WeeklyWorker

23.06.2022
Sir Bernard: an old Russia hand

A very liberal convert

Sir Bernard Pares was a bitter opponent of Bolshevism and actively supported the whites during the civil war. However, after his 1935 visit to Moscow, he became an apologist for the Stalin regime. Despite that, as Paul Flewers shows, he was still capable of penetrating insights

Perhaps the most surprising recruit to the ranks of the pro-Soviet commentators in Britain during the 1930s was Sir Bernard Pares.

Pares was born in 1867 and after a public-school and university education he became interested in Russia, making regular visits there between 1898 and 1914, and meeting various prominent political, literary and academic figures. Politically a liberal, he befriended many like-minded Russians. Nonetheless, quite a few of his friends in Russia were drawn from other parts of the political spectrum, and one of his liberal friends, Michael Karpovich, recalled that “he knew tsarist ministers and revolutionary leaders, businessmen and intellectuals, peasants and landed gentlemen, and long was the list of his Russian friends to whom he was simply ‘Bernard Ivanovich’.”1

After the 1905 revolution, Pares cultivated links with many deputies in the duma, which enabled him to provide the British embassy in St Petersburg with much valuable and previously unobtainable information about Russian political affairs. He spent a fair amount of time in Russia during World War I, establishing close contacts with prominent individuals in both the tsarist administration and the Provisional Government, before returning to Britain in September 1917. He was knighted in 1919 in recognition of his work in the sphere of Anglo-Russian relations.

Pares was a pioneer in the development of Slavonic studies in Britain. He was one of the ‘Russia Hands’ - a small cohort of scholars around the world with a deep-running interest in Russian history, society, culture and politics - and he gained the reputation of being “one of England’s most distinguished Russian scholars”.2 He was an early proponent of the idea that “exchanges designed to increase contacts between representatives of the political, economic and cultural élites of Britain and Russia” were necessary if the diplomatic links between the two countries were to be broadened and deepened.3 Karpovich wrote:

Sir Bernard was not only a cultural, but also a political, missionary. Perhaps the greatest dream of his life was the achievement of a lasting Anglo-Russian understanding. He began his study of Russia at a time when the tradition of mutual hostility and distrust still was strong in both countries. He did what he could to help to get rid of this unfortunate historical legacy, and he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907. In the subsequent years, his principal task was to strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries.4

Pares started up the School of Russian Studies at Liverpool University in 1907, and from 1919 he was a central figure at the School of Slavonic Studies (later the School of Slavonic and East European Studies) at the University of London, eventually resigning as its director in 1939. In 1922, he and Robert Seton-Watson, a leading authority on eastern Europe, launched the Slavonic Review (later the Slavonic and East European Review), which was for many decades the only academic journal published in Britain that dealt with eastern Europe and Russia. Pares has been praised for being one of the few academics who saw the necessity “for the extensive and systematic study of eastern Europe at a time when its need was scarcely recognised”.5

A bitter opponent of the Bolsheviks, Pares was sent by the British government to Siberia in early 1919 to liaise with anti-Bolshevik forces. He worked mainly with Admiral Kolchak, in order - so he recalled a decade later - to explain to the public the nature of the British intervention and the need for a government in Russia based upon a constituent assembly. It seems to have escaped Pares’ memory that the Omsk Provisional All-Russian Government, which represented the very political forces that supported the concept of a constituent assembly, had been dispersed by a Cossack coup and replaced by Kolchak’s dictatorship shortly before his arrival. He returned to Britain at the end of 1919 to resume academic work, and to speak against “the application of Bolshevist principles and programme” in Britain. His antipathy towards the Soviet regime - a full-blown, uncompromising anti-communism - led Moscow to turn down his requests to visit the Soviet Union for the next 16 years, and he was not to return to Soviet territory until the very end of 1935.6

