Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 5, 2012

Roman Malinovsky biography, part two

Filed under: Malinovsky — louisproyect @ 10:04 pm

How the Social Democratic fraction in the Duma came to split.

Excerpted from chapter two of the Roman Malinovsky biography by Ralph Carter Elwood immediately below:

As leader of the Bolshevik group in the Duma, Malinovsky was the prime mover in the splitting of the united Social Democratic fraction despite the fact that this action clearly violated the mandate given him by his Moscow electors.77 Throughout 1913 he led the six Bolshevik deputies in a constant fight with their seven Menshevik counterparts over such issues as representation on Duma commissions, equal speaking rights before the house, appointment of fractional secretaries, and the choice of agitational slogans. Relations became so strained that the two groups had to meet at 7 a.m. in order to have enough time to hammer out the day’s assignments.78 In the early fall of 1913 the Bolshevik Central Committee agreed that a formal split was essential;79 this policy was duly approved by the police80 and executed by Malinovsky in November 1913. In addition to engineering the split, he provided the police with all the fraction’s files for overnight perusal,81 allowed them to listen in on private meetings of the Bolshevik caucus,82 and probably told them about planned demonstrations by the fraction.83 But Malinovsky’s Duma activities also posed difficulties for the police. As the fraction’s leader and best orator, he was expected to deliver militant speeches denouncing the government from texts often sent from abroad or composed by the combined fraction. When the police saw these texts they frequently demanded that he “change, shorten or soften”84 them in actual delivery. Thus he was forced to skip over passages concerning the “peoples’ sovereignty” in his inaugural address to the Duma and to omit entirely fifteen lines from a joint declaration in 1914. In the first instance he pleaded “nervousness” and in the second he tried to provoke the chairman’s intervention so as to escape suspicion by his colleagues.85

Prologue and chapter one are here: https://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/roman-malinovsky-biography-part-one/

Footnotes to prologue and chapter 1 are here: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/prologue_chapter1.htm

Footnotes to chapter 2 are here: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/chapter2.htm

Chapter two of “Roman Malinovsky: a Life Without a Cause”

‘DR. BEBEL’ AND ‘MR. AZEF’

The personal and professional doldrums which Malinovsky had passed through in 1910 and 1911 were forgotten by the time he reached Prague in January 1912. He arrived late for the Sixth All-Russian Conference of the RSDRP and he did not possess a proper mandate from the nearly defunct Moscow organization.1 But it did not matter. At the age of 35 he was at last in the company of such luminaries of Russian Social Democracy as Lenin and Zinoviev. “His outward appearance,” wrote one of the delegates, “was quite remarkable. He was tall, strongly built, and dressed almost fashionably. Deep, numerous pockmarks gave his face a fierce expression, as if it had been through a fire. He had thick, coarse, reddish hair, and his yellow eyes slid and jumped quickly from one object to another.” Voronsky went on to note, however, that Malinovsky “seemed too loud and fussy. Talking to him made me feel tired immediately. The [other] delegates [from Russia] gave him a cold and guarded reception.”2

Lenin’s reaction was different. He was at once impressed with this Moscow worker about whom he had heard so much, especially after Malinovsky announced that as a result of “serious reflection and observation” he had at last become a convinced Bolshevik.3 Malinovsky, seemingly, was precisely the type of person Lenin had expected to emerge from the underground in great numbers but which was in fact very rare: a true worker, a man with solid trade union experience, a commanding presence, a proven orator, an energetic organizer, and a convert to Bolshevism. Lenin’s attraction to rough and uncultured individuals, like Malinovsky and Stalin, so alien to the world of the emigre intelligentsia, has been seen as “reverse snobbery.”4 He was soon singing Malinovsky’s praises, just as he was those of the “marvelous Georgian,” in letters to his friends. He wrote Kamenev that “so far we have met two of the ‘six’: Malinovsky and Muranov. They make an excellent impression . . . the soil is rich.”5 He continued in the same vein to Maxim Gorky: “Malinovsky, Petrovsky and Badaev send you warm greetings and best wishes. They are good men, especially the first. It is really possible to build a workers’ party with such people, though the difficulties will be incredibly great”!6

