Diaries and Letters - Diaries and Letters of the Grand Dukes
DIARY OF ANDREI VLADIMIROVICH
May 12, 1915
I called on the Emperor at Tsarskoe Selo. In our conversation we touched on the Minister of War, Sukhomlinov.... At the conclusion the Tsar said that he believed deeply in Sukhomlinov, that the Minister of War was without doubt an honest and trustworthy man. I remarked that I was very glad to hear that, f or 1, too, was of this opinion, and felt there was a deep plot against the man. Every one is jumping on him, which is quite unjust, for after all he has done a great deal for the army. I turned to the Tsar and inquired whether he had heard of the plot: "Whom do you ask this? I know only too well, but they shall not hurt him. Before it comes to that I shall stand up for him. They shall not touch him. . . . Many people are jealous of him. They have tried to drag him into the Miasoedov affair but they shall not succeed."
This brief conversation is very interesting. Many have said that the Emperor is displeased with Sukhomlinov and would soon drop him. This apparently is not so. On the contrary, the Emperor is for him. It is strange that Grand Dukes Alexander and Sergei Mikhailovich have not hesitated to say in public that Sukhomlinov is a criminal. Why they do this is not at all.clear to me. May it not be due to the fact that the war has shown how poorly we are provided with artillery, and the Grand Duke Sergei [in charge of this department] is trying to' draw attention away from himself, and therefore accuses Sukhomlinov? This is quite unjust. I know from documents that Sukhomlinov has more than once called attention to these [artillery] questions, but because of personal enmity all his attempts were frustrated. . . .
August 25 1915 Tsarskoe Seto
Sazonov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, dined at mother's. After dinner he told us the following:
"General Ianushkevich [Chief of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief], takes unheard of liberties. Under the circumstances it is quite impossible to do anything. Let me illustrate by several incidents. When the Allies decided to carry on operations at Gallipoli they asked us to take part. This would not only have aided them but would have been of great importance to us, the principal beneficiaries in case Constantinople was captured. After negotiations with the Staff of the Supreme Commander, the army corps of General Irmanov was brought together at Odessa. I received from the Staff even the list of the officers, which I passed on to the Allies, telling them that the expeditionary force was ready to start in a few days. Some time later I learned quite incidentally that this corps was in Galicia. When I reported to the Emperor, I called his attention to this matter, and he told me that he, too, had only recently and quite by accident, learned of this change from the Grand Duke Georgi Mikhailovich, whom be had appointed at the head of one of the battalions in the corps.... Imagine my position in regard to the Ambassadors of the Allies. It must be remembered that this corps was detailed with the Tsar's authorization and all of a sudden, without even notifying him, the corps ismoved to Galicia. His Majesty merely remarked that the whole army is at the service of the Supreme Commander and that it is difficult to interfere with his orders.
"Another incident took place in March. Bark [P. L.], Minister of Finance, received a telegram from Ianushkevich, informing him [Bark] that he was to send over to America, by January, 1916, 400 million rubles gold to pay for shrapnel. Bark was almost bowled over. The amount in question is one-third of our total gold fund. Without consulting any one, they [Grand Duke and Ianushkevich] signed the contracts. Such an attitude toward the finances of the country can lead only to the ruin of the treasury. Poor Bark has not yet recovered from the shock. In addition, he [Ianushkevich] has taken an impossible stand-in our Persian policy. His Majesty found it necessary to send one [military] division to Persia, where our affairs are not advancing very well, as a punitive force in order to reestablish our prestige and to bring order out of chaos. In reply Ianushkevich said that the division would not be sent. Such an attitude toward the will of His Majesty cannot be tolerated, aside from the fact that under such conditions it is impossible to carry on a policy. As it stands we have two authorities at the sametime, one excluding the other. . . .
"Fortunately all this will soon come to an end. The Emperor himself will assume command. He wished to do that a long time ago, but hesitated, and at last, decided.
