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Revolution in Russia 1917

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Understanding Influences

Posted by jim_and_Gerry in Bolshevism, Czar Nicholas II, Leon Trotsky, Mobilisation, Russia, St Petersburg, Vladimir Lenin

Mass meeting at the Putilov Works ini StPetersburg in February 1917.

The First World War drained Russia, literally and metaphorically. By January 1917, after two-and-a-half years of mortal combat, six million young Russians had been killed, seriously wounded or lost in action for no territorial or strategic gain. The dream of winning Constantinople had become a nightmare of miserable defeat. Food shortages, hunger, anti-war agitation and civil unrest increased by the day across the Czar’s once-mighty Empire. On 22 February, 1917, 12,000 workers at the giant Putilov manufacturing plant in Petrograd [1] went on strike and were joined on the streets by thousands of demonstrators chanting ‘Down with the Czar’. Soldiers from the city garrison were sent out to arrest the ring-leaders and end the protest, but they refused to open fire on the angry crowds. The Czar abdicated almost immediately, allegedly because he believed that he had lost the support of his military. The event was bloodless apart from the death of several officers shot by their own men. Thus the first Russian Revolution, known as the ‘February Revolution’, ended 300 years of autocratic monarchical rule. A governing body was established in the Winter Palace in Petrograd by liberal deputies from the existing parliamentary body, the Duma, together with socialists and independents. Termed the ‘Provisional Government’, it kept Russia in the war against Germany and began formulating plans for democratic rule through an elected legislative assembly of the people. It was a beginning.

The seizure of power by Bolshevik revolutionaries on 25 October, 1917, [2] brought communism to Russia and major strife to the entire world for the greater part of the twentieth century. For readers not versed in modern Russian history it is important to note that the Bolshevik Revolution was very distinct from the revolution that had taken place eight months earlier.

Painting of the attack on the Winter Palace in October / November 1917.

During the night of October 24/25, a group of armed communists seized key areas of Petrograd, entered the Winter Palace and assumed control of the country. The coup was led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, two extreme Marxist revolutionaries who had returned to Russia earlier that year from enforced exile. This was the ‘Bolshevik Revolution’, also known as the ‘October Revolution’. Lenin and Trotsky smothered the fledgling attempt at democratic governance, took Russia out of the war with Germany and installed a ruthless communist system that suppressed Russia for the next seventy-four years.

According to received history, the February Revolution was an entirely spontaneous uprising of the people. It was not. The Putilov strike, and the city garrison’s refusal to act against the strikers, was orchestrated from abroad by well-financed agents who had been stirring unrest among the workers and soldiers with propaganda and bribery. The October Revolution was also directly influenced by the same international bankers, with vast financial and logistical support which enabled Lenin and Trotsky to seize power. What is particularly relevant to the Secret Elite narrative is the evidence of their complicity from both sides of the Atlantic. Without external intervention, the Russian Revolutions would never have taken the ruinous direction which destroyed a nation’s hope for justice and democracy. As these blogs unfold over the next weeks please bear this in mind.

Czar Nicholas II at the Front holding an icon to bless his kneeling troops.

Russia had been ruled by the ‘divine right’ of Czars from the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1547-1584) until the abdication of Nicholas II in February 1917. The ruling Romanovs dynasty was one of the richest families in the world, on a par with the Rothschilds. They owned huge estates with elaborate palaces, yachts, a massive collection of diamonds (amounting to 25,300 carats), emeralds, sapphires and fifty-four of the priceless jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs. [3] In May 1917, the New York Times estimated the total wealth of the dynasty to be in the region of $9,000,000,000, [4] a breath-taking sum today let alone a century ago. A significant number of upper and middle class Russians (the bourgeoisie), included merchants, government officials, lawyers, doctors and army officers who enjoyed comfortable incomes and life styles. That said, urban factory workers (the proletariat) and rural agrarian workers (the peasants) comprised the vast majority of the population of 175 million in 1914. But the war haemorrhaged both youth and loyalty. The populace survived on the edge of poverty and hunger, but did not generally support revolutionaries.[5] If radical change was required, it would have to be manufactured.

Czar Alexander II had abolished serfdom in 1861 but opposed movements for political reform. Having survived several attempts on his life, he was eventually assassinated on the streets of St Petersburg in 1881 by members of a revolutionary group, ‘People’s Will’, led by a Jew, Vera Figner. Thereafter, the Jews in the Pale of Settlement [6] were subjected to a series of terrifying pogroms (religious-ethnic massacres). Over the following decades peasants rebelled over taxes which left them debt ridden and oppressed by hopelessness. Workers went on strike for better wages and working conditions. Students demanded civil liberties for all, and even the comfortable bourgeoisie began calling for representative government. Though this clamour for social change and greater equality was apparent across Europe, the Romanovs resisted challenges to their autocratic authority with bitter determination.

Lenin the Revolutionary.

In 1897, in the midst of this social unrest, a 27 year-old Marxist lawyer and intellectual Russian radical, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, was arrested by Czarist secret police (the Okhrana) for subversive activities and sentenced to three years exile in Siberia. Ulyanov was treated lightly in comparison to his older brother, Alexander, who ten years earlier plotted to assassinate Czar Alexander III and was hanged for his troubles. Vladimir Ulyanov took the alias Lenin and would go on to become the most powerful man in Russia following the October Revolution.

