Born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Lenin is one of history's most distinctive figures. The second eldest son of an upper-middle class family, it was believed early on that he would assume his father's role in educational administration. However, that could not be farther from the dictator and tyrant he later became as leader of the Communist Party and ruler of the Russia as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). .
At an early age, Vladimir showed an unbridled enthusiasm in the classroom, just another reason to believe he would some day follow in his father's footsteps. Unfortunately, fate intervened and Vladimir was soon enthralled by all things revolutionary. When he was just sixteen his older brother Alexander, was executed for attempting an assassination of the Russian Tsar Alexander III. The family was devastated, being completely unaware of Alexander's involvement with politics and revolution, there were, especially Vladimir, taunted for his actions (Liversidge, 35). This backlash from the community "fostered hatred and bred a revolutionary attitude in him. The chasm between himself and the system of government that had destroyed Alexander would never be bridged he would despise the liberal society which had deserted his family in its distress" (29-30). From then on the name of Ulyanov would be synonymous with the attempt on the tsar's life, thus the pseudonym Lenin was born and the radical revolutionary dictator as well. .
He devoured all information he could, absorbing Marx's Das Kapital and according to his sister Anna, after reading it he became enflamed making "violent gestures, as he spoke of the horizons which opened to anyone who followed Marx's theories." (31) After being expelled from college for engaging in a political demonstration, he quickly began to make a name for himself in the underground world of Russian Marxism. Arrested in 1895, he was exiled to the frozen tundra of Siberia, where he met his future wife and fellow revolutionary, Nadezhda Krupskaya.