For a decade and a half, Pares maintained a concerted campaign against Bolshevism through a stream of articles in newspapers and magazines and at his very popular lectures, which received considerable press attention. Ever hopeful of the return of liberal democracy to Russia, he continually predicted the demise of the Soviet regime, and warned British governments not to lower their guard against the revolutionary menace emanating from Moscow.7

Radical change

And then something strange happened. In early 1935, Pares was assailing the Soviet regime in his customary style. Equating the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany, he flayed out at Stalin’s rule, lambasting the “wholesale manufacture of the slave soul”, the “wholesale massacres”, the “wholesale atmosphere of suspicion, espionage and evasion”, the “wholesale compelling of all wills to knuckle under in every detail of life and thought to one”, and the “terrible regime of timber and other camps”.8 Yet only a few months after this uncompromising assault, Pares had made his first authorised trip to the Soviet Union, and his opinion was to change radically, as his book Moscow admits a critic made very clear.

The general impression of the Soviet Union that Pares presented in this book and his other post-1935 writings was that the worst aspects of the upheavals of the early 1930s were over, and that things were definitely getting better. Admitting that most of his stay was limited to Moscow and that he was unable to ascertain conditions outwith the capital, he noted that people seemed well fed, the shops were well stocked and, although elderly people still felt hardship, there was no evidence of pauperism, and there were no beggars or homeless waifs. Like many observers, he was greatly impressed by the factory and farm he visited, as he was by the Bolshevo model prison - a popular stopping-point on guided tours - the nurseries, educational and cultural facilities, although he was disconcerted by the excision of Trotsky, literal in some instances, from the displays in the museums.9

Pares considered that the Soviet Union was approaching a new edition of the New Economic Policy. Uneasy after Hitler’s victory in 1933, and wishing to maintain the status quo in Europe, the Soviet regime hoped to safeguard its position in a dangerous world by allying with the western democracies and, having completed the most vigorous stages of construction, it was moving towards a more constitutional form of government, as it was “sincerely anxious to obtain the goodwill of the population as a whole”.10 Pares was cheerfully optimistic and, as the economy was now running smoothly and scapegoats were thus no longer required to cover for economic failings, the wreckers’ trial could “pass into the background”.11

Despite being a little uneasy about the ‘ubiquity’ of Stalin, there was a positive side to his rise: “It is almost as if communism were being absorbed into the other peculiarities of Russia, or, to change the metaphor, as if after the revolution we had Napoleon.” And, despite the usual antipathy of Englishmen and Russians (and no doubt especially of Russophile Englishmen) towards Napoleon, this was not meant in any negative sense.12 Elsewhere, he considered that “communism as a world challenge” was in retreat, and that the newly-revived Comintern was merely “an organisation for propaganda behind the fronts of enemy countries … an adjunct of national defence”.13 Extending his lecture circuit to include fellow-travellers’ meetings and conferences,14 he informed his audiences that Stalin had restored certain property rights to the peasantry, and had given up trying to eradicate religion and the family.15

Pares still had his complaints. The odd paragraph in Moscow admits a critic showed that he did not like the political restrictions upon academic work, and he hinted that there were still some three million people in concentration camps.16 But. all in all, the verdict was largely in favour of Moscow.17 Despite its prickliness over adverse comments, it could be fairly said that Pares was one critic whom the Soviet regime could well admit into its embrace.18

Needless to say, Pares’s change of heart attracted attention. The exiled Russian liberal, Adriana Tyrkova-Williams, accused him of having become “a veritable troubadour of a new Stalin”,19 whilst Malcolm Muggeridge drew a very unfavourable comparison between his Moscow admits a critic and Walter Citrine’s much more critical book I search for truth in Russia.20 Other reviewers found Pares’s book a disappointment, and claimed that there was “little to differentiate this small book from any casual traveller’s passing impressions”.21 Taking a more positive stance, leftwing journalist Mostyn Lloyd stated it was “rather absurd” to see Pares’s book as “the recantation of a converted sinner”, since it made perfect sense for him to praise the Soviet regime’s social achievements.22 Being praised by the hard-line Stalinist, Pat Sloan, for his stance on the Moscow trials was not particularly edifying and could not have endeared Pares to his old friends,23 but it was logical, because, as we shall see, he more or less endorsed the Stalinist line on this issue.

