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MI6: Lenin vehemently opposed pseudo-“Red” terror, Trotsky-Zinoviev faction was responsible for atrocities attributed to Bolsheviks during Civil War


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The History of the USSR & the Peoples’ Democracies

Chapter 2, Section 6 (C2S6) 


Saed Teymuri


As the territory of the former Russian Empire was mostly agrarian, the peasants predominated. They had recently gotten land by the Soviet state, and this they appreciated immensely. However, the petit-bourgeoisie inevitably bear some class characteristics that can serve as a force of undermining communism. Unlike the proletariat who have nothing to lose but wage-slavery in the fight against finance capital, the petit-bourgeoisie are unwilling to risk their small businesses in the struggle against finance capital. The unwillingness of the petit-bourgeoisie to risk confrontation against finance capital results in a stronger presence of the reactionary anti-proletarian class forces in the agrarian areas, as in contrast to the proletarianized areas. Such a strong imperialist-fascist finance capital presence inevitably strikes the communist movement of the proletariat as well, leading to the intelligence penetration of the agents of fascism into the ranks of the Party of the proletariat. In the context of the Bolshevik revolution, the most important trend representing the intelligence penetration of fascism into the communist party was Trotskyism. More details on Leon Trotsky’s intelligence activities for the MI6 will be provided shortly later, but for now, let it be known that Leon Trotsky and his gang were aiming to provoke anti-Bolshevik uprisings by carrying out ‘red’ terror operations and ‘excesses’ in the name of communism, under the crimson banner, so that the masses would confuse the Bolsheviks with the Trotskyite terror and hence launch counter-revolutionary uprisings against the Bolsheviks. Once such an uprising takes place, the Trotskyites would then open up the front in the face of such a counter-revolutionary uprising so that the Bolsheviks would be decimated.

Two major MI6 reports at the time make truly enlightening remarks regarding the factional conflict amongst the Bolsheviks. One report is by the Political Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office, written in early 1919. The other is by Sir Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart – the prominent anti-Soviet MI6 operative and British Consul General in Moscow – in a memorandum to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and former British Prime Minister Lord Balfour. Both reports shed light on the fundamental clash between the factions of Lenin and Trotsky. As the Political Intelligence Department report stated:

Recently, … the cleavage between Lenin’s party on the one hand, and the party led by Trotski and Zinoviev on the other, has taken a different form. The cleavage is both on international and on internal policy. (MEMORANDUM ON TWO TENDENCIES IN THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT, Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office, Russia /020, February 15, 1919. In: Foreign Office (1917-1918), p. 58) (IMG)

MI6 reports prove that whereas the Trotsky-Zinoviev fifth column in the Party advocated savage terrorism, wild orgies of bloodshed, mass extermination of innocents, and summary executions in the name of ‘socialism’, not to mention arrogant dictatorial behaviour and vicious attacks on freedom of speech and opinion, Lenin stood firmly opposed to such extremist behaviour. Instead, Lenin and his faction advocated the imprisonment of those actively engaged in hostile anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary activity, as well as the confiscation of property – the latter turned many anti-Soviet elite (bourgeois, aristocrat, etc.) families into commoners. No doubt, by confiscation of property, numerous elites-turned-commoners likely began to starve to death; but such deaths cannot be blamed on Lenin’s faction of the Bolsheviks per se because extreme starvation was the condition of all the common people of war-stricken Europe, and not just the former bourgeois/aristocrat families of the newly born Soviet state. In fact, as the MI6 report suggests, when these starving Russian elite-turned-commoner families sought refuge in Sweden, even the latter country did not have the sufficient supply of resources to accommodate these individuals. Especially under such horrific conditions of mass starvation, confiscation and redistribution of elite property was the only fair, unlike the savage Trotskyite terror. Anyways, excerpts of the mentioned MI6 reports are below:

The course of events at every stage of the Bolshevik regime shows that the real power has been coming more and more into the hands of adventurers whose one desire is to enrich themselves and maintain themselves in power.

This process became clearly marked as far back as last summer. It then became known that the Central Government, controlled by Lenin, was finding it increasingly difficult to control the Extraordinary Commission under Peters. The Extraordinary Commission was entrusted with the task of combating counter-revolution, speculation, and sabotage, which, literally interpreted, meant that it could get anybody out of the way who was inconvenient. After the attempt on Lenin’s life at the end of August the Extraordinary Commission indulged in a wild orgy of bloodshed, to which Lenin, on his recovery, immediately tried to put a stop. There seems little doubt that Lenin’s influence helped to keep the terror less savage in Moscow than it was in Petrograd, where Zinoviev was able to give free play to his passions.

This is, therefore, one point on which Lenin is more moderate than the extreme Bolshevik leaders, such as Trotski and Zinoviev. At the same time it must be remembered that, though Lenin was opposed to the wholesale executions, he was equally in favour of crushing the bourgeoisie by other methods hardly less brutal, viz, by confiscating the whole of their property and by imprisoning them on the slightest pretext if they refused to work for the Bolshevik Government.

