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From Communism to Anti-Communism

 | 
Andre Liebich
, 
Svetlana Yakimovich

From the Revolution to the Comintern

Group of Delegates, Comintern Congress. Smolny, Petrograd, 19 July 1920

Lars Lih

Texte intégral

The back of the document reads in Russian: “У Смольнаго” – [“At Smolny”]. The banner on the right reads in Russian: “Братский привет II Конгрессу III Коммунистического Интернационала” – [“Fraternal greetings to the II Congress of the Third International”]. Black and white photograph; 11 x 15.5 cm.

1A group of delegates is now leaving Smolny for the formal opening session at the Tauride Palace. As much as they were eager to enter Smolny, a revolutionary shrine, they now seem relieved to have done with the formality of the Smolny ceremony.

2On each side of the departing group of delegates stands a group something in between spectators and an honor guard. It consists of sailors and, above all, of children, female children in white summer hats together on the right. A striking black-and-white effect is created by the sailors, the women in their white suits, the children onlookers in white, and the white shirts of some of the male delegates against the dark background.

3Hardly conspicuous but central to the scene is Vladimir Illich Lenin himself, white shirt and tie but wearing his iconic worker’s cap. He is not at the head of the procession but in the middle, apparently savoring this moment with undisguised pleasure. Alfred Rosmer writes the following in his memoir of this event: “ When Lenin advanced in the great hall where we met, the English and American delegates, reinforced by some others since they were so few, surrounded Lenin forming a chain and sang ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow!’ the traditional English expression of affection and admiration.”

4The line in front of Lenin, consisting of young men with watchful eyes, may well have been his bodyguards. An attack on Lenin almost exactly two years previously by the Social Revolutionary Fanny “Dora” Kaplan had taken place in analogous circumstances, as Lenin was leaving a factory meeting. Lenin’s early death a few years later has been attributed to the sequels of this attack.

Bibliographie

Kevin J. Callahan, Demonstration Culture: European Socialism and the Second International, Leicester: Troubadour Publishing, 2010.

John Riddell, ed., Workers of the World and Oppressed People, Unite! Proceedings and Documents of the Second Congress of the Communist International, [vol. 2, The Communist International in Lenin’s Time], New York: Pathfinder, 1991.

Alfred Rosmer, Moscow under Lenin, Introduction by Tamara Deutscher, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973 [1st French edition, 1951].

Table des illustrations

Légende The back of the document reads in Russian: “У Смольнаго” – [“At Smolny”]. The banner on the right reads in Russian: “Братский привет II Конгрессу III Коммунистического Интернационала” – [“Fraternal greetings to the II Congress of the Third International”]. Black and white photograph; 11 x 15.5 cm.
URL http://books.openedition.org/iheid/docannexe/image/6477/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 114k

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