Here’s a great read for history fans – and you don’t even have to buy the book. ‘The Sealed Train’ by Michael Pearson is here on the net.
It’s an account of Lenin’s top secret journey from exile back to Russia in 1917.
The funny part about the Russian revolution, when it came, is that Lenin was the last to know.
A neighbour in Switzerland stopped by with the news.
Actually, not such good news at first. Lenin couldn’t scrape together the bus fare back to Russia at the time. Moreover, the rest of Europe was at war. So the story recounts the devious dealing between Lenin, a bunch of secret agents and the German Government.
Eventually, Lenin and his entourage were transported back to St Petersburg via Scandinavia in a sealed carriage. For company, Lenin had 10 million dollars from Germany to bring down the Russian Government and to surrender the Russian army in the process. Yes, this was high treason of course and the story of The Sealed Train was kept from Russians for many years.
Along with some good anecdotes about characters such as Inessa Armand, Lenin’s mistress, the book shows you that the principle of buying revolutions of any colour is nothing new. ‘Revolutionary demonstrators’ in Russia were said to have been paid three roubles each and the total cost of the Russian revolution was estimated at around 10 million dollars. A lot of money in those days.
The Sealed Train was originally published in 1975 and, being a rattling good story, was made into a film in 1987 starring Ben Kingsley. You can still get the VHS from Amazon along with Michael Pearson’s equally revealing book, ‘Lenin’s Mistress’.