DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Was Lenin a German Agent?

30 posts / 0 new
Last post
el psy congroo
Offline
Joined: 17-11-16
Jul 18 2017 01:54
Was Lenin a German Agent?

This is the question posed within this NY Times opinion piece by Sean McMeekin, 'a professor of history at Bard College...the author of The Russian Revolution: A New History.'

The author writes that, before April 1917:

Quote:
Because he returned home by way of Germany — and with the obvious cooperation of the German High Command — which was then at war against Russia and her Entente allies (France, Britain and, from April 6, the United States), allegations that Lenin was a German agent were immediately hurled by his opponents, a charge that remains controversial to this day. If it is ever proved that Lenin was acting on behalf of the German Imperial Government in 1917, the implications for our understanding of the October Revolution, and the Soviet Communist regime born of it, which lasted until 1991, would be profound. This would amount to the greatest influence operation of all time, making present-day concerns about Russian meddling in Western elections, including last year’s American presidential contest, seem tame in comparison. Was it true?

I'm just curious if any of the posters here know more historical details about this narrative and what the consensus among anarchists and communists on this notion that Lenin was a German agent is today.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Jul 18 2017 02:42

I think it's a right-wing conspiracy theory.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jul 18 2017 03:04

I am unaware of any evidence beyond that of Karl Radek's:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/radek/1924/xx/train.htm

... who was on the train. The German authorities certainly, according to Radek, believed they were going to get a good deal out of it. And maybe they did with the Brest Litovsk Treaty, contrary to Radek's assessment. But I don't think he was a spy or working for the German high command or anything.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 18 2017 03:55

2 part refutation:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/30/mcme-j30.html
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/10/mcme-j10.html

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Jul 18 2017 14:03

Oh my god how did I know this was coming. I almost made this joke at both of y'all expense like 3 days ago but decided it would be in bad form.

THE SEALED TRAIN! THE GERMAN GOLD!

el psy congroo
Offline
Joined: 17-11-16
Jul 18 2017 15:49

Definitely doesn't all add up but you can't deny the Bolsheviks were for sure playing geo power politics as good as any other bourgeois.

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Jul 18 2017 16:31

I don't even know what that means. This is just slander.

Craftwork's picture
Craftwork
Offline
Joined: 26-12-15
Jul 18 2017 17:51

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jul 18 2017 18:02

I think is clear from the release of Geman foreign office documents by ZEMAN

GERMANY AND THE REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA 1915-1918 Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry; EDITED BY Z. A. B. ZEMAN LONDON OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS NEW YORK TORONTO 1958

That the Germans were using the Bolsheviks, before October 1917, including perhaps funding them, to disrupt and undermine Russia in order to keep them out of the war etc.

There is considerable detail on the arrangements for the train etc.

It looks like they may have started funding them, and others probably, in MAY 1917 and the serious money started to roll in November after they seized power

Parvus was obviously a german agent or taking money from them from 1915.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Parvus

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Jul 18 2017 18:21

I wonder when the pay started; do you think that Lenin agreed to have his brother murdered by the Tsar in order to help the German War effort?

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jul 19 2017 18:29

I don’t think it has got anything to do Lenin’s brother.

The German foreign office communiqués are packed full of really interesting information.

For instance the Germans were also funding leftists in France to stir up trouble.

The were also sending money to a Russian SR bloke who asked them to be careful as he wasn’t telling his ‘comrades’ where it was coming from.

The Mensheviks including Martov were thinking of taking up an offer of transportation help and following the Bolsheviks but as the germans said they were dithering over being compromised.

It is likely I think that actually Trotsky via Parvus was the conduit for German funding of the Bolsheviks.

Trotsky was never short of money or rich backers; that villa that he stayed in in turkey is up for sale for 4.5 million and it is a total wreck.

Parvus had financial connections and interests in Turkey although he died in 1924.

The Germans funding of the Bolsheviks for whom they obviously shared no political ideology is a standard and even current strategy eg the US [ and Saudi ] funding of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

Not to mention Israel patching up ISIS fighters in their hospitals to send them back.

On the German funding of the Bolsheviks it went right to the top and even the Kaiser Wilhelm was reading it and adding inane commentary to it.

Apparently two German officers or officials blabbed about german funding of the Bolsheviks in 1917 and it went viral in Russia.

A Geman diplomat send a cable back asking how to deal with it to which he was told deny it.

It is all old hat for Trots of course like the WRP taking money from gaddafi and Saddam Hussien.

