Talk:1907 Tiflis bank robbery

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Featured article1907 Tiflis bank robbery is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on June 26, 2012.
Did You Know Article milestones
February 6, 2011Good article nomineeListed
February 21, 2011Peer reviewReviewed
February 20, 2012Featured article candidatePromoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on December 20, 2010.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that a 1907 stagecoach robbery organized by Vladimir Lenin (pictured) and Joseph Stalin killed an estimated 40 people and netted approximately 250,000 rubles (over $3 million in current USD)?
Current status: Featured article


I saw your talk page comment at Wehwalt (he's my mentor).

At the bottom of the lede, I would take away the comment "with a statue to that bank robber turned revolutionary leader, and also be the site of a monument to and the grave of the head conspirator, Kamo." and change it to "with a statue of Lenin, as well as a monument and grave for head conspirator, Komo."

Revised. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

In terms of just facts and writing, I wonder are the statues together? Next to the grave? When was it named Lenin square, when were the statues (and grave) put there?

Not exactly sure of the placement. Need to get further information on the burial of Kamo and the look of Lenin Square. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

The page as is, tells a story. You accomplish your purpose, better by being dispassionate. It's damning enough as is. Also, the kind of parenthetical harumph you had at the end of the lede is just bad writing as it is repetition.

TCO (talk) 18:57, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

TCO, it is just a first draft of the lede.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:59, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Good point. I won't nit at it then. ;)

It is a cool story and a lot of good info. Reading about bank robberies is kind of fun. ;)

TCO (talk) 19:14, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think people are going to love this once it is done. I consider myself very well versed in history and I had never heard of this. TCO, why don't you play with the text as well? I have to go out in a few.
I also consider myself well-versed in history and this amazing story also slipped my attention. When I stumbled across it, I couldn't believe that it didn't have a wiki article about it since it seems to have been a major event. I think that others will really enjoy this story and I hope that we can make this a great article before it goes live. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

A couple of points.

The (beautiful!) image of Tblisi in the 1910s is going to need evidence it was published pre 1917.

That will be tough since I just found it in Commons. Remember (talk) 19:23, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Not impossible. Library of Congress may have info, or it may be in a pre-1917 book available on google books. Somewhere on the net there is an image search engine, you plug in an image on a web page and it tells you what other web pages it appears o.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:32, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
I will look into it. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

You simply cannot have 40-odd refs to a 16-page block of text. It's going to have to be broken down by page number.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:22, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I thought that was probably going to have to happen. Darn. Remember (talk) 19:23, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, that's why you brought me in, I assume! To point out stuff like that--Wehwalt (talk) 19:32, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Very true. Remember (talk) 19:34, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Done. Remember (talk) 16:42, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

playing with the text[edit]

My first inclination is to do something about the currency markers. I will check the MOS, but I can't believe that wikilinking US dollars is needed, or that both the symbol and the words should be used. Sorry, that this is a nit. It's just my personal style is to flit from small to large issues, and that I find from messing around with small stuff, it at least gets me into the text. TCO (talk) 19:42, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Any help both great and small is appreciated. Remember (talk) 19:50, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the currency edits. The conversion looks correct from my untrained eye and I think it reads much better. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I removed the currency conversion section and just relied upon a books estimate of today's US Dollars. Otherwise I thought it was original research.Remember (talk) 12:57, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Question - other editors to review[edit]

Are there any other editors that work in this area (e.g., old Soviet History, bank robberies) that you all think I should get involved in this article before it goes live? I just want to make sure that this the best article it can be. Any thoughts on anyone who could help out in that effort would be most appreciated. Remember (talk) 20:04, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

User:BorisG has weighed in on the Khrushchev article and may be of help. Also, what is your thought on day month year format rather than month day year? I get endless grief at the Khrushchev article because it is month day year. See WP:MOSDATE, which says you should begin as you mean to go on.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:42, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
I am happy either way on the date issue. As for BorisG, should I contact him or do you want to contact him? FYI - I am going to have to stop working on this page soon for awhile since I have to do other work, but please continue working on it while I am away. I should check in sometime later tonight or tomorrow to see what has happened. Remember (talk) 20:45, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

I like day month year, since it's easier to read: 27 November 2010. The two numbers are separated by a word.

You could ask for help at military history also. Personally, I would hate to have a bunch of people messing with "my" article! ;)

TCO (talk) 21:01, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

I have changed the date format. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
No, we're not that close, you can contact him as the lead editor of this article, Remember. I advise DMY as well, just to save later grief.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:14, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
I will contact BorisG. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
He doesn't appear interested in working on this at this time. Remember (talk) 19:28, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
I would hate to have more than four people actively involved with this article. Three would actually be enough, but I could live with four. I happen to agree with Heinlein's comment that more than three people can't decide where to have lunch.
I agree that a core group of people working on it is better than loads more. I think I will asking people after BorisG. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
Does anyone have access to that article from Russian Review? I envy college students their access to unlimited online articles. When I was in Vancouver, I went to do some research at Simon Fraser University and they let me on one of their computers and I just went wild, emailing myself copies of stuff. Unfortunately, I don't have Vancouver in my travel plans anytime soon.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:28, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
No immediate plans, but I have been thinking about becoming a "friend" of my local state university library, which would give me improved journal access. Would not do it for Wiki, but so I can look up medical articles or the like for myself. TCO (talk) 01:38, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
No, but that article in the Russian Review looks like it could be great. Kamo is fascinating and I need to add more information about his post arrest. He evidently feigns insanity, is deported to Russia, escapes prison, is captured and sentenced to death, has his sentence commuted to 20 years, and then is freed sometime after the Russian revolution and then buried (for some reason which I don't know why) in Erivan Square. So any good sources we could find on him would be useful. Remember (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Other references[edit]

It seems like a lot of the detail comes from one book. My first concern looking at the article was to wonder if it was some obscure Georgian-Russian conspiracy theory. When I saw the worldwide coverage, I knew different, but just telling you initial reaction.

A. Suggest adding a few sources at least to the intial reporting of the bombing themselves, like NYT, or even just some general biographies of Stalin (or histories of Bolshevism), that at least refer to the robbery and Stalin's role, with a couple sentences. Obviously the bulk of the detial will need to come from that source, you have, but would just be better to make people feel that the event itself occurred. Also, I'm interested if the Bolshevik role is generally accepted or not, was accepted at the time, or at least alleged, etc.

Will do. Remember (talk) 12:33, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

B. Not sure how to do this in the "wiki sense", but encourage you to take a look at that book and evaluate its quality (is it by a journalist or an academic, does it come across as accurate in other areas, etc.) TCO (talk) 21:31, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I have checked up on Young Stalin and the Secret File of Joseph Stalin and they both seem very reputable. Remember (talk) 12:33, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

A few comments[edit]

An infobox would be nice. There is a news event infobox that I find very useful under cercumstances like this.

