Fraternal greetings. We leave for Petrograd today. Kamenev, Muranov, Stalin.
The most frightful and fantastic types human specimens imaginable have crawled out onto the streets of Petersburg. Where have these people been hiding? One imagines that the gates have been opened to some vast asylum in the slums, in which these people, spurned and rejected by life, once wiled away their miserable lives. While quietly meandering around the city, they give an insuppressible impression of a people struggling to recall some lost memory. See more
They are dirty and in rags, their hunger is visible, yet they do not look like beggars and ask not for money. They proceed silently, carefully, casting disbelieving but curious looks at their fellow citizens. Stopping in front of shop windows, they stare at the articles on sale with the eyes of those who are trying to guess or recall what purpose these things once held. They are frightened by passing cars, just as twenty years ago were frightened fresh arrivals to the city from the villages.
No longing for the past.
From this moment all in the palace are considered in a state of quarantine, and contact with the outside world is forbidden.
I have burnt the letters I received from Lili Dehn. I sat today with Anya.
You know, Aleksei Nikolaevich, your father no longer wants to be the Emperor.
Your majesty should consider himself as if he were arrested.
This morning I asked the Foreign Minister about the announcement in the papers that the Czar had been placed under the arrest. I was informed by His Excellency that this was not strictly accurate. The position was that the Emperor was no longer his liberty, and that a delegation of the Duma and an escort provided by General Alexeieff would accompany him to Tsarskoe Selo. See more
Pointing out to the Minister that the Czar was closely related to our own King and on intimate terms of friendship with him, I urged that I wished to be in a position to reassure His Majesty that the Emperor’s safety would be fully safeguarded. I enquired if the Russian Government would agree to the Czar being accompanied by our Military Representative as a further precaution. I was answered that there was not the slightest need for this and that the Government would much rather it was not done.
His Excellency proceeded to enquire whether we were making any plans for the Czar to stay in England, and when I said not, he declared himself most anxious for His Majesty to leave Russia, and said he would be most glad if our King and Government would invite the Czar to take refuge with them. Should such invitation be made, it should include condition that the Emperor would be kept in England for the remainder of the War. He wishes for an answer to this without avoidable delay.
Sleep for me was impossible. I lay on the mauve couch — her couch—unable to realise that this strange happening was a part of ordinary life. Surely I must be dreaming; surely I should suddenly awake in my own bed at Petrograd, and find that the Revolution and its attendant horrors were only a nightmare! But the sound of coughing in the Empress’s bedroom told me that, alas I it was no dream… See more
She was moving about, unable, like myself, to sleep. The light above the sacred ikon made a luminous pathway between the bedroom and the boudoir, and presently the Empress came back to me, carrying an eiderdown.
“It’s bitterly cold,” she said. “I want you to be comfortable, Lili, so I’ve brought you another quilt.”
She tucked the quilt well round my shoulders, regardless of my protestations, and again bade me good night. The mauve boudoir was flooded with moonlight, which fell directly on the portrait of the Empress’s mother, and on the picture of the Annunciation. Both seemed alive… The sad eyes of the dead woman watched the gradually unfolding tragedy of her daughter’s life, whilst the radiant Virgin, overcome with divine condescension, welcomed the angel who hailed her as blessed among women.
During the last few days a rumour has spread among the mob that "Citizen Romanov" and his wife, "Alexandra the German," are working secretly for a restoration of autocracy, with the connivance of the "moderate" ministers, Lvov, Miliukov, Gutchkov, etc. The Soviet accordingly demanded the immediate arrest of the sovereigns yesterday evening. The Provisional Government yielded to its desires. The same evening four deputies of the Duma, Bublikov, Gribunin, Kalinin and Verschinin, left for G.H.Q. at Mohilev, with instructions to bring the Emperor back with them. See more
As regards the Empress, General Kornilov went to Tsarskoïe-Selo this morning with an escort. On his arrival at the Alexander Palace he was immediately received by the Tsarina who heard the decision of the Provisional Government without remark; all she asked was that she should be left all the servants who are looking after her invalid children---a request which has been granted. The Alexander Palace is now cut off from all communication with outside.
Miliukov is very much upset over the arrest of the Emperor and Empress; he wants the King of England to offer them the hospitality of British territory and even to guarantee their safety; he has therefore begged. Buchanan to wire to London at once and insist on having an answer without a moment's delay.
"It's the last chance of securing these poor unfortunates freedom, and perhaps of saving their lives!" he told us.
Buchanan returned at once to the Embassy to convey Miliukov's suggestion to his Government.
As I was walking along the Millionaïa this afternoon, I saw the Grand Duke Nicholas Michaïlovitch. In civilian dress---the get-up of an old tchinoonik---he was prowling round his palace. He has openly sided with the revolution and is full of optimistic talk. I know him well enough to have no doubt that he is sincere when he says that the collapse of autocracy will now mean the salvation and greatness of Russia; but I do not know whether he will keep his illusions for long and hope he will not lose them as Philippe-Egalité lost his. In any case he has honestly done his best to open the Emperor's eyes to the approaching catastrophe, he actually had the courage some time back to send him the following letter, which was shown to me this morning:
You have often mentioned your determination to continue the war to victory! But do you really think victory is possible in the present state of affairs?
Do you know the situation within the Empire? Are you told the truth? Has anyone pointed out where the root of the evil lies?
You have frequently told me that men were always deceiving you and that the only thing you believed in was the views of your wife. I tell you that the words she utters are the result of clever intrigues and not in accordance with the truth. If you are impotent to rid her of those influences, the least you can do is to be always on your guard against the schemers who use her as their tool. Clear these dark forces out, and you will immediately recover the confidence of your people which you have already half lost.
I have hesitated long before telling you the truth, but I have made up my mind to do so, with encouragement from your mother and two sisters. You are about to witness fresh disturbances, nay, an attempt on your life.
I speak as I do in the interests of your own safety and that of your throne and country.
I was at Moghilev during the day. At 10:15 I signed the farewell notice to the Army. At 10:30 I came to the duty house where I said goodbye to all the ranking staff 121 members and the management. At home I said goodbye to the officers and Cossacks of the Convoy and the Composite (reserve) regiment. My heart almost broke. See more
At 12:00 I went to the railroad car with Mama, I had a short breakfast with her in her suite and remained with her until 4:30. I said goodbye to her, Sandro, Serg;el. Boris and Alexis. They did not allow poor Muloa with me. At 4:45 I left Hoghilev, a touching crowd of people saw us off. Four members of the Duma accompanied me on my journey. We went to Orsha and Vitebsk. The weather was cold and windy. I felt miserably sick and depressed.