In the summer of 1918, it became clear to Lenin that his policy of balancing between rival imperialist camps had failed. The Germans and their allies took possession of the western and southern regions of the former Russian Empire. Entente powers set their sights on Siberia, the Russian North. Lenin considered them more dangerous enemies. The Germans were satisfied with the fact that they managed to capture, without making claims to other territories. Moreover, as Vladimir Ilyich expected, in the World War Germany had to lose. It means that it will be possible to refuse obligations to it. If the British and Americans sit on the neck, it will be difficult to get rid of them.
After the landings of the Entente landed in Arkhangelsk, secret negotiations began in Berlin. The Bolsheviks asked Germany for patronage and alliance. 27 August was signed a secret treaty, which received the name “Brest-2” from historians. Soviet Russia paid 6 billion rubles in gold, yielded a third of the oil produced, pledged to supply 60 million pounds of grain and other food. But for this the Germans promised military aid, joint actions against the Entente and the White Guards. In America, England, France, the contract could not be liked. Yes, and he could not remain a secret - regardless of any secrecy regimes.
Trotsky himself acted as an emissary of Western circles in the Soviet leadership, constantly playing up to the designs of the Entente. In close connection with him, Sverdlov acted. "Brest-2" concluded Joffe, one of Trotsky's faithful assistants. And around Lev Davidovich many nasty spies nestled - the head of the American mission, ladle Robins, a journalist John Reed, the Consul General of Britain Lockhart. Under the guise of specialists who helped create the Red Army, English intelligence agents Hill, Boyce, Cromie, French — Sadoul and Vertimon, labored. This is where Sydney Reilly turned out to be - he had previously known Lev Davidovich, represented his uncle Abram Zhivotovsky’s company in the USA. The manager of affairs of the Council of People's Commissars V.D. Bonch-Bruevich, Chief of the Supreme Military Council, General MD Bonch-Bruyevich, Lenin’s secretary Boris Reinstein, Deputy People’s Commissar of Communications Veniamin Sverdlov (he was Reilly’s bosom friend in America), and others.
But the Soviet special services gradually gained experience, improved their methods. But Dzerzhinsky absolutely did not like such an active fuss of Western intelligence services. In June, the Chekists took 1918 on the trail of foreign structures in Petrograd. Felix Edmundovich sent there the Latvians of Buykis and Sprogis. They managed to instill confidence in the British agents, they were brought down from Reilly. Subsequently, Reilly liked to pretend to be “ace espionage.” He really obtained very valuable information (through Bonch-Bruyevich and Veniamin Sverdlov). But the ace was clearly not. He pecked at dummy security officers, found it very promising - according to legend, they had many friends in the shelves of Latvian riflemen.
After the checks, Reilly presented Buikis and Sprogis to “the boss” himself - the British naval attache Commander Cromie. In St. Petersburg, he carried out the general management of intelligence. Latvians also liked him, he sent them to Moscow, to Lockhart. Lockhart himself recalled: “I was sitting at dinner when the bell rang and the servant reported to me about the arrival of two people. One of them ... brought me a letter from Cromie, which I carefully checked, but made sure that this letter was undoubtedly written by Cromi's hand. Typical for such a brave officer like Cromie, was the phrase that he was preparing to leave Russia and was going to slam the door behind him ... "
Buikis and Sprogis were instructed to recruit one of the commanders who were to guard the Kremlin. This role, on behalf of Dzerzhinsky, was played by the commander of the Latvian Artillery Division, E.P. Berzin. First, fake agents were given assignments of an intelligence nature. But then the preparation for a coup came to the fore. Lockhart explained: “Now is the right time to replace the Soviet government ... You can be of great help in organizing the coup ... You must remove Lenin from the very beginning. With Lenin alive, our business will fail. ” He promised: “Money will be enough for this”. In several receptions he paid out to Berzin 1,2 million rubles.
Successfully acted not only the KGB. Counterintelligence of the Red fleet led by Lieutenant Abramovich managed to sit on the tail of the British. She kept an eye on Cromie, and organized a constant monitoring of Reilly. “As espionage” did not even realize that they had been following him for three months, his every movement was noted. Numerous contacts and addresses were recorded. Meanwhile, the conspirators were preparing to implement their plans. Subsequently, during the search, a document was written by Andre Marchand, personal representative of the French President Poincare in Russia. He reported to his government that on August 24, a secret meeting was held at the US Consulate General with the participation of the Consul Generals of the United States (Bullet) and France (Grenara). At the same time, the author of the report accidentally happened to hear a conversation between British and French intelligence officers.
