Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Bolshevik

Tom Reiss investigates the identity of an author who wrote in German “Blood and oil in the Orient”, “Ali and Nino”, and “The daughter of the Golden Horn” and signed under Kurban Said.  Kurban Said was known in Germany of the 1920’s as Essad Bey who was the first to describe Stalin in details and accounted for the tormenting period of Baku (Capital of Azerbaijan on the Black Sea and “Zarathustra” land).

It turned out that Essad Bey was Liova Nussimbaum, nicknamed Lev (1905-1942).  Lev is a Jew born in Baku of a rich oil baron from Baku (Abraham) and a mother (Berta Sluzk).  The Sluzk were Jewish serfs working for Prince Sluzki in Ukraine and many converted to Christianity to improve their living conditions.

Berta had left Zürich, headquarters of Russia revolutionaries, and ended up in a Baku.  Lev’s father noticed Berta who was serving a prison sentence at the Baku prison and arranged for her to be set free and married her. Berta resumed her “revolutionary” activities and extended money to the revolutionary groups (that will later be called Bolshevik) between 1905 and 1912. Joseph Stalin, under the code name of Koba, was 28 years old and was leading the Bolshevik groups that asked ransoms in order to provide protection for minority ethnic groups.

Berta committed suicide by poison after she was found out of communicating with the revolutionary gangs and then, she became an embarrassment to her family.  Lev was then 9 years old.  Berta bequeathed her library to Lev and Abraham respected his wife’s will and allowed Lev to occupying the library and reading all day long.

Lev was mostly forced to be secluded in his home and library because of the dangerous conditions outside.  In the rare outings, Lev was surrounded with body guards and a nurse: He was considered of fragile health.

Lev and his father fled Baku in 1917 during the First World War: the armies of Tsar Nicholas II were defeated by Germany and Baku was becoming a hotbed for instability and chaos.  They crossed Turkmenistan and then Iran and had many adventures.  Lev gave accurate description of locations, dates, customs, and fashion of the regions they travelled, but his accounts were mostly fantasies that he dreamt of during his seclusion in Baku.

Father and son returned to Baku as the Turks and Germans occupied it briefly before the English returned.  Azerbaijan experienced independence for less than a year before the Bolshevik returned in 1920 and Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union. Father and son managed to flee Baku, separately, in order to avoid close surveillance. Lev reached the second city of Gandja (ancient capital) walking.  The citizens in Gandja chased out the few Russian soldiers for a few days before the Bolshevik army encircled the city and entered it with the accompanying massacres.

Lev managed to get out of Gandja and stumbled on a German colony-village (Helenendorf) by the borders with Georgia.  This colony was established in 1813 after the Napoleonic wars and Tsar Alexander I encouraged many Germans to populate the Caucasus region.  As Germany invaded Russia in 1940, Stalin made sure to transfer all the Germans in 1941 to Siberia; very few Germans returned to Germany in 1991.

Lev spent some time in Tibilissi (Capital of Georgia) and then, boarded an Italian boat with his father in 1921 to Constantinople.  The French, English, Italian, and Japanese troops had headquarters in different quarters of Constantinople.

Apparently, Nazi Germany studied extensively the procedures and tactics of the Bolshevik Tcheka (secret services) and added its refinements.  Lev and his father settled in Berlin of the 1920’s and wrote his books that were translated and appreciated in the USA.  Lev converted to Islam in 1923 at the Turkish Embassy.  He died in Northern Italy at the age of 35 but looked seventy.  Lev was the first to publish Stalin biography since the Pockennarbige (smallpox face)or Iossif Djougachvili knew Lev’s mother and he stayed in their home in 1920.

I might publish another post on Lev Nussimbaum as I finish reading the book.  You may read my account on Baku https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/bakou-1905/

Baku of 1901: Paris of the Orient Gate?

By 1900, Baku (Capital of Azerbaijan on the Black Sea) was the center of oil production and it supplied half the world’s demands.

The Swedish Alfred Nobel (inventor of dynamite) and his brother ran the first oil tanker named “Zarathustra”; a fitting name since Baku was then the main religious city of the Yazd sect that worshiped the sun and fire since antiquity.

Oil was known for thousands of years in this region, and Baku was the religious capital of the Zarathustra sect after Islam invaded Iran in around 650 AC.   And Azerbaijan became the main Islam Chiaa sect region before Iran adopted that sect in the 18th century.  Actually, many Persian monarchs and dynasties were originated from Azeri khans or tribal leaders in Azerbaijan.

For thousands of years, Baku was lighted at night from the burning oil on the surface of the Black Sea.  Burning waves lighted the night and hit the shores.  After kerosene was distilled in the 20th century, using kerosene lamps were common household appliances in Baku, Russia, and the neighboring regions of the Caucasus.

Baku was the richest city in the Caucasus and rivaled New York, London, and Paris in attracting immigrants and investors.

Baku became an Oriental city competing in its modernity with Paris: elegance in residences and fashion were widespread among all ethnic and religious minorities living in the ultimate of capitalist system of “laissez fair” mind of doing business.  It was a typical “frontier” city where millionaires and the poorest classes of oil workers cohabited.

Baku is a terrible windy city all year round and its soil is muddy black, soaked with oil; but wealth overcomes many climatic disadvantages.

In 1905, widespread revolts swept all over Russia to the borders with Korea.  Everyday, hundreds of politicians and civil servants were assassinated and pogroms were common.

Tsar Nicolas II decided on giving war to Japan in order to appease the revolts.  The Tsar imagined that a quick victory over “these tiny monkeys with short tails” will galvanize the Russian citizens into patriotic zeal.  Russia was quickly defeated; the entire Russian Pacific Navy sunk and hundreds of thousand of Russian soldiers were annihilated by Japanese machine guns in Mongolia.

The Russian revolts intensified.  The only remaining Russian Navy in the Black Sea was overrun my sailors and their officers slaughtered (the Potemkin debacle).  Tsar Nicolas promised a Constitution.  The Cossack cavalry understood Constitution to mean total freedom of doing what they pleased.  Hundreds of pogroms were daily occurrences in Belorussia and Ukraine (formerly belonging to the Catholic Polish Kingdom before 1772.)

The pogroms reached Baku.

The first minority victims were the Armenians who were well established and lived comfortably out of commerce and lending money.  For days, thousands of Armenians were massacred before the Cossacks managed to restore a semblance of security.

Between 1905 and 1917, Baku was kidnapped by a multitude of revolutionary groups that robbed banks, and asked for ransoms.  Joseph Stalin, under the code name of Koba and who was 28 years old, was leading the Bolshevik groups that asked ransoms in order to provide protection for minority ethnic groups.

The Communist Revolution of 1917 ruined Baku in 1920 as a prosperous city; mass transfers of population and assassinations were systematically applied.

Note:  Topic extracted from “The Orientalist” by Tom Reiss


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2020
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