Lenin was insistent that his new protege be elected to the Central Committee, as Vera Lobova had proposed, despite the reservations of some of the Prague delegates. O. A. Piatnitsky quite correctly pointed out that Malinovsky had been “remote from party work, that he had not been elected by the illegal Moscow organization, that he had come to the conference accidentally, and finally that we knew very little about him.”7 “Lenin insisted on the inclusion of Malinovsky,” recalled Voronsky, but the Russian delegates objected. Learning of the decision we had come to, Lenin coaxed us, in his own words, ‘to give a little vote to Malinovsky … he has connections, and he is a workman.’ Lenin succeeded in winning over some of us, but the majority of the delegates were against Malinovsky, and we had our own candidate. The votes were counted; it was evident that Malinovsky could not secure the necessary majority. The voting was by ballot. The names of the successful candidates were not, for obvious reasons, announced publicly. It happened that neither our candidate nor Malinovsky had the requisite majority. A second vote was decided on. Lenin moved among the delegates whispering candidates’ names to them and taking the voting slips. In the evening ‘confidential’ news leaked out that Malinovsky was elected. Everyone was astonished. The ‘betrayal’ was considered by some the work of Sergo [G.K. Ordzhonikidze], by others that of Filip [F.I. Goloshchekin]. Both of them, however, swore that they were innocent.8

Lenin had even bigger plans for Malinovsky. With the elections to the Fourth Duma coming up in the fall, he persuaded the Prague delegates to approve Malinovsky’s candidature as the Bolshevik representative from the large and prestigious Moscow Guberniia.9 Because of his background in the trade union movement and his reputation for conciliationism in factional matters, he also received Menshevik support.10 “Thus, backed by both of the major factions as well as by the police, Malinovsky was able to capitalize on his popularity in the factory districts to be nominated from the workers curia on 30 September and elected by the guberniia electoral assembly on 26 October. Lenin was ecstatic. Soon after the election he wrote G. L. Shklovsky: “For the first time we have an outstanding leader (Malinovsky) from among the workers representing us in the Duma.”11 Pravda echoed this sentiment by proclaiming that Malinovsky “deservedly enjoys the warm respect arid esteem of the workers. We wish him courage and strength in his new and responsible post where this best representative of the workers will be able to display to the utmost his abundantly gifted nature.”12His former colleagues in the Metalworkers Union also sent him greetings and expressed the hope that his work in the political field would be as “fruitful” as it had been in the economic.13 Even the Mensheviks hailed the election “for the first time of a leading ‘practical’ from the trade union movement.”14 In early November 1912 some 2,000 Moscow workers saw their new deputy off from the Nikolaevskii Station as he left for the opening session of the Fourth Duma.15

Malinovsky stood head and shoulders above the other five Bolshevik deputies in terms of political acumen, organizational ability and oratorical skill. He alone of all the deputies thought to thank his constituents for their support and their greetings.16 He was forced to answer the other deputies’ mail17 and to make their travel arrangements abroad.18 Some Polish workers even wrote him asking that he, rather than their elected deputy, represent them in the Duma.19 In recognition of these abilities he was unanimously elected vice-chairman of the united Social Democratic fraction and a year later, after the split, became chairman of the Bolshevik Duma group as well as the fraction’s representative-designate to the International Socialist Bureau.20

Duma rules were quite explicit that speeches before the house had to be given within a specified period of time; that they had to keep to the question and avoid abusive language; and that they had to be delivered rather than read verbatim from a manuscript. This was no problem for a Menshevik intelligent such asN. S. Chkheidze orM. I. Skobelev but it was for poorly educated, ill-at-ease Bolshevik worker-deputies such as Badaev, Muranov, N. R. Shagov or F. I. Samoilov. Krupskaya noted that Badaev, for instance, was a “shy” but “dependable proletarian.” 21 One leading Menshevik was more blunt: “he was elected simply because . . . the right-wing electors picked the least cultured, the most ignorant of all the worker electors since they decided that such a deputy represented the least danger for them …. He played no role in the external life of the fraction. He was not an orator …. At fractional meetings he did not participate, that is, he did not have opinions of his own.”22 On the few occasions he tried to deliver a speech, he was constantly interrupted by the Duma chairman for one violation or another of Duma rules.23 Lenin tried to compensate for these deficiencies not only by writing speeches for the deputies himself and by urging his well-educated friends to do likewise but also by summoning the deputies periodically to Galicia to give them first-hand instructions and by planning a party school in the Polish mountain town of Poronin for their edification.24

