Telegram. Stavka. 1 June, 1916.
Hearty thanks for dear letters and telegram. Dreary, wet weather.
Good news. I kiss you fondly.
NOTES: "Good news." During the fighting at Lokachi and Kolki in the Lutsk sector 31.000 prisoners were claimed.
Stavka. 1 June, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING SUNNY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter. Benckendorf has come in
just at this moment, and has brought me a letter from Miechen. She is staying
(literally, sitting) at Minsk, and has sent Etter with this letter and with
the Pologenie concerning the Organisation of her institutions. I sent Etter
to Alexelev, because this is too serious a matter to be sanctioned with one
stroke of the pen ! Thank God that she has not put in an appearance in person !
Owing to hurry, I forgot to mention, last time, our visit to
Pourishkevitch's train. It is not a hospital train - it consists of 3
carriages, with a library for officers and men and a field medical store,
very well fitted out, and calculated to serve three army corps. He dined with
us, and told us many details of interest.
Wonderful energy and a remarkable organiser! This train has no
sisters, only men. I inspected the train when it stood at our platform, where
I had inspected the troops which were going to the South.
If the Guards should be moved it will be only in order to bring them
a little nearer to the front. The whole of the cavalry has already moved to
the West to replace the 7th Cavalry Corps, which is attacking. The weather
changes continually-to-day it is colder and is raining.
My own girl, I long for you so much - it is already more than a
fortnight since we parted! God guard you all! I kiss you and the girls
NOTES: Miechen: the Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, widow of the Tsar's uncle, the Grand Duke Vladimir. She was the daughter of the Duke of Mecklenberg-Schwerin. ETTER: A. S. von Etter, an Equerry and Councillor of State, in the service of the Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna.-Pologenie: a draft scheme for regulations or statutes. POURTSUKEVITCH: V. Al. Pourishkevitch. an excitable but highly intelligent member of the Duma. He belonged to the group of the Independent Right. His name will be preserved in history as that of the man who organised the murder of Rasputin and who played the decisive part in the murder itself.
Stavka. 2 June, 1916
Sincerest thanks for dear letters. It is very warm. At times it
pours. with rain ! Give her our greetings. Both kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 2 June, 1916.
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter No. 506 (only think, what a big number!). Every evening, before saying prayers with our Ray of Sunshine, I tell him the contents of your telegrams, and read all his letters aloud to him (i.e., the letters received by Alexis). He listens, lying in bed, and kisses your signature. He is beginning to be talkative, and inquires about many things, because we are alone; sometimes, when it is already getting late, I have to urge him to say his prayers. He sleeps well and quietly, and likes the window to be left open. The noise in the streets does not disturb him.
I send you several of the last photographs. - The first shows the arrival of the miracle-working Ikon, the other the Te Deum under the pouring rain. Choose the one you like best!
I received Bark yesterday; he is working out the railway loan in which you are interested. In a week's time he is going to England and France.
To-morrow I shall receive Mamantov, after which, I hope, the influx of people who come here to try my patience will temporarily cease.
I have less time for reading since the coming of the spring, because we spend much more time in the open air-usually from 3 to 6 o'clock; when we return home we drink tea, and Baby has his dinner.
Now, my joy, it is time to finish. God guard you and the girls ! I kiss your dear little face and love you ardently. Eternally, Wify mine, all yours
Stavka. 3 June 1916
MY OWN DARLING,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter No. 508. What a joy it is, on my return from the Report, to find on the table an envelope bearing your beloved writing ! I run with it into the garden after lunch, and quietly enjoy your letter all by myself. To-day a band is playing in our neighbourhood in the public gardens. It gave everybody great pleasure listening to the music during lunch - they are playing still, and crowds of people are listening. I ordered the commander of the local regiment to march through the town with the band - it has such a heartening effect! They have already passed several times.
I have heard nothing about the wounding of Zborovsky; I only know that their division has not been moved anywhere. I shall surprise you by what I am going to say now: our front (line) railways have been working much more effectively during the last weeks.
The transport of troops from North to South was accomplished much quicker, and with better order, than formerly. The transporting of one army corps usually took about a fortnight; whereas each corps was recently transported within a week or six days! So that yesterday I addressed a few amiable words to Rongin and his subordinates! One must be just.
My beloved angel! How I long for you, thirst to see you, to kiss you and to talk to you!
I feel that I shall soon ask you to come here for a few days, to enliven us all with your charming presence. God keep you and the girls! I press you tenderly to my breast and cover you with countless kisses, my dear old Wify.
Stavka. 4 June, 1916.
I am very grateful for dear letters and delightful photograph. Horrible weather, cold, rain. The news is good. Both kiss you fondly.
MY BELOVED SUNNY,
Stavka. 4 June, 1916
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter and charming photographs. Please thank Tatiana, Marie and Ania also. I was delighted to get such a number of photographs, and I look at them with pleasure. Only I have nothing to stick them on with. Do not be afraid of Miechen and her pretentions. Alexeiev received Etter very coldly, and has kept the papers which I received from her. I enclose her letter, which you may tear up. She sent me this Pologenie of all her institutions. If you should find that this is a matter for the Verkh. Sov., then I shall send them to you. Alexeiev says that it is a question which concerns the Red Cross also, although it concerns the military authorities in a still greater degree.
