In one of Jules Verne’s novels, a Frenchman from Marseilles says: “I am twice French, because I am from Marseilles.”
Imitating him, we could say: “We are twice Russian, because we are from Kiev – the mother of Russian cities, because Moscow and Petrograd are colonies on Kiev, and not vice versa”.
At 10 o’clock in the evening we arrived. The train stopped. We went onto the platform. Bluish lanterns illuminated the rails. A few tracks down stood an illuminated train… We entered the railway carriage. It was a big dining carriage. Green silk on the walls. Several tables. The Emperor appeared in the doorway. He greeted us with an outstretched hand. Guchkov began to speak. He was very worried. See more
Guchvok spoke about what was happening in Petrograd. The Emperor looked straight ahead, calmly, completely impenetrable. The only thing that, it seemed to me, could be read from his face was: “This long speech is superfluous…”. The Emperor answered. After the worried words of A.I. his voice sounded calm, simple and precise. Only the accent was a bit alien - guards-like:“I decided to abdicate. Until three o’clock I thought I could abdicate in favour of my son, Alexei. But by this time I changed my mind in favour of my brother Mikhail. I hope you understand a father’s feelings.” The last phrase he said more quietly. We agreed, if you could call it an agreement. Guchkov gave the Emperor a “draft”. The Emperor took it and went out.
After a while the Emperor entered again. He handed Guchkov a paper, saying “Here is the text.” I began to run over the text with my eyes, and something else squeezed my heart, which, it seemed, had already lost the ability to feel anything during these days. The text was written in amazing words. How pathetic, it seemed to me, the draft that we had brought with us. The Emperor brought the draft too and put it on the table.
There was nothing to add to the text of renunciation. In all of this terror for a moment a single ray of light broke through. I suddenly felt that from this moment on the life of the Emperor was in safe hands. Half of the thorns that were stuck in the hearts of his subjects were torn out by this piece of paper. So noble were these farewell words. And so it felt that he, just like us, and maybe even more, loves Russia.
Вошел Керенский. За ним двое солдат с винтовками. Между винтовками какой-то человек с пакетами. Трагически-повелительно Керенский взял пакет из рук человека:
— Наши секретные договоры с державами… Спрячьте…
И исчез так же драматически…
— Господи, что же мы будем с ними делать? — сказал Шидловский. — Ведь даже шкафа у нас нет… See more
Куда же деть эти секретные договоры? Это ведь самые важные государственные документы, какие есть. Откуда Керенский их добыл? Этот человек был из Министерства иностранных дел. Очевидно, видя, что делается, он бросился к Керенскому, так как боялся, что не в состоянии будет их сохранить. Так же нельзя! Ну, спасли эти договоры, но все остальное могут растащить… Мало ли по всем министерствам государственно важных документов? Неужели же все их сюда свалить? И куда? Нет не только шкафа, но даже ящика нет в столе, что с ними делать?.
Но кто-то нашелся:
— Знаете что — бросим их под стол… Под скатертью ведь совершенно не видно… Никому в голову не придет искать их там… Смотрите… — И пакет отправился под стол… Зеленая бархатная скатерть опустилась до самого пола… Великолепно, как раз самое подходящее место для хранения важнейших актов Державы Российской…
Полно! Есть ли еще эта держава? Государство ли это или сплошной огромный, колоссальный сумасшедший дом?
Опять Керенский… Опять с солдатами, что еще они тащат?
— Тут два миллиона рублей. Из какого-то министерства притащили… Так больше нельзя… Надо скорее назначить комиссаров… Где Михаил Владимирович?
– На улице…
– Кричит «ура»? Довольно кричать «ура». Надо делом заняться… господа члены Комитета!..
This thought of the Tsar’s abdication matured in the minds and hearts of our people by its own accord. It grew from a hated of the monarch, to say nothing of that multitude of invective which was hurled in our faces day after day by the revolutionary crowd. On the third day of the revolution, the question of whether or not a Tsar who has been endlessly and effortlessly ridiculed could continue to reign had, evidently, already been decided in the depths of each and every one of our souls.
The situation is such that we cannot do without many old bureaucrats. For who can replace them? And so they’ve decided to send members of the State Duma as ‘commissars’. One of the major and successful appointments was that of a Duma member and engineer Bublikov as commissar of ‘Communications’.
When it became evident that the government was no more, it simultaneously became apparent that it wasn’t viable to remain without a government for so much as an hour. And that the State Duma Committee, which was promptly swamped with appeals for directives, would therefore have to don Monomakh’s hat.
Rodzianko was in two minds for a long time. What would this prove to be, he kept asking – an insurrection or not?
If someone wants to jump into a pit, you should exert all your efforts to hold him back. If, however, it becomes clear that he is determined to jump, you should push him, in the hope that just maybe your extra efforts will carry him over to the other side.
Milyukov has issued an open letter to the workers of Petrograd. A day previously, a “decree” was issued by General Khabalov, the Petrograd city governor. Strangely enough, the two documents were not greatly dissimilar. In some places, the two used similar arguments (“For the sake of the motherland”). And both the leader of the opposition and the city governor called on the workers to remain calm.
Things have got even worse since Rasputin’s murder. Before everything was blamed on him, but now that his murder has changed nothing, people have realised that Rasputin was not the problem.
N. told me he that wished to speak me confidentially and in private… I invited him round.
He probed me on what people were chirping about over coffee in every drawing room – in other words, the palace coup…
N. said that the vessel of the state was in danger – that you could practically say it was sinking – and that exceptional measures were therefore required to rescue the ship’s crew and its precious cargo.
I responded to this with a question:
“Have you read Jules Verne?”
“Of course I have – which of his works do you mean, exactly?”
“That doesn't matter – I’m not even sure this is from Jules Verne… Anyhow, there’s this theory that sailors have.”
“Two theories, actually. Or rather, two schools – the ‘onboarders’ and the ‘lifeboaters’…”
“The ‘lifeboaters’ maintain that when a vessel suffers a shipwreck, you need to transfer everyone to the lifeboats and try and save yourselves that way.”
“Right, that’s clear enough… And what about the ‘onboarders’?”
“Well, the ‘onboarders’ insist you should remain on board…”
“But the ship’s sinking!..”
“Yes, but even so… They say that nine out of ten lifeboats perish at sea…”
“But that leaves a one-in-ten chance.”
“They say the sinking ship has a one-in-ten chance as well, hence there’s no point worrying…”
“And the bottom line here is..?”
“The bottom line is that I’m an ‘onboarder’ – I shall remain on the ship and have no desire to embark any lifeboat…”
He was silent for a moment.
“In that case let’s forget this conversation.”
It was a large room. “So then” they said before sitting around the table… Something in the air felt peculiar, secretive and important. Conversation began with the matter of how the situation was worsening with every day and that things could go on no further… That something must be done… Must be done at once… That big decisions must be met with courage… serious steps taken… I didn’t follow exactly… But it was possible to deduce… Perhaps, they meant to speak of revolution occurring from above before it came from below. In any case, they hadn’t decided… And, having spoken for a while, they parted. I had the vague sense that something formidable loomed on the horizon… and that these attempts to withstand it were futile… The powerlessness of those who surrounded me, and my own impotence, struck me the first time. It was a cruel and unnerving moment.