Increasingly, however, the burden of speaking before the Duma fell to Malinovsky whose “oratorical powers made him one of the most frequent speakers of [the Bolshevik] fraction.”25 Even the Mensheviks asked him to deliver the party’s key opening address.26 During the first session of the Fourth Duma he spoke before the house 22 times, which is more than the rest of the Bolshevik fraction combined, and during his brief stay in the second session he spoke an additional 38 times. He also signed 54 interpellations and made five legislative proposals.27 Rodzianko, the conservative Duma chairman, found these “performances” “harsh” but “extremely clever.” “His speeches were very interesting, very absorbing, soundly based and moreover so cautiously constructed that I did not have recourse to censorship.”28 Rodzianko felt compelled to ask Malinovsky where he had been educated and must have been surprised to find that he had had no formal education whatsoever. Chkheidze, the head of the Menshevik fraction and Malinovsky’s frequent opponent in the Social Democratic caucus, reflected the common opinion that he was “an extremely active and energetic man” who had the ability to “capture the mood of the Duma.”29

Since party newspapers were allowed to print Duma speeches, Malinovsky received considerable publicity in the daily press. Pravda alone reprinted some thirty of his addresses and as a result his popularity outside the Duma grew. From all sides, he began to be referred to as the “Russian Bebel” – a somewhat premature comparison with the great German socialist August Bebel who also rose from humble origins to become an outstanding orator in the Reichstag.30

The Bolsheviks’ other big venture during 1912 was the creation of a daily workers’ newspaper which could exploit the agitational possibilities presented by the Duma. Immediately after the Prague Conference, Malinovsky had journeyed to Leipzig with Lenin and S. S. Spandarian to discuss the project with two more experienced journalists, N. G. Polataev and V. E. Shurkanov. Soon after this meeting, however, Malinovsky was told to divorce himself from all party work because of the importance of his own election campaign and the necessity of not compromising himself before it was over. As a result, he had nothing to do with the formation of Pravda in St. Petersburg during April 1912. Even after his successful election in October, he played a far less significant role in Pravda than is often assumed. Outside of soliciting subscriptions and arranging for distribution outlets in Moscow,31 he had little contact with the paper’s daily operations. Contrary to many Western accounts, he never served as Pravda’s publisher, editor-in-chief or treasurer.32 During the early months of 1913, when the editorial board was being reformed and brought under Lenin’s control, he had some limited financial and perhaps editorial responsibilities33 but even these were terminated by the Central Committee in September 1913.34Malinovsky was, however, connected with other publishing ventures. During the spring and summer of 1913 he helped establish a daily Moscow version of Pravda, Nash put’, and at Lenin’s insistence was to have been its publisher.35 When Nash put’ folded after sixteen issues in October 1913, Malinovsky started agitating for a weekly Moscow paper for which he would again serve as publisher.36He also at various times in 1913 was associated with Priboi, the party’s legal publishing house, with the workers’ insurance journal Voprosy strakhovaniia, and with the establishment of an underground printing press in Finland.37 While Malinovsky was neither a proficient nor a particularly productive writer, at least by the standards of the emigre intelligentsia, his fourteen contributions to Pravda and Metallist38 represent a greater journalistic output than that of any of the other Bolshevik deputies.

