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Russia 1917: As We Saw It

The Bolsheviks seized power in November (October under the old Russian calendar). The Socialist Standard commented on it in January 1918. In March we mentioned Lenin for the first time.

The doings of the Bolsheviks is the topic of the moment. They dwarf all other events connected with the war. We are not in a position to say much regarding the position of affairs in Russia, for we have little information regarding it beyond the lying messages of our masters’ lickspittles. These reptiles send home accounts which in their obvious animus show what while concoctions they are, seemingly oblivious of the fact that it is patent to all that were terrorism reigning in Russia to the degree they pretend, they would not dare write their filth, whether it were true or not, for fear of becoming a sickening disfigurement to a lamp-post.

Whatever may be the final outcome, the Bolsheviks have at all events succeeded in doing what all the armies, all the diplomats, all the priests and primates, all the perfervid pacifists of all the groaning and bleeding world have failed to do – they have stopped the slaughter, for the time being, at all events, on their front.

How much more than this they ever intended to do the future may reveal. They may have higher aims, yet to be justified by success or condemned by failure; but it is an astounding achievement that these few man have been able to seize opportunity and make the thieves and murderers of the whole world stand aghast and shiver with apprehension.

The British Ambassador would not recognise them, but the British Ambassador is coming home, we are told, and some one “in marked sympathy with the Bolshevik Government” is to be appointed in his place. The Germans arrest Socialists all over Germany, and are at once reduced to denying the fact when Bolsheviks declare that Socialists everywhere are under their protection. The Bolsheviks publish their demands, and immediately the Allies’ war aims are whittled of most of their truculence and proclaimed from the housetops. Verily, not all the decisions of capitalist hirelings can hide the fact that all the belligerents are uneasy in the face of Bolshevik success. (January 1918)

Quite recently the penny sensations came out with scare headlines proclaiming that Lenin and Trotszky, the Bolshevik leaders, were in receipt of German pay. Shortly after came an official denial from M. Litvinoff, the plenipotentiary of the Bolshevik Government, "denouncing the documents as forgeries, the work of some agent of the ex-Tsar's secret police, or of some agent of the German Government, which is anxious to get rid of the Bolshevik regime, lest it should prove infectious and kindle the fire of a revolution in Germany." Thus are we enlightened concerning the activities of those in other climes. (March 1918)