Legendary Communist Leaders Who Changed The World

Communism is an ideology which emphasizes on equality among members of a community and eradication of a class/hierarchical structure. Several famous leaders have been enlightening the masses about the importance of communism and how the ideology can change governance and lead to a better society. The word was derived from the title of a book titled ‘Projet de communauté philosophe’, penned by a French writer and philosopher named Victor d’Hupay. Eminent personalities like Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Josef Stalin and even Fidel Castro are a few individuals who are responsible for the worldwide popularity of communism. Ardent followers of these legends and the ideology of communism are called communists. Marx and Friedrich Engels are the men who coined the term ‘Marxism’ and sparked off a revolution which addressed the issue of the capitalist-working class conflict. While followers of Marx are known as Marxists, admirers of Lenin and his ideology are called Leninists. The masses, however, consider both these factions as ‘communists’. Vladmir Lenin and Josef Stalin are two communist stalwarts from Russia (formerly known as Soviet Union) who inspired thousands of leaders and set outstanding examples of leadership. The rise of the legendary Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, who passed away recently, is a perfect example of what communism is. He overthrew Fulgencio Batista, the former president of Cuba, who was considered more of a dictator in a military coup. The legendary leader then ruled the country for several decades.
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 1 
Ho Chi Minh
(Former PM and President of Democratic Republic of Vietnam)
Ho Chi Minh
61
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 19, 1890
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cụm di tích Hoàng trù, Vietnam
Died: September 2, 1969
Vietnamese Communist revolutionary Hồ Chí Minh led the Việt Minh independence movement and served as North Vietnam’s prime minister, from 1945 to 1955, and president, from 1945 to 1969. He was an integral part of the Vietnam War. South Vietnam’s former capital, Saigon, was later renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
 2 
Josip Broz Tito
(Yugoslav Communist Revolutionary and the chief Architect of the 'Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia')
Josip Broz Tito
36
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 25, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kumrovec, Croatia
Died: May 4, 1980
Josip Broz Tito served as the prime minister of Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1963 and as its president from 1953 to 1980. He was also the Marshal of Yugoslavia. During World War II, he led the Partisans. He was also one of the main figures behind the Non-Aligned Movement.
 3 
Simone de Beauvoir
(French Existentialist Philosopher, Writer, Social Theorist, and Feminist Activist)
Simone de Beauvoir
21
Birthdate: January 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1986
French author and existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir is best remembered for her feminist treatise The Second Sex and her novels The Mandarins and She Came to Stay. Her literary contributions also include essays, biographies, and her autobiographical works. She won the Prix Goncourt and the Jerusalem Prize.
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 4 
John Steinbeck
(American Writer and Winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature)
John Steinbeck
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: February 27, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Salinas, California, United States
Died: December 20, 1968

Famous for his novels The Grapes of Wrath and Tortilla Flat, John Ernst Steinbeck was noted for his sympathy for the plight of workers in his books. The Nobel laureate, who said he did not deserve the prize, authored 33 books, some of which were best sellers during his time. His books were also adapted into films.

 5 
Angela Davis
(Political Activist)
Angela Davis
54
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: January 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham

Activist, philosopher, academic and author, Angela Davis is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She has worked in the areas of feminism, class, race and the US prison system. She has also received criticism for supporting the erstwhile Soviet Union and has been accused of supporting political violence.

 6 
Pablo Neruda
(Chilean poet)
Pablo Neruda
57
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 12, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Parral, Chile
Died: September 23, 1973

Chilean poet-diplomat and politician, Pablo Neruda, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He was a versatile writer and his works include surrealist poems, historical epics, political manifestos, and love poems. He is considered the national poet of Chile. As a politician, he served a term as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party and held several diplomatic positions.