Looks like the anarchist got a clean slate on it on imperial German funding.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 19 2017 19:44
Quote:
The Mensheviks including Martov were thinking of taking up an offer of transportation help and following the Bolsheviks but as the germans said they were dithering over being compromised.

Several trains with revolutionaries from Switzerland followed. Martov did eventually follow. As did probably some anarchists like Grossman-Roshchin.

Quote:
Trotsky was never short of money or rich backers; that villa that he stayed in in turkey is up for sale for 4.5 million and it is a total wreck.

It's well-known that due to his poor finances, to get money in advance Trotsky was forced to write articles and an autobiography for bourgeois publishers, something which incidentally he was criticised for by the Decist leader Vladimir Smirnov (and of course stalinists).

Quote:
It is likely I think that actually Trotsky via Parvus was the conduit for German funding of the Bolsheviks. ...On the German funding of the Bolsheviks it went right to the top and even the Kaiser Wilhelm was reading it and adding inane commentary to it.

The Parvus Stockholm connection has been authoritatively debunked by Semion Lyandres, in The Bolsheviks’ “German Gold” Revisited (1995), see the WSWS article I linked.

And if there's no Stockholm connection, then how did the money get to Russia?

I think some even imagine that gold went along on the train with Lenin. Did Lenin carry several tons of gold in his pocket when he walked off the train? And it must be specifically gold (or perhaps silver), not German paper marks, which weren't legal tender in Russia. And how did that German gold get handed out? The gold wouldn't be in the form of Ruble coins.

Bernstein did believe in German's finance, but in his defence, I think his political motive partly was perhaps to tar the rightwing German militarists.

As for Parvus' response itself, I read a short article where he provocatively made fun of the charge and laughed that the Provisional Government would soon fall.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jul 19 2017 20:01

GERMANY AND THE REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA 1915-1918

Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry

EDITED BY Z. A. B. ZEMAN

LONDON OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

The State Secretary to the Foreign Ministry Liaison Officer at General Headquarters

TELEGRAM NO. I925

AS 4486 Berlin, 3 December 1917

The disruption of the Entente and the subsequent creation of political combinations agreeable to us constitute the most important war aim of our diplomacy. Russia appeared to be the weakest link in the enemy chain. The task therefore was gradually to loosen it, and, when possible, to remove it. This was the purpose of the subversive activity we caused to be carried out in Russia behind the front—in the first place promotion of separatist tendencies and support of the Bolsheviks.

It was not until the Bolsheviks had received from us a steady flow of funds through various channels and under different labels that they were in a position to be able to build up their main organ, Pravda, to conduct energetic propaganda and appreciably to extend the originally narrow basis of their party. The Bolsheviks have now come to power; how long they will retain power cannot be yet foreseen. They need peace in order to strengthen their own position; on the other hand it is entirely in our interest that we should exploit the period while they are in power, which may be a short one, in order to attain firstly an armistice and then, if possible, peace. 1 The conclusion of a separate peace would

mean the achievement of the desired war aim, namely a breach between Russia and her Allies. The amount of tension necessarily caused by such a breach would determine the degree of Russia's dependence on Germany and her future relations with us. Once cast out and cast off by her former Allies, abandoned financially, Russia will be forced to seek our support.

We shall be able to provide help for Russia in various ways; firstly in the rehabilitation of the railways; (I have in mind a German Russian Commission, under our control, which would undertake the rational and co-ordinated exploitation of the railway lines so as to ensure speedy resumption of freight movement), then the provision of a substantial loan, which Russia requires to maintain her state machine. This could take the form of an advance on the security of grain, raw materials, &c, &c, to be provided by Russia and shipped under the control of the above-mentioned commission. Aid on such a basis—the scope to be increased as and when necessary—would in my opinion bring-about a growing rapprochement between the two countries.

Austria-Hungary will regard the rapprochement with distrust and not without apprehension. I would interpret the excessive eagerness of Count Czernin to come to terms with the Russians as a desire to forestall us and to prevent Germany and Russia arriving at an intimate relationship inconvenient to the Danube Monarchy. There is no need for us to compete for Russia's good will. We are strong enough to wait with equanimity; we are in a far better position than Austria-Hungary to offer Russia what she needs for the reconstruction of her state. I view future developments in the East with confidence but I think it expedient for the time being to maintain a certain reserve in our attitude to the Austro-Hungarian government in all matters including the Polish question which concern both monarchies so as to preserve a free hand for all eventualities.

jThe above-mentioned considerations lie, I venture to believe, within the framework of the directives given me by His Majesty. I request you to report to His Majesty accordingly and to transmit to me by telegram the All-highest instructions.

