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Lenin appreciated in left-wing daily

April 27th, 2020

A left-wing author describes Lenin as a political innovator and the creator of a new form of government, which degenerated under his successor. A right-wing critic finds this view abhorrent.

In Népszava, veteran journalist and former Socialist MEP Gyula Hegyi tries to draw up a balanced portrait of Lenin on the 150th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Soviet state. He recounts how Lenin became a sworn enemy of the Tsar’s regime after his brother was executed as a conspirator (he was the ideologist and bomb-maker of a group which attempted to kill Tsar Alexander III). Lenin, Hegyi explains, owed his success to a highly original political invention – the vanguard-party which enabled him to carry out the revolution despite the weakness of the working class. Hegyi also mentions Lenin’s ‘alliance with the peasantry’ as one of the decisive factors in his victory. Without explicitly celebrating Lenin as a humanist, he writes that ‘those who nevertheless hold his memory in respect, believe that he considered terror as a means of transition to a more humane period which would follow’. The remarkably lively cultural life of the 1920’s, he adds, gave a foretaste of that ‘humane period’.

In an angry reaction to Hegyi’s article in Magyar Hírlap, Gábor Hertelendy wonders why Hegyi failed to mention that the Cheka, the dreaded political police, was also Lenin’s personal invention. His main problem, however, is that Népszava regularly carries writings which glorify communist personalities. One example he mentions is that of György Lukács, the communist philosopher whose statue was removed from a Budapest square. Népszava, at the time described that move as an anti-Semitic act, given Lukács’s Jewish descent, Hertelendy recalls in indignation. The conclusion he draws from such cases is that ‘communism is still alive’.

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