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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

His Majesty came to see me with Alexei and Tatiana. They were very sweet. The Empress also said that she would return after five o’clock tea. I hugged the Emperor several times, and he kept kissing my hand... my heart was breaking. It’s the state of the army which aggrieves the Emperor above all; he doesn’t understand an army without discipline. The Emperor came later and spent two hours with me. See more

Сегодня утром Боткин определил бронхит и уложил в постель, до сих пор я лежала на кушетке. Теперь только шаг до воспаления легких, провела очень тяжелую ночь; лечение обычное: горчичники, банки и проч. Подавленное настроение способствует развитию болезни. Милые девочки читают мне роман Сенкевича: прекрасный анализ бесплодности славянских душ. Затем я написала Керенскому, прося его распорядиться, чтобы меня поместили в одной из прекрасных гостиных Большого дворца. Керенский согласился.

It seemed to me that now the Empress had no longer any need for my presence, after I had helped her contact Kerensky. He will protect her without my assistance.

Day of the Emperor’s Angel! Oh, what a sad day. I’m sick - terrible cold - my living room is a glacier.

It’s bitterly cold in the room; they’re saying that there’s no firewood. The ministry still hasn’t been established. They’ve unanimously decided to continue the war, while our soldiers go and explain our signalling to the enemy. What heinousness! See more

Milyukov is resigning. His place has been taken by Tereschenko, and Kerensky has replaced Guchkova as War Minister. The ministry has been expanded by the addition of two socialists. A new current to the sea of senselessness and madness in which we are drowning.

What awful reversals! All the generals have turned and fled, and none can command the demoralised and unreined army. While the government sits throughout the night, the soldiers run away and desert. Kerensky, with much bitterness, has pronounced: “I only regret that I did not die two months ago, when I could have shaken off my mortal coil with the illusion that my country was free. Who do you wish to be - free citizens, or a nation of brigands?”

I am consoled by reading prophecies about the end of the world. I, too, have come to the end of my life and I give God the remaining sad days of my existence, begging him to free my soul from all earthly attachments.

The political situation is distressing: the anarchist party of the socialists is gaining the upper hand. The army is in tatters and refuses to fight. We’re witnessing a grotesque fraternisation with the Germans, who’ll find out everything they need to know. The allies’ advance is being achieved at the cost of inhuman efforts. Enemy troops have been transferred from our front to counter them. See more

I had breakfast at their Majesty’s. The Empress was sad and didn’t say word. The children were cheerful. The Emperor surprised me; he told me, perhaps sincerely, that he is quite content with his position. It allows him to read, and until now his only literature had been dry paper.

The commandant came. He understands all my reasons for wanting to leave and approves the letter to Kerensky but he is very anxious for me not to take this step. He thinks that Kerensky will refuse. At such a critical and dangerous moment, the fact of my leaving will be exploited, misinterpreted, and will result in more unrest. See more

I have decided to leave Tsarskoye Selo, in pursuance of which I have written a letter to Kerensky which I hope to get to him by way of the commandant. If this turns out to be impossible, I will accept it as God’s will that I remain here. I have requested that the commandant sees me.

The weather is dreadful; the cold penetrates our chambers. We are each apportioned a ration of sugar and firewood. The Tsar pretends not to notice the frightful breaches of discipline committed by the soldiers. When he recently passed a guard the latter remained prostrate and continued smoking. On another occasion, an officer, rather than taking the hand offered to him by the Tsar, stepped away from him. See more

Empress's name day passed quietly. Instead of hundreds of telegrams, only 3: from M-me Komstadius, Tolstoy-Bekhteeva, and the sweetest Lily Obolenskaya, who sent a lovely letter by express mail. She has a noble heart. They were congratulating until the afternoon mass. During the day I went out; it was rather warm, despite the horrible wind.

There was shooting on the Nevsky Prospect. The attack was organised by German emissaries. It turned out that they used exploding bullets that we do not use. Undoubtedly this movement has already existed and had its followers. See more

The Pacifist movement is growing. Milyukov’s note has provoked protests. Merely emphasising the rejection of annexation and indemnities was simply not enough. Fools… German agents are turning them against England. Without a doubt, envy plays a role in the ill-will towards our allies. Giving the soldiers such will was an insanity of unspeakable proportion. Now it is no longer an army, but a horde of Praetorians who dictate the law. We are in terrible danger.

Today the Tsesarevich told me: “Father gave us an exam. He remained very unhappy and said: “What did you learn?”" The young girls offered their services as teachers, and the crowned parents followed their example. The Emperor took upon himself the task of teaching history and geography, the Empress - God’s law and German, Iza - English, Nastenka - the history of art and music. See more

I had an interesting conversation with the commandantKorovichenko, commandant of the Alexander Palace. He is an idealist, a straightforward and honourable man. I admire that type of character. Kerensky, too. Both of them put their whole lives into their work. If his Majesty could rid himself of the cult of autocracy, which is as mystical as it is political, and surround himself with the forces of the nation, instead of the handful of rascals in whom he places his trust, everything could be different! See more

Kerensky arrived today, and the empress sent for me so that I might be present during the interrogation which was no doubt in store for her. She rehearsed all the unpleasant things she had been longing to say to him before his arrival. She was indignant and nervous, but I managed to calm her down by assuring her that Kerensky was doing all in his power to save her from the fury of the anarchists. See more

The Empress sent for me. She visited her daughters. Olga is very weak – her heart has been affected by the constant illnesses from which she has suffered over the last two months. She is very sweet, and Maria, who is in bed still recovering from pleurisy, is charming. The Empress worked, and was in a very kind and docile frame of mind. We didn’t talk about any pressing issues, merely about my own personal affairs. In such a peaceful setting, it is difficult to feel that one is in the middle of such  terrible destruction and such grave danger.

Age: 78


in Petrograd
in Moscow