Monday, 21 March 2011

Lenin Assassination Plot

This fascinating BBC article investigates the attempted assassination of Lenin in 1918 by Fanya Kaplan and accusations that it had been coordinated by Robert Lockhart, a British agent. He had been sent to Russia to persuade the new Bolshevik government to continue fighting the First World War alongside its Triple Entente allies, but when it signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, making peace with Germany, Lockhart turned his attention to ways to destabilise the government. He was arrested by the Cheka but denied all involvement, and was later freed in exchange for a Russian spy. Lockhart instead suggested that responsibility should rest with Sidney Reilly, a flamboyant Russian who worked a freelancer for the British Secret Service but who had increasingly taken matters into his own hands. However, the historian Robert Service believes that Lockhart might have been using Reilly as a distraction, to cover up much deeper involvement of the British government in the assassination of a head of state. All documents relating to this are still kept secret, suggesting there is still a lot of sensitivity over this issue. More will be revealed over the controversy in a Radio 4 programme tonight, which will be available on iPlayer soon after.

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