Vladimir Lenin (22 April 1870 – 21 January 1924), born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov and known by the names Lenin , was a revolutionary, bolshevik communist politician, principal leader of the October Revolution and the first head of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, better known as the Soviet Union. In 1998, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. His contributions to Marxist theory are commonly referred to as Leninism.
Born in Simbirsk – later renamed Ulyanovsk after its most famous son – beside the Volga River in the Russian Empire, Lenin was the son of Ilya Nikolaevich Ulyanov and Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova.
His father was a successful Russian official in public education who wanted democracy. The family was of mixed ethnicity, his ancestry being “Russian, Mordovian, Kalmyk, Jewish (see Blank family), Volgan German, and Swedish, and possibly others” according to biographer Dmitri Volkogonov. Lenin was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church. In January 1886, Lenin’s father, a schoolmaster, died of a cerebral hemorrhage, and, in May 1887, when Lenin was 17 years old, his eldest brother Alexander was arrested and hanged for participating in a terrorist bomb plot threatening the life of Tsar Alexander III.