The Spectator

Bolshevik mischief

From the archive: 19 January 1918

Bolshevik mischief
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From ‘The Bolshevik negotiations with Germany’, 19 January 1918: We think that the fact is fairly emerging from the negotiations that the Bolsheviks are not, as some people supposed, the pliable tools or even the agents of Germany, but are idealists genuinely inspired by their mania. Of course, a great deal of harm may be done by a mania, however intellectually sincere it may be, and we can set no precise limits to the mischief that may be done by the Bolshevik leaders before they have finished. The habit of preferring the shadow to the substance, and rating the sound of words as more important than the realities implied by words, commonly ends in a terrible disillusionment.