In July 1916 Vladimir Lenin and his wife Nadezhda Krupskaia left on their annual holiday in the Swiss Alps. For eight weeks they stayed in the remote Kurhaus Tschudiwiese, high in the St Gallen Oberland south of Zurich, in a region now known as Heidiland. Lenin’s interest was in hiking, certainly not in Heidi, nor in plotting the revolution that was to topple Tsar Nicholas II less than six months after his return to civilization. As a result, this episode was ignored by virtually all Soviet writers and by most Western biographers. This article seeks to fill that lacuna by discussing Lenin’s little-known holiday pursuits and the limited work he pursued in his mountainous retreat. Particular attention is given to his extensive but often divisive and partially suppressed correspondence with Grigorii Zinov'ev, Inessa Armand, Roman Malinovskii, and Nikolai Bukharin. The picture that emerges is of a more human, nongeometric individual than that found in his Western and Soviet biographies. Visitors to Heidiland today will see many reflections of the fictional orphan and her idyllic stay in these mountains but none of the authentic Russian revolutionary who was to become the first leader of the new Soviet state.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Bolsheviks, Krupskaia, Lenin, Russian Revolution, Switzerland
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/00085006.2015.1028722
Journal Canadian Slavonic Papers
Citation
Elwood, R. C. (2015). Lenin in Heidiland. Canadian Slavonic Papers, 57(1-2), 97–107. doi:10.1080/00085006.2015.1028722