"The Exposure of Azef, a Modern 'Judas': Facts and Legends."

A. Geifman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many intricate details about the Azef affair remain unclear, but until new evidence is found, it is possible to challenge at least one currently accepted legend associated with it, namely, the revolutionaries' claim that Lopukhin helped them to expose Azef out of an altruistic love of truth. There are serious reasons to believe that the radicals used coercion to force the former director of the Police Department to supply them with evidence against Azef. This immediately transforms Lopukhin from an ally of the radicals into their victim, and demonstrates once again that any new evaluation of the events surrounding the Azef affair must not rely solely upon the version presented by Burtsev and the SRs, even in seemingly insignificant details.68The shock of the master spy's exposure was so tremendous that the PSR never fully recovered from the terrible wound the Azef affair inflicted upon it. Indeed, this wound proved mortal for the party's Combat Organization, and drastically reduced the terrorist activities of the revolutionary camp in general. With terror discredited as a revolutionary tool and the combatants demoralized, never again did the PSR possess adequate strength to mount political assassinations against the leading statesmen of autocratic Russia—assassinations that could have drastically altered the course of Russian history. Many intricate details about the Azef affair remain unclear, but until new evidence is found, it is possible to challenge at least one currently accepted legend associated with it, namely, the revolutionaries' claim that Lopukhin helped them to expose Azef out of an altruistic love of truth. There are serious reasons to believe that the radicals used coercion to force the former director of the Police Department to supply them with evidence against Azef. This immediately transforms Lopukhin from an ally of the radicals into their victim, and demonstrates once again that any new evaluation of the events surrounding the Azef affair must not rely solely upon the version presented by Burtsev and the SRs, even in seemingly insignificant details.68The shock of the master spy's exposure was so tremendous that the PSR never fully recovered from the terrible wound the Azef affair inflicted upon it. Indeed, this wound proved mortal for the party's Combat Organization, and drastically reduced the terrorist activities of the revolutionary camp in general. With terror discredited as a revolutionary tool and the combatants demoralized, never again did the PSR possess adequate strength to mount political assassinations against the leading statesmen of autocratic Russia—assassinations that could have drastically altered the course of Russian history.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)33-50
JournalBrill's Studies in Intellectual History
Volume31
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

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