Agents of Revolution-1. Was Lenin a Spy for Germany?

Marking the centenary of the October Revolution, I am publishing translations of three articles from “Argumenty i Fakty”. The first article in a series of two from 11.04.2012, taking a look at who was Valdimir Uljanov / Lenin. The article is by a reputable historian and writer Nikolai Starikov.


Vladimir Lenin’s journey with a group of friends in a “sealed train” starting from a quiet and well-to-do Switzerland, through Germany and into the revolutionary Russia, that took place exactly 95 years ago (the article is from 2012), gave rise to the rumours that Lenin was a German spy.

This trip that changed the course of the world history, still raises many questions. Chief among them: who helped Lenin to return home? In the spring of 1917 Germany was at war with Russia, and it would have benefited Germans to drop at the heart of the enemy a handful of Bolsheviks who preached the defeat of their government in the imperialist war. But not all is that simple, says the writer and historian Nikolai Starikov, author of the books “Chaos and revolution – weapon of the dollar”, “1917. The answer to “Russian” revolution,” etc.

– If Lenin was a German spy, he would have immediately begun to seek the return to Petrograd through Germany. And would, of course, immediately get a go-ahead. But reality was different. Let’s remember: tiny Switzerland, where Iljich lived, was surrounded by France, Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary, locked in mortal combat.

There were two ways to leave Switzerland: through an Entente member country or through the territory of its opponents. Lenin initially selects the first option. On the 5th (18th) March (here and further the date in bracket is according to the new style. – Ed.) Inessa Armand receives from him the following telegram: “My Dear friend! We are dreaming about the trip… I would love to give You an assignment in England to learn quietly and surely, if I could pass through. I shake your hand. Yours V.U.”. Between the 2nd (15th) and 6th (19th) of March of 1917, Lenin telegraphs to his colleague Ganetsky in Stockholm, presenting a different plan: to travel to Russia under the guise of… a deaf-mute Swede. While on March the 6th, in a letter to V. A. Karpinsky he suggests: “Buy in your name papers for a journey to France and England, and I will use them to go through England (and Holland) to Russia. I can wear a wig”.

The first mention of Germany as a route appears in a telegram to Karpinsku from Lenin on the 7th (20th) of March – on the 4th day of the search for options. But soon he confesses in a letter to I. Armand: “It does not work out with Germany”. Isn’t it strange? Lenin could not agree with the “accomplices” – the Germans – on the passage through their territory and was for a long time inventing workarounds: either to “quietly” go through England, or in a wig with false documents through France, or to pretend to be deaf and dumb Swede…

Conspiracy of the “allies”

I am convinced that even if there had been some secret agreements between Lenin and the German authorities at that point, they were very vague. Otherwise there would initially be no difficulties with his delivery to Russia. The Germans did not expect a successful February revolution, they did not expect any revolution at all! Because, apparently, they were not preparing any revolution. Then who prepared the February of 1917? For me the answer is obvious: Western “allies” of Russia in the Entente. It is their agents who brought first the workers and then the soldiers out on the streets of Petrograd, while the British and French ambassadors were in charge of these events. It happened unexpectedly, not only for the Germans, but also for the Bolsheviks. Lenin and his comrades were not required until February, the “allied” intelligence agencies were able to organize labour unrest and military rebellion without their aid. But so as to bring the revolutionary process to fulfilment (i.e., the collapse of Russia, which would fully subordinate her to the will of the Atlantic powers), it was required to add fresh yeast to the boiler – in the form of Lenin.

There is every reason to believe that in March 1917 it was the “allied” intelligence that in separate negotiations with the Germans convinced them not to hinder the movement of the Russians-Bolsheviks (i.e. representatives of the enemy country, who, according to the law of war, should have been arrested and put in jail until the end of the war). And the Germans agreed to that.

General Erich Ludendorff wrote in his memoirs: “By sending Lenin to Russia our government assumed a special responsibility. From a military point of view his journey through Germany had its justification: Russia had to collapse into the abyss.” After learning the good news, Lenin was delighted. “You will maybe say that the Germans will not provide a carriage. Let’s bet that they will!” he writes on March the 19th (April 1st) to Inessa Armand. And later, also to her: “We have more money for the trip, than what I anticipated… our comrades in Stockholm helped a lot”. Less than two weeks passed between the two letters to his beloved (“Germany won’t let us pass” and “they’ll give [a carriage]”), and during that time, the United States, Britain and Germany decided the fate of Russia. The Americans provided the necessary for Russian radicals money (indirectly, through the selfsame Germans and Swedes), while the British provided the non-interference from the Provisional Government, which they controlled. In Stockholm – where Lenin and his companions arrived after a long journey by train through Germany, and then by a ferry to Sweden – they easily got a group visa to Russia at the Russian Consulate. Moreover, the Provisional Government even paid for their tickets home from Stockholm! The revolutionaries were met by a guard of honour at the Finland railway station in Petrograd on the 3rd (16th) of April. Lenin gave a speech, which concluded with the words: “Long live the socialist revolution!” But the new government of Russia did not even think of arresting him…

