The Lockhart Case (1918) - Part I
Report by Comrade Peters on the Origins of the Lockhart Case
The Origins of the Case
The Lockhart Case arose in the same fortuitous manner as that of the counter-revolutionary organization Union of the Defense of the Motherland and Freedom. In the latter case, a nurse - an ordinary non-communist citizen of the Soviet Republic, having discovered the untoward plans being prepared by British and French capital against the motherland, came forward and reported about this to the organs engaged in the struggle against counter-revolution. In the Lockhart case, it was a honest non-communist commander of one of the units of the fledgling Red Army – comrade Berzin, having indignantly rebuffed an offer made by Shmitkhen – an agent of the British Ambassador Lockhart – to betray his duties as a Red commander, came forward to report about this to me as Deputy Chairman of the Cheka.
Here is my official deposition regarding the origins of the Lockhart case as contained in the file:
“On 8 September 1918, I – V. Kingisepp, member of the VTsIK, was directed to the Cheka to carry out investigations. In pursuit of this, I questioned the Deputy Chairman of the Cheka, Yakov Peters, about the Lockhart Case. Peters testified as follows:
During the last ten days of August of this year, the commander of the First Heavy Latvian Artillery Division, Berzin, arrived at my apartment and stated that agents of the British Mission had approached him with the proposal that he use his present position in service of the British. They presented him the the task of assisting British forces in overthrowing Soviet power and occupying Moscow as well as setting up a military dictatorship.
After discussing the matter with comrade Dzerzhinsky, I suggested to Berzin that he not decline the offer made by the British agents, that he stay in contact with them and keep the Cheka informed about everything. I also notified comrade Peterson, commissar of the Latvian riflemen, who told me in turn that information had already reached him more than once concerning alleged attempts on the part of British agents to enter into contact with the riflemen and their command staff. Soon after this, Berzin reported to me that he had met with Lockhart.
All of Berzin's communications and reports were of a reliable character and were verified by us through materials which were at at our disposal. Berzin handed over to the Cheka a sum total of 1 200 000 roubles, which he had received from the British agent – Lieutenant Reilly.
Berzin's integrity in this matter does not elicit the slightest doubt.
Thus began the Lockhart Case. However, the Commissar of the Latvian Rifles, comrade Peterson, was not the only person who was aware of the fact that agents of British, French and American capital were lurking about and attempting to buy off the command staff of the Red Army, regardless of the cost.
In 1918, the Red Army command echelon had still not been thoroughly investigated. The Red Army had not tossed out that rubbish which had crossed over to it as an inheritance from the old army in the form of former Tsarist officers, among whom were many who were better prepared to serve the Entente than the Workers-Peasants' State and who could not reconcile themselves to the conditions of service prevailing within the Red Army. This, however, was rather shaky ground for the agents of the British military clique and therefore we in the Cheka were also made aware of the efforts on the part of the Entente agents. The exposure of earlier counter-revolutionary cases provided us with materials through which it became obvious that Allied circles were awarding with largess all those who would assist them in their struggle against the Soviet state.
We were also made aware of the fact that the Allied embassies in Soviet Russia constituted the headquarters for the counter-revolutionary organizations. Numerous times, while trailing agents of counter-revolutionary organizations, their trail would disappear behind the walls of the British or French embassies, where the provisions of extraterritoriality prevailed. Relying upon these provisions, the representatives of international capital, residing in the heart of Soviet Russia, prepared new fetters with which to enslave the workers and peasants of Russia.
When the Salvation of the Motherland and Freedom plot was uncovered, it was discovered that the French mission had been generous is providing resources for this organization. Agents of the above mentioned organization, being followed by Cheka officials, disappeared into the British embassy. The counter-revolutionary organization Salvation of the Motherland and Freedom in fact comprised the command staff of the Czechoslovak uprising. In other words, the representatives of international capital, in assisting the above mentioned organization, were at the same time helping to organize the Czechoslovak uprising. All of this was known to the Cheka long ago, but the evidence for all of the espionage activities engaged in by Lockhart and his associates was vouchsafed in strict secrecy by the provisions of extraterritoriality. With the offer made to Berzin, however, it became possible to breach these provisions while preserving legal hospitality, based as it is upon bourgeois lies and deceptions, and thus we decided to take advantage of the circumstances and to cross the threshold of extraterritoriality.