Born in Simbirsk (renamed Ulyanovsk in his honour in 1924), a town on the Volga some 900 kilometres east of Moscow, Lenin’s father was an inspector of the provinces schools. His mother, the daughter of a baptised Jewish doctor, Alexander Blank, [7] bought the family a farm of some two hundred acres near Samara for 7,500 roubles. The fact that Lenin had Jewish forebears would have had absolutely no relevance were it not for the fact that many consider the Bolshevik Revolution to have been a Jewish plot. We have already explained how powerful individuals within the Secret Elite who supported Zionism were behind the Balfour Declaration of 2 November, 1917 which led eventually to the creation of the state of Israel. Within 72 hours of that declaration, the men who were financed and aided by these same individuals, seized control of Russia. It does not require a great leap of imagination to consider the possibility that these two seismic events in world history were connected in some way.

In March 1919, The Times reported, ‘One of the most curious features of the Bolshevist movement is the high percentage of non-Russia elements amongst its leaders. Of the 20 or 30 leaders who provide the central machinery of the Bolshevist movement, not less than 75 per cent are Jews…’ [8] Note that The Times differentiated between Russian and Jew, as if it were not possible to be both, while the Jewish Chronicle emphasised the importance of the Jewish influence on Bolshevism: ‘There is much in the fact of Bolshevism itself, in the fact that so many Jews are Bolsheviks, in the fact that the ideals of Bolshevism at many points are consonant with the finest ideals of Judaism’. [9 ] Another Jewish journal, American Hebrew, reported: ‘What Jewish idealism and Jewish discontent have so powerfully contributed to produce in Russia, the same historic qualities of the Jewish mind are tending to promote in other countries….The Bolshevik revolution in Russia was the work of Jewish brains, of Jewish dissatisfaction, of Jewish planning, whose goal is to create a new order in the world. What was performed in so excellent a way in Russia, thanks to Jewish brains, and because of Jewish dissatisfaction and by Jewish planning, shall also, through the same Jewish mental and physical forces, become a reality all over the world.’ [10]
It is interesting to note that in 1920, just three years after the Balfour Declaration, Jewish journals were openly discussing the primacy of Jews in creating a new world order.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn receiving his Nobel Prize for Literature

Rabbi Stephen Wise later commented on the Russian situation: ‘Some call it Marxism I call it Judaism.’ [11] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a victim of the communist regime who spent many years exiled in Siberia and was a later recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, was emphatic that Jews were not involved in the first revolution: ‘The February Revolution was not made by the Jews for the Russians; it was certainly carried out by the Russians themselves. . . . We were ourselves the authors of this shipwreck.’ [12] Solzhenitsyn, however, added: ‘In the course of the summer and autumn of 1917, the Zionist movement continued to gather strength in Russia: in September it had 300,000 adherents. Less known is that Orthodox Jewish organisations enjoyed great popularity in 1917, yielding only to the Zionists and surpassing the socialist parties.’ [13] He observed: ‘There are many Jewish authors who to this very day either deny the support of Jews for Bolshevism, or even reject it angrily, or else…only speak defensively about it… These Jewish renegades were for several years leaders at the centre of the Bolshevik Party, at the head of the Red Army (Trotsky), of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, of the two capitals, of the Comintern …’ [14] Given the repression of the Jews in Russia, it is hardly surprising that they swelled the numbers of active revolutionaries during this period. They had suffered the horror of the pogroms. They had nursed a genuine resentment for Czarist repression. They were determined to change the world.

The relationship between Jews and revolutionaries was explained by Theodor Herzl, one of the fathers of the Zionist movement in a pamphlet, De Judenstat, addressed to the Rothschilds: ‘When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties, and at the same time, when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse’. [15] On Herzl’s death, his successor as president of the World Zionist Organisation was the Russian born David Wolfsohn. In his closing speech at the International Zionist Congress at The Hague in 1907, Wolfsohn pleaded for greater unity among the Jews and said that eventually ‘they must conquer the world’. [16] He did not expand on the role that Jewish Bolshevik revolutionaries might play in this Jewish global aspiration, but from his position it seems apparent that political Zionism and the future ‘homeland’ certainly would.[17] Wolfsohn’s successor as president of the Zionist organisation in 1911 was Otto Warburg, a noted scientist and relative of the Warburg banking family which features heavily in this book. Warburg later spoke of the ‘brilliant prospects of Palestine’ and how an extensive Jewish colonisation would ‘expand into neighbouring countries’.[18]

A report in 1919 from the British Secret Service revealed: ‘There is now definite evidence that Bolshevism is an international movement controlled by Jews; communications are passing between the leaders in America, France, Russia and England, with a view toward concerted action.’ [19] Hilaire Belloc, Anglo-French writer, philosopher and one time Liberal MP at Westminster, wrote: ‘As for anyone who does not know that the present revolutionary movement is Jewish in Russia, I can only say that he must be a man who is taken in by the suppression of our despicable Press. [20] Contemporary commentators failed to link the Balfour Declaration and the Russian Revolution in October / November 1917, despite their links to Zionism and the ‘concerted action’ from both sides of the Atlantic. It should not be seen as a criticism; it was a fact.

  1. The Russian capital, St Petersburg, was renamed Petrograd at the beginning of WW1 to give it a less German sounding name. It reverted to St Petersburg on the fall of communism.