I am generally pro-infobox so I am happy to include one. I am working on the best one below. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
  • "Tiflis bank" in the lede seems a bit odd. I understood it to be the Tiflis branch of a St. Petersburg bank, just from a Google Books preview (I've ordered a used copy of Young Stalin)
Agreed. I will look to clarify. Also, wow, I am amazed that you are going to buy "Young Stalin." Thanks for the help! You are going above and beyond! Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Revised. It was a transportation between the Post Office and the Tiflis Branch of the Russian State Bank. Remember (talk) 13:21, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I am not thrilled with the structure of the article. In my opinion, sections or subsections of text should be in the area of 3-5 paragraphs. Accordingly, the long section on "Bank Robbery" should be subdivided in some way while the short, 1-2 paragraph sections should be combined Avoid one sentence paragraphs.
I will try to revise. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Revised. Let me know what you think of the revision. Remember (talk) 14:40, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Had Stalin taken the nickname "Stalin" then? If not, it might be wise to introduce him as his Georgian tonguetwister birth name and add (who would become known as Joseph Stalin). I would still casually refer to him as Stalin after that, no point in confusing the readers.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:38, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Good point. I will revise. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I added a note to explain the issue. Let me know what you think. Remember (talk) 13:51, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Avoid the construction "would be" as a substitute for a past tense verb. Yes, I know it is a way of indicating the passage of time in the text, but reviewers hate the construction. I will take it out where I see it.
Agreed. I will revise anything you don't. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Revised. Remember (talk) 14:02, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
  • The whole signals from Bachua thing is confusing. We have David remembring the robbers leaving the shop, I gather at a signal from Bachua, but it isn't clear which signal from Bachua is meant, the warning that the stagecoach was approaching or the one getting the robbers to leave the shop.
I will try to clarify. It was very confusing for me to figure out since I largely had to depend upon Young Stalin and he described the robbery in a weird format. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I think I fixed this. Let me know if it needs further clarification. Remember (talk) 14:17, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Excepting for a child, a member of royalty who doesn't have a commonly-used last name, or where several people with the same last name are being discussed, first name alone should not be used to refer to a person.
Agreed. Made a mistake with Bachua. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Revised. Remember (talk) 14:14, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I started to edit the section about Kamo's trials, but stopped in confusion. If he was tried for the robbery in his second trial, what was he tried for (and sentenced to death!) the first time?
  • he was captured after another abortive attempt of a similar raid in 1912 (some of his colleagues failed to show up). He was sentenced to several death penalties at once but it was commutted to life imprisonment under a timely amnesty. I will provide details later. - BorisG (talk) 14:54, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Boris is right. In both instances he was tried for the bank robbery (along with other crimes). He evidently was sentenced to death 4 times (as I understand it) in his life and escaped all of them. Fascinating evil character. I will try to clarify, but it is hard since there are not a lot of sources solely regarding Kamo and his trials. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Remember, sometimes you have a sentence with two major clauses and you start both off with the same noun (often a person). The second time, you should generally use a pronoun or just omit it entirely. Not a criticism, just a writing tip. For example, "Wehwalt edited my article, and Wehwalt got real shirty about my writing." would be better "Wehwalt edited my article, and he got real shirty about my writing" or perhaps even better "Wehwalt edited my article, and got real shirty about my article."
Agreed. I think I avoid it just because when I am working on something I will move paragraphs and sentences around so I like not to run into pronoun antecedent problems while I am revising, but I will try to revise. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Revised. Let me know if there are any further sentences that need revising. Remember (talk) 14:46, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
I will wait until you are done before looking. Everyone has prose quirks, the trick i to be aware of them.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:47, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I've made a number of changes that I think reflect events. My words are not handed down on golden tablets, do not fear to change them or revert me, I am as capable of as much idiocy as the next guy.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:49, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I will review and change anything I think is wrong.
I have now reviewed all of your changes and made the appropriate corrections. Remember (talk) 13:37, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Is there any information about how this incident was described under the Soviets? What was the Party line during Stalin's time, did it get mentioned during Khrushchev's time when Stalin was considered somewhat of a criminal? What about during the Stalin resurgence of the Brezhnev's years?--Wehwalt (talk) 14:53, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I couldn't find any. The armenians evidently made three movies about Kamo during the communist era (which might be fascinating to see), but I haven't seen any of them. I would be happy to include this information if anyone can find it, but I think I have reached the limits of what I can find through my research skills and my sources available. Any suggestions or advice would be welcome. Remember (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Comments from BorisG[edit]

  1. I know about this story for longer than I can remember, but don't know many details (hence my comment on my talk page).
Your help is still greatly appreciated. Remember (talk) 16:42, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
  1. There is an artile about this in Russian Wikipedia, but it is short and not very good quality. However it does have some interesting details lacking from the English version, such as incidents of people detained with the 500 R bank notes in various European countries.
I read the article (with the help of Google translate). I agree that it is interesting on the arrests, but I haven't been able to find any such information. If you can find sources for these arrests and trials, I would be happy to include. Remember (talk) 16:42, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
  1. The Russian entry has a number of sources. One is a Russian-language transcript from Radio Libery - is that a RS? Another is a story from a Russian magazine. The third one is perhaps most intersting, since it is contemporary and in English - a facsimile of a New York Time article of 1908 about the arrest of Maxim Litvinov and his girlfriend in Paris!
I have the NY Times article currently cited in the article (see citation number 32) but I don't have the other sources. I don't feel confident citing to russian sources based on google translate because I believe I could get it dramatically wrong, but if you can read and translate russia, I would have no problem including that information into this article. Remember (talk) 16:42, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
  1. Russian sources contain a lot of interesting details, and many transcripts of contemporary police cables. Many names of those involved are given, based on the memoirs of Kamo's widow and some other accounts. Stalin's involvement is suspected but no evidence has apparently emerged. Krasin is mentioned repeatedly as the main organiser - consistent with what I have read before (see below).
Odd. I have seen many sources now claiming that Stalin was the mastermind, but from what I have read about Krasin, it wouldn't surprise me that he could have been. Unfortunately, I don't have English sources to support this claim, but any sources or information you can provide regarding Krasin's activities would be greatly appreciated. Remember (talk) 16:42, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
  1. A few years ago I read that the robbery was the trigger for the split between Lenin and Krasin (and Bogdanov). Lenin pretty much ordered the robbery but when accused by fellow party colleagues, especially the Mensheviks, of the direct violation of the resolution of the 5th party congress banning such operations, he distanced himself from it and blamed everything on Krasin, who was number 2 (and Treasurer) of the Bolshevik faction. This in turn caused considerable unease within the Bolshevik faction, which saw Lenin's behaviour as a betrayal of a fellow Bloshevik leader. I've read this in a book, definitely a RS, but I need to dig it out. - BorisG (talk) 14:24, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
That definately sounds right to me. After the robbery there was an investigations by the RSDLP and other communist organizations and Lenin and Stalin both tried to push off responsiblity onto others. Any sources you can provide regarding this information would be most appreciated. Remember (talk) 16:42, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
OK, I have located the source. It is an essay "On the history of the Bolshevist Center" by a porminent contemporary historian Boris Nicolaevsky. The essay was preserved as part of Nicolaevsky Collection at the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, California, and was published only recently in Secret pages of history, Ed. Yu. G. Felshtinsky, Humanities Publishing, Moscow, 1995, ISBN 5-87121-007-4, in Russian (Тайные страницы истории / Ред. -сост. Ю. Г. Фельштинский. -- М.: Издательство гуманитарной литературы, 1995. -- 512 с., ISBN 5-87121-007-4). I will present some of the findings from this essay below. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 16:39, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Note to Wehwalt and BorisG[edit]

Thank you so much for your comments and your time. I greatly appreciate your help in improving this article and I think you both provided excellent comments, recommendations, and thoughts. Any further input you could provide would be most appreciated, but I would understand if you want to move on to your own interests. I sincerly just want to make this an accurate, reliable, and well-written article on an event that I find fascinating (and under-reported) so any help you provide to further that goal is most appreciated. I will try to work through all of your comments quickly. Unfortunately real life responsiblities keep interceding in my wiki hobby so it may take awhile, but I promise I will get it done. Let me know if you have any further comments, suggestions, or questions regarding this article. Remember (talk) 16:48, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks a lot! I will try to help. I have no specific WP interests and I am quite happy to concentrate on this (particularly on Russian sources), but I too have a lot of work committments, so will try when I can. Also putting me and Wehwalt in the same category may be misleading. Wehwalt is one of most prolific contributers to Wikipedia with a number of featured articles to his name. I am just an occasional contributer with a handful of short articles only. My most recent exercise is Peter Goullart. I think I know how to write articles (I write and publish a lot in my working life) but I am a slow writer and I don't think I have the patience:) Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 17:03, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate it, but everyone's contributions count, FA is just an incentive to drive us on, we all do what we can for the Wiki. I think this should be an excellent article once you iron the kinks out, one of the advantages of applying high standards from the beginning.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:35, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
OK. To make me focus on something, can you please point out the questions that you want me to address using Russian sources. Initially I wanted just to translate them for you, but there is just a bit too much out there. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 06:36, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
I think I would want information mainly on: Kamo's burial and removal from Pushkin gardens, subsequent trails and convictions for either the robbery or cashing in marked notes, how this affect Stalin and Lenin within the party, and any other information that you think I should add. Remember (talk) 17:14, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

The note regarding Stalin is fine. If I'm not picky, someone else will be, there are a lot of smart people on Wikipedia and it helps to think in advance.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:59, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Findings from Boris Nicolaevsky[edit]

Nicolaevsky's essay On the history of the Bolshevist Center (mentioned above) contains a number of important facts. Some of these complement what is currently in the article, and some contradict them. I do not want to start editing the article straight away, because if you are editing certain sections at the same time, it will be a mess. Furthermore, I do not know the tone and strength of the evidence presented by other sources. I will simply present interesting and important facts and findings from Nicolaevsky here, and you can pick and choose what you find useful. Some of these are trivial and well known (but not yet mentioned in the article). Some are well researched by Nicolaevsky, mostly based on primary sources. Some are still a bit merky.