Trials

As if to spite Pares’ forecast in Moscow admits a critic of imminent liberalisation, the first Moscow trial took place a mere two months after the publication of that book. Apart from being a little doubtful about the alleged association of the defendants and Trotsky with the Gestapo - links between Jewish communists and Hitler’s secret police were a bit hard to credit! - Pares was all too ready to accept the validity of the trial:

Personally, I am clear that there were plots in the Left Opposition aiming at the murder of Stalin and other prominent officials. There would be nothing unintelligible in this. Stalin has constantly been accused of lukewarmness in the cause of the world revolution, and the past history of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, bred like Stalin himself in the atmosphere of conspiracy, is in keeping with such a belief.24

The widespread suspicions about the validity of the Moscow trials passed Pares by,25 and he was accused at the time of parroting Moscow’s propaganda - for “what good Stalinist and true could object to it?”, as one reviewer asked.26 He declared that most of the defendants admitted “conspiring together against Stalin”, and it was “not necessary that we should doubt them, in whatever way their evidence was originally obtained”. He concluded with a remark that deserved a prize for sheer fatuousness: “The bulky verbatim reports were in any case impressive.”27 He assured his readers that the purges fell mostly upon members of the Communist Party, and “precisely on those fanatical champions of world revolution” who followed Trotsky. Moreover, “Stalin has put himself forward as the friend of the man in the street, and removed one after another local officials who had grown old in the abuse of their authority.” So with, on the one hand, this brisk taming of the bureaucracy and, on the other, the introduction of a series of social and political reforms and a return to more conventional form of morality, Stalin had “tended to create a real body of national support behind the government”.28 In his acceptance of the trials and purges, Pares went considerably further than many other sympathetic observers, who recoiled at the more violent aspects of Soviet life.

Pares reached his nadir with the secret trial and execution of the Soviet marshals in June 1937. Not only did he blithely accept the validity of the main accusation against them - “there was really a plot to eliminate, and of course kill, Stalin” - he also endorsed the accusation that they met their demise because they had refused to break off relations with the Wehrmacht high command after Hitler had come to power: “For this Tukhachevsky and his comrades paid with their lives.”29 So, irrespective of whether they were plotting to eliminate Stalin, or merely hobnobbing with now unfavoured opposite numbers abroad - quite different degrees of criminal behaviour, one might think - that was their lot, and quite right too.

Pares presented a confusing melange of ideas when he came to discuss the allegations of industrial sabotage and wrecking. First of all, he wrote, “there was active opposition” to the regime. Trotsky, he confidently claimed, was guilty of the charges levelled against him, that he was from afar organising widespread disruption of the economy: “On principle, he wanted the five-year plan to fail, and was always saying it would; he wanted anything that would disprove Stalin’s thesis that a socialist Russia could be self-supporting and self-dependent.”30 This, of course, was nonsense. Trotsky did not wish to see the failure of the five-year plans. Quite the opposite: he was concerned that the Stalinist methods of industrialisation and agricultural collectivisation were putting them in jeopardy. It is clear that Pares was taking his information here uncritically from Stalinist sources and ignoring the often detailed assessments of the Soviet economy that Trotsky and other Marxist critics were presenting in their publications.

Pares then turned to sabotage in the workplace, referring to the Soviet worker “who, except under sheer compulsion, absolutely refused to be hurried”, which “led of itself to a simple and primitive sabotage, such as feigned illness or even putting machinery out of order”.31 Here he was being considerably less fanciful. There was evidence, largely provided by Western observers, mainly engineers who had been hired to help set up and run Soviet factories, of small-scale sabotage by workers, acts of exasperation and individual protest, typical of workers new to the world of industry or with no opportunity for conducting collective action, intended to disrupt the production process for a while and hopefully gain some rest-time whilst machines were repaired.