Besides his parliamentary and journalistic work for the party, Malinovsky also served as chairman of the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee. What little of Lenin’s and Krupskaya’s correspondence with Malinovsky that has been published clearly shows that he was considered the key individual in St. Petersburg.39 During his year and a half in the Duma, he used his parliamentary immunities to make at least eight trips to Galicia to see Lenin and to attend Central Committee meetings. When arrests reduced the size of the Bureau to two members, Malinovsky and his fellow Duma deputy Petrovsky, the Central Committee empowered them to arrange the escape of two exiled members of the Bureau, Stalin and I. M. Sverdlov. If the Bureau needed further replenishing, they were either to coopt new members or to name “agents of the Central Committee” to carry out its functions.

The Committee also told Malinovsky to seek additional students for the proposed Galician school.40 Since the school would be expensive to operate, Malinovsky was instructed to contact sympathetic and wealthy liberals in Moscow and St. Petersburg.41 Lenin, in fact, had considerable confidence in Malinovsky’s financial honesty and fund-raising abilities. On several occasions he insisted that party funds in Russia be put in the hands of the “Russian Bebel.”42 In March 1914 he instructed Malinovsky to approach some Moscow Progressivists, who had earlier given the deputy 2,000 rubles for the legal party press, for an additional donation of 20,000 to 25,000 rubles to be used for the calling of the next party congress.43

Lenin’s relationship with Malinovsky is perhaps best shown by the fact that he chose his Duma chairman as his travelling companion for three weeks in western Europe during January 1914. In Brussels they attended a congress of the Latvian Social Democratic Party. In Paris, Malinovsky gave an emotional two-hour address on Duma affairs to a large audience of Russian emigres44 besides engaging in his hobby of collecting picture postcards. While in Paris, Malinovsky also went to see Vladimir Burtsev to discuss the problem of provocation in Bolshevik ranks with Russian socialism’s chief counter-spy.

Lenin had been concerned about the problem of police penetration ever since the Prague Conference when, at his instruction, the new Central Committee decided to set up a three-man “provocation commission” and to enlist Burtsev’s services.45 One of the members of this commission was Malinovsky. After the arrest of Stalin and Sverdlov in February 1913, Lenin wrote Kamenev that “he had discussed with Malinovsky what measures ought to be taken” to forestall further arrests.46 The Central Committee concluded later that spring that “in view of continued arrests showing with certitude the presence of a provocateur, it was resolved to take all measures to eradicate the threat, sparing neither money nor effort.”47 In late July Lenin hastened home from Switzerland for yet another discussion of the problem with Zinoviev, Kamenev and Malinovsky. The latter told of a conversation he had had with the new editor of Pravda, M. E. Chernomazov, who related how during his interrogation following arrest in St. Petersburg in June the police had “demonstrated a thorough knowledge of recent party developments.” The meeting could only conclude that “all these circumstances merely confirm the fact that near to the ‘six’ [Bolshevik Duma deputies] there is still a person tied to the investigatory branch of the government.” Malinovsky was instructed to be “as conspiratorial as possible in relations with those surrounding” the fraction.48 Two months later the hypersensitive Central Committee, probably at the suggestion of its “provocation commission,” diverted a would-be delegate to one of its meetings from Poronin to Vienna because of vague suspicions which Malinovsky was told to investigate further.49 Burtsev, in the meantime, had been investigating at Lenin’s request the evidence against Dr. A.A. Zhitomirsky, a sometime courier of illegal literature, who was suspected with more cause of provocation. Thus, it is not surprising that the two counter-spies, Burtsev and Malinovsky, should get together when the latter visited Paris in January 1914. They talked about the Zhitomirsky case in particular and about means of combatting provocation in general. Malinovsky was especially interested in the extent of Burtsev’s knowledge of provocation within the RSDRP as well as the Socialist Revolutionary Party and the sources of his information within the Okhrana. As Burtsev later recalled, “fortunately, despite his lively interest in the matter, I did not disclose” this infor¬mation.50 Burtsev did, however, ask Malinovsky to verify cer¬tain facts concerning Zhitomirsky and was both annoyed and vaguely suspicious when he did not get a reply .51

