Terrible intelligence comes from the front; Tarnopol has fallen without a shot, most regiments surrendered, 12 of them have deserted.
Masha said this morning, “You know, there’s a dictatatorship in Russia!” Out of nervousness. Just a month ago I wondered how the bourgeoisie would pull the military and the treasury and the political authorities over to its side; it seemed despite all the laws of history that Russia would, after centuries of autocracy, immediately become a socialist state. See more
But no, history does not yield herself so easily. And thus, with a wave of her hand, she tore power away from the front guard of radical socialism and gave it to the moderate socialists; she will tear it away from the socialists and pass it on to the cadets—it will happen in three weeks at the latest. Everything moves that quickly nowadays. The historical process has been accelerated.
Should we say the Russian Revolution is founded upon the delusion that man is good by nature? Or should we rejoice that the Russian has an unusually clear understanding of natural laws and greater bravery in the face of collective prejudice? See more
Is he right in his desire to avoid outright combat, or is society right in its eagerness to impose its will on him (as it so often does here)?
All official-grade metal weapons and firearms as well as military supplies currently in the hands of the residents of Petrograd and its surrounding territories shall be submitted for use by the army. The organization of this arms collection shall fall to the Ministries of War and Internal Affairs.
1. The counter-revolution has become organised and consolidated, and has actually taken state power into its hands.
2. The leaders of the Soviets and of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik parties, headed by Tsereteli and Chernov, have completely betrayed the cause of the revolution by putting it in the hands of the counter-revolutionaries and by turning themselves, their parties and the Soviets into mere fig-leaves of the counter-revolution. See more
3. All hopes for a peaceful development of the Russian revolution have vanished for good.
4. The party of the working class, without abandoning legal activity, but never for a moment overrating it, must combine legal with illegal work, as it did in 1912-14. Don't let slip a single hour of legal work. But don’t cherish any constitutional or “peaceful” illusions.
Letter to the Foreign Office:
" The events of the past week have, once more, proved the truth of the saying that Russia is a country of surprises. Early on Monday morning I received a telephone message telling me that the four Cadet members of the Government had resigned during the night. See more
Tereschenko and Tseretelli had just returned from Kieff with a draft agreement, which they had negotiated with the Rada for the settlement of the Ukrainian question. The Cadets took exception to it on the ground that the Government would, if they ratified it, be usurping the functions of the Constitutional Assembly. It was not, however, so much considerations of this kind as the fact that they had throughout been in a minority of four that decided them to refuse to assume any further responsibility for measures of which they disapproved.
Tereschenko, whom I saw in the evening, severely criticized their action. They had, he said, put an end to the existence of the Coalition Government at a moment when Russia was faced with dangers, both from within and from without, while they had not sufficient backing in the country to replace that Government themselves. Tereschenko, nevertheless, spoke with confidence about the internal situation, and when I left him at six o'clock had not the slightest suspicion of the storm that was brewing.
The first signs which we saw of it were the reappearance of motor lorries and cars filled with armed soldiers and machine guns as we were about to drive to the islands after dinner. We had only got half-way across the bridge when, finding the road blocked, we turned back and took a short drive along the quay and through the town. On our return to the Embassy at a quarter-past nine we found groups of soldiers in excited conversation, and shortly afterwards a long procession crossed the bridge. It was composed of workmen and of three regiments, all fully armed, with banners bearing the usual inscriptions : ' Down with the Capitalist Ministers,' ' Down with the War,' ' Give us Bread.' Soon afterwards we heard shots at the back of the Embassy, and saw people bolting for safety down the quay.
As Kerensky was leaving that evening for the front, some of the soldiers drove in motors to the Warsaw station with the intention of arresting him, but arrived there after his train had left. Others went to the Palais Marie to arrest Prince Lvoff and his colleagues, who were holding a Cabinet Council there. On being invited to enter and to talk to the Ministers, they thought better of it, fearing that a trap was being laid for them, and contented themselves with requisitioning the Ministers' motors. On Tuesday things looked very black, as several thousand sailors had arrived from Cronstadt. In the afternoon another monster procession crossed the bridge by the Embassy, and rifle and machine gun firing went on in many parts of the town during the rest of the day. About luncheon time Tereschenko telephoned to say that as soon as troops arrived from the front the disorders would be put down with a firm hand, and that as most of the fighting would probably take place near the Embassy, he would feel happier if we were to go away for a few days. This, however, I declined to do.
The position of the Government on that after- noon was a very critical one, and had not the Cossacks and a few loyal regiments come out in time to save them they would have had to capitulate. While we were at dinner the Cossacks charged the Cronstadt sailors, who had gathered in the square adjoining the Embassy, and sent them flying for their lives. The Cossacks then rode back along the quay, but a httle higher up they got caught in a cross-fire. We saw, several riderless horses returning at full gallop, and two Cossacks who were bringing back a prisoner were attacked by some soldiers and all but murdered under our windows. On Tuesday night an order was issued forbidding anyone to go out in the streets after noon on the following day, and all the bridges were either opened or strongly guarded so as to prevent the Bolsheviks crossing over from the other side. A guard, consisting of an officer and ten men, had been placed in the Embassy, and General Knox and Colonel Thornhill also slept in the house.
Wednesday was a more or less quiet day, but at six o'clock on Thursday morning we were woke up by our officer, who begged us to retire to the back of the house. The Government troops, he told us, had been ordered to seize the fortress, which had been occupied by the insurgents, as well as Lenin's headquarters on the other side of the river; and, were the guns of the fortress to be turned on the troops stationed on this side, we should be in the line of fire. A httle later Tereschenko telephoned, placing an apartment in the Ministry at our disposal ; but I did not like to leave the Embassy, while my wife and daughter would not leave me. We spent an exciting morning watching the movements of the troops. A strong guard of soldiers and sailors, with several armoured cars, were stationed by the bridge, while artillery was held in reserve behind the Embassy. An alarm was occasionally sounded, and then a few troops would dash half-way across the bridge, kneeling down and taking such cover as they could find. By one o'clock both the fortress and the villa where Lenin had established his headquarters had surrendered, and, though on Friday night there was again a good deal of firing with machine guns from some river barges, we have had since then a comparatively quiet time.
In the course of conversations which I had with him on Thursday and Friday, Tereschenko told me that Kerensky had telegraphed from the front, saying that he could not continue to work with colleagues, who were constantly temporizing with the extremists instead of putting them down. I said that I quite sympathized with him. The Government had been too weak. The loyal troops, after occupying the offices of the Bolshevist organ, the Pravda, and seizing compro- mising documents, had been ordered to evacuate the premises and to restore the documents; the Cronstadt sailors had been disarmed, but had not been punished; and two of Lenin's lieutenants who had been arrested had been released. I did not know which of the Ministers were opposed to the adoption of stern measures against the promoters of the disorders which had resulted in five hundred casualties, but I was afraid that the Prime Minister was not strong enough to take advantage of this unique opportunity of suppressing anarchy once for all. Tereschenko replied that the opposition had come from the Soviet, but that their eyes had now been opened to the gravity of the situa- tion. There had, he added, been a moment during the recent disorders when many of them might have lost their lives at the hands of the insurgents had not the Government sent troops for their protection."