Elsewhere, Pares took a broader view of the allegations of workplace sabotage, one that went beyond the personal conduct of the worker. He noted that the plan “had to encounter deficiencies of all sorts”, and its success “depended on pitiless compulsion”. But, whilst “compulsion may produce quantity … it cannot produce quality”, and he correctly noted that the Soviet press - which, unlike most members of the pro-Soviet lobby, he could readily read - was “always active in showing up deficiencies of execution” in industrial production, where, he added, some 40% of produce “had to be discarded as scrap”. Plans, he wrote, were fallible; they did not “allow for leakage or for accidents”, but this was “not to be taken into account” by officialdom. So far as the regime was concerned, “If the plan failed, someone must have tried to make it fail, someone was a ‘wrecker’ and must be tried and punished as such.”32

As an example, Pares referred to Vladimir Chernavin, who was accused of “wrecking” after having failed to bring about the prescribed huge increase of the catch in the White Sea, even though the failure was the result of the ignoring by the Soviet authorities of his call for additional trawlers. Pares was thus implying that Chernavin was framed upon bogus charges in order to cover up official indolence and incompetence. Pares turned to the trial in 1933 of a number of Metro-Vickers engineers from Britain who had been arrested for sabotage at the power stations where they had been working, commenting that nobody in Britain “seriously believed” that they “had been monkeying with their own machinery”.33 The implication again is that the official culture of accusing people of ‘wrecking’ was a disingenuous ploy concocted by the Soviet regime with the intention of placing the blame upon individuals for problems that were actually rooted in the implementation of the plans, most notably the constant pressure upon technicians, managers and workers to increase production. Pares was thus teetering on the edge of understanding that although there were examples of deliberate malpractice in the workplace by disgruntled workers, a considerable amount of what was called ‘wrecking’ was a consequence of the manner in which industrialisation was implemented and industry was then managed in the Soviet Union, and indeed was a consequence of the very nature of Stalinist industrialisation itself.

Re-evaluation

A strong advocate in the late 1930s of an Anglo-Soviet alliance against the rising threat of Nazi Germany, Pares’s stance on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of August 1939 was contradictory. Unlike the Stalinists and their allies, who saw the pact as a guarantee of peace in Europe, he recognised that it gave Hitler the chance to avoid a fight on two fronts, and he was scathingly contemptuous of the pro-German tone of much of the ensuing Soviet commentary. Yet he insisted that the Soviet-German alignment “was never an alliance, whether political, military or economic”,34 and that the Soviet advance into Poland was intended to prevent the Wehrmacht from driving too far eastwards.35 He denounced the Soviet invasion of Finland, yet qualified his opposition almost out of existence by recalling Stolypin’s remark that Pares would scarcely welcome a border with a foreign country at Gravesend.36

Once the Soviet Union had joined the Allies in June 1941, Pares was in his element. As domestic patriotism intermeshed with an explosion of pro-Soviet feelings, he threw himself into the work of presenting the new ally to the British public. On behalf of the ministry of information, he both embarked upon a gruelling schedule of meetings on the Soviet Union and helped to brief official spokesmen who addressed other gatherings. He stated that the wartime enthusiasm for the Soviet Union was not merely because of its steadfast resistance to the Nazi forces: “We were ourselves, in our own chosen way, now living collectively, as was inescapable in the conditions of a besieged city, and the community principle was at the root of the Russian resistance.”37

Pares emigrated to the USA during the war, and continued his academic work there. However, his calls for east-west understanding were rapidly submerged beneath the rising tide of the cold war, and he died in April 1949 - lambasted, on the one side, by cold warriors and, on the other, by American Stalinists.