There were, of course, very good reasons both for Burtsev’s suspicions of his Bolshevik counterpart and for the failure of the “provocation commission” to achieve any constructive results. For more than three and a half years the “Russian Bebel” had been supplying detailed information, first to the Moscow Okhrana and then to the Department of Police in St. Petersburg, on all aspects of party life. In his police work Malinovsky showed the same diligence and thoroughness that he previously revealed as the secretary of the Metalworkers Union and which he was concurrently demonstrating as a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee. At first, his schizophrenic life caused him surprisingly little difficulty; indeed, he seemed to relish the simultaneous prestige of his party role, the power of a police agent, and the adventure of playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There was, however, no question where his loyalty lay: it was strictly a case of ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ and in this case the piper was receiving 100 rubles a month from the police.

The Okhrana got its money’s worth out of Malinovsky even before he joined the Central Committee. His first report was filed on 5 July 1910, six weeks after he had been released from jail,52 and it was followed by 56 more in the next year and a half.53 Malinovsky used his broad contacts and good reputation to advantage. His information concerned legal activity in trade unions and worker cooperatives as well as illegal activity carried out by both factions of the Social Democratic Party. He provided the police with lists of pseudonyms, numbers of forged passports, locations of party meetings and storage places for illegal literature. The police used this to raid a Bolshevik group in Tula and to arrest such leading Bolsheviks as N. I. Bukharin, F. I. Goloshchekin and B. A. Breslav. The Mensheviks also suffered with the arrest of V. V. Shur and V. G. Cherkin and the raid on a Liquidator group preparing a conference in 1911.54 The Moscow organization, as a result of the information provided by Malinovsky and other provocateurs in that city,55 was com-pletely demoralized and almost non-existent by the end of 1911. But even more damaging to the party’s cause than these raids in Moscow were the blows directed against the conciliator Bolsheviks at the national level who were seeking to reunify the RSDRP on the basis of the decisions of the January 1910 Plenum of the Central Committee. Crucial in this regard were the efforts of Nogin and other conciliators to re-establish an inter-factional Russian Bureau of the Central Committee which would coordinate all underground activity. The police, however, felt that their own objectives were best furthered by continued party division and factional animosity. The conciliators’ flirtation with Malinovsky in 1910 was therefore a godsend. They used information he provided to arrest some of its leading adherents such as I. F. Dubrovinsky, G. D. Lindov and V. P. Miliutin, as well as Nogin himself, thereby frustrating all attempts at reviving the Bureau and at establishing viable unified leadership at the national level.56

Lenin, for different reasons, shared the Okhrana’s dislike of conciliationism and party unity. The Prague Conference, which he called in January 1912, was intended to finalize the division that had been developing ever since the Second Congress in 1903. It would therefore be in the Okhrana’s interests to allow the Conference to proceed and to reinforce the ranks of the staunch Leninists. It is this which perhaps best explains Malinovsky’s sudden conversion to Bolshevism and his appearance at the Sixth Conference. The Moscow Okhrana readily approved Bolshevik suggestions that he go to Prague; indeed, they paid his way and gave him a bonus of 100 rubles.57 Malinovsky returned home in triumph as a member of Lenin’s new Central Committee and as the Bolshevik deputy-designate from the Moscow Guberniia to the Fourth State Duma. He gave his superiors “very detailed information on the composition of the conference, the results of its work, its proposed plans, the make-up of the newly elected Central Committee, the names of the Committee’s agents, and general information” about other Social Democratic groups which the “investigatory organs quickly put to use.”58

The decision to approve the infiltration of an agent into the State Duma was not an easy one to make, even for the Russian police. After learning from Zavarzin of the Bolshevik intention to run Malinovsky, the Vice-Director of the Department of Police, S. E. Vissarionov, travelled to Moscow to review the situation with the candidate and his Okhrana overseers. Vissarionov later claimed that he went along with the idea solely because it would give Malinovsky greater access to party information.59 At the time, however, the only police official to object was A. M. Eremin who feared a scandal would erupt should Malinovsky’s dual role be uncovered.60 No one apparently raised ethical objections to a police agent penetrating the nation’s highest legislative body in the guise of a revolutionary. The plan was duly approved by the Director of Police, S. P. Beletsky, after consultation with his superiors in the Ministry of Interior.61

