V. I.   Lenin

In the World of the Azefs[1]

Published: Pravda No. 20, January 25, 1913. Signed: W.. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 532-533.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

The nationalist press raised a terrible clamour over the Alyokhin “incident”. What! The Austrians had insulted Russia by arresting an innocent Russian engineer on a charge of espionage and by outraging the arrested man! There were endless “patriotic” sallies against Austria.

And now the whole background has come to light—the simple, old, long-familiar background of the affair. Mr. Alyokhin was a victim of Weissmann, an Austrian police agent, who had been shadowing Russian spies in Austria for 2,000 kronen (800 rubles) a month.

The Russian engineer, who knows no German and is evidently a semi-savage as well, na\"ively fell for the bait of the agent provocateur, who showed him round the arsenals.

Novoye Vremya and our other papers of a Black-Hundred and government trend defend Russian Azefs with all their might. But when an Azef turned out to be in the Austrian service, those well-intentioned Russian patriots were fired with “righteous” indignation.

But it turned out, in addition, that Weissmann is a former Russian spy and agent provocateur. The career of this Weissmann is most instructive.

His father kept a brothel. The son, after this sort of schooling, became a Russian spy in Vienna, Austria, where he also spied on Russian political exiles. Thus, from 1901 to 1905, Weissmann was in the service of the Russian police, being simultaneously a military and a political spy.

Subsequently Weissmann fell out with the Russian police and passed into the service of the Austrian police.

All very simple.

Poor Alyokhin was the victim of a former Russian spy. Now how can the servile Russian newspapers help being indignant at this “treachery” on the part of Austria?


[1] Azef, Y. F. (1869-1918)—-one of the founders of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, became a secret police agent in 1892. He made preparations for and carried out several acts of terrorism to win the confidence of the S. R. leadership. On the other hand, he betrayed members of the S. R. Party to the police. He was exposed in 1908.

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