Vladimir I. Lenin
Name at birth: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov
Vladimir I. Lenin was a driving force behind the Russian Revolution of 1917 and became the first great dictator of the Soviet Union. After his brother was executed in 1887 (for plotting to kill the Czar), Lenin gave up studying law and became a full-time revolutionary. He studied Karl Marx and formed workers' groups, but was arrested and exiled to Siberia in 1895. In 1900 he went to Europe, and in 1903 he led the Bolsheviks in the split of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' party. When revolution broke out in Russia in 1917, he led the Bolsheviks to control the government. Lenin had complete political control over the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) until his death, and is remembered as the man who put Marx's ideas to practical use.
For decades after his death, Lenin’s well-preserved body was on public display in a special mausoleum in Red Square… Lenin was born on 10 April under the old (Julian) calendar, on 22 April under the modern (Gregorian) calendar; Russia didn’t adopt the modern calendar until after the Revolution.