I wrote this blog directly in response to an article by the ex Premier of NSW Bob Carr published in his blog “Thought lines” and also to show how there is a history of falsifications and distortions in the press. This feeding of falsehood is dished up to us on a daily basis by the media. A simple examination of history reveals many examples where we have been completely hoodwinked by the mainstream media and where popular and democratically governments have been overthrown by military intervention (coup or invasion) by the “West”.
Just some examples included in my life time are Vietnam, Chile, Guatemala, British Guiana, Congo, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Greece, Venezuela and Argentina. There are other cases where countries have been attacked on the premise that they are not democratic but as they don’t “tow the line” but have resources like oil, are part of a critical “pipeline” to move oil or are rich in minerals. They are ripe for intervention. Today this is includes Libya and Afghanistan.
For my thought on Libya please see some of my earlier posts on the Subject.
However this blog the timeline is from 1917 and deals with the Russian Revolution.
As I have written in a previous blog post I admire Bob Carr and I am in awe of his knowledge and when I read his articles I am reminded of my own lack of education. However in response to one of his most recent post “Back to Stalin” 17/07/11 I felt compelled to respond.
I know my view is not popular and it is with some discomfort that I write; but I am passionate about the subject and have always held a minority view. That said this is not an apology for Stalin but an expose of how it was that a person such as he was given the conditions to rise to power and the responsibility the West played in that process by militarily ( covertly and overtly) interfering in the affairs of a Sovereign state.
In my post I deal only with facts and the sources are many. I have worked solid on this for several days. Defensively I write again “I am no academic”
I hope you find it interesting and revealing.
The premise of the assertion that the November revolution in Russia is coup is wrong. It was the final step in a long path of events that were occurring throughout the period of the seizure of power by the Provisional Government in February of 1917 from the Tsar. Russia was without any democratic institution and had been an absolute Monarchy.
The circumstances of the Revolution are these.
The Tsar was overthrown by a popular uprising and a provisional government installed. There is much more detail that could be written around the cicumstances but today I wan to get to the heart of the matter ; the seizure of power by the Soviets.
Kerensky, the leader of the Provisional Government at the time, not only feared the Bolsheviks but also Russia’s Allies — Britain, France and United States — who were intent on keeping the bedraggled Russian Army in the 14/18 War. Also at risk was the prospect of Ukrainian wheat, Donet’s Coal and Caucasian oil falling into German hands.
Kerensky attempted to persuade the Russian Army on the verge of breaking up to continue the war. He ordered another catastrophic offensive. The response was that troops deserted in ever-increasing numbers. Everywhere behind the lines the deserting soldiers were forming themselves in to committees what we all now know as Soviets.
At the time the whole of Russia was one gigantic meeting place for Anarchists, pro-allied propagandists, Bolsheviks, Social revolutionaries Liberals and Mensheviks. It was in chaos.
Lenin’s Party, the Bolsheviks, had been declared illegal by Kerensky and forced underground, but was growing in power with the support of the soldier and worker committees. The Cheka (initially the revolutions intelligence arm) wasn’t formed until December 1917 when it became apparent that there was a requirement to counter ration card and currency forgers and as a counter to the remnants of the Tsar’s secret Police The Okhrana.
The Okhrana in 1905 was to the fore of the Bloody Sunday demonstration, when imperial guards killed hundreds of unarmed protesters who were marching during a demonstration organized by Father Gapon, who had collaborated with the Okhrana.
Some might argue this could be likened to some of the events that are occurring in the Middle East and North Africa today. Part of the debate today is whether as an example the rebels in Libya are indeed revolutionaries, Islamist Jihadists or simply stooges of the Imperial Oil/Gas interests with a bunch of mislead youths caught up in the “romance of it all”
Back to Russia: Against this chaotic background in 1917 the Menshevik government found itself incapable of feeding the people while grain was stored in the warehouses along the Volga River. The Kerensky government found itself incapable of organising delivery to Petrograd and Moscow.
