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PostThe "Bolsheviks" Never Dominated the Spanish Republicans (Boris Volodarsky, Austria, 03/08/21 3:43 am)
A very brief response to Eugenio Battaglia's post of 4 March (because both Sir Paul Preston and Ángel Viñas have already commented).
There has never been any time, either in 1934, 1936 or even in 1937, when the "Bolsheviks" were predominant, as Eugenio says, in the Spanish Republican government. At a certain point after 1936 and for only a short period there were two communists in the government, but that was all.
At the same time, I would be interested in hearing more from Eugenio about the Italian "Reds in action" and their direct links to the International Brigades volunteers from Italy.
After 1999 Sir Paul published many wonderful books, most of them about the war in Spain, including The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (2016), but even in his 1999 dedication (cited by Eugenio) I do not see any bias at all. These true and sincere words could perfectly serve as a dedication in any good book about the war.
Finally, both terms "useful idiots" and "fellow travelers" are used in a totally different context and never--even in the first Soviet government that consisted of the representatives of several political parties, including the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs)--in the sense suggested here by Eugenio.
JE comments: "Fellow travelers" and "useful idiots," especially the former, are tried-and-true epithets in political discussions of all types. Might we subject them to WAISly scrutiny? FT (poputchik) is attributed to Trotsky, while the Useful Idiot is believed to be a Leninism, although no one can pinpoint when or if he actually said it. The term came into popular use in the West during the Cold War. Undoubtedly, much more can be said about this.
Has anyone ever proudly self-defined as a Useful Idiot?