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12th May 2012
Useful study of the class hatred of the British ruling class for the USSR,
This William Podmore review is from: Inside the Enigma: British Officials in Russia, 1900-39 (Hardcover)
This illuminating book reveals the sheer class hatred of successive cadres of British officials towards the Soviet Union.
The British Embassy backed the reactionary Stolypin, who was Prime Minister from 1906 to 1911.
In July 1917 the British Ambassador "contacted the [Russian] Foreign Minister to ask that the government should take advantage of the situation to crush the Bolsheviks once and for all." The Ambassador told the British Foreign Office, "normal conditions cannot be restored without bloodshed and the sooner we get it over the better."
The British Embassy was `involved in an extraordinary scheme, organised by Colonel Keyes and General Poole, to take control of a number of Russian banks in order to use them to channel funds to the counter-revolutionary movement in south Russia'. The Embassy was `responsible for channelling money to the nascent anti-Bolshevik forces in the south', led by General Kolchak.
The British Military Mission had to admit that Kolchak's troops `had undoubtedly been guilty of atrocities' against the civilian population.
The British government sent troops and armed, funded and propagandised to aid the counter-revolution. As E. H. Carr wrote, "it is no longer possible for any sane man to regard the campaigns of Kolchak, Yudenich, Denikin and Wrangel otherwise than as tragic blunders of colossal dimensions. They were monuments of folly in conception and of incompetence in execution; they cost, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of lives; and, except in so far as they may have increased the bitterness of the Soviet rulers against the `white' Russians and the Allies who half-heartedly supported them, they did not deflect the course of history by a single hair's breadth."
The Whites lost `because no individual or group among them managed to attract any genuine measure of popular support'. As Hughes acknowledges, "the events of 1917 had transformed Russia for ever, making it difficult to impose order by force on a population that relished its new economic and political freedoms'.
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