We set out for church. A disgusting red flag fluttered atop the palace tower; word was going around that residents had called for the double-headed eagle to be taken down from the dome, but this action was forestalled. Enormous numbers of deer have been shot in the Menagerie over the last few days, with soldiers from various units taking part in the slaughter of the poor animals. Yesterday, these hunters were rounded up, putting an end, thank God, to this slaughter and hooliganism.
The Provisional Government has resolved:
There exist obligatory monopolies that the state has no right to renounce. One of these is the monopoly on bloodshed. The state says: “Only I have the right to shed blood. All private bloodshed is forbidden.” Just as it says: “I impose a monopoly on the selling of wine. Any home-brewing of alcohol is forbidden.”
If this monopoly is not maintained by state power, then private alcohol production ensues. The Russian Revolution will be long, bloody and cruel.
Here, by the way, outside our windows we have a procession of lemon-blue flags, one hundred-thousand strong; Ukrainians. And with highly expressive banners; “federal republic” and “independence”.
The whole situation in Russia seems topsy-turvy to me. Can a people’s state of the kind currently being advocated here be established in Russia? And what about “democracy” in the bourgeois sense? After all, there’s no bourgeoisie to speak of there! See more
What would Dostoevsky have said and thought about all this? I’ve been devoting a great deal of attention of late to his political and literary texts, investigating his brand of conservatism, his stances on Slavophilia, Westernism and “nihilism”. I find this extremely interesting vis-à-vis my own spiritual-political stance, which falls between nationalism and “nihilism” – that is, between Germanness and Europeanness.
Poor old Russia has really been put through the wringer over the centuries, what with malignant individuals abusing their power, police overreaching their authority, and general lawlessness. A vast, immense, difficult task lies in store for all and sundry – and, in working towards his own advantage, each individual will be working towards everyone else’s.
I called at the office of the Russian Consul-General in New York. By that time the portrait of Czar Nicholas had been removed from the wall, but the heavy atmosphere of a Russian police station under the old regime still hung about the place. After the usual delays and arguments, the Consul-General ordered that papers be issued to me for the passage to Russia. In the British consulate, as well, they told me, when I filled out the questionnaire, that the British authorities would put no obstacles in the way of my return to Russia. Everything was in good order.
I had recently been thinking of giving a luncheon to the Provisional Government, with an idea of getting into more personal touch with its members and giving public proof of our approval.
But before issuing my invitations I thought it prudent to have some of the ministers discreetly sounded on the subject. How thankful I am that I did! See more
P-----, who was commissioned to do the reconnoitring, told me to-day that ministers were much touched by my kindly intentions but they feared they might be misinterpreted in extremist quarters and begged me to leave the matter over for the present.
This detail will suffice to show how timid the Provisional Government is in dealing with the Soviet and how reluctant to commit itself in favour of the Alliance and the war!
I must add that to the glowing and patriotic appeal which the French socialists addressed to their Russian comrades on the 18th March, Kerensky has just replied with a telegram which I hope will cure the "French democracy " of any illusion whatever as to the "Russian democracy's" ideas on the subject of the Alliance and the war.(1)
The Provisional Government have informed the Soviet that, with the approval of Buchanan, they have not given the Emperor the telegram in which King George offers the imperial family the hospitality of British territory.
But the executive committee of the Soviet still has its doubts and has posted "revolutionary" guards at Tsarskoïe-Selo and on the roads leading from it, to prevent any surreptitious abduction of the sovereigns.
As I have no intention of sheltering myself behind any imaginary instructions from home, I may at once state that I accept the full responsibility for our attitude towards the revolution. It was on my advice that His Majesty's Government consistently acted. Needless to say, I never engaged in any revolutionary propaganda, and Mr. Lloyd George had our national interests far too much at heart ever to have authorized me to promote a revolution in Russia in the middle of a world war. See more
It is perfectly true that I did receive at the Embassy the Liberal leaders named by Princess Paley, for it was my duty as Ambassador to keep in touch with the leaders of all parties. I was, moreover, in sympathy wath their aims, and, as already stated, I consulted Rodzianko on the subject of those aims before my final audience with the Emperor. They did not want to provoke a revolution so long as the war lasted. On the contrary, they practised such patience and restraint that the Government regarded the Duma as a negligible quantity and imagined that they could go all lengths. When the revolution came, the Duma sought to control it by giving it the sanction of the only legally constituted organ in the country.
It began to thaw. In the morning Beckendorf and Apraksin were with us; as they left they said goodbye. At 11:00 we went to Mass, Alix got up today. Olga and Tatiana are much better today, but Marie and Anastasia are worse. They have headaches and earaches and are vomiting, I took a short walk and worked in the garden for a while with Dolgorukov. After tea I continued to put my papers in order. In the evening we all gathered together.