At the centre of this was Roosevelt’s man in Russia working for the Red Cross, Raymond Robins, who though immediately reporting to a Colonel Thompson found after touring the countryside that the organisation of local government had completely broken down and that power had already been transferred to the local councils of peasant and worker deputies (The Soviets)
Robins reported back to Thompson that the Kerensky Government was a “sort of paper and consent affair superimposed on top with bayonets in Petrograd and Moscow”.
However Kerensky believed in the continuation of the war, and to that end the allies believed he should be maintained in power. At the same time the head of the British intelligence service had returned to London to suggest a military dictatorship was the best answer for stability and keeping Russia in the war.
There were 2 men identified to lead this coup — Admiral Kolac and General Konilov, Commander in Chief of the Army. The British and French Governments decided on Konilov. This was actually opposed by the US representatives in Petrograd, Thompson and Robins.
An attempted putsch then took place which commenced with a proclamation by Konilov that the Provisional Government headed by Kerensky would be overthrown.
At that point thousands and thousand of leaflets were distributed entitled “Konilov the Russian Hero”. (Years later in his book The Great Catastrophe, Kerensky revealed that “these pamphlets were printed by the British Military Mission to Russia and brought to Petrograd by General Knox the British Military attaché .
Konilov ordered his troops to march on Petrograd and it was this that was the real[attempted] military coup. Even before the Red Army was formed, General Kornilov promised, “the greater the terror, the greater our victories.”
On its own initiative the Bolshevik controlled Petrograd Soviet then mobilised and immediately arrested all known supporters of Konilov including some 40 Generals and Kerensky’s Minister for War, Boris Savinkov who was implicated. The Konilov Putsch triggered the very thing it was designed to prevent: the revolution and seizure of power by the Communists.
In his book Raymond Robbins wrote “The rise of the Soviets did the job without any force, this was the power that defeated Konilov”
The US Ambassador Frances of the time sent the following telegram to the U.S. State Department:
“KONILOVS FAILURE ATRIBUTIBLE TO BAD ADVISE, MISINFORMATION, IMPROPER METHODS, INOPPORTUNENESS, GOOD SOLDIER, PATRIOT, OTHERWISE INEXPERIENCED. GOVERNEMENT WAS BADLY FRIGHTEND AND MAY BENIFIFT FROM EXPERIENCE.”
This is a clear indictment that the Government of the United States was directly interfering in the internal affairs of a Sovereign State.
November 3, a secret conference of allied military officers was convened to discuss plans to stop the Communists take over.
The head of the French delegation General Niesel denounced the Provisional Government as being weak while the British condemned the US for not getting behind Konilov. General Knox, representing the British, was to push again the idea of a military coup and dictatorship. When challenged by Robbins, Knox’s response was at the suggestion that he may get a dictatorship (Lenin and Trotsky) of an entirely different character was recorded as saying in response to a question of whether to deal with Lenin and Trotsky “We will stand them up and shoot them”
By November 7, the revolution happened almost imperceptibly — rank and file people, soldiers, sailors with them proceeded to take over the key buildings across Petrograd.
By December 2 Ambassador Francis sent his report to the State Department about the emergence of a Cossack General Kaledin who had an army of 200,000. He recommended of a loan of $2mil to support the Kaledin cause…and so the final seeds were sown for the commencement of the Civil War. With that any hope that the Soviet Republic would be able to be an open and fully democratic state and have a respectable (to the West ) “social democratic face” was lost.
Frances was to meet Kaledin’s agents in Petrograd. At the same time the British intelligence service dispatched an agent Sidney Riley (a Russian born) to make contact with other forces opposed to the regime. Though still at war with Germany the New York Times described the Bolsheviks as “our most malignant enemies”
It was against this background of western subterfuge that the Russian counter-intelligence services were created. The Cheka was formed at a time a bitter Civil War had broken out.