Marchant indignantly described how Raleigh boasted that “he was preparing an explosion of the bridge over the Volkhov near Zvanka. It is enough to throw your eyes on the map to make sure that the destruction of this bridge is tantamount to starvation, a complete famine of Petrograd, since the city would be cut off from the East, where all the bread comes from ... The French agent added that he is working on the explosion of the Cherepovets Bridge, will lead to similar consequences ... I am deeply convinced that this is not about the isolated intention of individual agents. And all this can have one disastrous result: to throw Russia into an increasingly bloody struggle, condemning it to inhuman suffering ... ”
Note, the overthrow of the Soviet government was no question! Entente powers had the opportunity to overthrow her long ago, if you wanted. But the White Guards were supported only for the sake of greater instigation of the civil war and the collapse of Russia, for the sake of their own introduction into its economy, politics and finance. US President Wilson, like the British Prime Minister Lloyd George, did everything possible so that the Russian patriots, the supporters of the "one and indivisible", could not win. As for the August conspiracy of 1918, all documents and statements of Western intelligence and diplomats featured only "government replacement", "coup", the elimination of Lenin. Preparing a purely apical coup. But the diversions mentioned by Marchand were not worked out by chance. It was at this time in Berlin that the joint offensive of the Germans and the Bolsheviks in the North was discussed - the bombings of the bridges should have thwarted these plans.
Who was to head the government after the liquidation of Lenin? Obviously, the person most loyal to the Entente. Trotsky. He will open the front to the allies, distribute to them and sell off what remains of the country. Is it possible to consider it an accident that the shots of the terrorist attacks rattled through 6 days after the secret meeting described above in the US Consulate General? And three days after signing the agreement “Brest-2”! On the morning of August 30 in St. Petersburg, Junker Kannegisser shot and killed the Cheka chairman Uritzky. Dzerzhinsky left for urgent investigation. And in the evening he banged a revolver at the Michelson factory. The wounded Lenin fell ...
In this case, inconsistencies and frauds almost immediately began to roll. Random people who did not see the assassination detained a certain Fanny Kaplan. She was just nearby, stood at the tram stop, when stunned people ran past. Her hands were occupied with an umbrella and a "suitcase", and she herself was ... half-blind. A few steps did not see anything. For this reason, I could not even work, I was hanging around with friends. Hundreds of people were witnesses to the shots at Lenin, but there was no confrontation on the identification of Kaplan with anyone! The only witness who allegedly identified her was Lenin’s driver Gil (although his testimony is confusing, some protocols mention only “a hand with a revolver”). And Vladimir Ilyich himself asked about the murderer-man: “Did you catch him or not?”
Of the protocols, where Kaplan, like, admits to the attempt, some are not signed. On others, it is not known whether Kaplan's signature is authentic. All the “evidence” of her guilt and involvement in the Social Revolutionary terrorist organization surfaced much later - in 1922 during the process of the right SRs. However, the process itself was rigged from start to finish. “Evidence” sounded from the mouths of provocateurs. Moreover, the defendant Yevgenia Ratner famously brought them to the clear water - she had seen Kaplan in penal servitude in due time and asked to describe her appearance. None of the hypothetical supporters of the “Social Revolutionary terrorist organization” could do this ...
Famous historian A.I. Utkin linked together two assassinations. The first is July 6 1918, when the security chief of Trotsky Blumkin shot German ambassador Mirbach. The second was at the Michelson factory: “The murder of the German ambassador was bound to cause repression in Berlin. The killing of Lenin would have meant the departure from the political arena of the biggest supporter of the world with Germany. ” And many indirect data show that the organization of the terrorist act and the preparation of the coup are somehow connected with a very dark figure in the Soviet leadership, Yakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov.
The information on which meetings the members of the government will speak, and who exactly, were secret. The places and times of speeches were distributed by the agitational department of the Central Executive Committee and the Secretariat of the Central Committee, subordinated to Sverdlov. A note by Yakov Mikhailovich to Lenin, transmitted on the eve of the assassination, was preserved: “Warn all the commissarists that, if invited and appointed to rallies, no one has the right to refuse.” Never before and after Sverdlov did not write such notes. When the Moscow Party Committee in connection with the murder of Uritsky decided to cancel rallies and speeches of leaders, Sverdlov raised a scandal and insisted to hold them - “Well, are we going to hide?”
But Yakov Mikhailovich was also subordinate to the Kremlin’s guard - selective, trained. For some reason, there were no guards at the Mikhelson plant near Vladimir Ilyich. Were obliged to be - and was not! And then no one was asked! But immediately after being wounded, Sverdlov was the first to rush to the leader’s office. He declared: “Everything has been colluded with Ilyich” - and without prior arrangement, without any meetings, without asking anyone for opinions, intercepted the leadership of the government and the Party Central Committee. The highest power in the country.