KUHLMANN

And from Bernstien, he wrote two articles on it in 1921 apparently

"From absolutely reliable sources I have now ascertained that the sum was very large, an almost unbelievable amount, certainly more than fifty million goldmarks, a sum about the source of which Lenin and his comrades could be in no doubt. One result of all this was the Brest-Litovsk Treaty. General Hoffmann, who negotiated with Trotsky and other members of the Bolshevik delegation at Brest, held the Bolsheviks in his hand in two senses [that is, military and monetary], and he made sure they felt it."

Joel Carmichael in his1984 addendum of his edited and abridged etc version of “Sukhanov’s The Russian Revolution, 1917” puts it at $800 million, in 1984 money I presume.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 19 2017 21:21

Richard von Kuhlmann held the position of State Secretary to the Foreign Ministry only from 5 August 1917. Before that he was ambassador in Constantinople. So you have to find a report by the relevant German minister at the moment in early 1917. And you can't rule out that Kuhlmann is falsely boasting in order to defend his strategic policy ("don't worry about the bolsheviks' revolution dear Kaiser, we brought those guys to power" – indeed why else tell that to the Kaiser, who apparently was not aware of that support before).

A specific claim that McCeekin makes in his book (but I don't see the footnote on Google preview) is about the buying of a private printing press on Suvorovsky Prospekt (for 250,000 rubles). Meanwhile Cliff says they raised 75,000 from collections for this purpose:

Quote:
As against subscriptions, the funds raised by general collections among workers and soldiers were far more substantial. Thus, for instance, on April 13, Pravda made an appeal for funds to equip a printshop for itself. By April 22, 75,334.45 rubles had been collected [35], and by the time of the Sixth Congress, workers and soldiers had donated 140,000 rubles towards the party printing press.

Why ask for collections if you got 50 million German marks (or some such ridiculous figure)?

Btw, in Moscow they simply occupied a printing press thanks to the soviet.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jul 19 2017 22:27

The whistle was blown in a Kadet Russian newspaper Riech on 20th july 1917 by two german general staff officers babbling to a Russian.

And this guy, Haase;

In July 1914, he organized the anti-World War I rallies of the SPD and on 31 July and 1 August fought for the SPD to vote in the Reichstag against an increase in war loans. However, he failed to accomplish this due to the opposition of Friedrich Ebert and the faction majority. In the decisive meeting of the SPD delegates on 3 August, only Haase and 13 others refused to support the loans. Bowing to party discipline, Haase then voted for the loans in the Reichstag and, as chairman, had to defend the SPD vote in the session of 4 August.[3][1] It was Haase who read out the party's statement that "we won't abandon the Fatherland in the hour of danger", in response to which the imperial government created its so-called Burgfrieden policy.[4]
After the collapse of German war plans at the end of 1914, Haase became more and more vocal against the policies of the SPD faction. He was forced to resign as faction leader in 1915. That June, he signed the manifesto Gebot der Stunde which openly opposed the war aims of the government. In March 1916, Haase and 18 other SPD delegates voted against the government's emergency budget. He was forced to resign as party chairman of the SPD. He then founded and led the Sozialdemokratische Arbeitsgemeinschaft. In April 1917, Haase became chairman of the newly founded Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), which split from the so-called "Majority Social Democrats" group and advocated immediate peace negotiations.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Haase

who told a Russian journalist that the ‘imperial government was passing money to the ‘Russian Bolsheviks’ using Helpland [Parvus] as an intermediary.

Brockdorff- Rantzau in Copenhagen asked advice from the German foreign ministry on how to deal with it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulrich_von_Brockdorff-Rantzau

Telegram 1044 on 10th august 1917

On 29 September, Telegram 1610

Kuhlman reported to the military headquarters that the political section of the general staff in Berlin had already been engaged in support of the Bolsheviks and others for ‘some time’.

The big money as I have already said came later and after October.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 20 2017 07:51
Quote:
The whistle was blown in a Kadet Russian newspaper Riech on 20th july 1917 by two german general staff officers babbling to a Russian.

have you checked the source I mentioned in the WSWS article? It dealt with that.

Quote:
Haase told a Russian journalist that the ‘imperial government was passing money to the ‘Russian Bolsheviks’ using Helpland [Parvus] as an intermediary.

is that a quote? Source please.