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 7 
Kim Il-sung
(President of North Korea from 1972 to 1994)
Kim Il-sung
31
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: April 15, 1912
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pyongyang, North Korea
Died: July 8, 1994
Kim Il-sung, Eternal President of the Republic, ruled as North Korea’s premier from 1948 to 1972 and as its president from 1972 to 1994. He also led the Workers' Party of Korea and initiated the invasion of South Korea. He was Kim Jong-il’s father and Kim Jong-un’s grandfather.
 8 
Leonid Brezhnev
(General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Between 1964 and 1982)
Leonid Brezhnev
45
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 19, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kamenskoe, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire
Died: November 10, 1982
Leonid Brezhnev served as the leader of the Soviet Union, as the general secretary of the Communist Party, from 1964 to 1982, and as the chairman of the presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1977 to 1982. His reign is significant for its rampant corruption and economic stagnation. 
 9 
Hu Jintao
(Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China)
Hu Jintao
13
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 21, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Taizhou

President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 2003 to 2013, Hu Jintao is believed to have given shape to the belligerent China that Xi Jinping unleashed on the world. He was conservative with political reforms and reintroduced state control in several sectors. Known for his reserved and modest leadership style, his tenure marked consensus based rule and collective leadership.

 10 
Antonio Gramsci
(Italian Philosopher Best Known for His Theory of 'Cultural Hegemony')
Antonio Gramsci
13
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 22, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ales, Italy
Died: April 27, 1937

Antonio Gramsci was an Italian politician, journalist, philosopher, linguist, and writer. A founding member of the Communist Party of Italy, Gramsci went on to serve as the leader of the party before he was arrested by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime. Since his death, Antonio Gramsci has been the subject of several plays and films.

 11 
Valentina Tereshkova
(The First and Youngest Woman in Space)
Valentina Tereshkova
21
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bol'shoe Maslennikovo, Russia
Former cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova is currently part of the Russian State Duma. In 1963, she became the first woman to fly into space when she went on a solo mission aboard the Vostok 6. She has won many honors, such as the Hero of the Soviet Union.
 12 
Raul Castro
(President of the Council of State of Cuba)
Raul Castro
28
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 3, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birán, Cuba
Cuban politician Raúl Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, succeeded his brother as the Cuban president and reigned from 2008 to 2018. He was part of the 26th of July Movement and spent 22 months behind bars. He is the current First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.
 13 
J.B.S. Haldane
(British Scientist Who Developed the Mathematical Theory of Population Genetics and One of the Founders of ‘Neo-Darwinism’)
J.B.S. Haldane
7
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: November 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: December 1, 1964

British geneticist J.B.S. Haldane is remembered for his pioneering use of statistics in biology. A proponent of neo-Darwinism, he was the son of physiologist John Scott Haldane and had begun assisting his father at age 8. He later joined the British Communist Party and also moved to India.

 14 
Miuccia Prada
(Italian Billionaire Fashion Designer and Co-CEO and Head Designer of 'Prada')
Miuccia Prada
4
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: May 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

Miuccia Prada is an Italian businesswoman and fashion designer. The granddaughter of Mario Prada, Miuccia is the head designer of the popular luxury fashion house Prada, which was founded by Mario Prada. Miuccia Prada is credited with founding Prada's subsidiary, Miu Miu. In 2014, Miuccia Prada was ranked 75th in Forbes magazine's most powerful woman in the world list.

 15 
Slobodan Milosevic
(3rd President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1997 - 2000))
Slobodan Milosevic
32
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 20, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Požarevac, Serbia
Died: March 11, 2006

Slobodan Milosević was a Serbian political leader who served as the President of Serbia from 1989 to 1997 and of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000. He pursued Serbian nationalist policies, which resulted in the breakup of the socialist Yugoslav federation. Milosevic was charged with war crimes in connection to the Bosnian War, the Croatian War, and the Kosovo War, and died in custody.

 16 
Stieg Larsson
(Swedish Writer and Activist Best Known for His Millennium Trilogy of Crime Novels)
Stieg Larsson
7
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: August 15, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Skelleftehamn, Sweden
Died: November 9, 2004

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish writer and journalist. He is best remembered for his Millennium trilogy of novels, which were adapted as three films in Sweden. After his sudden death, due to a heart attack, Stieg Larsson was posthumously honored with several awards, such as the Glass Key award, Galaxy British Book Award, and Anthony Award.

