During the Cold War years, the British secret service worked closely with American intelligence. By that time, UK intelligence had accumulated considerable experience in conducting a number of successful operations. Employees of the British intelligence services were able to uncover a German conspiracy to kidnap the former king of Great Britain Edward VIII in order to turn him into the head of a pro-German puppet government. They managed to lure Rudolf Hess to Scotland. Having thrown the body of an imaginary British officer together with specially fabricated documents to the Germans, the British intelligence officers convinced the German command of preparing the Allied troops in Greece and managed to conceal plans for the upcoming operation in Sicily. British intelligence officers skillfully used the detection of the German Enigma cryptographic machine on board the captured submarine in order to obtain reliable information about the movements of the German armed forces and their plans throughout the war. English intelligence had other successes.
English knights of cloak, dagger ... and pen
The activities of British intelligence relied on the age-old national traditions in the culture and life of the country. Stormy история Britain's civil wars, feudal troubles, palace intrigues and conspiracies, as well as the rampant robbery gangs influenced the national character of the British, reflected in folklore, and then in fiction. And although the time of the bloody wars of Scarlet and White Rose passed, and the objects of conflict were crushed, secret intrigues and associated tracking down the enemy, the exchange of information received about him and the development of clever moves against him continued to occupy the minds of many inhabitants of the British Isles, which was reflected in the novels English writers.
Although not England became the birthplace of the detective novel, it was here that the most famous authors of detective literature appeared - Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, as well as the characters they created - Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
The UK is still noticeably ahead of other countries in the world in terms of “spy novels”.
Even in English classical fiction, far from a detective or spy genre, examples of complex conspiracies with reconnaissance moves, used by the heroes of the novels, were repeatedly captured.
Cunning conspiracies with skillfully carried out espionage operations were undertaken by the heroes of many novels of the 19th century writer Anthony Trollop in their attempts to seize small church positions. In his novel The Masters, writer Charles Snow described in detail how twentieth-century university scholars prepare conspiracies and counter-conspiracies to achieve the post of rector as soon as they become aware that the owner of this position was ill with cancer.
Probably, it is not only for the English that the ability to track down, meticulously analyze the received observations and report their results to the participants of a narrow circle of people for the development of intrigue against the object of surveillance. However, it is obvious that, in telling about the life of their compatriots, English writers devoted many of their works to surveillance, analysis of the information gathered and the development on this basis of carefully thought-out decisions.
These features of the English writers have long ago decided to use the rulers of Britain to collect reliable information about the underlying currents in society that could destabilize the existing system. At the beginning of the 18th century, an influential grandee at the court of Queen Anne (1702-1714) Count Oxford wrote: "It would be extremely useful to have a humble writer on the side of the government even for an accurate statement of the truth." Rightly judging that the writer's observation, his ability to deeply analyze what he saw, unconventional and independent mind, the ability to find capacious words and vivid images for presenting observations and conclusions could be used to obtain timely and meaningful information, wise and original judgments, the graph drew for confidential informing the authorities of Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift.
And soon the creator of "Robinson Crusoe" created an effective organization of nationwide surveillance of attitudes in society, their analysis and the adoption of appropriate responses.
Although Great Britain was not the only country in the world in which some writers were not only masters of the pen, but also "knights of cloak and dagger" in combination, there was a tradition in this country before others to involve authors of artistic works in secret information of the government. With the spread of British possessions around the world, London began to take measures to use the masters of fiction to collect high-quality information about what was happening on the entire planet. Therefore, many famous British writers were used not only for collecting information and analyzing it, but also for organizing clandestine operations in various countries of the world, which were possible thanks to the connections of word masters in various public circles in many countries of the globe, as well as trust in them in international community. British intelligence writers were Graham Green, Ian Fleming and many other prominent English writers.
Plot of Maugham
The well-known English writer William Somerset Maugham, who spoke about the secret pages of his life in his autobiography, Summing Up, also ended up in these ranks. Maugham explained his agreement to cooperate with the military intelligence of Great Britain as follows: "The work attracted me because of my love for romance and at the same time because of the craving for absurd and ridiculous situations." The writer also spoke in detail about his intelligence activities in his stories about Eshenden, under the name of which he derived himself ("Eshenden, or the British Agent").
