Russia 1917: As We Saw It

The Saviours of Russia

In September 1918 the Socialist Standard commented on the invasion of Russia by ‘the Allies’.

The hand of the capitalist is slowly but surely revealing itself in Russian affairs. It will be remembered with what haste the capitalist Governments rushed to congratulate their triumphant (as they thought) fellow thieves upon their overthrow of the monarchy. They did not then stop to lecture on the enormity of “internal dissension” in the midst of war. No, they tumbled over each other in their anxiety to deliver their congratulations – because the ‘victors’ were of their own kidney.

They made a mistake, however. In the ultimate it proved to he more than the revolutionary capitalist class in Russia could do, once they had broken the tyrannical organisation which had kept the conscripted forces in subjection, to regain for themselves control of those forces. It was not for the want of trying that they failed. They soon got busy butchering soldiers who refused to go on with the war which they had not made, which they had never wanted, and which they realised could bring them no benefit. So the revolutionary capitalists, who were never for a moment strong enough to establish their authority over the forces and powers of State, were ‘recognised’ and accepted by their fellow capitalists as the ‘representatives of the Russian people,’ as the Russian people, as the natural successors, quite as a matter of course, to Bloody Nick and his crew. That they had no power as a Government made no difference.

How different, however, was the conduct of the capitalist Governments toward the Bolsheviks when the latter took the reins from the palsied grasp of the ‘triumphant bourgeoisie’ ! Their accredited envoys received only ‘unofficial recognition, for the purpose of communication.’ (…)

Fearful that if the Bolshevik enterprise should meet with success it might prove contagious, they have determined to crush it and restore their friends and allies, the Russian capitalists, to dominance. So we have a ‘league of nations’ in being against the Bolshevik Government. Under the plea that they are going to save Russia from the Germans they invade the country at various points. ‘We come as the friends of Russia,’ they declare, and disown any intention of interfering with ‘the internal politics of the country.’ (…)

As to the claim that they go into Russia as ‘the friends of Russia,’ this must be translated into ‘the friends of Russian capitalists’ if it is to have any truth at all. It is only by the continued exploitation of the Russian working class that the Allied capitalists can ever hope to recover the many millions which they have advanced, both before and since the outbreak of the war, to Russia, with the object of strengthening her against Germany.

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