Russia.  No. 1 (1919).  A Collection Of Reports On Bolshevism In Russia


RUSSIA.  No. 1 (1919).

Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty.  April 1919.


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THE following collection of reports from His Majesty’s official representatives in Russia, from other British subjects who have recently returned from that country, and from independent witnesses of various nationalities, covers the period of the Bolshevik regime from the summer of 1918 to the present date. They are issued in accordance with a decision of the War Cabinet in January last. They are unaccompanied by anything in the nature either of comment or introduction, since they speak for themselves in the picture which they present of the principles and methods of Bolshevik rule, the appalling incidents by which it has been accompanied, the economic consequences which have flowed from it, and the almost incalculable misery which it has produced.


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A Collection of Reports on Bolshevism in Russia.

No. 1.
Sir M. Findlay to Mr. Balfour.—(Received August 20.)

Christiania, Auqust 19, 1918.

I HAVE received following telegram dated the 9th August from Woodhouse and Cromie at Petrograd to General Poole:—
41 British subjects have been arrested during the past two days without any charge having been made against them, but only two have been detained so far. We protested and asked for explanation. On 5th August all British officials at Moscow were arrested, but the majority were subsequently released and are presumably now under house arrest.
” Their probable evacuatiou was notified to us, and we were warned to be ready to leave with them, but as ret we have no definite news from them. Commissary threatens to intern all allied subjects. Please inform London of above, as we are not allowed to telegraph in any direction. Tell London also that up to the present all are well here. In Petrograd position of Soviet Power is becoming rapidly untenable, and orders are being given for various units and places to be evacuated. That they are in touch with Germans is quite evident. A yacht is ready at Peterhof to take Lenin away.”


No. 2.
Sir E. Howard to Mr. Balfour.—(Received August 20.)

(Telegraphic.) Stockholm, August 19, 1918.
FOLLOWING is a summary of the more important points in a series of despatches from Mr. Wardrop, at Moscow :—

“August 5.—About 4*30 this morning a band of ten armed men attacked consulate-general and demanded admittance. Without my authority one of the inmates of the house opened the door, being threatened with fire-arms. This was the fourth armed raid on the premises.
” Guards left at 5*30 and local commissary expressed his regret at the incident.
” During the morning I Jearnt of arrest of several British subjects, including Messrs. Armitage, Whitehead, William Cazalet Hastie (over seventy years old), North (chaplain), Beringer (Reuter’s agent), and Miss H. Adams, one of my staff. In the afternoon, while Sir. Lockhart was calling, another raid on the premises was made with warrant for arrest of staff. I protested and declared that 1 only yielded to force. Office was sealed in great detail, seals being attached to every drawer, to both safes, and to all receptacles for papers, also to ourev doors to the office rooms. All the staff were then arrested, including Mr. Stevens, Mr. !>ouglas, and lady clerks, and conveyed to Soviet’s police quarters in Tvorskoi Boulevard. Mr. Lockhart, Captain Hicks and I were not arrested, as Chicherin had promised that consuls and military mission* should not be arrested. Their staffs, however, had not been specifically mentioned. French military attache, General Lavergne, was liberated after short arrest. Staff were detained. Guards were stationed to watch my premises and I was left in my private apartments there. I do not regard failure to arrest myself and Mr. Lockhart as evidence of intention to treat us better than our staffs, but rather the contrary.
” I do not regard Bolshevik detention of our nationals as aimed at deterring us from vigorous action in distant places, so much as intended to protect Bolshevik leaders on their fall. They are converting houses in centre of the city into improvised fortresses in the belief that there will be soon a serious rising, in which their Allied prisoners will serve as centres. Finally, if they regard all as lost they will probably hound populace on to massacre these prisoners.

” August. 6.—Consul Stevens, V ice-Consuls Lowdon and Douglas released about 3 a.m., also North and others, and French Consul-General Grenard and French Consul Labonne, by efforts of Swedish colleague who spent the night in negotiations.
[980 “J B

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“At 10 p.m. following still detained :—
“Vice-Consuls Wishaw, Greenep, and Jerram, passport officer Webster and bis assistant, Ginson senior, Tamplin and Linger of Lockhart’s staff, Fritz Mucukalv and the MisseB Galbaly and Adams of my staff. Prisoners so far fairly comfortably housed and fed and allowed to associate with one another. Guards conciliatory.
“Iam allowed to go in and out, and Mr. Lockhart and his remaining staff ean visit me.
44 August 7.—I called at temporary prison and saw Greenep, Wishaw, and Jerram. They are all well treated by their guards who are real Russians, unlike most of their leaders, who are either fanatics or Jewish adventurers like Trotsky or Iiadek.
44 All British and French women are now released. Also Mr. Beriuger and others.
“August 8.—Wishaw, Greenep, Jerram, and Webster brought here this morning by efforts of my Swedish colleague. Whole staff of consulate-general now at lil>erty.
44 It is also suggested that during our stay at Petrograd we shall be under a Bolshevik guard. Evidently Bolsheviks are trying to prolong negotiations. City is on the whole quiet. All ex-officers under sixty are to report themselves this morning, probably with a view to their arrest, and there are rumours of wholesale arrest of clergy.”