In carrying out his orders, comrade Berzin informed Shmitkhen that he had decided to accept the latter's proposals. Shmitchen was overjoyed as a result and on August 14 informed Berzin that “the British Ambassador himself, Lockhart, wanted to have a meeting with him (Berzin) to discuss political matters”. This meeting took place on August 14 in Lockhart's private apartment at House No. 10 on Khlebniy Alley. During this meeting, Lockhart queried Berzin concerning the mood of the Latvian units and whether they could be relied upon during a coup. He then indicated that it was necessary to make efforts in this direction so that the Latvian riflemen would rise up against the Soviet state and overthrow it. In pursuing this, Lockhart stressed vigorously more than once that money would be no cost. Among the measures suggested by Lockhart for setting the Latvian Riflemen against the Soviet authorities was the idea of withholding the dispatch of provisions which were badly needed. Upon parting, Lockhart requested that Berzin drop by his apartment the following evening so that he, Lockhart, could introduce him to his French colleague and his agent.
On the evening of August 15, Berzin appeared once more at Lockhart's residence. At this meeting, Lockhart introduced Berzin to the French Consul-General in Moscow, Grenard, and to his agent Konstantin, who was in fact the British intelligence agent, Lieutenant Sidney Georgevich Reilly. The French Consul addressed Berzin through Lockhart with the following words: “Judging by the conversation you had yesterday with the esteemed Ambassador, the fate of Latvia interests you greatly. If we, the Allies, succeed in prying it away from the Germans, we, although we lack special dispensation from our governments, nevertheless can promise you a reward for your assistance – self-determination in the full meaning of this word”.
Lockhart and Grenard inquired further about the number of Latvian units in Moscow and suggested that matters be arranged so that no more Latvian rifles be sent from Moscow to the front. The conversation concluded on the question of money. Grenard and Lockhart asked: “How much money would be needed to subvert the commanders of the Latvian units”. Berzin feigned little interest in the matter of money, alluding that “some 4 or 5 million may needed in the future”. Grenard and Lockhart accepted this sum without a murmur and announced that Konstantin would soon bring Berzin 2 000 000 roubles with the remainder being delivered in about three weeks – and if needed, they would provide even more. With this, the meeting ended. In the future, all conversations and communications would be conducted through the agents of British Mission – Shmitkhen and Reilly.
At this time, Shmitkhen suggested to Berzin that he find his own man who would deliver a coded message to Murmansk. The message, printed on white calico, would be entrusted to Berzin by Lockhart though the intercession of Shmitkhen. Together with the coded message, Shmitkhen delivered an authorization signed by Lockhart for Berzin's man who would be going to Murmansk. This authorization, printed in English, stated the following:
"Copy in translation:
Moscow 17 August 1918.
To all British military authorities in Russia
The bearer of this, Captain of the Lettish Rifles, Krish Krankal, has an important errand for the British General Staff in Russia. I request that he be granted free passage and assistance in all matters.
R. B. Lockhart"
With this authorization, the man whom Berzin was supposed to find was to set out for the Chief Residence of the British Command in Murmansk taking along with him the coded letter from Lockhart. Naturally, both the letter and the authorization were handed over to the Cheka and no one ended up being sent by Berzin to Murmansk.
On the evening of August 17, Berzin had his first working meeting with Konstantin (Reilly) at the Cafe Trembley on Tsvetniy Boulevard. During this meeting, Reilly informed Berzin about a plan for the destruction of the Workers-Peasants' government, which had been worked out – according to Reilly – by a French general.
According to this plan, two Lettish regiments were to be sent to the town of Vologda, where – having crossed over to the Allies – they were to assist the advance from Arkhangel'sk and the capture of the northern region. Simultaneous with the capture of Vologda, the Lettish units remaining behind in Moscow were to arrest the session of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee together with the Chairman of the Council of Peoples' Commissars, comrade Lenin, and the Chairman of the Military Council, L. Trotsky. Both Lenin and Trotsky were to be subsequently executed. The State Bank and Central Telegraphic office were to be seized at the same time.
This was to be followed by the summoning together of all former officers in order to form detachments for establishing and maintaining order in Moscow and for escorting Bolshevik prisoners to Archangel'sk. With this, Reilly let Berzin in on a big secret that the Allied organization had entered into contact with the Patriarch Tikhon, who had promised that the day following the coup, he would organize services in all the churches in which the clergy were to explain to the people the significance of the coup and justify the actions of the Allies and the White Guards. At the end of the conversation, Reilly suggested that Berzin rent a conspiratorial apartment and handed him a packet containing 700 000 roubles.