Sazonov pointed out, however, the dangers of this act, for every failure would lead to criticism of the Emperor. In view of th s. Sazonov asked the opinion of Boris [Vladimirovich] on the effect the change in command would have on the troops. Boris was quite certain that it would have a good effect, that the morale would be improved, and that the news would be received with great enthusiasm. He added that the removal of Nicholas Nicholaevich would pass unnoticed. I am not of that opinion. During the year of the war, notwithstanding the series of important defeats, he was very popular. He carried out honestly the duties laid upon him in spite of the difficulties in the way. One of these is the composition of his staff, which was given him ready-made and which he did not select.
Petrograd, September 6, 1915
During the last few days there has been much talk of the Emperor's taking command of the army and sending Nicholas Nicholaevich to the Caucasus.... On this question there are two opinions. One is that the Emperor should not be at the head of the army because it would take him away from State affairs; the other that it is a good thing for him to be at the head but on condition that Nicholas Nicholaevich remain where he is. On this last point almost all are agreed. Indeed, Nicholas Nicholaevich came into his position purely by accident, after the Council of Ministers at the beginning of the war persuaded the Emperor not to take the chief command. In order to raise the prestige of Nicholas Nicholaevich, a special prayer was made for him in the church service. The Emperor showered upon him favors and as a result Nicholas Nicholaevich came to be known all over Russia, and his popularity did not suffer even on account of the continued reverse in the war when our army had to retreat. This brilliant result brought about by the efforts of the Tsar, did not please A. [Alix, the Empress]. This is the reason why Nicholas Nicholaevich is ordered to the Caucasus. Thoughtful People believe that this step will cause general ill feeling and discontent and serious consequences. . . .
I paid a visit today to Aunt Minny [mother of the Tsar] on Elagin Island. I found her in a terribly worried state. She was especially excited over the question of Nicholas Nicholaevich. She thinks that his removal will be the ruin of N. [Nicholas II] because it will never be forgiven him. She exonerated Niki in all this and laid all the blame on Alix. When Niki came to see her before going off she [mother] begged and begged him to think over everything carefully and not lead Russia to ruin. To her pleas he replied that everybody deceived him, that he must save Russia, that it was his duty. It was in vain that she pleaded with him that he was poorly prepared for this hard task and that State affairs required his presence at Petrograd. He remained unpersuaded and would not even promise to deal kindly with Nicholas Nicholaevich.
While they [mother and son] were talking, Alix was in another room with Xenia [sister of the Tsar] who asked whether it was true that Nicholas Nicholaevich, who was so popular, would be displaced.
"Again about Nicholas, everybody talks only about him," answered Alix. "I am tired of hearing about him. Niki is much more popular than Nicholas. He has commanded long enough; let him now go to the Caucasus."
Aunt Minny, as she related to me all this, was so excited, so stirred up, that I was frightened. She kept repeating the question: "What are we coming to, what are we coming to? That is not at all like Niki - he is lovable, he is honest, he is good - it is all her work".
I asked aunt whether there was any hope that Nicholas Nicholaevich would remain. "Not the least. It is all settled - Alix has just telegraphed me" - and she read me the telegram: "All went on brilliantly, the changement is done, leaving in two days." So it's done. Niki also telegraphed that he arrived and was content with the meeting. Tomorrow we will probably read all about it in the papers.
One thing is not clear - Niki is returning here on Sept 14. Who will command the army in the meantime? Nofiody know my question aunt replied: "I can't understand anything any more." Aunt Minny told me also that Uncle Alex [Prince Alexander Petrovich of Oldenburg] had been to see her and begged her to dissuade Niki from going to the army. He predicted terrible consequences, including popular uprisings. Uncle was in a frightful state. "He rolled on the floor," said Aunt Minny.
The dismissal of Dzhunkovski and Vladia Orlov, two most loyal men of whom Niki always spoke in warmest terms, made her quite sad, "It is not my dear boy; he is too good to do such a thing; he liked them both very much. It is all she [Empress]; she alone is responsible for all that is happening now. It is too awful. Who will now be near him; he will be quite alone with that awful 'Kuvaka' [Voeikov]. Not a single devoted friend at his side. I understand nothing. I cannot understand . . . it is too awful for words."