You ask whether I will receive Prof. Rhein; in my opinion it is not worth doing.-I know beforehand all that he has to say to me. Alek asked me to postpone this till the end of the war, and I agreed. I cannot change my mind every two months - that is simply unthinkable!
Yesterday Colonel Kireiev (of the Escort) informed me that Vict. Er. is seriously wounded in the leg, that one of the young officers is slightly wounded, and that young Shvedov has fallen ill with typhus, so that there is not one officer left in the sotnia at present!
I cannot make out whether they were with Keller, or alone.
It is time for me to finish. God guard you, my sweet Wify! I send you my heartfelt congratulations on Anastasia's birthday.
I kiss you tenderly,
NOTES: Verkh. Sov.: Verkhovny Soviet, the Supreme Council. Rhein: Professor G. Y. Rhein, a Privy Councillor and Honorary Surgeon to the Court. In September 1916 he was at the head of the Public Health Department. VICT. ER.: Victor Erastovitch Zborovsky, a lieutenant in the Imperial Convoy.-Sotnia: a Cossack unit, literally " hundred," equivalent to a squadron.
Stavka, 5 June, 1916.
I congratulate you on the day. Warmest thanks for dear letters and
telegram. Chernovitzi was taken to-day. Our troops are pursuing the enemy. Am
very happy. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 5 June, xo16.
I thank you tenderly for dear letter. I have received Grabbe, and he has given me all your messages. I have absolutely no time for writing; it is such a nuisance !
Some days ago Alexeiev and I decided not to attack in the North, but to concentrate all our efforts a little more to the South.-But I beg you not to tell anybody about it, not even our Friend. Nobody must know about it. Even the troops stationed in the North continue to think that they will soon take part in an offensive-and this keeps up their spirit. Demonstrations of a very pronounced kind, even, will be continued to be made here for the same purpose.We are sending strong reinforcements to the South. Broussilov is calm and firm.
Yesterday, to my great surprise, I found in our little garden two bushes of white acacia in bloom-I send you a few flowers.
The weather is a little warmer and finer. Yes, I had quite forgotten to congratulate you on Anastasia's birthday.
May God guard you, my angel, and the girls ! I cover your dear little face with ardent kisses.
NOTES: Not to attack in the North." The following quotation from Ludendorff is of special interest: "Russia's amazing victories over the Austro-Hungarian troops induced her to abandon her proposed offensive against the front of the Commander-in-Chief in the East, except for the move in the direction of Baranovitchi, and concentrate all her efforts against Austria-Hungary. The more the German front proved itself inviolable, the more eagerly did the Russians turn from it to hurl themselves against their weaker foe" (p. 220).
Stavka. 6 June, 1916.
My heartfelt thanks for dear letter. The weather has cleared up to-day, but the air is more reminiscent of autumn than of the month of June. We went for a drive on the new road, and crossed the river by the beautiful new bridge near the little village of Dashkovka, 15 versts to the south of Mogilev. I took a little turn (on foot), and, of course, we were soaked by an unexpected downpour. Baby crept into one of the cars and kept dry. He always carries his little gun with him, and walks by the hour backwards and forwards on a certain path.
I began writing in the morning-now, after lunch, it has become warmer. Your Siberians, and the whole of the 6th Siberian Rifle Division, bore themselves heroically, and held all their positions against strong German attacks. They will receive reinforcements in two days' time, and, I hope, the new attack on Kovel will begin. If you look at the map you will understand why it is important for us to reach that Point, and why the Germans help the Austrians to resist our forward movement with all their might.
Voeikov came back to-day from his estate, very satisfied with what he saw and heard in Moscow concerning our victory.
My dear, I love you and long for you desperately. I have seldom longed for you as much as I do now, in spite of having the Ray of Sunshine with me-probably it is after our last journey together. God guard you and the girls, my dear!
Thank A. for her good photograph.
1000 kisses from
Your old loving
NOTES: "If you look at the map." Kovel is an important junction on the line midway between Brest-Litovsk and Rovno
Slavka. 6 June, 1916.
I thank you warmly for your dear letters, A. for her photograph. The weather is much better, warmer; I rowed down the river. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 7 June, 1916
MY OWN SUNNY,
I thank you heartily for your dear letter and for the paste.
As we used to paste photographs into albums in former days when on the yacht, during rain. so I shall do now in bad weather.
After yesterday's lovely weather it started pouring with rain early this morning, and has not ceased till now. It is so dreary I I told Alexeiev how interested you were in military affairs, and of those details which you asked for in your last letter, No. 511. He smiled and listened silently. Of course, these things have been, and are, taken into consideration; our pursuit will end on the river Souchava; all the narrow and broad gauge railways are being put right, and new ones are being constructed immediately behind our troops. Do not be surprised if a temporary lull now occurs in the military operations. Our troops will not move there until new reinforcements have come up and a diversion has been made near Pinsk. I beg you, keep it to yourself ; not a single soul must know of it !
Taking all these circumstances into consideration, I come to the conclusion that I shall have to stay here for an indefinite period. I have therefore given Voeikov orders to send my train home for repairs, which it is in great need of. The Ikon of the Vlad. Mother of God returned from the front yesterday. The old priest who came with it from Moscow is delighted with the troops he saw, and with their spirit.
