Soviets opposed secession militarily in various wars in various countries during Lenin's period, had he a) changed his opinion? Any RS on that? Or maybe he hadn't changed his opinion, but was b) powerless to influence his colleagues? Any RS on that? Failing any evidence on a) or b), we have a dichotomy between words and deeds. That's surely worth mentioning if you want to quote the words. To show this is not OR, I have read one RS that tries to square the circle, which I'll try to re-locate this weekend.
Gravuritas (talk) 09:53, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Again, I think this is an essay, and that essay might tip into diatribe. Regardless of the truth of your assertions, this is about building an encyclopedia, not scoring points against a man who died in 1924.--Jack Upland (talk) 13:22, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

Changes to lede image[edit]

Over recent weeks, User:Emiya1980 has changed the infobox image on a number of occasions. Their intentions are clearly good and I do not mean to be unfairly critical, however the regular changes have resulted in a fair bit of disruption. The issue of infobox images is not a new one, but was raised at the Talk Page last year (and can be seen in the archives here). The main problem is that a great many of the pictures of Lenin that are floating around on Wikimedia Commons can not be unequivocally demonstrated to be in the Public Domain in both the Russian Federation and the United States, even if various editors have added PD tags to the images themselves. For quite some time this article has utilised File:LeninEnSuizaMarzo1916--barbaroussovietr00mcbr.png, and this was the image in place when the article was passed as a Featured Article last year. A week or so ago, Emiya1980 added File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-71043-0003, Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin.jpg as a replacement. I personally think that this is a better option, because it is a clearer image of Lenin's face and also appears to be PD in both Russia and the US. Since then, they have changed it again (although I reverted), and I just feel that perhaps we should have a Talk Page conversation here before the image gets changed once more. Ideally, which image we use in the infobox should be established by consensus. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:41, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

I think the current image is aesthetically preferable.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:18, 16 June 2017 (UTC)