The bloody nightmare we have lived in these last three years has deprived us not only of ours senses but even our humanity.
In a woman suffering from hopeless love there is something comic, unworthy. What kind of woman is it who gives up hope? And even the woman who idolizes her man also presents something of a sorry sight. Were Dante and Beatrice to have switched their roles, we would never have had the Divine Comedy.
Forgive me for disturbing you, but I don't know, how we are going to live further. We would live a little bit togetger. Maybe that's a weakness, but if this war continues, I will be able to take revenge on them. I know that I'm calling you into a terrible life, but I can not help calling out, only because of you I'm holding on. I need you as air, without you there is nothing to breathe.
I am deeply concerned by this Russian fickleness, especially at such a fateful moment. I believe it is their exclusively psychological intelligence, their critical irony, which has made their characters so malleable. They take pleasure from strange, difficult and confusing situations, thriving on the risk and romance and enjoying their victories over others, who they mercilessly ridicule and play with like a marionette pulling at strings. See more
The existence of these monsters in the current revolution is its most frightful aspect. Who can say whether they have not already occupied the highest posts of government, and are preparing a monstrous betrayal of their responsibilities. The fact that there remains some possibility of exerting an influence from the outside gives me hope that my worst fears will not come to pass.
The weather is dreadful; the cold penetrates our chambers. We are each apportioned a ration of sugar and firewood. The Tsar pretends not to notice the frightful breaches of discipline committed by the soldiers. When he recently passed a guard the latter remained prostrate and continued smoking. On another occasion, an officer, rather than taking the hand offered to him by the Tsar, stepped away from him. See more
The Tsar then stretched out both his hands and said: “What do you hold against me? Let us forget what has been”.
The officer then put his hands behind his back, saying: “I am a peasant, and I will never forgive you”. The Empress understood this in her own way. She explained the scene as proof of the officer’s modesty, that, being a peasant, he considered himself unworthy to shake the hand of the Tsar.
It is most upsetting to see Lenin’s riotous faction corrupting the revolution. In Petrograd, Kronstadt and some other cities it seems as if civil war has already begun. Separatist regiments are being formed ad hoc and without authorization in Kiev. What nightmares await us if all the nationalities and peoples of Russia will take such steps in pursuit of their “self-determination”!
May I not say that I should like very much to be excused from the necessity of seeing Mr. Bakhmeteff? I would be very much obliged if you would advise me as to whether it is diplomatically necessary that I should in the circumstances. See more
The circumstances are these, as you know: Mr. Bakhmeteff resigned his position as Ambassador from Russia, saying that he had no sympathy whatever with the things that have recently been happening in Russia, whereas I have the greatest sympathy with them. I do not understand that he has formal letters to recall to present and if he has not, I do not see any necessity for my receiving him. I would very much like your advice and the advice of the department.
Since I last wrote we have passed through another crisis, provoked by Miliukoff's note to the Allied Governments on the subject of the war. That note was the result of a compromise between Kerensky's and Miliukoff's supporters. It was accepted and approved by the former in return for the consent of the latter to the communication to the Allies of the Government's proclamation disavowing all ideas of the acquisition of territory by force. Miliukoff has throughout contended that Russia must acquire possession both of Con- stantinople and the Straits, and for this reason, as well as out of regard for the engagements already entered into by Russia with the Allies, has persistently refused to suggest a revision of existing agreements. See more
He held that to communicate to the Allied Governments the proclamation addressed to the Russian people was an indirect way of inviting them to reconsider their agree- ments. There was a regular duel between him and Kerensky, and at one moment his position was so shaken that it almost looked as if he would have to go. The Cadet party, of which he is the leader, came to the rescue and brought pressure to bear on the Govern- ment by threatening that Mihukoff 's resignation would be followed by that of all the other members of the Government who belong to that party.
In the end Miliukoff agreed to communicate the proclamation, while the Government approved his covering note. The latter was couched in language which, if it did not actually contravene the letter of the proclamation, was an unquestionable contravention of its spirit. It raised a perfect storm in the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies, where it was regarded as a revocation of all that had been said in the proclamation. Thursday was a very critical day. In the afternoon a number of regiments marched to the space in front of the Palais Marie, where the Council of Ministers sits, and joined the crowd that had already assembled there to demonstrate against the Government. Cries of ' Down with the Govern- ment,' ' Down with Miliukoff,' were raised, but eventually the troops were persuaded to return to their barracks.