God bless you! I embrace you passionately and cover your dear little face with ardent kisses, my dear little Wify. Yours eternally
NOTES: "I told Alexeiev how interested you were." Alexeiev's attitude towards the Tsaritsa, always irreproachably courteous, but firm and reserved, may be gathered from a statement which he made to General Denikin : " When the Empress's papers were examined (in the spring of 19171 she was found to be in possession of a map indicating in detail the dispositions of the troops along the entire front. Only two copies were prepared of this map, one for the Emperor and one for myself. I was very painfully impressed. God knows who may have made use of this map" (Denikin, P. 20). Alexeiev is said to have opposed the Tsaritsa's suggestion that Rasputin should visit the Stavka, and even to have threatened resignation if such a visit took place.
"Narrow and broad gauge railways." For strategical reasons the Russians had retained the broad gauge. But although this Prevented the invader from making immediate use of the Russian railways, it also prevented the Russians themselves from making use of captured rolling-stock and from sending their own trains into the enemy's territory.
Stavka. 8 June, 1916.
Benckendorf is leaving to-day. He very much wants to take a letter for you, so I am sending you this postcard and a sprig of acacia. To-day is the anniversary of my arrival at Walton-on-T. in 1894. How far removed all this seems! With tender and passionate love.
NOTES: "Walton-on-T." Walton-on-Thames. The Tsar (then Tsarevitch) arrived at Gravesend on 20th June, 1894, and left the same day by special train for Walton, where he was the guest of Prince Louis of Battenberg. He came by sea in the "Polar Star" from Kronstadt, and, to ensure his safety, a new department of the Civil Service was created by his father, Alexander III. Princess Alix or Alexandra of Hesse, then betrothed to Nicholas, came from Harrogate to stay with her sister, Princess Louise of Battenberg, at Walton. On the 24th the betrothed couple arrived at Windsor Castle as the guests of Queen Victoria. The Tsarevitch left England on 24th. July.
Stavka. 9 June, 1916.
Yesterday I had so much work to do that I had no time to write you a proper letter. To-day I shall be busy too, as I must receive old Koulomzin, Markov, the Minister of Finnish Affairs, and General Stakhovitch.-This will occupy all my time before dinner, and in the evening I shall have to look hastily through all my papers, as usual, and go to bed late. Last night I went to bed as late as 2 o'clock.
I have telegraphed through to Silaiev, asking him to continue his course of treatment, as he has plenty of time for it.
The Germans are bringing up more and more troops to Kovel, as I had, as a matter of fact, expected; and now most bloody battles are raging there. All available troops are being sent to Broussilov, in order to give him as many reinforcements as possible. This damnable question of ammunition for the heavy artillery is beginning to make itself felt again. All Everth's and Kouropatkin's reserves had to be sent there; this, in conjunction with the transporting of troops, greatly complicates the work of our railways and of the Staff. But God is merciful, and I hope that in a few days or a week's time this critical phase will have passed !
The weather is quite incomprehensible-one day is lovely, and the next it pours with rain. The train came in late, hence your letter has only just been brought to me. I thank you tenderly, my beloved, my darling Wify.
God guard you I I kiss you tenderly.
Always all yours
NOTES: KOULOWIN: A. N. Koulomzin, Secretary of State and President of the Council from July 1915 to January 1917. He was President of the "Romanov Committee" and a member of the department which looked after the families of men who were absent on service. MARKOV: Lt.-General V. I. Markov, Secretary of State for the Grand Duchy of Finland. STAKHOVITCH: General A. P. Stakhovitch, formerly commander of His Majesty's Own (Life-Guard) Uhlans. He had held various military appointments, and in 1915 was appointed Director of the State Horse Breeding Department.
Stavka. 9 June, 1916.
I am very grateful for your letters and photographs. The sun seldom breaks through; it drizzles. The news is good. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 10 June, 1916.
MY SWEET DARLING,
I thank you much for your letter. There was again no time for writing to you. I received the old Persian Prince, Zilli Sultan, who is returning to his country. He is the late Shah's brother, to whom we gave a reception in Peterhof.-Alexey sat next to-his son and talked to him in
French all the time. God keep you, my dear Sunny! I kiss you and love you passionately and tenderly. Eternally your
Stavka. 10 June, 1916.
Many thanks. To-day I received the old Persian Prince with his son. I had tea with George in the little summerhouse near the road. Fine weather. The rain has ceased. I kiss you tenderly.
NOTES: "Summer-house "-dacha: a lightly constructed summer residence. Those who were unable to maintain a dacha of their own used to hire one for the summer months. These houses ranged from mere huts or bungalows to handsome wooden buildings.