  2. The date, October 25, 1917, was calculated by the old-style the Julian calendar then still used in Russia – The Gregorian calendar used elsewhere in Europe and the United States registered the date as November 7, 1917, thus the old style Julian calendar was 13 days behind the Gregorian.

  3. Sean McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist, The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks, p. xix.

  4. New York Times, 12 May, 1917.

  5. Peter Waldron, The End of Imperial Russia, 1855 – 1917, p. 22.

  6. The Pale of Settlement was territory within the borders of czarist Russia wherein Jews were legally authorised to live. It included present day Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and much of Latvia and Lithuania.

  7. Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, p. 5.

  8. The Times, 29 March, 1919.

  9. Jewish Chronicle, 4 April, 1919.

  10. American Hebrew, 20 September, 1920

  11. Rabbi Stephen Wise, The American Bulletin, 5 May, 1935.

  12. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Juifs et Russes pendant la periode soviétique, Volume 2, pp. 44–45.

  13. Ibid., p. 54.

  14. Ibid., p. 91.


  16. New York Times, September 17, 1914, David Wolfsohn obituary.

  17. Zionism in Europe and America proved to be a comparatively slow-burning evolution. Between 1900 -1917 there was a serious divergence between Zionists who promoted a faith based assimilist belief, and the political Zionists who had one aim – a return to what they claimed as their former homeland in Palestine.

  18. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 14, 1929.

  19. Scotland Yard, A Monthly Review of the Progress of Revolutionary Movements Abroad, July 16, 1919.

  20. Hilaire Belloc. G.K’s Weekly, 4 February, 1937.


The Struggle Within; Bolshevism or Menshevism?

A police photograph of Leon Trotsky taken around 1900.Years prior to the Bolshevik seizure of power, Lenin and many other young revolutionaries who voiced their opposition to the backward Czarist regime were condemned to exile in Siberia. Among them was Leon Davidovitch Bronstein, alias Leon Trotsky, who was sentenced to four years in the frozen wilderness. Trotsky was a Marxist, like Lenin and knew him well, but he initially sided with a softer faction socialism rather than Lenin’s hard-line Bolsheviks. He later switched his allegiance to Lenin when both were financed by western bankers to seize power in October 1917. Thereafter, he became second in command of the Bolsheviks, founded the Red army, and was every bit as infamous as Lenin.

Trotsky was born in 1879 in a small rural village, Yankova, in southern Ukraine. His father, although illiterate, was a relatively wealthy farmer. Resourceful and acquisitive, Bronstein senior owned over 250 acres of land and became a substantial employer. Both of Trotsky’s parents were Jewish, but unlike his agrarian father, his mother was an educated and cultured city dweller from Odessa. Religious observance was of little importance to either, but they sent Leon to a beder, a Jewish school. [1]

In 1902 Trotsky escaped from exile in Siberia, leaving behind his wife Alexandra and their two young daughters. According to Trotsky, it was Alexandra who had insisted that he put his duty to revolution before family. [2] Trotsky blamed ‘fate’ for their separation, but his actions suggested unbridled pragmatism and ‘an urge to free himself from a burden in order to move on to higher things.’ [3] Soon after abandoning his wife and children in Siberia, he divorced Alexandra and married Natalia Sedova, daughter of a wealthy merchant.

In the early years of the century numerous other revolutionaries, who had either completed their exile or escaped from Siberia, left Russia for cities in Western Europe. Many thousands more made their way to New York where they formed a powerful revolutionary group in exile. Banned from St Petersburg, Lenin and a fellow activist, Julius Martov, settled in Munich in Germany where they promoted the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Lenin believed the party had to be run from outside Russia. The RSDLP called its journal Iskra (The “Spark”) believing that from that spark, the flame of revolution would spring: ‘The agents would distribute it, spread party propaganda through local cells and channel information to the Central Committee. The journal would help create a cohesive party that until then had consisted of a series of independent groups.’ [4] Lenin firmly believed Karl Marx’s dictum that capitalism would inevitably disintegrate in Russia and elsewhere because it carried within it the forces of its own destruction. Thereafter, power would be grasped by the workers, the men and women who had been exploited by capital. So the theory ran.

Friends together before the 1903 split. Trotsky seated left, Lenin seated centre and Martov seated to the right.

In late 1901, harassed by the Munich police, Lenin and the Iskra editors moved to Finsbury in London where they were joined for a time by Leon Trotsky. Arguments about the best means of instigating revolution in Russia and elsewhere led to ever increasing conflict, especially between Lenin and his friend and comrade, Julius Martov. Internal wrangling exploded at the 1903 party congress which began in Brussels in July, but was suspended after pressure by the Russian embassy led to fear of police persecution and forced the delegates to complete their business in London. It was ‘the first major conference that was truly representative of party delegates from Russia and all over Europe’.[5] The congress was attended by representatives of 25 recognised social-democratic organisations who had two votes each. For some reason each representative of the Jewish workers organisation, the Bund, had three votes ‘in virtue of the special status… accorded to it by the first congress.’ [6]

The congress was dominated by the Iskra group, but Lenin realized that he could not carry the party forward in the way he desired, so he deliberately split it. Consequently, the revolutionaries divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions. Lenin wanted clear-cut, perfectly defined relationships within the party, and behind the scenes there was a struggle for the support of every individual delegate. Lenin tried to convince Trotsky that he should join the ‘hard’ faction, but he refused. [7]

Lenin in his younger years.

