Lenin suffered a series of strokes beginning in 1922 which left him increasingly paralyzed and unable to communicate.  Though his disability made it difficult to fathom precisely his level of awareness, it appears that his cognitive abilities were better preserved than his motor functions and expressive capacities.  He was maintained in virtual isolation with his wife, personal staff, physicians and occasional visitors.  Though the Politburo continued to publish propaganda regarding his eventual recovery, he became completely detached from the formulation of State policy.  Thus the man whose dynamic charisma and aggressive psychic energy had radically changed history was forced to watch helplessly as Stalin consolidated power against Lenin’s wishes and perverted the direction of the Russian Revolution.  His course was a continuum of recurrent strokes that led to increasing disability until his death in January of 1924.





Here he sits cut off from the whirlwind

Still aware

But confined to a chair;

The wheels of his mind are churning.


Impotently he strains to move his muscles

Like Houdini in a sinking trunk

Until he curses with frustration

The wire thin and frayed connection

The withered channel 

That no longer binds his searing thoughts

To the destiny of the outside world