Also participating: Kaledin, Denikin, Milyukov, KornilovCommander in Chief of the Petrograd command - from 18 March 1917, Trubetskoy, Struve, Savinkov.
Tomorrow’s Constituent Assembly has been postponed. One issue is that the Bolsheviks still haven’t succeeded with their city council. The other is that they require a minimum of 400 people’s cash, knowing full well that the elections were slowed down because of their actions. They counted the arrivals while systematically arresting them. See more
A member of the Military Revolutionary Committee addressed the friendly Milyukov family today with a secret warning: “Let’s hope Milyukov doesn’t come…”. Naturally, he was seen as a provocateur, to which he replied, “as you wish, I simply hate the Bolsheviks, I’m with them on purpose to get revenge and to harm them, they killed my sons”… Although the Consituent Assembly has been officially postponed, the current city council has planned marches and demonstrations for tomorrow. We will see. The palace is guarded by Latvian Bolsheviks.
While the Democratic Conference in Petersburg drowns in its own verbiage, and the initiators of the conference come up with ridiculous formulas concerning the “redemption” of the revolution, while those in Kerensky’s government, encouraged by Buchanan and Milyukov, continue to tread “their own” path, a defining historical element, a new power, genuinely from the people, genuinely revolutionary, engaged in a desperate struggle for its very existence, is growing in Russia. See more
On the one hand are the Soviets, standing at the head of the revolution, at the head of the struggle against the counter-revolution, which is far from defeated, having only beaten back a tactical retreat hidden behind the back of the government. On the other side is Kerensky’s government, which covers the counter-revolutionaries, conspires with the Kornilovites (the Cadets!), which declares war on the Soviets in order to smash them before it is itself smashed.
All that matters now is who will triumph in this struggle.
The government has charged me with the delicate task of restoring the coalition, with the inclusion of the same parties which were part of it in the past. I intended to carry this out as soon as possible. See more
I admit, it is a hard situation, because, although I consider the inclusion of the Constitutional democrats absolutely essential, I realised that everything the leader Milyukova does, every speech he delivers and every article he writes, would provoke a new wave of indignation, as there was in March and April.
Most repulsive is the sense of general cowardice. People, after all, aren’t so stupid as to fail to see that the war is the reason for their misfortune; that there can be no hope of setting Russia on the road to recovery without putting an end to said war; that peace with the Germans will not usher in subjugation of any kind, nor herald the “death of the revolution”. See more
Yet when it comes to devoting the bulk of one’s attention to this, and coordinating will with action accordingly, no one dares to do so.
Now the Milyukovs of this world, and other sly operators, can fox their way into power once again. Once again they’ll start making noises about the “enervation” of Germany and the honour of Russia, but as for the voice of the enervated, mercy-imploring Motherland, no one wants to listen to that.
Milyukov accuses us of being agents and hirelings of the German government. From this tribune of revolutionary democracy I appeal to those of honesty in the Russian press to broadcast my words: until that time when Milyukov sees fit to take back his words, let his forehead be branded with the stamp of the dishonest slanderer.
When I reached the Finland Station this morning, I found Sazonov by the carriage which had been reserved for us. In grave tones he said to me:
"All our plans are changed; I'm not coming with you. . ... Read this!"
He gave me a letter, dated the same night and just put in his hands, in which Prince Lvov asked him to postpone his departure as Miliukov had sent in his resignation.
"I go and you stay behind," I said. "Isn't it symbolical?" See more
"Yes, it marks the end of a political era! ... Miliukov's presence was a last guarantee of fidelity to our diplomatic tradition. What could I do in London now? I very much fear that the immediate future will show Monsieur Albert Thomas what a mistake he has made in siding so openly with the Soviet against Miliukov!"
The arrival of friends, who had come to see me off, put an end to our conversation.
The two French socialist deputies, Cachin and Montet, and the two delegates of English socialism, O'Grady and Thorne, then entered the train. They had come straight from the Tauride Palace where they had spent the whole night conferring with the Soviet.
The train left at 7:40 a.m.
Milyukov and Shingaryev went to the front. While they were gone, a Provisional Government meeting was unexpectedly called late one evening in Prince Lvov's apartment. Kerensky and Tereshchenko took it upon themselves to sharply attack the point about the Straits and Milyukov’s entire role in the Provisional Government. I was the only one to stand up for him. See more
The rest were silent or criticized Miliukov, his policy, and the question of the Straits was given no support. It was suggested that we should remove Miliukov. True, he heads a large social group. You can’t just throw him out. It was said that Milyukov could be given the Ministry of Education, but everyone supported the decision to remove him from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I saw that the Provisional Government was descending into demagoguery, and I finally concluded that the only way out was to finally break the great compromise and go to battle, even with harsh measures. I then returned home and wrote Lvov a letter.
I wrote him that I couldn’t take any further part, nor could I share responsibility for the country’s disintegration, what is now happening and doesn’t meet any opposition in the Provisional Government. I asked to be considered relieved from my post. Then, in order to prevent any attempts to convince me otherwise, or make any impossible attempts on their part, I sent this letter to Lvov and a copy to the editors of the New Times with a request to print.