Stavka. 11 June, 1916,
Warmest thanks. Speak to S. About all these questions. The heavy rains continue. I thank Olga for the photographs. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 12 June, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING WIFY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter, full of boring questions, most of which I have already touched upon in my conversation with St. He is an excellent, honest man, only, it seems to me, he cannot make up his mind to do what is necessary.-The gravest and most urgent question just now is the question of fuel and metals-iron and copper for munitions-because, with the shortage of metals, the factories cannot produce a sufficient quantity of cartridges and shells. It is the same with the railways. Trepov declares that they are working better than last year, and brings forward evidence to that effect, but complaints are being made, nevertheless, that they do not bring up all that they could! These affairs are a regular curse; from constant anxiety about them, I cannot make out where the truth lies. But it is imperative to act energetically and to take firm measures, in order to settle these questions once for all. As soon as the Duma is adjourned I shall call all the Ministers to this place for the discussion of these problems, and shall decide upon everything here. They persist in coming here nearly every day, and take up all my time; I usually go to bed after 1.30 a.m., spending all my time in a continual rush, with writing, reading and receptions!! It is simply desperate!
It is warmer to-day, yet it rained twice. Yesterday I received two Persian princes. Baby amazed us all by conversing in French, during lunch, with the younger of the two !
God keep you! - I kiss you passionately and tenderly, my treasure, the girls as well. Give her my greetings.
Stavka. 12 June, 1916.
I thank you heartily for your dear letter, No. 516. Yes, it is indeed very sad that poor Joukov has died. Grabbe does not yet know what caused it, but supposes that grygea (hernia) prevented him from mounting his horse just at the moment when our cavalry began its pursuit of the Austrians. He evidently considered it humiliating to remain behind in the hospital, and shot himself, leaving a note, in which he says that he is finishing by suicide!
Alexeiev informed me that he has received a letter from One of the Commanders-in-Chief, who writes that the soldiers are in need of notepaper and postcards. Be an angel, and order as many as you can, and later on send them in Separate packets in your small trains to the Commanding Officers of the armies. - The splendid 6th Siberian Division has suffered many losses, but has at the same time destroyed an enormous quantity of German troops, who have arrived from Verdun (literally, from under Verdun). - We take no prisoners in any place where the enemy is using explosive bullets! This was announced officially the other day, the whole world must know of it! Ask your wounded about it.
Our brave Keller has driven the Austrians out of the Boukovina, and has taken 6o officers and over 2000 men prisoners.-Lechitzky cannot hold him back. K. has just telegraphed to Grabbe that he is giving up the 1st Koub. sotnia with regret - it will now be replaced by the 4th Terskaia. I beg you to find out when they are being sent, and say good-bye to them!
God guard you! I embrace you closely and kiss you tenderly, my treasure, my beloved Wify!
Stavka. 13 June, 1916.
MY BELOVED SUNNY,
My heartfelt thanks for your dear letter. I congratulate you on the occasion of Marie's birthday; it is sad that we are not together.
To-day it is clear and warm at last, so that we could again lunch in the tent, after an interval of ten days. - The news is good. Grabbe is going home for a little while, and would like to see you,
I embrace you tenderly, and whisper words of love into your ear I God guard you, my darling!
Stavka. 13 June, 1916
Hearty thanks for letters. My best wishes to dear Marie on the occasion of her birthday. I was busy the whole evening. The weather is fine at last, no rain. May God bless you! I embrace you closely.
Stavka. 14 June, 1916.
MY SWEET, DARLING WIFY,
I thank you heartily for your dear letter. I congratulate you on the seventeenth anniversary of our dear Marie. How the time flies! - I shall ask Alexeiev about the academy building. I am practically certain that the building will have to be cleared, as the need of officers for the Gen. Staff is very great. Heaps of vacancies are (being) filled with officers who only completed the academy course last year, and yet the number is not sufficient. Only think, our army has been doubled, and there have been some losses among the officers of the Gen. Staff, hence the shortage of them is more apparent every day. - I think it a mistake to send so many wounded into the capital - it would be better for them to be distributed for treatment in the provinces.
There is again no time for writing. - Yesterday I received Ignatiev, to-day I shall have to receive Naoumov, and Schouvaiev to-morrow.
God guard you, my beloved treasure!
I kiss you tenderly and ardently.
Eternally your old
NOTES: "The academy building." The Tsaritsa wished to retain this building as a hospital for wounded, for which purpose it was then used. This hospital had been under the patronage of General Soukhomlinov, but after his disgrace the patronage was transferred to the Tsarevitch. Alexey.
Stavka. 15 June, 1916.
MY OWN PRECIOUS SUNNY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter. I had a very busy day yesterday: Marie's birthday church, a lengthy report, lunch, hurried letter-writing, an excursion on the river in the new fast motor launch, at 6 o'clock the cinematograph, and after dinner another long report by Naoumov. After that I had to read through a heap of papers, which lasted till 11.30, and then the three of us drank tea with Dehn and Vlad. Nic. To-day I shall receiveold Schouvaiev. As soon as the Gosoud. Soviet and the Duma are adjourned I shall gather all the Ministers here, approximately the 24th. After that you will perhaps manage to come here, if our military affairs do not prevent it.
I have had no time to look once into that charming book about Boy Blue!
My precious darling, I long for you too, and for your tender caresses! It is dreary for me not to kiss anyone, except dear baby Baby - and even that only once in the morning and once in the evening. That is not enough for me!
The weather is simply ideal - so warm and dry. I should like to spend the whole day in the woods or on the river! Kyrill arrived here yesterday from Poltava on his way to the Gv. Eq. - they are stationed not far from Molodechno.