In 1917, British intelligence executives sent Maugham to Russia. The writer recalled: "My instructions required me to come into contact with forces hostile to the government, and prepare a plan that would keep Russia from getting out of the war." Although the Entente countries, including Britain, were in no hurry to help Russia weaponsthey feared the conclusion of peace on the Eastern Front. To prevent it, they planned to carry out a coup in Russia.
According to Maugham, he "felt timid, not being sure that I had the qualities necessary to complete the task. However, it seems at that time there was not one suitable person. At the same time, the fact that I was a writer , served as a good "cover" for the assignment.
Even when Maugham became a living classic of English literature, he recalled his trip to Russia as "the most significant mission he ever performed."
According to him, he "was satisfied with the responsibility that was imposed" on him. Describing himself under the name Eshdenden, Maugham wrote: "He had to act independently, without obeying anyone. He had unlimited means at his disposal (in the belt that he had on his body, there were bills for such a sum that he was dizzy, when he recalled it.) He had to carry out a job that exceeded human capabilities, although he did not know it, and therefore he was confident in his ability to cope with the task. "
In the story of Eshhenden, Maugham colorfully described his arrival in Russia on August 1917: “Vladivostok. Truly the end of the world. Eshhenden made a long journey: first from New York to San Francisco, then on a Japanese steamer across the Pacific Ocean to Yokagama, then Russian ship ... across the Sea of Japan from Tsuruki to Russia. In Vladivostok, he had to transfer to a trans-Siberian train in order to get to Petrograd. "
On the way, Möem was accompanied by "four devotees of the Czechs, who were supposed to act as liaison officers between me and Professor Masaryk (the future president of Czechoslovakia. - Yu.E.), who had about sixty thousand of his compatriots in various parts of Russia under his command. ".
By this time, England and France decided to use the Czechoslovak Corps as a "military-police force" to "restore order" in Russia.
In addition to the leaders of the Czechoslovak Corps, Maugham mentions his regular contacts with Boris Savinkov, the leader of the Social Revolutionary terrorists, the murderer of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia V. K. Plehve and the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. A ruthless terrorist made an indelible impression on Maugham - "one of the most amazing people I've ever met." Together with Savinkov, other right-wing SRs — his associates — also participated in the organization of the conspiracy.
Until the end of his life, Maugham was sure that "there was a certain chance of success if I had been sent six months earlier." When the writer arrived from Vladivostok in Petrograd, the situation in the country reached a critical stage. “Things were deteriorating in Russia,” Maugham wrote. “Kerensky, head of the Provisional Government, was eaten by vanity and dismissed any minister who, he thought, was a threat to his position. He made endless speeches. Food shortages were becoming more and more menacing, were approaching there was no fuel during the winter. Kerensky made speeches. The Bolsheviks, who were in the underground, became more active, Lenin was hiding in Petrograd, they said that Kerensky knew where he was, but did not dare to arrest him. He made speeches. "
By the end of October 1917, Maugham completed his work to create a powerful underground organization, ready to speak. He sent an encoding to London detailing the final plan for the coup d'état. Maugham recalled that "the plan was adopted and all the necessary means were promised." However, the organizer of the conspiracy fell into time trouble.
The lack of time was largely due to the fact that the ruling circles of Russia showed a pathological inability to act quickly, even in the name of self-preservation.
Maugham wrote: "Endless chatter, where actions, hesitations, apathy were needed, when apathy led to destruction, high-sounding declarations, insincerity and a formal attitude to the work that caused my disgust with Russia and the Russians." It is possible that the acute attack of Russophobia, which many people from Western countries have always been infected with, also did not contribute to the success of Maugham.
In addition, the activity of Maugham, the terrorist and writer Savinkov, as well as the leaders of the Czechoslovak corps and other participants in the conspiracy, was opposed by the determination and organization of the Bolshevik party headed by Lenin. According to Maugham, at the end of October 1917, "the rumors became more ominous, but the Bolsheviks became more and more frightening. Kerensky rushed back and forth like a frightened chicken. And then thunder broke out. On the night of 7 November 1917, the Bolsheviks revolted ... Kerensky’s ministers were arrested. "
The very next day after the victory of the October Revolution, the writer warned that the Bolsheviks were looking for a secret resident of Great Britain. Having sent an encrypted telegram to London, the leader of the conspiracy urgently left Russia.