  • Some background
  1. At the 4th congress of the RSDWP, in the wake of the defeat of the 1905 revoolution, Bolshevik and Menshevik factions were trying to forge a united front.
  2. This stance was reaffirmed at the 5th (London) Congress. A Central Committee was formed and it was decided that factions won't be forming any separate committees. However the factions did not work together , and Bolsheviks formed their own Bolshevist Centre, whose existence was kept secret from the rest of the party (Mensheviks and ethnic factions). The Centre was led by a Finance Group or Committee of three comprised of Lenin, Krasin and Bogdanov. Lenin was the ideological, political and organisational leader, and editor of the Bolshevik paper, Proletary. Krasin was treasurer, major fundraiser and also head of all the paramilitary operations. Not exactly clear what was Bogdanov's role, but it was mainly to do with the paper.
  3. A major resolution of the 5th (London) Congress banned all expropriations, an ephemism for armed robberies. This resolution passed with a vast majority of 65% against 6% (others abstained or did not vote). All Mensheviks and even some Bolsheviks supported the resolution. Against it was a small group of Bolsheviks including Lenin (Krasin was under arrest in Moscow and did not take part in the congress; Bogdanov was a non-voting delegate).
  4. Against this background, the Finance Group planned a number of expropriations in different parts of Russia.
  5. In particular, they set up a direct line of communication with Kamo.
  • Aftermath: political consequencies for Social Democrats
  1. After the raid, Kamo personally delivered the money to the Finance Group in Kuokkala, Finland (then part of Russian Empire).
  2. According ot Nikolaevsky, upon delivery, Kamo signed a 'contract' between his group and the Finance Group, which stipulated, among other things, that the Finance Group undertakes that under no circumstances the information about this operation and the money will be discussed with any party organisations.
  3. Initially, it was not clear who was behind the raid, but after the arrest of Kamo, Litvinov and others, Bolshevik connection was obvious.
  4. The Mensheviks felt betrayed and angry. Clearly, Bolsheviks not only operated their factional governing body, indepenent from the unified Central Committee, but this centre was directing operations explicitly prohibited by the party congress. Leader of Mensheviks, Georgy Plekhanov, called for separation from the Bolsheviks. His colleague Julius Martov called the Bolshevist Centre something between a secret factional central committee and a criminal gang. The CC started an investigation into the incident and sent its representatives to the Caucasses, resulting in the expulsion of certain members, including Stalin. Later the investigation into the role of the Center was conducted by an overseas buraeu of CC (for security reasons). However in all cases the investigation was stalled by the Bolsheviks, and nothing came of it.
  5. In January 1908, fearing police crackdown after the arrest of Litvinov, Lenin fled to Europe and established his headquarters in Geneva. Krasin remained in Finland and was eventually arrested in March 1908 but later released. This release is still unexplained. Police archives show that Okhrana knew from Zhitomirsky of Krasin's connection to the Tiflis raid, but failed to provide the Finnish police with the evidence, nor created any obstacles for his return to St. Petersburgh in 1913.
  6. The connection to the raid made Bolshevist Centre unpopular not only with Mensheviks, but also with European social-democrats. Thus, Lenin's desire to distance himself from the legacy of the raid may have been one of the motivations of his split rift with Bogdanov and Krasin.
  7. When the split happenned (ostensibly due to irreconcilable philosophical differences between Lenin and Bogdanov), the Finance Group was dissolved but Krasin kept the remaining money and failed to hand it over to a new treasurer. Krasin and Bogdanov planned to use the money to provide finacial and legal support to Kamo and other arrested colleagues (they considered themselves bound by the Kuokkala 'contract'). In the insuing argument, Lenin accused Krasin of misappropriation of funds. - BorisG (talk) 16:49, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Discussion
Oh that is all great stuff. Keep it coming. Also, feel free to edit the article now because I am going to take a break for awhile. Remember (talk) 17:52, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
By the way, BorisG you wouldn't happen to have access to this source, would you? I have been trying to get it but keep running against brick walls. Remember (talk) 17:53, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Will check. But now it is 2 am and that's enough for tonight. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 18:01, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Got your source on Kamo. How should I send it to you? - BorisG (talk) 09:21, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Sounds fascinating. I'm continuing to monitor, once things have settled down a bit, I'll do another run through. Darn, what I wouldn't give for unfettered access to jstor ... best way to send stuff is for Remember to use the email function to send BorisG one, wiki will not support attachments, but in the reply from BorisG to Remember, you can send an attachment.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:36, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Wow that is all great stuff that you found BorisG. I would love to incorporate it into the article. Now the question becomes how do we do that. I can't read Russian so I can't review the source material, but I trust your translation and citation. Perhaps BorisG could try to revise the article to incorporate this new information? Again, I would do it myself, but I can't read the source material and so I would be afraid that I am stating something incorrectly or citing to the wrong page or lost something in translation. Let me know your thoughts. Remember (talk) 16:45, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I would really prefer that you incorporate it yourself. You have a better grasp of the article itself, its logic and layout. I have not translated anything, I describe everything in my own words, except when I quote Plekhanov, Martov etc. Thus there are no Copyright issues. I can provide page numbers for every bullet point above. I can also review the result. I actually love to review and edit things (I have experience as one of the editors of a scientific journal). Is this OK? - BorisG (talk) 16:56, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
May I also suggest that you first incorporate the material from the jstor article and maybe Krupskaya, which is all in English already. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 16:58, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
OK. I will give it a try that way and note which areas I need you to review. Thanks again for the help! This article keeps coming along. Remember (talk) 17:12, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the free online version does not have any page numbers but I can check them using Google Books. - BorisG (talk) 00:38, 8 December 2010 (UTC)


A lot of (secondary) sources cite the memoirs of Krupskaya (Lenin's wife and secretary of the Bolshevist center). I have located an English translation here. There are brief accounts of Kamo's visit to Finland in 1907 (with the money) and later in Paris (after his escape from prison). Tiflis expropriation is mentioned without much fuss. Please have a look. It may be a primary source (kind of) but given that so many rumours exist about this event, this authentic information is valuable, I think.

I will take a look. Remember (talk) 13:29, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

DYK suggestions[edit]

Since this article is coming along well, I thought I would solicit ideas for the DYK. Insert suggestions below. Remember (talk) 12:34, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

...that Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin (pictured) helped organize a bank robbery where 341,000 rubles ($3.4 Million in 2008 USD) was stolen, fifty people injured, and forty people killed.
Stalin 1902 Colour.jpg
...that Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin (pictured) helped organize a robbery where bombs were thrown at a bank stagecoach in a crowded city square resulting in 341,000 rubles stolen ($3.4 Million in 2008 USD), fifty people injured, and forty people killed. Remember (talk)

Slightly revised suggestion below.

...that Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin (pictured) helped organize a robbery where bombs were thrown at a bank stagecoach in a crowded city square resulting in at least 250,000 rubles stolen, fifty people injured, and several people killed.
  • this is probably best. But Maybe better if we 1) give number of killed and injured (for consistency), and 2) number of those killed before the number of injured. - BorisG (talk) 17:23, 14 December 2010 (UTC)


...that Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin (pictured) helped organize a robbery where bombs were thrown at a bank stagecoach in a crowded city square resulting in at least 250,000 rubles stolen, fifty people injured, and several people and horses killed.


This looks like the finalist based on our discussion. Feel free to revise if you think it could be worded a better way.Remember (talk) 18:11, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Stalin 1902 Colour.jpg
...that Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin (pictured) helped organize a robbery where bombs were thrown at a bank stagecoach in a crowded city square resulting in reportedly at least 250,000 rubles stolen (over $3 Million in current USD), forty people killed, and fifty people injured.