The next meeting between Reilly and Berzin took place at on August 19 at Berzin's now rented conspiratorial apartment at House No. 4 on Griboyedovsky Alley. During this meeting, Reilly gave Berzin several tasks of a plainly conspiratorial nature: a) to find out whether it was true that between the stations of Cherkizovo and Rogozhino there were located 9 batteries of 5-inch guns and two batteries of 8-inch guns of British manufacture and what were the condition of these batteries; b) to find out whether it was true that at that the station of Mikino there were several wagons of gold and bills of credit guarded by 700 Latvians, and in case of a coup to ensure that these wagons did not leave; c) to set out to Petrograd and enter into contact with the Petrograd group of Latvians and; d) find among the Latvians individuals who would be willing to draw up, print and distribute proclamations among the Lettish units.
On August 21, Reilly visited Berzin again at his conspiratorial apartment and started asking him how work was going. Berzin replied that the work was proceeding successfully and that he had already met with an official from the First Latvian Rifle Regiment, who had arrived from the front, and had given him 400 000 roubles to carry out agitation within this regiment. Further, he stated that he expected the commander of the 5th Rifle Regiment to arrive any day now and that he, Berzin, wanted to give him a large sum of money as well. With this, Berzin reminded Reilly that he needed money.
Reilly promised to bring Berzin 400 000 roubles the very next day and told him that the British agents were procuring their funds from wealthy Russians, from whom they were receiving money in exchange for cheques which were to be paid out in England. On August 22, however, Reilly brought Berzin only 200 000 roubles instead of the intended 400 000, promising that he would obtain an additional one million roubles in a few days.
On August 27, Reilly brought Berzin 300 000 roubles and urgently requested that he depart for Petrograd and establish contact with local organizations there. Berzin was given the following address in Petrograd: Torgovaya Street, House 10, second entrance, Apt. 10 and told to ask Elena Mikhailovna for a Mr. Massino, by which name Reilly was known there. Having arrived in Petrograd, Berzin headed to the address indicated to him by Reilly. The door man reported that Elen Mikhailovna had already left for work and would be home around 4pm. With this, the door man handed Berzin the key to the apartment and requested that he wait for her. Berzin entered the apartment, where he discovered an envelope inscribed to Citizeness Elena Mikhailovna Boyuzhavskaya. The envelope contained a visiting card from Sidney Georgievich Reilly on the back of which was written an address: Sheremetievskiy Alley, No. 3, Apt .85 from (2) 33 – 99 – second 39 – 99, Petersburg 8 – 20.
Having waited until noon, Berzin left Elena Mikhailovna's apartment and headed off to the city, where he had a chance encounter with Reilly near the Bol'shoi Theater. Reilly, who had been traveling in a cab, was dressed in a khaki-coloured cloak and was wearing glasses, which he usually did not wear. Reilly inquired whether Berzin had established contact with the Latvian organization in Petrograd, to which Berzin responded that he had still not done so. In turn, Berzin asked Reilly to introduce him to the representative of the White Guards in Petrograd. Reilly promised Berzin that he would do so and requested that he drop by the Torgovaya Street around 6 or 7 in the evening. After this, they went their separate ways. Reilly, however, did not fulfill the promise he made to Berzin and avoided introducing him to the representative of the Petrograd White Guards.
At the same time that information was being received from Berzin, the Cheka found out about a meeting that took place at the American Consul General on 25 August 1918, which was attended by the French Consul General Grenard, the representative of the British Mission Lockhart, the American Consul General Pull and several British, French and American officers. At this meeting, they discussed the matter of leaving three agents behind in Russia to direct espionage and counter-revolutionary organizations after the departure of the Entente representatives. At this same meeting, the French officers presented the plans for the Volkhov bridge and reported that they were preparing to blow up this bridge. They also discussed blowing up the bridge over the river Zvanka.
Thus, receiving information from two sources, the Cheka perceived the entire intrigue being carried out by the representatives of the Entente. But the matter of secret activities had still not been concluded. Ever new proposals were made to Berzin by the agents of Lockhart and Grenard, with each proposal being more impertinent than the last. Some of these were of an espionage nature, while others simply involved the performance of services for the British imperialists, such as the matter mentioned previously involving Berzin's search for a man to deliver a coded letter to the main British residence in Murmansk. There were even proposals for the building of a radio station, in order to send telegrams to the command of the British interventionist forces in the north.