The ‘hard’ faction was led by Lenin who proclaimed his followers to be the bolshinstvo, the ‘men in the majority’, and thereafter they became known as the Bolsheviks. Marxist intellectuals and those of a less intense ideology were attracted to the ‘soft’ faction while the hard Bolshevik group, although it had its share of intellectuals, was favoured more by provincial party workers and professional revolutionaries: “the bacteria of the revolution” as Lenin called them. Basically, the ‘softs’ favoured debate while the hard- line Bolsheviks were militants who considered themselves exclusively the champions of the Russian working class.

Lenin wanted a party he was able to control tightly, and did so through a team of highly disciplined secret workers employed in a semi-military fashion. It was his brainchild, his party, and above all it was his aim to make it the instrument for revolution and the overthrow of the monarchy, despite the knowledge that ‘it could not be achieved without countless victims.’[8]

Julius Martov’s group, including Alexander Kerensky, was allegedly the minority (menshinstvo) in the RSDLP and became known as the Mensheviks. They favoured the establishment of a parliamentary form of government like the French Republic. At first Mensheviks sought to work within the system, believing that revolution in Russia would be started by the middle classes, not the proletariat. Although he flatly refused to join the Bolsheviks, Trotsky was never truly at home with the Mensheviks and aimed to occupy the middle ground.[9 ]He was an internationalist who believed in the abolition of all territorial borders. This, of course, sat well with the long-term globalist goal of dissolution of independent nation states and implementation of one world government so dear to the heart of the Secret Elite. When the Mensheviks ignored Trotsky’s call for reconciliation, he effectively distanced himself from the Bolsheviks. Though nominally still a Menshevik, he attended the Fifth Party Congress of the Bolsheviks in London in 1907 where he met Joseph Stalin.[10]

Lenin subscribed to the consensus view within the RSDLP that revolution should lead to a ‘constituent assembly’ elected by the whole people on the basis of ‘universal, equal and direct suffrage, and with secrecy of the ballot’, but it was the manner in which it could be brought which differentiated his stance from the ‘soft’ Mensheviks. He scoffed at their call for a peaceful democratic processes. ‘Without armed insurrection’ he thundered, ‘a constituent assembly is a phantom, a phrase, a lie, a Frankfort talking-shop’.[11] At the third all -Bolshevik congress in London in April 1905, Lenin gave a long speech on the need for an armed uprising and expressed outrage that the Mensheviks had invited the Social Democrats to take part in elections to the czarist parliament. He considered the slow process of parliamentary reform as blasphemy and his language towards the Mensheviks grew more extreme. That in turn made party reunification impossible.[12]

Julius Martov

Julius Martov, encouraged by Trotsky, considered ending the divisions, but Lenin regarded reunification of the party as an opportunity for the Bolsheviks to swallow up the Mensheviks. In the end Martov, who wanted to retain democratic principles within the Party, rejected this compromise. In 1908 he wrote to his Menshevik comrade Pavel Axelrod: ‘I confess that more and more I think that even nominal involvement with this bandit gang is a mistake’. [13] It was this same Bolshevik ‘bandit gang’ that took control of Russia in October 1917 backed by the international bankers. In the final analysis, the difference between the two factions boiled down to the Bolsheviks’ concept of socialism on the basis of a dictatorship, and the Mensheviks’ on the basis of democracy’.[14] The split widened and deepened until it led to a formal separation after 1912. [15]

Lenin and Trotsky traded insults over the years. Trotsky’s deeply held belief lay in the democratic ‘Westernising’ principle, but Lenin considered him evasive, underhand, and ‘merely posing as a leftist’. Trotsky retorted that ‘the entire structure of Leninism is at present based on lies and falsification and carries within it the poisonous seeds of its own destruction.’ [16] According to Trotsky, Lenin had lost sight of the struggle for the emancipation of the working class and had become a despot who spoke of the victory of the proletariat when he really meant victory over the proletariat.[17] Trotsky was correct but his instinct was insufficiently strong to maintain the rift between them, especially, as we will shortly detail, wealthy outside influences drew them together.

1. Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky, The Eternal Revolutionary, pp. 2-3.

2. Leon Trotsky, My Life, p. 132.

3. Volkogonov, Trotsky, pp. 11-12.

4. Michael Pearson, The Sealed Train, Journey to Revolution, p. 26.

5. Ibid., p. 30.

6. E.H.Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923, p. 26.

7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 160.

8. Dimitri Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, p. xxxii.

9. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 31,

10. Volkcogonov, Trotsky, p. 47.

11. E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 86.

12. Volkcogonov, Lenin, p. 84.

13. Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, pp. 85-86.

14. Ibid.

15. E. H Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p.26.

16. Volkogonov, Trotsky, pp. 30-31 .

17. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 32.


1904-1914 Repression, Revolt and False Promises

While the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks wrestled with each other for control of a revolution in Russian society, events intervened. In February 1904, just six months after the Brussels/London RSDLP conference ended in the infamous Bolshevik v Menshevik split, Russia was inveigled into a disastrous war with Japan in the Far East. Its roots are to be found in the Machiavellian machinations of the British foreign office, the Secret Elite, including King Edward VII, Sir Ernest Cassel, and Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb bank on Wall Street. [1] Outraged by the horrendous anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, Schiff made it a point of honour to help finance Japan in its war against Russia.

Depiction of the Japanese fleet at battle of Tshushima. The fleet was led by the British-built pre-dreadnought Mikasa.

