Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the regime of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin and sharply denounced brutal repressions by the Bolshevik government.
During a meeting Monday with pro-Kremlin activists in the southern city of Stavropol, Putin denounced Lenin and his government for brutally executing Russia's last czar along with all his family and servants, as well as killing thousands of priests and members of the bourgeoisie.
Putin suggested that Lenin's ideology was like an "atom bomb" that eventually led to the fall of the Soviet Union. He said Lenin was wrong in his dispute with Josef Stalin, who advocated for a unitary state model while Lenin gave the republics the right to leave the USSR.
“That right [to secession] was the delayed action mine planted under our statehood. This is what caused the country’s eventual breakup," Putin said.
In his comments Monday, Putin said he sincerely believed in the communist ideology while serving in the KGB, the armed wing of the party.
“In contrast to many functionaries I did not throw my membership card away or burn it in public. I still keep it at home,” he said.
He acknowledged, however, “the embodiment of these wonderful ideas in our country was very far from what the Utopian socialists had proclaimed."