You’re unhappy with the fact that I’ve told you little about the situation here. That’s true enough. But, when it comes to most operations-related matters, matters of army life, or even matters regarding the country at large – matters that could be of interest to you – we must observe the injunction against disclosing military secrets. It’s for this reason that my letters are colourless and insipid. As to letters concerning completely neutral matters – matters of heart and soul – it’s none too pleasant when they’re rifled by the hand of a stranger, and not always a clean hand at that.
The effects of the stimulant which the Allied Conference provided to the Russian Government departments, or at any rate the departmental offices in Petrograd, has already worn off.
The artillery, war-factory and supply and transport departments have fallen back into their old casual and leisurely ways. Our officers and engineers are up against the same dilatory replies, the same dead weight of inactivity and indifference as before. It is enough to make one despair of everything. How I can sympathize with the spur of Ivan the Terrible and the cane of Peter the Great!
I have been assigned a new colonel, who is frightfully thoughtful and dedicated. He will make a pleasant companion and an even better worker.
In the last weeks of cold and dark I stopped working in the evenings and am yet to return to it. Even now it is warmer the lack of light prevents me from finding any pleasure in my work and gives me enough justification to put it aside. My motivation for work has been dulled and supressed. This unbearable waiting to find out what is to come of this world of ours is too much for me. I am considering returning to work in the summer, at that time when one needs to struggle with one’s nature and force oneself to work in the city.
As for science, it seems of late there has been little of novelty and only slow progress.
Our poor hungry cat torments us with its cries for food. But we ourselves are in the same position.
Art's value is determined by its capacity to stride unceasingly ahead. Its most treasured principles must be