Significant work still remained in uncovering this vast espionage organization which had deep roots among both officers and Soviet officials who were disposed against Soviet power. This work, however, was impeded by the White Terror.
On the morning of August 30, comrade Uritsky was murdered in Petrograd, while that same evening an attempt was made on the life of comrade Lenin. Mass arrests commenced in Petrograd, as did the Red Terror, which led to the arrest of White Guards among Lockhart's agents. It was necessary to set about eliminating the plot in Moscow as well. I repeat in saying that the preliminary work involved in uncovering the plot was still far from finished.
With work continuing in the original direction, ever new information would be revealed regarding the counter-revolutionary activities of the representatives of international imperialism in Soviet Russia. The international proletariat would see how Lockhart, Pull and Grenard, taking advantage of the right of extra-territoriality, organized the burning of food stores in a starving country, prepared the blowing up of bridges which would condemn the million inhabitants of Petrograd to a hungry death, and threw money left and right in order to disorganize the Soviet structure. And what is more, in pursuing this they did not shy away from any methods, neither bribery, calumny nor intrigue.
Arrests concerning the Lockhart Case
The first task was to conduct a search at Reilly's address: Sheremetievskiy Alley, No. 3, apt. 85, which had been discovered by Berzin in the apartment of Elena Mikhailovna Boyuzhavskaya (in Petrograd).
In connection with this search, the Arts Theater performer Elizaveta Emelyanovna Otten, who had rented the apartment, was arrested. In the same apartment was also arrested the former supervisor of the Women's Gymnasium, Maria Vladimirovna Fride, who had arrived there with a packet, which contained a detailed report entitled No. 12, written by an agent during a trip from Moscow to Tula, Oryol, Kursk, Voronezh, Gryazi, Kozolov and back to Moscow between the 18th and the 30th of August.
Contents of the report:
"Report No. 12 from the trip Moscow – Tula – Oryol – Kursk – Voronezh – Gryazi – Kozlov – Moscow from 18 – 30 August.
In Tula, the mood of the inhabitants appears outwardly calm, even lively in the evenings. Every day the Tula factory orchestra performs on the boulevard. The food situation is poor, although it is possible now to obtain flour at the relatively inexpensive price of 130-150 roubles a pood. The armaments factory continues to operate, although with only one shift, producing machine guns for the most part as the production of rifles has been curtailed by 80 per cent. The cartridge factory ceased production one and a half weeks ago due to a lack of cotton. The staff of the Tula detachment is stationed in the city and is engaged in organizing a division. The organizing process is being carried out on a regimental basis with a regiment being sent to the front as a battalion after a thousand men have been received. The forces are stationed at a camp outside of town and are not visible. According to conversations with the instructors, almost all the officers were formerly attached to the 75th Tula Reserve Regiment. They also indicated that the organizing process was proceeding successfully regarding both discipline and training. Conversations with the local inhabitants, even among the poor, reveals dissatisfaction with the existing order. Commercial activity within the city is anemic and the stores are empty, with a complete lack of manufactured goods. In the local newspapers Tul'skiy Soviet and Tul'skaya Pravda I have read a number of telegrams from Borovitsk and Yepifanovsk districts concerning peasant disturbances and robberies.
In Oryol, the mood of the city has become sharply divided after a visit by Podvoisky, a member of the Supreme Military Inspectorate: the bourgeoisie is depressed, while the remainder of the population holds their heads high and consider themselves masters of the situation. Two divisions are being formed and an infantry and artillery instructors' school is being organized. The military regime is engaged in enterprises everywhere. Although the city is not under martial law, there is an unusually strict evening curfew. The city is almost lifeless and there is almost no noticeable activity on the streets. Regarding the food situation, there is a lack of meat and butter, although it is possible to obtain flour at 90 – 120 roubles per pood. From conversations along the rail lines, it is clear that there is almost no movement of goods, with the only goods trains consisting of military freight being shipped to the front – but even these are few in number. Within the city, there are 18 tanker trucks of oil destined for Moscow situated on the tracks. The station tracks are choked with empty trains driven from Kursk, on which it is possible to discern wrecked carriages and carts. The mood in the city is depressed, with all sorts of rumours concerning the capture of Kursk and general panic. The general impression is one of fatigue and indifference, albeit quiet and peaceful.
