I had discovered, moreover, upon returning from Moscow that I was expecting a child; this, in the circumstances, disturbed me greatly.
Life became every day more unstable, more alarming. The Bolsheviks issued decrees demolishing everything and hastened to carry out their programme. We stood, all of us, at the edge of a precipice, and I especially feared for my father.
Several searches were made in his house in Tsarskoie by members of the local Soviet, men in soldiers' uniforms, with foreign names and alien, un-Russian faces. They looked for and confiscated firearms, which were now prohibited in private homes.
Discovering my father's immense and very valuable wine cellar, the Soviet sent men to destroy it. Throughout an entire night they carried out bottles and smashed them. The wine burst forth in a torrent. The air was saturated with vinous vapours. The whole population came at a run and, paying no heed to the threatening shouts of the Soviet representatives, gathered into pails the snow saturated with wine, drew with cups the flowing rivulets, or drank lying flat on the ground and pressing their lips to the snow. Everybody was drunk—the members of the Soviet who were smashing the bottles and the people surrounding the house. Throughout the night the drunken uproar continued. Shouts and abuse filled the house, the yard, the adjoining streets. No one in the house slept that night; it seemed as if every minute the free debauch would end in some terrible violence, but this time the crowd was too drunk to close in and kill.
I barely escaped another arrest today.
I state that I’m in at the moment, it’s not bios, it’s… an antibiosis, a half-life. I’m tired, as the poets say, with every fiber of my being and every atom of my body. Two months in the city and not a minute of rest; it was only in the countryside that I finally realized just how tired I was, how tense. I’m of no use for anything. See more
And it’s strange – during the first week, when they killed Kerensky under the Gatchina and they’d just started to demolish the Kremlin, I slept restlessly. I ate and slept, I couldn’t even walk. The absence of newspapers and any news was intolerable initially, but immediately became as pleasant as Adam’s ignorance of good and evil. Boredom is such a good thing!
It’s my birthday, which brings me no comfort and nobody else any happiness. At 12 o’ clock they gathered in my room for prayer, which all my siblings came for, including Irina and Felix – he finally arrived during the night. See more
It was so scary to hear his stories about the events in Petersburg, especially about how cruelly they treated the unlucky cadets; they gouged out their eyes, cut off their ears and noses, and then drowned them in the river.
Trotsky has communicated to the Allied military attaches a note asserting that his Government never desired a separate but a general peace, but that it was determined to have peace. It will, the note concluded, be the fault of the Allied Governments if Russia has after all to make a separate peace. See more
I have come to the conclusion that the only thing for us to do is to faire bonne mine a mauvais jeu. Acting on an idea originally suggested by Knox, I have telegraphed to the Foreign Office as follows:
"I share the view, already expressed by General Knox, that the situation here has become so desperate that we must reconsider our attitude.
In my opinion, the only safe course left to us is to give Russia back her word and to tell her people that, realizing how worn out they are by the war and the disorganization inseparable from a great revolution, we leave it to them to decide whether they will purchase peace on Germany's terms or fight on with the Allies, who are determined not to lay down their arms till binding guarantees for the world's peace have been secured. It has always been my one aim and object to keep Russia in the war, but one cannot force an exhausted nation to fight against its will. If anything could tempt Russia to make one more effort, it would be the knowledge that she was perfectly free to act as she pleased, without any pressure from the Allies. There is evidence to show that Germany is trying to make an irreparable breach between us and Russia, so as to pave the way for the German protectorate which she hopes eventually to establish over the latter. For us to hold to our pound of flesh and to insist on Russia fulfilling her obligations, under the 1914 Agreement, is to play Germany's game. Every day that we keep Russia in the war against her will does but embitter her people against us. If we release her from those obligations, the national resentment will turn against Germany if peace is delayed or purchased on too onerous terms. For us it is a matter of life and death to checkmate this latest German move, for a Russo-German Alliance after the war would constitute a perpetual menace to Europe, and more especially to Great Britain.
I am not advocating any transaction with the Bolshevik Government. On the contrary, I believe that the adoption of the course which I have suggested will take the wind out of their sails, as they will no longer be able to reproach the Allies with driving Russian soldiers to the slaughter for their Imperialistic aims."