Pressured to do so by the Executive Committee, the Provisional Government has refused to allow Nicholas Romanov to leave for England without the express consent of the Executive Committee. For the moment, he is being kept at Tsarskoe Selo. The Provisional Government and Justice Minister Kerensky guarantee that he won’t be going anywhere. In the future, the question of Nicholas Romanov will be resolved in agreement with the Executive Committee.
Be careful about blocs with the Nachalo people: we are against rapprochement with other parties, are for warning the workers against Chkheidze. Essential! Chkheidze is clearly wobbling: cf. how he is being praised in the Temps of March 22 and in many other papers. We are for the C.C. in Russia, for Pravda, for our Party, for a proletarian militia preparing the way for peace and socialism.
Yesterday I told the Foreign Minister the purport of your message, and today I communicated to him the contents of your telegram of the 22nd about this matter and stressed the point that our invitation was made solely in response to the suggestion of his Government. See more
He was very anxious that this fact should not be made public, because the extreme Left Wing were stirring up opinion against letting the Czar leave Russia. While he was hopeful that this opposition could be surmounted by the Government, they had not yet made final decision. In any case, the Czar could not set out until his children had got over the measles. When I hinted at the question of the Czar’s means I was informed that according to the Foreign Minister’s information he had ample private resources. The financial issue would in any case be handled generously
He was emphatic that in regard to His Majesty’s safety there was no ground at all for anxiety.
It is with sentiments of the most profound satisfaction that the people of Great Britain and of the British Dominions across the seas, have learned that their great Ally Russia now stands with the nations which base their institutions upon responsible Government. See more
Much as we appreciate the loyalty and steadfast co-operation which we have received from the late Emperor and the Armies of Russia during the last two and a half years, yet we believe that the Revolution whereby the Russian people have placed their destinies on the sure foundation of freedom, is the greatest service which they have yet made to the cause for which the Allied peoples have been fighting since August, 1914. It reveals the fundamental truth that this War is at bottom a struggle for popular Government as well as for liberty. It shows that through the War the principle of liberty, which is the only sure safeguard of Peace in the world, has already won one resounding victory. It is the sure promise that the Prussian military autocracy which began the War and which is still the only barrier to Peace will itself before long be overthrown. Freedom is the only warranty of Peace, and I do not doubt that as a result of the establishment of a stable Constitutional Government within their borders the Russian people will be strengthened in their resolve to prosecute this War until the last stronghold of tyranny on the Continent of Europe is destroyed and the free peoples of all lands can unite to secure for themselves and their children the blessings of fraternity and of Peace.
Life at first went on much as usual after the Emperor's return: he always insisted upon reading the daily papers, but the filth of the gutter press sickened and pained him. One evening I happened to come into the library where the Emperor was reading a newspaper: his expression showed that something had seriously displeased him. See more
“Just look here, Lili,” he said, showing me the portraits of the new Cabinet. “Look at these men… Their faces are the real criminal type. And yet I was asked to approve of this Cabinet, and to agree to the Constitution,” he added with a touch of bitterness.
The Soviet has heard that the King of England is offering the Emperor and Empress the hospitality of British territory. At the bidding of the "Maximalists" the Provisional Government has had to pledge its word to keep the fallen sovereigns in Russia. The Soviet has gone further and appointed a commissary to "supervise the detention of the imperial family." See more
Yesterday evening, the Central Committee of the Soviet adopted the following motions:
1. Negotiations with the working-men of the enemy countries to be opened at once;
2. "Systematic fraternization" between Russian and enemy soldiers at the front;
3. Democratization of the army
4. All schemes of conquest to be abandoned.
What a fine time we are in for!
At six o'clock I went to the Marie Palace with my colleagues Buchanan and Carlotti to go through the official recognition of the Provisional Government.
The appearance of the beautiful building which was once presented by Nicholas I to his favourite daughter, the Duchess of Leuchtenburg, and subsequently became the seat of the Council of Empire, has already changed. In the vestibule, where the lackeys, resplendent in their Court livery, used to lounge, unkempt, unwashed soldiers were sprawling over the seats, smoking with an insolent leer. The great marble stair-cases have never been swept since the revolution. Here and there a broken window or the mark of a bullet on a panel showed that there had been hot work on Saint Isaac Square.
No one was there to receive us, though what we were about to do was an act of state.
