When a bomb falls in a Tolstoy novel, it will, invariably, spin around without exploding for a few seconds in front of the hero, and those seconds, for the hero, as in a dream, last months, years - an entire life.
The bomb of the revolution fell in February 1917, but spun around unexploded, and for the long months that followed, we were living in a dream and waiting for the explosion. Now that the smoke is beginning to clear, we see that everything has been turned on its head - history, literature, man, and glory.
Today the first bands of the Latvian gunmen arrived in Petrograd from the battlefront. Further bands will follow them. These are the forces whom, so the news is leading us to believe, the Bolsheviks intend to rely on in the case of a conflict with the constitutional assembly, for in such an event it would be essential to rout the assembly.
The newspaper “Den’” (‘Day’) turned into “Noch’” (‘Night’) after the first closure; into “Dark Night” after the second; “Midnight” emerged after the third. After the fourth it became “Into the deep night”, and then the door was slammed completely shut. See more
Today the Daily Newspaper of writers was released, and in the afternoon there was a rally. It was a protest against the stifling of the press. Many people spoke: Deych, Peshekhonov, Merezhkovsky, Sologub… Gorky didn’t come, on the grounds of an illness. But in the hall we bumped into him going to Manukhin’s place; he looked gloomy, hostile, dark, but healthy. We made a point of giving him a stern telling off. But I think he’s afraid. Afraid somehow both on the inside and on the outside…
I went to Kaledin, who I'd known for a long time, and had undertaken military service with. The house was empty and quiet. Kaledin was alone in his giant study as if weighed down by an inevitable misery, haggard and exhausted. See more
He hadn't recognized me at first. He was very happy to see me. He summed up the situation for me: there's no authority, no power, the Cossacks had grown ill, just like the rest of Russia. Krylenko is sending punitive expeditions to the Don region. The Black Sea front delivered an ultimatum: "to acknowledge the authority of the Workers' and Peasants' Soviets." A "Donetsky Socialist Republic" is pronounced in the Makeevsky region. The Rostov Military Revolutionary Committee published an appeal calling for an open fight against "the counter-revolutionary Cossaks." But the Don people don't want to fight.
“We are living in a critical time. Today everything was resolved. I see an endless war, and a rapidly “reddening” Europe – or indeed a pure revolution. I am sure that the governments are too weak, too cowardly to put an end to this. And I foresee that a Europe, which is already drowning in blood, will tomorrow go ablaze!
In the night we woke up in a state of horror – a gunshot resounded; it thundered with a reverberating echo beneath us. It was three am. Till the morning, we were half dozing, but also listening. My heart was racing. By morning we woke up. As soon as we got up, Serezha set off into town to find out what this business was all about. See more
It turns out that there had been a pogrom of jewellers, watch shops, primarily European ones; they say that it was sailors. Some vessels and boats are standing in the port – it’s terrifying. The canteen in the boarding school in Darsanovskaia was destroyed by a gunshot. People are saying a lot of terrible things. What will become of us! How are we going to feel at night? It’s nerve-wracking and terrifying. We’ve got closer to our neighbours. The whole of Yalta is anxious. Tomorrow the Tatar squadron is expected. I am afraid lest there might be something between the Russian and Tatar sailors. Oh lord, oh lord, save us.
In six days, we reached Petrograd.