Born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, at Simbirsk (later called Ulyanovsk in his honor), he was the son of a school and civil service official and was drawn early to the revolutionary cause, especially when his brother, Aleksandr I. Ulyanov, was executed (1887) for his participation in a plot on the life of Alexander III. Lenin's law studies at the Univ. of Kazan were interrupted when he was banished for revolutionary activities. He completed his studies independently and practiced law briefly, but soon renounced his legal practice, turning entirely to the study of the teachings of Karl Marx and to propagandizing among the workers, particularly in St. Petersburg. He was exiled to Siberia in 1895 and, when his exile ended (1900), he left Russia to continue his revolutionary activities abroad.
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