To the surprise and delight of the Imperial Japanese government, he volunteered to underwrite half of the ten million pound loan they raised in New York and London. He knew that the Japanese fleet had been built in British shipyards and their latest naval technology outgunned and outpaced the antiquated Czarist navy. Victory was not in doubt. This first of five major Kuhn, Loeb loans to Japan was approved by the Secret Elite’s main agent, King Edward VII at a luncheon with Schiff and Sir Ernest Cassel. In Germany, under-secretary of State Arthur Zimmerman endorsed the move and authorised Max Warburg to negotiate with Japan. [2] The Rothschilds had to tread carefully. While an international consortium of largely British-owned banking houses ensured that around half of Japan’s war debt was financed through bonds sold in London and New York, the Rothschild held massive investments in Russia, not lest in the Baku oilfields. Manipulators at the heart of the Secret Elite, like Lord Esher, facilitated meetings held on the Rothschild premises to enable the Japanese financial envoy, Takahashi Korekiyo, raise their war chest. [3]

As the Russo-Japanese War lurched from one disaster to another, political unrest in Russia deepened. In the infamous ‘Bloody Sunday’ atrocity of 22 January 1905, troops fired on a huge, but orderly, crowd of workers marching to the Winter Palace behind the charismatic Russian priest Father Georgii Gapon. Their intention was to present a petition to the Czar calling for universal suffrage. Around 1,000 peaceful marchers and onlookers were killed. Nicholas II had left the city the night before and did not give the order to fire personally, but he lost the respect of many Russians. 1905 was disrupted with direct action from workers’ demonstrations, strikes and rebellion by sections of the army and navy. The crew of the battleship Potemkin mutinied, killing the captain and several officers.

Striking workers formed ‘Soviets’, councils of delegates from workers committees, who could coordinate action. They sprang up in major towns and cities, including St Petersburg, where Trotsky, then twenty-three-years-old, played a major role. He had returned illegally from the safety of Finland under a false name and in the guise of a successful entrepreneur. Trotsky immediately wrote proclamations for distribution in factories and posted these throughout the city. In October 1905 a local strike by print workers flared into a national protest. Gangs of armed right-wing extremists were encouraged by the police to hold counter-demonstrations under the banners of ‘Holy Russia’ and ‘God save the Czar’. In response to the violence, the factory workers armed themselves. A showdown was inevitable.

A painting of the Bloody Sunday massacre by Ivan Vladimirov

In December, the Izmailovsky Regiment in St Petersburg was ordered to arrest the entire executive committee of the Soviet in the capital. In sympathy, the Moscow Soviet declared a strike and thousands of Muscovites took to the streets in protest. Cossacks sent to break up the Moscow demonstrations, twice refused orders to charge, and sympathised with the strikers. The crack Semenovsky Guards were less sympathetic, cornering protestors in Presnya, a workers’ district in the city, before shelling the area for three days. Many hundreds were killed including eighty-six children. [4] 1905 had started with the Bloody Sunday massacre and ended with the Presnya massacre. Czarist forces, including the secret and much feared Okhrana secret police, prevailed. Later that year, Trotsky and 13 other members of the St Petersburg Soviet were arrested for political scheming and spent thirteen months as prisoners in the city gaol awaiting trial. In January 1907 each was given a life sentence of exile in a small Siberian village above the Arctic Circle, 600 miles from the nearest railway station. Trotsky escaped on his journey into exile and trekked for hundreds of miles through the Urals before making his way to Finland from where, after an extremely frosty meeting with Lenin, he went on to Stockholm and then Vienna.

Nicholas II ruthlessly persecuted the insurrectionists yet introduced measures of reform, including some basic civil liberties and the creation of a State Assembly, the Duma. It was similar to a parliamentary-type elected body but, much like the British parliament in the early nineteenth century, only male property owners and taxpayers were represented. The Czar retained power over State Ministers, who answered to him, not the Duma. If he was dissatisfied with the representative body not could be dissolved at will and fresh elections held.

Unrest continued. Prime Minister and committed monarchist, Pytor Stolypin, survived an attempt on his life in August 1906 when a bomb ripped his dacha (villa) apart while he was hosting a party. Twenty-eight of his guests were killed and many injured, including his two children. In June 1907, Stolypin dissolved the Second Duma, and restricted the franchise by sacking a number of liberals and replacing them with more conservatives and monarchists. In a further attempt to counter the revolutionaries, he enforced a police crackdown on public demonstrations. On a more liberal note, Stolypin introduced agrarian reforms which helped provide opportunities for many peasants desperate for land. Once noticeable consequence was a huge year-on-year increases in food production. Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador at St Petersburg, noted that though he failed to destroy the seeds of unrest which continued to germinate underground, Stolypin rescued Russia from anarchy and chaos. His agrarian policy surpassed all expectations, and at the time of his death nearly 19,000,000 acres of farmland had been allotted to individual peasant proprietors, by the land committees. [5]

Peasant emancipation and the consequent increase in food production were abhorrent to the Bolsheviks. They intended to bring all land under state control and implement cooperative food production. Trotsky had called the peasantry ‘a vast reservoir of potential revolutionaries’, and ‘accepted the indispensable importance of a peasant rising as an auxiliary to the main task of the proletariat’. [6] The goal was revolution and government controlled by the proletariat, that is, the working class who sold their labour for a wage, but did not own the means of production.