Quote:
Brockdorff- Rantzau in Copenhagen asked advice from the German foreign ministry on how to deal with it.

Telegram 1044 on 10th august 1917

To deal with an accusation, doesn't mean an acknowledgement of its truth.

The German Foreign minister in early 1917 was this guy:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Zimmermann

He supposedly started the funding, so are there any telegrams from him?

Quote:
The big money as I have already said came later and after October.

Which is bizarre, as the allegation is meant to explain the Bolsheviks' rise early on in 1917.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Jul 20 2017 12:22

The Germans also supplied arms for the 1916 rising in Dublin, unfortunately with the bulk of them being intercepted.

I'd suggest the problem is the way the question is framed 'Was Lenin a German agent?' That entirely depends on what you mean by agent. If you mean a James Bond type character then clearly the answer is no.

If you mean someone in receipt of German aid then the answer is yes, but only in the same sense as James Connolly. Or Rodger casement who was hung in Pentonville Prison in London on 3 August 1916 on that basis, Connolly and 15 other had already been shot by firing squad in Dublin.

If you are at war it makes a lot of sense for your secret intelligence to fund whatever disruption it can manage in the sphere of those you are at war with. If you are a revolutionary intending to stage an insurrection then guns and money are vital so you'll probably take what you can get even if that means for some power you reckon you'll ending up fighting against if the insurrection is successful.

It worked out well for then German state, in Ireland horror at the execution of the 1916 leaders mean new volunteers for the British army dried up and the attempt to introduce conscription was defeated by a general strike. The British army probably lost several divisions worth of recruits at the cost of a couple of thousand out of date rifles. In Russia the Germans saw the end of the two front war in time for them to transfer that half of the army to the west and attempt the 1918 offensive before substantial numbers of US soldiers could be deployed.

It worked out well for Lenin and even in Ireland although the leadership had been executed the survivors regrouped and defeated the empire in 1919-21 (a longer story which includes a wave of general strikes, workplace occupations and the declaration of soviets). If you were part of the British Empire then you probably described those involved a sGerman agents as from your perspective they were. But its not how any of them would have seen themselves.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 20 2017 14:54

It's not about Lenin being a German agent, nobody believes that. It's about German aid to the Bolsheviks. The comparisons to Ireland (and later Afghanistan, ISIS) are all about aid in the form of guns. In the case of the Bolsheviks nobody claims that the Germans supplied them with arms. That's a distinction worth making. If the Germans also funded the SR party, which was in favour of continuing the war, they would indeed run the risk that the SR would buy arms that in the future would be turned against themselves.

The concrete claim about German aid to the Bolsheviks is about financing the printing press of Pravda. And McCeekin appears to have found the specific price (250,000 rubles) for that purchase. However, I quoted Cliff that Pravda made an appeal for collections in April for this purpose. Cliff also documents various little expenses made, all showing a lack of funds. Even those who believe in the German financial aid note that it probably didn't make much of a difference for the Bolsheviks.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jul 20 2017 18:48

As the introduction to the book makes clear the policy of political disruption policy was initiated by Jagow.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottlieb_von_Jagow

Developed and continued by Zimmerman and then Kuhmann.

I seem to remember that the financial support for the SR’s or a SR was very early on around 1915 and they dropped of the radar a bit in 1917.

[Although the idea that all of the SR’s supported the position of a ‘patriotic war’ is just another Bolshevik lie amongst many.]

The Germans seemed initially more interested in the various nationalist independence movements in the Russian empire.

For obvious reasons, and German support for Irish, nationalist, that I know little about falls into that pattern I suppose.

In fact the first telegram was from Zimmerman in January 1915 which included a resume of Ukranian nationalists and other etc and an informed political appraisal of the Menshevik –Bolshevik situation.

With the conclusion that;

“the interest of the Geman government were therefore identical with those of the Russian revolutionaries”

Whilst Zimmerman was a ‘under state secretary to the state secretary’?

He seems to have had an apprenticeship in that kind of thing with the Irish in 1914?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Zimmermann

Oh yes.

Not interested in Bolshevik sources they are serial liars.

And no, I am not going to bother transcribing stuff for Noa.

The telegram data is not regarded as complete, just what has been recovered as I understand it and most of it isn’t tittle tattle tweets about articles in Russian tabloids but serious stuff.

It is primary material and the other stuff is of even more interesting I thought.

Read it a few years ago got the book and had it OCRed into word but lost it or can’t find it.

There is a difference between opportunist nationalist funding from anywhere with equal contempt to where it is coming from and the purposes against whom it is directed.

