I’ve just sent you a telegram so that you’d know at the very least that I’m alive. You’ll know all the details already from the newspapers of course, by the time you receive this letter. I’ve had to show solidarity with the Bolsheviks. But… they ignore my advice. True, the movement sprang up spontaneously, but it was nevertheless right in fighting against the partially armed uprisings prompted by the anarchists and the awful state of Petrograd’s underbelly, in keeping with our prior agreement.
You know what happened, how all this overflew the banks. The Black Hundreds, hooligans, provocateurs, anarchists, desperate people; they turned the demonstration increasingly absurd and chaotic. I foresaw it. I warned of this in number of meetings, and recently in the article “Forward” which I sent to you, that the Petrograd proletariat and the revolutionaries in the garrison are dying, having detached from the outdated Russian democracy, and the revolution will surely perish. Now, courage lies in enlightening the masses and keeping them from the excessive pressure, which is relatively light in Petrograd, but fatal overall. What am I to do?
Trotsky and the Bolsheviks agree with each other in words, but in reality, they give way to the chaos. And behind them, I give way too. Maybe a bad experience will make the people look back, or no one will be able stop us ploughing into the abyss. The root of everything, of course, is war.
I really need you. You’d advise me. I have formidable trust in your instincts. You would be my sacred refuge too. Will this letter reach you? When? Will we see each other? Yesterday, death ran rampant through Petersburg.
All morning it rained, but at 2 o'clock the weather cleared up; by evening it had become cool. The day went as usual. In Petrograd, these days, there is much confusion and gunfire. Yesterday a lot of soldiers and sailors from Kronstadt started to go against the Kerensky government. See more
There is utter confusion. But where are the people who could take this confusion in hand and stop the discord and bloodshed. The root of this is in Petrograd and not in all of Russia.
After lunch we went to the cinema—“The Vampires.”
In Petrograd they are restoring order, only about 1000 people were hurt, counting women and children, the Cossacks had 20 killed and 70 wounded.
What stands out in my mind, is a small, fleeting meeting in a choir gallery of the Tavrichesky Palace (by the cafeteria): Vladimir Ilyich, Trotsky, and the one who is writing these lines. “Shouldn’t we try now,” laughing, said Lenin, but immediately added, “no, we cannot take power now, because those on the front are not yet with us. Now, a soldier, deceived by liberals would come and slaughter Petersburg workers.”
Today is St. Sergius memorial day. There was a procession, an annual tradition commemorating the eradication of cholera in 1830. They held a prayer service in front of the main entrance. They brought me there in an armchair. There was a mass of people; lots of soldiers and students. They prayed wholeheartedly like in the old days, despite the revolution, and despite the fact that at that very moment in Petrograd, people were killing each other. I heard that yesterday was a very bad day.
The third day of unrest. Everything that the left called for, they got. Bolshevik hooligans, Germans, they’re all running the show. Today the authorities ordered everyone to stay at home, to give them the opportunity to “clean up Petrograd”. Thank God. Let them clean up. See more
We obediently sit at home and only hear whether anything is happening from each other over the phone. The rain is coming down. It’s always against the crowd. You can’t even say that it’s against the revolution. Who knows where the revolution is now?
Yesterday I was on Tverskaya Street. A huge crowd was chasing away the Bolsheviks with a well-orchestrated whistling. There were shouts from among the soldiers “They’ve been bribed! They want Nicholas II!” “Comrades, shout louder, “Down with the Bolsheviks!””. Cars rushed by, bristling with rifles. The mood was ominous. See more
Suddenly someone shouted out, the crowd, driven wild, began to run, there were furious faces, shouts, people forcing their way into shops, it was like Khodynka Field.
I ran as fast as I could to the completely empty pavement – there was not a single person there – everyone was expecting shooting. I had one feeling only: a horror of being crushed. This all lasted a minute or so. It turned out it was a false alarm. The armed cars of the Bolsheviks were rushing about constantly up and down the lanes between Tverskaya and Nikitskaya Street. The first shot would have decided everything. Moscow, as I saw her yesterday, was wonderful. And politics is perhaps even more passionate than passion itself.