Pares always denied that he was an apologist for the Soviet regime. His much reprinted A history of Russia continued to excoriate Lenin for building a “totalitarian party” and the Bolsheviks for “terrorising” their opponents. Neither did he hide the horrendous course of Stalin’s collectivisation programme and, unlike the vast majority of the pro-Soviet lobby, he readily acknowledged the reality of the famine of the early 1930s, in which “the loss of life is generally held to have been as much as five millions”.38 But these were historical factors.39 Although he wrote cuttingly of “the ignorant and insipid adulation of everything that was Soviet, which so many travellers brought back from the escorted tours”,40 he had effectively made his peace with Stalin and Stalinism in 1935. Apart from his continued disquiet about the suppression of democratic rights in the Soviet Union,41 his criticisms of the system after that date were over isolated issues - best exemplified by his suspicion that the Soviet army had allowed the Nazis to suppress the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.42 Even then, these discordant notes did not disturb the generally favourable tenor of his accounts.

And yet there is evidence that indicates that at heart he may well have been a little less easy about certain events than he publicly declared, and that he might have toned down his initial, more critical thoughts before submitting his works for publication. He stated in a typescript that the Stalinist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948 represented “the suppression of a superior civilisation by an inferior one”, yet his public rebuke in Russia: its past and present was considerably milder.43

In a wireless broadcast in early 1939, Pares denied that he had any political agenda, and added that his lifelong business was “to study Russia in order to see where cooperation was possible between Russia and our own country in the best interests of both, and to face frankly any obstacles to such cooperation”.44 However, many others who, like Pares, demanded an Anglo-Soviet alliance in the late 1930s made no concessions to Stalin’s regime. So why did he downplay the repressive nature of Stalinism? Why did he suppress, as seems likely, his initial qualms about certain events?

It is very clear from his visit to the Soviet Union in 1935 that the country had made a good impression; it was a far cry from the chaotic, lawless mess he had seen in 1919, and, moreover, the regime was by the mid-1930s retreating from what he saw as its more outlandish early ideas and practices, with the assertion of national pride, the concessions to the peasantry in respect of private farming, the revival of the family and of more conventional forms of moral conduct, and the use of “all the enormous resources of Russia … for the good of the community - a grand idea”.45 With this in mind, he came to believe that the process of democratisation, which until then he had considered only to be possible by way of the overthrow of the Soviet regime, was now being implemented by that regime. In effect, he succumbed to the very rationalisations born of superficial observations for which he condemned the fellow-travellers. With this re-evaluation of the Soviet regime, and with his particularly passionate conviction in the possibilities and advantages of a close Anglo-Soviet relationship and east-west cooperation - a belief which he took right into the cold war46 - he would not be inclined to bring to the fore the negative features of Stalinism.

To this we must add Pares’s assessment of the role of the Soviet Union in the wider world. Since 1935, he had praised Stalin for having “publicly countered Trotsky’s programme of ‘permanent revolution’ with one of common-sense construction at home” and cooperation with any friendly foreign government, for having “definitely preferred to a foreign policy of revolution the association of the western democracies against Hitler (especially during the Spanish Civil War)”,47 and for producing “not a generation of world revolutionists, but a new race of technicians, each with a vigour of purpose that was new to Russia in her work of home construction”.48 In other words, Stalin had house-trained official communism, starting at home, and the Soviet Union was no threat to the capitalist system.

As with others who predicted or detected liberalising trends within Stalin’s Soviet Union, it is clear that Pares’s hopes for the democratisation of the Soviet regime were not merely woefully optimistic, but quite unrealistic. Although high Stalinism expired in the immediate aftermath of the demise of its author, a mere four years after Pares’s own death, and the post-Stalin Soviet regime never resorted to the extreme authoritarian measures of the Stalin era, the Stalinist socio-economic formation that emerged from the initial five-year plans of the 1930s proved inherently unable to grant even the limited democratic rights that had been obtained in the liberal democracies, let alone anything that one would expect under a socialist democracy. The political liberalisation that occurred during the final years of the Soviet Union under Gorbachev is more aptly seen as one of its death throes than evidence of any healthy democratisation of the Soviet system.