And the hypocrisy of a Marxist organisation taking funding from an imperial capitalist power whilst criticising 2nd international germans for not standing up to them and voting for war credits etc.

If the truth was admitted to, then we could discuss that but not with a background of categorical denial by the Bolsheviks over the last 100 years.

If there was nothing wrong with why deny it?

The suspicions predated July 1917.

Actually May soviets during the formation of the Menshevik and SR containing second provisional government wanted leftist in the government, the Bolsheviks were denied the invitation as the Soviets were still to some extent patriotic and deemed the Bolsheviks compromised by the Germans.

The idea of the Mensheviks leaping at the opportunity is another lie there was a massive row over it.

With Menshevik soviet membership organisation going renegade over the national organisition and the Petersberg Menshevik party, I think.

It was very complicated, Abramovitch the internationalist and left Menshevik gave a ‘different’ take on it in his book.

He was there?

I am winging that a bit from memory.

You can even get a vague idea of what was going on from reading the Lenin archive covering 1917.

It is just amazing how many pseudo intellectual historians have obviously never even bothered to read through that.

Unless I am being naïve in believing their apparent astonishment when I reveal what was in it.

I have read all of it off the internet from around 1903 although I can’t be sure I haven’t missed bits of it I wasn’t very disciplined when it came to remembering where I had left off the previous read.

It took almost a year I think.

The central issue is I think that the Bolsheviks were a complete self serving and aggrandising bunch of shits, bourgeois intellectuals in the sense of socio economic class and the appropriate material class conciousness.

Our modern Bolsheviks that we have here now idealise them as projection of their own value systems.

Being psychopaths, in the formal psychoanalytical definition, and lacking genuine empathy compassion or ‘moral compass’ they are the mirror image of their own role models.

Criticism of them for our modern Bolsheviks has no meaning as they themselves have no reference point to understand it.

There was no mention of German funding for the anti war SPGB and it seems to have been redacted from SPGB EC minutes as well.

The SR’s who shot the German ambassador in early 1918 did it not to re initiate the war but because he was the conduit for the big money funding for the Bolshevik state apparatus and Chekka etc.

The German gold probably paid for the goons who did the bloody Sunday massacre of the pro constituent assembly demonstrations.

But murdering pro constituent assembly demonstrators is ok as constituent assemblies are crap.

I could ramble on as there is a lot more; I am skipping off for a long weekend soon so I suspect this it for a while.

Deja vue really did this on a 100 post threads on revleft, a real snakepit, a couple of years ago where incidentally S Artisan ran a campaign to get me banned.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 20 2017 19:54
Dave B wrote:
[Although the idea that all of the SR’s supported the position of a ‘patriotic war’ is just another Bolshevik lie amongst many.]

The left SR wanted to continue it as a revolutionary war, even inside the bolshevik party this was a quite dominant view.

Quote:
Not interested in Bolshevik sources they are serial liars.

Semion Lyandres isn't a Bolshevik afaik (The Bolsheviks’ “German Gold” Revisited, 1995)

Quote:
Read it a few years ago got the book and had it OCRed into word but lost it or can’t find it.

Zeman's book can be found online here (djvu-file).

Quote:
If the truth was admitted to, then we could discuss that but not with a background of categorical denial by the Bolsheviks over the last 100 years.

If there was nothing wrong with why deny it?

Well in the first article I linked by the WSWS, it says:

Quote:
The German government may have attempted to divert money toward the Bolsheviks in 1917. But it did so for reasons of its own, calculating that socialist opposition to Russian participation in the imperialist war would weaken one of its enemies. These efforts—in no way different from similar efforts made by the British and French governments to influence the direction of Russian events—were taken without Lenin’s participation in the German government’s schemes.

So even an orthodox Trotskyist can admit the possibility that German financial aid went to the Bolsheviks.

I indeed see Kühlmann requesting a significant sum (15 millon marks) on 9 November 1917.

Quote:
There was no mention of German funding for the anti war SPGB and it seems to have been redacted from SPGB EC minutes as well.

Is this a confession of German funding to the SPGB, or you pre-emptively rejecting a possible accusation?

Quote:
The SR’s who shot the German ambassador in early 1918 did it not to re initiate the war but because he was the conduit for the big money funding for the Bolshevik state apparatus and Chekka etc.

If I follow the logic on this one, is it that the Bolsheviks wanted a reason to suppress the SR?

