• Michael Laxer

Lenin in Stockholm, 1917

Images of Lenin #48

Lenin in Stockholm with a group of Russian political emigres returning from Switzerland to Russia in 1917 -- Images of Lenin #48


"Stockholm, April 13, 1917


The photograph above shows Lenin in Stockholm on the way back to Russia. It was taken on April 13, 1917, by Vicke Malmstrom, a Swedish photographer and a left sympathizer. It was easy to tell that this was not the original but a print made from a duplicate negative. But where was the original and who were the other people in the picture?


We succeeded in identifying two of the group - Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin's wife, and Grigori Usiyevich, a Bolshevik and one of Lenin's associates. But that was all.


I made 20 copies of the Stockholm photograph and sent them to people who knew the old Bolsheviks and to historians. And in the autumn of 1962, in an effort to track down the original, I sent a letter to the Stockholm Town Hall. Two weeks later came a reply from Sweden which informed me that Malmstrom's firm was still at the same address but that its present owner was Ecki Malmstrom, the photographer's elder son.


I wrote the same day asking him a dozen questions.


In the meantime I had identified two others—Raisa Skovno, who had also lived in emigration in Stockholm and had joined Lenin's group there, and Mikha Tskhakaya, a prominent party figure.


In March 1963 I received a parcel from Ecki Malmstrom with the original photograph. It had been taken, he wrote, on April 13, 1917, in Vazagatan Street, several blocks from the Central Railway Station. He also sent us a copy of the original negative, which he had preserved.


Ecki Malmstrom identified some of the others in the photograph. On Lenin's left was Lingdkhagen, the lord mayor of the Swedish capital, on his right was Ture Nerman,(1) and a little in front of him was Frederick Strom (2). With further search we were able to identify almost all the people in the picture. Among others, the group included Waclaw Vorovsky (3)* and Inez Armand (4)*.


1. Editor in chief ff the Swedish newspaper Politiken

2. One of the leaders of the left wing of the Swedish Social Democratic

3. Waclaw Vorovsky (1871-1923) - a professional revolutionary, Bolshevik, and later a prominent Soviet diplomat. A gifted journalist and literary critic.

4. Inez Armand (1875 - 1920) a prominent figure in the international Communist women's movement and a close friend of Lenin's who worked in Moscow on her return from emigration.


*Editor's Note: Waclaw Vorovsky's name is more commonly translated as Vatslav Vorovsky now. He was murdered by a Russian rightist in Switzerland in 1923. Likewise the name of Inez Armand is now more commonly translated as Inessa Armand." -- Mikhail Yeryomin, retired Soviet Major-General working for the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in the USSR researching the history behind Lenin photos, 1970.


From our post: Lenin: Three historic photos and their stories


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This is the forty-eighth in our new daily feature that will be looking at over 75 international Lenin photographs, sketches, sculptures, artworks and photographs from a Soviet archive of the early 1970s. Many of these are quite scarce and uncommon now and many are truly amazing works and pieces.


These are divided into art, Lenin centennial posters from 1970 and Lenin photographs.


We will share them with history and quotes where appropriate.


They will eventually all also be shared in three posts related to the major themes.


The first of these is: Lenin centennial posters from around the world, 1970 (theleftchapter.com)

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