Every day brought more and more alarming news. Nobody knew the exact reasons for this anxiety, but a menacing, stormy atmosphere hung over the capital, and uncertainty increased. It had begun with vague reports, and nobody had been able to decide whether the situation was really serious, or whether these were merely rumours spread by a troubled populace. However, in the first week of February General Halle, Chief of Police of the Fourth District of the "Peterbourgskaia",
whom I knew very well and who had already warned me in January, telephoned me to advise me urgently to leave Petrograd with my son, at least for a short time. According to him, disturbances might break out at any moment in the capital on the occasion of the reopening of the Douma on February 14th. My house, at the beginning of the Kamennostrovsky Prospect, might be in particular danger.
One eminent Russian lady ventured to pen a letter of unprecedented nerve to the Empress. I saw this letter, written in a careless and hasty hand on pages torn out of a notebook. Among other things, she wrote the following: “Leave us, in our eyes you're a foreigner.” Naturally, the Empress was mortally offended.
Globachev has reported on the increasing dissatisfaction with the lack of certain foodstuffs. He warned of the possibility of so-called "bread riots" and excesses of "the most horrible of all the anarchic revolutions." Almost every day his reports speak of strikes. The General warned that there may be an attempt to organize a march to the Tauride Palace and that the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks and the Social-Democrats. are united in this plan.
Two features characterize the internal political situation in Russia today: 1) economic difficulties related to the war. 2) The increasingly deepening standoff between the Tsarist government and the people. Dissatisfaction with the situation in the country is extremely sharp and clearly visible.
Doumergue and General de Castelnau lunched at the embassy very privately to-day.
We conjured up memories of the days just before the war. Doumergue, then President of the Council and Minister for Foreign Affairs, was one of the first who saw, or rather confessed himself obliged to see, the threatening reality. See more
After luncheon, I questioned General de Castelnau about his impressions of his visit to the front and the value of the assistance we may expect from Russia."
"The morale of the men seemed to me excellent," he said, "the men are strong, high-spirited and full of courage; there is a frank, gentle look in their eyes which augurs well. But the High Command is badly organized; armament is totally inadequate and the transport service very defective. What is perhaps even more serious is the poor quality of the tactical instruction. They have not broken away from out-of-date methods; the Russian army is a year behind our armies in the West. It is incapable of carrying through an offensive on a large scale."