Discussion on suggestions[edit]

  • I think the first is bad, but the second one is also questionable. The number of victims is disputed. Stalin's role is disputed. The amount stolen is disputed (I have seen 250,000 in most sources). The amount in today's currency seems small. How is it computed? - BorisG (talk) 02:49, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Ouch. I thought they were both pretty good, but I am happy to discuss alternatives. I am a bit confused by the following things in your critique though: Remember (talk)
General comment: I think it is perfectly fine for the article to contain disputed facts (supported by RS) but I think we must be more careful with DYK and not present disputed claims as facts, so as to not propagate any myths. - BorisG (talk) 13:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Good point. Remember (talk) 13:54, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
  • the number of victims is backed up by Okhrana archives while some other stated death tolls at the time was much lower (I think around three), I didn't think this was a problem since there are several sources that acknowledge the 40 casualties, but I guess you think that this issue is too much in dispute to mention as a fact on the main page, is that correct? Do you have an alternative way to discuss the deaths (because I was having trouble coming up with alternative wording) Remember (talk)
I have not seen this number in the sources that I reviewed. I will check again. - BorisG (talk) 13:22, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I will try to get them for you. Remember (talk) 13:54, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
  • While what Stalin did on the day of the robbery is disputed, I don't think there is any dispute that he helped organize the robbery. Afterall, he got inside tips from two people about the stagecoach and that was one of the keys to planning the assualt. Do you think that Stalin did not play a part organizing the robbery? Do you have an alternative way to discuss his role? Remember (talk)
Most sources that I have seen do say that Stalin played a significant role. The only one disputing this is Nicolaevsky. I guess this means that he is in a small minority and can be ignored, at least for DYK. I drop this objection. - BorisG (talk) 13:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
For completeness, Nicolaevsky (a fellow Social Democrat at the time) says that Stalin was connected with Kamo's group, defended/represented it before the local party committee, visited their "headquarters" with political lectures, but his role has been exaggerated in later years. He was neither their superior nor go-between. The group liaised with BC directly via Kamo, who was closely connected to Krasin from 1903-04. - BorisG (talk) 13:36, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I think it would be useful to include this discussion in the section that describes Stalin's actions during the day of the robbery, but I don't think that there is any dispute that Stalin found the inside men who gave them the tip off for the robbery (since I believe the party investigation concluded as much). I think Stalin can be said to have helped "organized", "planned", "assisted", or facilitated" the robbery without implying that he was in charge of the robbery. I am not sure which one of those verbs works for you, but let me know what you think. Remember (talk) 13:54, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Perhaps helped organize" is best. - BorisG (talk) 14:11, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I am fine with helped organize, but I thought you might be interested in this source [1] from pages 73-75, which talks about the Nicolaevsky source and disputes it regarding Stalin's participation after he finds the official records of the party displinary committeea, and states that he controlled from the wings of the organization the robbery. Remember (talk) 14:14, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes you appear to be right. Great and detailed source! - BorisG (talk) 16:01, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree that the amount is disputed, but I have sources to back up the 341,000 version (here is the Time Man of the Year article on Stalin that mentions this amount [2]) so I thought it would be okay to mention on the main page even if disputed. Do you have an alternative way to discuss the issue? Perhaps just say it was the lower amount (250,000)? Remember (talk)
Most (if not all) of the sources I have seen are consistent with the figure of 250,000 of which 100,000 were in 500R notes. I suggest we say at least 250,000 in DYK. - BorisG (talk) 13:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I am fine with that. Remember (talk) 13:54, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
  • The amount of money in today's US Dollars was based on the amount estimated in Young Stalin. It appears that the author used a very simple calculation to get this amount of money (See [3]). So this may need to revised. Because these currencies were on the gold standard, theoretically you could convert them yourself (which an earlier editor tried to do), but I thought that might come off as original research and so I went with the verifiable number. Any suggestions about how to get a more accurate accounting? Remember (talk)
We need to see how much it was in contemporary USD, and then look at change if USD with time. This may constitute OR, but I guess this limited amount of OR should be permitted (basically unit conversion). - BorisG (talk) 13:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea. I'll try to do that. Feel free to help out with this.
See my discussion below on the money issue.Remember (talk) 16:24, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Lastly, do you have any alternative suggestions for the DYK? My idea was to focus on Stalin and Lenin's role since I think that is the most fascinating aspect, but I am open ot other ideas. Remember (talk) 21:45, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Not yet but with above clarifications we should converge on one soon. Basically I agree with your general idea but with some corrections/qualifications. - BorisG (talk) 13:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Remember (talk) 13:54, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Forty dead issue[edit]

As for the number of casualties. 40 dead from the attack is mentioned here [4] and it is discussed explicitly in Young Stalin by Sebag-Montefiore on 14. I think that this is good enough to support the assertion that forty people were killed but because the original official reports were much lower I can understand that this would be in dispute. Problem is, I don't know how to resolve this dispute and I'm not sure how to discuss it in the DYK. Thoughts? Remember (talk) 18:20, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Another comment[edit]

Bachua's motivation in inviting David into the tavern puzzles me. Was it to keep him relatively safe from harm? It could use a brief explanation.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:04, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

I think so, but the source material (Young Stalin) is vague on it so it is hard to elaborate without speculation. If we had the original memoirs of Sagirashvili, it might say there. But even then, I have a feeling that Sagirashvili does not discuss why Bachua did what he did and the only person that would know is Bachua. So I am not sure how to resolve your issue. Remember (talk) 21:35, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

BorisG's review finished[edit]

I have finished my review of the latest version. I have other concerns that I will post here, but we can do all of that in a regular fashion. Please review my changes (not only in boldface sections) and remove the bold fonts. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 02:52, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

To do list for BorisG[edit]

  • Discussion on amount (dispute between sources)
  • Burning the 500 R notes (2008?)
  • Role of Stalin (make sure we do not propagate the myth that Stalin was a prominent Bolshevik leader at the time).
  • Lenin's flight from Russia and Krasin's arrest
  • Add reference to the Minutes of 5th Congress (?)

Money Question[edit]

I have some issues with trying to figure out the exact dollar amount. Check out my analysis below and let me know what you think.

The first question I tried to figure out is how much was 250,000 rubles worth in dollars in 1907?

According to the Russian ruble page - "On 17 December 1885, a new standard was adopted which did not change the silver ruble but reduced the gold content to 1.161 grams, pegging the gold ruble to the French franc at a rate of 1 ruble = 4 francs. This rate was revised in 1897 to 1 ruble = 2⅔ francs". Theoretically, we could use this to try to figure out how much was stolen in terms of US dollars at the time of the theft, but I couldn't substantiation for this assertion and I don't know how to convert 1907 francs to dollars.
I did find some sources stating the amount stolen equivalent in U.S. Dollars in 1907. According to these sources, the 250,000 rubles were worth $125,000 in 1907 dollars - [5]. Nevertheless The New York times gives the amount stolen as worth $175,000 when it reported on the theft (See New York Times article.

I did calculations to try to determine what both $125,000 and $175,000 from 1907 is worth in 2009 dollars. And I got the following answers from Measuring Worth

In 2009, the relative worth of $175,000.00 from 1907 is:
$4,120,000.00 using the Consumer Price Index
$3,130,000.00 using the GDP deflator
$8,830,000.00 using the value of consumer bundle
$17,400,000.00 using the unskilled wage
$26,500,000.00 using the Production Worker Compensation
$20,900,000.00 using the nominal GDP per capita
$73,700,000.00 using the relative share of GDP
In 2009, the relative worth of $125,000.00 from 1907 is:
$2,940,000.00 using the Consumer Price Index
$2,240,000.00 using the GDP deflator
$6,310,000.00 using the value of consumer bundle
$12,500,000.00 using the unskilled wage
$18,900,000.00 using the Production Worker Compensation
$14,900,000.00 using the nominal GDP per capita
$52,600,000.00 using the relative share of GDP

Meanwhile, I have support from two separate sources that the amount stolen was equal to roughly $3.4 Million. See [6] and Young Stalin by Sebag-Montefiore on p. 14.

