The Bizarre Connection Between Stalin and the Rothschilds
Simon Sebag Montefiore
Stalin and the Rothschilds is one of the more bizarre connections that I discovered while writing a book on the dictator’s early life. Stalin worked for the Rothschilds; he burnt down their refinery and ordered the assassination of their managing director — yet later they helped fund Lenin and Stalin.
There were always rumours, but my discovery of a long-forgotten memoir in the archives of Tbilisi now reveals the true story.
In December 1901 Stalin, aged 23, arrived in the Black Sea oil port Batumi, which was dominated by the Rothschild and Nobel dynasties. One day Stalin came home late boasting, ‘Guess why I got up so early this morning? Today I got a job with the Rothschilds!’ Then he almost crooned, ‘I’m working for the Rothschilds! I’m working for the Rothschilds!’
One of his comrades, who wrote the memoir, joked, ‘I hope the Rothschilds will prosper from this moment onwards!’ Stalin sniggered, thrilled to be working for the dynasty that personified the wicked glamour of international capital.
On Stalin’s first day at work the Rothschilds’ refinery mysteriously caught fire. Stalin bragged to his comrade, ‘Your words came true.’ The Rothschilds did indeed prosper with Stalin as an employee.
Stalin the arsonist next organised a brutal strike. When the Rothschilds’ director refused his demands, Stalin ordered his assassination: the gun jammed and the director fled back to Paris.
This was not the end of Stalin’s relations with the Rothschilds.
In 1907 he moved to the lawless boom city Baku, home of super-rich oil barons who were much the same as today’s oligarchs. To finance Lenin, Stalin’s gangster outfit of hitmen and bank robbers used protection rackets, piracy, blackmail and kidnapping.
The Rothschilds were hugely powerful in Baku, yet the Tsar’s secret police and Bolshevik memoirists recorded how the Rothschilds contributed to Stalin’s funds, even paying him off to stop a strike.
The Rothschilds never knew that they had employed the future supreme pontiff of Marxism-Leninism — nor that he burnt down their refinery.
The family shrewdly sold their Russian interests in 1912. Only now have they returned to Russia. I recently recounted this to Jacob Rothschild, sending him a postcard of young Stalin on which I wrote, ‘Your Employee of the Month 1902!’
Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.