On the other hand, although Pares’s call for east-west cooperation was doomed to irrelevance in the decades of institutionalised hostility between the Soviet Union and the west, it is clear that he understood what the cold war theoreticians were unable or unwilling to see: that, with the repudiation of the idea of world revolution, once Stalin was in charge, the Soviet Union was a stabilising factor in global affairs, and was finished as a revolutionary Marxist force. Pares railed against the cold warriors who saw Stalinism as a global revolutionary force: “… to shift onto Stalin the old menace of his bitterest enemy, Trotsky, seems to me unpardonable and a travesty of all the facts”.49

And so, in this crucial aspect, Pares was more aware of the essence of the international role of Stalinism than those who, in his words, “continued to talk of Russia in terms of 1917-21.”50 


  1. M Karpovich, ‘Sir Bernard Pares’ The Russian Review July 1949.↩︎

  2. W Laqueur The fate of the revolution: interpretations of Russian history New York 1967, p89.↩︎

  3. M Hughes, ‘Bernard Pares, Russian studies and the promotion of Anglo-Russian friendship, 1907-14’ Slavonic and East European Review July 2000.↩︎

  4. M Karpovich op cit.↩︎

  5. W Laqueur op cit p24.↩︎

  6. B Pares My Russian memoirs London 1931, passim; B Pares Moscow admits a critic London 1936, pp8ff; B Pares A wandering student: the story of a purpose Syracuse 1948, passim.↩︎

  7. For example, a headline above a report of a meeting he addressed in Derbyshire read: ‘Government warned against the Soviet - Sir B Pares decries dealings with Russia - regime doomed’ Derby Daily Telegraph November 21 1929.↩︎

  8. Slavonic and East European Review April 1935.↩︎

  9. B Pares Moscow admits a critic London 1936, pp35ff.↩︎

  10. Ibid pp11, 20. Pares seems to have forgotten that, whilst the NEP liberalised the Soviet economy, it was accompanied by a final clampdown on rival political parties and the start of the erosion of political debate within the Soviet Communist Party itself.↩︎

  11. Pares was referring here to the various show trials concerned with industrial ‘wrecking’ that took place in the late 1920s and early 1930s.↩︎

  12. B Pares Moscow admits a critic pp20, 34, 91.↩︎

  13. Listener December 16 1936.↩︎

  14. When Pares addressed the West Central London Branch of the Friends of the Soviet Union on May 6 1936, the leaflet advertising it stated: “He was a convinced opponent of the Soviets” (my emphasis - PF). He also spoke to a big assembly of the Congress of Peace and Friendship with the USSR in March 1937. Pares also provided an appreciative foreword for the official English translation of the 1936 Soviet constitution.↩︎

  15. Hampstead and Highgate Express March 3 1939. Pares was relieved that the Soviet Union was a “proletarian dictatorship” in name only. Were the workers actually in charge, this “would only have resulted in Babel” - that is, useless chatter and, we may presume, not much work getting done (B Pares Russia Harmondsworth 1940, p131.↩︎

  16. B Pares Moscow admits a critic pp72, 91.↩︎

  17. In line with the works of many other non-communist members of the pro-Soviet lobby, there was a strong implication running through Pares’ writings that what was good for Russia was not relevant for Britain. He certainly had no time for the “negligible” Communist Party of Great Britain - a gaggle of “tiny little would-be Lenins” (B Pares Russia and the peace Harmondsworth 1944, p157).↩︎

  18. Paradoxically, the lingering unease that Pares felt about certain aspects of Soviet society, together with his reputation as a ‘Russia hand’ and his previously critical stance, may well have made his new-found positive appraisal appear more credible than the uncritical writings of many of the pro-Soviet lobby.↩︎

