The Au Bon Gout pastry shop, which is in our building, is refusing from now on to bake bread for us. Now our poor servants will have to stand for hours once again in those “lines”! See more
Of recent political news (as per the papers) I will note the following:a. General Verkhovsky has arrived at Headquarters, but there is no news at all from Headquarters itself; b. The ministry of foreign affairs has begun operations (that's from Pravda); c. Lunacharsky has officially announced that all ministers of the former Ministry of the Court are to continue their work. He is silent on the appointment of new commissars; d. There is a (still peaceful) siege on the State Bank. Employees are not keeping the Bolsheviks away from the counters.
The background of gunfire was punctuated by several hollower, heavier blasts, and following the last of these came the sound of something collapsing. The Aurora, anchored in the middle of the Neva between the Fortress and the palace, was firing on the latter at point-blank range. My heart sank. Could these really be the last moments of the Winter Palace’s existence? But next door was the Hermitage, home to the Russian state’s foremost treasures, home to everything I hold dearest in the world!
Name days of both my Annas. The manager of the estate, Schleiseine, categorically refuses to send for post to Yablonovka, and for the second day we are sitting without newspapers. But for today’s morning it turned out to be quite opportune. Due to the absence of these vile pieces of paper, it turned out to be particularly sunny, happy, and appropriate for a name day. A true summer feast. Children made a bunch of different presents.
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.
All night, the rain was pouring down and drumming on the roof. At one point it was very cold, and I couldn’t sleep. Luckily the little cat Kuzka honoured me with his company: he heated up my feet and communicated a magical sense of comfort for a bit of the night. See more
Two papers were brought in at once with my coffee – the second from Friday. I was struck above all by a telegram from KornilovCommander in Chief of the Petrograd command - from 18 March 1917 with the demand for a “halt” to the offensive and the reinstatement of the death penalty, stating that if this is not done, he will refuse to continue to command. Strangest of all, there was no commentary on this telegram worthy of its exceptional importance. What does it mean to “stop” the offensive? Or is it a misprint for “retreat” ? Will they try to raise a dying beast to its feet? We are stupid enough, and the English cruel enough, to try it. It will now be even harder to find out the approximate truth, as wartime censorship has been reintroduced at the same level as before.
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
The most awful thing of all is that it is an orgy of imbecility and mediocrity. All-pervasive mediocrity. There is still some sort of hope in that mystical essence known as “the people”, but one clings to this hope more out of habit than anything else. Where you are, I am sure, it is all being portrayed in a different light. Perhaps it is seen as being a little bit more terrible than is actually the case, but also as more tragic and impressive. Think yourselves lucky, and thank heaven with all your souls for the good fortune that has been granted to you.
Dearest Igor, I beseech you, write me a line or two, so that we know you have not forgotten us. And I want to know how things are with you, how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and what you’re working on.
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 absolutely no oil, nor potatoes, nor white bread – we’re living on handouts from a butcher and a fisherman, but we can’t totally count on them. That’s the state of the boasted “prosperity” of the village, which our outspoken patriots scampered off with only six months ago!
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
They all spoke very coherently, “convinced and convincing”, with calm and even business-like temper. Yet, essentially, despite the great superfluity of fine words, I left the assembly without having formed the slightest impression. Lord knows, an audience is correct in greeting every speech with an identically rousing storm of ovation, even if this speech stands in stark contradiction to its predecessor, and even if this predecessor was met by the very same ovation. The mood, I should note, in the hall was decidedly moderate and calm. I can see now that there is an audience capable of standing through one of Lenin’s speeches.
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
His strange surname seems to trace its roots to some kind of lunar enchantments that point to his “aristocratic roots from the left.” He treated me with great attention, as though he would even offer his services whenever they might be useful to me.
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
I remember how, half-joking, our girls asked Dunya, Motya, Katya, and especially the cook, Vera Grigorievna, “Who is our savior?” and they, with delight answered unanimously, “Kerensky!”