Having accepted the proposal of the Bolsheviks about the organization of their move through Germany, Platten appealed to the German envoy in Switzerland and presented him with the following written conditions:
“1. I, Fritz Platten, take a wagon with political immigrants and legal persons wishing to travel to Russia via Germany under my full and unceasing personal responsibility.
2. Only the Platten is being demolished with the German authorities, without whose permission no one can get into the car locked up during the whole journey. The car is given the right to extraterritoriality.
3. There should be no checks on papers or persons either upon entering or leaving Germany.
4. Persons are admitted to the wagon with absolutely no distinction between their political direction and their relationship to issues of war and peace.
5. Everyone traveling issues tickets to Platten at the normal fare.
6. As far as possible, travel must occur without interruption, by direct communication. Without the technical necessity of a break in the journey can not be. It is impossible to leave the carriage not by any order, nor on one’s own initiative.
7. Permission to travel is given on the basis of the exchange of riding on German and Austrian prisoners of war and interned in Russia.
8. The facilitator and those traveling undertake to act in society and especially among the workers in the direction that this postulate will be implemented.
9. If possible, the nearest departure time from the Swiss border to the Swedish one, as well as technical details (luggage, etc.) are established immediately. ”
Two days later, Platten received a reply stating that his conditions were accepted, as reported by the departing persons, who by their personal signature confirmed that they had communicated the results of Platten’s negotiations with the German embassy to them, that they knew the threats of the Provisional Government, that they fully obeyed during the trip all orders of the head of Platten’s trip.
In the group of emigrants who returned home with Lenin, from 32 people were 19 Bolsheviks (N.K. Krupskaya, G.E. Zinoviev, I.F. Armand, D.S. Suliashvili, M.Tschakaya, G.A. Usievich et al.), Six Bundists and three supporters of the Parisian international newspaper Nashe Slovo. With great difficulty, those who had driven away raised money for the fare. Platten later recalled: “The money in which we, as enemies slandered, drowned, we had absolutely no. At the last minute, we would not have been able to redeem edible supplies if the board of the Swiss party had not opened a loan for us at 3000 fr. under the guarantee of Lang and Platten ". The help of the Swiss and Swedish socialists and the modest sum sent by the Central Committee of the RSDLP (b) made it possible to ensure the passage of Russian emigrants to their homeland.
The border is drawn with chalk
As evidenced by the memories of Platten, Krupskaya, Tskhai and other participants of the trip, the German authorities just fulfilled the conditions. At the German border station Gotmadingen, the Russian revolutionaries were given a wagon, three of which were sealed, the fourth, the back door remained open. The nearest compartment was occupied by two officers - authorized by the German military command. On the corridor floor, the border between Russian revolutionaries and German officers was marked with chalk. No one except Platten, who accompanied the Russian émigrés, had the right to cross the chalk line without the consent of the passengers.
German newspapers were strictly forbidden to report anything about the passage of emigrants until they left Germany. The authorities were afraid that such reports would lead to demonstrations - an open manifestation of the sympathy of the German population for the Russian revolutionaries.
12 April train reached Sassnitz on the Baltic Sea coast. Passengers moved from the carriage to the Swedish cruise ship-steamer, which transported them across the sea littered with mines to the town of Trelleborg, where they were met by Polish Social Democrat Ganetsky and Swedish journalist Grimlund. From Trelleborg they already arrived by train in Stockholm.
There Lenin and his comrades were cordially received not only by the Bolsheviks-emigrants, but also by the Swedish Left Social Democrats. Day stay in Stockholm was filled to capacity. Lenin gives an interview to a Politiken correspondent about the trip, organizes here the Foreign Representative Office (bureau) of the Central Committee of the RSDLP, participates in a meeting of local Social Democrats, attends a banquet hosted by Swedish comrades in honor of immigrants who arrived, talks about the upcoming socialist revolution in Russia and the prospects of the world revolutionary movement , on bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Hotly thanking the Swedish comrades for the cordial welcome and great attention, Lenin and his comrades left Stockholm the next day and were at the border station Tornio two days later. Their unexpectedly rapid appearance on the threshold of a country seized by the revolution, on the border of Finland, then part of Russia, disturbed the agents of the Entente. Without hiding their anger, the English officers who were in charge of the Swedish-Finnish border, took their hearts away by having searched Lenin in a separate room.
As the facts show, no obstacles erected by the British, French and Russian ruling circles, did not keep the leader of the revolution away from Russia. But immediately after his arrival in Petrograd, all the chauvinists and "defencists" began a frenzied agitation against Lenin and all those who returned after a long emigration to their homeland. The Central Committee and the PCR of the RSDLP (b) with a leaflet appealed to all citizens to expose Lenin’s slanderous accusations and Pravda headed by him, demanding “respect for the decision of the Executive Committee of the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, who heard the report of the emigrants and found nothing wrong in their behavior” . In another appeal of the Central Committee and the PC of the RSDLP (b) - “Against the Pogromists”, the bourgeois newspapers Russkaya Volya, Rech, Plekhanov's Unity, which did not reprint either the report of the emigrants or the executive committee, were exposed. But despite the campaign of these forces against Lenin and his supporters, the working class, and after it, the soldiers and peasants with humor accepted stories about Lenin’s connections with the German General Staff and about his betrayal of his motherland. They welcomed Lenin as "the ideological leader of the Russian workers" and "a tireless fighter for socialism."