No. 3.
Sir R. Paget to Mr. Balfour.—(Received September 3.)
(Telegraphic.) Copenhagen, September 3, J918.
FOLLOWING report from Danish Minister at Petrograd has been communicated to me by Danish Government:—
” On 31st August the Government troops forced their way into the British Embassy, their entry to which was resisted by British naval attache, Captain Croraie who, after having killed three soldiers, was himself shot.
” The archives were sacked, and everything was destroyed.
” Captain Croinie’s corpse was treated in a horrible manner. Cross of St. George was taken from the body, and subsequently worn by one of the murderers.
” English clergyman was refused permission to repeat prayers over the body.
” French Military Mission was forced. A man named Mazon and a soldier and several Frenchmen were arrested.
” Bolsheviks in the press openly incite to murder British and French.
” It is urgently necessary that prompt and energetic steps be taken.”


No. 4.
Sir R. Paget to Mr. Balfour.—(Received September JO.)
(Telegraphic.) Copenhagen, September 9, 1918.
I HAVE received telegram from Petrograd as follows:—
” Wholesale arrest and decapitations have resulted from attempt on Lenin and murder of Uritsky. Bolsheviks are arresting bourgeoisie, men, women, and children, having no connection with the authors of these attempts, on the plea that they are faced with conspirators.
” According to official reports, more than 500 persons have been shot during the last three days without enquiry or sentence. Fresh executions are being prepared, and the press is full of blood-thirsty articles.
” Lockhart was arrested and condemned to death, but at the last moment wo succeeded in saving him ; 2& British, including British consul, and 11 French have been arrested at Petrograd. In the prisons conditions defy description, fn fortress of Peter and Paul, where all the British are confined, prisoners have absolutely no food. In order to remedy this, we have now succeeded in forming an organisation. Every night executions take place without trial. Terrorism continues. Protest against these proceedings has been made verbally and in writing by foreign representatives, including Germans. List of more than 1,000 hostages has been published by the Government, amongst whom are four Serbian officers, who will be shot if attempt on life of a commissary should be made.”


No. 5.

Mr. Lindley to Mr. Balfour.—(Received September 11.)

(Telegraphic.) Archangel, September 6, 1918.
I HAVE just received news of murder of Captain Cromie by Bolsheviks, and accusations of latter against him.
Fact is that gallant officer devoted his whole time at Petrograd to the service of his country. His first object was to prevent Baltic fleet falling into German hands; he then helped in evacuating valuable stores, and latterly gave most of his attention to plans for preventing a German advance on Vologda. These activities, carried out for months in daily danger of his life, brought him more or less into co-operation with Russians hostile to Bolshevik regime and therefore claimed as reactionaries.
His plans may very well have included destruction of certain bridges as Bolsheviks declare. In Captain Cromie, His Majesty has lost a most gallant, capable, and devoted servant.


No. 6.
Sir M. Findlay to Mr. Balfour.—(Received September 18.)

(Telegraphic.) Christiania September 17, 1918.
FOLLOWING is report by Netherlands Minister at Petrograd, the 6th September, received here to-day, on the situation in Russia, in particular as affecting British subjects and British interests under Minister’s protection :—
“Sir,—On 30th August I left for Moscow, largely in connection with negotiations for evacuation of British subjects from Russia. The same day Uritski Commissary at Petrograd, for combating counter-revolution, was assassinated by a Jewish student Kanegiesser, whose father is a wealthy engineer and holds a very good position at Petrograd. This murder was at once attributed by the Bolshevik authorities and Bolshevik press (only existing press in Russia) to French and English.
” That same night Consul Woodhouse and Engineer-Commander Le Page were arrested at 1 a.m. in the street. Every effort was made the next day (31st August) by my secretary, M. van Niftrik, to obtain their release, and that of Consul Woodhouse was promised for the afternoon.

