In the early morning of March 19, 1915, Lt. Colonel S. N. Miasoedov, a former gendarme officer on active duty with the Russian army in World War I, was hanged after a two-hour trial in Warsaw for treason.
Although he was innocent of this charge, Miasoedov's hasty execution, set against the army's disastrous performance in the war against Germany, touched off a wave of "spy mania" that resulted in hundreds of arrests and eventually involved the highest reaches of the Russian Empire, including the minister of war, General V. A. Sukhomlinov, who was arrested for the same crime the following year.
The trials of Miasoedov and Sukhomlinov and the purported revelations of elaborate networks of pro-German spies were for many Russians the principal explanation for the military catastrophes Russia had endured at Germany's hands since the beginning of World War I.
This belief gradually took hold among the Russian public at large and politicians of all stripes. Today, the fact that both Miasoedov and Sukhomlinov were innocent of treason has been universally accepted, but the full story of the events leading up to their fallacious prosecutions has never before been completely revealed.
As told here by William C. Fuller, Jr., it is an astonishing narrative full of vivid incident and populated by a cast of characters that includes the emperors of both Germany and Russia, Baltic noblemen, tsarist generals, courtesans, war profiteers, peasants, Jewish businessmen, tsarist ministers, German spymasters, and Rasputin.
In the course of reconstructing the events he so deftly relates, Fuller explains how they crippled the Russian monarchy and paved the way for the February Revolution of 1917. The book also situates the cases against the backdrop of Russia's increasingly toxic political culture; bureaucratic politics; and popular attitudes in late imperial Russia toward capitalists, Jews, Germans, and women.
The Foe Within is an unprecedented portrait of a regime so riddled with intrigue and corruption that its collapse in the face of mounting military and economic difficulty comes to seem all but inevitable.
About the Author
William C. Fuller, Jr., is Professor of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College. He is the author of Strategy and Power in Russia 1600–1914 and Civil-Military Conflict in Imperial Russia, 1881–1914.
"Set against the backdrop of a corrupt and crumbling empire, this history of the Miasoedov/Sukhomlinov affair is both intriguing in its own right and crucial to understanding the Russian past. The book is beautifully crafted; the research is impeccable; and the story is told with unusual subtlety and erudition."-Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University, author of Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe
Number Of Pages: 286
Published: 15th April 2006
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Dimensions (cm): 23.876 x 17.882 x 2.464
Weight (kg): 0.649