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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

They took all the passengers off of the trams passengers and the cars are full of armed soldiers driving around the streets. There are the slogans: "Down with the Provisional Government!" and "Down with the Ten ministers." They tried to compel the Pavlovsky regiment to go against the Provisional Government, but they didn’t. From our windows, however, the street looks quite calm. But as I was sitting alone in my bedroom and skimming last summer’s diary, in the distance, from the Neva side, there was a very strong exchange of machine gun fire. It started 14 minutes before 12 o'clock. And ended exactly at midnight. After this, military music was rang out twice, the second time - before ten o'clock. Later I learned that it was the Finnish regiment. It was terrible to hear these sounds.

Especially nauseating was the loathsome feeling of personal and general hopeless impotence.

Glorious celestial impressions beyond the Peter and Paul Cathedral. In general, Petersburg is as beautiful as ever. The city’s last summer?

Where you are, you imagine that we are living in a kingdom of freedom, but in actual fact, it is a kingdom of nonsense without freedom, or at any rate, without any effective sense of freedom. My dear friend, it is very bad here and very bleak, and Akitsa and I envy you more than ever, for being too far away to see this nightmare in its entirety. See more

Akitsa and Kolya tried to stand up for Kerensky, but I’m almost convinced that he has already crumbled. This is a vain (and unambitious) person, and therefore at the right time he won’t dare to take the upper hand and raise a stick against his comrades. He’s consoled by popularity, and it also helps him mislead himself down the path of false heroism and to play as Bonaparte.

Newspapers brought us news that the offensive had begun. I met this dreadful news with a stupid indifference, without anger and despair. In recent weeks, everything in me has worn out, changed and faded. If you want to die, so die!

They’re no longer giving the milk out in the promised quantities. In the “bar house” there are six jewish families who consume an immense amount of milk, and as a result are being threatened by the police – it is, in a word, an uproar. See more

There is no sugar at all. Beet fields were left unplanted. This scares me more than anything, for I can not live without sweetness.

The Congress of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies recently adjourned at the Cadets’ College has only deepened my pessimism. The meeting began with a discussion of the Dacha Durnovo. Pereverzev, Liber, Kamenev, Tsereteli with his histrionics, and Lunacharsky, all made speeches, the latter receiving reproaches from the Asiatic Chkheidze for addressing the congress without the reverence apparently accorded it. See more

Gorky introduced me to Lunacharsky. The latter seemed to me like a real charmer. Wide-ranging erudition, wonderful mastery of speech, an “almost Jewish” nimbleness! He seemed all around to belong to the chosen people, but the rumor goes that Lunacharsky isn’t a Jew at all, but a pure-blooded Russian and even a nobleman and a Southern landowner. See more

Our women, lead by my Akitsia, are in some state of ecstasy over Kerensky, seeing in him almost an angel that have descended from the sky—and specifically an angel of peace. This enthusiasm is shared by our kitchen staff. See more


Burials were held in St Petersburg for the “martyrs of the revolution”. Many of us at the time were attending an exhibition at Dobychina’s Artistic Bureau, and saw through the windows the event unfolding on the Field of Mars. Gorky did not long remain an observer; he was called upon to bless the graves, and he dragged me behind him. They even photographed us in front of an open grave. See more

I found myself gripped by an acute apprehension regarding the future of the Tsarkoye Selo palace. More generally, the future of any monuments with “links to tsarism” was a source of particular concern.

It turned out that the Union of Artists exhibition being held in the foyer of the Intimate Theater on the Kryukov Canal, and for which we had naively set out, was closed:  the premises had been requisitioned for military use. Given the general mood of good cheer, the ferocious appearance of the sentry guarding the entrance struck us as strange.

Everyone is extremely worked up and no one has any illusions concerning the success of the revolutionary movement. It seems more likely to imagine that the insurrection will be supressed by the usual combination of police and bayonets. The insurrection itself, at the very least, can already be spoken of as a done deal.

Something is awry! Large-scale rioting happened on the Vyborg side due to bread difficulties (it is surprising that this has not happened earlier!).

Сегодня в редакции после мрачного политического разговора с Гессеном я, уходя, придержал его, куда-то спешащего, и говорю (разумеется, без надежды на то, что мои слова могут иметь какое-либо действие): "Умоляю вас - откажитесь от Константинополя", иначе говоря, от войны до победного конца. В ответ получаю нечто очень симптоматическое; сначала он с унылым видом отвернулся, затем улыбнулся грустной усмешкой и наконец произнес: "Это теперь все равно бесполезно, все равно все летит к черту!" Выходит, что они, вояки, это как будто наконец осознали. Зачем же тогда путать и морочить общественное мнение и продолжать в газете ратовать за продолжение бойни? Что гонит их к собственной гибели? В чем сила их вождя, их главного искусителя - Милюкова? Неужели только в том, что он такой ученый книжник, что он и сам написал немало очень ученых (да и дельных) книжек? Или он их пленит своей действительно неподкупной честностью? Но тогда зачем соваться в дела, в которых властвует не обывательская честность, а требуется прежде всего змииная мудрость и учитывание момента? Не спорю, "порядочным" людям приятнее сознавать себя чистыми, беленькими, но что от этого произойдет для целой страны, для целого народа? Ведь несомненно, что не сегодня-завтра им достанется власть, полнота власти, и вот единственное, в чем они ее проявят, будет заключаться в такой благородной (но, увы, бессмысленной, безумной) "честности" и в напрасной погоне за чем-то несбыточным (и ненужным). Какой ужас!

Age: 47
Lives in: Petrograd, Russian Empire
Occupation: Artist, illustrator, art critic, editor, publisher
Married to


in Petrograd
in Moscow