I was passing through Kyiv. The city was bustling with demonstrations just like Moscow. Although mottoes “Away with!..” and “Hurrah!” were called out in Ukrainian, and they were singing “Zapovit” by Shevchenko and “Sche ne vmerla Ukraina” instead of La Marseillaise.
I have decided to visit my mother in the autumn. Moscow has exhausted me. In all the time I have been here I haven’t had the time to read anything besides a heap of political pamphlets, hurriedly printed on second-rate paper, detailing the fierce skirmishes of the various political parties. I maintained the fantastic dream of getting around to re-reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It seems today as if this novel was written two hundred years ago.
Almost every day additional newspapers appeared in Moscow, often with the most unusual ideologies, right through to theosophy and anarchism. One paper advocating the latter was printed with the slogan “anarchy is the mother of order”. See more
These brash and more often than not illiterate rags live for a day or two then disappear. The air is filled with the oily smells of typographic paint and black bread. This last rural odor has been brought by the army. The city is filling with soldiers deserting from the front, deaf to Kerensky’s hysterical orders.
For the most part, the intelligentsia is out of its depth - the great, humane Russian intelligentsia, that child of Pushkin and Herzen, Tolstoy and Chekhov. It has now become irrevocably clear that, with some rare exceptions, it is helpless in the matter of statesmanship.
The state was falling apart like a handful of clay. The provinces were not responding to Petrograd’s orders, and no one knew on what they were living and what calamities were there daily occurring. The Army was rapidly melting away at the front. The thunderous collapse of the old regime increased until it reached a deafening roar. The idyllic optimism of the first days of the revolution has passed. Entire worlds have cracked and fallen apart.