Rodzianko, the chairman of the Duma, has become a frequent visitor to our house. Once, catching sight of me, Rodzianko came straight out with a question: “Moscow wants to declare you Emperor, What do you say?” This wasn’t the first time I had heard this. Soon, Admiral Kolchak and Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich came to me and repeated: “The Russian throne has not, in the past, been achieved through inheritance or election. It has been seized.
Take advantage of the opportunity. You know best. Russia cannot exist without a Tsar. But confidence in the Romanov dynasty has been shattered. The people no longer want the Romanovs.” And to think, this proposal springs from a murder. The man who, by killing Rasputin, hoped to save the monarch, is now being encouraged to seize the throne himself!
I went to a concert of works by Scriabin on the second anniversary of his death. And it was a strange thing, I arrived after seeing the second act of “Kitezh” and, after the horrors of the Tatar invasion, Scriabin’s preludes seemed so expressionless to me, so unnecessary and insipid, that I found it unbearably dull and only felt some interest at the end of the concert in the 7th and 9th sonatas.
For me, a rush season of campaigning for peace has begun. I was agitating for Soviet power, for fraternization at the war front, for emancipation and acknowledging women's rights.
I don’t have a clear-eyed view of what is going on, while I have, by the will of fate, been made witness to a great epoch. By the will of fate (and not my own feeble will) I am an artist, that is to say, a witness. Do artists need democracy?
Soldiers in Riga seized the beerhouse. Many got drunk, some even drawned in beer barrels. Two members of the 12-th army were sent to deal with violators but, unfotrunarely, got drunk themselves.
Give the land to the peasants!
The politics of waiting, of deferring adecisions until the Constituent Assembly, the politics of a “temporary” abandonment of expropriation recommended by the Populists, Trudoviks and Mensheviks, the politics of manoeuvring between classes (so as not to offend anybody!) and of shameful inaction See more
- these are not the politics of the revolutionary proletariat! The triumphant march of the revolution will sweep all this away like pointless dross, expedient and profitable only for the enemies of the revolution.
Albert Thomas, in his anxiety to define his standpoint, has sent Ribot a long telegram:
I have raised no objection to M. Paléologue's sending the telegram of yesterday in which he reiterates his belief that Russia will desert us in the near future, and recommends the adoption of a firm attitude. That telegram will be his last. Henceforth I have decided, on my own responsibility, to be the Government's sole source of information and to determine with it the course to be followed. See more
Whatever may be the difficulties---and they are exceedingly formidable---with which the Provisional Government is struggling, and however great the agitation of the anti-annexationist socialists, it seems to me that neither the result of the war nor the fate of the alliance is threatened.
In my view, the actual situation is as follows:
The socialists are requiring the Government, and more. particularly M. Kerensky, to draft a diplomatic note inviting the Allies to revise their war aims in concert. M. Miliukov thinks he cannot yield to this demand. The Government is hesitating between. the two courses. I think I shall be able to offer my services in finding some provisional solution which will prevent the present Government from being shaken or breaking up---a point I consider of the very first importance.
Even if M. Miliukov should not get his own way and the Provisional Government were to propose that we revise the agreements, I earnestly hope that it will be taken calmly. We shall no doubt see some more incidents, and perhaps even disorders. But all who are in touch with the army assure me that a real improvement in the situation is gradually taking place.
With encouragement and action on our side, revolutionary patriotism over here can and must shake itself free. We must not allow an unwise policy to alienate its sympathies from us.
I saw Albert Thomas again to-day. He said to me:
"I've made a point of accurately defining the issues on which our two views are at variance. In a word, what divides us is that you have no faith at all in the merits of the revolutionary forces while I place implicit trust in them."
"I'm ready to admit that among the Latin and Anglo-Saxon nations, revolutionary forces sometimes have an astonishing power of organization and reconstruction. But with the Slav races they can only be disruptive and destructive: they inevitably lead to anarchy."
This evening I dined at Tsarkoïe-Selo with the Grand Duke Paul and Princess Paley. It was purely a family party, including the young Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, Vladimir Paley, and the two girls, Irene and Natalia.
It was the first time I had been in the house since the revolution.
The Grand Duke was wearing a general's uniform, with the St. George's Cross (though without the imperial monogram) but without the shoulder knots of an aide-de-camp. He has preserved his calm and unaffected dignity, but lines of woe are deeply etched upon his haggard face. The Princess was simply trembling with grief and exasperation.
Day by day and hour by hour, we reconstructed together the tragic weeks through which we have just passed.
As we traversed the rooms on our way to lunch, the same thought struck us all simultaneously. We feasted our eyes on all this splendour, the pictures, the tapestries, the profusion of furniture and treasures of art. What was the good of all that now? What would become of all these marvels and glories? With tears in her eyes, the poor Princess said to me:
"Perhaps this house will be taken from us quite soon---and I've put so much of myself into it!
For the remainder of the evening we were exceedingly depressed; the Grand Duke and his wife are no less pessimistic than myself.
The Princess told me that as she was passing the railings of the Alexander Park yesterday she had a distant glimpse of the Emperor and his daughters. He was passing the time by breaking the ice in a fountain with an iron-shod pole. He had been amusing himself thus for more than an hour! A number of soldiers who were also watching him through the railings, called out: "What'll you be up to a few days hence, when the ice has melted?" But the Emperor was too far away to hear.
The Grand Duke also told me something:
"The confinement of our unhappy sovereigns has become so rigorous that we know practically nothing of what they are thinking and doing. But last week I had a talk about them with Father Vassiliev, who had just been taking the Easter services in the palace chapel. He told me that he had been left alone with the Emperor several times to carry out his religious duties, and that at first he had found him extremely melancholy and dejected: he spoke in low tones and seemed to be picking his words. But after communion on Holy Thursday, the dear Emperor suddenly recovered his spirits, and two days later his new mood inspired a very touching little scene! No doubt you know that after the Resurrection mass on Easter Eve, all true believers embrace each other to the accompaniment of the words: 'Christ is risen!' That night the officer on duty and several men of the guard had quietly followed the imperial family into the palace chapel. When mass was over, the Emperor went up to these men, who had kept to themselves, and disdaining to regard them now as anything but Christian brothers, he gave them all a reverent kiss on the mouth."
I started back for Petrograd at ten o'clock.
Temperature of the air was wintery, together with rain and wet snow, I took a walk for 3/4 of an hour. During the day on my walk none of the children were with me, for fear of catching a cold. After tea, I examined all my boots and threw away the old land useless ones. In the evening I began to read aloud the book by A. C. Doyle, The Valley of Fear, to the children.
What is regarded by officials of the Washington Government as a most important promise of support to the new Russian Government is contained in a telegram that has been sent to M. Milukoff, the Russian Foreign Minister, by Louis Marshall, Henry Morgenthau, Jacob H. Schiff, Oscar S. Straus, and Julius Rosenwald, representing the American Jewish Committee. See more
The telegram, which was made public textually by the State Department today, expresses the alarm felt by American Jews over reports that Russia might make a separate peace. It reads:
“A separate peace may, in our opinion, lead to the ultimate restoration of an autocratic government, and the degradation of the Russian Jews below even their former deplorable condition. We are confident Russian Jewry are ready for the greatest sacrifices in support of the present democratic Government as the only hope for the future of Russia and all its people. American Jewry holds itself ready to co-operate with its Russian brethren in this great movement”.