Every decent child does three things: breaks things; rips open dolls’ stomachs or timepieces to find out what is inside; and torments animals: for instance, by making flies into “elephants” or at least “doggies”. This involves removing the fly’s middle pair of legs (leaving only four) and tearing off its wings. The fly cannot fly away, and runs about on four legs. This is how decent children behave. Good children. I was an odious child.
Unbelievable: do I, deep inside, really support lynching? (For a second, in each particular case.)
Dzerzhinsky's report on the organization and staff of a commission to combat sabotage. Name the commission the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission under the Council of People's Commissars to Combat Counterrevolution and Sabotage. Purpose of the commission: See more
1) Search for and liquidate all counterrevolutionary and sabotage politics and activities throughout Russia, attempting to see that none succeed. 2) Bring to trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal all saboteurs and counterrevolutionaries and develop means to combat them. 3) The commission carries out preparatory investigations insofar as they are necessary for the search. 4) The commission is divided into departments: 1. information. 2. organizational department (for organizing the struggle against counterrevolution in all of Russia), and 3. a sub-department, a department for struggle. The commission structure will be finalized tomorrow. The commission should pay chief attention to the press, sabotage, and other rightist SR sabotage.
The Nobel Prize for 1917 has been awarded to the Swedish “Red Cross”. The award of the international prize for the first time throughout the war has been causing much excitement. The prize will be awarded at an unusually grand and solemn ceremony. The King is expected to attend, and the Orchestra of the National Theatre will play a fanfare. See more
The secretary of the Nobel Institute, Moe will read a paper. As the Nobel Prize for last year has not been awarded, the committee must decide on the other prizes. Various rumours circulated about the coming award. The Pope and King Gustav of Sweden were been named as candidates for the prize.
Fighting has been going on all this time on the Don river between Cossacks and Bolshevik divisions. In Kiev, the Ukrainians have disarmed the Bolsheviks. The Rada is refusing to submit to the Bolshevik government. Raids on wine cellars are continuing in Petrograd. There is a great deal of shooting and a great many drunk people.
When I arrived in Helsinki, the weather was gloomy and rainy...
Arrived at Brest a few minutes past five. At the station were the Chief of Staff, General Hoffmann, with some ten of his suite, also the emissary Rosenberg and Merey with my party. I greeted them on the platform, and after a few words Merey went into the train with me to tell me what had happened during the past few days. On the whole, Merey takes a not unfavourable view of the situation, and believes that, unless something unforeseen crops up, we should succeed within a reasonable time in arranging matters satisfactorily. See more
At six o'clock I went to pay my visit to General Hoffmann; he gave me some interesting details as to the mentality of the Russian delegates, and the nature of the armistice he had so fortunately concluded. I had the impression that the General combined expert knowledge and energy with a good deal of calm and ability, but also not a little Prussian brutality, whereby he had succeeded in persuading the Russians, despite opposition at first, to agree to very favourable terms of truce. A little later, as arranged, Prince Leopold of Bavaria came in, and I had some talk with him on matters of no importance.
We then went to dinner, all together, including the whole staff of nearly 100 persons. The dinner presented one of the most remarkable pictures ever seen. The Prince of Bavaria presided. Next to the Prince sat the leader of the Russian delegation, a Jew called Joffe, recently liberated from Siberia; then came the generals and the other delegates. Apart from this Joffe, the most striking personality in the delegation is the brother-in-law of the Russian Foreign Minister, Trotski, a man named Kameneff, who, likewise liberated from prison during the Revolution, now plays a prominent part. The third delegate is Madame Bizenko, a woman with a comprehensive past. Her husband is a minor official; she herself took an early part in the revolutionary movement. Twelve years ago she murdered General Sacharow, the governor of some Russian city, who had been condemned to death by the Socialists for his energy. She appeared before the general with a petition, holding a revolver under her petticoat. When the general began to read she fired four bullets into his body, killing him on the spot. She was sent to Siberia, where she lived for twelve years, at first in solitary confinement, afterwards under somewhat easier conditions; she also owes her freedom to the Revolution. This remarkable woman learned French and German in Siberia well enough to read them, though she cannot speak them, not knowing how the words should be pronounced. She is the type of the educated Russian proletariat. Extremely quiet and reserved, with a curious determined set of the mouth, and eyes that flare up passionately at times. All that is taking place around her here she seems to regard with indifference. Only when mention is made of the great principles of the International Revolution does she suddenly awake, her whole expression alters; she reminds one of a beast of prey seeing its victim at hand and preparing to fall upon it and rend it.
After dinner I had my first long conversation with Hr. Joffe. His whole theory is based on the idea of establishing the right of self-determination of peoples on the broadest basis throughout the world, and trusting to the peoples thus freed to continue in mutual love. Joffe does not deny that the process would involve civil war throughout the world to begin with, but he believes that such a war, as realising the ideals of humanity, would be justified, and its end worth all it would cost. I contented myself with telling him that he must let Russia give proof that Bolshevism was the way to a happier age; when he had shown this to be so, the rest of the world would be won over to his ideals. But until his theory had been proved by example he would hardly succeed in convincing people generally to adopt his views. We were ready to conclude a general peace without indemnities or annexations, and were thoroughly agreed to leave the development of affairs in Russia thereafter to the judgment of the Russian Government itself. We should also be willing to learn something from Russia, and if his revolution succeeded he would force Europe to follow him, whether we would or not. But meanwhile there was a great deal of scepticism about, and I pointed out to him that we should not ourselves undertake any imitation of the Russian methods, and did not wish for any interference with our own internal affairs: this we must strictly forbid. If he persisted in endeavouring to carry out this Utopian plan of grafting his ideas on ourselves, he had better go back home by the next train, for there could be no question of making peace. Hr. Joffe looked at me in astonishment with his soft eyes, was silent for a while, and then, in a kindly, almost imploring tone that I shall never forget, he said: Still, I hope we may yet be able to raise the revolution in your country too.
We shall hardly need any assistance from the good Joffe, I fancy, in bringing about a revolution among ourselves; the people will manage that, if the Entente persist in refusing to come to terms.
They are strange creatures, these Bolsheviks. They talk of freedom and the reconciliation of the peoples of the world, of peace and unity, and withal they are said to be the most cruel tyrants history has ever known. They are simply exterminating the bourgeoisie, and their arguments are machine guns and the gallows. My talk to-day with Joffe has shown me that these people are not honest, and in falsity surpass all that cunning diplomacy has been accused of, for to oppress decent citizens in this fashion and then talk at the same time of the universal blessing of freedom—it is sheer lying.
The cold went down to 22 degrees with a strong wind which cut the face; it was not a much better condition when I went out in the morning and in the evening. In my study and in the hall with the girls it was very cold, 10 degrees. Therefore, during the day and until night I sat with my Circassian coat wrapped around me. I finished the second volume of General History.