God guard you! I kiss you and the girls tenderly.
Always, darling Wify,
NOTES: Gosoud. Soviet - the Council of State. - Niolodechno, a small town on what is now the eastern border of Lithuania.
Stavka. 15 June, 1916.
Hearty thanks. Ideal weather. I am sorry about the old Colonel. Both kiss you all tenderly.
NOTES: "The old Colonel." A patient in the Tsaritsa's hospital who was dying.
Stavka. 16 June, 1916
MY DARLING WIFY,
The courier has come in a little late to-day, probably because of the new movement of troops from North to South.
I send you the telegram which Alexey has received from his regiment.
Thank God, again good news from Lechitzky! Yesterday his army captured 221 officers and 10,200 men! So many new hands for work on our fields and (in) our factories!
Miechen has written me a cold letter, in which she asks why I had not approved of her Pologenie? I have sent it through Alexeiev to the Verkhov. Soviet. Perhaps you will tell them, through Iliin, to look through it and send me their opinion about it. She is simply insufferable - if I have time, I shall answer her very sharply. Coming back to my room after lunch I found your dear letter No. 520. Benckendorf has also arrived, as old Fred. intends to leave on business.
Please thank A. for Douvan's papers.
How I long for your sweet kisses I Yes, beloved mine, you know how to give them!...
It is, very hot to-day, just now a few drops of rain have come down from a little isolated cloud. I hope to bathe in the river while Alexey runs barefoot on the bank. Did he describe to you how peasant boys played all sorts of games with him?
It is time to finish, my precious darling.
God guard you all I
I kiss you fondly.
NOTES: Lechitzky commanded the 9th Army. WIN : A. A. Iliin, Chairman of the Red Cross Society. Douvan: K. J. Douvan, the Mayor of Evpatoria.
Broussilov's offensive, in which Lechitzky played a dashing part, was entirely successful. More than 144,000 prisoners were claimed at this time, 4031 officers and 219 guns.
Stavka. 17 June, x916.
Many thanks for letters and telegram. It rained hard here during the night, now it is clear. It is annoying about Keller. I embrace you closely.
NOTES: Keller was wounded in the leg at Kimpoloung.
Stavka. 17 June, 1916
I thank you heartily for dear letter No. 521. What a pity that you have a gathering on your poor finger, and that you have to wear a bandage I Be careful, and look after it well.
There 1 poor Keller is wounded again - I heard of it this morning, before I received your telegram. I sincerely hope that it will not prove a long-drawn-out business. Brave man; this is for the third time during the war that he has paid with his health I
Next Tuesday our second offensive will begin there, and higher up, almost on the whole length of the front. If only we had sufficient ammunition for the heavy artillery, I should be quite easy. But now we shall be obliged to slacken the offensive to some extent in a week or two, in order to replenish our reserves, and this is being done very slowly (this is slow work) because of the shortage of fuel I
Thus, our military operations are being hindered only by the fact that the army does not receive a sufficient quantity of heavy ammunition.
One could crawl up a wall in sheer desperation I
Yesterday I bathed for the first time in the river outside the town-the water was fresh and fairly clean, the current very swift.
My tender darling, I love you and long for your caress I
God guard you all! I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 18 June, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING,
I kiss you and thank you tenderly for your dear letter. I have again no time to write, as old Ivanov started talking after lunch like a wound-up machine. I am sending him to Finland for a review. He leaves to-day with Fredericks, whom I have, with your leave, given permission to kiss you on the brow. He is, it seems, very well pleased with the commission entrusted to him, but does not know how to carry it out. The weather has improved; it has become fresher, thank God, and I hope to be able to bathe.
Everyone here is, of course, very sorry that Keller was wounded just at the time when his cavalry corps was being so useful. I hope that he will soon recover.
How is your poor finger?
I miss you terribly, my dear Wify. We have never been parted for so long! Let us hope that such separation is not without purpose, and will be credited to us somewhere!
Now I must finish.
God guard you and the dear girls! I kiss you tenderly and passionately.
Eternally your faithful
Stavka. 18 June, 1916.
MY DARLING SUNNY,
I thank you heartily for your dear letter No. 523. I know how difficult it is to write in this heat. After a
heavy downpour the air has cooled considerably since this morning, which is very pleasant. The weather is grey and cheerless, so Alexey and I will go at 4 o'clock to the cinematograph, which is being arranged for the soldiers on Sundays. He is, of course, delighted I
Shakh. has asked me to receive him, and I shall do so on Thursday. I telegraphed to old Sasha K., and have received a very charming reply.
The troops are fighting wonderfully: many of the battalions, and even the (smaller) separate units, display so much heroism in battle that it is difficult to remember every instance.-Our Odessa Rifles are fighting like lions, but, alas I only a fourth part of them has survived ! - Your Crimeans are getting ready to pursue the Austrians deep into their rear. Your Siberians have been taken back into reserve for a rest, which they have well deserved, as well as for reinforcements. With God's help, our offensive will be of renewed in two days' time, with the assistance of large fresh forces.
I must finish now, dear. God guard you all! I kiss you and press you to my longing heart.