Quote:
The German gold probably paid for the goons who did the bloody Sunday massacre of the pro constituent assembly demonstrations.

But murdering pro constituent assembly demonstrators is ok as constituent assemblies are crap.

We went over this before. My impression was that the guards acted on their own volition in the moment. It's more a sign of chaos (also many of the protestors were trampled in panic).

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 20 2017 20:20
Dave B wrote:
The central issue is I think that the Bolsheviks were a complete self serving and aggrandising bunch of shits, bourgeois intellectuals in the sense of socio economic class and the appropriate material class conciousness.

Our modern Bolsheviks that we have here now idealise them as projection of their own value systems.

Being psychopaths, in the formal psychoanalytical definition, and lacking genuine empathy compassion or ‘moral compass’ they are the mirror image of their own role models.

I guess I should at least note that this is a really shallow analysis.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jul 20 2017 21:03

The standard simple narrative Leninist as regards the war and continuation thereof etc.

Circa Brest Levosky treaty etc and even before

Is deceit through ommission.

Thus for the standard Bolshevik narrative you were either for the patriotic imperialist war or against it.

Whilst reality was that there was splits and divisions all over the place including with the Bolsheviks themselves.

The right SR’s were more infected by patriotism and mother Russia etc however they were in fact very leftwing in a kind of peasant Maoist sense.

Bourgeois intellectuals with their heads stuck up their arses can’t understand cultural nationalism, patriotism and all that shit mixed in with revolutionary leftwing politics.

You have to come from a working class background yourself to understand and have a personal reference point to that kind ‘paradoxical’ kind of stuff.

The right SR’s had no interest in sweeping back the Germans all the way back to Berlin and being loyal to the anti tsarist western powers etc.

In fact the even right SR’s as Russian cultural peasant chauvinists thought mostly that the western capitalist system be it German, French or British was decadent and almost a satanic evil like the Iranians do.

They were angling after some kind back to basics of Proudhonist Idyll.

That’s my take on it.

The left SR’s took a more and crypto Marxist collectivist approach and shared stuff with the Bolsheviks up to the middle of 1918?

The left SR’s intellectuals and leadership etc, being now a bit cynical, were forced to respond to grassroots reality when the middle party committed political people started pouring into Petersburg after finding things uncomfortable in recently surrendered areas occupied by their double nemesis German/Western capitalists.

They so happened to have had a strong base there.

The idea was we have thrown of the yoke of the Tsar in our own home patch only to have it replaced by another Tsar and a German one to boot.

So they kicked off in early July.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_SR_uprising

Actually the British spook and Bolshevik ‘sympathiser’ Lochart is an interesting albeit love himself resource; he was there.

His book[s] is really bouncy and really entertaining, a great read if you are happy to sort out the obvious shit.

The British foreign office suspected him of having gone Bolshevik and revolutionary ‘native’.

As to the bloody Sunday massacre of January 1918 there was no doubt according to Gorky a Bolshevik sympathiser that it was a organised event.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 20 2017 21:49

No omission thus, they were for continuing the war.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 21 2017 07:48

Boris Souvarine discussed the Zeman documents in «L'or et le wagon», in le Contrat social, n° 4, vol. 12, décembre 1968. Reprinted in Controverse avec Soljenitsyne (1990), readable on google books preview.

Following an apparent 1977 English translation of this article in Dissent (not freely available), he also engaged in a polemic with Carmichael where he again comes to speak about Zeman: see Dissent 1978, vol. 25, p. 113 titled: "Boris Souvarine Replies" (merely google snippet view)

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 22 2017 18:23

Souvarine's 2 pieces in English can be read online here (thanks go to Louis Proyect for uploading the latter):

http://www.stagingdissent.com/wp-content/files_mf/1433877729summer77souv... (an abridged translation of an article in Est et Quest, Paris, April 1976)

https://louisproyect.org/2017/07/22/boris-souvarine-no-the-kaiser-did-no...