Maybe the best thing to do is say "worth approximately $3 Million" and then provide a note explaining the issue. What are your thoughts? Do you have any other ideas for attacking the problem?Remember (talk) 16:21, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

WAW you did a lot of work. I won't trust the sources unless I knew what their approach was (most likely, the figure has single origin). However, since the lowest amounts you've found are on the same order of magnitude, I would stick to the source figure. We can say 'over 3 million dollars'. I thought it would be a lot more. My extremely rough guide is that average inflation is about 100% per 10 years, that is, the nominal value doubles every 10 years. This would give factor of 2^10=1024 in 100 years, or $125 Million! But alas I am very wrong. Interesting! Let's leave it as is. - BorisG (talk) 17:06, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Random note - You didn't take into account that inflation really only got going after people left the gold standard which didn't happen officially until the 1970s under Nixon. USA tried to separate slightly from the gold standard for the first time under FDR but even that was moderate. I only know this because I read and then wrote an article describing Lords of Finance, which is fascinating by the way. Remember (talk) 18:04, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Measuring worth, while useful, has been the source of a lot of debate among otherwise reasonable editors. I would use a written source in preference to Measuringworth, but if forced to it, I will use it. However, I'm not sure it works well for Russia because you are doing a currency conversion--Wehwalt (talk) 17:17, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree. I think I will just stick to the $3.4 Million cited in Young Stalin for the text of the article and say "over 3 Million" for the DYK just to be on the safe side. Remember (talk) 18:05, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. - BorisG (talk) 18:28, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Good job[edit]

The thing was impressive to start with. What a cool topic. People will love this.TCO (talk) 23:17, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for the complement and for your assistance. I also think that this article has turned out great and I hope others will like it as much as I do. Remember (talk) 21:19, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Burning the money[edit]

Quick question: You inserted the following into the draft article "Soonafter, Lenin's associates burned all the 500 Ruble notes remaining in their possession." and you cited "'Krupskaya - Years of Reaction - Geneva - 1908" but I could not find any mention of the individuals burning the notes in Krupskaya in this section. Is that what you were citing he book for or was it for another proposition? Can you point to where she says that they were planning to burn the notes? Remember (talk) 17:37, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

There is a short sentence about this in tne Paris 1909-1910 section. She says The remaining 500-ruble notes were burnt. Nicolaevsky attaches a police report about this event, including who was present, etc. (moved from my talk page) Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 11:08, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Ok, that would explain it. I was looking in the Geneva section. Thanks for the clarification. I will revise the citation. Remember (talk) 21:14, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Brackman as a source[edit]

I think Brackman's book is not a serious source. I think it is ok to use it but we need to mention alternative claims. Brackman presents highly controlversial and disputed claims as facts. He also describes details that cannot possibly be known (like emotions of various people etc). He does not present any critical analysis of sources and evidence. This is more of a fictionalised biography than a serious historial study. Obviously, for WP, it is a reliable source, and thus can be used but need to be used with caution, and alternative views presented. Especially when talking about Stalin's involvement with Okrana (the crux of his book). I would like to present these when I have time. But this can be done in the mainspace. Good work! Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 11:18, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I was worried that Brackman might be asserting too much certainity. That is why I tried to make sure any assertions that he makes that I couldn't substantiate somewhere else I tried to present it as his view. I would be happy to include sources critical to Brackman if you can find any. I agree that this does not need to hold up the move to mainspace. Remember (talk) 21:13, 16 December 2010 (UTC)


I have corrected some sentences that I found awkward, but you decided to change some back, and I do not want to be persistent. Instead I will be reporting some problems here:

  • A few weeks after the 5th Congress, the robbery that the Bolsheviks had organized occurred in the centre of Tiflis.[6]
I's say, this is VERY awkward. Grammatically correct but awkward. I'd say the following would be better:
  • A few weeks after the 5th Congress, the robbery in Tiflis occurred.[6]

I acttually don't like the word occurred because this sort of implies something accidental rather than planned. But maybe that's too subtle a point. Or perhaps:

  • A few weeks after the 5th Congress, all major papers reported the news of the robbery in Tiflis.

We really don't need to mention Bolsheviks here, because the context is clear. In fact, that would be more adequate, because at the time very few people knew Bolsheviks were involved. I actually think this sentence is not needed at all, but the current version is particularly awkward. - BorisG (talk) 16:49, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

You're right. It was awkward. I've revised the section. Remember (talk) 21:10, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

I've nominated it as a good article. Excellent work.♦ Dr. Blofeld 21:27, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Bolshevik Center[edit]

The article says: "Despite the 5th Congress's prohibition on separate committees and expropriations, Bolsheviks had already formed their own governing body, the Bolshevik Center...". I think this is confusing. Nicolaevsky says that although in some form the Centre existed before the 5th congress, it did not have this formal name and was not regarded as an official (if secret) governing body. He further says that nothing is known about it, not even who were members and how many. The Bolshevik Center in the more official sense was formed at a sitting of the Bolshevik fraction during the 5th congress. This is clear from a number of sources. - BorisG (talk) 03:35, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

ok. I was confused. I thought the Bolshevik center existed before the congress. If your sources say otherwise, then I agree with the change.Remember (talk) 04:00, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Using the word elected we avoid the need to specify whether it was formed for the first time there or existed in some form before that - a point of no importance to this article. But it may be important for the Bolshevik Center article. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 04:51, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Good idea. Cheers. Remember (talk) 18:00, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

More comments[edit]

The following questions are not immediately clear after reading this:

  • How many people took part in the robbery? Do you have a list of participants?
The total amount of people involved is unknown as best as I can tell. I have not seen anyone actually state the amount of people involved but it seems like a large gang of individuals were involved in the actual robbery as well as many other individuals who helped organize and move the money. I thought that this was acurately conveyed in the article, but if you have any suggestions for how to improve the article, please state them here. Remember (talk) 18:10, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Who was the mastermind behind the operation (Stalin according to Boris Bazhanov and other sources as far as I remember, Lenin was not really involved in planning?)
  • Both. Such a big operation was ordered from the top, and overall planning was by Krasin, who was both Lenin's "finance minister" and chief of military operations. Stalin's role is less clear, but he was probably a key local planner. I think the article is very clear on all these aspects, to the extent possible. Bazhanov only mentions this story in passing. He may not know all the details. There are many documents to implicate Lenin personally. Please read the article. - BorisG (talk) 10:25, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
As I understand it, it is not entirely clear who organized every aspect. Lenin and Krasin were involved in the orginal planning, Stalin and Kamo were involved in making the arrangements in Tiflis, and Kamo was very involved in the execution. To state that one person was the mastermind is pretty difficult. Remember (talk) 18:10, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Conspirators were not able to cash any banknotes, did not they? This should probably appear as an introductary pharse in the corresponding chapter.Biophys (talk) 06:51, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
  • According to many sources, only 100,000 were in 500-ruble notes; the rest were in smaller denominations and could be used immediately. The only known cases of successful exchange of 500-ruble notes were by Krasin after he had split from Lenin. - BorisG (talk) 10:25, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
P.S. Krasin was involved in many other interesting illegal operations to get/extort money... Biophys (talk) 07:13, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes. We know this. - BorisG (talk) 10:25, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Agree with BorisG on the above. Remember (talk) 18:12, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I remember a couple of interesting books by Arkady Vaksberg and Felshtinsky... It still would be great to have a list of participants, including organizers. It's a shame I can not help because of my topic ban.Biophys (talk) 17:36, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree a list of participants would be useful. I think Brackman has it, but he is not reliable (in my view). I have Felshtinsky's book. It does not give any details on the robbery. His data is mostly from Nikolaevsky, who is not focused on the robbery itself, but on the financial operations of the Bolshevik Centre. I don't have Vaksberg. I will have a look. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 17:56, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Just to clarify, I meant book "Death of the Storm Petrel" (Russian version) by Vaksberg that is not about the subject of this article, but describes a little bit Maria Andreyeva, Savva Timofeyevich Morozov and certain related events. The book by Felshinskiy is that one.Biophys (talk) 20:28, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
The above link is dead. This site is more reliable. - BorisG (talk) 04:57, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
It's very common: I am giving a link to a Russian site, somewhere in wikipedia, and it is dead in a few hours (that was site of Maksim Moshkow). Big Brother is watching. Biophys (talk) 07:27, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
hmm I hope you are joking. Anyway, can you just tell us the title of the book you mean, please? Thanks. - BorisG (talk) 08:02, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Here. My link above (Moshkov library) is working again proving me to be wrong.Biophys (talk) 16:13, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes that's the one I mentioned above. I am afraid it provides little extra information that is not available from the sources already in the article. - BorisG (talk) 18:14, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure anyone has an explicit list, but I know the names of some other individuals who were involved but I cut them from an earlier draft of the article since they didn't seem to actually matter to the overall story. Remember (talk) 18:12, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
This is very simple question that arises after reading that 50 people were killed. How many people took part in the attack? 5? 10? 50? This is not clear. I also tried to fix an article on a related subject, expropriation, but could not: [7]. It would be good if one of you could look at this.Biophys (talk) 22:11, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
It may be a simple question, but there is no simple answer. There is no source that I know of that states the total number of people involved, gives an estimate of the total number involved, or lists the people involved. 02:44, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I have just read the account given by Trotsky. Like Nicolaevsky, Trotsky comes to the conclusion that Stalin's involvement was at best peripheral. Trotsky also cites the figure of 241,000 Rubles taken, three people killed and scores injured (cititng early Soviet edition of Lenin's writings). As for Vaksberg, if his book is not about this robbery, then it is not of interest for this article. Other articles may be written about other events. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 03:09, 19 December 2010 (UTC)


