Basile Totmianine (from Perm, Siberia)
One cannot think about the Russian army without a tearing of the heart. That immense force whose irresistible momentum had menaced the enemy with the worst disasters, which had given without counting the cost, from which could be asked total loyalty and sacrifice, is now no more than a hostile mob, fragmented, denying its past and its glory, to serve the most detestable of tyrannies. It was very fine, however, in the heroic days of Prezsmysl, of Lemberg, of Erzurum, at the time of the admirable retreat of 1915, of the lightning counter offensive of Broussilof. Despite the faults committed, the negligence, the shortages, despite the missing rations, the rifles without cartridges, the empty boxes, despite the cold, despite the enemy, it had kept the same enthusiasm; and in the eyes of its soldiers the same clear expression, full of simple devotion to duty, that childlike look of pure gravity which nothing could alter.