Britain sent a special battle cruiser to take out their super spy from Scandinavia.
Why did Maugham go to Petrograd through the USA and Siberia?
Although Maugham wrote about the failure of his mission in Russia, subsequent events in Russia suggest that the activities of the intelligence writer had more significant consequences for our country, in addition to the failure of the coup plan. Did Maugham tell all about his conspiracy? Why, if "time was running out," the British intelligence officer, accompanied by four Czechoslovakians from Masaryk's entourage, arrived in Petrograd not through the North Sea and the neutral countries of Scandinavia (which would have taken several days), but traveled the way that he described in the story about Eschenden? After all, having chosen such a long road to Petrograd, the intelligence officer risked falling into time trouble and eventually got into it!
The presence of the USA and Siberia in the route of Maugham and his companions during their 1917 trip of the year was hardly a coincidence. Even before the outbreak of the First World War, the United States occupied the leading place in the world economy. Profiting from the supply of various goods, including weapons, during the First World War, the United States turned the leading powers of the world into its debtors. Having entered the fighting on the side of the Entente in April 1917, the United States proceeded from the assumption that without taking into account their opinions, the most important international issues, including the fate of Russia, cannot be decided.
Russia's dependence on the United States has also increased. While exports from Russia to the United States from 1913 to 1916 fell by 3 times in the year, imports of American goods increased by 18 times. If in 1913, US imports from Russia were slightly higher than their exports from the US, in 1916, US exports exceeded Russian imports to the US 55 times. Russia's dependence on the United States was rapidly increasing, and the Americans demanded prompt payment of the growing Russian debts, including the granting of new concessions to them on bonded terms.
Shortly after the start of the February Revolution, US Ambassador to Russia David Francis offered Russia a new loan in 100 million dollars to temporarily repay debts. But for this and previous loans, the Americans demanded immediate payment in kind. Under an agreement with the Provisional Government, a mission was sent to Russia from the United States "to study issues related to the work of the Ussurian, East China and Siberian railways."
It can be assumed that Moema’s trip and the four Czechoslovakians on the Trans-Siberian Railway were connected with the “study” of British intelligence in coordination with the Americans of the way through Siberia and the possibilities of establishing control over it.
It is known that soon after the completion of the trip of Moehm and his companions on the Trans-Siberian road in the middle of October 1917, the so-called "Russian railway building" was formed. The "Russian" corps consisted only of Americans. In his twelve squads there were 300 railway officers, mechanics, engineers, craftsmen, dispatchers who were to be stationed between Omsk and Vladivostok. As the Soviet historian A.V. Berezkin, "the US government insisted that the experts it sent should be invested with broad administrative authority, and not limited to the functions of technical observation." In fact, much of the Trans-Siberian Railway came under American control.
The October Revolution prevented the implementation of these plans and, although 14 in December 1917 of the Russian Railway Corps as part of 350, a man arrived in Vladivostok, after three days he departed from there to Nagasaki.
However, soon the Trans-Siberian Railway again became the object of negotiations, during which the question arose of the presence of another foreign corps along its entire length. Since February, 1917, negotiations of the Soviet authorities with the leadership of the Czechoslovak Corps began, during which it was decided to deliver the Czechs and Slovaks to France. Although it is obvious that any route to the detour of the Central Powers was not near, yet the roads through the Caspian Sea and Persia, or through Scandinavia and the North Sea, and even through the Barents Sea the sea would not be short, for some reason the longest road was chosen - through Siberia , and then by sea to Western Europe. According to the agreement signed by 26 March 1918, before boarding the trains, the soldiers of the Czechoslovak Corps were to hand over weapons to the Soviet authorities.
This provision of the agreement caused concern to the Western powers at secret meetings of their diplomats, held in Moscow in April and May of 1918. Then D. Francis wrote to his son in the United States: "At the present time I am plotting ... to disrupt the disarmament of 40 thousands or more of Czechoslovak soldiers whom the Soviet government offered to surrender their weapons." Discussing plans to use the Czechoslovak Corps, US Secretary of State R. Lansing at this time wrote to US President Woodrow Wilson: "Is it impossible to find a core for the military occupation of the Trans-Siberian Railway among these skillful and loyal troops?"