I encourage everyone to read Trotsky's entire account here. He gives the most detailed background, a very detailed analysis of Stalin's role, and also consequencies. BorisG (talk) 09:33, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Agree. "there were 1,231 assassinations in 1907...". This should be included in background. That was not just a robbery, but a part of revolutionary struggle, and more specifically, an "expropriation". Biophys (talk) 17:15, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
On a second thought, any writings by Trotsky or Stalin qualify as "primary sources". One should use good secondary sources, such as book "Stalin" by Edvard Radzinsky. Page 61 (English edition, New York, 1996), about the robbery: "This magnificent theatrical event was, from start to finish, Koba's composition. ... This was the first show Koba put on for all Europe to see." Biophys (talk) 18:37, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
After reading the "account" by Trotsky, it becomes clear that he simply tells nothing about the role of Stalin in the robbery, beyond noticing that Lenin, Krupskaya and Stalin himself did not talk much about it. However, according to Radzinsky, the practical organizer was Kamo, but he did everything exactly as he was told by Stalin (there are some interesting details about their personal relations in the book).Biophys (talk) 19:40, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I have read the account by Radzinsky but it did not give more info than other sources (Sebag, Brackman, Nicolaevsky, Kun etc). He claims Stalin's central role just like Kun. Nothing new. As for Trotsky, I won't consider it a primary source, as he is essentially analysing primary sources, not giving his personal account. He is here acting as a historian and biographer rather than a direct observer of, or participant in, the events. We have to be careful about his biases though. - BorisG (talk) 01:14, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
This article is in excellent condition compare to a lot of other pages in this area. Good work! It's extremely frustrating to discuss improvement of pages but be unable to contribute because of my topic ban, so I have to stop. Biophys (talk) 01:56, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Why do you think this article falls within the topic ban? Is it related to any conflicts in Eastern Europe? - BorisG (talk) 08:09, 20 December 2010 (UTC)


Would anyone object if I were to reformat the references slightly? This is just an opinion, but it seems like it might be better if the "General" section was under the heading "bibliography". Also, what happened with the DYK nomination for this? I didn't see it in the queue, so I guess it wasn't accepted, which seems a shame to me.-RHM22 (talk) 21:21, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Oops, nevermind. It's in the queue now.-RHM22 (talk) 21:24, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I am okay with reformatting references as long as it is in accordance with wikipedia style. Remember (talk) 21:49, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Of course. Most FAs and GAs use that system, from what I've seen. The MOS recommends it. I don't think what you've done is against the MOS, but it seems like the other way is a little easier to read.-RHM22 (talk) 01:00, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Fact tag in Lede[edit]

Citations are just, if not more, appropriate in Lede than the body of an article, especially in the presence of contentious character assassination. The specifics of these distancing acts, and that they apply to Lenin as well as Stalin will settle the matter. Substantiation that Lenin was involved in the execution as well as concurring in the planning is also called for. Lycurgus (talk) 18:01, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Last point moot ATM, current text says and/or wrt planning/execution. (talk) 18:03, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
No. The material is well sourced to a number of reliable sources and the lead provides the summary of the article. There is absolutely no need to cite these sources twice. However if you wish to do so, you are free to do it. Just please read the article fist (Aftermath section). - BorisG (talk) 18:07, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Did do and this is all I could find: "Lenin's desire to distance himself from the legacy of the robbery may have been one of the sources of the rift between him and Bogdanov and Krasin.". Didn't look at the source because this was all there was and it's already a hypothetical/subjunctive/weasel worded. (talk) 18:18, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
If you need substantiation that Lenin was involved in the planning, then check out the first paragraph under Planning where it says that Lenin was in the meeting in April 1907 where they decided that Stalin would conduct a robbery in Tiflis. What exactly do you think is not substantiated? Remember (talk) 18:21, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
@, I encourage you to suggest an alternative wording, based on this or other sources, rather than just delete, tag or criticise. I think the wording is clear. - BorisG (talk) 18:25, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with BorisG. The best course of action is to state what your problem is clearly, and suggest an alternative. I am still not sure what exactly you are objecting to. Remember (talk) 18:27, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
(adjusted indent). Answer: a love of truth and progress and a detestation of the opposite. (talk) 19:12, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:1907 Tiflis bank robbery/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Arctic Night 13:01, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Hello, I am going to review this article for GA status. I will make some general comments here and provide an adjudication at the end. Arctic Night 13:01, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Lead - All comments have been addressed

  • The image should have some alt text. See the link for information about how to do this (although I suspect that the nominator already does know!).
Done. Remember (talk) 23:07, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Note: alt text is neither a GA requirement nor an FA requirement, please read WP:GACR and review against the criteria only. Jezhotwells (talk) 00:41, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
This article is brilliant. Alt text just makes it even more so. This was a more general suggestion, not a requirement for passing GA. Arctic Night 01:02, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The word 'exceptionally' in the lead smacks of WP:PEACOCK. I would suggest changing it to something else.
Done. Remember (talk) 17:09, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The brief overview of what happened during the robbery in the lead is out of order. The overview goes something like this: "The robbers attacked the stagecoach. A lot of people died. The robbers attacked the stagecoach using bombs and guns." I think you can see the problem there!
Done. Remember (talk) 17:09, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Background - All comments have been addressed

  • This section is well-written, and I couldn't spot any grammar or flow issues. However, I would say that this section is a little long. Most of the information in that section belongs in other articles, and I would suggest that editors go through the section and decide which pieces of information are vitally necessary to the article.
I shortened this section to what I think is vital. Let me know if you have any other thoughts. Remember (talk) 14:33, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Preparation- All comments have been addressed

  • Stalin said that Kamo was "a master of disguise" - a reference should be placed directly after the quote.
I am confused why this is not over-referencing and other situations are over-referencing, but I am happy to put a reference after this quotation. Remember (talk) 23:15, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "Because he worked in the Tiflis banking mail office..." - sentences should not begin with the word 'because'.
I have revised the sentence, but I like the original wording better. I am not sure why you believe that sentences should not begin with the word because. It is an acceptable way to begin a sentence. See this. Are you saying that this is against wikipedia style or that you think it is sloppy writing? Remember (talk) 23:15, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "Conspirators took over a tavern..." - a definite article needs to go before the word 'conspirators' I think.
Done. Remember (talk) 23:15, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "Once that carriage..." - The carriage is not mentioned anywhere in the paragraph. What carriage?
Revised. Remember (talk) 23:15, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "Ekaterina Svanidze, Stalin's wife, was standing on a balcony at their home near the square with her family and young child.[26] When they heard the explosions, they rushed, terrified into the house.[26]" - a reference doesn't need to come after every sentence. After the second sentence is sufficient - in fact, this point applies to a number of statements throughout the article. When you reference, you might only require one reference for an entire paragraph, but in this article, the same reference appears sentence after sentence on many occasions.
I am not so sure of this rule. Is there a wikipedia style guide section on this issue because I have been taught in some cases to provide citations for every assertion and do not really see a problem with "over-citation." But I am happy to revise if this is what the style is. Before I do revise this, I would like to understand the rule so that I don't delete and references that need to be there. Remember (talk) 23:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • In the final paragraph of the 'attack' section, editors would do well to use some conjunctions for flow. It is disruptive flow-wise to keep having short and choppy sentences.
I have revised this section. Let me know if you think it needs to be revised further. Remember (talk) 14:46, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "[t]he role played by Stalin in the activities of the Kamo group was subsequently exaggerated" - needs a reference as it is a direct quote.
Revised. Remember (talk) 14:37, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Security response and investigation- All comments have been addressed