Malinovsky needed police support more than he realized. After returning from Prague, Leipzig and several Russian cities where he gave reports on the Sixth Conference, he obtained a job at the Ferman plant, a small textile factory near Moscow. According to Duma regulations, a person needed six months uninterrupted employment in one place in order to participate in the election. In April, however, Malinovsky quarrelled with his factory foreman, M. S. Krivov, who threatened to fire him. Malinovsky took his problem to the Moscow Okhrana which in turn cabled the Ministry of Interior in St. Petersburg for instructions. Beletsky replied that Malinovsky was “not to be deprived of his full rights which are extremely important to him at the present moment.”62 On 25 April the surprised foreman was arrested and held in custody until 10 September. Matters proceeded more smoothly during the summer. On 17 September Malinovsky reported that the Social Democratic election committee had definitely decided to support his candidature and on the 30th he informed the police that he had been duly chosen as one of the electors from the workers curia.63

In early October, however, a second problem arose which required police assistance. Vissarionov, while reviewing the records of the various electors, noted that Malinovsky’s criminal record would prevent him from acquiring a “Certificate of Good Standing” which was required under Article 9 of the Election Code for all Duma deputies. Beletsky took the problem to the Minister of Interior and on his approval cabled A. P. Martynov on 17 October that Malinovsky’s election “should be allowed to take its natural course.” Martynov, the new head of the Moscow Okhrana section, replied that “success is guaranteed.”64 With his help “these lines in Malinovsky’s biography were erased.”65 The would-be deputy apparently bribed the bookkeeper at the Ferman Factory to give him a short leave of absence so that he could travel to Poland where he this time bribed a district clerk to provide him with the necessary certificate.66 Upon his return to Moscow “success” was achieved. On 24 October Malinovsky was chosen by his fellow electors as their choice for deputy and two days later the Moscow Guberniia Electoral Assembly made it official.67

Malinovsky’s rewards were immediate. In addition to a congratulatory telegram from Krupskaya,68 front-page praise from the Social Democratic press, and a relatively lucrative salary from the Duma,69 he also received preferential treatment from the police. In part at his request, he was transferred from the Moscow Okhrana to the Special Section of the Department of Police in St. Petersburg. Henceforth, under the name of “Iks” he would report on a weekly basis to either Vissarionov or Beletsky by means of a special telephone which the police installed in his apartment or over intimate dinners in the private rooms of fashionable restaurants.70 In recognition of his increased importance, his salary was raised from 100 to 500 and then to 700 rubles a month. This did not prevent him, however, from continuing to sell odd bits of information to his former Okhrana employers at the old piece rate of 25 to 50 rubles.71

Beletsky’s principal purpose was to use Malinovsky as a source of information concerning the personalities and policies of the Bolshevik leadership both in the Central Committee abroad and in the Duma fraction and as a means of influencing these policies in the direction which the police desired.72This meant protecting and perpetuating the split achieved at Prague. “I confess,” admitted Beletsky in 1917, “that the whole purpose of my guidance consisted in not giving any possibility for party unification.”73 Malinovsky was therefore “given instructions, whenever possible, to deepen the split in the party.”74 The first chance to implement these instructions came in December 1912 when eleven of the thirteen deputies voted to work for the merger of the Menshevik Luch with the Bolshevik Pravda and to contribute to each others’ newspapers until this union was achieved. Only Malinovsky and Muranov voted against the resolution and refused to allow their names to appear on Luch’ masthead.75 Lenin promptly summoned the other Bolshevik deputies abroad for a dressing down and with the help of Malinovsky and Sverdlov succeeded in restoring Pravda’s militant independence. To make sure that Pravda did not become too militant, Malinovsky also supplied the Okhrana with lists of the paper’s subscribers and contributors, manuscripts of articles submitted, and on at least one occasion wrote a provocative article of his own which justified Pravda’s temporary suppression.76