Then and there I could not help thinking of a ceremony "in the august presence of His Majesty the Emperor." How perfect the arrangements! What pomp and pageantry! What a turn-out of the official hierarchy! If Baron Korff, Grand Master of the Ceremonies, or his acolytes, Tolstoy, Evreïnov and Kurakin, could have seen us at that moment, they would have fainted with shame.
Miliukov came forward; he took us to a room, then another, then a third, not knowing where to stop and groping, for the switch to turn on the light.
"Here we are at last. . . I think this will suit us all right."
He went off to find his colleagues, who came at once. They were all in working dress, carrying their portfolios under their arms.
Following Buchanan and Carlotti, who are senior to me, I made the sacramental declaration:
"I have the honour to tell you, gentlemen, that the Government of the French Republic recognizes in you the Provisional Government of Russia."
I then followed the example of my English and Italian colleagues by addressing a few heartfelt words to the new ministers; I emphasized the necessity of continuing the war to the bitter end.
Miliukov replied with a most reassuring declaration.
His speech was long enough to give me an opportunity of studying these improvised masters of Russia on whose shoulders rests such a terrible burden of responsibility. Patriotism, intelligence and honesty could be read on every face; but they seemed utterly worn out with physical fatigue and anxiety. The task they have undertaken is patently beyond their powers. Heaven grant that they do not collapse under it too soon! One alone among them appeared to be a man of action---the Minister of Justice, Kerensky. He is thirty-five, thin, of medium height, clean shaven; with his bristling hair, waxen complexion and half-closed eyes (through which he darted sharp and uneasy glances) he struck me all the more because he kept apart, standing behind all his colleagues. He is obviously the most original figure of the Provisional Government and seems bound to become its main spring.
One of the most characteristic features of the revolution which has just overthrown tsarism is the immediate and total void created around the threatened sovereigns.
The moment collisions with the mob took place, all the regiments of the Guard, including the magnificent Cossacks of the Escort, betrayed their oath of fealty. Nor has a single Grand Duke risen to defend the sacred person of the monarchs: one of them actually placed his unit at the service of the rebels even before the Emperor's abdication. In fact, with a few exceptions which are all the more creditable, there has been wholesale desertion on the part of the court crowd and all those pridvorny, high officers and dignitaries who, amidst the pomp and pageantry of ceremonies and processions, seemed to be the natural guardians of the throne and the appointed defenders of imperial majesty. Yet many of them were under not only a moral but a military obligation of the strictest sort to rally round their threatened sovereigns at once, devote their lives to their safety and at least to stand by them in their hour of adversity.
This was all brought home to me again when I was dining privately with Madame R----- this evening. By birth or employment all the guests, a dozen or so, held high positions under the vanished regime.
At table the conversations à deux very quickly petered out and a general discussion on the subject of Nicholas II began. In spite of his present misery and the terrifying prospects of his immediate future, the company passed the severest judgments upon all the acts of his reign; he was overwhelmed with a torrent of reproach, for old and recent grievances. And when I expressed regret at seeing him so speedily abandoned by his family, guard and court, Madame R----- fired up:
"But it's he who has abandoned us! He has betrayed us; he has failed in all his obligations, and he alone has made it impossible for us to defend him! Neither his family, nor his guard nor his court has failed him: it is he who has failed all his people!"
The French émigrés talked in exactly the same strain in 1791; they too considered that Louis XVI, having betrayed the royal cause, had only himself to blame for his misfortunes. His arrest, after the flight to Varennes, affected them hardly at all. To one of the exceptions, who was much upset by the occurrence, a Brussels inn keeper made the following remark:
"Don't worry, Sir; this arrest is not such a great misfortune after all. Monsieur le Comte d'Artois certainly looked rather unhappy this morning, but the other gentlemen in his carriage seemed quite pleased."
In the morning I received Benckendorf. I learned from him that we had stayed here long enough. It was a pleasant realization. I continued to burn my letters and papers. Anastasia had an earache, so now she went with the rest of them. From 3 o'clock until 4:30 I walked in the garden with Dolgorukov and worked in the garden. The weather was unpleasant with a wind at about 2 degrees above frost. At 6:45 we went to vespers in the camp church, Alix took her bath before I took mine. I went to see Anna, Lili Dehn and the rest of our friends.
The situation is very difficult and dangerous. The slogan “Down with the War" is an idiotic one in the new conditions. A victory for the Germans is a victory for reactionaries. We oughtn’t to pin our hopes on the troops – ignorant Russian muzhiks togged out in greatcoats, they have no understanding of this moment and won’t come to appreciate its significance anytime soon.