I don't feel any sense of ownership of my own body.
Esel has been taken; the Germans are preparing to move across to the mainland; the relocation of Petrograd to Moscow is becoming ever more likely and imminent, as anarchy grows ever more widespread; there’s a strike underway in Moscow’s hospitals, and at in the University Catherine Hospital, Professor Popov was carried out in a wheelbarrow. See more
Tables were ordered for the catalogue in the museum; the cabinetmaker messed up and made them a little narrower than necessary; trying to correct his mistake, he made the index card boxes a little narrower as well, without paying due attention to the cards themselves – improvisation truly becoming of an ape. In connection with the German communique about mine trawling around Ösel, I recall that the “chief” of naval counterintelligence assured us that the Germans couldn’t find our mines (!). My spirits are low – lower than they’ve been for a long while.
On Alexis's name day we did not go to church because of the stubbornness of Pankratov, but at 11 o'clock church services were held here. During the morning a fog came in which lasted until one o'clock. For a long time, we stayed out in the fresh air. During the evening Alexis showed us motion pictures.
On the front the Army Committees were always running foul of officers who could not get used to treating their men like human beings.
Russia is in the grips of anarchy, with Petrograd blighted by murders and robberies. There were 77 acts of violence last night alone. A whole family was slaughtered the other day in Lesnoye. The suspects are police officers. Crowds have been raging for the third day in a row and demanding that the suspects be handed over to them. See more
The police are now a true horror in Petrogradians’ eyes. There’s no protection from any quarter. The other day a group of soldiers and some “acquaintances” took a fancy to the boots of a girl they’d encountered on Ligovka Street; wrenching them from her feet, they let her go, now scared out of her wits and shod only in stockings. The weather was foul and wet... there was nobody to intercede. There’s hooliganism at every turn, and there’s no reining it in.
Allied military representatives met at the Minister of War’s house at 9.30 a.m. to hear a summary of the steps proposed to raise the morale of the army.
It is proposed to reduce its strength by the elimination of the older classes from the 10,000,000 it is now supposed to contain to 7,500,000, of which 4,000,000 will be combatants, 500,000 depot troops and 3,000,000 auxiliary services. See more
Storm battalions are to be encouraged. Mounted and dismounted “ militia ” units are to be raised from wounded officers and soldiers to maintain order in the interior. After the elections for the Constituent Assembly which are to take place on November 15th, all political agitation is to be stopped in the army. Committees and Commissaries are to be retained.
Many of the proposals are excellent and others are fantastic. The suggestion to abolish the death penalty drew strong protests from General Niessel, who is quite an orator, and from me. We told the Minister that we considered it quite impossible for commanders deprived of the power of inflicting this penalty to stop a panic.
Verkhovski, finally, very pale and nervous, agreed that no army would fight without it, but he added that if it was found impossible to retain it, we were to understand that it was not his fault.
I saw Tereshchenko at 5.30 for half an hour. There are now 43,000 officers unemployed out of a total of 210,000. One corps in four will be withdrawn from the front line to train. The first corps to be withdrawn under this scheme is the Ilnd Guard. Result—it got hold of vodka in Podolya and is completely out of hand.
Tereshchenko fears that the German operations in the Gulf of Riga are preliminary to an attempt against Petrograd. He bases his idea on the size of the German fleet employed —sixteen dreadnoughts out of twenty-seven. He foresees a landing at Hapsal, the destruction of the Russian Baltic fleet, the sweeping up of the mine-fields with a simultaneous advance along the coast to the capital—an affair by land and sea of one and a half months, or if by sea only of three weeks. He is convinced that Germany has decided to have peace by Christmas, and is now determined to attain a strong strategical position, at whatever risk, before opening up negotiations. Germany had said all along that she would only risk her fleet at the end.
On the other hand, Germany has transferred seven divisions to the Western theatre in the last fortnight, viz., one from Galicia, one from Lake Naroch and no less than five from the Riga front. This proves to me that though she may contemplate a raid, she can hardly intend a considered land-and-sea operation against Petrograd, even taking into consideration the present state of the Russian army.
Tereshchenko acknowledged that a “ big offensive ” was not to be expected from the Russian army next spring. All he hoped for was that it would retain the “ 130 ” divisions now opposite it and “ perhaps draw off more.” (The number of divisions now opposite the Russian army is 121, viz., 85 German and 36 Austrian.)
The more time passes, the better I realize that if a Slavic world is possible, it's only possible as a union of independent and equal Slavic states.
The answer is that I know just enough to know one thing: that a history from the standpoint of a member of the public has not been written. What we call the popular histories should rather be called the anti-popular histories. They are all, nearly without exception, written against the people; and in them the populace is either ignored or elaborately proved to have been wrong.
We, citizens of Petrograd, have every right for condescension. Our city is too troubled.