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 27 2017 12:07

this article Dave B probably knows already:

Fact or Fiction on Lenin’s Role
A Reply by Max Shachtman Reiterating His Accusations Against Shub
https://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/1950/03/shub.htm

I quote just a passage:

Schachtman (1950) wrote:
I, too, ask the reader to turn to pages 211–216 of Shub’s book to see what the “great deal more” amounts to. There are three pieces of “evidence” worth the paper they are written on. Here they are in full:

In one letter to Ganetsky (in Stockholm), Lenin wrote on March 30, 1917, “In maintaining relations between Petrograd and Stockholm do not spare funds.” In another letter to the same Ganetsky, dated June 12, 1917, that is, ten weeks later, Lenin wrote, “Until today we have received nothing, literally nothing from you, neither letters nor packets nor money.” (This was precisely the period when the Germans were supposed to be pouring hundreds of thousands of rubles or marks, and in Bernstein’s version, more than fifty million gold marks, into the Bolshevik propaganda fund!) And in the last letter, a few days later, Lenin wrote: “The money (2,000) from Koslovsky received.” Two thousand – rubles, marks, kronen, dollars or yen, it doesn’t really matter – that is all Lenin received from his comrades in Stockholm, Ganetsky and Koslovsky, out of the income they derived from the business enterprise in which they were engaged with Parvus, the ex-revolutionist who was indeed pro-German at that time, but nevertheless an extremely sharp entrepreneur.

A conscientious writer would at least make an attempt to reconcile the trivial “2000” contribution which Lenin received from a couple of comrades engaged in some risky business venture (smuggling? “black market”? I don’t know and there is no record of its exact nature anywhere) with the tens of thousands or tens of millions he is supposed to have received through these same two individuals as alleged intermediaries of the Kaiser’s government.

That the (small) money Ganetsky (/Hanecki/Hanetzki) sent to Lenin could very likely have come purely from his commercial business' profit (from medical and high-value goods traffic along the Baltic route) is also an idea expressed by Fayet (2004) in his book (in French) on Radek (p. 213ff), which devotes some pages to this question.

Hanecki in 1915-16 didn't have contacts with bolshevik organisations in Petrograd, a point that also can be made about Lenin himself, who was isolated in a close circle as can be seen from his correspondence. In 1917 the Stockholm foreign bureau was created, which had to rely for its news coverage about Russia on a Finnish Bolshevik journal. Its journal was called Russische Korrespondenz «Prawda», and there was a second;

Bote der russischen Revolution : Organ der ausländischen Vertretung des Zentralkom. der Soc. dem Arbeiterpartei Russlands (Bolschewiki)

[edit: found this on a better site: https://sites.google.com/site/sozialistischeklassiker2punkt0/bote-der-ru...]

Fayet (p. 217) also refers to the point of Futrell (Northern Underground, p. 159) that the Finnish socialist party from March to August provided great amounts of (print) paper and important sums of money to the Bolsheviks from its own fund.

And there's the fact that it's even Lenin (11 June letter to Radek) who proposes to send to the Stockholm bureau 3000-4000 rubles, rather than the other way around.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 24 2017 20:54

Another article in it by Zinoviev

Gr. Sinowjew: Den Verleumdern (The slanderers)

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?view=plaintext;size=100;id=inu.30000...

mn8
Offline
Joined: 21-06-16
Jul 27 2017 22:58

It is at least valid that the Bolsheviks may have been favourable to the Germans in some ways, due to destabilising the situation and opposition to the war effort. Whether they were explicitly allied with Germany might be less clear. Certainly, it wouldn't be without basis.

Due to the war, the Bolsheviks had some pressure going in their direction.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 28 2017 08:28

So who paid for Bolshevik propaganda?

Since the charges brought against the Bolsheviks said that the money they receive goes to the organization of pro-German propaganda, which destroys the rear and undermines the morale of the army, it would be logical to look for a trace of German money in the Bolshevik press. The Provisional Government had such an opportunity: early in the morning of July 5, the printing house of Pravda in Petrograd was crushed with a sudden raid, all financial documents of the editorial office were seized and head of the publishing house and chief financial manager K.M. Shvedchikov was arrested and interrogated. And what was the result?

It turned out that all the expenses incurred by the newspaper were fully covered by its quite legal and well-known incomes (mainly by collecting small donations among workers and soldiers). The newspaper even brought a small profit. And K.M. Shvedchikov was released after five interrogations without any charges being brought against him.