Later in the evening there were counter- demonstrations directed chiefly against Lenin and his adherents, and after several Ministers had addressed the crowd from the balcony of the palace the tide turned in their favour. The Government remained firm, declaring its complete solidarity on the subject of the note ; and the threat that they would resign en bloc and that, if they did so, a new Provisional Government would be formed at Moscow, caused the council to pour .water into their wine. The council, moreover, were aware, as they subsequently admitted, that they .were not themselves strong enough to form an administra-tion, and, on the Government consenting to publish an explanatory communique on the subject of the note, they declared the incident closed. This agreement was only reached on Friday evening, and during the whole of that afternoon the Nevski and adjoining streets were the scenes of demonstrations and counter-demonstra- tions. A collision took place on the Nevski between a pro-Lenin and an anti-Lenin crowd, in which several persons were killed and wounded. Between 9 and 10.30 P.M. I had to go out three times on the balcony of the Embassy to receive ovations and to address crowds who were demonstrating for the Government and the AlHes. During one of them a free fight took place between the supporters of the Government and the Leninites.
All is quiet again now and demonstrations have been forbidden for a couple of days. Miliukoff is naturally much elated at what he terms a great victory for the Government ; but though the Government is no doubt to be congratulated on the result of its con- flict with the council, the latter continues to act as if it were master of the situation.
Since writing the above I have had a conversa- tion with Tereschenko. In reply to a question of mine, he said that he did not share Miliukoff 's view that the result of the recent conflict between the council and the Government was a great victory for the latter. It had been a moral victory, and fortunately it was the opponents and not the supporters of the Government who were responsible for the bloodshed. It had also demonstrated the numerical superiority of those who had sided with the Government. Against this must be set off the vindication by the council of its exclusive right to give orders to the troops. The Government, he told me, .were taking steps to counteract this by increasing the powers of General Korniloff, who is in command of the Petrograd garrison, and he was con- fident that they would eventually become masters of the situation, though they might have to admit into their ranks one or two Socialists. The workmen were getting disgusted with Lenin, and the latter would, he hoped, be arrested at no distant date.
He was, he said, most anxious to see peace negotiations opened with Turkey, and, if Constanti- nople was the only bar to such a peace, he thought that His Majesty's Government might approach the Russian Government with a proposal for its neutraliza- tion. I said that were we to do so we should lay our- selves open to the charge of ill-faith, and under present conditions it would be difficult for either Russia or the Allies to propose a revision of their respective agree- ments. He admitted this, but contended that, with the exercise of a little tact, an exchange of views on the subject of Constantinople might be invited.
To my telegram of the 3rd May, Ribot has replied by asking Albert Thomas and myself to give him our respective opinions.
"Draw up your argument," Albert Thomas said to me; I'll then draw up mine and we'll send them as they are to the Government."
These are my views See more
1. Anarchy is spreading all over Russia and will paralyse her for a long time to come. The quarrel between the Provisional Government and the Soviet shows, by the very length of time it has lasted, that both are important. It is increasingly clear that disgust with the war, abandonment of all the national dreams and a lack of interest in everything save domestic problems are becoming uppermost in the public mind. Cities like Moscow, which a short time past were hot-beds of patriotic feeling, have been contaminated. The revolutionary democracy seems incapable of restoring order in the country and organizing it for the struggle.
2. Ought we to continue to put our trust in Russia and give her more time? No; because even under the most favourable circumstances she will not be in a condition to carry out all her obligations as an ally for many months to come.
3. Sooner or later, the more or less complete paralysis of Russia's effort will compel us to revise the decisions we had all come to on Eastern questions. The sooner the better, as the prolongation of the war involves France in terrible sacrifices of which Russia has not borne her share for a long time past.
4. We must therefore waste no further time but endeavour in all secrecy to find some means of inducing Turkey to propose peace to us. This line of thought necessarily excludes the idea of any reply to the latest note of the Provisional Government, as such a reply would to some extent confirm agreements which have become unrealizable through Russia's fault.
I will now give the views of Albert Thomas:
1. I admit that the situation is difficult and uncertain, but not that it is desperate, as M. Paléologue seems to think.
2. I believe that the best policy is to give the new Russia that confidence we did not refuse to the old.
3. The Government will have to decide about the Eastern policy now put forward by M. Paléologue. I will content myself with the remark that this is not perhaps a well-chosen moment for great new diplomatic combinations in the East. But I have pleasure in observing that, in advising no reply to the Provisional Government's recent note, M. Paléologue himself takes a step in the direction of the revision of agreements. Speaking for myself, I am not opposed to the idea of a strictly secret attempt to induce Turkey to propose peace to us. The only difference between M. Paléologue and myself is that I still believe in the possibility of bringing Russia back into the war by announcing a democratic policy; M. Paléologue thinks that the last chance of attaining that end has gone.
4. Our friendly discussion will put the Government in a better position to view the situation as a whole. I remain of opinion that the policy I suggest is not only the more prudent of the two but more in accordance with things as they are. Nor does it rule out the Turkish scheme; but it strives to bring it about by agreement with the new Russia and not in opposition to her.
During the night it again got worse; during the day squalls came up, but the sun was shining and there was a wet snow. During the morning I took a walk while Alexei played on the Island. Afterwards, I gave him a lesson in geography. During the day we worked on the ponds. Yesterday the ice successfully melted. The evening went as usual.