In Kursk, life has the characteristics of a front line city. Many soldiers of all types are to be seen on the streets. Numerous trains are being sent from the station to Oryol and Voronezh, but it is almost impossible to find a passenger train without having to fill out a whole series of formalities. Railroad security plays a central role at the station, acknowledging no authority, orders or instructions. Trains pass through filled with small groups of Red Army men with machine guns, and sometimes with field artillery. When questioned where they are going and for what purpose, answers are not forthcoming: either they themselves do not know or they pass by in silence. The impression is made that small forces are being transferred for the sake of simulating strength. Stories concerning the R[ed] A[rmy] are varied, but coalesce into one – that the Red Army troops are thieves and brigands capable only of fighting peaceful citizens. The city is filthy and is a scene of dissolution and dissipation. The food situation is now being set right. The local newspaper, Izvestiya Kurskogo Ispolnitel'nogo Komiteta, levels the most sordid insinuations against the bourgeoisie, Krasnov and the Allies. Getting to town involved the greatest difficulties, requiring one to obtain a pass at the station and the Sovdep [Council of Deputies].
In Voronezh, there is nothing of interest. There is a great bustle of people coming and going at the station. Conversations revolve around the same topics: food difficulties, the hardships of life and the expectation when this will end. The local Sovdep does not openly acknowledge instructions from the central authorities and has refused one order coming from Moscow. Departing the city, where I had stayed only a few hours, I caught word that Tsaritsyn had been recaptured by the Bolsheviks, and that the British had occupied Baku and Krasnovodsk.
From Voronezh, I had wanted to travel on to Gryazi, considering then to proceed to Bryansk through Yelets and Oryol. At the station, however, I discovered that although it was possible to travel by this route, it was fraught with great difficulties and require at least a week. I decided to head back to Moscow.
The general impression created by everything seen and heard in one of fatigue and passivity on the part of the middle class and an agonizing wait for salvation, regardless from whom or from where, if only to live in peace without fear or oppression."
According to the report by this same individual, the following information concerning German and Austrian forces on the Russian front and in the Ukraine in general was gathered from the staff of one of the Soviet armies:
“German landwehr infantry division No. 3 – in Gomyol, 4 in Bakhmach, 7 in Taganrog, 11 in Rylsk, Korenev, and Sudzh, 15 in Melitopol', 16 in Khar'kov, 17 in Polotsk, 18 in Shklov, Mogilyov and Rogachyov, 19 in Pernov and Valk, 20 in Zhitomir and Berdichev, 22 in Zhitomir, 23 in Polotsk, 24 in Ostrov and Krasniy, 29 in Revel, 35 reserve in Romodan, 45 landwehr in Khar'kov, 47 in Starodub and Klintsy, 85 in Polotsk, 91 in Khar'kov, 92 and 93 in Kiev, 94 in Yur'eve, 95 in Mikhailovskiy khutor (Bryansk front), 2nd Bavarian in Vandeka, 54 and 152 Austrian in Mogilyov, 5th, 11th, 31st and 59th Austrian in Yekaterinoslav, 3rd German landwehr in Rezhits, 212 in Kherson, 221 in Belgorod, 12th Bavarian in Rostov-na-Donu, 127 Austrian in Taganrog, 30, 34 and 151 Austrian in Odessa.
Cavalry: 9th Austrian cavalry division in Khar'kov, 7 Austrian cavalry in Odessa, German guards cavalry regiment in Orsha, 2 German cav. div. in Lugansk, 8th Ger. cav. Finlandia, 9th Germ. cav. in Mogilyov, 2nd Bavarian cav. in Khar'kov, 16 Germ. cav. in Polotsk.
VIII Army staff at Yur'ev, front from the sea (from the Baltic to Yur'ev), 11th Army front from Yur'ev to Orsha, Xth Army from Orsha to Novoselok.
In Finland are the following armies: Western – staff at Tammersfors with a force of 8-10 thousand. Eastern at Vyborg with 20-25 thous, Cavalry detachment – staff at Serdobol', 10-12 thous. In Helsingfors is 3 division and infantry as well as one cavalry division. In total, there are 40-50 thous. infantry, 1500 machine guns, 3600 cavalry and 55 batteries in Finland.”
Being questioned regarding the delivery of the letter to Otto's [sic - Otten] apartment, Maria Fride at first asserted that she had left in the morning for milk and was approached on Vozdvizhenka [street] by a man of average height dressed in a military uniform. The man stated he was in a hurry to leave and asked her, Fride, to deliver a packet to apartment No. 85, house No. 3 on Sheremetievskiy Alley, which request Fride carried out. Fride had never been to this apartment before.
