The Terrorists were completely demoralised, so that the army advanced to Glasoff, 80 miles east of Vatka and 60 miles south of Koltass. We were now only about 300 miles east of Petrograd, and there we waited for seven months for the Archangel move, which never came off. For some time the country was so absolutely clear of enemy forces that small parties of men passed unmolested from Glasoff to Archangel and from Archangel to Glasoff. Eventually the Terrorists got the correct measure of this Northern expedition, contained it with a slight screen, and concentrated huge forces to press us back over the Urals once more.
THE DECEMBER ROYALIST AND BOLSHEVIST CONSPIRACY
The tenure of a dictator’s office is very uncertain. He issues his orders, but if the army chiefs can escape from executing them they do so, on one pretext or another. The Russian character is most peculiar in this respect. It will obey one thing only—force. Patriotism and public spirit, as we know them, do not exist to any great extent. Every man looks at every order from the personal point of view—“How will this affect me?”—rarely, if ever, “How will it affect the country?”
It is remarkable how much Koltchak had already accomplished, but it seemed that his career might end at any moment, in spite of every precaution of his friends. Of these he had not many; no real dictator should expect to have any. No man will have many friends in Russia who puts personal questions second to the public welfare.
The preparations for the Perm offensive were well under way, when a dispatch came from General Dutoff, stating, “That in view of the pressure by our forces on their left the Bolshevik leaders had decided to, what they called, ‘organise their enemies’ rear.’ That seventy of their best propagandist and most capable agents and officers had passed between his columns and were now distributed somewhere in our midst.” All we could do was to wait, and see where this treacherous movement would show itself first.
The fact that Koltchak had declared for the calling of a National Assembly, elected by universal suffrage, to decide the future government of Russia, so soon as order was restored, had shattered completely the vision of the old army officers of a quick return to absolutism. His declaration against extremists on either side had driven Bolshevik and Tsarist into practically one camp. He was well known as a student of English customs and institutions and a pre-revolution advocate of constitutionalism. The Tsarist section hoped that his assumption of supreme authority was proof that he had discarded his democratic principles, but gradually his official declarations to the representative of the British Government leaked out and spread consternation in the ranks of both sections of the Absolutists. The Bolshevik leaders have never made any bones about