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Roman Malinovsky. 1913.

Roman Vaslavovich Malinovsky (1876-1918) was a prominent Russian Bolshevik politician before the revolution, while at the same time working as an agent for the Okhrana.

In 1899, he was convicted of theft and burglary, and sentenced to jail. In 1901-1905 he served as a private in Russian army.

In 1906 Malinovsky joined RSDLP and worked for the St. Petersburg metalworkers union. In 1910, he was arrested by Okhrana but soon released: he became thus a Tsarist spy, and infiltrated the Bolshevik party. In 1912, he joined the Central Committee with Lenin' support. Afterwards, he was elected at the Duma by the workers electoral college of Moscow Governorate, and led the 6-member Bolshevik group. As a secret agent, he helped send (unbeknownst to them) several important Bolsheviks (like Joseph Stalin and Yakov Sverdlov) into Siberian exile. When Menshevik leader Julius Martov first denounced Malinovsky as a spy in 1913, Lenin refused to believe him, and stood by Malinovsky.

In 1914, his real identity was unveiled, and he went into exile in Germany. When World War I broke out, he was interned into a POW camp by the Germans. Lenin, still standing by him, sent him clothes.

In 1918, he tried to join the Petrograd Soviet, but Grigory Zinoviev recognized him. After a brief trial, Malinovsky was executed by firing squad.

According to British historian Simon Sebag Montefiore his successful infiltration into the Bolsheviks help fuel the paranoia of the Soviets (and more specifically, Stalin) that eventually gave way to the Great Terror.

See also

Further reading

  • Ralph Carter Elwood: Roman Malinovsky, a life without a cause, Oriental Research Partners, 1977
  • Simon Sebag Montefiore: Young Stalin, 2007
  • Bertram Wolfe: Three who made a revolution, 1948


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