“At 5 p.m. on the 31st August, when Consul Bosanquet and Acting Vice-Consul Kiniens, who had been busy the whole day with M. van Niftrik in connection with his attempt to obtain release of the arrested and were heading to the Embassy and were near the Embassy building, they were warned not to approach the Embassy, told that it had been occupied by Red Guards, and that two persons had been killed. They at once decided to head back to find M. van Niftrik and asked him to endeavour to secure entry into the Embassy. While driving slowly away from Embassy their car was stopped by Hed Guards in another car, one of whom levelled a revolver at them and told them to hold up their hands. They were searched and had to give their names and rank, but to their great surprise were allowed to proceed. M. van Niftrik drove with them to Gorokhovaya 2, headquarters of the Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, to which persons arrested are usually taken, and where Mr. Woodhouse was confined. He had a long interview with the commandant of Petrograd, Shatov, and strongly protested against the unheard of breach of International Law which had taken place, and demanded to be allowed to drive immediately to Embassy to be present at search there. Permission was refused by Shatov, who said that Embassy was being searched because authorities had documents proving conclusively that British Govern­ment was implicated in Uritskis murder. When they had lefl and their car was passing the Winter Palace, staff of British Consulate and of missions, and some civilians who were at Embassy when it was invaded, were seen walking under guard to No. 2 Gorokhovaya.
” A meeting of neutral diplomatic corps was held that night upon the initiative of M. van Niftrik, at which the following points were submitted :—
1. That immediate release of those arrested should be demanded.
2. That it should be insisted upon that M. van Niftrik should be present at examination of arrested.
[980] B 2

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No. 10.

Mr. Lockhart to Sir G. Clerk.

Dear Sir George,                                                   November 10, 1018.

THE following points may interest Mr. Balfour: —

1.  The Bolsheviks have established a rule of force and oppression unequalled in the history of any autocracy.

2.  Themselves the fiercest upholders of the right of free speech, they have sup­pressed, since coming into power, every newspaper which does not approve their policy.  In this respect the Socialist press has suffered most of all.  Even the papers of the Internationalist Mensheviks like “Martov” have been suppressed and closed down, and the unfortunate editors thrown into prison or forced to flee for their lives.

3.  The right of holding public meetings has been abolished.  The vote has been taken away from everyone except the workmen in the factories and the poorer servants, and even amongst the workmen those who dare to vote against the Bolsheviks are marked down by the Bolshevik secret police as counter-revolutionaries, and are fortunate if their worst fate is to be thrown into prison, of which in Russia to-day it may truly be said, “many go in but few come out.”

4.  The worst crimes of the Bolsheviks have been against their Socialist opponents.  Of the countless executions which the Bolsheviks have carried out a large percentage has fallen on the heads of Socialists who had waged a life-long struggle against the old regime, but who are now denounced as counter-revolutionaries merely because they disapprove of the manner in which the Bolsheviks have discredited socialism.

5.  The Bolsheviks have abolished even the most primitive forms of justice.  Thousands of men and women have been shot without even the mockery of a trial, and thousands more are left to rot in the prisons under conditions to find a parallel to which one must turn to the darkest annals of Indian or Chinese history.

6.  The Bolsheviks have restored the barbarous methods of torture.  The exami­nation of prisoners frequently takes place with a revolver at the unfortunate prisoner’s head.



7.  The Bolsheviks have established the odious practice of taking hostages.  Still worse, they have struck at their political opponents through their women folk.  When recently a long list of hostages was published in Petrograd, the Bolsheviks seized the wives of those men whom they could not find and threw them into prison until their husbands should give themselves up.

8.  The Bolsheviks who destroyed the Russian army, and who have always been the avowed opponents of militarism, have forcibly mobilised officers who do not share their political views, but whose technical knowledge is indispensa’blc, and by the threat of immediate execution have forced them to fight against their fellow-countrymen in a civil war of unparalleled horror.

9.  The avowed ambition of Lenin is to create civil warfare throughout Europe.  Every speech of Lenin’s is a denunciation of constitutional methods, and a glorification of the doctrine of physical force.  With that object in view he is destroying syste­matically both by executions and by deliberate starvation every form of opposition to Bolshevism.  This system of “terror” is aimed chiefly at the Liberals and non-Bolshevik Socialists, whom Lenin regards as his most dangerous opponents.

10.  In order to maintain their popularity with the working men and with their hired mercenaries, the Bolsheviks are paying their supporters enormous wages by means of an unchecked paper issue, until to-day money in Russia has naturally lost all value.  Even according to their own figures the Bolsheviks’ expenditure exceeds the revenue by thousands of millions of roubles per annum.

These are facts for which the Bolsheviks may seek to find an excuse, but which they cannot deny.

                                                        Yours sincerely,
                                                        R. H. B. LOCKHART.