Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot for Global Revolution

Russian Roulette

 

A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot

 

 

Giles Milton

 

 

 

 

www.hodder.co.uk

First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Sceptre

An imprint of Hodder & Stoughton

An Hachette UK company

 

Copyright © Giles Milton 2013

 

The right of Giles Milton to be identified as the Author of the Work

has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright,

Designs and Patents Act 1988.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,

stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any

means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be

otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that

in which it is published and without a similar condition being

imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library

 

ISBN 978 1 444 73705 9

 

Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

338 Euston Road

London NW1 3BH

 

www.hodder.co.uk

For Alexis

‘James Bond is just a piece of nonsense I dreamed up. He’s not a Sidney Reilly, you know!’
       
                                 
Ian Fleming

CONTENTS

 

 

 

List of Characters

Acknowledgements

Maps

 

Prologue

 

Part One

1 MURDER IN THE DARK

2 THE CHIEF

3 THE PERFECT SPY

4 KNOW THY ENEMY

 

Part Two

5 THE MAN WITH THREE NAMES

6 A DOUBLE LIFE

7 MISSION TO TASHKENT

8 GOING UNDERGROUND

9 VANISHING TRICK

10 THE PLOT THICKENS

11 A DEADLY GAME

12 TOXIC THREAT

 

Part Three

13 MASTER OF DISGUISE

14 THE LETHAL M DEVICE

15 AGENT IN DANGER

16 DIRTY TRICKS

17 ARMY OF GOD

18 WINNER TAKES ALL

 

Epilogue

 

Notes and Sources

Selected Reading

Permission Acknowledgements

Plate Section

 

About the Author

Also by Giles Milton

LIST OF CHARACTERS

 

 

 

BRITISH

Mansfield Cumming
: Head of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Director of secret operations inside Soviet Russia.
Samuel Hoare
: SIS bureau chief in Petrograd.
Ernest Boyce
: SIS bureau chief in Moscow.
John Scale
: SIS bureau chief in Stockholm.
Paul Dukes
: spy (operating under aliases of Joseph Ilitch Afirenko, Joseph Krylenko, Alexander Vasilievitch Markovitch and Alexander Bankau).
Arthur Ransome
: journalist and spy.
George Hill
: spy (operating under alias of George Bergmann).
Sidney Reilly
: spy (operating under aliases of Konstantine Markovich Massino, Mr Constantine and Sigmund Relinsky).
Augustus Agar
: special agent.
Somerset Maugham
: special agent (operating under name of Somerville).
Oswald Rayner
: special agent.
Frederick Bailey
: spy employed by government of British India (operating under aliases of Andrei Kekechi, Georgi Chuka and Joseph Kastamuni).
Wilfrid Malleson
: army general and spy-master employed by government of British India.
Robert Bruce Lockhart
: diplomat.

RUSSIAN

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
: Russia’s revolutionary leader.
Leon Trotsky
: revolutionary and leader of Red Army.
Felix Dzerzhinsky
: Director of the Cheka, Russia’s secret police.
Karl Radek
: Vice-Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
Yakov Peters
: Deputy Chairman of the Cheka.
Grigori Zinoviev
: Head of the Comintern.
Evgenia Shelepina
: Trotsky’s secretary and Arthur Ransome’s lover.
Maria Zakrveskia
(Budberg), known as Moura: Robert Bruce Lockhart’s lover.

INDIAN

Manabendra Nath Roy
: Indian revolutionary and leader of the ‘Army of God’.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

 

 

Much of the research material for
Russian Roulette
is housed in two depositories of archives: The India Office Records, now kept at the British Library, and the National Archives at Kew.

Special thanks are due to the ever-helpful staff of the India Office Records. They proved invaluable in guiding me through the 751 files of Indian Political Intelligence. They also provided access to Frederick Bailey’s photographic collection: two of his photographs are reproduced in the plate section of this book.

The staff of the National Archives proved helpful in locating key documents. The pictures of the M Device, also reproduced in the plate section, were found in one of the National Archive’s many files concerning the development of chemical weapons.

Thank you to the Institute of Historical Research.

The librarians of the London Library, where much of this book was written, have proved as helpful for
Russian Roulette
as they were for all my previous books.

A full list of sources is provided at the end of this book but special mention must be made of one author whose works have proved particularly inspiring. The doyen of Great Game specialists is Peter Hopkirk, whose books combine serious scholarship with page-turning narrative. Although new material has come to light in recent years, they remain a standard (and invaluable) reference for the subject of the struggle for control of Central Asia.

I am indebted to those spies who elected to publish their experiences, risking costly law suits for doing so. ‘There is scarcely a page . . . that does not damage the foundation of secrecy upon which the Secret Service is built up.’ So reads a Secret Intelligence Service memo concerning the publication of Compton Mackenzie’s book
Greek Memories
, with its account of Mansfield Cumming.

First-hand accounts must be treated with caution: my aim throughout was to corroborate and balance the sometimes exuberant stories of the spies’ undercover adventures with the more sober tone of their intelligence reports.

Thank you to my literary agent, Georgia Garrett, for her hard work and ever-helpful advice; and to her team at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Thank you, equally, to my editor, Lisa Highton, for her excellent advice, encouragement and supportiveness, and for seeing the project through from inception to publication.

Thanks are also due to Federico Andornino, Juliet Brightmore (for her work on the plate section) and Tara Gladden, who copy-edited the book.

I would like to single out my French editor, Vera Michalski, for special mention. She embraced the project from the outset and bought the French (and Polish) rights long before the book was completed.

Thank you, also, to the other foreign editors who will be publishing the book, notably Peter Ginna at Bloomsbury USA and Sindbad editors in Russia.

Lastly, a fanfare of thanks must be sounded for the home team: Alexandra, who read countless versions of the manuscript yet still managed to provide excellent (and much-needed) advice; and to Madeleine, Héloïse and Aurélia for reminding me that there is life outside the world of espionage, skull-duggery and dirty tricks.

                                                               Magny, spring 2013.

Maps

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