On the run from Lenin’s Secret Police.
‘My position was uncomfortable. Here was I, in an absolutely exposed place, with Red Guards and commissars on every side. I had very little money left and no means of transport at all.’ Paul Nazaroff was the ringleader of a desperate plot to overthrow the Bolsheviks in Central Asia in 1918. He was betrayed to the Secret Police, who declared him ‘the most dangerous counter-revolutionary at large in the Tashkent region’. Thus began his extraordinary catalogue of adventures, ‘a long and distant odyssey which would take me right across Central Asia . . . over the Himalayas to the plains of Hindustan’. As he fled from Lenin’s men, he was aided by the indigenous peoples of the region, the Kirghiz and the Sarts, whose language and culture had been steeped in since boyhood. For months he was forced to live the life of a hunted animal. Peter Hopkirk has contributed a fascinating introduction to this tale of hair-breadth ‘scapes and survival against all odds, as well as an epilogue which reveals Nazaroff’s later fortunes.
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