I received a postcard from Ai-Topor from Mum.
We set out for church. A disgusting red flag fluttered atop the palace tower; word was going around that residents had called for the double-headed eagle to be taken down from the dome, but this action was forestalled. Enormous numbers of deer have been shot in the Menagerie over the last few days, with soldiers from various units taking part in the slaughter of the poor animals. Yesterday, these hunters were rounded up, putting an end, thank God, to this slaughter and hooliganism.
A heavy burden has been placed on me by the will of my brother, who has transferred to me the Imperial Throne of all the Russias, at this time of unprecedented hostilities and civil disturbances. See more
Inspired, as are all our people, by the thought that the welfare of Russia must come above all else, I am firmly resolved to assume supreme power only if such is the will of our great people, who must now by universal suffrage and through their representatives in the Constituent Assembly establish a form of government and new fundamental laws for the Russian State.
Therefore, invoking the benediction of God, I call on all citizens of the Russian State to obey the Provisional Government, set up on the initiative of the State Duma and invested with full power, until such a time as a Constituent Assembly, summoned in the shortest possible delay on the basis of universal, fair, equal and secret elections, shall by its decision of a form of government, express the will of the people.
Nicky should have arrived today from the General Headquarters, but didn’t, and it was not known where the train was, rumours said that it was in Bologoe. All power is concentrated in the Interim Committee, which finds it really hard, considering the strong pressure that it is under from the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.
8 o’clock, we were woken up by heavy traffic, of both passenger and freight cars, that were overcrowded with soldiers who were shooting, mostly, into the air—there were also strong explosions of hand grenades. See more
The soldiers were screaming “Hurrah!” and all the cars were driving around with red flags, and everyone had red ribbons or bows on their chests or in buttonholes. The day went by calmly for us, and no one disturbed us.
I went to the war minister and passed on through Nicky’s apparatus those measures that must be taken immediately as to calm the onset of the revolution, namely the resignation of the whole cabinet, and then entrusting Duke Lvov to chose a new cabinet at his discretion. I added that the answer should be given right now, since time does not wait, every hour is important. The answer was: do not make any changes before I arrive.
The rioting in Petrograd has intensified — about 200 people have been killed on Suvorov Avenue and on Znamensky.
At 12 o'clock I had breakfast, and at 1 o'clock I rode horseback to the Tsarsko-Slavic forest, where they hunted a wolf. The circle was behind the railway, to the left of the road, in the same place where they had hunted before. The wolf broke through the people, they tried to cover it, but despite the fact that riders were cathing the wolf up, they could not cover it because it did not stop.
I am immensely tired.
After lunch someone picked up a balalaika and the choir of the 1st Railway Regiment of His Majesty burst into song – they sang and played remarkably well.
Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich paid a visit to the Emperor and set about convincing him that the army was growing increasingly discontented at his prolonged absence from the Stavka (General Headquarters of the High Command). Following this conversation, the Emperor decided to take off, regarding discontent in the army as a sufficiently serious reason to hasten to the Stavka; at the same time, however, he and the Empress learned of further developments that outraged and disturbed them deeply.
The Emperor informed me that he’d been told by a trustworthy source that the British ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, was playing an active role in the intrigues against Their Majesties, and that he and the Grand Dukes were all but holding meetings on the subject at the embassy. The Emperor spoke of his intention to send a telegram to King George and ask him to forbid the British ambassador from interfering in the domestic politics of Russia; he perceived in all this a desire on the part of Britain to foment revolution in our country, and thereby to leave it in a weaker position once we get to peace negotiations. But as for requesting that Buchanan be recalled, this, in His Majesty’s words, “would be too severe a move”.
We went to the Imperial Porcelain Factory, where we bought a few things.
A rush of blood to the head. Sad thoughts: the Empress is abhorred. I believe danger will come from an unexpected source: Mikhail. His wifeNatalia Sheremetyevskaya, with whom Mikhail Romanov entered into a morganatic marriage, was the daughter of a Moscow lawyer. The marriage with Mikhail was her third. is “very much a member of the intelligentsia”, and, as such, lacks any constraints. She’s already wormed her way through to Maria Pavlovna. Her box at the theatre is teeming with Grand Dukes; they’ll connive together with Maria PavlovnaGrand Duchess Maria Pavlovna was the center of opposition to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of the Romanovs.. She’ll see to it that she’s accepted by the Empress-Mother and the Emperor. I sense that they’re plotting. Poor Misha will, in spite of himself, be implicated in this plot; first he’ll be regent, then he’ll be emperor. They’ll accomplish everything.
After lunch we went to the cinema at the "Modern" to see "Instituka", a comedy starring F. Bertini.
I should like to talk to you about what’s going on, and to ask your advice as to how I ought to proceed. We understand the situation all too well.