Now it seems is as if we have climbed out of a shithole, cleaned ourselves up and put on clean underwear. The produced environment allows everyone to sweetly feel himself a ci-ti-zen!
Citizens of the Russian state!
A great thing has happened. The powerful surge of the Russian people has deposed the old regime. A new, free Russia was born. The great transformation concludes long years of struggle. The government believes that the spirit of great patriotism that became apparent in the struggle of the people with the old regime, will inspire our valiant soldiers on the battlefield. The government, in its turn, will go to great lengths to equip our army with all that is necessary in order to conclude the war with victory.
The American press was in a state of utter bewilderment. Journalists, interviewers, reporters, came from all sides to the offices of the Novy Mir. For a time our paper was the centre of interest of the New York press. Telephone-calls from the Socialist newspaper offices and organizations never stopped. See more
"A cablegram has arrived saying that Petrograd has appointed a Guchkov-Miliukoff ministry. What does it mean?"
"That to-morrow there will be a ministry of Miliukoff and Kerensky."
"Is that so? And what next ?"
"Next? We shall be the next."
The leftist press have taken to calling me ironically a "hostage to democracy".
I must say I am keenly disappointed. In my opinion everybody these days should have a single thought—to rush off. Yet people are “waiting” for something!!...
Yesterday I wrote you a postcard on my way back, thinking that you were doubtlessly planning and had decided to go to Berne to see the consul. But you write that you are undecided and want to think it over. See more
Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. What you could and should do immediately in Clarens is to start looking out for pass ports (α) among Russians who would agree to give theirs (without them knowing it’s for me) to enable another per son to leave the country; (β) among Swiss men or women who would give theirs to a Russian.
Oh, if I could only teach sense to these noodles and riffraff!...
You will say, perhaps, that the Germans won’t give a coach. I bet you they will!
I feel awfully sick at heart– what else might happen? Lord, help us! Such cruelty! I feel very ashamed of everything that has happened. It is vital that all this should not affect the course of the war; otherwise, all will be lost. Nicky came to dinner. He stayed until eleven o’clock. Two huge red flags have been hung up above the City Duma right before Nicky’s eyes!
Political prisoners, who suffered at the hands of the anointed Tsarist government, have been released from all prisons and from Siberia. The expectation is that they will be replaced by new, more contemporary prisoners. Or so rumour has it...
I am deeply distressed at the events of the last week. My thoughts are always with you, and I shall always remain your faithful and devoted friend, just as I have always been in the past, as you know.
There has for some time been deep discontent in Russia, of which there have been several manifestations, due to the inefficiency of the Government in the conduct of the War. On Friday, the 9th, some riots, due to the scarcity of food, occurred in the streets of Petrograd. This was, however, the occasion rather than the cause of the Revolution which immediately followed. See more
The soldiers who were commanded to take action against the rioters refused to obey orders, and gave their support to a committee, of which the President of the Duma was the head, which had been suddenly formed for the purpose of preserving order, and the control of the Government passed largely into the hands of this committee. Subsequently a strong Provisional Government was formed, of which Prince Lwoff is the head, and the Proclamation of this Government, as well as that of the Czar announcing his abdication for himself and his son, and that of the Grand Duke Michael, have appeared in the Press, and also the refusal of the latter, while placing his services at the disposal of the new Government, to accept the Throne unless called to it by the voice of the people, expressed in a constituent assembly. So far as our information goes, the Revolution has been brought about with very little bloodshed, and the new Government is receiving the support both of the country as a whole and of the Army and Navy. Our information, however, does not enable us to say that all danger is over, but it is satisfactory to know that the new Government has been formed for the express purpose of carrying on the War with increased vigour.
I have only to add, on behalf of the Government, that they believe that the Russian people will find that liberty is compatible with order, even in revolutionary times, and that free peoples are the best defenders of their own honour and safety.
They are confident that these events, marking as they do an epoch in the world and the first great triumph of the principle for which we entered the War, will result, not in any confusion or slackening in the conduct of the War, but in the even closer and more effective co-operation between the Russian people and its Allies in the cause of human freedom.
On reaching my quarters I found a message to say that the Emperor wanted to see me, or rather that I was wanted at ‘the palace’ at 6 p.m.
I walked down through the gathering darkness and through the gloomy, dirty streets, rendered more sombre by my thoughts as I want along, and there passed through my mind the many happier days when I want to visit the Tsar of all the Russias [sic], who had always received me with that bright and happy smile, which he invariably greeted me with, even when things were not at their best. See more
There were no premonitions about this visit, for I knew full well what was awaiting me now – and that there could be no good news.
Except for a small crowd of loafers outside the entrance gates, there was no one about, and I reached the door of the house, a ray of light from the adjoining General Staff Offices just showing up the muddy path.
At the entrance I was stopped by a sentry with the red band of revolution round his arm. He at first would not hear of my admission, but I explained who I was, and at the same moment the faithful old body-servant of the Emperor appeared and told the sentry to let me pass unhindered.
Each step I took seemed to bring back some memory to me, the stairs along which the little Tsarevitch used to run to bid us good-bye, the ante-room, which used to be full of officers and ministers on official visits, and where we used to gather daily before lunch and dinner, or with a mission, such as that which brought the Field-Marshal’s baton.
The ante-room was empty now and one bracket light only above the piano where I had stood talking to the Empress on the last occasion upon which I saw her.
