Supporters and Friends of Vladimir Lenin

FROM THE LECTURE SERIES: The Real History of Secret Societies

By Richard B. Spence, Ph.D., University of Idaho

Vladimir Lenin is one of the most influential figures in the history of Russia and even the world. He was the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. But he wasn’t alone. Who were the people that supported him to achieve his goal of establishing a new Russia?

Revolutionaries protesting in February 1917.
The Bolshevik party, led by Lenin, was successful in overthrowing the czar’s regime.
(Image: Unknown author/Public domain)

Who was Lenin?

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was a nobleman who went by the revolutionary alias, Lenin. Back then, it was quite customary for revolutionaries to go by pseudonyms. He had absolute power in the party and made a huge influence on the fate of Bolshevism and Marxism-Leninism.

His main ambition was to be the absolute power in the party, no matter how small it was. Actually, it was Lenin who broke the Russian Socialist movement into smaller factions that engaged in rivalry and competition. In this sense, he is thought to have done a huge favor for the Okhrana. Okhrana was the secret police of czarist Russia and was the revolutionaries’ arch-enemy. It is believed that Lenin was an agent of the Okhrana to beat the revolutionaries with conspiracies. However, there is no evidence to prove that he had anything to do with the Okhrana. At any rate, his ambitions eventually proved useful to what the Okhrana wanted: a dissolution of the revolutionary forces so that they could divide and conquer.

In the coming years, Lenin proved the most influential in the Russian Revolution and the fate of millions of people around the world.

Learn more about Revolutionary Russia.

Lenin in 1916, while in Switzerland.
A portrait of Lenin in Switzerland, 1916. (Image: Wilhelm Plier/Public domain)

Lenin’s Financial Supporters

One of the financial supporters of Lenin’s movement was the famous writer, and Freemason, Maxim Gorky. He was not a Bolshevik but he used his fame and money to support Lenin. The first time that he came to Lenin’s help was when one of his prominent supporters died.

This supporter was a member of the fifth richest family in Russia, called Savva Morozov. He contributed a part of his profits from his textile mills to the Bolsheviks. Curiously, he killed himself when his mother made him stop the donations. Based on another story, he did not commit suicide but he was killed by one of Lenin’s brothers, Leonid Krasin. The motive? A large amount of money in an insurance policy. What role did Gorky play in this story? As a close friend of Morozov, he had persuaded him to make the insurance payable to Maria Andreeva. She was an actress and Gorky’s common-law wife. After Morozov’s death, the 60,000 rubles of insurance money was given to Lenin.

He also organized a fundraiser for the Bolsheviks in America. But since he had stayed in the hotel with his girlfriend, this wasn’t well-received by the prudent Americans and the fundraising tour was ruined.

But Gorky’s support of Lenin continued when he returned to Europe. He rented a villa in Capri, Italy. Lenin and his friends frequently visited him there, and turned the villa into a school for revolutionary training like propaganda and bomb-making.

This is a transcript from the video series The Real History of Secret Societies. Watch it now, on Wondrium.

The Relationship between Trotsky and Lenin

Leon Trotsky was initially a Menshevik until 1917 when he was accepted as a Bolshevik. He was first recognized as a revolutionary in 1905 when he engaged in an unsuccessful uprising known as the Revolution of 1905. He was sent to exile but he escaped to London and until 1916 stayed in different countries like Austria-Hungary and Switzerland. In 1916, he was living in France but because he was engaged in anti-czarist activities, he was deported to Spain by the French government as they were allies with czarist Russia.

He stayed in Spain for a short time before he went to New York with his family. But who funded the trip? This unknown supporter is allegedly Parvus, who was his long-time friend.

In New York, he got involved with socialists and anti-war movements and stayed there until the czar was dethroned.   

He was allegedly connected to Parvus, Schiff, and Warburg. Who were these people? Parvus was a German agent. Jacob Schiff was an American banker, who was a Jew and Freemason. Out of his long-held grudge against the anti-Semitic czarist regime, he had financially backed the 1905 Revolution. The 1917 revolution was also another opportunity for him to fund the revolutionaries. Schiff had close ties with the German Warburg Bank. The bank was also connected with the Kaiser’s Government. The British intelligence had identified Max Warburg – the head of the bank – as the “chief German agent in Russia”.

There were rumors that Trotsky had returned to Russia with $10,000 and an American passport. Although it was not confirmed, his connections with all these people raise serious questions about these allegations.

Learn more about the Making of Lenin.

Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin and Lev Kamenev.
Vladimir Lenin, Lev Kamenev, and Leon Trotsky (Image: Unknown author/Public domain)

Lenin Accepts Trotsky as a Bolshevik

Although Trotsky and Lenin had not been on good terms before and Lenin had called Trotsky a “Judas”, he finally admitted him as a Bolshevik. This came as a surprise to the other Bolsheviks given their history and differences of ideas.

Trotsky was given the mission of organizing the October Revolution by Lenin. But why did Lenin give such a huge responsibility to a Judas? There are several reasons for that. One reason is the financial support Trotsky had arranged in New York. Another reason is that both of them realized the main route to power was the revolutionary soviets. So, they decided to pool together their power to achieve their ultimate goal.

Common Questions about Lenin’s Supporters

Q: Did Lenin and Trotsky work together?

As former rivals, Lenin and Trotsky finally worked together to carry out the Russian Revolution. They finally found out the path to power through revolutionary Soviets.

Q: What did Lenin think of Trotsky?

Before the Russian Revolution, they were rivals and had opposing opinions about political change. Lenin called Trotsky a “Judas”. They belonged to two opposing parties, Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.

Q: What is Lenin’s most famous for?

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was a Russian nobleman who led the 1917 Russian Revolution. Under the alias of Lenin, he was the leader of the Bolshevik movement to change the political and social structure of Russia.

Q: How did Lenin come to power?

Lenin came to power after the 1917 Revolution. He led the Bolsheviks after the fall of the czar to carry out the revolution and took over Russia.

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