The Empress sent for me. She visited her daughters. Olga is very weak – her heart has been affected by the constant illnesses from which she has suffered over the last two months. She is very sweet, and Maria, who is in bed still recovering from pleurisy, is charming. The Empress worked, and was in a very kind and docile frame of mind. We didn’t talk about any pressing issues, merely about my own personal affairs. In such a peaceful setting, it is difficult to feel that one is in the middle of such terrible destruction and such grave danger.
The basic question of every revolution is that of state power. Unless this question is understood, there can be no intelligent participation in the revolution, not to speak of guidance of the revolution. The highly remarkable feature of our revolution is that it has brought about a dual power. This fact must be grasped first and foremost: unless it is understood, we cannot advance. We must know how to supplement and amend old “formulas”, for example, those of Bolshevism, for while they have been found to be correct on the whole, their concrete realisation has turned out to bedifferent. Nobody previously thought, or could have thought, of a dual power. See more
What is this dual power? Alongside the Provisional Government, the government of bourgeoisie, another governmenthas arisen, so far weak and incipient, but undoubtedly a government that actually exists and is growing—the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
What is the class composition of this other government? It consists of the proletariat and the peasants (in soldiers’ uniforms). What is the political nature of this government? It is a revolutionary dictatorship, i.e., a power directly based on revolutionary seizure, on the direct initiative of the people from below, and not on a law enacted by a centralised state power. It is an entirely different kind of power from the one that generally exists in the parliamentary bourgeois-democratic republics of the usual type still prevailing in the advanced countries of Europe and America. This circumstance often over looked, often not given enough thought, yet it is the crux of the matter. This power is of the same type as the Paris Commune of 1871.
Organisation, talk talk and more talk. It’s the same with the Soviet of Artistic Organisations and the Educational Committee for the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. Work here, there and everywhere. I haven’t written my article for the magazine and my pieces still aren’t ready, but I think it should all be finished by 8 June. It’s an anxious time, generally. For some reason, the workers of the world are failing to unite. England doesn’t want to end the war. God, when will we see an end to this inhumane war? Can it really be so difficult to say to all these people of different nations “enough”? After all, the Russian people have told the whole world “Enough!”
We completed our journey in the company of a convoy of sailors. When we arrived in Ay-Todor, we were presented with a list of all the things we were not supposed to do by a gentleman with the grand-sounding title “Special Commissar for the Provisional Government”. We were under house arrest and only allowed to move freely within the Ay-Todor-estate, in the few acres between the mountains and the seashore. See more
The commissar was a representative of the Provisional Government, while the sailors were acting on the authority of the local Soviet. These two representatives of revolutionary power were at constant loggerheads with one another. The sailors didn’t trust the commissar, and the commissar looked in horror at the hand-grenades in the belts of the revolutionary sailors. The Provisional Government commissar, who had been a member of the State Duma, and was from a wealthy family, was hoping that the revolutionary storm would soon blow over, the country would go back to normal, and power would remain in the hands of those with similar views to himself. Like all the irresponsible liberals of that time, he had ended up stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, so to speak. With his deep insincerity, he did not for a moment deceive the cynical sailors. They did not conceal their contempt for him, and refused to obey his orders and even refused to stand up when he appeared.
At eleven o'clock to-night Albert Thomas arrived at the Finland Station with an impressive escort of officers and secretaries.
From the same train stepped about a score of famous exiles, who have come from France, England and Switzerland; so the station was decorated with red flags. A dense crowd was massed at all the approaches. Numerous delegations, carrying scarlet banners, were grouped at the entrance of the hall and the "Red Guard," which has replaced the civic police, lined the platform with the finest specimens of apaches, sporting red ties and scarves, of which the municipality can boast. See more
As soon as the train appeared, a storm of cheers burst forth. But the station was badly lit; a clammy and icy fog made the air thick; there was a chaotic accumulation of luggage and boxes all over the place and almost invading the lines, so that the return of the exiles was both triumphal and inauspicious.
Miliukov, Terestchenko and Konovalov went with me to welcome the French mission. After the official salaams, I led Albert Thomas towards my car, to the accompaniment of a general ovation.
This sight, a great contrast to what he had seen in May, 1916, touched him in his revolutionary fibres. His eyes sparkled as he glanced about him. More than once he said to me:
"Now we see the revolution in all its grandeur and beauty!"
At the Hotel de l'Europe, where a suite had been reserved for him, we had a talk. I informed him of all that has happened since he left France; I told him how much worse the situation has become in the last fortnight; I described the dispute that has arisen between Miliukov and Kerensky, and concluded by emphasizing the considerations that in my opinion compel us to support the Minister for Foreign Affairs because he stands for the policy of the Alliance.
Albert Thomas listened carefully and then countered:
"We must be extremely careful not to offend the Russian democracy. The very reason for my coming is to look into all this. We'll resume the conversation to-morrow."
If such a view of Christianity were generally accepted, and if it were enforced by assurance and demonstration from the New Revelation which is coming to us from the other side, then we should have a creed which might unite the churches, which might be reconciled to science, which might defy all attacks, and which might carry the Christian Faith on for an indefinite period. See more
Reason and Faith would at last be reconciled, a nightmare would be lifted from our minds, and spiritual peace would prevail. I do not see such results coming as a sudden conquest or a violent revolution. Rather will it come as a peaceful penetration, as some crude ideas, such as the Eternal Hell idea, have already gently faded away within our own lifetime. It is, however, when the human soul is ploughed and harrowed by suffering that the seeds of truth may be planted, and so some future spiritual harvest will surely rise from the days in which we live.
It was a surprisingly nice spring day. I took a walk in the morning for half an hour. We went to Mass from 2 o'clock until 4:30. We worked and broke up the ice between the two bridges in front of the center house. I read for a long time after tea. Towards evening storm clouds gathered. I was very warm; Alexis took down the winter storm windows.