I had no time for a set or stilted speech, and all I could say when I saw that familiar face again was: ‘I am so sorry’.
I think, indeed I know, he understood.
I walked into the room, being left alone with him.
Apparently everything had been packed up, as the room, which used to be bright with flowers and the photographs and so on on his big table, looked now quite bare.
But he was sitting at the table in his khaki uniform, just as he used to sit when I went to see him.
He looked tired and white, with big black lines under his eyes, but smiled as he shook hands with me, and then asked me to come and sit on the sofa where we could talk.
I asked him if he had been able to sleep, and how the children who were ill at Tsarskoye Selo were getting on.
He told me that he had been able to get a certain amount of sleep, and that the news on the invalids was better. An officer had brought him a letter from the Empress hidden in his tunic. This he said had been a great comfort to him in his anxiety for her and the children.
He said that he had meant to carry out what I had written in my letter to him, but that matters had advanced so quickly, and it was too late. The proposal that the Tsarevitch should take his place with a Regent he could not accept, as he could not bear the separation from his only son, and he knew that the Empress would feel the same.
He was much touched with the offer we had made to accompany him to Tsarskoye Selo, and hoped that he would not have to leave Russia. He did not see that there could be any objection to his going to Crimea, which he hoped would be allowed, and if not, he would sooner go to England than anywhere.
He never referred to any anxiety in regard to his own safety, which was typical of him. The question of his eventual place of asylum is for many and various reasons a difficult one.
He expressed a wish to write to me personally and not through some other channel, and then added that the right thing to do was to support the present Government, as that was the best way to keep Russia in the alliance to conclude the war. On this he laid great stress. He feared the revolution would ruin the armies.
As I prepared to leave he asked me for my photograph, which I sent him tonight, and said he would send me one of his.
As I said ‘good-bye’ in anticipation of the more formal farewell tomorrow, he turned to me and added: ‘Remember, nothing matters but beating Germany’.
I went away sad and depressed, fearing that he has still hopes, though I have none. It was a black night in more senses than one as I walked home.
I lunched at the Embassy, and after lunch was bombarded by officers who wanted to join the British army, first one from the Academy, then three from the Warsaw Lancers, then Madame P.the wife of a friend in the Artillery Department. I had to tell them all that I could do nothing to help them. Madame P said that in the Artillery Department the clerks are trying to elect the chiefs of sections ! The same thing is going on at the Okhta Powder Factory. Men place officers“underarrest” to stand for two hours with drawn swords. Guchkov’s secretary, Khlopitov, told me that an officer had shot himself at the Duma. Another officer in the Preobrajenskis first shot his wife and then shot himself.
During one of my restless nights, I suddenly remembered that the Empress had always kept a diary and that she possessed the diaries of her friend. Princess Orbelliany, which had been bequeathed to her by the Princess. These contained most intimate accounts of various people, and events connected with the Court. I likewise remembered the Empress's sentimental habit of preserving correspondence with associations, and I dreaded the possibility of either letters or diaries falling into the hands of the Revolutionaries. See more
I knew that the worst construction would be placed by the “Sons of Freedom” on anything unusual which these papers might contain. Even the Empress's habit of calling people by pet names might be construed as sensualism or treason!
I hardly dared suggest the wisdom of destroying this personal property, but my devotion triumphed over my nervousness. To my intense surprise, the Empress at once agreed to do as I proposed. It may be argued that I was guilty of the worst Vandalism in persuading the Empress to destroy her diaries and correspondence. I may have been, in an historical and artistic sense — but I was right on the score of friendship. We had already experienced the misconstruction which had been put on one sentence in a letter. What might not be the fate of the contents of the Imperial diaries if they fell into the hands of censorious and “'pure-minded'” Revolutionaries?
Nicholas Romanov, as the Emperor is now styled in official documents and the papers, has asked the Provisional Government for:
(1) A free pass from Mohilev to Tsarskoïe-Selo; (2) Permission to reside at the Alexander Palace until his children have recovered from the measles; (3) a free pass from Tsarskoïe-Selo to Port Romanov on the Murman coast. See more
The government has granted his requests.
Miliukov, who is my authority for this information, presumes that the Emperor intends to ask the King of England for a place of refuge.
"He should lose no time in getting away," I said. "Otherwise, the Soviet extremists might quote some awkward precedents against him."
Miliukov, who is rather of the Rousseau school and, being the soul of kindness himself only too prone to believe in the innate goodness of the human race, does not think that the lives of the sovereigns are in danger. If he wants to see them go it is mainly in order to spare them the sorrows of imprisonment and trial, which would greatly increase the difficulties of the Government. He lays great emphasis on the extraordinary restraint and forbearance displayed by the people during this revolution, the small number of victims, the way in which violence has been quickly followed by moderation, and so forth.
"That's all right," I said; " the mob has soon returned to its natural kindness of heart, because it is not in any great distress and is overwhelmed with the pleasant sensation of freedom. But if there is a famine violence will rage at once."
I quoted Roederer's highly expressive remark in 1792:
"Orators have only to appeal to hunger to conjure up cruelty."
In the morning I was very happy, I received two letters from dear Alix and two letters from Marie. The wife of Captain Kalobkin from the Finnish regiment brought them. I took a walk in the garden. Mama came to breakfast. We sat together until 3 o'clock, I took a walk; again it started snowing. After tea I received Williams. At 8 o'clock I took Mama to the train.