 17 
Enver Hoxha
(Former Communist Leader of Albania)
Enver Hoxha
22
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 16, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ergiri (Gjirokastër), Janina Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died: April 11, 1985

Enver Hoxha was an Albanian politician. From 1944 to 1954, Hoxha served as the prime minister of Albania. He is credited with rebuilding Albania after World War II. He was also responsible for building the country's first railway line, wiping out epidemics, raising the adult literacy rate, and electrification the country.

 18 
José Saramago
(Portuguese Writer and Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998)
José Saramago
5
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 16, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Azinhaga, Portugal
Died: June 18, 2010

José Saramago was a Portuguese writer who was honored with the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. Saramago's books have sold more than two million copies in Portugal alone and have been translated into 25 languages. Among other awards, Saramago has also been honored with the Camões Prize and America Award. He is also credited with establishing the José Saramago Foundation.

 19 
Amiri Baraka
(Writer)
Amiri Baraka
5
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 7, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark
Died: January 9, 2014
 20 
Jiang Qing
(Chinese Political Figure Who Played an Important Role During 'The Cultural Revolution')
Jiang Qing
10
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 19, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zhucheng, Weifang, China
Died: May 14, 1991

Jiang Qing was a Chinese actress, communist revolutionary and major political figure who played an important role during the Cultural Revolution in China. She is also remembered for forming a Maoist political faction called the Gang of Four. Jiang Qing married Mao Zedong and played a prominent role in propagating Mao's brand of Communist ideology.

 21 
Dalia Grybauskaitė
(4th President of Lithuania (2009 - 2019))
Dalia Grybauskaitė
8
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 1, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vilnius, Lithuania

Dalia Grybauskaitė became the first female president of Lithuania and the first to be re-elected. Popularly known as Lithuania’s Iron Lady and often compared to Margaret Thatcher, she has also been the UN Commissioner of the Year. A black belt in karate, she has mastery over four languages.

 22 
Aime Cesaire
(Poet)
Aime Cesaire
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 26, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Basse-Pointe, Martinique, France
Died: April 17, 2008
 23 
Prachanda
(Prime Minister of Nepal)
Prachanda
15
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 11, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dhikur Pokhari, Nepal

Nepali Communist Party leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda, or “fierce,” played a major role in the Maoist insurgency that put an end to monarchy in the country and brought about democracy. He thus served as the first Nepali prime minister, and returned to the post later.

 24 
Gustáv Husák
(Slovak Politician)
Gustáv Husák
6
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 10, 1913
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dúbravka, Bratislava
Died: November 18, 1991
Gustáv Husák had been the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and had also served as his country’s president. A practicing lawyer, he brought about several reforms in his post-Prague Spring administration, doing away with excessive liberalism. He was a three-time Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
 25 
Nicolae Ceaușescu
(Former President of Romania)
Nicolae Ceaușescu
44
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 26, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Scornicești
Died: December 25, 1989

Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian politician who served as the first president of the country. Ceaușescu's communist government was totalitarian and was responsible for human rights abuses and severe repression. An anti-government protest (the Romanian Revolution) broke out in 1989 and his government was overthrown subsequently. Ceaușescu and his wife were convicted of genocide and executed by firing squad.

 26 
Alejo Carpentier
(Writer, Journalist, Essayist, Musicologist, Literary critic)
Alejo Carpentier
3
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: December 26, 1904
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lausanne
Died: April 24, 1980

Swiss-born Cuban author Alejo Carpentier is regarded as one of the greatest Latin American literary personalities. The Cervantes Prize-winning writer was one of the pioneers of magic realism. Known for novels such as The Lost Steps, he also contributed to the Afro-Cuban movement and was the Cuban ambassador to France.

 27 
John Gates
(American Communist)
John Gates
5
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 1913 AD
Died: May 23, 1992

American Communist businessman John "Johnny" Gates is best-remembered as one of those who made attempt but failed in liberalising the Communist Party USA. He headed the Young Communist League. He was among the 11 communist leaders who were convicted in Smith Act trials of Communist Party leaders in 1949 and sentenced to five years in prison.