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Principles expounded by Vladimir Ilich Lenin to guide the transition of society from capitalism to communism. The tenets of Marxism, which Lenin embraced, provided no concrete guidelines for the transition. Lenin believed that a small, disciplined, professional group of revolutionaries was needed to violently overthrow the capitalist system and that a dictatorship of the proletariat must guide society until the day when the state would wither away. Leninism in practice meant control of all aspects of life by the Communist Party and the creation of the first modern totalitarian state. See alsoBolshevik; Stalinism; totalitarianism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Leninism, visit Britannica.com.