When mother called on her, Aunt Minny said that it reminded her of the time of Paul I, who began in the last year of his reign to drive away all his loyal subjects. She pictured to herself, in all its horrors, the tragic end of our ancestor.
What will Russia say to this? How are you going to explain to the army and people that Nicholas Nicholaevich, on whom the Tsar showered all kinds of favors, is suddenly dismissed? It will naturally be asked what he did to deserve such harsh treatment. . . . When no satisfactory answer is given, it will be said that the Grand Duke is a traitor, or, what is worse, the guilty party will be sought for higher up. . . .
Petrograd, September 19, 1915
A few days ago Alix with her two oldest daughters had a cup of tea with mother at Tsarskoe Selo. It is worthy of note that this is the first time in twenty years that Alix alone, without Niki, has called on mother. The most interesting of all was the conversation.
Alix bitterly complained that everything she does is found fault with, especially in Moscow and Petrograd. Everybody is against her and in this way tie her hands. "Just now," she continued, "there came from Germany Red Cross sisters. For the good of the cause I should receive them but I cannot do that knowing that it will be used against me." Mother asked whether it is true that she [Empress] and the whole court are moving to Moscow. "Oh, even you have heard of it! No, I am not moving and will not move but 'they' hoped for it so that 'they' might move here." (It was clear that by "they" the Empress meant Grand Duke Nicholas and the Montenegrins [wife and sister-in-law of the Grand Duke.]) "But [continued the Empress] fortunately we learned about this in time and the necessary measures were taken. 'He' [Grand Duke Nicholas] is now going to the Caucasus. It was not possible to put up with it longer. Niki knew nothing about the war. 'He' told him nothing, wrote him nothing. Niki's power was torn from him on all sides. They took from him everything that was possible to take. This is intolerable. At a time when a strong and firm hand is necessary in the midst of this breaking up of authority. I begged Niki not to put away Goremykin at this time. He was a true and loyal man, with firm convictions and steadfast principles. It is not right to deprive himself of people who are devoted to him, who would be left to stand by him."
In regard to Niki's being at the head of the army, she [Empress] said that he is now in excellent spirits. Knowing what is going on has put new life and new enthusiasm into him. . . .
This episode in our family life is very important because it gives us the opportunity to understand Alix. During the whole time that she has been with us [in Russia] she was enveloped in a kind of misty impenetrable atmosphere through which the personality of Alix was obscured. No one really knew her, understood her, and this explains the puzzles and the guesses which grew into all kinds of legends in the course of time. Where is the truth in this matter it is difficult to say. It is a pity, the person of the Empress should shine on the whole of Russia; she should be seen and understood. Otherwise she falls into the background and loses the necessary popularity. Of course, the above conversation with mother can not repair the loss of twenty years, but I must say that for us, personally, the conversation is very important. We see her in a new light; we see that many of the legends about her are not true; we see that she is on the right path. If she said no more, if she what she did, we must assume that she had good reason. But it all very clear that she was boiling over with grief and the need of letting some of it escape forced her to come to mother.
October 10, 1915
A few days ago mother had tea with Niki and Alix. She [mother] reported that Niki was in good spirits. He is pleased with his new position and the fact that he knows what is going on. She reminded him that it was his wish at the very outbreak of the war to put himself at the head of the army and that his ministers dissuaded him. "Yes," said Niki, "that was my wish, but they interfered." . .
LETTERS OF NIKOLAI MIKHAILOVICH
(a) NIKOLAI MIKHAILOVICH TO THE TSAR
May 11, 1916
. . . Regarding the popularity of Nicholas [Nicholaevich], I will say this: His popularity was masterfully prepared at Kiev by Militsa [wife of N. N.] quite gradually, during a long period of time and by making use of all means, such as distributing to the people pamphlets, all kinds of booklets, pictures, portraits, calendars, etc.
