Charges Against the Bolsheviks

Report of the Public Prosecutor on the Investigation of the Charges Against the Bolsheviks. July 22, 1917


Appeals To Armed Action

Definite data exist to the effect that the armed action on the part of military units on July 3-5 was far from a unanimous expression of their sentiment. Rather, it was artificially aroused by the incitement of individual leaders who, by means of demagogic and at times also provocative methods, set up intensive propaganda on the need to overthrow the government. These individuals advocated the disobedience of military units to commanding officers and refusal to go to the front to fight the enemy.

Investigation revealed that armed action was preceded by systematic meetings in military units where speeches were made urging the troops to revolt.

Thus, on July 2, the 1st Machine-Gun Regiment held a meeting and concert at the Narodnyi Dom where Lunacharskii, Trotsky, and others spoke. They all appealed for the overthrow of the Provisional Government, disobedience of military authorities, and refusal to participate in the offensive at the front. They pointed out that the offensive just concluded was the result of the deceiving actions of War Minister Kerenskii and the officers and was the result of the arrival of the American capitalists.

Trotsky’s appeal, which tried to convince them of the necessity of armed action against the Government, aroused particular excitement. His speech was interrupted by cries: “Death to Kerenskii,” “Down with war,” “Down with the capitalist ministers,” “We don’t need the offensive,” “All power to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.”

During the months of April, May, and June, Kollontai and Ensign Semashko attended the meetings of the Machine-Gun Regiment and spoke there. They urged the soldiers not to send companies to the front, not to obey the decisions of the regiment committees to send soldiers to the front, to overthrow the Provisional Government and thus achieve the transfer of all power to the Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies.

The Participation of the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party in the Organization of the Revolt

It is established further that the revolt took place and continued according to the instructions of the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party.

All leading instructions emanated from the house of Kshesinskaia, called by witnesses the “headquarters of Lenin.” The Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party was also lodged there.

Forms of a military organization attached to the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party were discovered in the house of Kshesinskaia. These were the very forms used for written instructions on armed action distributed in the army units.

It was on such a form that the Petrograd Military Automobile Shop received, during the night of July 4-5, a proposal to prepare armored cars for combat-readiness and to put them at the disposal of the Military Organization. The order to send a cruiser from Kronstadt was written on the same form.

Moreover, the following were also found there: (1) Notes on the distribution of military units and “armed workers” according to regions; on the distribution among various persons of responsibilities on “armed workers” according to regions; on the distribution among various persons of responsibilities on taking charge of armed forces, on reconnaissance, and outside watch; on contacts with units; on the Peter and Paul Fortress, on the military units comprising the Vyborg and Petrograd sections and Mars Field, and on establishing contacts with various regiments. (2) A resolution worked out at the session of the all-city conference of the Social Democratic Party and delegates from factories and military units on July 3, at 11:00 in the evening. The resolution recommended: “The immediate demonstration of workers and soldiers on the street in order to show their will.” This resolution was signed by the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party and the Military Organization of the S.D. Party. (3) A telegram from Stockholm, dated April 20, addressed to Ul’ianov (Lenin) and signed by Ganetskii (Furstenberg): “Steinberg will try to get a subsidy for our organization. I must request his action be controlled, because social tact is completely lacking.” (4) Literature of the “Union of the Russian People” and a large number of postal cards, published by “Pauk” [Spider] and illustrating [an alleged Jewish] ritual murder in Hungary in 1882.

The relation between the armed insurrection and the activity of the Central Committee of the S.D. Party, which maintained a military organization, is established, in addition to documentary data, by the fact that the armed units which participated in the insurrection, both from the Petrograd garrison and from Kronstadt, proceeded to the house of Kshesinskaia, where they received instructions from Ul’ianov (Lenin) and other persons. Suggestions to the military units about battle-readiness of armored cars and machine guns also emanated from there, and, finally, it was there that the armored trucks and automobiles gathered.

Aid to the Enemy And Espionage

The intensive propaganda campaign for an insurrection, which was waged among the troops and the civilian population over several months and which resulted in the insurrection of July 3-5, was staged for the purpose of aiding the enemy in its hostile actions against Russia.

In this connection data have been obtained by the investigation indicating that a large espionage organization working for Germany exists in Russia. But in the interests of the investigation only the following data are released thus far:

A number of witnesses questioned in the case attested that while residing in the German part of Switzerland, Lenin was in contact with Parvus (he also being Helfand), who had the definite reputation of being a German agent; that Lenin frequented the camps for the Ukrainian prisoners, where he carried on propaganda for the separation of the Ukraine from Russia.

