The palace is deadly quiet. It is unsettling. And most importantly- his Majesty is not here. It is necessary for his Majesty to return immediately from Stavka.
The sun shines so brightly and I felt such peace and tranquility next to his precious grave! He died to save us.
The first red banner has appeared, a vile rag.
There are no pleasures, only profanity.
At around ten o’clock, reports came from the outskirts of the city that the troops had begun to fire on the crowds.
A company of the Pavlov regiment refused to put down the disturbances, they shot at the mounted police patrol (a policeman and two horses were killed). The battalion commander, Colonel Eksten, was badly wounded in the head.
Told much about the disorders in town (I think over 200,000 people) -- find that one does not keep good order. But I wrote all this yesterday, forgive me, I am foolish. But one ought to arrange card system for bread (as in every country now) as one has it for sugar some time and all are quiet and got enough. Our people are idiots. See more
A poor gendarme officer was killed by the crowd a few other people too. That gaping public does harm, well dressed people, wounded soldiers and so on, koursistki etc. who egg on others. Things were very bad yesterday in town - 120 arrests - 30 people, chief leaders and Lelianov drawn to account for speeches in the city's Duma. The ministers and some right members of the Duma had a council last night to take severe measures and they are full of hope that tomorrow it will be calm, they had intended to set up barricades etc.
Ever, sweet Nicky, your old Sunny
On the third day I left Sevastopol in the morning for Trabzon and, with my usual bad luck, we ran into rather blustery weather, with brisk winds from the NW at times reaching storm levels. With the boat pitching violently on enormous overtaking waves there was only one thing I could do: sleep.
Everyone is extremely worked up and no one has any illusions concerning the success of the revolutionary movement. It seems more likely to imagine that the insurrection will be supressed by the usual combination of police and bayonets. The insurrection itself, at the very least, can already be spoken of as a done deal.
The rioting in Petrograd has intensified — about 200 people have been killed on Suvorov Avenue and on Znamensky.
It was almost three in the morning by the time I got home from the cabinet meeting at Prince Golytsin’s house. The ministers were in a state of great aggravation, and at the same time, clearly suffering from their awareness of the heavy responsibility which they bore for the current situation, seemed despondent, which I found rather dispiriting.
On the 26th, a Sunday, General Halle telephoned me once more to warn me that the situation in the city was very serious, and that I should save what I could from my house before it was too late. He telephoned repeatedly all through the day. Although he still considered the situation very serious, he hoped it might improve "if the abscess burst". His advice to save what could still be saved placed me in a real dilemma. Although I never kept my large diamond jewellery at home, but left it with Faberge, I still had at home a great number of small jewels, not to mention the silver and other precious objects with which my rooms were decorated. What was I to choose? What was I to take away, and where?
I spent the morning with Markozov, whom I interrupted at breakfast at 10 a.m. There is no lack of rye flour in Petrograd. It is true that from the 1st till the 9th only 210 wagon-loads of flour came in, but 100 wagons came in yesterday, and there are now 459,000 puds in store, in addition to quantities estimated at 20,000 puds with the bakers and perhaps 100,000 puds with private consumers. See more
The Food Controller issues 35,000 puds a day to such bakeries as promise to bake, and if this quantity was really baked it would be sufficient for the population. However, there is practically no wheat flour, and there are no oats or hay. We have 60,000 horses. The market price of oats is Rs.9 per pud and of rye flour only Rs.2.80. With fuel at its present price (Rs.40 per sagene instead of Rs.5), the baker’s trade has ceased to be profitable, and the baker prefers to sell the rye flour issued to him. The horseowners buy it and feed their animals on it in lieu of oats. Hence a shortage of baked bread. Owing to the defective system of bread cards, individuals have been able to collect several rations by joining several queues in the day. Hence a still further shortage of baked bread, and workmen who have been at work all day have to go to bed hungry. Hence natural discontent. Markozov thinks that an error was made in fixing the price of grain too low. Hence the peasants have been holding for a rise. Efforts have been made to increase the reward to the agriculturist, but the real desideratum is confidence in the Government and a patriotic sense of duty. It is impossible for the Government to requisition as the grain is scattered in small peasants’farms. It requisitioned from the merchants in 1914, and the latter have since then avoided the accumulation of large stocks. The Government had hitherto refused to hand over the arrangements for the distribution of food to the Municipality, because the latter insisted on nominating representatives of all classes to the distribution committees, and this, the Government maintained, required the passing of a new law ! The Municipality also insisted on buying grain themselves. These two points have now been conceded, and the “ new law ” will be passed as quickly as possible. The question is whether the Municipality, now that everything is in a mess, will be able to restore order from chaos.
When I left Markozov’s house the chauffeur pointed to a huge crowd coming down the street a few hundred yards off—the workmen from one of the outlying factories coming in to demonstrate. We were stopped by troops from returning through the Nevski, but made a wide detour and got home to lunch.
On the 11th the situation suddenly became very critical and the most alarming news arrived without warning. The mob made its way into the centre of the town, and the troops, who had been called in the previous evening, were offering but slight resistance. See more
I heard also that an Imperial ukase had ordered the sittings of the Duma to be suspended, but that, in view of the grave events in progress, the Assembly had disregarded the decree for its prorogation and decided to form an executive committee charged with the duty of restoring order.
The fighting was renewed with greater violence the next morning, and the insurgents managed to secure possession of the arsenal. Towards the evening I was told on the telephone from Petrograd that reserve elements of several regiments of the Guard — e.g., the Paul, Preobrajensky, and other regiments —had made common cause with them. This piece of news absolutely appalled the Czarina. She had been extremely anxious since the previous evening, and realised that the peril was imminent.
She had spent these two days between the rooms of the Grand-Duchesses and that of Alexis Nicolalevitch, who had taken a turn for the worse, but she always did her utmost to conceal her torturing anxiety from the invalids.
General Khabalov, Military Governor of Petrograd, has had the city placarded with the following warning this morning:
"All meetings or gatherings are forbidden. I notify the civil population that I have given the troops fresh authority to use their arms and stop at nothing to maintain order."
PETROGRAD, MARCH 10. Petrograd in distress. A Reuter dispatch says that the Russian government has called a special conference to meet immediately deal with the food problem in the Russian capital, which is said extremity urgent. The members of the conference will include the Premier, the Ministers of War, Communications, Commerce and Agriculture, the Mayor of Petrograd and representatives of the Duma, the Council of the Empire, and the Zemstvo assemblies.