Thanks to this well-planned preparation, his popularity did not go down after the loss of Galicia and Poland, and rose again after the victories in the Caucasus.
From the very start of the campaign, I repeatedly wrote to your dear mother, warning her of these Kiev intrigues, but I could not write to you, without infraction of discipline, while I was attached to the staff of Adjutant-General Ivanov.
Now I am speaking freely. I said, when you personally took the Supreme Command of the armies, and I repeat now, that Militsa is not asleep in the Caucasus.
I make bold to assure you, from a deep conviction, that this popularity frightens me, in a dynastic sense, especially in the excited state of our public opinion, which appears to take more and more definite shape in the provinces.
This popularity does not contribute in the least to the benefit of the Throne or the prestige of the Imperial family, but only to the advertising of the husband of the Grand Duchess - a Slav woman, [Montenegrin] and not a German - as well as of his brother and nephew, Roman. In view of the possibility of all kinds of troubles after the war, one has to be watchful and observe closely every move in support of this popularity.
You are aware of my boundless devotion to your late father, your mother, yourself, and your line, for which I am ready at any moment to lay down my life, but I do not recognize any other possibilities, in the dynastic sense, nor shall I ever recognize any. . . .
Sincerely yours, NIKOLAI ~M[IKHAILOVICH]
(b) NIKOLAI MIKHAILOVICH TO THE TSAR
August 8, 1916
Grushevka (Kherson Guberniia)
I want to call your attention to still another circumstance, in view of the fact that much is liable to change after the war and it is best to reckon beforehand with all symptoms of impending events in the life of Russia. I don't know from what motives you dismissed S. D. Sazonov, but here is what has happened. Almost the entire Press (with the exception of the "Novoe Vremia" and "Zemschchina") has put him on a pedestal, like a superpatriot; all the zemstvos, public organizations, Unions of Cities, War Industries Committees, and so on, have sent him their condolences on the occasion of his departure and have made a hero of him, which he could hardly have been had he continued as Minister of Foreign Affairs. This I regard as a very dangerous symptom, and here is my reason: Now, during war, such things are possible and even somewhat natural in the general nervous excitement; but after peace has come, it will be necessary to take measures in good time to prevent such a situation. It is hardly desirable that, after several years of bloodshed, there should occur a break between the Government and the public, or what is usually called the public opinion of Russia (from Metropolitan Pitirim to Chelnokov, and from Boris Vasilchikov to Guchkov). Ce n'est pas pour blaguer, mais vraiment le fait que j e vous signale a propos de la retraite de Sazonov est bien curieux et instructif.
LETTER OF GRAND DUKE NIKOLAI MIKHAILOVICH TO THE EMPEROR
You said more than once that you wish to carry the war to a successful finish. Are you certain that with the present conditions in the rear, this can be done? Are you acquainted with the internal situation, not only in the interior of the Empire, but on the outskirts (Siberia, Turkestan, Caucasus)? Are you told all the truth, or is some of it concealed from you? Where is the root of the evil? Allow me to tell you briefly the essentials of the case.
So long as your method of selecting ministers [with the aid of Rasputin] was known to a limited circle only, affairs went on somehow, but from the moment that this method became generally known, it was impossible to govern Russia in that way. Repeatedly you have told me that you could trust no one, that you were being deceived. If that is true, then the same must be true of your wife who loves you dearly, but is led astray by the evil circle that surrounds her. You trust Alexandra Fedorovna, which is easy to understand, but that which comes out of her mouth is the result of clever fabrication and not the truth. If you are not strong enough to remove these influences from her, at least guard yourself against this steady and systematic interference by those who act through your beloved wife. If your persuasion is ineffective, and I am certain that you have more than once fought against this influence, try some other means, so as to end with this system once and for all. Your first impulses and decisions are always remarkably right and to the point, but as soon as other influences come in, you begin to hesitate and end up by doing something other than what you originally intended. If you should succeed in removing this continuous invasion of the dark forces, the rebirth of Russia would take place at once, and the confidence of the great majority of your subjects would return to you. All other matters would soon settle themselves. You could find people who under different conditions, would be willing to work under your personal leadership. At the proper time, and that is not far distant, you could, of your own free will, grant a Ministry which would be responsible to you and to constitutional legislative institutions. This could be done very simply, without any pressure from outside, and not as was the case with the act of October 17,  1905. 1 hesitated a long time before venturing to tell you this truth, and I finally decided to do so after being urged by your mother and sisters. You are at the beginning of a new era of disturbances; I will go further and say at the beginning of an era of attempts at assassination. Believe me that in trying to loosen you from the chains that bind you, I do it from no motives of personal interest, and of this you and Her Majesty are convinced, but in the hope and in the expectation of saving you, your throne, and our dear country from the most serious and irreparable consequences.