A search conducted at Fride's residence at house No. 12, apt. 2 on Durasovskiy Alley provided unexpected results. Having arrived to conduct the search, Polikevich – an official from the Extraordinary Commission [Cheka], noticed that Elizaveta Sergeevna Fride (mother of M. Fride) ran to the lavatory and threw away some papers. The papers indicated were retained and among them was found a detailed report by a military spy, who had visited Petrograd and Tikhoretsk on 18 August, Zvanka on the 19th, Petrozavodsk on the 22nd and 23rd and Sestoretsk once more on the 27th.
Affadavit from comrade Ponarovich, Cheka - 4th Section, Counter-revolutionary Affairs
"Arriving with comrade Polikevich to conduct a search at the Fride residence at house no. 12, apartment 2 on Durasovskiy Alley, the following events occurred. At the residence were citizens Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride and Elizaveta Sergeevna Fride. Entering the residence, I detained Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride, when Elizaveta Sergeevna Fride ran to the lavatory and threw out some papers, which we retained. I have included these papers with this statement. Upon questioning, when I asked her why she had tossed the papers out in the lavatory, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride stated that he had ordered her to throw them out. Present at this time were the building doorman Safronov, soldiers from the cyclist detachment Sergei Volkov and Ivan Larin, and the policeman commissar Kokurin from 1 Arbatskiy detachment.
Assistant for the Section regarding the Struggle against K-R, Ponarovich
Commissar V. Polikevich"
The report, thrown out in the lavatory by E. Fride
“The Sestroretskiy factory has been removed entirely to Petrograd. Sestroretsk is completely empty. On around 18 August according to the new style, the order was received to evacuate the entire non-indigenous population, with boarding houses vacated even earlier. At least three-quarters of the dachas stand empty. The remainder are occupied by permanent residents and even they live in expectation of an order to evacuate. As for Soviet forces in Sestroretsk, there is one 6-gun battery with 75 men. The condition of the horses attached to this battery are beyond any criticism, and the soldiers are not much better. The Germans have still not reached Sestroretsk and there is no word yet on when they will arrive, although the inhabitants of both Sestroretsk, and even Petrograd, expect them any day now.
Judging by conversations with the inhabitants, no one doubts that the Germans will occupy Petrograd by winter. This opinion is based primarily upon the notion that the Finnish ports are frozen during winter and therefore the Germans will be forced against their will to search for land-based communications with Finland, in order not to abandon their forces stationed there to the exigencies of fate – which they are obviously not wont to do. On the other hand, the port of Abo freezes over so little that mail steamships maintain a regular schedule during the entire winter, without the assistance of ice-breakers. Thus, it is quite possible to maintain maritime communications via Libau-Abo and the consequent need to occupy Petrograd is diminished. If a German offensive against Petrograd does arise, no one expects serious resistance on the part of the Soviet forces: first, because there are no forces there and; second, because everyone in Petrograd is convinced that the Northern Commune [of Soviets] is not only operating in full contact with the Germans, but even in close alliance with them.
On the streets of Petrograd, it is possible to see quite a few individual German soldiers walking about in full uniform, but without weapons.
A passive and dispirited mood holds sway among the more or less intelligent population of the given region and among those close-lying localities currently under occupation. The peasantry, however, is beginning to regard the German occupation in a far from positive light. Thus, quite recently, around the beginning of August, some settlements have banded together and organized an insurrection in the neighborhood of Yamburg [Kingisepp], on the border of Pskov province. Having risen up against the Germans and scoring a number of local successes, the Germans have been required to send out special forces in order to suppress this revolt. As for Soviet power, a negative attitude exists towards it among the vast majority of the peasantry. Although this rather rarely assumes a sharpened form, it does blaze forth in local areas for a variety of individual causes. Around August 18-20, a disturbance arose not far from Zvanka station on the Northern Railway and throughout the entire Novo-Ladoga district of Petrograd province, provoked by an order issued by the commissars of the Northern Commune concerning the requisition of horses. Several troops of Latvians (who appeared very exhausted) were sent to quell the disturbance. Matters, however, did not reach the point of having blood spilled, as the local commissars managed to placate the agitated peasants almost everywhere, partly, by means of persuasion, and partly by changing the length and terms of the requisition.
