13 APRIL 1956, Page 7

AN INTERESTING sidelight is thrown on the history of the

Russian revolution by a document published in the April number of International Affairs by Dr. George Katkov, lec- turer in Russian studies at St. Antony's College, Oxford. This is a telegram (dated December 3, 1917) from the German State Secretary, Kiffilmann, to an unnamed official for communica- tion to the Kaiser, which was found among German Foreign Office documents now in London and which contains the first documentary proof that the Bolsheviks received German aid in the form of money before coming to power. Kuhlmann, who, I imagine, told the truth to his sovereign, writes : 'Russia appeared to be the weakestlink in the enemy's chain. The task therefore was gradually to loosen it and, when possible, remove it. This was the purpose of the subversive activity we caused to be carried out in Russia behind the front—in the first place promotion of separatist tendencies and support of the Bol- sheviki. It was not until the Bolsheviki had received from us a steady flow of funds through various channels and under varying labels that they were in a position to be able to build up their main organ, Pravda, to conduct energetic propaganda and appreciably to extend the originally narrow basis of their party.' The point that remains obscure is whether or not Lenin knew that the money he was receiving was German money. He may well have chosen not to inquire too closely. However, it now seems certain that a version of events quite contrary to official Soviet historiography is the true one, and I expect that we shall soon hear accusations of forgery from the party experts.

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