Depiction of Stolypin's assassination

Peasant farmers had to be brought on-board if the revolution was to succeed, but that prospect receded as ever greater numbers were enabled to own their farms. It was clear to both the Czarist regime and the Bolsheviks that the peasantry would not support a political system that would deny them ownership of their land. Stolypin’s success threatened the revolution; his agrarian reforms had to be terminated. On 14 September 1911, while attending a performance at the Kiev Opera House in the presence of Czar Nicholas II, the prime minister was shot dead by a Jewish revolutionary, Mordekhai Gershkovich. Trotsky later commented: ‘Stolypin’s constitution … had every chance of surviving’. [7] Exactly so. Stolypin was assassinated by the revolutionaries not because he failed to improve the lot of the peasant, but because he was so successful in winning them over.

Nine months later, in April 1912, miners in the Lena goldfields in north-east Siberia went on strike. The mines produced large profits for their London registered company, but workers were paid a pittance for 16 hours per day under atrocious conditions. The strike was savagely crushed. In what proved to be the worst massacre since Bloody Sunday, troops fired on striking workers leaving more than 500 casualties. [8] The slaughter heralded a further wave of industrial unrest, agitation and mounting tension throughout the country. Two weeks after the massacre, the Bolsheviks founded a new newspaper, Pravda.

Despite these tragic events, preparations for the First World War gathered pace. After the humbling defeat to Japan in 1905, Russian industry recovered spectacularly thanks to the Rothschilds and other international bankers who continued to pour massive loans into the country. The Russian economy grew at an average rate of 8.8 per cent and by 1914 there were almost a thousand factories in Petrograd alone, many devoted to producing armaments. The expansion of Russia’s war industry, along with her rail network into Poland, deeply worried war planners in Berlin. But it came at a cost. ‘The pre-war Russian boom was thus highly leveraged, [and] dependent on a constant influx of foreign capital, which if it ever dried up, would leave Russia’s entire economy vulnerable.’ [9]

Workers outside the vast Putilov factories in St Petersburg.

Shipbuilding, railroad construction and armaments and munitions production significantly expanded. The international bankers earned large profits from substantial interest rates on their loans, and at the same time, enabled Russia to conduct a major rearmament programme in readiness for the Secret Elite’s coming war with Germany. Given that Britain had no land army on European soil, Russian manpower was absolutely critical to an attack on Germany. Bullets and artillery shells were produced by the millions. A powerful new fleet of battleships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines began rising on the stocks in shipyards across the empire. Conditions attached to large railway loans insisted that these had to be used purely for the construction of new railroads which ran towards Germany’s borders. Why was this particular stipulation given priority? Mobilising an army of millions had never been easy. It required efficient planning and careful logistical organisation. A capable railway network was a prerequisite for the mobilisation of the huge Russian armies which would be critical when war with Germany was declared. [10] Look again at the men who laid down the stipulation. International bankers. How odd, unless of course it was they who were planning the war.

In late July 1914, Czar Nicholas II, urged on in his recklessness by the French president, Poincare, and secret understandings with the British government, used the pretext of protecting Serbia against Austrian retribution to force Germany to declare war. He ordered the general mobilisation of Russia’s armies through a massive build-up of troops along Germany’s Eastern border. General mobilisation was recognised by all nations as an act of war. Faced with invasion by millions of Russian troops, and despite repeated requests from Kaiser Wilhelm directly to Czar Nicholas that he should stop the troop movements, Germany was left with no choice but to mobilise her own forces and go to war with Russia. [11]

Czar Nicholas II with his army before the revolution.

To repay the Czar for his ‘loyalty’, the Secret Elite dangled before him the golden carrot of Russia’s ultimate dream. A solemn promise was given that Russia would be given Constantinople and the Straits once Germany had been defeated, the holy grail of Russian leaders for centuries. That was why Russia went to war in July 1914, not, as she claimed, to defend Serbia. As the years dragged on and the Russian losses on the Eastern Front approached six million dead or seriously wounded, even the Czar began to suspect that Perfidious Albion had tricked them into war with an empty promise. [12] It had. Their ownership of Constantinople remained as illusionary as it always had.

In a sense it was as though Russia went to war in 1914 despite the revolutionary undercurrent. Victory on the field of battle, the glittering reward of a warm-water port at Constantinople, the spoils from a broken and defeated Germany would surely have renewed popular faith in the Russian monarchy. In fact the deeply wounded Russian people suffered defeat, disgrace and ultimate disintegration. The socialist forces that had been growing steadily between 1904 and 1914 found direct backing from foreign quarters few ever understood. This has to be fully examined.

1. Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor, Hidden History, The Secret Origins of the First World War, pp. 86-87.

2. Ron Chernow, The Warburgs, p. 110.

3. Takahashi Korekiyo, The Rothschilds and the Russo-Japanese War,1904-6, pp. 20-21.

4. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 34.

5. George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia and Other Diplomatic Memories, vol. 1, p. 77.

6. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 60.

7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 208.

8 Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution. P. 65.

9. McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist, p. xvii.

10. Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History, p 297.