The purely working population of the Petrograd region remains firmly on the side of the Soviet authorities through artificial means, a clear example of which may serve the following fact: On August 2, the National Economic Council introduced a resolution concerning the issue of paper money up to the end of 1918 to the amount of 180,985,000 roubles against the value of the Putilov factory for the maintenance and payment of workers' salaries, despite the fact that 30,000,000 roubles were already issued against the factory last July. It is clear, that by paying full compensation for shut down time, the Soviets are thinking of keeping for themselves the vote and opinion of the Putilov factory, especially as its vote always holds sway over the whole of the Petrograd worker region and by its decision drags along behind itself one way or the other almost all other factories in the area, which always sign on to its resolutions.
In Olonets province, the peasantry, if I may boldly say so, is entirely hostile towards Soviet power, and if this mood does not express itself in a more pointed character, then it is possible to explain this by the fact that even “Soviet power”, obviously taking the mood and situation under consideration, does not allow itself to interfere too strongly in the internal affairs of the peasantry.
As an example, one may cite Kupets municipality, Pudozh district, Olonets province, which utterly refuses to recognize Soviet power and is managing to run its own internal affairs as formerly, albeit somewhat rejuvenated. To attempts to introduce the Soviet order into the life of the municipality, the peasants responded by saying they had no need for it and to threats to introduce this order by force they answered as one: “try”. The situation remains confined to these terms to the present time.
The mobilization, announced by the Soviet Commune on a level equal with that announced in those same years by the Council of Peoples' Commissars, failed completely in Olonets province, since the peasantry in all districts and municipalities declared that they would agree to be subject to the mobilization on condition that guns be handed out in the province, as they knew perfectly well against whom and for what they needed to fight.
Food supplies for the indigenous population of Olonets province, except for the largest cities, was rather favourable up until now. The peasantry almost everywhere received from their own food agencies and cooperative stores 37 pounds of rye flour per family per month at a price of 6 roubles per pood, as well as 3 pounds of peas and 5 pounds of groats. There is little meat or fat. For the non-indigenous population, in other words, those newly arriving to the area and not registered, matters stand desperate. Other than herring, there is absolutely nothing to buy. At the wharf at Voznesenie, a large village at the source of the Svir river on the shores of Lake Onega, I sought a pound of bread for myself and was utterly unable to find it for money, and only succeeded in obtaining it by bartering 1/8 of a pound of makhorko which I happened to have with me. The current harvest is expected to be very poor across the entire province of Olonets, due to a severe night frost during the first half of June, which killed both the winter crop and the spring crops. There are absolutely no vegetables to be had. In Petrograd, cucumbers cost 1 - 1.50 roubles each, while potatoes cost 3.30 – 3.50 roubles per pound.
The movement of freight along all water routes has been reduced to minimum, due to a continually on-going strike of both ship hands in general and steamship crews in particular.
Even such high priority cargoes such as firewood for heating Petrograd, according to orders from the various official enterprises, such as Tsentrotop [Central Fuel], the Commissariat of Food, and so on, barley achieve 30% of the amount supplied during the grand events of 1917, already severely reduced against the norm.
In view of the advancing British forces, which have already reached the double-tracked Sebezh-Murmansk railway, and whose forward detachments have already moved up as far as Medvezh'ya Gora station on the same rail line, the city of Petrozavodsk is being evacuated, although neither a definite plan nor procedure is evident and the removal of property is proceeding with a sufficient degree of disorder. The Soviet forces are dispersed in insignificant detachments across the entire breadth of Olonets province. Thus, for example, the staff of the 3rd Olonets infantry regiment is located in the town of Lodeinoye Polye, while the remainder of its units are spread out across every district. This is explained by the fact, that all the forces which Soviet power could deploy, have been moved north against the British advance.”
This report, discovered along with other papers and 50,000 roubles found concealed in the cover of a shaving kit, hidden behind a mirror, show that the Fride apartment was one of the most significant centers for the plot involving the counter-revolutionary organization of the Anglo-French imperialists.
Arrested after the search, the former colonel, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride, confessed that the papers, thrown out by Elizaveta Sergeevna Fride, belonged to him. During questioning, however, Fride concealed the origin of these papers, referring to a certain fictitious Johnston, who allegedly met with him, Fride, on the street and handed him some packets inscribed with addresses, which were delivered by his sister, Maria Fride. Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride, himself, turned out to be an official employed at the Administration of the Chief of Military Communications.