(MEMORANDUM ON TWO TENDENCIES IN THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT, Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office, Russia /020, February 15, 1919. In: Foreign Office (1917-1918), p. 58. Bold added.) (IMG)

Closely linked up with Lenin’s international policy is his present internal policy. Here again he differs from Trotski. It has recently been announced by the Bolshevik wireless that several Mensheviks have accepted the Bolshevik regime, and that their paper “Vperyod” (“Forward”) has again been allowed to appear in Moscow. (In this connection it is interesting to note that in Petrograd, where Zinoviev is Dictator, not even Maxim Gorki’s “Novaya Zhisn” has had permission to reappear.) (MEMORANDUM ON TWO TENDENCIES IN THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT, Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office, Russia /020, February 15, 1919. In: Foreign Office (1917-1918), p. 59. Bold added) (IMG)

The Bolsheviks have been for some months past in the habit of summarily executing their active opponents, i.e. active counter-revolutionaries. Some of these sentences may be said to have been justified, as for example the shooting of the murderers of Uritsky, Mirbach, etc. Executions on a wholesale scale (i.e. systematic murders for which the Bolshevik Government can be held responsible) first began after the murder of Uritsky and the attempt on Lenin’s life. On that occasion some five hundred people were shot in Petrograd, some 1920 in Moscow, and a large number in the provinces, many of them innocent people, purely as a measure of revenge and in order to terrorise the opponents of Bolshevism. In this connection, Major Wardwell, of the American Red Cross, possesses an original document of Chicherin’s which might be published throughout the civilised world. In spite of their truculent answer to the Neutral Ministers, it appears certain that these executions were not wholly approved of by the Bolshevik leaders, and in particular by Lenin himself. At any rate, soon after Lenin’s recovery, this particular form of terror was changed for another which is equally diabolical and even more effective. This terror consists of depriving all opponents of Bolshevism of everything they posses, and is indeed a systematic attempt to destroy every form of bourgeoisie in Russia. In Petrograd and Moscow the bourgeoisie receives practically nothing to eat. (They are placed on the fourth and lowest category of food cards.) Their houses and flats with the exception of one or two rooms have been taken away from them and been given to the workmen. Their money has long since been confiscated. Now their very clothes with the exception of one suit, are to be requisitioned. Up to the present they have been enabled to live by selling their art treasures, their furniture, and their jewellery. Of this last resource they have been now deprived by an official decree which is only too likely to be rigorously enforced. At the present moment many bourgeois families are literally dying of starvation. Indeed, their situation is too deplorable for words, and what their fate will be during the coming winter defies all description. (...). In this connection I should like to point out that at the present moment it is almost impossible for the bourgeoisie to leave Petrograd and Moscow. Even if they succeed in obtaining a Bolshevik foreign passport, the Swedish Government is now refusing visas on the ground that there is no food in Sweden for these unfortunates. I venture to recommend that His Majesty’s Government, in the interests of humanity, and also friendship to a class who did well by us at the beginning of the war, should immediately come to some arrangement with the Swedish Government whereby this obstacle can be overcome. (MEMORANDUM ON THE INTERNAL SITUATION IN RUSSIA, R. H. B. Lockhart. In: Mr. Lockhart to Mr. Balfour, November 7, 1918, Received: November 8, 1918. In: Foreign Office (1917-1918), p. 39. Bold added.) (IMG)

Already a good deal of use has been made of the above facts by the Socialist press abroad to show that the Bolshevik Government is now becoming more moerate and that it is receiving more widespread support. (MEMORANDUM ON TWO TENDENCIES IN THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT, Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office, Russia /020, February 15, 1919. In: Foreign Office (1917-1918), p. 59. Bold added,) (IMG)

The fact that Lenin opposed “summarily executions” and terrorism is further evidence corroborating that Lenin was not behind the execution of the Tsar and his family, who after all, were indeed summarily executed. This is further backed up by an article titled “No proof Lenin ordered last Tsar’s murder” by the Daily Telegraph, a prominent British and notoriously anti-Soviet newspaper, which reported:

A long-running probe in to the murders of the last Russian Tsar and his family has closed after failing to find evidence that Lenin ordered the killings, the chief investigator has said. (No proof Lenin ordered last Tsar’s murder, The Telegraph, January 17, 2011) (IMG)

Thanks to the counter-revolutionary lobbying network which he possessed within the Party, Trotsky had gained command over the Red Army, a critical position. In the Red Army too, Trotsky engaged in abusive terroristic behaviour:

Discipline has been established in the army by the same methods, and the death sentence is as common at the front as in Petrograd and Moscow. In particular, the position of the officer in the Red Army is painful in the extreme. Mobilised for service but mistrusted (many officers entered the Red Army some in order to gain their daily bread, others for counter-revolutionary purposes), they are placed at the head of their men find shot for the least failure of their troops. By a recent order of Trotsky’s the wives and children of officers who desert to the Allies or Czechs are thrown into prison. (MEMORANDUM ON THE INTERNAL SITUATION IN RUSSIA, R. H. B. Lockhart. In: Mr. Lockhart to Mr. Balfour, November 7, 1918, Received: November 8, 1918. In: Foreign Office (1917-1918), p. 37. Bold added.) (IMG)


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Caption Image Credits

Photoshopped version of:

Caricature of L. D. Trotsky. Authors: Kukryniksy. 1937