Eternally, my precious, Your
NOTES: Shakh.: Shakhovskoy. SASHA K.: Alexandra Alexeievna Kozen. née Princess Kourakina, wife of General A. F. Kozen. She was a lady-in-waiting.
Stavka. 20 June, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING,
I thank you heartily for your dear letter No. 524. 1 am glad that your finger is not worrying you any longer.
The weather changed suddenly yesterday : it became very windy, cold, and began raining hard. Today it has cleared up again - these continual fluctuations are astonishing. We have been to a very entertaining performance (cinematograph) for soldiers, and laughed a great deal.
I am sending George to Arkhangelsk, in order that he may see how work is getting on there, and also that he may wish God-speed to our brigade which is going by a circuitous route to Salonica. They are starting in a few days' time. To-morrow I hope to see our 1st Koub. sotnia, which is going to Tsarskoe - what a joy that will be! - When they return home, the 4th Terskaia will go to the front. Yesterday evening our troops began an offensive in the direction of Baranovitchi, and we have taken the first line of trenches.
The English and French have also begun with some success.
Now, my treasure, it is time to finish. God guard you all! Thank the girls and Ania for their letters. Tell her that I shall write soon. - I kiss you tenderly, my beloved Wify.
Eternally your old
Stavka. 21 June, 1916.
I am very grateful to you for your dear letter No. 525, and for the congratulations on the occasion of the regimental holiday of my Cuirassiers. I am very glad to have Petrovsky with me; he settled down at once to his life here-he is such a charming and cheerful boy. I also like Mitia Dehn he is so calm and reasonable, and a real gentleman.
I shall speak to VId. Nic. about the mud compresses for Baby-it seems to me that it should not be difficult to arrange for them here.
I am anxious to know what Miechen spoke to you about: - Of her own affairs, and of the paper sent to me; or of something else?
Gen. Williams has been telling me of a stupid conversation Boris had with an English officer at the Rifle's Mess at Tsarskoe. B. seems to have declared that he was convinced of the inevitability of war with England at the end of this war, and that Baghdad had not been taken by us, because they had not allowed it (i.e., because England had not allowed it). All this is a lie. B. asserted that he had heard this at the Stavka, but would not say from whom! Buchanan and Sir Grey have come to know of this chatterit is all very disagreeable I
The news, on the whole, is good.
May God bless you and the dear girls, my dear little girl of former years!
I kiss you tenderly and ardently and remain
NOTES: Vld. Nic. : Dr. Derevenko.
The "stupid conversation," between the Grand Duke Boris and the English Intelligence Officer, Thornhill, is circumstantially described, with the sequel, by Sir Alfred Knox (P. 429). The matter was reported to the British Foreign Office, and caused great indignation in diplomatic and military circles, though it must have been clear that it had no significance whatever. Sir Alfred Knox and Thornhill visited the Grand Duke and forced him to withdraw his allegations.
Stavka. 21 June, 1916.
Hearty thanks. I am sorry for Lady Sybil Grey. Lovely weather. The news is good. I kiss you fondly.
NOTES: LADY SYBIL GREY, wounded on Red Cross service in Russia.
Stavka. 22 June, 1916
MY DEAR ANGEL,
I thank you sincerely for your dear letter No. 526. I cannot understand how two of your Alexan. got wounded near Novoselitzy, when I know that they are stationed along the Dvina, a little to the north of Dvinsk! Perhaps they were temporarily attached to another regiment-both those officers!
The offensive at Baranovitchi is developing slowly - for the same old reason-that many of our commanding generals are silly idiots, who, even after two years of warfare, have not been able to learn the first and simplest A.B.C. of the military art. I cannot tell you how angry I am with them but I shall get my own way, and learn the truth!
I can say nothing about the Guards, as so far it has not been quite decided where they are to be sent. I am inclined to think somewhere to the South-west - but that is only a
I received Grigorovitch yesterday. To-day I shall receive Gen Baranov in connection with Kourlov's affairs in the
The Ministers are arriving here on Tuesday, after which shall be more free. May God bless you and the girls! I kiss you tenderly, my love, my dear Sunny.
NOTES: BARANOV: General P. P. Baranov, Commander of Her Majesty's Own (Life Guard) Uhlans. and Major Domo to the Grand Duke Michael Nicolaievitch. KOURLOV: General P. G. Kourlov, retired. at one time Assistant Minister of the Interior. He was allowed to re-enter the service during the war, and was made Chief of the Baltic Provinces on the Civil Administration. He gave up this post in July 1915
Telegram. Stavka. 22 June, 1916.
Sincerest thanks. I have only just inspected our 1st Koubanskaia Sotnia; everything that they did was most interesting. Lovely weather. I kiss all tenderly.
Stavka. 23 June, 1916.
MY DEAR SUNNY,
I thank you most warmly for your dear letter No. 527. 1 thought that your poor little finger had got better, but you say that it still worries you!
Yesterday evening between 6 and 7 I went with Baby to the station and inspected our dear Cossacks of the 1st Kouban Sotnia. Nearly every one of the privates has received a decoration.