  • "According to Roman Brackman's The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Life, several days after the robbery the Okhrana agent Mukhtarov questioned Stalin about the robbery in a secret apartment.[21] The agents had heard rumors that Stalin had been seen watching passively during the robbery.[21] Mukhtarov asked Stalin why he hadn't informed them about the robbery, but Stalin stated that he had provided adequate information to the authorities to prevent the theft.[21] This questioning escalated into a heated argument; Mukhtarov hit Stalin in the face and had to be restrained by other Okhrana officers.[21] After this incident, Muktarov was suspended from Okhrana, and Stalin was ordered to leave Tiflis and go to Baku to await a decision from officials regarding the case.[21] Stalin left Baku along with 20,000 rubles in stolen money in July 1907.[21]"
  • This is blatant over-referencing. A reference doesn't need to come every sentence if the reference is exactly the same - put the reference at the end of the statement supported by it!
Before I do revise the referencing in the article to delete some of the citations, I would like to understand the rule so that I don't delete any references that need to be there. Could you please direct me where in the style guide it discusses this issue. Remember (talk) 14:53, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Captures and trials of Kamo- All comments have been addressed

  • "Kamo escaped from the psychiatric ward of the Tiflis prison..." - what Tiflis prison? This is never mentioned before this statement.
Revised. Remember (talk)
  • "a "rupture had occurred"" - as this is a direct quote, it needs a reference immediately after it.
Revised. Remember (talk) 18:12, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Cashing the marked notes- All comments have been addressed

  • "Soonafter" -> soon after.
Revised. Remember (talk) 18:12, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Referencing- All comments have been addressed

  • Editors need to ensure that over-referencing, as evidenced above, is not practiced in this article. Get rid of all the unnecessary referencing!
Before I do revise the referencing in the article to delete some of the citations, I would like to understand the rule so that I don't delete any references that need to be there. Could you please direct me where in the style guide it discusses this issue. Remember (talk) 14:53, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Your references are spread over 'references' and 'bibliography'. Ideally, page references would be in 'references', and 'bibliography' would house the actual citations. At present, the actual citations are mixed in with the page references.
Ok. I think I have fixed all of this. Let me know if I need to do anything else.

General comments- All comments have been addressed This is a good article, although it needs a little bit of work before it can progress to Good Article status. I am putting this article on hold for seven days, after which this article will be failed. Editors have until February 3, 2011 to fix all of the issues I have raised here. If the article has not been fixed by then, the article will be failed, and editors will need to submit the article through the Good Article nomination process again once they feel that the article is ready. Arctic Night 16:01, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the review. I will make the changes as soon as I can (unfortunately my real work has gotten very hectic so we will see how fast I can do this. Remember (talk) 17:01, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I'd like to say that although my comments might seem a little much, this is a very good article that will be truly deserving of GA status when it undoubtedly gets there. I hope that makes up for some of my comments that may have made you think otherwise!! Arctic Night 23:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the praise. Your comments are fine. I am happy to make any revisions necessary to make this the best article possible. Thank you for all of your hard work and any other suggestions that you have are welcome. Remember (talk) 14:39, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I think I have gone through and revised everything mentioned above. The only thing that I have not done is remove the over-referencing. I would like to discuss what the rule is before I undertake this task because I don't want to remove a bunch of citation that should be there. Remember (talk) 13:03, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

While Wikipedia:Citation overkill deals with this issue, it is only an 'essay' and not a policy or guideline. Template:Too many references is the same. WP:CITEBUNDLE is from a guideline and highlights the issues associated with over-referencing. In fact, while I doubt over-referencing is against any policy or guideline, it makes the article less readable. I would say that if you have one source for an entire paragraph, use it at the end. If you have two sources for one paragraph, use both throughout the paragraph. Arctic Night 15:14, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Ok. I will revise the article with that standard in mind. Any other thoughts or suggestions are always welcome. Remember (talk) 15:23, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
I haven't got any at present - once the over-referencing issue is dealt with, I'm ready to immediately promote this article to GA status. Arctic Night 16:17, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Awesome. Then I will try to complete that as soon as possible. Once again work is very busy so it may take me a little while, but I am working on it. Remember (talk) 19:13, 31 January 2011 (UTC)


Ok. Revised the first two sections. Will try to do the other sections when I can. Let me know if the referencing of the first two sections now works for you. Remember (talk) 13:09, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Ok. I have reviewed all of the sections. Many of the remaining cites can't be pruned because they support two separate assertions in one sentence. Let me know if you think there are any other citation problems to fix, and I will look into it. Remember (talk) 23:00, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
GA passed. Arctic Night 22:31, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Source Problems[edit]

According to Checklinks], source #32 is coming up as a 404. The source listed as "Kamo-the Legendary Old Bolshevik of the Caucasus" is coming up as "Journal subscription required". These should be changed if possible. - NeutralhomerTalk • 19:54, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I will check on the 404 source, but it is not mine. As for the Kamo source, there is a journal subscription required. Unfortunately, this article cannot be found in a free form on the internet. Remember (talk) 21:29, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I removed the 404 link. Remember (talk) 22:34, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Small question[edit]

What does everyone think of moving this page to "Tiflis bank robbery"? I checked, and this was the only Tiflis bank robbery I could find any information on. It's no big deal, just a thought.-RHM22 (talk) 00:18, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

I am against this, because 2007 gives the reader a clue. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 07:55, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
In all such cases I prefer to remove the year [8].Biophys (talk) 23:21, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
OK maybe it's my inexperience. Whatever you, guys, decide. I'd wait for Remember's input. Cheers and Happy New Year! - BorisG (talk) 02:32, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
It seems there are reasons both for the removal of the year and leaving it as is. As stated above, the final decision is for Remember, as the principal author.-RHM22 (talk) 02:50, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I am flattered for the deference but I don't have any strong feelings on this. I will defer to whatever the manual of style recommends. Remember (talk) 03:03, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
On one hand, it is unlikely this was the only bank robbery that ever occurred in Tiflis. OTOH, there are no traces (on the internet) of any other bank robberies in Tiflis, and they won't occur again, because this russified version of the city name is no longer in use (since 1936). - BorisG (talk) 03:18, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
There probably were other bank robberies there, but none are listed on English Wikipedia, as far as I know of. Wikipedia:Article titles says that overspecified titles should be avoided. As an example, the Apollo space program is used. The page recommends that since there is only one Apollo program, "Apollo program" is preferable to "Apollo program (1965-1971)". Since there are no other Tiflis bank robberies on the English language Wikipedia, the same should apply here. If any other notable Tiflis bank robberies do turn up on Wikipedia, the date could always be added again.-RHM22 (talk) 03:25, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
Possibly, although there is of course a bid difference between the appollo program, which was unique, and bank robberries, which occur all the time. There is also a wider problem with our title, that is, to a person unfamiliar with the subject, the title may indicate that the article is about a routine and commmon crims, whereas in reality, it is mostly notable for its political siginificance. I am not questioning the title, since it is a term widely used in all sources, I am just pointing out that this creates a problem for readers. Maybe 2007 would give a clue, but then only very indirectly anyway. I don't have a strong opinion either way. Sorry for the rant. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 04:16, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Removing inflation figures[edit]

Inflation figures are sourced to Simon Sebag Montefiore (2008). using the Weidenfeld & Nicholson London edition at page 10, it reads, "The State Bank itself was unsure if it had lost 250,000 roubles or 341,000, or somewhere between the two figures – but it was certainly an impressive sum worth about £1.7 million (US$3.4 million) in today’s money though its effective buying power was much higher."

I posit that as Montefiore is neither an economist, nor an economic historian, he is not reliable for this claim of time inflated values. Particularly given the internal text features, that he is unable to distinguish worth from effective buying power. His lack of expertise for this claim means we ought to remove it. Opinions? Fifelfoo (talk) 09:37, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

I think this is a really minor issue. This thing can be easily calculated in a number of ways. One does not need to be an economist to do it. Sebag Montefiore made some estimates, and they don't sound too off the mark (as user:Remember checked using some available calculator). I think we ecan stick to this published estimate, as this does not affect the rest of the article. - BorisG (talk) 10:18, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, and he probably used CPI inflation, which vastly underestimates the economic impact. Inflating capital figures (such as 250,000 roubles) using CPI is bad. Lets look up thread at the calculations for a moment? 1) They converted value from Imperial Russia into value in the Continental US 2) They inflated value in terms of change in the US consumer economy 3) The authors have rather obviously used a GDP_deflator measure due to the remarkable synchronicity of figures, and have obviously used this method.

Except roubles didn't inflate in terms of the US economy's real and nominal GDP. And capital figures don't inflate in terms of prices of goods at market, they inflate in terms of (depending on the labour composition), skilled worker wages (production worker above), nominal GDP per capita, or share of economic GDP.