However, there were other sources of funding for the Bolshevik press, including a considerable number of front-line newspapers. But to look for them it was necessary not abroad. According to General A.I. Denikin, among the sources of expenditure on the Bolshevik literature were the own means of military units and formations, as well as the means released by senior military commanders. The commander of the Southwestern Front, General Yu. A. Gutor, opened a loan of 100,000 rubles for these purposes [but Denikin shut it down], and the commander of the Northern Front, General V.A. Cheremisov, subsidized from public funds the publication of the Bolshevik newspaper Nash Put. Why did they do it? After all, on the assurances of anti-Bolshevik propaganda, the Bolshevik press was decomposing the front? Let us give the floor to the commander of the Northern Front himself, General Cheremisov, who in the following way spoke about the Bolshevik newspaper Nash Put (Our Path): "If it makes mistakes, repeating Bolshevik slogans, then we know that the sailors are the most ardent Bolsheviks, and how much they have discovered heroism In the last battles. We see that the Bolsheviks know how to fight." [See his response translated in English p. 165 of Generals and Revolutionaries: The Russian General Staff During the Revolution; 10,000 rubles for its launch, and 3,000 every month] Of course, this was not the position of all military commanders, some of whom - for example, the already mentioned A.I. Denikin - did not yield to the pressure of the front-line committees and did not give money.

In any case, the Bolshevik press was not at all predominant at the front. In March-October 1917 in Russia there were about 170 military newspapers, of which only about 20 had Bolshevik directions, whereas 100 editions carried out the Socialist-Revolutionary or Menshevik ("defencist") line. That the reason for the fall of the army's combat capability lies not in Bolshevik agitation, General Denikin, the commander of the Western Front, admitted, who cannot be suspected of sympathizing with the Bolsheviks: "Let me disagree with the opinion that Bolshevism was the decisive cause of the army's collapse: it found only fertile soil in a systematically decomposed and decomposing organism. " That the complete demoralization of the Russian army and its inability to solve strategic tasks, was independent of anyone's propaganda efforts, but only due to the political and socioeconomic situation that was established already in 1916, and even more so after February 1917, is confirmed both in studies of authoritative specialists from among the White emigres (for example, in the book of General NN Golovin, first published in Paris in 1939), and by modern researchers.
--
e-translated from
10 мифов об СССР

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
Jul 30 2017 19:55

Dave B stressed that the real funding happened in the aftermath of the October revolution. So let's discuss this.

Noa Rodman wrote:
I indeed see Kühlmann requesting a significant sum (15 millon marks) on 9 November 1917.

Richard Pipes, p. 618 of The Russian Revolution:

Quote:
Thanks to Trotsky's sympathies for them, the Allies had increased their influence over the Bolsheviks. To prevent the situation from getting out of hand, he [Mirbach] required money to renew the subsidies to the Bolsheviks which the German Government had terminated in January. 37

I can't check the footnotes on Google preview, but I think it's doubtful whether the 15 million granted on 10 November (and which still had to be cabled to Russia etc.) was all actually expended by January, when as Pipes writes the subsidies were terminated. And actually there's no evidence that the subsidies went to the Bolsheviks, rather than to separatist forces etc.

Then in June a request for a new fund (40 million in total, on a estimated 3 million a month basis) was granted:

Quote:
It cannot be established exactly how this money was spent. Only about 9 million was actually allocated: it appears that about one-half of that sum went to the Bolshevik Government and the rest to their opponents, mainly the anti-Bolshevik Provisional Government of Siberia, centered in Omsk, and the Kaiser's favorite anti-Bolshevik, the Don Cossack ataman, P.N. Krasnov.

...
Mirbach entrusted to Riezler the delicate task of dealing with Russian opposition groups under the noses of the Cheka and Allied agents. Riezler dealt mainly with the so-called Right Center, a small conservative circle formed in mid-June by respected political figures and generals who had concluded that Bolshevism posed a greater threat to Russia's national interests than Germany and were prepared to come to terms with Berlin [...]

Pipes says the 3 million was given in the months June, July and August. But a footnote in Zeman's documents p. 137 actually states no money was received in June:

Quote:
It is doubtful whether these funds reached Moscow at all – they certainly did not get there before Mirbach was assassinated on 6 July. On 29 June Bussche telegraphed to Moscow in order to find out in which way the Minister in Moscow wanted the money transferred.

The first reply came from Riezler on 10 July, who asked for the July allocation of 3 million marks to be transferred to the account of the central commission of the Deutsche Bank. The second reply was dispatched by Helfferich on 30 July, asking for the equivalent value in roubles to be put at his disposal by the Consulates-General in Petrograd and in Moscow. Helfferich, the successor of Mirbach, had little time in which to use this money. Discouraged by Mirbach's fate, Helfferich stayed in Moscow only ten days; during this time he ventured outside the Embassy building once. Finally, he fled from Moscow.

--

Still, Pipes guesses that "it appears that about one-half" (ie 4.5 million marks) went to the Bolshevik Government (and all this after Mirbach's assassination!). But even Pipes guesses that at least the other half went to opponents of the Bolsheviks.