Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920-1924

By Stephen White | Go to book overview

3

Conferences

The strategy of 'peaceful penetration' 1 appeared to have got off to an auspicious start when the New Economic Policy (NEP), effectively de-nationalising small-scale industry and retail trade and returning to more orthodox principles of public finance and law, was endorsed by the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party in March 1921. Its decisions, the Review of Reviews declared, had been 'in favour of the abandonment of Communism'. The 'Communistic experiment had failed', commented the New Statesman; Lenin was now 'driving the Russian State furiously back on the road to capitalism ... All in Russia acknowledge this save a handful of desperate doctrinaires'. 2 Lenin, added the Spectator, the author and head of the organisation which had administered Communism by means of the Soviets, had 'admitted the economic collapse of his system'. It was now conceded that the abolition of private enterprise and private commerce had been a 'disastrous fiasco', wrote the Economist; the Soviet leaders themselves admitted that the 'attempt to force Communism on the nation had failed'. From a business point of view, the paper added, there were 'undoubtedly big possibilities'. 3

Indeed many at this time believed, as Krasin's wife recalled, that it would 'not be long before foreign capital would reassume, under modified conditions, its former prominent place in Russia'. In well-informed quarters, added The Times, it was believed that Lenin was persuaded of the failure of Bolshevism and that it was 'only a matter of hitting on a suitable formula to re-introduce the capitalistic system into Russia'. 4 The advice which the Foreign Office received from its representatives in Russia was largely in accord with these impressions. The two previous months, wrote William Peters, Assistant Agent at the British Mission in Moscow, at the end of May, had been marked by a 'complete change in the Soviet internal economic situation'. The Soviet government, he reported, was now 'consciously encouraging the growth of capitalism'. The head of the British Mission, R. M. Hodgson,

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Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920-1924
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution - A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920-1924 *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • List of Abbreviations *
  • Part I - Negotiation *
  • I - The Trade Agreement *
  • 2 - Labour and Soviet Russia *
  • 3 - Conferences *
  • Part II - Imperial Confrontation *
  • 4 - Imperial Crisis and Soviet Russia *
  • 5 - Soviet Russia and Revolution *
  • 6 - The Curzon Note' *
  • Part III - Labour, Business and Recognition *
  • 7 - 'Entente Commerciale' *
  • 8 - Soviet Russia and Labourism *
  • Conclusion: - Class, Party and Foreign Policy *
  • Notes *
  • Select Bibliography *
  • Index *
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