Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution

Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution

Robert Service

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 1610391403

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The early years of Bolshevik rule were marked by dynamic interaction between Russia and the West. These years of civil war in Russia were years when the West strove to understand the new communist regime while also seeking to undermine it. Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks tried to spread their revolution across Europe at the same time they were seeking trade agreements that might revive their collapsing economy. This book tells the story of these complex interactions in detail, revealing that revolutionary Russia was shaped not only by Lenin and Trotsky, but by an extraordinary miscellany of people: spies and commissars, certainly, but also diplomats, reporters, and dissidents, as well as intellectuals, opportunistic businessmen, and casual travelers. This is the story of these characters: everyone from the ineffectual but perfectly positioned Somerset Maugham to vain writers and revolutionary sympathizers whose love affairs were as dangerous as their politics. Through this sharply observed exposé of conflicting loyalties, we get a very vivid sense of how diverse the shades of Western and Eastern political opinion were during these years.

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direct trade, and Sovnarkom was inviting tenders from foreign companies for concessions in timber-felling, fisheries and metal mining. Krasin depicted Russia as an Eldorado waiting to be rediscovered.8 Yet while Krasin painted an enticing picture for foreigners, the Soviet leadership hardened their measures against their own rebellious citizens. Strikes were settled by negotiation, but communist officials typically retaliated against identified troublemakers when things had settled down.9 The

postscript, ref 1 Hindenburg, Paul von, ref 1, ref 2, ref 3 Hintze, Paul von, ref 1, ref 2 HMS Jupiter, ref 1, ref 2 Hoffmann, General, ref 1 Höglund, Zeth, ref 1 Hohenzollerns, the, ref 1, ref 2 Hoover, Herbert: director of American Relief Administration, ref 1; and food relief to Central Europe, ref 1; and food relief to Central Europe: and Yudenich, ref 1; and Gorki’s appeal for relief, ref 1; and Gregory, ref 1; and Keynes, ref 1; opposition to trade treaty with Soviets,

communism while affirming his subordination to the command of General Alexeev, who was striving to build up the Volunteer Army in southern Russia.31 But when the Reds moved against the rebels no French or British assistance was made available to relieve Savinkov when he faced defeat. The Allies had never intended to invade – and indeed President Wilson would have opposed any such enterprise. Savinkov had been tricked.32 The timing was awful for the anti-Bolshevik cause in Moscow. The Fifth

They did not blanch at orders to terrorize people who had enjoyed privileges before 1917. One of the great worries of communist leaders was that their enemies might find a way to disrupt the Brest-Litovsk treaty. The anarchists were always out to cause trouble. Four of their number had seized the car of Raymond Robins in April 1918. Robins drew his Browning pistol on them only to be confronted by their own four Brownings. The anarchists stole the vehicle, forcing the chauffeur to do the driving

(June–July 1921) gather under the joint statue of Marx and Engels. (By kind permission of Harry Shukman) 42. The Soviet delegation to the talks at Genoa and Rapallo in April 1922. (© Getty Images) 43. Joseph Stalin speaking in mourning for Lenin, January 1924. (© Getty Images) Preface Many people have given generous help with this book. Its basic material on all aspects of Russia and the West in the revolutionary period comes from the Hoover Institution Archives, and I am grateful for

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