Pondero Winchester – The Russian Revolution: October 1917

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Russian Empire was the largest, continuous empire in the world – covering 1/6th of the earth’s land surface.  It had been run by autocratic Romanov Czars for 300 years: the people were grindingly poor; it was politically unstable; and dissent was widespread.

Karl Marx had already published his ideas about communism and revolution, but he did not envisage Russia as the launch pad.  But he had reckoned without Lenin and the Bolsheviks.  Aided by his lieutenants, Trotsky and Stalin, Lenin master-minded the Revolution – that not only rid Russia of the Tsarist regime – but also set up the first Communist government in the world.   In the process, Lenin took on Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, the mystic monk Rasputin, and the entire aristocratic political and military establishment.   In doing so, he ended the Romanov dynasty – and changed Russia, and the world, for ever.

Stephen Carr-Smith was commissioned into the Royal Signals and spent 33 years in the British Army.   During 1962-1982, he served 10 years in Germany at the height of the Cold War.   From 1988-1995 he was serving in NATO, most of which was spent helping develop the “New NATO” after the fall of the Wall, and the demise of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.  His last appointment was as the Deputy Director General of the NATO Communications and Information Systems Agency in Brussels (NACISA) as a Major General.

On leaving the Army in 1995, he worked for a company providing security and mine clearance services in remote and hostile countries; was the Senior Military Advisor for an operational analysis company owned by British Aerospace; and was the Chairman of a company developing opportunities to marry-up Russian technology with western finance and production.

He has also had a number of other involvements: 1996 to 2006, as the Honorary Colonel of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) – an all female, uniformed volunteer body that has supported the British Army for 100 years. He is currently a Vice President; 1997 to 2003, as a Colonel Commandant of the Royal Signals; 2003-2013, as the President of the Stragglers of Asia Cricket Club, with its origins in the Punjab in the 1920s – and, accompanied by his wife, he led tours to Sri Lanka in 2004 and to India in 2007; 2007-2013, as the Chairman of the Winchester Branch of Cancer Research UK.

Since 2007 he has been a speaker on more than 40 cruises with a number of different cruise lines – and given talks on more than 60 different historical topics.  His approach is to present historical events that are geographically relevant to the particular cruise itinerary.


Pondero talks are run in collaboration with The Really Helpful Club.


Oct 18 2022


11:00 am - 12:30 pm




Minster Gallery
Minster Gallery
The Minster Gallery 3A Great Minster Street Winchester Hampshire SO23 9HA
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