Fritz Platten's book and the film about him are not the only sources about the events of the spring of 1917. 60 years ago Werner Halweg’s book, Lenin's Return to Russia in 1917, was published. Like Platten's memoirs, we published it in 1990. It contains correspondence documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Staff of Germany, embassies, missions, which convincingly expose the slanderous accusations against Lenin and his associates that they returned to Russia as some kind of German “spies”.
Documents selected and commented by Halweg characterize the entire history the return of Lenin and the group of emigrants traveling with him through Germany to Russia through the prism of the interests of the German authorities, who were interested in a separate peace with Russia for the purpose of a military victory over the Entente countries or at least achieving more favorable peace conditions. But these documents, if read in an unbiased manner, give a fairly clear picture of the organization and the journey itself through Germany or, as Halweg puts it, you can use it to provide "the background of the circumstances of Lenin's journey." True, the compiler of the collection and the author of the introduction to it often repeat the unfounded stereotypical statements of the author of the book “February Revolution” (“Russia 1917: The Februaty Revolution”) by G. M. Katkov about the alleged “financial assistance” of the German authorities to the Bolsheviks, but still real facts , gleaned from documents, help historians more often find the right explanation for events. Among the stereotypes about the relationship of the Russian Social Democrats and their passage through Germany should also be attributed to the myths of the desire of the Bolsheviks for closer rapprochement with Kaiser Germany, about Lenin's meeting with Gelfand (Parvus) and about the special role of the latter in organizing a “sealed train” . All these inaccuracies were reproduced, in particular, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the book "Lenin in Zurich", published in 1975 in Paris. And yet the Nobel laureate, who relied largely on the publication of Halweg, was forced to admit that Lenin "knew his right, did not falter," that he "kept the main treasure - the honor of a socialist."
In the light of the above data, the considerations used in the film “The Demon of the Revolution” - about the participation of German money in the October Revolution, do not stand up to criticism. How can one, for example, speak of a “closer rapprochement” between Russian revolutionary emigrants and Kaiser Germany, when the Bolsheviks treated the Kaiser and his rule as much as the Tsar of Russia, that is, sharply negative. Following Lenin, his closest associate, Zinoviev, wrote then: "There is no doubt: Wilhelm II is no less a monster than Nicholas II, it is necessary to overthrow the monarchy of Wilhelm II." What kind of rapprochement with such initial positions of the Bolsheviks can there be?
In this regard, in the introduction to the book, Doctor of Historical Sciences A.V. Sovokin writes: “Do not put Parvus among the“ revolutionary émigrés ”, who was branded by V.I. Lenin back in 1915, as a renegade who“ licks Hindenburg’s boots, assuring readers that "the German General Staff spoke in favor of the revolution in Russia." It is quite natural that this business man, who had fled from Russia and who grew rich in war, climbed to help the German authorities to weaken or completely destroy Russia as much as possible, that is, he followed the same line as the German General Staff, Kaiser and his retinue.
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Parvus was believed to have entered, decided on the passage of Lenin and his associates on the basis of their national interests. But the story of evil laughed at them. Their "brilliant" success achieved as a result of the signing of the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty 3 in March 1918, when they were able to humiliate Russia, forcing its government into bondage, was defeated by the November revolution of 1918 in Germany. The desire to weaken their adversary by supporting the revolution turned for the German ruling circles to overthrow William II and the collapse of all hopes of victory over Russia in the First World War. Lenin drew attention to the words of one of the ideologists of German militarism, German General Ludendorff, quoted by Denikin about his joy at the Russian revolution: "But I could not imagine that it would become a grave for our power." Four times, the text that was deleted and singled out with the NB sign describes how the ruling circles of Germany, who had missed a group of Bolshevik immigrants to Russia, were deceived.
All the slanderous fabrications about Lenin and his colleagues who went with him were exposed immediately upon arrival in Russia. In Pravda and Izvestia, a message was published made to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies by Lenin and Zinoviev on behalf of their comrades who came from Switzerland. It published data showing that emigrants had no other way home, that only Fritz Platten maintained contact with the German authorities, that these authorities had nothing but a promise "to agitate in Russia for exchanging missed emigrants for the corresponding number of Austro “German internees” was not given.
Having heard the report of those who arrived, Zurabov and Zinoviev, the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet "decided to immediately appeal to the Provisional Government and take measures to immediately pass all emigrants to Russia, regardless of their political views and attitude to the war." By this decree, the Petrograd Soviet recognized the legitimacy of the actions of Lenin and his comrades in their journey through Germany to Russia. The newspapers and leaflets distributed the “Minutes of the Meeting of the RSDLP Members, consolidated by the Central Committee of 8 on April 1917” (March 26 for the old style), which contains official documents showing all the ups and downs of preparations for the return of emigrants to Russia.
And yet great
In his memoirs about Lenin, in publications of documents and biographical essays on him, the question of the return of the Bolshevik leader from emigration has been covered repeatedly. At the beginning of the 60s, solid research emerged that highlighted the problem based on available print and archival sources. Historical facts make it possible to fully restore the history of that trip. But the creators of the film “The Demon of the Revolution” did not bother to get acquainted with the materials, convincing that all the fabrications about German money are unfounded.
Since 2014, at the suggestion of Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences A.O. Chubaryan, two revolutions - the February and October and Civil wars are considered as a single historical process, and therefore by analogy with the Great French are now called the Great Russian Revolution. It is written in the state historical and cultural standard. It turns out that instead of a principled assessment of key events of a century ago, what this standard is actually aimed at, the film “Revolution Demon” repeats a long-exposed lie. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin warned that discussions about the 1917 revolution should not split the society.
Is it worth it afterwards to tell the film's authors that it is necessary to carefully analyze the results of 1917 of the year and respect the historical memory.