By the way, the first thing Sverdlov used for this power was that he actually removed Dzerzhinsky from the investigation. Arranged to Felix Edmundovich stayed in St. Petersburg. Say, in Moscow and without him cope. Yakov Mikhailovich entrusted the investigation to his protege Peters, connected other proxies: Kursk, Petrovsky, Kozlovsky, Avanesov, Skrypnik. And the main investigators in the assassination case were two of Sverdlov's henchmen, whom he used for his dirtiest operations - Kingisepp and the regicide Yurovsky. Already one appointment of this “couple” would be enough to suspect that something was wrong. For unknown reasons, Kaplan was taken from the Lubyanka to the Kremlin. Only here in the Kremlin did she suddenly give out all the necessary “confessions”. Immediately after that, she was shot, and the corpse was burned. Obviously made impossible to identify!
But after all, Dzerzhinsky was not a fool at all. He also took action. The main part of the agent networks had already been opened by that time. Dzerzhinsky initially intended to still watch them. But in connection with the assassination attempt on Lenin, he gave the order to take it immediately. On the night of September 1, the Cheka made mass arrests at identified addresses. In Moscow, the British Consul General Lockhart, the French Consul General Grenar, and related persons were detained. At the same time, the network in Petrograd was crushed. Only in one building, which belonged to the departing British embassy, about 40 conspirators were seized. After the shots at Lenin, they began to stir violently, stretching to gather together. And then they covered them ...
Further events were overlaid with bloody orgy. 2 September on the initiative of Sverdlov issued a decree of the Central Executive Committee on the "red terror". On September 5, under its chairmanship, a similar resolution was adopted by the Council of People's Commissars (government): “We need to immediately, once and for all, clean our rear from the White Guard bastards ... Not the slightest delay in applying mass terror ... Not an eye for an eye, but a thousand eyes for one. A thousand lives of the bourgeoisie for the life of the leader! ”
In general, in Russia, blood was already flowing with might and main. It rained on the civil fronts, with political opponents cracked down in the rear. But the ruling on the "red terror" as it legitimized the atrocities. Approved the provision that people can be exterminated without any crime on their part, without a court. They took hostages from the clergy and intellectuals. In Moscow, in the “Lenin days”, about a thousand people were killed. Karl Radek demanded that the executions be public - then they will have a stronger impact. At first they were shot “solemnly” on the Khodynka field, to the music of the orchestra. But the Red Army, allocated for the killings, could not stand it, rebelled. They were replaced by the Chinese and began to execute without music.
In St. Petersburg, the successor of Uritsky Boky, one of the favorites of Sverdlov, was executed by 1300 people. At the places Yakov Mikhailovich centrally directed the assignments, strictly demanded accountability. There were reports from provincial cities. Somewhere they shot 30, somewhere 150 or 200 ... Trotsky warmly supported the campaign. He declared that “deterrence is a powerful means of politics, and one must be a hypocrite not to understand this”. He was at the front, just in those days he took Kazan - and arranged such a “revenge” for Lenin, that a week later the red print reported: “Kazan is empty. Not a single priest, no monk, no bourgeois ". After this massacre in political cartoons, Trotsky was portrayed on piles of skulls.
However, the wound of Lenin, for whom "revenge", was not too serious. He quickly recovered and September 17 appeared at a meeting of the Council of People's Commissars. Not here it was! Sverdlov was clearly in no hurry to return power to “dear Vladimir Ilyich”. He quickly attracted doctors and spent a decision through the Central Committee: send Lenin to rest. I found for this a secluded estate Gorki. And all ties with the leader Yakov Mikhailovich closed on himself! He himself decided who to allow for the meeting. No one from the government or party leaders appeared in Gorki - only Sverdlov informed Vladimir Ilyich on current issues and personally selected protection. She received instructions to safeguard Lenin's security, but also to follow strictly - no extraneous contacts.
Sverdlov dispersed away and other leaders who did not belong to his group. The People's Commissar of Food, Tsyurupa, announced that he looked bad, sent him on leave for two months. And on October 2 the meeting of the Central Committee raised the issue of the work of the Cheka. Various shortcomings were revealed, they decided to prepare a new regulation on the Cheka. But at the same time, Yakov Mikhailovich let a mine go that Dzerzhinsky overworked - and he, too, was kicked out on leave. Generally sent abroad. Let, they say, go to the family in Switzerland.
