The air in Petrograd is toxic with the fumes of words and the fog of anarchic thought. How easy it is to be a demagogue. How easy it is to whip up the crowd. Leaving Petrograd you realize the danger, the shame, the sadness and madness of it all. One must be brave; one must keep one’s faith.
Almost every day additional newspapers appeared in Moscow, often with the most unusual ideologies, right through to theosophy and anarchism. One paper advocating the latter was printed with the slogan “anarchy is the mother of order”. See more
These brash and more often than not illiterate rags live for a day or two then disappear. The air is filled with the oily smells of typographic paint and black bread. This last rural odor has been brought by the army. The city is filling with soldiers deserting from the front, deaf to Kerensky’s hysterical orders.
It’s Trinity Day. Every decent restaurant is closed. I had a horrible dinner and went to see Filippov for hot chocolate. Suddenly someone calls me. -– It’s Kamenev! Purely by chance. A little of this, a little of that. "Let's go to the Soviet." Today, Minister Kerensky is giving speech and trying to defend himself from the leftwing "attacks." So I went. See more
To describe the halls of the Mariinsky Theater to you, filled with soldiers and workers, a scene covered with curtains in huge colors, the Presidium and the Socialist ministers at the red table, I will not. He is Kerensky, young and slender, with khaki and high boots. Ovation. He speaks in short, hoarse phrases, sincerely, often - dexterously, mostly with a noble emptiness.
It was decided to open the debate at 5 minutes each speaker. Chkheidze states: "Comrade Lunacharsky is in the hall, according to my information, he is one of the very definite critics of the government." He asks for the words. " My 10 minutes I used well, without losing a single word, I destroyed all the arguments of Kerensky. He looked at me while I spoke, squinting, and as if measuring the enemy.
Poor fellow! Theatrical and hysterical, not a sincere democrat, he will probably break his neck in half position. For the bourgeoisie, he and his still huge popularity - the screen and the last position of her defense. It is the last weapon of the imperialists.
The new commander was given a particularly dry and cold welcome at Mogilev. Stern faces, bureaucratic phrases. The first steps taken by Brusilov were small but revealing episodes which yet further darkened our mood. See more
He ignored the honour guard of Georgievtsy, and failed to greet their valiant wounded commander, Colonel Timanovsky, and the officers, instead shaking the hands of the soldiers, the liaison agent, and the orderly, who, from the shock and unexpectedness of such a greeting, one after the other dropped the rifles they had taken for “the guard”.
The entire front was awash with the most desperate propaganda. Meetings are endless. This propaganda, of course, has had its desired effect. Which is hardly surprising: the soldiers have sat tired and hungry for months in the trenches, when someone comes along and says “go home, the land will be yours, the factories will be yours. A new life is beginning”.
Milyukov accuses us of being agents and hirelings of the German government. From this tribune of revolutionary democracy I appeal to those of honesty in the Russian press to broadcast my words: until that time when Milyukov sees fit to take back his words, let his forehead be branded with the stamp of the dishonest slanderer.
It cannot be denied that here, in the Urals, the workers are more ready to take control of their enterprises that they are in any other place. Even last year I was delighted by the extent to which their intellectual abilities have developed, and the particular character of those craftsmen whose ancestors had not experienced the yoke of serfdom.
I spent the next week with the left army of the group, the 8th, in Bukovina. General Kaledin had proved too honest to give way to all the demands of the army committee and had been in consequence removed by General Brusilov. See more
His successor, General Kornilov, had only arrived on May 25th. The general opinion was that the spirit of the army was improving. A patriotic captain of the General Staff, Nyejintsev, was busy trying to organise a storm battalion of volunteers who promised to try to live without politics and “ meetings,” and who " agreed to attack when ordered,” and the idea was to raise eventually one of such battalions in each division, ” to show the way to the other units.”
The idea was good, but what was wanted was rather something behind to drive bad units forward. The time for influence by example had passed.