Not only the boys, but my wife and I as well felt startled in the streets of Petrograd at the sounds of the Russian language and the Russian signs on the walls. We fled the capital ten years ago. Back then, our oldest was just over a year old, and our youngest was born in Vienna.
In Petrograd, there was an enormous but already quite disjointed garrison. Soldiers went by singing revolutionary songs with red ribbons on their chests. It all seemed unreal, like a dream. The trams were packed full of soldiers. On the wider avenues, military drills were still going on. Riflemen went prone, ran for a while, and went prone again. The gigantic beast of war still looms behind the back of the revolution and casts a shadow over it. But the masses already had no faith in the war, and it seems as though the drills continue on just because someone forgot to cancel them. The war has already become an impossibility.
Nowadays, as is obvious, we have already seen the emigration of the propertied classes abroad, specifically to Sweden. With the end of the war this emigration can only increase.
We can criticise our Provisional Government from different points of view, but there is no doubt that it has a highly developed sense of responsibility. It assumed responsibility for the great whole, called Russia, at the most difficult moment of Russian history and is ready to bear this responsibility to the end. It has no self-sufficient love of power, no self-assertion, no dictatorship.
All Governments are concerned with creating a menu, under what freedom sauce to fry in front of the people a different tribe, so that it was both, eaten and free. A menu of an arrested messiah has been revised. Unanimously, it was decided to leave in the menu regions that looked like Siberian prisons (and arrests for those who did not want to eat according to the drawn up menu); to the menu were added words, “freedom of conscience, speech and press.”
Yes, we are living in a disturbing, dangerous time—to this, with gloomy certainty, testify the pogroms in Samara, Minsk, Yuriev, the savage escapades of soldiers at railroad stations and a whole myriad of other instances of debauchery, stupefaction, and impudence. See more
Of course, one should not forget that screams “fatherland in danger” can be induced not only by a feeling of sincere concern, but also by indoctrination as a political tactic.
However, it would be erroneous to think that anarchy is created by political freedom; in my view, freedom has only turned an internal disease—the disease of the spirit—into an epidermal one. Anarchy has been ingrained in us by the monarchical regime, we have inherited this infection from it.
Went to a Central Committee hearing. Got to know the crowd a bit better from up close, observed the Petersburg Committee at work. I also found myself very interested in the adolescents, the working youth. Those kids are all caught up in the movement. Among them were supporters of a range of different parties—Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, SRs and anarchists. See more
The organization has drawn in up to 50 thousand young people, but at first, their movement was rather directionless. I worked with them a bit at one point. The high school students provided a stark contrast to the working youth. They would often march up in a crowd to Kshesinskaya’s house and scream various obscenities at the Bolsheviks’ address. It was clear that someone has been working on them very effectively.
Bernard Shaw was right when he remarked 'how popular socialism would be, if there were no socialists!'
It was a very nice sunny day. I took a walk for almost an hour with Alexis. During the day we again worked on the vegetable garden; to dig up the beds was difficult because of the dampness of the soil after the snow. I read Kuropatkinsky book with interest until dinner and during the evening a French book aloud to the girls.