  19. A Tyrkova-Williams International Affairs March 1937.↩︎

  20. M Muggeridge, ‘When knights are bold’ Fortnightly August 1936. Walter Citrine was general secretary of the TUC during 1926-46. His training as a skilled worker enabled his observations of many aspects of the Soviet Union in the 1930s to be considerably more acute than those of the many visitors who knew nothing of factory life or manual workmanship.↩︎

  21. JL Stocks Manchester Guardian July 24 1936. See also M O’Moray Edinburgh Evening Dispatch July 29 1936.↩︎

  22. CM Lloyd New Statesman July 25 1936.↩︎

  23. P Sloan Spectator February 26 1937.↩︎

  24. Slavonic and East European Review January 1937.↩︎

  25. See my The new civilisation? Understanding Stalin’s Soviet Union, 1929-1941 London 2008, pp145-54.↩︎

  26. Times Literary Supplement January 25 1941.↩︎

  27. B Pares Russia and the peace p202.↩︎

  28. Listener April 20 1939.↩︎

  29. B Pares Russia and the peace pp202-03.↩︎

  30. Ibid p152. Pares told his lecture audiences that allies of Trotsky were engaged in the “deliberate wrecking” of machines (Midland Daily Tribune November 8 1941).↩︎

  31. B Pares Russia and the peace p151.↩︎

  32. Ibid p152.↩︎

  33. Ibid p154.↩︎

  34. Ibid p18.↩︎

  35. B Pares A history of Russia London 1947, p587.↩︎

  36. B Pares Russia pp248-49. Looking back after the war, he absurdly insisted that “there were no Quislings and no fifth column” in the Soviet Union after the German invasion, and he failed to mention the fact that, alone amongst the Allied powers, the Soviet Union provided Hitler with a massive Quisling army.↩︎

  37. B Pares A wandering student p372.↩︎

  38. B Pares Russia p164.↩︎

  39. Nonetheless, even here Pares had moderated some of his older, more critical remarks. EH Carr compared the 1937 edition of the History to the 1926 original and declared that the latter’s text had been “bowdlerised or rewritten here and there to bring it more nearly into line with the present-day Soviet view of history”, that “a brief statement of the Menshevik case against Bolshevism” had been “expurgated”, the references to the terror during the civil war were “very much toned down”, and “an enthusiastic description of the brief, illusory moment of freedom under the Provisional Government” had been omitted - “apparently lest it should provoke odious comparisons” (International Affairs January-February 1938).↩︎

  40. B Pares A history of Russia p578 (1947 edition), p535 (1966 edition).↩︎

  41. In his autobiography, published in 1948, he wrote that he had “one enormous reservation” in respect of Soviet justice: namely, the political trials; and added that he was disturbed by the execution of Zinoviev. Yet in the revised edition of his Russia published a year later, his endorsement of the Moscow trials remained unaltered, along with his cruel verdict on Zinoviev, who, he wrote, having “escaped by the skin of his teeth in former trials, was now finally brought to book and died, still fawning, like the coward that he had always been” (B Pares A wandering student p343).↩︎

  42. B Pares A history of Russia, pp547, 561 (1966 edition).↩︎

  43. B Pares Russia: its past and present p205.↩︎

  44. Listener April 20 1939.↩︎

  45. Hampstead and Highgate Express March 3 1939.↩︎

  46. B Pares Russia: its past and present p215.↩︎

  47. It is interesting that, unlike many observers at the time, Pares recognised within the Spanish Civil War the “subterranean continuation of the duel between Stalin and Trotsky”: that is, the suppression of revolutionary movements by the Stalinists (B Pares A history of Russia p582 (1947 edition), p541 (1966 edition).↩︎

  48. B Pares Russia: its past and present p215.↩︎

  49. B Pares A wandering student p390.↩︎

  50. Fortnightly March 1942.↩︎