This isn't a small issue, because the value of 250,000 roubles, as 250,000 roubles was never an expression of repeated consumer purchase of a breadbasket model, nor was it the price of goods at market flattened against time series as with a GDP deflator, but was the theft of government capital. And this capital certainly wasn't tied to US time series productivity. Fifelfoo (talk) 10:31, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Uff, I don't understand any of that. Nor do I care. I think you are taking it too far. We are talking a nominal value. You do not need economics degree to understand that one-to-one conversion of Imperial Roubles into present day dollars is impossible. No one assumes this, but people are routinely using these calculations to represent nominal values. Please also see the section above. - BorisG (talk) 10:52, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
People are routinely acting in a knowingly incorrect way? WP:OTHERSTUFF? Fifelfoo (talk) 11:03, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with BorisG that we should keep the estimate because it is useful to the reader, is substantiated by the sources, and is just an estimate (so it does not imply that it is precise). I would, however, be open to stating in the lead that the amount was only approximately 3.4 million so that the text would read "taking about 341,000 rubles (approximately worth US $3.4 million in 2008)." Remember (talk) 12:59, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Or maybe estimated as US $3.4 million in 2008. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 00:15, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I think it is still deeply problematic in this case; but, BorisG's suggestion of characterising the equivalence as an estimation satisfies my editorial concerns adequately. Fifelfoo (talk) 21:42, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Done. Remember (talk) 14:25, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Comments copied from GA review page[edit]

This page says that Kamo was released during the October Revolution but the page about Kamo says he was released during the February Revolution.Kevinlrosa (talk) 17:00, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

That's my mistake. I didn't even realize there was a February Revolution in 1917 so when I saw text refer to the revolution in 1917 I assumed it was the October Revolution. Shub makes clear that Kamo was released after the February Revolution and I have changed the text. Remember (talk) 18:17, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Gaw! Why did you think it (the later one) was called the "October Revolution"? (talk) 19:14, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
This is actually an interesting fact. Kamo was released after February Revolution (all sources say this) despte the fact that he had been convicted of multiple murders. One question arises (not related to this article): did they release every and all criminals in February, or only so called political ones? Does anyone know? - BorisG (talk) 00:15, 21 December 2010 (UTC)


Remember, why did you remove sourced information? - BorisG (talk) 15:16, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

I couldn't substantiate it because I couldn't find the source. Additionally, I thought it was added by an editor that I didn't know very well (but I could be wrong about that). Lastly, I wasn't sure we needed the sentence. I am happy to have it back in the article if you can substantiate that it is true, but currently the link is broken and I couldn't find the source on the web. Remember (talk) 15:23, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
It is my sentence and I spent quite some time digging out an online version of that source. Unfortunately it is down at the moment, and the main address,, points out to a different site at the moment. Quite possibly it is taken over by some vandals. I expect it to be restored soon. I will have a look at possible mirrors. Yuri Felshtinsky is a notable hisotrian with a dozen books to his name. - BorisG (talk) 15:33, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
I have restored it and added a more stable link. I think this sentence is very important because it makes clear that Brackman's allegations are far from established facts. Of course I could have added half a dozen English and Russian sources, but the sentence would be wp:synth. The one we have is not, because it basically says this. The entire book is a collection of documents with various points of views on this issue. - BorisG (talk) 15:47, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Thanks for looking into this and adding it back. For some reason, I thought it was another drive-by editor that had added this link and so I didn't realize the value of it. But it sounds like a great source and I am glad its in the article. Remember (talk) 15:57, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
All fine. Thanks for your work. Cheers. - BorisG (talk) 16:01, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Late peer review[edit]

I've left some comments at the peer review here. Dropping a note off here as I was a bit late and it might be missed otherwise. Carcharoth (talk) 01:06, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you so much for the peer review. I will review all your comments as soon as I can. Remember (talk) 18:07, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Coach terminology?[edit]

This is a fairly minor quibble, but the article uses the term "stagecoach" throughout. My understanding is that a "stagecoach" usually means a large coach which runs a particular long-distance route on a regular schedule; the vehicle here was indeed a large closed coach, but it was doing a short and presumably special journey from the post office to the bank. As a result, calling it a stagecoach is a bit confusing for the reader.

The better term might be the generic "coach", but this isn't my speciality and I'm open to correction! Do the sources use any particular term? Shimgray | talk | 18:45, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Sources use the term stagecoach and carriage. Remember (talk) 18:59, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

"Per cent" vs. "Percent"[edit]

I see "per cent" in the Background section of the article. Should this be "percent" or is this spelling/usage also correct? --Another Believer (Talk) 16:15, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

It's a British English versus American English thing. I don't care either way, but I think things were changed to make it consistantly British English. Remember (talk) 19:02, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

minor questions[edit]

The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

thank you all for a very interesting and well written wikipedia article. I have read Montefiore's book and was amazed by this robbery. Maybe this is the wrong forum for these questions, but you all seem to know so much about the time that it makes sense to me. - why was the money going from the post office to the bank? Was a post office then also kind of a bank? - how did Stalin travel around so much in 1907 (tiflis-berlin-tiflis-london)? - why did you remove the student girls from the robbery in the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:21, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

My quick guesses: (1) I believe the money was going from a state run post office to a state run bank so it probably was just the best way to coordinate movement of money across state run institutions, but this is just a guess: (2) I think that Stalin traveled a lot through train travel. While his schedule seems hectic, I believe he was an unwanted revolutionary that wasn't really welcome anywhere so that made him a man on the run; (3) the student girls weren't removed for any particular purpose, it jus read better. If you can add it back while not diminishing the article, go ahead. Remember (talk) 16:08, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for those answers! Well, I liked the part about the girls. Oh, I have another question if you don't mind: the amount of the robbery and the body count - didn't those change? And when did the official internal Okhrana number go public? Sorry, but it is like a historical mystery! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:05, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't know what you are referring to about a possible change. I tried to find the most accurate accounts of the money stolen and the people who died. If you have better sources for these numbers, please let me know. As for when the internal Okhrana number go public, I think the first time it was known was sometime after the Soviet archives opened up after the fall of the Soviet Union. Remember (talk) 12:06, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Security forces?[edit]

This is a well written and carefully researched article. However the various references to "security forces" do strike an anachronistic note - this a modern concept and not one that would have been understood during the early 1900s, in Russia or elsewhere. Were they police, cossacks, soldiers, private detectives, bank employees or what? Could this be clarified? Otherwise good work!Buistr (talk) 00:37, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

There were a variety of security forces in the square. According to the book Young Stalin (page 5 - [9]) there were Russian officers, Gendarmes, and Cossacks. Later he mentions a that there were also policemen and soldiers in the square (see pg 8). So it gets pretty complicated. That's why the general term "security forces" was used so that I didn't have to try to untangle all of the various positions of all of the various actors at the robbery. But if you have a better synonym for "security forces", let me know. Remember (talk) 12:39, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Would "military and police" do? Cossacks and Gendarmerie were both branches of the Imperial Army but Tiflis would have had civil police as well.Buistr (talk) 20:35, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Revised. Let me know if you have any further suggestions. Cheers. Remember (talk) 12:27, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


The article says "number of top-level Bolsheviks" and cite Stalin, but I am pretty sure that Stalin was nothing like a top-level Bolshevik by that time.-Ilhador- (talk) 19:32, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

At the time of the robbery, sources say that Stalin and Lenin worked together regarding the expropriation, that Stalin was known as one of the primary financiers of the Bolsheviks, and that a couple years earlier he was elected to represent the Caucasus at a Bolshevik conference. I think that qualifies as a "top-level" bolshevik, but I can see how this could devolve into a debate on semantics. Do you have better suggested language? Remember (talk) 19:52, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Everything I ever read about Stalin says that he was a very obscure bandit/revolutionary before the russian revolutionary. Reiftyr (talk) 05:10, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Just to clarify, the article states that the robbery was organized by a "number of top-level Bolsheviks" that included "Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Maxim Litvinov, Leonid Krasin, and Alexander Bogdanov." So there is no doubt that top-level Bolsheviks were involved. Whether Stalin was high enough to be considered a "top-level bolshevik" at the time of the preparation of the robbery is debatable, but I think it is worth including him since he is a very well-known figure and (I believe) was a prominent Bolshevik in the Caucuses at the time. Remember, he already had a reputation as the "Centre's principal financier." Remember (talk) 12:00, 21 March 2014 (UTC)