By the way, Dzerzhinsky was removed from the leadership of the Cheka twice. And both times - when he “crossed the road” to Sverdlov and Trotsky. The first time after the murder of Mirbach and the “Left Socialist-Revolutionary insurrection”. Then a strange statement appeared of Felix Edmundovich himself that he was a “witness” in this case, therefore he could not head the Cheka. He was replaced by Peters. Dzerzhinsky was returned to the previous post only August 22. He grabbed the unwinding of Lockhart's plot - and they got rid of him again. Again replaced Peters. Well, Yakov Mikhailovich kept Lenin under various pretexts for almost a month in Gorki! At first he referred to doctors. Then, at the direction of Sverdlov, the commandant of the Kremlin, Malkov, began to lie as if the repair had not been completed in the leader’s Moscow apartment. But one day Malkov let it out. Lenin caused a scandal, did not listen to anything else, and on October 18 returned to the capital.
In the meantime, there was no Vladimir Ilyich and Felix Edmundovich, the investigation into the espionage coil took a definite turn. It was entrusted to Victor Kingisepp. As an investigator in special cases of the Supreme Tribunal of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, Kingisepp was subordinate to Sverdlov. This person appeared here as it was in all the most slippery situations when it was necessary to stir up the water. He summed up the execution of the head of the Baltic Fleet Shchastnogo, investigated the murder of Mirbach, the attempt on Lenin - safely writing off all the blame on Kaplan and burying other versions. But in the Lockhart case, the work was completely different! Even somehow unusual for the Soviet authorities in the fall of 1918!
Indeed, at the same time thousands of people were sent to executions without any guilt, “in the order of the red terror”. And the spies were taken on the scheduled lists, at the identified addresses and turnout, arrested at least a hundred people. But Kingisepp and his henchmen felt that for most of them the evidence of guilt was too weak. Let go on all four sides. The Supreme Tribunal trial opened in November - and out of the hundred, only 24 defendants remained. And then the four main defendants were tried in absentia. Sydney Reilly and the French intelligence officer Heinrich Vertimon managed to escape. The English and French consuls general, Lockhart and Grenar, had diplomatic immunity. By order of Dzerzhinsky, the KGB detained them, but, as it were, “conditionally”, unofficially. In London, the Soviet representative Litvinov was immediately arrested, and an exchange was made; Lockhart and Grenar left for their homeland.
And without them, only the “trifle” found itself on the dock. A couple of retired generals, a couple of officers, employees, several ladies, who came across the arrests of the liaison of the Czechoslovak Corps Iozef Pshenichko. The main defendants were the American Kalamatiano (an ordinary spy, he was listed on the Reilly network as “Agent No. 15”) and an officer in the military communications department Alexander Fride. The trial itself could be more than loud! It was presented a lot of witnesses found during searches of documents and other evidence. But ran through them superficially, selectively.
For example, in these testimonies mentions of the preparation for the murder of Lenin were repeatedly flashed. But ... the court on this topic did not focus. He didn’t specify, didn’t ask any questions, didn’t dig up. These references did not attempt to link up with the real attempt on Lenin. Witnesses reported that not only English and French participated in the conspiracy, but also the American Consul General — they also hushed up the facts and fenced off American diplomats. And some figures were completely erased. At no meeting, in any testimony, the names of Trotsky, the Bonch-Bruyevich brothers, the Sverdlov brothers, etc., were not mentioned.
Obviously, silence was a payment for life. The sentences turned out to be amazingly soft! The court justified the eight, found the guilt unproven, one lady received 3 months in prison, seven years in 5 years, the unlucky Czech contact person - imprisonment until the end of the war with the Czechs. To the execution, the absent Locke, Grenar, Reilly, Vertimon were sentenced if they suddenly appeared within the borders of Soviet Russia. Calamatiano and Vrida were convicted. But they immediately appealed to the Central Executive Committee, and the execution of the sentence was suspended. A year later, they were released. In the case of proven espionage and a grand international conspiracy, not a single person was executed!
And here's another fact. For comparison. In the absence of Dzerzhinsky, Peters revealed another “conspiracy”. At the headquarters of the Red Fleet. Officers of the maritime counterintelligence, led by Lieutenant Abramovich, were arrested. The very person who managed to establish surveillance of Reilly and revealed all his connections! Abramovich was accused of “counter-revolution” and was put in charge of the “conspiracy”. Petitions from seamen fell down, they argued that an error had occurred. Lawyers petitioned for pardon. Regardless, Abramovich was shot. His lawyer Kobyakov let it slip - the head of the counterintelligence of the fleet was eliminated, because he "knew something about Trotsky."
In general, the conclusion suggests itself - the shots at the Michelson plant were heard precisely in the framework of the coup that was prepared by Western intelligence services and their emissaries in the Soviet government. But Dzerzhinsky counter-attack on the network Locart paralyzed the conspirators. Well, in September-October, the plans to eliminate Lenin were no longer relevant. Germany suffered a crushing defeat in France and collapsed. Her alliance with the Bolsheviks no longer posed any danger to the Entente. And if so, even if Lenin is ruling further, let Soviet Russia be considered a “German ally”.