I did not set off for Petrograd, but stayed here, in view of the events that have taken place. However, yesterday I received another telegram from Aksarin from the People’s House and a letter from Wolkestein, reassuring me completely and inviting me to come to Petersburg without delay. Things are quiet there, and there is food on sale, although it is very expensive.
So I have decided to go to Petrograd after all, while I still have the possibility of working, in order to earn what I can. Who knows what will happen - perhaps in the future, the theatres will not be open at all, or there’ll be a fuel shortage, or the Germans will start to close in, but for now, I should perform. I hear from the letters that people are flocking to the theatres, and business is booming.
I’m not going to discuss affairs in Russia as it is too painful and shameful, but we will put our trust in God, and in those people who have not lost their conscience entirely.
We will hope that all that happens is for the best.
Lvov, whom I saw once or twice at sessions of the Council of Ministers during my time as Commander in Chief of the Petrograd Military District, came to me; I knew he was a member of the State Duma and Chief Procurator of the Synod. Lvov announced to me, on behalf of Kerensky, that if I believe his (Kerensky’s) further involvement in running the country will not give the regime the strength and resolution needed, then Kerensky is prepared to leave the government. See more
If he can count on my support, then he is prepared to carry on his work. Lvov asked me to give him my opinion on Kerensky’s suggestion, and to set out a programme. After outlining to him general position of the country and the army, I announced that the only way to rescue the country from the present grievous situation would be to re-establish a dictatorship and to declare a state of emergency in the country immediately.
I announced that I personally do not aspire to power and that I was ready to immediately submit to whoever would receive dictatorial authority. Lvov has declared that such an outcome could not be discounted, that, given the hard circumstances of the country, the Provisional Government, in its present form, would itself reach a realization of the necessity of establishing a dictatorship and, quite certainly, would offer me the responsibilities of a dictator. I declared that if this had happened, that I, having always been of the opinion that only firm power could save the country, would not decline the offer.
I asked him to let Kerensky know that, according to my knowledge, they were preparing a Bolshevik demonstration in Petrograd, in the nearest days, and that an assassination attempt on Kerensky was being planned, that’s why I asked Kerensky to come to General Headquarters in order to reach a final agreement; I asked to tell him that I guaranteed his safety at the General Headquarters with my word.
I arrived in London on the morning of August 30th, and reported on the following day to the Directors of Military Intelligence and of Military Operations, but only appeared before the War Cabinet a week later—on Friday, September 7th. See more
Asked to make a statement on the situation in Russia, I said that there was grave danger of a separate peace and urged that a joint note should be sent by the Allies to the Russian Government, expressing sympathy with Russia’s difficulties, but pointing out that events in Russia since the Revolution had not only prolonged the war by a twelvemonth, but threatened, by bringing a German victory within the bounds of possibility, to put back the progress of democracy throughout the world for a whole generation. I asked that the name of General Kornilov should be mentioned, and that Kerenski should be asked tactfully to give him a free hand to re-establish discipline in the army.
The Prime Minister and Lord Curzon were absent. While the proposal was being discussed, the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary came in to say that Mr. Lloyd George had made a speech on Russia at Birkenhead, and the consideration of the note was postponed till the receipt of the text of the speech.
The weather was warm, with a strong eastern breeze. My walk in the garden was incredibly boring; here I feel much more strongly in seclusion, than it was in Tsarskoe Selo. I worked in the flower beds. During the evening it rained.