Of course they distinguished themselves. Both Keller and the commander of the 2nd Kizliaro-Grebensky, to whom they were attached, praised them highly. I have heard a lot of interesting things from many of them. I invited Rashpil and Skvortzov to dinner; among the other guests they looked quite black. They will probably arrive at Ts. Selo on the 25th. It would be very nice if you could receive them before or after the Te Deum in the Feodorovsky Sobor
The news from Broussilov is good - I hope that, after receiving reinforcements, our troops will be able to attack the enemy and press him further back. Our losses from the very beginning-from the 22 of May-are staggering: 285,000 men I But, against this, the success is prodigious I
I have spoken to V. N. about the mud compresses. He said that everything could be easily arranged.
May God bless you, my only beloved!
I kiss and embrace you and the girls tenderly.
RASHPIL and SKVORTZOV: junior officers of the Imperial (Cossack) Convoy.
NOTES: Feodorovsky Sobor: the Feodorovsky Cathedral or Cathedral of St. Feodor, the favourite church of the Tsaritsa, to which further reference is made in the correspondence.
Stavka. 24 June, 1916.
MY BELOVED SUNNY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter No. 528.
St. has written to me about these questions, and yesterday I received Shakh., and talked to him for a long time. A thunderstorm broke out during our conversation; it became quite dark, and the lightning struck something not far from the town. All the electric wires began to glow suddenly, as with fire - it was rather weird! The storm died down after dinner and the night was still, only with a terrible downpour of rain. To-day the weather is grey and uncertain - fortunately it is a little fresher.
Olga'.s Martinov has appeared; he looks well and hopes to continue on active service - a real molodetz!
What is this nonsense which is being talked about Sergey? He is at present just in the right place I How can one put a Grand Duke at the head of the question of supplies?
The news is good; the difficult sector of the front-near Galousia, Novoselki, Kolki - is at present occupied by our troops, who are driving the enemy out of it, pursuing him through marshy and wooded country. Owing to this, our front will be considerably shorter, whereas up to now it has been largely curved. Shcherbachev's troops scored an important success on the flank adjoining Lechitzky. Now I can say that the general picture is much more promising than it was 12 days ago.
I count eagerly the days before our meeting - perhaps at the beginning of July; if only you will not suffer from the heat living in the train I
May God bless you, my beloved!
I kiss you and the girls tenderly, and remain
NOTES: St.: Sturmer. Shakh.: Shakhovskoy. MARTINOV: a junior officer reporting to the Stavka for duty. "Molodetz," a fine fellow, a bravo.
Shcherbachev commanded the 7th Army.
Stavka. 25 June, 1916.
MY BELOVED SUNNY,
Very many thanks for your long and interesting letter. Being already acquainted with the questions you deal with in your letter, I am delighted with the clearness and ease with which you set them down on paper and express your opinion, which I consider correct. I shall receive old St. on Monday, and shall reassure him on that score, spurring him on at the same time in other matters.
It goes without saying that Rodzianko has talked a lot of nonsense, but in comparison with last year his tone has changed and has become less self-confident I
Of all the foolish things which he has said, the most foolish was the suggestion of replacing St. by Grigorovitch (for the duration of the war), and also of replacing Trepov and Shakhov. For the post of the first he proposed the engineer Voskresensky (I do not know him), and for the post of the second-his tovarishch Protopopov. I have an idea that our Friend mentioned him on some occasion? I smiled, and thanked him for his advice.
The remainder of the questions dealt with the Duma and the Committee working for the provisioning of the army, of which he is a member. He had a very sad and submissive look Alexeiev received the same impression.
Petia has just arrived; he wishes to have a talk with me; so far he has only remarked that his father already knows everything from him personally.
This flower is out of our garden, a small token of your hubby's love and longing for you. May God bless you, my precious darling, and the girls!
I kiss you all tenderly.
NOTES: "I shall reassure him on that score" - the rumoured appointment of the Grand Duke Sergey to the head of Supplies and thus to a virtual military dictatorship.
RODZIANKO: M. V. Rodzianko, President of the Duma, one of the most important and most undeniably capable politicians of the time. He was extremely unpopular with the Imperial circle. His political views inclined to constitutional Liberalism and he was a member of the Octobrist party.
PROTOPOPOV: A. D. Protopopov. It is not easy to form a just idea of the character of this extraordinary man, who was generally, and no doubt rightly, described as insane. He became a very sinister figure during the last months of the Romanov dynasty. When a young man he was an officer in the Guards. He owned large estates in the province of Simbirsk, and was Marshal of the Nobility in that district. He was interested in various industrial concerns, and entered politics under the auspices of the Octobrist party. As a member of the Duma he played an active part on committees of all sorts. Socially he was fluent, plausible and charming. During the war he visited the Allies in company with other members of the Duma, an& became involved with a German diplomat at Stockholm on the way back. He was said to be suffering from a disease which produces well-known mental symptoms. Turning on his former associates, he became a violent reactionary, and the most bombastic defender of the monarchist régime. "Behind his expansive fanfarronades and his turbulent activity," wrote Paléologue (Vol. III., p. 110), "there is nothing but cerebral erethism. He is a monomaniac who will presently be put under lock and key." Rasputin had met him at the house of Badmaiev, a Mongol charlatan, where Protopopov was being treated for his disease. It was certainly through Rasputin's influence and friendship that he was appointed to the Ministry of the Interior in October 1916. He was a friend of Madame Vyroubova's, and discussed political affairs with her. Why such a man was recommended by Rodzianko is a mystery.
