When Britain Invaded Russia

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20171020

The brutal war a century ago which transformed Russia's relations with the west.

Lucy Ash tells the story of a little-known brutal war that took place a century ago along the frozen rivers of the Russian Arctic, transforming Russia's relations with the West for decades to come. After the October Revolution, thousands of foreign troops under British command fought Russians on Russian soil for over 18 months. Swamps and forests around Archangel are still littered with grenades and fragments of shells. On Mudyug, an island in the White Sea, Lucy visits the remains of a concentration camp where the Allies locked up potential troublemakers. British soldiers stayed on long past the Armistice with no clear idea of their mission. Were they there to defend against German attacks or were they on a crusade which Winston Churchill hoped would "strangle at birth the Bolshevik State"? In the programme Lucy Ash meets the 93-year-old son of General Edmund Ironside, who wrote at the time that he was in charge of "a tiny army of not very first class troops" stranded in the icy vastness of Russia "in the midst of a bitter civil war".
Producer: Natalia Golysheva.