LETTER OF GRAND DUKE GEORGI MIKHAILOVICH TO THE TSAR
... Next, after long talks with the brave Adjutant-General Brusilov, who is exceptionally devoted to you, I consider it my duty to write you about the unhappy state of affairs I have had occasion to observe, not only in the rear, but even here.
Positively every one is worried about the rear, i.e., the domestic situation within Russia. They say frankly that if things continue in Russia as they have been thus far, we shall never be able to end the war with a victory, and if this really happens, then it means the end of everything. Hatred for Sturmer is extraordinary.
I tried to find out precisely what measures might cure the disease. On this subject, I can say that the general clamor is for the removal of Sturmer and the establishment of a responsible ministry to protect you from the deceit of various ministers.
This is considered the only measure that can avert a general catastrophe. Had I heard this from people on the Left and various Liberals, I should have paid no attention to it. But as I have been told it, and am being told here, by men who are deeply devoted to you and wish with all their hearts for nothing but the happiness of yourself and of Russia, inseparably, I have decided to write it to you.
I confess that I never expected to hear here, in the army, the very thing I had heard everywhere in the rear. This means that it is a general desire - the voice of the people is the voice of God - and I feel confident that the Lord will help you to meet the general wish and to prevent the storm that threatens in the interior of Russia.
Forgive me for writing so frankly, but my conscience compelled me to write from the army itself, for I have heard this from the lips of men who are most loyal to you, and thoroughly honorable and brave, and I have written this letter as a loyal subject and as a man who loves you dearly.
May the Lord help you in all things.. . . .
LETTER OF ALEXANDER MIKHAILOVICH TO THE TSAR
January 7, 1917
On January 4, you were pleased to allow me to express my opinion on a certain subject, and I had to touch, at the same time, upon nearly all the subjects that disturb us. I begged permission to speak as frankly as at the confessional, and you granted it.
I take it that, since I have said so much, I am bound to say more.
You may unconsciously have thought, while listening to me: "It is easy for him to talk, but how about me, who must see my way through the existing chaos, and make decisions on the various measures that are being suggested to me from all sides."
You should understand that I, like all who are grieved by the whole course of events, often ask myself what I would do in your place, and so I want to let you know what my heart suggests, since I am convinced that it speaks rightly.
We are going through the most dangerous moment in the history of Russia: the question is, Shall Russia be a great State, free, and capable of developing and growing strong, or shall she submit to the iron German fist? Every one feels this - one with his mind, the next with his heart, still others with their souls - and this is the reason every one, with the exception of the cowards and the enemies of their country, offers up his life and all his possessions.
And at this solemn time, when we are, as it were, being tested as men, in the highest sense - as Christians - certain forces within Russia are leading you, and, consequently Russia, to inevitable ruin. I say deliberately, you and Russia, because Russia cannot exist without a Tsar; but it must be remembered that the Tsar alone cannot govern a country like Russia. This should be realized once and for all, and, therefore, it is absolutely indispensable that the ministries and the legislative chambers should work together. I say legislative chambers because, although the existing organs are far from perfect and are not responsible, they ought to be responsible and should bear the whole burden of responsibility before the people. The existing situation, with the whole responsibility resting on you, and you alone, is unthinkable.
