The Bolshevik Revolution: its Rise and Meaning by Maxim Litvinoff, 1918

Source: MRC


Litvinov (also spelled by British writers as Litvinoff) was born in 1876. In 1900 he joined the then illegal Russian Social Democratic and Labour Party (RSDLP). After escaping from prison, he joined the editorial board of ‘Iskra’ while in exile in Switzerland. He briefly returned to Russia, but was once again forced into exile from 1906, this time in London. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Litvinov was appointed as the Soviet Government’s representative in Britain where he actively supported Sylvia Pankhurst’s organisation, the Peoples’ Russia Information Bureau. However, after ten months in office, Litvinov was arrested by the British Government in a bartering process with the Soviet Government which took the form of a prisoner exchange. The British authorities were prepared to release Litvinov in exchange for Bruce Lockhart. Lockhart was the British Consul-General in Moscow in 1918 who despite (or maybe because of) his diplomatic position, co-ordinated the activities of British spies and planned to overthrow the Soviet Government. For this, he and his coterie were arrested by the Soviets and sentenced to death. Lockhart was saved in this unequal exchange with Litvinov.