Lenin Returns to Russia
The 16th of April 1917 AD
In early 1917 Czar Nicholas II had been forced to abdicate; power had been seized by a Provisional Government of moderates in an unstable alliance with the workers’ and soldiers’ soviets (councils). Revolutionary leaders in the country already (Stalin after his return from internal exile included) thought that it was necessary to support the middle class leaders who now had their hands on power. Lenin, stuck in Switzerland, differed. He sent instructions to comrades urging them to promote the seizure of power by the working classes.
Soon Lenin was able to engineer a return to his native land. It suited Germany to assist him: his stance had always been against the ‘imperialist’ WWI ; should he take control Russia would almost certainly exit the conflict; if not, his presence would at least hinder the Provisional Government’s war effort.
Thus on April 9 1917 Lenin began the long journey from Switzerland to Petrograd. A one-carriage sealed train had been provided for him and 29 other revolutionaries, the train granted extra-territorial status at Lenin’s demand. It crossed Germany, then the party travelled by ferry to Sweden, and on again by train, reaching Petrograd on April 16. As one of the great revolutionary thinkers Lenin was greeted as a hero by more moderate political figures; he ignored them and addressed the crowd of ordinary people gathered to witness the event. He would be forced to flee again that summer, but returning a second time in the autumn the momentum was all his.
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From Ma-Li Kleidon on 6th May 2013
What happened to the train which took Lenin through Germany. Did it get decommissioned in the way that war ships can be? thank you.