The “breach of the revolutionary army”, reported on by the head of the government, “War Minister”, Prince Lvov " ended in treason by the Grenadier Guards. The entire Eleventh Army, abandoning their positions, went running into the rear after them.
The enemy took Tarnopol, threatening the flank and rear of General Kornilov’s neighbouring Eighth Army. The heroic downfall of the shock battalions, made up mostly of officers, turned out to be in vain. “The Democratic Army”, unwilling to shed blood in order to “save revolutionary gains”, fled like a herd of sheep.
I went into the house and gave the order for one of the group of deserters, one of the more insolent, to be singled out. I announced to the division that anybody who crosses the river Zbruch without being ordered to do so will be shot immediately. I then wrote out a personal decree demanding the immediate execution of the deserter. See more
I provisionally told the commander of the division that if my decree was not carried out immediately I would dismiss him from his duties and court martial him for failing to carry out an order. The deserter was shot, and a sign was put up next to the river “Deserter, do not go beyond the river, or you will be shot!” This highly undemocratic measure began to take effect almost immediately: mass desertion has now ceased and we efforts to stabilise our position are going well.
I am no investigator and I have no idea who is most to blame for the vile drama we are witnessing. I have no intention of defending the adventurers and opportunists; all those who try to arouse the dark instincts of the masses are hateful and unpleasant to me, no matter what name they bear, or how much fine service they may have done in the past for Russia. See more
I think German provocation is a possibility, but I must say that the malicious joy some are finding is also slightly dubious. There are some people who talk all the time about freedom and revolution and about their love of these things, and they talk in the smooth manner of merchants who want to sell their goods as profitably as possible. Iin my opinion, however, the chief instigator of the drama was not the followers of Lenin, nor the Germans, nor the provocateurs and counter-revolutionaries, but a more evil and powerful enemy – profound Russian stupidity.
There’s anything you want in the Finland, Vyborg, Tammerfors and other train stations. The old custom remains in force: you pay 3 to 4 marks at the buffet entrance and you can eat whatever you want. Hors d'oeuvre a plenty. Finns are very poorly disposed to Russians. The Finns are kinder. Russian troops are not kicked around. See more
I visited the famous 703rd regiment. All the travelers there are asked: "Are you for or against the offensive?" - If you’re for: "Beat him!" They have a distillery, they distill moonshine. They have women in the trenches.
They constantly go to Vilna. The Germans publish the Russian newspaper "Comrade" there, and it moves in trenches with an obvious note: "Printed in Vilna." Once the command sent four loyal regiments and artillery. The rebels were surrounded, and they surrendered without hesitation, dropping their weapons.
They say there are many former paid police informants among the Bolsheviks. B. is a witness. In general, reinforcements spoil on the shelves. Officers, by their own words, are well, but are discouraged. I remember a captain, who was at the front the entire time, and was wounded four times, and a student, who is feeding his whole family on his salary – confessing to him: "When I talk about the offensive and that I'll go forward, they call me a bourgeois." I want to cry.
There can be no doubt that this so-called counter-revolution – a term which everybody interprets in his own sense – was engineered by the Germans to synchronise with their offensive. The news of what was passing in Petrograd was circulated among the troops at the front by German aeroplanes and by Bolshevik agitators, and the collapse of the Russian Army would never have been so complete but for this. See more
On the other hand, the Russian reverse – serious as it is, more especially from the point of view of the abandonment of heavy artillery, guns and military supplies – has secured for the Government the full support of the Soviet and of the Socialists, who have now given them full powers to put down indiscipline in the army and anarchy at home.
It is always difficult in this country to look far ahead; but in spite of the disastrous news from the front I take a more hopeful view of the situation as a whole than I have for some time past. Though the industrial, economic and financial situations are all serious, there is at last some prospect of orderly Government, even if a little time must elapse before we feel its effects. So long as anarchy reigned supreme one could not expect any real or lasting improvement, but the restoration of order ought to react favourably on all branches of the national life.
It was a little warmer, but the sun was not out. During the morning, as usual, I took a nice walk with my daughters. After breakfast we worked near the Arsenal. We cut down three fir trees and cut up still another tree which had fallen in the grass. I packed some books and then read. During the evening I read aloud.