How do the actions of the pigs in Animal Farm compare to the actions of Russia's revolutionary leaders before, during, and after their successful revolutions?
Throughout Animal Farm, Orwell portrays the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 that eventually resulted in the totalitarian rule of Joseph Stalin. The pigs in the novella represent and parallel the significant actors involved in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Old Major represents both Karl Marx, a political theorist who championed communist ideology, and Vladimir Lenin, who was the leader of the Bolsheviks and founder of the Soviet Union. Like Marx and Lenin, old Major develops the tenets of a revolutionary philosophy and encourages the people (or animals, in Animal Farm) to break free of their oppressors. Animalism and Communism share similar ideas, such as the fair distribution of wealth, collective labor, and equality.
The character of Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, a Russian Marxist revolutionary and founder of the Red Army. Following the Russian Revolution, Trotsky led the Red Army during the Russian Civil War by defeating the White Army. This triumph parallels Snowball's victory at the Battle of the Cowshed. Trotsky wanted to spread communism to the rest of the world and implemented a Five-Year Plan to develop the Russian economy. Throughout the story, Snowball champions the tenets of Animalism, successfully repels Jones's attack at the Battle of the Cowshed, and designs a plan to build the windmill. Unfortunately, Snowball is vanquished and exiled from Animal Farm in the same way that Stalin banished Trotsky from Russia.
The character of Napoleon parallels Joseph Stalin. After the Rebellion, Napoleon comes to power alongside Snowball. However, Napoleon disagrees with Snowball's future vision of Animal Farm. Napoleon also begins to alter the tenets of Animalism to favor the pigs, who represent top-ranking Russian officials, and eventually exiles Snowball. Napoleon then begins his tyrannical reign by murdering dissenters, manipulating the animals through propaganda, and oppressing the other animals on the farm. Orwell depicts Stalin's rise to power and tyrannical rule through the character of Napoleon. Stalin was a selfish, ambitious politician who formed the secret police, NKVD, to execute and arrest those who disagreed with his policies or threatened his leadership. Stalin also commissioned the Great Purges, where thousands of people were executed or sent to labor camps in Siberia. He also ordered Trotsky's assassination and spread propaganda by controlling the media. Millions of Russians suffered and died during Stalin's reign, and he became one of history's most notorious tyrants.
Orwell parallels the plight of the pigs in Animal Farm with the major actors before, during, and after the Russian Revolution of 1917. This allegorical tale depicts how Joseph Stalin rose to power by manipulating communist ideals to become a dictator who oppressed and murdered the citizens of Russia.