The Central Committee has delegated me as a representative for the Zimmerwald Conference which is taking place in Stockholm. I am to be gone for a short time, two weeks at the most, but I have no desire to leave. The inevitability of the incoming storm can be felt in the air. My reason for going is to get the left wing of the delegates to recognize the Bolshevik line.
This mission is rather hopeless: the majority, the overwhelming majority of the delegates view “Bolshevism” with mistrust and bewilderment; the sanctity of the February Revolution and Kerensky’s popularity still hold great sway over the minds of our foreign comrades. Bolshevism scares them because of its novelty, its audacity and its revolutionality. To many it seems utopian, and more “sober” and “experienced” politicians perceive the Bolsheviks as childish. “Moreover”, they add, “you are no more than a handful in number. The army, the peasants and the wider working masses will never follow you. They will not understand you”.
On this Tuesday afternoon I really was afraid that the Government would have to capitulate, as they were really at the mercy of the disloyal troops, had the latter had an ounce of courage and been properly led. The Cossacks and a few loyal regiments who came out to protect the Government saved the situation. As it was, Tchernoff, the Socialist Minister of Agriculture, was roughly handled by the disloyal troops and temporarily arrested. See more
While we were at dinner the Cossacks charged the Cronstadt sailors, who had gathered in the square by the Embassy, and sent them flying for their lives. The Cossacks then marched up the quay, but a little later got caught in a cross-fire and suffered heavy losses. We saw several riderless horses returning at full gallop, and a little later two Cossacks who were bringing back a prisoner were attacked by some soldiers under our windows and nearly murdered.
Our troops continue to press forward. Kerensky is with them, trying to keep their martial spirits high. He greets the troops both on foot and mounted; sometimes he uses an automobile, at other times an airplane. His energy is amazing. He is the only man in the ranks of this awful government who has a head on his shoulders and a backbone. Nevertheless, the socialist-Bolsheviks are the real rulers.
Yesterday we lost 3,000 troops and about 30 vehicles. Word of God! The weather became cloudy and warm. After my walk I gave a history lesson to Alexis. We worked out there again and cut down three fir trees. After tea and until dinner I read.
We, artists, are intolerant when it comes to our art: we are factionalists. We also have our BlackHundreders, Octoberists, Cadets, Bolsheviks and so forth. It would seem that the more movements, ways, techniques and forms there are to creativity, the better for art, which must set itself an extremely broad range of goals. After all, art is called to create “the life of the human soul”. See more
Misunderstanding and a failure to communicate create divisions in situations where otherwise people could, perhaps, find common ground. An artists’ union should set up its own studio, which can unite the followers of disparate movements for the joint and practical study of our art from all possible angles and perspectives.