11. Ibid, p. 239.

12. Guido Preparata, Conjuring Hitler, p. 27.



Russian prisoners captured by the Germans at Tannenberg

Russia’s hopes for victory over Germany were dashed early. At Tannenberg and the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, in 1914, the Czar lost two entire armies of over 250,000 troops. Although the Russian advance into East Prussia disrupted the German plan of attack and impacted on, or indeed prevented the fall of Paris on the Western Front, it also signalled the beginning of an unrelenting Russian retreat on the Eastern Front. By the middle of 1915 all of Russian Poland and Lithuania, and most of Latvia, were overrun by the German army. Fortunately for the Russians, their performance on the field of battle improved in 1916. The supply of rifles and artillery shells to the Eastern Front had been markedly improved, and in June 1916, Russia achieved significant victories over the Austrians and the Turks. However, the country’s political and economic problems were greatly exacerbated by the war. Many factors – including the militarisation of industry and crises in food supply – threatened disaster on the home front. [1] But where were the leaders of the revolution?

After war had been declared, all opposition was clamped down. In the early months of fighting, five Soviet Deputies and other members of the Duma who condemned the war, were arrested and exiled in Siberia. Pravda was suppressed and the central Bolshevik organisation in Russia was virtually broken by the authorities. Local bolshevik groups inside Russia continued surreptitious propaganda, but communications with Lenin and the central committee in Switzerland were intermittent and dangerous. Lenin was resident in Vienna when the war began, but moved to the comfort and safety of neutral Switzerland where he wrote, watched and waited. The Bolshevik movement was relatively quiescent because so many leading members were either exiled abroad or had been sent to Siberia.


Lenin’s small émigré cabal held a conference in Berne and called on all armies to turn their weapons ‘not against brothers and the hired slaves of other countries, but against the reactionary and Bourgeois governments of all countries’. [2] Communication with Russia was slow, but Lenin gained a growing impression that ‘an earthquake’ was approaching because of the hardships imposed by war and the strain of constant defeats.

Lenin resided in Switzerland for the first two years of war while Trotsky spent 1915-1916 across the border in France, repeatedly irritating the French authorities. He attended the international socialist conference in Zimmerwald, Switzerland, in September 2015 which called for an end to the war and wrote inflammatory articles for a small anti-militarist Menshevik journal Nashe Slovo (Our Word). In September 1916 a group of Russian soldiers from a transport ship at Marseilles rioted and stoned their colonel to death. When the riot was put down and the soldiers arrested, some were found to be in possession of Nashe Slovo which contained anti-war articles written by Trotsky. He claimed that the newspapers had been planted by French police to provide a reason to expel him from the country. On 30 October 1916, two gendarmes escorted him to the Spanish border from where Trotsky made his way to Madrid. On 9 November, after ten days of unrestricted freedom in that expansive city, Spanish detectives apparently tracked him down and arrested him as a ‘known anarchist’ and undesirable alien. [3]

Here begins a remarkable story, largely drawn from Leon Trotsky’s autobiography. [4] A mysterious benefactor arranged Trotsky’s release from jail in Madrid and his transfer, under police supervision, to the southern port of Cadiz. There he waited for another six weeks. On 24 November, Trotsky wrote a long and revealing letter to his comrade Moisei Uritskii in Copenhagen in which he confessed that when he arrived in Cadiz he had roughly 40 francs in his pocket. Somehow, the Trotsky–Uritskii letter fell into the hands of the British Secret Service. British intelligence, under the control of the admiralty’s Naval Intelligence Division (NID), headed by Admiral William Reginald ‘Blinker’ Hall [5] watched his every move. Hall played a central role for the Secret Elite inside the admiralty and amongst his dubious achievements he manoeuvred the Lusitania into the jaws of a German U-Boat off the south coast of Ireland in 1915 and monitored communications between the American embassy in London and Washington. [ See Blog ] But who was Moisei Uritskii?

Moisei Uritskii

A Russian lawyer, Uritskii was a member of the Jewish socialist party, the Labour Bund, and spent a period of time in exile. After the Bolsheviks seized power, Uritskii was installed as head of the Petrograd division of the feared Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, and directly responsible for the torture and death of many innocents. In Copenhagen, Moisei Uritskii was closely associated with another revolutionary plotter, Alexander Israel Helphand-Parvus,’ [6] yet another very important player in Secret Elite intrigues. These connections cannot be explained by chance.

After a relaxing stay in Cadiz, Trotsky was taken to Barcelona to be ‘deported’ to New York. Why Barcelona? Cadiz was an equally important seaport with closer connections to New York. According to Trotsky, ‘I managed to get permission to go there to meet my family.’ [7] Trotsky’s second wife, Natalia, and their two sons were brought by ‘special arrangement’ from Paris to join him in Barcelona where they were taken on tourist trips by the detectives. From whom did he obtain special ‘permission’? This was not the normal sequence of events; first class prison cell, hotels in Cadiz and Barcelona, sightseeing with his detectives? The man was not being treated as an ‘undesirable alien’. He and his family were being pampered. At Barcelona, on Christmas Day 1916, they boarded the Spanish passenger ship, Monserrat to New York. Immigration Service archives relating to foreign nationals arriving at Ellis Island in 1916 indicated that the Trotsky family travelled first class to New York. Moreover, information collected by American immigration showed that the fares had been purchased for him not by him. [8] But by whom?