The bucks at his bosom

Another fiery revolutionary, Leon Trotsky (Bronstein), was preparing for a journey home from the United States during those same March days. Like Vladimir Lenin, Lev Davidovich received all the documents from the Russian Consul in New York. On the 14th (27th) of March Trotsky departed with his family from New York on the ship “Kristianiafjord”. However, upon arrival to Canada, he and several of his associates were briefly taken ashore. But soon they were allowed to continue – at the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Provisional Government, Pavel Miliukov. An amazing request, isn’t it? Not in the least, if you consider that Milyukov was a personal friend of Jacob Schiff, an American magnate, “chief sponsor” of several Russian revolutions. During the arrest, by the way, it turned out that Trotsky was a U.S. citizen travelling on British transit visa and a visa for entry to Russia.

Additionally, ten thousand dollars were found in his possession – a huge amount at that time, which he could hardly have earned only from the fees for newspaper articles. If that, however, was money for the Russian revolution, then it was only a negligible part. Principal amounts from the American bankers were transferred to the correct accounts of verified people. This was nothing new for Schiff and other financiers of the United States. They allocated funds to the Social Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats in 1905, and also helped those who prepared the February. And now came the time to help the most “hard core” revolutionaries. By the way, in the case of Trotsky, this assistance was almost a family affair: the wife of Lev Davidovich, nee Sedova, was the daughter of a wealthy banker Zhivotovsky – companion of Warburg bankers, and those in turn were companions and relatives of Jacob Schiff.

100 Year Anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917

This 7th of October 2017 marks the 100 year anniversary of the October (old style) Russian Revolution of 1917.

The event itself was both a curse and a blessing for Russia, a great tragedy and a salvation. Like so many times before and after, Russia rose from the ashes, stronger than what her ill-wishers could possibly imagine. Many controversies are floating around the subject of the Revolution, and many inaccuracies.

Let us start with the first – there were two revolutions. One in February, which actually depose Tzar Nikolai II, and one in October. The February revolution carried all the traits of a colour revolution – from the public unrest (justified, but externally directed), to removal of the current order in the country. There is evidence that the abdication note from Nikolai II is forged. After the February revolution, the temporary government did not have any real power, the country was plunged in a state power vacuum, which was ultimately filled in October/November 1917.

From a bird’s eye view perspective, one can argue that the foundation for the revolution (or what one would call nowadays with the ignomous term of Maidan) were laid much earlier – with the first attempt in 1905. Later, creation of the pretext of WWI, dragging of Russia in to World War (despite Nikolai II’s attempts to avoid it), the October revolution, the Versailles Treaty wich basically made WWII inevitable, and ultimately WWII itself were beads of a string of one single event.

WWI laid the foundations putting for economic strain, and thus social unrest on the pre-WWI economically blossoming Russia. WWI gave Britain hope to weaken and do away with Russia, and for Germany to get “lebensraum” (yes, that term was not coined by Hitler, but prior to WWI, and later adopted by him).

By 1917 Germany badly needed Russia to exit WWI as it overstrained itself, Britain still needed Russia destroyed. Lenin gave promises to both sides, thus getting financing from Britain and free passage from Germany. He also delivered on most, but not all of the promises, ultimately saving Russia from destruction.

British king George V, while granting asylum to a jeweller Carl Faberge, refused such courtesy to cousin of Nikolai II. Britain did not need any legitimate continuity of rule in Russi, it need Russia weakened and dismembered, and Lenin was the demolition man, though luckily for Russia he did not prove as cooperative as Britain had hoped, once in power.

There is an enlightening article at RT, Why didn’t Britain’s king save deposed Russian cousin after revolution? with this photo. Can you tell George V from Nikolai II?

Lada Ray conveyed the above and more in her post What is the Truth about 1917 Bolshevik Revolution? Striking Festival of Light in St. Petersburg, as well as in her informative Webinar INVERTED COLLAPSE USSR’S PAST – WEST’S FUTURE.

I planning on translating three articles from Aigumenty i Fakty pertaining to the financing, ties and movement of Lenin in 1917. Stay tunes.