As leader of the Bolshevik group in the Duma, Malinovsky was the prime mover in the splitting of the united Social Democratic fraction despite the fact that this action clearly violated the mandate given him by his Moscow electors.77 Throughout 1913 he led the six Bolshevik deputies in a constant fight with their seven Menshevik counterparts over such issues as representation on Duma commissions, equal speaking rights before the house, appointment of fractional secretaries, and the choice of agitational slogans. Relations became so strained that the two groups had to meet at 7 a.m. in order to have enough time to hammer out the day’s assignments.78 In the early fall of 1913 the Bolshevik Central Committee agreed that a formal split was essential;79 this policy was duly approved by the police80 and executed by Malinovsky in November 1913. In addition to engineering the split, he provided the police with all the fraction’s files for overnight perusal,81 allowed them to listen in on private meetings of the Bolshevik caucus,82 and probably told them about planned demonstrations by the fraction.83 But Malinovsky’s Duma activities also posed difficulties for the police. As the fraction’s leader and best orator, he was expected to deliver militant speeches denouncing the government from texts often sent from abroad or composed by the combined fraction. When the police saw these texts they frequently demanded that he “change, shorten or soften”84 them in actual delivery. Thus he was forced to skip over passages concerning the “peoples’ sovereignty” in his inaugural address to the Duma and to omit entirely fifteen lines from a joint declaration in 1914. In the first instance he pleaded “nervousness” and in the second he tried to provoke the chairman’s intervention so as to escape suspicion by his colleagues.85

Beletsky, in fact, sought to protect his prize agent once he entered the Duma by relieving him of pedestrian intelligence work concerning code names, localities of party meetings, etc., and by keeping arrests in which Malinovsky might be implicated to a minimum.86 While Lenin later claimed that Malinovsky “betrayed scores upon scores of the best and most loyal comrades, caused them to be sent into penal servitude and hastened the death of many of them,”87 most of these arrests took place before 1912. There were, however, two notable arrests during February 1913 — that of Stalin and Sverdlov— which were directly attributable to information Malinovsky provided as to their whereabouts in St. Petersburg. It has been suggested that Stalin’s arrest was a result either of personal enmity between the two men or of rival ambitions they had within the party or perhaps the police hierarchy.88 More to the point was the fact that Stalin himself tended to be a conciliator during his brief stays in St. Petersburg. His articles in Pravda, his slowness in bringing the paper under Lenin’s control, and his lack of determination in enforcing the Duma split all indicated that he was following a unitary policy contrary to the Okhrana’s intentions. Sverdlov, on the other hand, was a militant Bolshevik who succeeded where Stalin had failed in bringing Pravda and the fraction under Lenin’s control. Sverdlov, however, apparently opposed plans for Malinovsky to become the publisher of a Bolshevik daily in Moscow89 and perhaps even began to suspect the true loyalties of his esteemed colleague. On two occasions in 1913 and 1914 Malinovsky helped to frustrate the party’s plans to free Stalin and Sverdlov from their Siberian imprisonment.90

He also aided his employers by diverting illegal literature and Bolshevik correspondence into their hands, by turning over forBeletsky’suse the secret printing press he was to have established in Finland, by making militant speeches so as to justify closure of legal worker congresses, and perhaps by betraying Burtsev’s source of information inside the Okhrana.91

Malinovsky’s value to the police was enormous. The information which he provided first as “Portnoi” and then as “Iks” allowed the police to keep the leading underground bodies in a state of enervation, to remain abreast of all party plans, and to perpetuate the ruinous party schism. Beletsky, like many who knew Malinovsky as a trade unionist or a professional revolutionary, recognized that “he was a gifted and able man.”92 To the police director, he was the “pride of the Okhrana.”93 Little did he know that the time was not far off when many who had formerly spoken highly of the “Russian Bebel” would instead refer disparagingly of the “Bolshevik Azef’ — a more apt parallel with the greatest of the tsarist police spies who penetrated the Central Committee of the Socialist Revolutionaries a decade earlier and like Malinovsky ultimately was sentenced to death by a party court.

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