Lenin MI5 British Intelligence Files

Vladimir Lenin
MI5 British Intelligence Files

457 pages of British intelligence files on Marxist theoretician Vladimir Lenin, leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and first premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).


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The Bolsheviks (Bolshevists, Bolsheviki) were a segment of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov. Their beliefs and practices were often referred to as Bolshevism. They ultimately became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

These files date from 1915 to 1921. The material contains reports and memos, newspaper extracts, photos, reports on the movements and activities of Lenin and his associates, and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) documents. The files include a hand-written annotation by one young MI5 desk officer in 1920 who wrote in the margins of a report "LENIN has no actual powers but serves as some kind of 'figure-head.'" Elsewhere in the file, he is also described by a Home Office official as a "well known Russian social democratic pacifist".

Highlights include:

A short hand-written minute from Winston Churchill.

An intercepted letter written in 1921 from Lenin to a friend in Zurich admitting failure of his Bolshevistic theories.

A SIS report from Claude Dansey, assistant chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, purporting that Czarist military intelligence had proof that Lenin was a paid agent of the Germans.

A copy of a message from the British Russian Mission in Paris dated 27/09/1917 with a list of suspects in touch with Lenin.

A Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) memo on Lenin's strategy.

A May 1919 memo from the Political Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office on Lenin's Internal Program.

Bolsheviki Party MI5 Files

In addition to the 457 pages above are 134 pages of MI5 Files covering the Bolsheviki Party. This collection of papers dating from July 1917 to August 1918, covers Soviet political parties, particularly the Bolsheviki, including comments on Lenin, Trotsky and others. A highlight from the material is a document listing the 51 most important things to know about the Bolshevikis including anti-Semitic remarks about Jewish control of the party. Other statements include; "Bolshevists number amongst themselves about 4% of idealists, 46% reactionaries working for the restitution of the Old Tsarist regime and 50% of hooligans and German agents combined,"; and "Bolshevik policy is one based on extremes and that such policy cannot last and is bound to be followed by a severe re-action."






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