The membership of the Provisional Government is still a conundrum. Born of a popular revolution, it is now made up of people who are as far away from the spirit of revolution and as close to the spirit of a coup d’etat as it as it is possible to imagine. The Minister of War in the Provisional Government, Guchkov, is the former alter ago of Stolypin the “hangman”. The Foreign Minister, Milyukov, is an imperialist who supports continuing the war “to a victorious end”. It is impossible to place one’s trust in any of the generals. See more
There is no support for the revolutionaries either among the regular officers or among the tradesmen. The peasants do not share the idea of internationalism, as the workers do, and are susceptible to the influence of nationalism under the pretext of a defensive war. The internationalists in the army are the worst soldiers. And finally, the Russian internationalist cause has neither a single outstanding leader, nor a single representative in government. Lenin is not sufficiently even-tempered.
Since I last wrote we have passed through another crisis, provoked by Miliukoff's note to the Allied Governments on the subject of the war. That note was the result of a compromise between Kerensky's and Miliukoff's supporters. It was accepted and approved by the former in return for the consent of the latter to the communication to the Allies of the Government's proclamation disavowing all ideas of the acquisition of territory by force. Miliukoff has throughout contended that Russia must acquire possession both of Con- stantinople and the Straits, and for this reason, as well as out of regard for the engagements already entered into by Russia with the Allies, has persistently refused to suggest a revision of existing agreements. See more
He held that to communicate to the Allied Governments the proclamation addressed to the Russian people was an indirect way of inviting them to reconsider their agree- ments. There was a regular duel between him and Kerensky, and at one moment his position was so shaken that it almost looked as if he would have to go. The Cadet party, of which he is the leader, came to the rescue and brought pressure to bear on the Govern- ment by threatening that Mihukoff 's resignation would be followed by that of all the other members of the Government who belong to that party.
In the end Miliukoff agreed to communicate the proclamation, while the Government approved his covering note. The latter was couched in language which, if it did not actually contravene the letter of the proclamation, was an unquestionable contravention of its spirit. It raised a perfect storm in the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies, where it was regarded as a revocation of all that had been said in the proclamation. Thursday was a very critical day. In the afternoon a number of regiments marched to the space in front of the Palais Marie, where the Council of Ministers sits, and joined the crowd that had already assembled there to demonstrate against the Government. Cries of ' Down with the Govern- ment,' ' Down with Miliukoff,' were raised, but eventually the troops were persuaded to return to their barracks.
Later in the evening there were counter- demonstrations directed chiefly against Lenin and his adherents, and after several Ministers had addressed the crowd from the balcony of the palace the tide turned in their favour. The Government remained firm, declaring its complete solidarity on the subject of the note ; and the threat that they would resign en bloc and that, if they did so, a new Provisional Government would be formed at Moscow, caused the council to pour .water into their wine. The council, moreover, were aware, as they subsequently admitted, that they .were not themselves strong enough to form an administra-tion, and, on the Government consenting to publish an explanatory communique on the subject of the note, they declared the incident closed. This agreement was only reached on Friday evening, and during the whole of that afternoon the Nevski and adjoining streets were the scenes of demonstrations and counter-demonstra- tions. A collision took place on the Nevski between a pro-Lenin and an anti-Lenin crowd, in which several persons were killed and wounded. Between 9 and 10.30 P.M. I had to go out three times on the balcony of the Embassy to receive ovations and to address crowds who were demonstrating for the Government and the AlHes. During one of them a free fight took place between the supporters of the Government and the Leninites.
All is quiet again now and demonstrations have been forbidden for a couple of days. Miliukoff is naturally much elated at what he terms a great victory for the Government ; but though the Government is no doubt to be congratulated on the result of its con- flict with the council, the latter continues to act as if it were master of the situation.
Since writing the above I have had a conversa- tion with Tereschenko. In reply to a question of mine, he said that he did not share Miliukoff 's view that the result of the recent conflict between the council and the Government was a great victory for the latter. It had been a moral victory, and fortunately it was the opponents and not the supporters of the Government who were responsible for the bloodshed. It had also demonstrated the numerical superiority of those who had sided with the Government. Against this must be set off the vindication by the council of its exclusive right to give orders to the troops. The Government, he told me, .were taking steps to counteract this by increasing the powers of General Korniloff, who is in command of the Petrograd garrison, and he was con- fident that they would eventually become masters of the situation, though they might have to admit into their ranks one or two Socialists. The workmen were getting disgusted with Lenin, and the latter would, he hoped, be arrested at no distant date.
He was, he said, most anxious to see peace negotiations opened with Turkey, and, if Constanti- nople was the only bar to such a peace, he thought that His Majesty's Government might approach the Russian Government with a proposal for its neutraliza- tion. I said that were we to do so we should lay our- selves open to the charge of ill-faith, and under present conditions it would be difficult for either Russia or the Allies to propose a revision of their respective agree- ments. He admitted this, but contended that, with the exercise of a little tact, an exchange of views on the subject of Constantinople might be invited.