There was a big blizzard yesterday. Petrograd is all covered in snow like a village. The snow is not being cleaned, all street cleaners now occupy important positions in the ministries, they are now chiefs, inspectors, etc. See more
I would like to emphasize that I am not kidding, it’s just a fact. Kollontai chose to fill the post of the inspector of the Ekaterininsky Institute the former street cleaner of the same Institute. The city is all white, numb, buried under the snow. It’s -15 degrees frost today.
Trams are barely moving. There’s very little electricity. Some papers weren’t able to publish issues today. They are giving us ⅜ of bread for two days. We are becoming more and more isolated. Bolsheviks are shouting about a “holy” separate war with the Germans. I doubt that any war can be led now at all, thanks to their actions. I think it’s just their last “move” before striking an inevitable, unavoidable vulgar peace.
Every hour something new happens, there’s no use writing everything down, everything constantly changes. Oh, Russia! My Russia! Are you over?
People's Commissariat has issued a decree on forming a board tasked with creating a Department to protect motherhood and infancy. The Soviet authorities are the first in the world to acknowledge maternity as a social function legally. Given that a woman in a labor republic will always have labor duty, the Soviet government has decided to solve the problem of motherhood welfare from this point of view.
The Secretary of the Soviet, Alyosha Tsvetkov, set off on a reconnaissance mission. He came back with a report, stating that an amazingly well-equipped building had been found. It had everything: small, separate rooms, a canteen, a kitchen, all facilities, and - crucial in these hungry times - food supplies. See more
Where was this godsend? In the Alexander Nevsky Lavra - a “sacred” Orthodox monastery. We put our heads together and made inquiries. It turns out the building is big enough to house a thousand people. And at the moment, there are only about 60 monks living there, with a few dozen novices. Above all, it would be perfect for soldiers. There are beds, enough firewood for two years, flour, vegetable oil, and barrels of herring...in short - everything you could ask for!
At the Soviet, we discussed the reconnaissance report, and resolved to occupy the monastery, but to do so “peacefully” - to ask the monks to make space, to allocate a small part of the building to them and to turn the rest into a hostel for crippled soldiers.
Women workers still barely participate actively in the Soviets. Nonetheless, since the very first days of Soviet rule, they have been able to bring to the Soviets a lively, productive discussion about easing the burden of motherhood for women.
Central Committee in session in the Smolny. Resolutions adopted: all members of the Central Committee have committed themselves to remain in the Smolny at all times. Official decisions taken to break with the appeasing Central Executive Committee; to intensify patrols around the Smolny; to set up machine-gun posts; to dispatch Dzerzhinsky to the Post and Telegraph buildings in order to secure these crucial communication centres for the revolution; to establish a reserve headquarters in the Peter and Paul Fortress in case the Smolny is taken out of the picture.
The Provisional Government is bitter and disorganized. It issues one decree after another to the garrison. "Strict orders": arrest the MRC and the Bolshevik leaders, hold all mutineers responsible, et cetera. No one follows these orders anymore.
An examination and inspection of Red Guard’s readiness for battle. The Smolny looks like a fortress: machine guns, rifles, boxes of ammunition. And our best comrade workers with rifles behind their backs… Worker women in nurse kerchiefs. The revolution headquarters are preparing an offensive.
The resolution of the Central Committee has chosen the course of “A.I.”: “armed insurrection is unavoidable. The time is ripe”. The Central Committee has ordered all organizations to prepare. See more
The decision was taken during a closed session. Only the dawn finally dispelled the tension in the air. We realized we were hungry. The samovar was brought in, cheese, sausage… The debate continued, but already with jokes and in a friendly atmosphere.
Savinkov thinks that Kerensky is honest, but says that Trotsky (Bronstein) and Kamenev (Rosenfeldt) could be bought. Lenin and Kollontai are fanatics See more
. Filonenko said that up till last night he would have said that Kerenski was honest, but his confession yesterday that he had set a trap for KornilovCommander in Chief of the Petrograd command - from 18 March 1917 on September 8th by pretending that Lvov was at the telegraph apparatus made him ready to believe anything of him.