Poster for Cravan's 1916 fight in Spain 1916

A fellow passenger, one of the very few with whom Trotsky engaged, was the light-heavyweight prize fighter, Arthur Cravan who had been defeated in a world title fight in Barcelona in front of a crowd of 30,000. The purpose behind Cravan’s journey is unknown, but the intriguing possibility has been raised that he was a British agent sent to glean as much information as he could from Trotsky. On arrival in New York he would have reported to Sir William Wiseman, head of British Intelligence in the United States. [9] There is the additional possibility that the tall, powerfully built, Cravan served as Trotsky’s personal bodyguard. This is not as fanciful as it might first appear. He had clearly been exceptionally well protected by plain clothes police officers throughout his time in Spain. Trotsky’s expected arrival in the United States had been published in the American press at the very time anti-German propaganda and pro-war jingoism moved into overdrive. The international bankers who were to use him as one of their major pawns in their Russian intervention wanted no mishap to befall a key player before the game had even started.

Monserrat arrived in New York late at night on January 13, 1917. The passenger manifest prepared for the U.S. immigration authorities showed that Trotsky was carrying at least $500 (an equivalent of $10,000 today). His initial residence was given as the exclusive Astor Hotel, the favoured haunt of the banking and financial elites when in New York. The reservation had been made for him by persons as yet unknown. [10] Trotsky failed to record in his autobiography that he and his family stayed at the Astor, but related how he ‘rented’ an apartment in a ‘workers district’, paying three month’s rent in advance.

Trotsky's apartment at 1522 Vyse Avenue in the Bronx.

The apartment, on Vyse Avenue in the Bronx, had every convenience, including ‘a gas cooking range, bath, telephone, automatic service elevator and a chute for garbage.’ [11] There was even a concierge. Perhaps most astonishingly, the family used a chauffeured limousine. Trotsky, the ‘impoverished, undesirable’ revolutionary, had enjoyed a first-class cell in Madrid; stayed at upmarket hotels in Cadiz then Barcelona for six weeks; went on guided tours with his family; travelled first-class on a 13 day voyage to New York; stayed at a luxury hotel before renting an excellent apartment in New York and enjoyed stylish living standards and a chauffeur. How? In stark contrast to his immense good fortune, concurrent events in Russia precipitated disaster. While Trotsky luxuriated in New York, revolution exploded on the streets of St Petersburg. Odd that Trotsky and Lenin were comfortably moth-balled outwith the danger zone, leaders-in-waiting, supported and protected by un-named persons.

The Czar and military authorities recognised that civilian discontent was once again rampant throughout the country. They were likewise acutely aware ‘that gigantic forces were at work fomenting a revolutionary movement on an unprecedented scale.’ [12] In late December 1916 the highly controversial Russian faith healer, Grigori Rasputin, was brutally murdered. The Czarina had fallen completely under Rasputin’s influence in 1907 when she believed he had the power to save her haemophiliac son.

Other violent events presaged the ‘earthquake’ that Lenin had predicted but the Czar hoped to ward off revolution by victory in the field and the ultimate prize of Constantinople. Desperate to achieve this, Russia’s most able military leaders planned a great summer offensive in 1917 with upwards of 7,000,000 troops thrown onto the Eastern Front. They intended to breach the gates of Berlin, Vienna and Constantinople. Insufficient armaments, especially artillery, was a problem, but they were confident that Britain and America would supply these vital requirements. The Russians believed that ‘the very pressure of this colossal army, combined with a simultaneous offensive by the British and French on the Western Front, would beat Germany to her knees and lead to an overwhelming victory by September, 1917.’ [13]

Alarm bells rang in the hidden corridors of power. The secret cabal in London no longer had any need for a massive Russian offensive to win the war. They knew, from the earliest days of 1915, that victory was certain once supplies of food, oil, minerals, gun cotton and the wherewithal to produce munitions in Germany, were stopped. But the war had to be prolonged almost beyond endurance to crush Germany. That was at all times the primary objective. April 1917 saw America abandon her sham neutrality and enter the fray. Fresh blood from across the Atlantic would help replace the millions still being haemorrhaged on the Western Front. Russia had more or less served her purpose. The Americans were coming.

Constantinople, the Czar's prime target which would give his Imperial Navy access to an all year warm water port.

The Secret Elite had promised the Czar that Russia would be given Constantinople as a just reward for the Russian war effort, but were determined that it would never come to pass. Although the Allies had sacrificed a quarter of a million men on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, as explained earlier, these were deliberately set to fail in order to keep Russia involved in the war but out of Constantinople. In 1915 such action was critically important. Two years on, circumstances had radically changed. The Secret Elite would certainly not allow Russia to take possession of the Ottoman capital in 1917 through a major offensive that might end the war. They intended to carve up the Ottoman Empire for themselves, and Russia would not be permitted to interfere.

Further steps had to be taken to ensure Russian failure. If that caused a consequent regime change, so be it. There was no love for the Romanovs in the foreign office. The Secret Elite had to ensure that a possible future rival for key parts of the Turkish Empire, the oil-rich sands of Persia or the vital trading routes to India was removed. Permanently.

1.Dr Jonathan Smele, Warned the Revolution in Russia, 1914-1921 in BBC History
2.Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 66.
3. Richard B Spence, Hidden Agendas; Spies, Lies and Intrigue surrounding Trotsky’s American visit of January-April 1917.
4. Leon Trotsky, My Life, An Attempt at an Autobiography.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 267.
8. Richard B Spence, Hidden Agendas; Spies, Lies and Intrigue surrounding Trotsky’s American visit of January-April 1917.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
12. Boris L. Brasol, The World at the Crossroads, p. 58.
13. Ibid., pp. 62-64.

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