What do the people and the public want? Very little: an authority (I am not using hackneyed, meaningless words) that is firm, a strong authority (for a weak authority is no authority), a wise one, meeting the popular needs-and the opportunity to live freely and to let others live freely.
A wise authority should he composed of persons who are, in the very first place, - clean, liberal, and devoted to the monarchist principle - by no means those of the right or, worse yet, the extreme right, because for this kind of person "authority" means to "govern" with the aid of the police, to give the public no opportunity for free development, and to grant liberties to our, in most cases, good-fornothing clergy. "The President of the Council of Ministers should be a person in whom you have absolute confidence. He selects and is responsible for all the other ministers, and they, all together, represent a single purpose, one mind and one will, while each, in his special field, promotes'the common policy and not his own, as is the case now. No minister should have the right to give you his opinions as to general policy; he should merely report in his own special, narrow field. However, if you wish to know his opinions as to genera problems, he may express them, but only in the Council of Ministers with you personally in the chair. With a united ministry, it is unlikely that you would hear any contradictory opinions, but, of course there might be various shades of opinion, in connection with the work entrusted to each of them separately, and it is necessary for you to hear them.
In principle, I am opposed to a so-called responsible ministry, i.e., responsible to the Duma. This should not be permitted. It must be remembered that in our country parliamentary life is in an embryonic stage. With the best of intentions, ambition for power, fame, and position would play not a. minor, but a major, part, especially where the parliamentary regime is not clearly understood, and individual envy, and other human frailties would cause even more changes of ministers than now, though this may be hard to imagine.
The President, as well as all the ministers, should be chosen from persons who enjoy the confidence of the country, and whose activities are known everywhere. Of course this does not exclude members of the Duma. Such a ministry would meet with general sympathy in all well-disposed circles. It should present to you a detailed program of those measures which are necessary to the principal task of the present, i.e., victory over the Germans, and should include such reforms as can be introduced at the same time, without harm to the main object, and for which the country is waiting.
This program, being approved by you, would have to be submifted to the Duma and State Council, which, without doubt, would approve it and give it their full support, without which the work of the Government is impossible. Then, when you are supported by the chambers, and have gained a firm foothold and a feeling that the country is back of you, all movements by-the left elements of the Duma should be suppressed. I do not doubt that the Duma itself would manage this; but if not, the Duma would have to be dissolved, and such a dissolution of the Duma would be acclaimed by the country.
The main principle is that the program, once established, shall in no case be altered, and the Government shall feel confident that no outside influences can sway you, and that you, with all your unlimited power, will support your own Government. At present, we see the exact reverse. No minister knows what tomorrow may bring forth. They are all isolated. Outside people, who enjoy no confidence whatever, are appointed as ministers, while they themselves probably wonder how they ever came to be named. But since, generally speaking, there are not many honest people, these persons lack the courage to admit to you that they are unfitted for the positions to which they are appointed and that their appointments only hurt the general good. Their actions border on the criminal.
January 14, 1917
I wrote the first part of this letter in the car, on the way to Kiev. Until today I have been so busy that I had not a minute to spare.
The appointments made since then show that you have definitely resolved to pursue a domestic policy that runs absolutely agains the wishes of all your faithful subjects. This policy only plays into the hands of the left elements, who look on the situation as "the worse, the better." The unrest grows; even the monarchist principle is beginning to totter; and those who defend the idea tha Russia cannot exist without a Tsar lose the ground under theii feet, since the facts of disorganization and lawlessness are manifest A situation like this !cannot last long. I repeat once more,it is impossible to rule the country without paying attention to the voice of the people, without meeting their needs, without considering them capable of entertaining opinions of their own, without a willingness to admit that the people themselves understand their own needs.