Evidence Pointing to Lenin as a German Agent

The data of the preliminary investigation point directly to Lenin as a German agent and indicate that, after entering into an agreement with Germany on action designed to aid Germany in her war with Russia, he arrived in Petrograd. Here, with financial assistance from Germany, he began to act to achieve this aim.

It was also revealed that Lenin and Zinoviev, while living in Austria near Krakow, were arrested in October 1914 by the Austrian authorities as Russian subjects, but were soon released with the right of free departure for Switzerland, where they started publication of the journal SOCIAL DEMOCRAT, which advocated the idea of the necessity of Russia’s defeat in the present war.

An important role in freeing Zinoviev and Lenin was played by Ganetskii, who, according to his own words, told one of the witnesses to “break off” the examination of Lenin and Zinoviev by the Austrian authorities. It was subsequently revealed that Lenin and Zinoviev were released from Austrian arrest by personal order of Count Sturgkh, the Austrian Prime Minister.

The investigation established that Iakov (diminutive “Kuba”) Ganetskii-Furstenberg, while residing in Copenhagen during the war, was closely connected in financial matters with Parvus, agent of the German government.

Moreover, the activity of Parvus as a German and Austrian agent was directed toward the defeat of Russia and its separation from the Ukraine.

The investigation established that Kozlovskii traveled from Copenhagen, where he represented himself as legal adviser to the prominent capitalist Helfand. Helfand (Parvus) proposed the financing of a steamship company in Russia. During the negotiations in this connection it was revealed that Parvus had at his disposal a large amount of capital, but was completely ignorant of the business which he proposed to finance.

On making inquiries the representatives of the steamship company learned that Helfand had over a million rubles in a bank in Copenhagen.

When it became clear to the representatives of the steamship company that the business activity of Helfand (Parvus) was merely a cover-up for his work for Germany, they ended all negotiations with him.

Simultaneously with this it was revealed that Helfand-Parvus, together with Furstenberg and Kozlovskii, made trips from Copenhagen to Berlin and back.

Helfand-Parvus, Lenin, And Others

From the numerous telegrams in the hands of the legal authorities it is established that a constant and extensive correspondence was carried on between Sumenson, Ul’ianov (Lenin), Kollontai, and Kozlovskii, residing in Petrograd, on the one hand, and Furstenberg (Ganetskii) and Helfand (Parvus), on the other. Although this correspondence refers to commercial deals, shipment of all sorts of goods, and money transactions, it offers sufficient reasons to conclude that this correspondence was a cover-up for relations of an espionage character.

According to data in this matter, it is clear that some Russian banks received large sums, paid to various people, from Scandinavian banks. And it is interesting that within half a year Sumenson withdrew from her personal account 750,000 rubles deposited to her credit by various persons and that the current balance on her account is 180,000 rubles.

The Forthcoming Investigation

In investigating the present case the inquest authorities are guided by the materials secured only through inquest, and this material gives entirely sufficient reason to brand the action as criminal as well as to uncover many of the persons who participated in it. The forthcoming numerous cross-examinations of witnesses, examination of material evidence found, detailed investigation of money transactions-all this complex work of the future should yield abundant material uncovering the criminal espionage organization and its participants.

In reviewing all of the indicated questions, the inquest authorities were concerned, not with the political platforms of the persons involved, but only in uncovering criminal activity and finding sufficient grounds for prosecuting the accused.


On the basis of the data outlined, as well as of data that cannot as yet be made public, Vladimir Ul’ianov (Lenin), Ovsei-Gersh Arenov, Apfelbaum (Zinoviev), Aleksandra Mikhailovna Kollontai, Mecheslav Ulievich Kozlovskii, Evgeniia Mavrikievna Sumenson, Helfand (Parvus), Iakov Furstenberg (Kuba Ganetskii), Midshipman Il’in (Raskolnikov), and Ensigns Semashko, Sakharov, and Roshal are accused of having entered-in 1917, while Russian citizens, by a preliminary agreement between themselves and other persons, and for the purpose of aiding the enemy countries at war with Russia-with said countries into an agreement to assist in the disorganization of the Russian army and the rear in order to weaken the fighting strength of the army. For this purpose and with the money received from said states, they organized propaganda among the civilian population and in the army, appealing to them to refuse immediately to continue military actions against the enemy; also, toward the same end, to organize in Petrograd, from July 3 to 5, 1917, an armed insurrection against the existing order in the state supreme authority. This was accompanied by murders and violence and attempts to arrest some members of the Government. As a consequence of this, some military units refused to carry out orders of their commanding personnel and arbitrarily abandoned their positions, thus aiding in the success of the enemy’s armies.

Source: Robert Paul Browder and Alexander F. Kerensky, eds., The Russian Provisional Government, 1917: Documents (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961), pp. 1373-76.

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