It seems in 2011 the lessons have still not been learned about intervening in sovereign nations internal affairs; the exception being the young Spanish republic though democratically elected in 1936 was subjected to the Franco Military Coup and to a Civil War of 3 years. All while the Western Powers the guardians of democracy stood idly by while the Germans and Italians gave full personnel and material support to the Fascists
The Cheka was at the outset intended that formally to hand over “counter-revolutionaries and saboteurs” to the revolutionary tribunals. With the ebb and flow of the front lines the excesses not so unlike those of the Military Courts Martial of either the Allied or Central Powers in the 14-18 War summary elimination of deserters saboteurs and black marketers was common place.
In recent times we have seen such summary actions occur with our NATO Allies such as Greek Junta in the 60s or US South American Allies like Argentina and Chile. Always we the West has either stood idly by or been actively engaged in the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments where they have had a socialist character. Chile is a classic example with the overthrow of Salvador Allende who was the democratically elected president.
We have had the Military tribunals set for Guantanamo and the forcible and illegal rendition of prisoners. The hypocrisy one hears exhorted about the Russian revolution and it’s ideals would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact our western democracies are as guilty by proxy in rise of the Cheka and NKVD ( the KGB came later) and the excesses attributed to those organisations in defence of the Russian revolution. Those excesses are directly the result of western interference and attacks on the young Russian Republic. It was inextricably tied to the rise of Stalin.
By August 1918, in support of the White Russians as opposed the Red [Army], British troops landed in Archangel and Murmansk, seized the Baku oil fields in the Caucuses. British French and 30,000 Japanese landed in Vladivostok and were later joined by US troops from the Philippines. 50,000 Czech troops who had deserted from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were mobilised against the Russians. Other countries involved were China, Greece, Romania and Turkey
There were even 1500 Italians. In the Ukraine, the German troops continued to advance. Later after the 1918 war, the Germans were to be re mobilised to attack the Russians again alongside the Poles. To the North were the Fins who having recently overthrown their revolutionary government attacked Russia under the leadership of General Mannerheim supplied by the British and the Germans. Manerheim was later to be engaged in the Winter War prior to the outbreak of and during WW11 and was again supported by the British and Germans.
Interesting bedfellows we [ British] have had.
By 28 August 1918, a coup was organised by the British Sidney Riley in Moscow, the Government having been relocated there in 1918. There were to follow days of turmoil in the course of which Lenin was shot, from which he never fully recovered dying in 1924.
A proclamation was issued by a White Russian General Rozanoff”:
“that in any village that meets our men with arms will be burned down with all full grown men shot all homes burnt ….” The assault on “human rights supported by the west clearly starts with the ‘White’ Russians.
In 1919 at the Paris Peace conference, a plan was put forward the by German General Hoffman who was on the General Staff. It was known as the “Hoffman a plan” ….. to march on Moscow. Hoffman later reviled the West in his memoirs The War of Lost Opportunities for not having followed his plan.
In 1923 the British Ambassador to Berlin following a visit to Hoffman concurred, writing “nothing can go right in the world until all the civilised powers unite and the Soviet Government is hung”.
Later versions of the Hoffman plan were to emerge with the support of French Generals Foch, Petain, Finn Mannerheim, Admiral Horthy and Director of British Navel Intelligence Sir Barry Domville.
Oil was to play its part in this One of the most important personalities to be drawn into this anti Soviet campaign was Sir Henri Wilhelm August Deterding…head of Royal Dutch Shell. Ther is a little more about the is English Peer further on in the blog
In 1924 Like the News of the World phone hacking today, back then the British Press was excelling itself with the so called Zinoviev letter. The letter was purportedly an instruction from Zinoviev, the international Communist Leader of the Comintern, to Pro Soviet Labour Party members how they might “assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat just before in the upcoming election. It was published in the Daily Mail. Opportunistically Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald tried to use the used the letter to his own ends by distancing himself from it though he had knowledge that it was a forgery.
What we saw in the 1920s we see with the News of The World 2011 We see it on Fox News everyday. We saw it in Vietnam out right lies and distortions and the Murdoch Press demonstrates today that facts and truth can be replaced by ideology. It is okay to tell lies either to protect the unfairness of society and make more money or you can tell the truth and not make more money. It’s a free choice the Daily Mail made and the same choice Murdoch makes to distort the News.
