Acting on the principle that attack is the best defense, we had determined not to let the Russian Foreign Minister speak at all, but to go at him at once with our ultimatum. Trotsky had prepared a long speech, and the effect of our attack was such that he at once appealed for adjournment, urging that the altered state of affairs called for new resolutions.
The removal of the conference to Stockholm would have meant the end of matters for us, for it would have been utterly impossible to keep the Bolsheviks of all countries from putting in an appearance therе, and the very thing we had endeavoured with the utmost of our power to avoid from the start—to have the reins torn from our hands and these elements take the lead—would infallibly have taken place. We must now wait to see what tomorrow brings: either a victory or the final termination of the negotiations.
Trotsky is undoubtedly an interesting, clever fellow, and a very dangerous adversary. He is quite exceptionally gifted as a speaker, with a swiftness and adroitness in retort which I have rarely seen, and has, moreover, all the insolent boldness of his race.
The first immediate goal of the Volunteer army is to repel armed attacks on the Southern and Southeastern regions of Russia. It will be acting together with the Cossacks and the Russian areas resisting the German-Bolshevik oppression, all the people who arrived at the South of Russia to defend to the bitter end the autonomy of the last stronghold of Russian independence.
The Volunteer army also has another goal. The army should become the driving force behind giving Russian people a chance to build a Free Russia... The new army should guard the civil freedoms and the right of the Russian people to express their will through the elected Constituent Assembly.
It is becoming harder to live in Moscow. They are stashing things away in stores. Sugar, white bread have disappeared. You cannot buy anything, even with my kind of money. And here, as luck would have it, I managed to fall in love with one ballerina. The ballerina is talented, but wicked, moody and unbelievably greedy. With great effort, thanks to my name and income, I managed to get for her anything imaginable—perfume, eau de cologne, soap, face powder, chocolate, sweets, pastries. Because I knew the right people I would be given anything. I bought her gold things, fabric for dresses—silk, chiffon, velvet, muslin… She accepted all this as a given, but it was still not enough for her.
Given the debt of the stock company of the Putilov factories to the treasury of the Russian Republic, the Council of People's Commissars decrees: the Russian Republic should assume ownership of the Putilov factories along with all properties of the stock company of the Putilov factories.
The People's Commissar of Trade and Industry will be overseeing the management of factories and business of the aforementioned stock company.
At the beginning of the war, France and Britain had counted heavily upon Russia. Certainly, the Russian effort had been enormous. Nothing had been stinted; everything had been risked. The forward mobilisation of the Imperial Armies and their headlong onslaught upon Germany and Austria may be held to have played an indispensable part in saving France from destruction in the first two months of the war. Thereafter in spite of disasters and slaughters on an unimaginable scale Russia had remained a faithful and mighty ally. For nearly three years she had held on her fronts considerably more than half of the total number of enemy divisions, and she had lost in this struggle nearly as many men killed as all the other allies put together. The victory of Brusilov in 1916 had been of important service to France and still more to Italy; and even as late as the summer of 1917, after the fall of the Czar, the Kerensky Government was still attempting offensives in aid of the common cause. The endurance of Russia as a prime factor, until the United States had entered the war, ranked second only to the defeat of the German submarines as a final turning-point of the struggle.
It was a nice warm overcast day, four degrees. During the morning and during the day I worked at clearing up the firewood on the extension of the hill. After tea we rehearsed our parts. During the evening Alix had a headache.