Re: The Politics of Arthur Ransome

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Posted by John Wilson on August 10, 2005 at 02:25:00 from user hugo.

In Reply to: The Politics of Arthur Ransome posted by Duncan on August 09, 2005 at 15:49:39:

Arthur Ransome’s short story “The Unofficial Side”, his only story on the Russian Revolution (included in Coots in the North), indicates a distrust of both the Russian Bolshevik government and the anti-Bolshevik government of the Baltic Republic (Estonia?) that the yacht was headed for. Hence his hero supported “the unofficial side”.

Harvey Pitcher in “Witnesses of the Russian Revolution” writes of
“... the left-winger Arthur Ransome, who fondly imagined that Lenin would form a nice coalition government with other left-wing parties, the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries.”

In Chapter 7 of “The Crisis in Russia” (1921) AR notes Burov as saying with deep satisfaction “At first we were in the artists’ hands, and now the artists are in our hands”. So the Bolshevik propaganda train, the “Red Cossack” was in a simple propagandist style. An earlier train the “Lenin” was in the obscure Futurist style, and “the proletariat was called on to enjoy what the pre-revolutionary artistic public had for the most part failed to understand. Its pictures are “arts for arts sake” and cannot have done more than astonish and perhaps terrify the peasants and the workmen of the country towns who had the luck to see them.”

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