Although it was later claimed that the Czechoslovak statement was caused by the demand of the Soviet authorities to surrender their weapons in accordance with the agreement of March 26, it was obvious that the insurgency was prepared in advance and carefully.
With the general collapse of the country and the absence of significant armed forces of Soviet Russia (by the end of spring 1918, the Red Army, along with internal formations, had only 116 thousand infantrymen and 7940 cavalrymen) 45-50 thousand armed representatives of two peoples of Central Europe, speaking 25 May, in a matter of weeks, the vast territories of the Trans-Volga region, the Urals, Siberia and the Russian Far East took control.
Immediately after the beginning of the Czechoslovak insurgency, Russia's former allies in the Entente announced that it was necessary to save the Czechs and Slovaks from the Bolsheviks. 29 June, on the day when the Czechoslovakians occupied Vladivostok, British troops also arrived there. The Japanese armed forces already in Vladivostok were reinforced. And soon the 120 of thousands of foreign interventionists came out to defend the Czechs and Slovaks. In addition to the British and Japanese, military units of Americans, French, Canadians, Italians and even Serbs and Poles landed in Vladivostok.
This is how the time bomb launched by Maugham in the fall of 1917 of the year worked, opening the way not only for the Civil War, but also for full-scale foreign intervention.
The pursuit of gold reserves of Russia
Apparently, not only Transib, but the untold riches that were in its path, were the goal of the Western powers. Speaking at the US 20 Congress on June 1918, Senator Sherman emphasized the need to seize the opportunity to conquer Siberia. The senator stated: "Siberia is a wheat field and pasture for livestock, having the same value as its mineral wealth." In December, at a meeting at the State Department, 1918 outlined a program for the "economic development" of Russia, which provided for the export of 200 thousand tons of goods from our country during the first three to four months. In the future, the pace of export of goods from Russia to the United States should have increased.
The most attractive bait for the interventionists was the country's gold reserves, most of which were taken to Kazan (and a smaller part to Nizhny Novgorod) after the onset of the German and Austrian forces in 1915 year.
After the start of the rebellion of the Czechoslovak Corps, in the middle of June 1918, by order of VI. Lenin's chief commissar of the People’s Bank of the Republic, T.I. Popov ordered Kazan Bank to prepare for a possible evacuation of valuables in Nizhny Novgorod, where a part of the country's gold reserves was already located. To this end, hastily began replacing bags that had rotted from time, in which gold was stored from 1915 of the year.
June 27 in the midst of preparation for the evacuation of the gold reserve commander in chief of the Eastern Front, Social Revolutionary MA Ants summoned the manager of the Kazan branch of the State Bank Marina to himself and demanded to stop preparations for the export of gold, since this, they say, provokes panic. Upon learning of this, Popov from Moscow immediately demanded that the preparatory work be continued, having wired: “Do not flatter yourself with Muravyov’s self-praise.”
Then Muravyov began to prepare the transportation of gold not to Nizhny Novgorod, but to Simbirsk. On July 10, he arrived in Simbirsk himself, where he announced a truce with the White Czechs, the start of the war against Germany and the offensive of the Eastern Front forces on Moscow. However, Muravyev’s rebellion did not last long. Muravyov himself was killed by a Red Army man during the suppression of the rebellion.
Four days before Muraviev's arrival in Simbirsk, 6 in July, riots broke out in Yaroslavl and several other cities of the Upper Volga region under the leadership of the Union for the Defense of Motherland and Freedom, headed by right-wing SR Boris Borisovka. Later, many wondered why Savinkov had rioted in Yaroslavl, Rybinsk, Rostov, Vladimir, Murom, where the forces of the right-wing Social Revolutionaries were small, and not, say, in Kaluga, where they had a powerful organization. It is possible that Nizhny Novgorod and one part of the republic’s gold reserves were one of the targets of the rebels.
On the eve of the rebellion in the Upper Volga region, Savinkov visited Kazan, where he met with his supporters, as well as members of the Serbian corps, ready to rebel as the Czechoslovaks approach Kazan. Savinkov also maintained contacts with the leadership of the Czechoslovak Corps, which were formed during the preparation of the Maugham plot. Even before the start of the insurgency, members of the Union for the Defense of Homeland and Freedom were brought in by Masaryk Immediate Assistant I. Kletsand.