Try as I may, I cannot understand what it is that you and your advisers are fighting against, striving after. I have had two long talks with Protopopov. He kept talking about a strong authority, about the impossibility of concessions to public opinion, about how the Zemstvo and City Unions, as well as the War-Industry Committees are revolutionary organizations. Had his words been really true, there could be no salvation, but fortunately that is not so. Of course, it cannot be denied that people of the left do exist in these organizations, but the mass are not revolutionary, and yet, byprohibitive measures of all kinds, by restrictions and suspicions, those who are in doubt are now being artificially driven to the left.
One would think that some invisible hand was steering the whole policy on a course to make victory unattainable. That same man Protopopov, told me that it would be possible to rely on the industrialists, upon capital. What a mistake! To begin with, he forgets that capital is in the hands of foreigners and Jews, to whom the downfall of the inonarchy is desirable, because there would then be no obstacles in the way of their predatory appetites, and, again, that our commercial class is not what it used to be - it is enough to recall 1905.
You could in a few words, by a stroke of the pen, quiet every one and give the country what she wants: a ministry of confidence, and the public organization the opportunity to develop, under control, to be sure. If you were to do that, the Duma would, like one man, stand behind such a Government; there would be a tremendous enthusiasm; all the nation's forces would come to the front; and the victory would be won. It is painful to feel that there are no men whom you trust, men who understand the situation, but only those who insinuate themselves into positions they know nothing about.
ALEXANDER MIKHAILOVICH TO THE TSAR
February 7, 1917
As you see, a month has passed and still I have not mailed my letter - I have been hoping all the while that you would follow the road pointed out to you by people who are loyal to you and who love Russia from the bottom of their hearts. Events show, however, that your counsellors are still leading Russia and you to sure perdition. To keep silent under the circumstances is a crime against God, against you, and against Russia.
Disaffection is spreading very fast and the gulf between you and your people is growing wider. (When I say "people" I mean those who understand the wants of the nation, and not those who represent a mere herd that will follow the man who knows how to sway a crowd.) People love you and believe firmly that complete victory and domestic reorganization are possible without any upheavals with a Government composed of men who are clean and enjoy the confidence of the country. Without this, there is no hope of saving the throne and, with it, our native land.
Look at what is happening among our Allies. They have summoned the most capable men, irrespective of their convictions, to help govern their countries. Every one realizes that, at a moment, when the fate of the world is at stake, and when their very existence as free states depends upon a victorious issue of the war, there can be no room for personal feelings or for considering the interests of this or that party. There is only one thing to do - to summon the more capable people to work for the salvation of their country, yes, the salvation of the country, for it is a question of the very existence of Russia as a great, powerful State.
Actually, in the whole history of the Russian State, there have never been more favorable political conditions. We have on our side our ancient enemy, England, our recent enemy, Japan, and all the other states which appreciate all our power and at the same time witness the wholly inexplicable spectacle of our complete domestic chaos, which grows worse every day. They see that it is not the best but the worst elements who are ruling Russia at a moment when mistakes committed today will affect our whole history, and they are compelled to begin to have some, doubts about us. They see that Russia does not understand her own interests and problems, ie., of course, not Russia, but those who rule her.
Such a situation cannot last. You have probably read the address presented to you by the Novgorod nobility. One speaks in this fashion only when deeply conscious of the abyss on which we are standing, and I assure you that all persons really loyal to you feel exactly the same way.
One is in utter despair at seeing that you do not -want to hear those who know Russia's situation and counsel, you to take the, steps that would extricate us from the chaos we are in today
You probably believe that the measures the Government has taken will lead Russia out to the bright path, the path to victory and complete regeneration, and you assume that all of us with the opposite view are wrong. But, to test it, just glance behind you, and compare the situation in Russia at the beginning of the war with that of today. Is it possible that such a comparison does not convince you as to which side is right?
In conclusion I want to say that, strange though it may be, the Government itself is the organ that is preparing the revolution. The nation does not want it, but the Government is doing everything to make as many malcontents as possible, and is succeeding perfectly. We are witnessing the unparalleled spectacle of revolution from above, and not from below.
February 17, 1917.
Your faithful SANDRO.
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