A call from the Northern Hotel: there are large demonstrations on Nevsky, but they are not letting anyone on Liteinyi Prospekt. One demonstration on Liteinyi has already been gunned down, by the building number 19. Most of the demonstrators are workers. One member of the Constituent Assembly has been killed, one soldier, some workers, many are wounded. There are machine-guns ambushes—from where they were shooting. Somewhere close to Kirochnaya or Furshtadtskaya a demonstration of 6 Red Army Soldiers was gunned down. While sailors were sitting on rooftops (instead of policemen). One girl was stabbed in the neck by a Red Army soldier, and when she fell he kept stabbing her until she died.
The situation is really tense. One can feel it behind everyone’s every word. It is in the air. Socialist-revolutionaries are preparing for battle (a losing one, I think). Tomorrow at noon the Constituent Assembly is scheduled to convene. A demonstration is being planned for this, members of the CA are hoping to “flow” into the Tavrichesky Palace with the demonstration, but this is for naught, for the Bolsheviks are preparing their own: from a while ago, their prohibition of the participation of all “faithful ones” in the demonstration and their order to Latvians and specially called sailors (more than a thousand) to cordon off the area around Tavrichesky Palace and to not let anyone close. But members will be allowed to enter—and only they. It is not really clear why a larger number of Socialist Revolutionaries were not re-arrested? Maybe, tonight…
The Constituent Assembly (in whatever form) and the Bolsheviks CANNOT CO-EXIST EVEN FOR A MINUTE. Either it’s “all power to the Constituent Assembly”, in which case the Bolsheviks fall, or else it’s “all power to the Soviets”, in which case the Constituent Assembly falls. An either-or scenario. The SRs say that they’ve grasped this, and are constructing their plan and considering their tactics accordingly. They’re joining battle. Their “all power to the Constituent Assembly” is the first provision of the first session; if they can put it through and enact it, this will constitute a CHANGE OF POWER. They’re placing their faith in their undisputed majority and in the “idea” of the Constituent Assembly. Making allowances for the current state of the “masses” (to use their expression), who have been seduced by the Bolsheviks’ promises of “peace” and “land”, they are CONSCIOUSLY cloaking this new “power” in sweet demagoguery. (There’s nothing to lose, after all.) They, too, are making immediate promises of “peace” (only a universal one), “land”, and a federative republic (only a unified one).
Snow is covering half of our windows now. And yet it isn’t a white Christmas - it’s a black one, a black one. The Constituent Assembly is scheduled for the 18th, but now they are openly stating in their newspapers that it’s “useless”, or should be their “clerk or servant”, or even “broken apart by a revolutionary force.” See more
I think that’s exactly what will happen. Although - who can tell right now. I’m not sure what the Socialist Revolutionaries will do: will they be dishonest or powerless? Chernov is capable of any sort of betrayal.
I am tired, it’s late. Different people. Was busy with different things. Zenzinov came to visit. In the entryway, I did not fail to show him some clippings from “People Affairs” with its obviously mendacious words about Savinkov. He made excuses that in the report the words were misreported. See more
But I did not relent.
Rumours…Freezing weather, -20 degrees.
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?
A painful episode in the fortress yesterday: the batman Pavlov (an assistant to the commandant) intercepted a letter from Kartashov to his sister in which he’d written that “Russia has become Germany’s hired hand”. See more
He burst into the prisoner’s cell along with some soldiers and forced him into the isolation unit. The other ministers announced that they were going on a hunger strike. Today, the whole affair was thankfully somehow smoothed over; Kartashov was transferred back. The situation there remains wretched, however.
An astonishingly stupid and sad story happened to Shingarev. It's a tragic anecdote. A girl by the name of Kaufman, from the Constitutional Democrat Central Committee registry, managed to arrange a visit to him and decided to bring him some shortcakes. See more
She stopped by the registry to talk to other ladies. On her way out, she grabbed another parcel that she passed to Shingarev instead of her shortcakes. As it turns out, the parcel she handed over to Shingarev contained minutes of the Constitutional Democrat meetings, old and new ones! They were laid out on the table for another lady working at the registry, who was supposed to bring them to a safe house. She found shortcakes instead - and that's how it all became clear.