Although Savinkov’s rebellion was suppressed, the Czechoslovak corps’s offensive against Kazan continued. August 5 was still fighting on the outskirts of Kazan, bank employees managed to load 100 boxes of gold into trucks. They were taken out of Kazan. However, the bulk of the gold reserves could not be removed, and the Czechoslovak detachments, assisted by members of the Serbian corps, seized the Kazan branch of the State Bank.
But in September, the Reds launched an offensive. As they approached Kazan, it was decided to evacuate the gold to Ufa, where by that time the so-called "State Conference" was convened, which chose the "Provisional All-Russian Government" (it was called the "Ufa Directory").
The total amount of valuables exported from Samara to Ufa was 1 billion 100 million gold rubles. However, much of this cargo disappeared along the way.
When they again began to evacuate him eastward in October 1918 of the year, this time to Omsk, the valuable cargo was placed not in five, but in two railway echelons.
As far as moving eastward, stocks of gold and other jewels began to melt again. When in May 1919 of the year in Omsk, an audit of gold reserves exported from Kazan was carried out, the total value of gold and other valuables was 651 532 117 rubles 86 kopecks, that is, 2 times less than its estimated value in Samara. In the future, the gold reserves began to decline again as the Kolchak government paid them with the Western powers for supplying his army. At the same time, neither weapons nor uniforms were delivered to Russia.
Explaining the meaning of the policies of the Western powers towards Russia, the British Ambassador to France, Lord Bertie, wrote in his 6 December 1918 diary: “There is no more Russia! It broke up, the emperor and religion disappeared, which connected different nations of the Orthodox faith. If only we will be able to achieve independence of the buffer states bordering on Germany in the east, that is, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, etc., and no matter how many were able to fabricate, then, in my opinion, the rest can go to hell and cook in their own juice. "
In the meantime, the Red Army approached Omsk and the gold reserves were again being prepared for transportation. October 31 1919, he was taken from Omsk Bank to the station. There, gold was loaded into 29 cars, and on November 12, two trains with these cars, guarded by the Czechoslovak Corps, left Omsk. Admiral Kolchak rode in one of these echelons with his government.
12 January 1920, the red partisans presented an ultimatum to the Czechoslovakians: they are ready to let them go east on the condition that they give Kolchak, members of his government and cars with a gold reserve to the authorities in Irkutsk, which by this time was in the hands of the rebels. During the negotiations, Czechoslovakians accepted the terms of the ultimatum. A mixed guard of partisans and Czechoslovakians was created to guard trains with Kolchak and gold.
Later, as historian Vladlen Sirotkin pointed out, the Czechoslovakia "ensured the protection of these valuables and official representatives of the" Chekhovsk "signed protocols on the surrender of the remains of the Kazan treasure to the coalition political center of Irkutsk, which already at the last stage (March 18 1920) finally gave" gold echelon "to his commander - Bolshevik-security officer Kosukhin, and he finally delivered this echelon 3 of May 1920 to Kazan".
The last circumstance is paid attention by those Czech historians who claim that their compatriots, having held gold, silver, etc. for almost two years, returned everything to the last ingot and the last precious jewel. However, Sirotkin had reason to doubt the veracity of these allegations. He pointed out that after returning to Kazan, it turned out that "" the Kazan treasure "had noticeably" lost "- on whole 27 Pullman four-axle cars from those 40 that were loaded completely at the time of sending gold from Samara at the end of September 1918." .
Suspicions that the rapid development of Czechoslovakia after the 1918 year was largely due to the use of the gold stolen in Russia has not yet subsided.
Of course, the damage from the possible theft of a part of the gold reserves by the Czechoslovak legionnaires does not exhaust the damage that was inflicted on our country by their performance of the full-scale Civil War 1918 - 1920. and foreign intervention. Their result was the ruin of the country. Production in various industries fell to 4 - 20% of the pre-war level. Damage was caused to agriculture, deprived of the supply of industrial goods. Over a dozen million people died in battles, from indiscriminate massacres, famine and disease. Such were the grave consequences of the now forgotten conspiracy of British intelligence, which was directly led by prominent English writer US Maugham.