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Project 1917 is a series of events that took place a hundred years ago as described by those involved. It is composed only of diaries, letters, memoirs, newspapers and other documents

A crisis of power again. On the streets, there have been demonstrations, shooting and utter chaos. It is unclear who is marching, where to, and why. Cars rush by, carrying armed soldiers and machine guns. It is unclear what tomorrow will bring. The Provisional Government is impotent. I am not afraid for Russia. See more

When you walk with your face turned towards the glowing, rosy sky (to the rising or setting sun), verses are easily composed.

Когда видишь парад или манифестацию, так и кажется, что сверху смотрит чей-то большой (настолько большой, что он нам невидим) глаз, и чей-то голос (настолько громкий, что мы его не слышим) звучит: «Смотри, у как у них (у людей) все организованно: вот эти идут с какими-то значками, эти вооружены, эти наблюдают. Ужасно смешно, правда?» See more

What rubbish! And I wanted to love “humanity.” People are so nasty, so nasty. How great it would have been to live among dogs or horses. If you think about it: high sky, fluffy clouds, it has rained recently. A wide country road. On its sides—huts. And in every hut there are dogs. They drink milk, and, like people, eat fried potatoes, puppies are playing on porches, and I go to pick mushrooms with three dogs. See more

Where from? From where does this nastiness come from in people? These faces, faces, these are some faces. Where do these strange dark faces come from? But Russian women are completely different. Same for Russian old women. God! Save Russia!

Geslersovsky Lane. A crowd. Some officer explains something to the crowd. An unpleasant subject in a cap listens rather angrily. There is so much anger and vileness in his face that looking at him, you suddenly realise how insulting it is to consider Christ a member of mankind.

In the past, among the officers there were always a few insolent ones, foppish and rude, but now we are seeing something terrible: they munch on nuts and apples and smirk like street urchins. I feel differently towards officers than towards the “well-fed  bourgeoisie ". They should have some “polish” and be properly brought up. Otherwise the result is an abomination.

Who says there are no drunks on the street? Are the soldiers really not drinking? It was most strange to see a drunken officer on the tram, fraternising with the soldiers (who were evidently laughing at him), a scene which I found physically painfully. It made the blood flow in my old veins. See more

I am tormented when I read about ‘anarchy’, about the atrocities committed by soldiers, but here I am in carriage, where everyone coos about food and dresses of the ‘real bourgeoisie’ (unctuous, buxom and soft). See more

There is nothing baser than humankind. It is the most disgusting and horrible of living creatures inhabiting the earth, because humans combine consciousness, of which animals are deprived, with simian nastiness. Really, "nasty monkeys”—one can’t think of a better name for people.

Сегодня из контрольных зал выносили портреты Александра III, Николая II, Алексея. Я встретил эту процессию в Контрольном дворе, когда шел за маслом. Сторожа лениво волочили портреты, мальчишки кричали, кричали... и мне вдруг стало так грустно...

Я всегда ненавидел эти казенные портреты, опошленные участками, казенными залами и т.п. учреждениями. А тут вдруг стало грустно.

With all my heart I welcome the revolution. I celebrate the overthrow of the Romanovs. They, of course, were leading Russia to the cliff edge. There can be no two ways about this. And then I went to the cafe “PrivalCafe "Prival komediantov", the gathering place of pre-revolutionary intelligence and poets in St. Petersburg.”. It was empty, sleepy and boring. The place was almost unoccupied save for a few Jews. And suddenly I became painfully sorry for the fate of our “Empire”.

The soldiers have joined the people. Armed soldiers roam the streets in automobiles draped in red flags. The crowd greets them with a “hurrah” and people throw their caps in their air. A worker explains to an assembled crowd that he works from morning to night and still his family are dying of hunger. See more

I cannot and will not believe that in this world, with all its wealth, with all our intelligence and with so many kind hearts, we cannot arrange our affairs in such a way that half-starving (truthfully starving!) Chinese were not forced to wander the streets in summer clothes selling ridiculous and entirely unwanted paper flowers.

Heavens above! What can possibly stand in our way?

Some girl on the tram accidentally bumped into me.  I was in a black mood and got absolutely enraged for some reason. Suddenly, though, I noticed that the girl’s sleeve was stained with something white, and all my anger melted away at once, with nothing less than pity taking its place.  (The little stain on her sleeve struck me as poignant – I was moved by the thought that her folks hadn’t got it out for her at home, etc.)

Age: 26
Lives in: Petrograd, Russian Empire
Occupation: Novelist, translator


in Petrograd
in Moscow