Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Lenin In Stockholm 1917-2017
As a student in Soviet Moscow 1991 I daily passed a giant Lenin poster in the entrance of our dormitory. Until one day it had just vanished. Previously, I had seen the spot-turned-into-a-monument in Stockholm where he was photographed in 1917. It is now 100 years since he was standing on that spot, on his way to revolutionary Russia.
The train trip that Vladimir Lenin made from his long exile in Switzerland to the epicenter of Russian politics in Petrograd (the former and later Saint Petersburg) is now on my mind both for historic and current reasons. One is tempted to call what Germany did, making that trip happen, an act of hybrid war against Russia. Going a step further one might say that the modern Kremlin has recently itself come to practice the German idea of helping Lenin. But not just helping one Lenin, but a bunch of "Lenins" in several countries, thus increasing the stress not only on targeted states but also on selected alliances.
Catherine Merridale's recent book Lenin on the Train makes Lenin's 1917 journey to Petrograd's Finland Station come alive, and it has now also appeared in Swedish and I have therefore reviewed it in my native language. Apparently, it has come out in English with two different covers. I must say that the one also used for the Swedish version is superior to the modernistic one. Not least because it contains a "beautiful" example of fake history standing right behind Lenin - Stalin was not on that train.
I have previously blogged in English about Lenin monuments in Sweden, like the one in Stockholm that is all about his physical presence in Stockholm on April 13, 1917. The next day he arrived at a train station not far from where I am writing these words, the one in Boden - that unlike the Stockholm station has retained very much of its outer appearance. From Boden Lenin did not have to travel long to reach Russia, as at the time the border town of Tornio in north Finland was still part of the former Russian Empire, since a few weeks called the Russian republic.