Lev Danilkin

Lenin. Pantokrator solnechnykh pylinok Lenin. Ruler of Sun Dust
Biography. Molodaya Gvardia. Moscow 2017. 480 pages
Foreign rights: France/ Macha, Hungary/ Gondolat, Serbia/ JP Službeni glasnik, Spain/ Almuzara

2020 is Lenin's 150th birthday
2024 is the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s death

Of course, you immediately think of everything you knew about Lenin so far. And you can confidently forget it while reading this book, which is quite different and more than just another Lenin biography. Subject
Observed, analyzed, and accompanied as a historical and human phenomenon, the author follows Lenin with an unadulterated fresh gaze on his path as revolutionary, politician, journalist and economist. Danilkin literally revives Lenin the speaker, the manager and lawyer, the chess player, the cyclist, the travel enthusiast, the sportsman. Danilkin does not lose sight of the precise analysis of Lenin’s economic and domestic politics. But without ideological blinkers, Danilkin tries to understand the logic behind each of Lenin's steps possible at any given time, without allowing himself to be distracted neither from the Soviet nor the anti-Soviet discourse. The author repeatedly discovers a central theme for Lenin: seizing power and maintaining it. In addition to a multitude of companions who surrounded Lenin like sun dust, Lenin's partner Krupskaya is brought back out of historical darkness: the boring asexual companion proves to be an intriguing beauty (at least during her first 35 years of life) as well as a witty author of some of the texts that had been attributed to Lenin so far, as Danilkin credibly proves.

The immense documentary material base of this historically accurate biography is organized in an unorthodox and original way – geographically. Instead of an old-fashioned "Portrait on the Background of the Epoch", the reader is taken on a discovery route to the places of Lenin’s active work. Danilkin models them to speaking landscapes and mood carriers for his hero.

Danilkin leaves behind any kind of clerk’s office style, archive language or standardized scientific language. To bring Lenin closer to today's readers, he uses contemporary slang, neologisms from the world of IT and social networks, and comparisons with figures and phenomena from literature, cinema, and pop culture.

With the trick of introducing a narrator sceptical at first but capable of learning, Danilkin biography becomes not only extremely entertaining, but makes transparent at a high intellectual level that also the historical questioner is constantly influenced and changed by the object of his investigation.