Documentary - The Red And The White, The [World Service]

Episodes

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01Intervention20171017The story of a forgotten war fought by Western troops in Arctic Russia at the end of WW1.

In 1918, towards the end of World War One, tens of thousands of foreign troops, Americans and British among them, were ordered to Russia in what became known as the Allied Intervention. Some played a logistical role but 14,000 got involved in fighting the Bolsheviks in the Far North. Lucy Ash travels to the Arctic port of Archangel to look for evidence of a conflict which took place a century ago and transformed Russia's relations with the West for decades to come.

Accompanied by historian Lyudmila Novikova and producer Natalia Golysheva, who grew up in the region, Lucy discovers the controversy still raging around this ill-fated war.

In episode one, Lucy joins a group of local battlefield archaeologists as they comb the forest with metal detectors and asks local people how they feel about the Intervention today. Back in the UK she meets the 93-year-old son of the Allied Commander, General Edmund Ironside, who kept detailed diaries of his Arctic mission and vented the frustrations he felt at the time.

Producer: Natalia Golysheva

(Photo: British troops march through the streets of Archangel, Russia in the Spring of 1919. Credit: From the diaries of Field Marshal Edmund Ironside)

In 1918, towards the end of World War One, tens of thousands of foreign troops, Americans and British among them, were ordered to Russia in what became known as the Allied Intervention. Lucy Ash travels to the Arctic port of Archangel to look for evidence of a conflict which took place a century ago and transformed Russia’s relations with the West for decades to come. Accompanied by historian Lyudmila Novikova and producer Natalia Golysheva, who grew up in this region, Lucy uncovers the controversy still raging around this ill-fated war. In this episode, Lucy joins a group of local battlefield archaeologists as they comb the forest with a metal detector, explores the impact of Allied Intervention on the local population and meets the 93-year-old son of the Allied Commander, General Edmund Ironside, who kept detailed diaries of his Arctic mission and the frustrations behind it.

02Britain’s Arctic Prison20171024How foreign troops incarcerated Russians on 'Death Island' in the White Sea.

In this episode Lucy Ash visits the island of Mudyug in the White Sea. Back in the Soviet era, boatloads of day-trippers came here to visit a museum. It was based around the remains of a prison camp - and one that is very different from the decaying Gulag camps scattered across north Russia and Siberia. For one thing, it was set up as far back as 1918. Even more remarkably, many jailors were not Russian. They were foreign troops. Bizarrely one French officer at the camp later created the world's most famous scent, Chanel No 5, inspired by his experiences in the Russian Arctic.

However, conditions were horrific - locals called the place Death Island. Overall about 1,000 people, suspected of siding with the Bolsheviks, were imprisoned here. Up to 300 inmates died, some of frostbite or diseases such as typhus. Others were shot trying to escape, like the great-great-uncle of Marina Titova.

Producer: Natalia Golysheva

(Photo: Marina Titova places flowers on a plaque commemorating her relative who was shot trying to escape from the Mudyug camp. Credit: Alexey Sukhanovsky)