It was all so ridiculous that the Bolsheviks even decided it must have been some ploy, someone must have planted the papers! But when crying ladies came to them and started taking the blame upon themselves, telling "the whole truth," they realised it was just "pure luck." They will probably use it to "uncover" another "Constitutional Democrat conspiracy." What an idiotic tragedy!
I have been working on "The Evening Bell" (this kind of newspaper paper used to be distributed in the printing house of "Rechi" ["Pronouncements"]) and I haven't been calling in here. And well it's the same old same old. Pogroms and the Permanent's firing (yesterday night it was rattling so much that I gave a start and Dima went to the sentry). See more
But everything is already battered and drunk, which means that soon it will quiet down. Leftovers. In the South, it seems that the war is not only with Kazakhs, but also with Rada. The Bolsheviks have even managed to have an argument with Vekshel'. They have introduced censorship in Moscow. They're going too far... or maybe not? German troops are always arriving, swarming around and are not shy to do so. The German embassy is being repaired. If it were not for the tedium, perhaps waiting wouldn't be all that bad. But the tiring flash of huge unpleasantnesses brings about boredom - a yawningly repulsive one.
Nothing special. Pogroms and shooting in all parts of the city (today is the 8th day). Machine guns are cracking. To these pogrom orgies, which are now taking over houses and stores, people have gotten used. There are not that many wounded and killed a day: about 10 killed and 50 wounded. Yard keepers and butlers are on strike, demanding thousands from house owners, even though Bolsheviks have announced houses to be under their control. Main entrances have been nailed shut everywhere, gates are wide open all night. Thus the yard keepers demand.
Officers are without marks. Only Germans, slowly and surely arriving, have marks.
Rumors that Petersburg has been “peacefully” seized by the Germans are more and more palpable. They say the city has already been divided into sectors (rumors, even foolish ones, are often revealing). A deep secret shrouds the negotiations between the Bolsheviks and the Germans.
The systematic arrest of arriving Constitutional Democrats continues. In “Izvestia” (that single daily newspaper), a decree was issued, in which Constitutional Democrats are declared OUTLAWS all over and subject to arrest. See more
Yesterday, there was some kind of meeting in the Tauride Palace; today they were declared “criminal”, the troops and the boys in blue are rounded up. They arrested so many, that I don't know where they are being taken. The possibility to grasp impressions has been and gone, and, barring the permanent contraction of the soul, there is nothing to feel. Frost. In the streets a deafening silence, darkness, no words. The winter is black and white, it is terror.
I was awoken by the sounds of music (the window above my head being open). Outside it was minus ten degrees but bright as spring. An endless flag-bearing procession was making its way to the Tauride Palace. See more
Spring this wasn’t, however: armed with the slogan “All Power to the Constituent Assembly!", the crowd had a remarkably non-military character; it wasn’t so much proletarian as democratic. Labour democracy was on the march. Troops had been banned from taking part by the Bolsheviks. Hooting Red Guards, rifles at the ready, fling themselves into any and every crowd: “Disperse!” Uncertainty pervades the South, but it would appear that situation is not at all good. It’s cruel that the Europeans will never understand our tragedy – or, in other words, they won’t understand that this is a tragedy and not merely “ignominy and criminality”. But so be it. May at least the scrupulous and cultured among us cling on to the last source of pride we have: silence.
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.
The newspaper “Den’” (‘Day’) turned into “Noch’” (‘Night’) after the first closure; into “Dark Night” after the second; “Midnight” emerged after the third. After the fourth it became “Into the deep night”, and then the door was slammed completely shut. See more
Today the Daily Newspaper of writers was released, and in the afternoon there was a rally. It was a protest against the stifling of the press. Many people spoke: Deych, Peshekhonov, Merezhkovsky, Sologub… Gorky didn’t come, on the grounds of an illness. But in the hall we bumped into him going to Manukhin’s place; he looked gloomy, hostile, dark, but healthy. We made a point of giving him a stern telling off. But I think he’s afraid. Afraid somehow both on the inside and on the outside…