Tovarishch " - comrade or associate.
Petia - Prince Peter of Oldenburg - evidently wished to discuss his divorce.
Telegram. Stavka. 25 June, 1916
Warmest thanks. Lovely weather. I hope the leave taking with the Cossacks has passed off all right. Both embrace you tenderly.
Stavka. 26 June, 1916.
MY SWEET ANGEL,
Hearty thanks for your dear letter. I do not see the necessity for your or the girls' presence at the opening of the exhibition of military trophies. I do not understand why they make so much noise on this occasion. There is no time for writing; I only wish to say that I love you deeply and passionately. God guard you, my beloved! I kiss you ardently.
Stavka. 27 June, 1916.
I thank you tenderly for dear letter. Of course you can bring A. with you, though it would be more restful if we could spend those few days by ourselves I
I have returned Keller's telegram to you; I have told Alexeiev to inform him that his corps will be kept for him until his return I
How intolerable that Gherm. has again appeared on the horizon !
I shall speak to St. to-day. The conference of Ministers takes place to-morrow some time during the day. I intend to be very ungracious to them, and to let them feel how I value St., and that he is their President.
I fail to understand why the opening of the exhibition of military trophies has suddenly grown to be such a solemn ceremony, and still think your presence entirely unnecessary, or even the girls' presence.
It seems to me that Misha's Georgievsky Komitet does all this for its own glorification. I have received a telegram from their Vice-President - Sen. Dobrovolsky (a friend of Misha's) - informing me of the day of the opening.
How splendid it would be if you came here between the 3 and 11 of July I That is Olga's namesday. To-morrow Baby's mud treatment begins. Mr. Gilliard hopes to get a month's leave-the poor man is really tired out.
May God bless you and the girls I I kiss you tenderly, my sweet Sunny. Eternally your
NOTES: GHERM: Ghermogen, the Bishop of Saratov. He had been driven into retirement at the Nicolo-Ougreshky Monastery on account of his hostility to Rasputin. Now, while Rasputin was absent, he was released from his retirement through the influence of Bishop Volgi of Vladimir, and was receiving newspaper reporters.
Georgievsky Komitet - the Committee of St. George, a patriotic organisation.
Telegram. Stavka. 27 June, 1916.
Hearty thanks. Beautiful weather. I have only just received Sturmer. The news is good. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 28 June, 1916
MY DEAR SUNNY,
Many thanks for your dear letter.
A time of frightful bustle began for me yesterday, which is, in fact, continuing to-day. - I have received St.; we have discussed everything. Then Grigorovitch with Roussin stayed till 11 in the evening.
The rest have arrived to-day. The sitting begins at 6 o'clock in the evening and will last till dinnertime. Then several people are waiting to be received - I shall have to postpone it till to-morrow. Alas I I have no more time I May God bless you, my angel, my dear girl I
I kiss you and love you infinitely.
NOTES: Roussin: Admiral Roussin, Chief of the Naval General Staff.
Stavka. 28 June. 1916.
Many thanks for letter. I have only just returned from the conference. All is well...
Stavka. 29 June, 1916.
Deepest thanks. I had to receive three Ministers to-day, so could not write. Delightful weather.
Stavka. 30 June, 1916.
I thank you tenderly for both your dear letters. I could not write to you, as I was literally walking on my head, thanks to these Ministers, each of whom wished to be received separately. Now, at last, I have done with them I
Grabbe requests you to order Zborovsky to go to the Crimea for the improvement of his health. If it would be possible to place him in the Escort's barracks at Livadia he could take his old mother and sisters with him!
My head is still spinning round from all the matters which I thought of, or heard of, when the Ministers were here, and I find it very difficult to put my thoughts in order.
The thought of your early arrival here brightens everything up for me. Baby constantly asks me about the day of your arrival, and whether you will be here on his birthday? He stands the mud treatment very well, and is as cheerful as ever. Vl. Nic. advised me to take iodine, which I am doing, without feeling any unpleasant results so far.
The weather is fine, not hot; the nights are fortunately cool; I bathe every day.
Igor is going to Ostashevo for a month. Petrovsky's turn has come too; Daragan and Ghenritzi (a dragoon) are coming in their places.
May God bless you and the girls! I kiss you and them tenderly. Give A. my greetings, and thank her for the radishes.
Eternally, my dear Sunny, your
NOTES: PETROVSKY: Colonel N. A. Petrovsky of the Life-Guard Cuirassiers, A.D.C. to the Tsar. DARAGAN: Colonel G. M. Daragan of the Empress's Own Life-Guards, A.D.C. GRENRITZI: Captain A. V. Ghenritzi of the Life-Guard Dragoons, A.D.C - The radishes were grown by patients in Mme. Vyroubova's hospital.
Stavka. 30 June, 1916.
I thank you for letter and Olga for the photographs. I saw an interesting French picture at the cinematograph to-day. Delightful weather, colder. There is no necessity to be present. I have ordered the parade to be postponed on this account. Both kiss you tenderly.
NOTES: "No necessity to be present-" at the opening of the exhibition of war trophies.