A few days ago, I went around the cells in the morning…I was struck by one monster, whom I had encountered many times on the street, For several years, that face has had various associations for me. It turned out that it was Sobeshchansky, an officer in the gendarmes who used to attend executions. Now, in his cell, he is like a pitiful, sick monkey.
I would like to see Mme Sukhomlinova hanged, although the death penalty has been revoked. The others are much better…There were some painful scenes.
Petrograd. David R. Francis, the American Ambassador, issued to the press a long statement explaining the aims of the American Mission: See more
“The communique states that the functions of the mission are to devise, in accord with the Russian Government, effective means to aid Russia in her efforts to defeat the universal enemy of democracy. Germany and the German standpoint are the greatest foes to the democratic ideas now cherished by America and Russia in common. The mission will elucidate to Russia the aims followed by America, making it clear that America is inspired by idealistic motives; also that she is devoting to the struggle all her material resources, the indications of which are the facts that the American fleet is now operating jointly with the Allies fleets; that 10,000,000 Americans are registered, and the economic support which America can lend. Realizing that Russia must not only fight but also live, America will try to reduce the burdens and privations borne by the Russian people. Among the members of the mission is not one person who pursues any personal, financial or commercial aims, or who desires to influence Russian internal affairs.”
In a town as small as Anapa, the revolution should have been felt not only as a tremendous upheaval in the lives of all Russians in general, but also as a complete reshuffling of local relations. See more
“Active figures” who were once falling over one another to acquire the favour of the old government, and to destroy one another with the help of the authorities, are now seeking out new opportunities and connections and using them to fight together.
The government will under no circumstance agree to Ukrainian claims before the Constituent Assembly is convened. The autonomy of the Ukraine is a matter that concerns the entire Russian people. The Provisional Government received its power from all nations, and cannot take responsibility for the dissolution of Russia.
On the road from Tarnopol there were everywhere signs of disorganisation. The artillery of the Guard was seen halted in one village. The guns and horses were distributed without system, just where they happened to be unbuckled. There was no sentry over the guns. I can imagine how the unfortunate officers’ sense of order must suffer. In several places we passed transport wagons, the horses unhitched and tied up without food, while the men slept under a tree. See more
After supper I asked the officer in charge of the Intelligence Section who would do the leading in the coming offensive, the officers or the committees. He said that of course the officers would, and added that the position of the regimental officer is now so desperate that he does not care whether he is killed or not.
The other day, when fraternisation was in progress at the front, some German officers came over, and there was an informal discussion regarding the causes of the war. The Russian and German officers naturally disagreed, and a Russian soldier said he preferred the word of a German officer to that of a Russian. In taking leave, the German officers told the Russians that they “”were “ really’ sorry ” for them, for their “ position was dreadful."
I blame the whole of the Higher Command for the martyrdom the oflicers are now suffering—Guchkov, Alexyeev and all the others. They should have insisted at once on a firm line being drawn to protect the army. There are whole units on this front which only read the Pravda, printed and distributed with German money, and what can one expect from ignorant men poisoned by such stuff ? Other units receive hundreds of copies daily of the Russian paper published by the German General Staff, which makes a speciality of attacks on England.
What can the Russian soldier know of “ Peace without annexations and without contributions ”—the formula produced in Berlin for his special misleading ? Many of them think that “ Anneksiya ” and “ Contributsiya " are two towns, and one of them, when asked if he understood the motto, said that he did not know where “ Anneksiya " was, but that “ Contributsiya ” was “ somewhere in Turkey ! ” He thought of Constantinople!
Everybody trembles before the vile committee of soldiers’ and workers’ deputies. Anarchy is coming to a head. The whole world despises us. The shame of it! I spent yesterday in a very gloomy frame of mind.
We were taken to the 703rd Suramsk Regiment. We drove up to a huge crowd of unarmed people, standing, sitting, and wandering around in a field behind the village. Dressed in tattered rags (their clothes were sold and squandered on drink), barefoot, foul, unkempt, and unwashed, they seemed to have reached the last stage of physical hardening. A division captain with a trembling lower lip and the regiment commander with the face of a condemned man met me. See more
Nobody gave the command for "attention," and none of the soldiers stood up. The nearest ranks approached the cars. My first instinct was to tell off the regiment and turn back. But they might have considered it cowardice. So I entered the crowd.
I spent about an hour among the crowd. My God, what has happened to people, to God’s intelligent creature, to the Russian plowman . . . They’re possessed or demonic, with a confused mind and an obstinate speech devoid of any logic or common sense, and with hysterical cries, spewing blasphemies and painful, vile curses. Everyone we talked to answered us with anger and stupid obstinacy. I remember having a little indignant feeling of the old soldier going somewhere in the background, and it became only an enteral pity for these dirty, dark Russian people who were given so little and that is why not very much would be gotten out of them. I wanted to tell them:
“Whoever’s fault it is, now is not the time to dessert. Us, you, the bourgeoisie, the autocracy—We’re all the same. Give people literacy and a human face, and then socialize, nationalize, and communize, and then the people will follow you.”
It was a wonderful and warm day. From 10 o'clock on I gave Alexis a history lesson, and then we took a good walk in the park. After lunch we chopped down a huge fir tree in about the same place we were yesterday. It was very hot work, and the flies bothered us a lot, I also took a walk until dinner time.