I was interested to see what the authorities that had to save the Russian state could do, so having spent a week in Helsinki, I returned to Petrograd. There wasn't a hint of resistance. See more
On the other hand, I noticed that the Soviet authorities are getting ever more stronger and are becoming a threat to the young Finnish state. We need to ready our defences, though we don't have that which we need most - weapons!
When I arrived in Helsinki, the weather was gloomy and rainy...
I spent a week in Petrograd and in that time saw many of my old friends. It was perfectly obvious that they were all in a terribly depressed state. Fear ruled over people, and they did not display the slightest hint of struggle against the new regime.
At luncheon in the New Club, which was founded by high-ranking members of the Hunting Society, I found myself sitting between two grand dukes. News filtered through that the Bolsheviks had searched the Hunting Society’s premises and arrested several of its members, among them my friend Arseniy Karageorgievich, a cavalry officer and brother of the King of Serbia. See more
This incident sparked heated debates regarding armed resistance. I argued that such resistance was necessary and that it would be constructive if the movement were headed by one of the grand dukes. Better to die with a sword in hand than to get a bullet in the back or to be executed. My table-neighbours were of a different opinion and considered the prospect of armed struggle against the Bolsheviks to be a futile one. I was profoundly disappointed by the fact that public opinion was the same both in the capital and in Odessa.
In six days, we reached Petrograd.
I received a telegram from Lieutenant-General Nikolai Dukhonin. From September 22, I will be transferred to the reserve because "I didn’t adapt to the current conditions." I have the same opinion about myself and would just like to add that for six months I did not meet the requirements of the time. In other words, from the very first day of what they want to call the democratization of the army, but in fact what should be called its annihilation. I won’t hide it. I’m extremely pleased that this is how I will leave the game, and I don’t care what’s the reason and on whose initiative I was transferred to the reserve. See more
I'll try to get to Finland soon, although it doesn’t seem particularly attractive to me. Judging from the newspapers, Finland is gloomy. The socialists started a dangerous game, getting support for their insatiable demands from the bayonets of the masses of Russian soldiers. If there is another socialist majority in the elections, the future doesn’t promise to be good. I can’t imagine that the amount of grain needed to prevent famine could be imported into Finland. Of course, miracles are possible because Russia is a country of limitless possibilities, but when you see how bad the situation is here in the south, in the most bread-filled regions of the country, it’s hard to imagine the likelihood of such an outcome.
One of my divisions was due to replace another; just when the time came for the units to advance to the front line, a divisional commander arrived. I asked the general whether he trusted his troops, but my misgivings seemed to offend him. I advised the commander that I’d dispatched several cannon to the site where his units were supposed to be located, just in case. Half an hour later, the general reported that the troops were refusing to go into the trenches. But as soon as the first shells exploded in the vicinity of the camp, everything fell into place, and the general’s honour was saved.
Я сидел в коридоре у телефона и безуспешно пытался связаться со своим адъютантом. На мне был халат С., из-под которого выглядывали сапоги со следами шпор. Неожиданно на лестнице послышались громкие голоса и раздалось бряцание оружия. О ступени стукнули приклады винтовок, кто-то остановился около входа в квартиру и позвонил в дверь. Хозяин открыл, а я продолжил разговор по телефону. Вошел патруль. Его возглавлял некто в гражданской одежде. Этот человек сразу же заявил, что в квартире прячется генерал. See more
Не моргнув глазом, С. ответил, что у него действительно уже много лет живет финский генерал в отставке, но сейчас его нет дома. Командир приказал обыскать квартиру, и солдаты прошли во внутренние комнаты. Вскоре они снова появились в коридоре, где я по-прежнему сидел у телефона. Я был настолько неосторожен, что спросил, зачем им нужен генерал, и, разумеется, привлек к себе внимание. Командир патруля поинтересовался, кто я такой. Я ответил, что недавно приехал из Финляндии по торговым делам. Такое объяснение удовлетворило патруль, что, конечно же, было весьма удивительно. Солдаты ушли, и мы вздохнули с облегчением.
An elderly, venerable porter put his head round the door. Utterly shell-shocked, the old man stammered that the revolution had begun: the insurgents were on their way to arrest officers, he said, and they very keen to know the number of my room. I had to hurry. Already in my uniform and boots, I threw over my shoulders an insignia-free winter overcoat, ripped off my spurs and put on a hat worn by civilians and military men alike.
Of course it was impossible to keep track of the situation within the country while fighting on the front. Now, having spent a few days in the capital, I have heard of the most curious happenings. The State Duma, which was called up once again in November 1916, has been reverberating with revolutionary speeches. See more
Even the political factions on the right have been stirred by the general mood, and the government has lost many of its closest allies. In December the Duma was temporarily dissolved, at first until the end of January 1917 and later until the end of February. Significant here was surely the fact that the many of the strict old men of the State Council, the highest advisory body of the Russian Empire, had taken the side of the opposition, who were demanding the instigation of genuine parliamentary rule. In yet more news, the government has announced, for the first time openly, that it is again in pursuit of revolutionary organisations. The police have carried out numerous arrests.
The general mood in Petrograd is subdued. People are openly criticising the tsar. Due to heavy snowstorms, tens of thousands of freight cars are stuck on the tracks, with the bread and fuel situation in the capital and other major cities becoming particularly severe as a result.
I travelled to Tsarskoye Selo, having learned that the Emperor was currently in residence there. As a member of His Majesty’s retinue, I could expect to be granted an audience. Only two people were scheduled to be received by the tsar that day, and an audience was indeed promptly granted. Normally, the Emperor was all attention at debriefings, and I had assumed that an update about the situation on the Romanian front would spark his interest. It appeared to me, however, that, in this particular moment, his thoughts were preoccupied with completely different problems.