Labour History Review

Learning from Russia: The History of Soviets in Britain

Labour History Review (1996), 61, (1), 5–29.

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For a history of one side of Anglo-Russian literary relations, see A. G. Cross, The Russian Theme in English Literature, Oxford, 1986. For the history of Anglo-Soviet diplomatic relations up to 1942, see W. P. and Zelda Coates, A History of Anglo-Soviet Relations, 1944. On a more general level there is also F. S. Northedge and A. Wells, Britain and Soviet Communism: The Impact of a Revolution, 1980. Dealing with the period immediately following that dealt with in this article, there are Stephen Graubard, British Labour and the Russian Revolution 1917-1924, 1956; Bill Jones, The Russia Complex: The British Labour Party and the Soviet Union, Manchester, 1977; Stephen White, Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy 1920-1924, 1979; and Andrew J. Williams, Labour and Russia: The Attitude of the Labour Party to the USSR 1924-34, Manchester, 1989. On Russian foreign policy under the Provisional Government, see Rex A. Wade, The Russian Search for Peace. February-October 1917, Stanford, 1969. The Russian Theme in English Literature Google Scholar

Bruno Naarden, Socialist Europe and Revolutionary Russia: Perception and Prejudice 1848-1923, Cambridge, 1992, p. 10. Socialist Europe and Revolutionary Russia: Perception and Prejudice 1848-1923 10 Google Scholar

As the summary here shows, this tendency in British opinion was prevalent among liberals, who ‘proved themselves to be Russia-haters … The Tories … continued the welltried policy of friendship with Russia’: Naarden, Socialist Europe, p. 23. Google Scholar

On British Russophobia after Waterloo and David Urquhart's campaigns in the 1830s, see John Howard Gleason, The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain: A Study of the Interaction of Policy and Opinion, Harvard, 1950. The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain: A Study of the Interaction of Policy and Opinion Google Scholar

Lloyd P. Gartner, The Jewish Immigrant in England 1870-1914, 1960; William Fishman, East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914, 1975. Google Scholar

For attitudes on the international left to Russia, see Naarden, Socialist Europe, passim. Google Scholar

See Bernard Porter, ‘The British Government and Political Refugees 1880-1914’ in J. Slatter (ed.), From the Other Shore: Russian Political Emigrants in Britain 1880-1917, 1984, pp. 23-48. Google Scholar

See Ron Grant, ‘The Society of Friends of Russian Freedom (1890-1914): A Case Study in Internationalism’, Journal of the Scottish Labour History Society, no. 3, 1970; pp. 3-24: Barry Hollingsworth, ‘The Society of Friends of Russian Freedom: English Liberals and Russian Socialists, 1890-1917’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, new series, vol. 3, 1970, pp. 45-64: David Saunders, ‘Stepniak and the London Emigration: Letters to Robert Spence Watson (1887-1890)’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, new series, vol. 13, 1980, pp. 80-93; J. Slatter, ‘Stepniak and the Friends of Russia’, Immigrants and Minorities, vol. 2, 1983. ‘The Society of Friends of Russian Freedom 1890-1914: A Case Study in Internationalism’ Journal of the Scottish Labour History Society 3 24 Google Scholar

The pioneer translator of Russian literature was Constance Garnett, many of whose translations are still in print today; on her, see Richard Garnett, Constance Garnett: A Heroic Life, 1991, especially pp. 65-81; A. Tove, ‘Konstantsiya Garnet - perevodchik i propagandist russkoi literartury’, Russkaya literatura, 1958, pp. 193-9; and David Garnett, The Golden Echo, 1953, chapters 1-5. On the reception of Russian drama in Britain, see Stephen Le Fleming, ‘Coping With The Outlandish: British Critics and Chekhov's Plays 1909-30’, a paper delivered at the Anglo-Soviet Colloquium on Chekhov on the British Stage, 4-6 August 1987. On Russian music's reception here, see especially Rosa Newmarch's The Russian Opera, 1914. On the exploitation of Russomania, see John Slatter, ‘Jaakoff Prelooker and The Anglo-Russian’, in Slatter (ed.), From the Other Shore, pp. 49-66. Google Scholar

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W. Harrison, ‘British Attitudes to Russia at the Time of the Entente 1907-1914’, Journal of Russian Studies, vol. 30, 1975, pp. 3-13. Prince Kropotkin's The Terror in Russia, 1909, went through four editions in its first month. ‘British Attitudes to Russia at the Time of the Entente 1907-1914’ Journal of Russian Studies 30 3 13 Google Scholar

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War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, 1938, p. 1123. This antipathy was, according to the Countess of Warwick, general among the court and government circles (letter to George Lansbury of 22 August 1917 in the Lansbury Collection, vol. 7, pp. 363-5. The Lansbury Collection is in the British Library of Political and Economic Science). Google Scholar

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Among others, in the Pendleton Co-operative Hall, near Manchester, 8 March 1917, addressed by E. C. Fairchild (Harry Pollitt, Serving My Time, 1940, p. 85); on 26 March in the Farringdon Memorial Hall, organised by the British Socialist Party, addressed by E. C. Fairchild, E. Sylvia Pankhurst, C. G. Ammon and ‘representatives of the Russian Socialist groups’ (Catherine Marshall Papers, file 19; the Marshall Papers are kept in the Cumbria Record Office); in early April 1917 at the Kingsway Hall, London, with Ramsay MacDonald and Philip Snowden speaking, and with the future Soviet ambassador to Britain, Ivan Maiskii, in the chair (I. M. Maiskii, Puteshestvie v proshloe, Moscow, 1960, p. 269); at the Devonshire Hall, Hackney, on 7 April, with the ‘William Morris Quadrille Band’ in attendance (The Call, 12 April 1917, p. 4): at the BSP's annual conference (ibid.); on Friday 25 May at Chiswick Town Hall, organised by the Anglo-Russian Friendship Committee, with W. C. Anderson MP, F. W. Pethick Lawrence, and David Soskice, soon to become Kerensky's political secretary (Barry Hollingsworth, ‘David Soskice in Russia in 1917’, European Studies Review, vol. 6, 1976, pp. 73-97; Marshall Papers, file 22); on 3 June at Oldham, organised by the Anglo-Russian Workers' League (Cotton Factory Times, 6 July 1917, p. 3); and at St Mungo's Hall, Glasgow, date unknown (Nan Milton, John Maclean, 1973, p. 137). This is not an exhaustive list. Google Scholar

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Leader in The Tribunal, 5 April 1917, p. 2. Google Scholar

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Slatter, John