The 2016 US presidential race was not the first major election marred by allegations of a dastardly plan by Russians to influence the outcome. Nearly a century earlier, in 1924, the British public was shocked just four days before they were to cast their ballots by reports of Russian interference in the electoral campaign. Below are thirty things about that plan and other bonkers conspiracies and plots that actually saw the light of day.
30. That Other Time When a Major Election Was Marred by Russian Interference
On October 25th, 1924, The Daily Mail published a letter from Grigory Zinoviev, Chairman of the Comintern – an organization headed by the USSR to advance global communism – to Britain’s Communist Party. In it, Zinoviev directed British communists to engage in treasonous activities in order to swing an upcoming election to the Labour Party. Headed by Ramsay MacDonald, Labor was deemed friendlier – or at least less hostile – towards the Soviet Union than the Tories. Zinoviev’s directives to the Communist Party of Britain included the subversion of British soldiers and sailors and preparations for a military insurrection in working-class areas.
Unsurprisingly, the conservative press had a field day with the revelations, and in the final days before the election, hammered MacDonald and Labour as tools of communism. On election day, October 29th, 1924, the Labour government was ousted from office, and the Tories romped to victory. The Conservative Party gained 154 new seats in the House of Commons, for a decisive majority of 412 MPs out of 650. It was then discovered – although too late to do MacDonald and the Labour Party any good – that the Zinoviev letter was a forgery.