The Russians, like ourselves, during the war were inclined to attribute the result of their own shortcomings to the machinations of the enemy. There is no evidence that German intrigue had anything to do with the Kornilov affair. It seems clear from the evidence available that Kornilov was led by his conversations with Lvov, whom he imagined to be a friend of Kerenski, and with Savinkov, whom he knew to be Kerenski’s deputy in the Ministry of War, into the belief that Kerensky would support him in carrying out the plan which he and every officer of experience knew to be the only chance of restoring discipline in the army. Kerenski’s telegram ordering his resignation came as a bolt from the blue on September 9th, and he believed that in the interests of the country and the army he had no choice but to refuse.
Officer elements who surrounded Kornilov, and who naturally hated Kerenski, failed to understand that the co-operation of the Prime Minister was essential. They exaggerated to a criminal degree the strength of the forces at their disposal.
I found neither in Trotsky’s speech, nor in the speech of Kollontai, nor in the Bolshevik declaration, nor in the resolution that they proposed now, any explanation for the reason why the Bolsheviks need to withdraw from the Pre-Parliament. See more
The Bolsheviks could leave the Pre-Parliament only if they form a new authority by using force. But this is now unthinkable, and we therefore consider the policy of the Bolsheviks meaningless.
They must remember, that the masses are disappointed with the revolution. The policy of the Bolsheviks now acts into the hands of the counter-revolutionaries. The Mensheviks-internationalists did not leave the Pre-Parliament and are not going to leave it. They consider it a duty to remain in it, to illuminate the activity of the census elements from the rostrum. The future will show whose tacts were correct.
Parcels from factories and the navy suddenly stopped arriving again. What happened? What is the reason for this? I can’t sleep at night. I’m already used to criminals having rows at night, and now I’m awake, and thinking, thinking… I’ve started feeling unwell during my walk. They called a doctor. She was very strict and unemotional. She prescribed digitalis. Told me to stay in bed.
Late August. In the mornings, the sun makes its way into the cell in long, slanting rays. You watch the rays avidly, lovingly. While that ray is in your cell, it is as though you have a most welcome guest. Then higher, higher—it slips along the ceiling, gets caught for a moment in the bars on the window. And disappears… the cell is empty. The welcome guest has departed. At eleven, the prison superintendent arrives.
Two wardresses at the door. Both are entirely weighed down with packages.
“What a delivery you’ve got today! It’s like an entire wholesale shop. You’ve got everything! White bread, sausages, canned goods, butter, eggs, honey…” See more
And there was a note: “Greetings from the sailors of the Baltic Navy to comrade Kollontai.”
That’s a miraculous delivery if I’ve ever seen one! So the Tsentrobalt hasn’t been defeated? The sailors’ spirits haven’t been broken? So the opposition hasn’t won? Then everything else will fall into place!
I was so overjoyed (as was my American cellmate) that I felt like bursting into leaps and skips around the cell.
In the middle of the night, I woke up to a burst of indecent noise. Hysterical female screams: “Help! They’re destroying me! They’re killing me!” Footsteps, male voices. Noise. And again those splitting female screams. On this sort of night, it’s no good to be in prison. In the morning, the wardress, the one who had five cats, explained that the criminal wing is full. See more
Last night, they brought in a group of prostitutes caught in some of the city’s less reputable establishments. One of them, “a hysteric,” in the wardress’s opinion, balked—she didn’t want to go into the cell, at least not into that one. In the end, they had to call in guards from the men’s division. She fought, she bit. They tied her hands and threw her into the cell.
Today, the wardress went to see her, and she was huddled up in a corner, pointing at the corner opposite: “See? See?” The wardress didn’t see anything. The corner was just like all the other corners in the cell.
“And the man?”
“That one there, the most natural man you could think of, do you really not see?”
The wardress liked the phrase “natural man.” She chuckled for a long while.
“They all see ‘natural men.’ She must be a coke addict. A madwoman.”
I have a cellmate. An American woman. A dancer. Suspected of espionage. She's a noisy, demanding person. She "fights" with the prison guards via a translator. She brings "prison inspection" upon herself. See more
"She's very dissatisfied with the food", the supervisors report. "She also demands that they take her to big room every day, so that she can stretch her legs - she says that without practice her legs will get stiff and she won't be able to dance. And in the cell, no matter when you drop in, she's standing on one leg, or doing somersaults...
Her supervisors don't approve, although they're very taken with her silk underwear.