In the picture accompanying Alan Gibson’s excellent article on the redirection of the Bolsheviks’ policy to the First World War (“How Lenin set the course for October”, April SR), there is a picture of Lenin descending from a train at the Finland Station. Behind him is a moustachioed, flat capped figure. Who he?
I recall reading that this photo’s original was doctored by the addition of Joseph Stalin to show him as Lenin’s closest collaborator. Perhaps this information was in one of David King’s brilliant books about the Russian Revolution and its aftermath, perhaps even The Commissar Vanishes.
After all, Trotsky was edited out of photos, so why not edit Stalin in?
Would you please check the historical standing of the photo, and let your readers know?
Thanks for spotting this, John. You are quite right that Stalin has been inserted, and in fact it isn’t a photo at all but a painting, made in 1937, the height of Stalinism. In The Commissar Vanishes, David King writes: “Mikhail Sokolov’s painting, made twenty years [after the event depicted], draws heavily on Sukhanov’s eyewitness account of the momentous occasion, but is flawed by one glaring inaccuracy: the figure of Stalin in the doorway of the train, behind Lenin. Stalin did not travel on the train with Lenin, nor was he delegated to meet him at the station.” Apologies to our readers for not having spotted this ourselves.