Agents of Revolution-2. How the Leaders of October Repaid their Debts to the Sponsors

Marking the centenary of the October Revolution, I am publishing translations of three articles from “Argumenty i Fakty”. The second article in a series of two from 18.04.2012, taking a look at how the Western funds invested into the revolution got repaid. The article is by a reputable historian and writer Nikolai Starikov. Read the translation of the first article to learn the role of Valdimir Uljanov / Lenin on the eve of the October Revolution.


Having declaring war on global capital, once in power, Lenin and Trotsky gave up enormous resources to the mercy of their enemies. Was it a repayment for the “sponsorship” assistance in organizing the revolution and the Civil war?

In the previous atricle we told about the adventures Vladimir Lenin and his comrades experienced 95 years ago (note: the article is from 2012) travelling from abroad to Russia, and who aided them in that.

Writer, historian Nikolai Starikov, author of the books “Chaos and revolution weapon of the dollar”, “1917. The answer is “Russian” revolution,” etc., says that the Bolsheviks did not forget their benefactors. And though they did not completed the “order” for the collapse of Russia, they, nevertheless, more than repaid the financial debts.

The Civil war was barely over, when the young Soviet government started showing serious interest in the production of the yellow metal. On the 14th of November 1925, the government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), with a light hand of Trotsky (recall that this fiery Russian revolutionary of Jewish origin spent about 12 years of the early twentieth century in the West and even managed to obtain an American passport), transfers the rights to the development of the gold mines in Eastern Siberia to the company “Lena Goldfields Co., Ltd”. The very same, whose workers were shot in cold blood in 1912, when they were protesting against low wages. The famous Lena massacre gave at that time the Bolsheviks an excuse to denounce the autocratic rule in Russia. While now the Bolsheviks themselves transferred to a British consortium that owned “Lena Goldfields” the rights to mine gold in the basin of Lena river (and not only there) for 30 years! The area of the concession covered a huge territory from Yakutia to the Urals, and the interests of the Western company now went far beyond gold. They included silver, copper, lead, iron…

Under the agreement with the Soviets, a whole group of mining and metallurgical enterprises was handed over into disposition of “Lena Goldfields”. And what did the country receive in return? A measly 7% of the volume of the extracted metal.

Enormous wealth went overseas for virtually nothing. However, this blatant robbery of the country lasted for a relatively short period of time. On the 10th of February 1929 Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Union. And – what an amazing coincidence – in December of the same year “Lena Goldfields” was forced to cease its operations in Russia.

Swedish business

Someone will remark that the looting of the country was happening after the death of Lenin in January 1924. The debts for the sponsorship of the revolutionaries were seemingly returned only by Trotsky, who in spring 1917 arrived to Russia from New York with ten thousand dollars in his pocket? (By the way, not only he and Iljitch [patrimonial of Ulianov {Lenin}] returned to the country back then. Other “agents” came to the revolutionary Russia from the West: V. Antonov-Ovseenko, who later arrested the Provisional Government; the future head of the Petrograd Special Services, Moisey Uritsky, with whose murder starts the “red terror”; V. Volodarsky (Moisey Goldstein) and many others.)

In reality, the Bolshevik government entered into the shady deals with the West also during the life of Lenin. Perhaps the most notorious of these concerned the purchase of locomotives from the factory of the Swedish firm “Nidquist and Holm” (NoH AB).

The volume of the order is staggering – 1,000 locomotives to the price of 200 million gold roubles. It’s almost a quarter of the then gold reserves of the country! Note that until then, this firm could not afford a production of more than 40 locomotives per year. And then it was offered to make a thousand! The order was distributed over 5 years: in 1922, Russia was to receive 200 locomotives, and in 1923-1925 – 250 annually. Why would the Soviet country, in dire need of railway technology, want to buy them from this particular Swedish company and at highly inflated prices? Why would she agreed to wait for the delivery for 5 years, instead of having to buy the right product cheaper and immediately, but in a different place? The people’s Commissariat of Railways, headed in the early 1920s by Leon Trotsky, desired exactly these locomotives so much that not only did they make an advance payment of 7 million kronor, but also gave the Swedish company… an interest-free loan of 10 million kronor “for the construction of a mechanical workshop and boiler room”.

The Soviet magazine “The Economist” wrote about the peculiarities of this affair in early 1922. The author A. Frolov proposed to investigate: why was it necessary to order engines in Sweden? After all, for such money it was possible “to put in order our locomotive plants and feed theirs workers”. The Putilov factory had been producing more than 200 locomotives per year before the war. Why not issue a credit to them? And Lenin indeed sorted out the situation. After consulting with Trotsky, he asked Felix Dzerzhinsky to close down “The Economist” magazine (which also on previous occasions published articles unpleasant for the Soviets), stating: “the Staff of “The Economist” are the enemies of the most ruthless kind. All of them must be sent out of Russia”. The suspicious contract with the Swedes remained unchanged after the intervention of the leader.

So how did the Bolsheviks return the money to the foreign bankers? They obviously could not simply transfer them to the West and write in the “Purpose of payment” column: “Repayment for the Russian revolution and the victory in the Civil war”. A good excuse was needed. Such as to buy something in the West, for example those selfsame locomotives. Trotsky organizes the purchase, but Lenin, it seems, is aware of the transaction and does not prevent it. Otherwise this doubtful contract would have cost Trotsky his career.

In fact, many documents confirm, that the Swedish banking system was used to inject money for the revolution into Russia. And later it was also used to transfer money out. Already in the autumn of 1918 Isidore Gukovsky, deputy of the People’s Commissar of Finance in Soviet Russia, arrived in Stockholm. With him he had crates full of money and jewellry. The value of the goods was estimated at 40-60 million roubles. Millions of roubles were transferred to the Stockholm banks, including “Nya Banken” of Olof Aschberg, whose name often appears in the books on the financing of the Bolsheviks.

A Deal with the Devil

It is difficult to tell the exact number of contracts and concessions issued by the Soviet government to the American firms at the beginning of the construction of a new state. But this includes both $25 million of commissions to the American Industrialists for the period from July 1919 to January 1920, and the concession for the extraction of asbestos that was issued to Armand Hammer in 1921, and the lease agreement issued for 60-years to the Frank Vanderlip and its consortium, which provided for the exploitation of deposits of coal and oil, as well as fishing in the North-Siberian region, with an area of 600 thousand sq. km.

The return of funds allocated for the elimination of the Russian Empire, was obviously one of the agreements between the representatives of the Western governments and the Bolsheviks. And both Lenin and Trotsky carefully observed this agreement. However these new leaders did not meet the other Western hopes. Having been put at the helm of Russia to completely ruin it (and the initial aims of the West coincided with the revolutionary dreams of Lenin), Lenin started instead to put the torn apart country back together. To build a strong and independent state which again plays a key role in world politics.

However, the leader of the proletarians did not have long left to live. I do not exclude that the shot from SR member F. Kaplan, that precipitated his death, was a precautionary measure on the part of his former foreign guardians, so that he would not be getting full of himself. Trotsky, perhaps, was ready to continue to work for the West, but in 1929 Stalin sent him out, and then sent in pursuit an assassin R. Mercader, with an ice pick. As we know, no deal with the devil goes without repercussions.

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  1. Pingback: Agents of Revolution-1. Was Lenin a Spy for Germany? | Nemo's Realms

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