The Zinoviev letter was later found not only to be a forgery according to Scotland Yard but emanated from Germany and was sent to the paper by a George Bell who it turned out was on the payroll of Royal Dutch Shell who still had their eye on Russian oil. Incidentally Bob (Carr) for Donald Hayfield to liken Zinoviev looks as being rChico Marx is somewhat disingenuous and some might even think anti-Semitic since both were Jewish. It is remarkably stupid for an emeritus professor to write. In any event its unlikely that the Russians would of had a clue who Chico Marx was at the time given that he was in the US and there was after all no TV. I haven’t read the book “Stalin and his Hangmen” (not Henchmen as you wrote) but I am not surprised about his view given his family were Georgian (like Stalin) emigres to London having been on the losing side in the Civil War.
In the Cicli War; against this background of western intervention, the Cheka was formed and the seeds laid for the excesses and distortions of the Soviet Republic that were to emerge under Stalin. The Civil War was to continue for another 4 years until 1922 with the Reds taking back the Port of Vladivostok in Russia Far East. Fighting continued for well over another year so in effect the Civil War didn’t end until 1923. This victory was hardly won by a bunch of Clowns
Famine was rife across Russia while the interventionists continued to attempt to overthrow the regime. By 1922, British Secretary of War Churchill dispatched Sidney Reilly again, this time to Europe as well as to Russia, to sow furthers seeds of counter-revolution and outright acts of terrorism.
The Western intervention and the Civil had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. It is estimated that the total output of mines and factories in 1922 had fallen to 20% of the pre 14-18 World War level, some area had a more drastic decline; cotton production fell to 5%, and iron to 2% of pre-war levels. At the end of the Civil War Industrial output in 1922 was 13% of that in 1914
In just over 20 years the Soviets were to rip the guts out of the Nazi War machine at the cost of over 20 mil dead.
Who knows what the Soviet Union may have looked like had it not been for the Intervention of the Americans, British, French, Germans who are remarkably the same countries intervening in Libya to day…..just saying. What we do know is that this revolution inspired and continues to inspire people all over the planet all be it having learned from the errors of the young Soviet Republic. The video link here and below is a snapshot.
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Oil, Shell the Nazis and a British Peer
This funeral held 10 February 1939 with some trappings of a state funeral, was held at a private estate in Dobbin, Mecklenburg, Germany. The spectacle included a funeral procession led by a horse drawn funeral hearse (photograph above), with senior Nazis officials in attendance, Nazi salutes at the graveside, swastika banners on display and wreaths and personal tributes from Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring. Oviously the [Young] Soviet republic the great experiment was under threat from all sides from 1917- 1941
As Lloyd George stated at the conclusion to the First World War “The [Russian] peasant accepted Bolshevism for the same reason the French peasant accepted the French Revolution”. He wanted land and hope
In Gore Vidal’s most recent book “Point to Point” he makes a telling reference that while there appeared to be a plentiful bounty for all there is likelihood due to the return of the objective conditions that were the cause of the French and Russian revolutions means that such upheavals are most likely to occur again.
With the economic conditions now emerging from the late 90s with the widening gap between rich and poor, the foreign military adventures the indebtedness of the US the World Financial Crisis conditions of “revolution” are again surfacing. With that comes the risk of an erosion of our hard-won democratic rights.
As I wrote once in my Blog about Spain beware “for whom the bell tolls ….it tolls for you and me”
This war of intervention began in a veil of secrecy and dishonesty and ended in shameful disaster. There are some lessons from 1918 it seems we are yet to learn in 2011.In 1918 it was the British Intelligence Service today it is the CIA.
Never to have a post without some music video
Red Army Choir there are so many clips to choose but I settled on this…for now 🙂
Please view them as you wish and not too seriously a bit of tongue in cheek if you please.
As with all my blogs I will come back with some refinements over the next few days.
I will have follow ups to Libya Syria Music of course but my slowness in blogging recently is caused by diversions to more pressing matters work being one:-)
I hope to get back on track soon