Бернард Пэрс – британский военный корреспондент на русском фронте в 1914 г.

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Богомолов И.К.

кандидат исторических наук, научный сотрудник Института научной информации по общественным наукам РАН, г. Москва, Россия

e-mail: bogomolov@inion.ru

Раздел: История журналистики

В статье рассказывается о работе британского историка и журналиста Бернарда Пэрса военным корреспондентом на Русском фронте в годы Первой мировой войны. Исследование проведено на основе ранее не опубликованных источников, которые освещают малоизученный период жизни и деятельности Пэрса. Кратко обрисованы предыстория и условия назначения Пэрса военным корреспондентом, раскрыты подробности его перехода в Красный Крест. Русское военное командование задолго до Первой мировой войны установило строгие критерии отбора корреспондентов и параметры их работы на театре военных действий. Верховный главнокомандующий великий князь Николай Николаевич с подозрением относился к журналистам. Хотя в сентябре 1914 г. прессе все же разрешено было присутствовать на фронте, корреспонденты были поставлены в жесткие рамки и находились под постоянным присмотром. Такие условия работы изначально были неприемлемы для Пэрса, привыкшего к более свободной журналистской работе, чем ему могла предложить Ставка. Источники свидетельствуют, что Пэрс пытался освободиться от цензуры военного командования и писать о России времен мировой войны так, как считал нужным.

Ключевые слова: Первая мировая война, Русский фронт, Бернард Пэрс, военный корреспондент, цензура, 1914
DOI: 10.30547/vestnik.journ.3.2020.119139


Sir Bernard Pares’ books (1867–1949) became the most important evidence of Russia in the early twentieth century for contemporaries and historians. Pares’ interest in Russia concurred with the most dramatic events in its history: the Russian Revolution of 1905, which established the State Duma, along with the conflict between the government and the Duma in 1906–07.

Pares first came to Russia in 1898, visited capital and provincial cities, met many Russian scholars and writers. Of great importance was his meeting with the historian and folklorist Pavel G. Vinogradov, who encouraged Pares’ fascination with Russian history (Parker, 1991: 52). The next time Pares came to Russia in 1904 and then visited it annually, sometimes several times a year. The revolution of 1905 was a turning point for him. Pares, who used to be interested in antique philosophy and the Italian Risorgimento, now completely delved into Russian history and contemporary Russian politics (Vandalkovskaia, Budnitskiy, 2001: 216). In subsequent years, he established many contacts in Russian political circles, attended the meetings of the First Duma in 1906 (Beasley, 2013: 166). Pares described his impressions in articles for the English press, which did not go unnoticed at the British Embassy in St. Petersburg.

For Arthur Nicholson, the British ambassador in St. Petersburg (1906–10), Pares and Times correspondent Donald Mackenzie Wallace were valuable collaborators. Although Pares and Wallace had no official diplomatic status, they played a pivotal role in informing the Embassy about the sentiments in the Duma and in the court through interviews and informal conversations. Pares acquired a lot of connections in the Russian high-level military and political circles, he was well aware of the nuances of the internal political situation in Russia. At that time, he advocated a closer acquaintance of the British (or, at least, British diplomats) with Russia and, in particular, with Russian political life (Beasley, 2020: 323). This was facilitated by the evolution of Pares’ views on Russia and its future. Having seen the “Russian revolution” from inside in 1905–06, he advocated the establishment of order in Russia and supported the domestic policy of the Prime Minister of Russia Pyotr Stolypin (Hughes, 2000: 515). This coincided in time with the achievement of the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907 and in general with the normalization of relations between England and Russia. Although not everyone in England welcomed this normalization (Sergeev, 2012: 271), London went the length of this rapprochement in the face of an increasing threat from Germany. Besides, Pares’ ideas were in line with the general trend of Russia’s rapprochement with Britain. It was not just the contradictions of both countries with Germany, but also the Anglophilic sentiments in the Russian political establishment (Rybachenok, 2012: 75). Against this background, Pares’ correspondence received special significance both for Russian-English relations and for calming English public opinion. Thus, all the factors converged: Pares, as a journalist, satisfied both the English and Russian parties, and was himself satisfied with his work. Pares sincerely believed in close Anglo-Russian cooperation in various spheres, from cultural to military ones.

In 1907, Pares’ enthusiasm for Russia was expressed in the creation of the first School of Russian Studies at Liverpool University, from which later, after the war, one of the largest schools of Slavic studies grew. However, science in the pre-1914 years was only one of the directions of his activity. By that time, Pares was not only a journalist, but actually a diplomatic official, who served as an important mediator between the Russian and English establishments. On the eve of the First World War Pares was sort of a “political missionary”, as historian Michael Karpovich called him in the obituary (Karpovich, 1949: 183). So, this came as no surprise upon the commencement of the First World War, when Sir Edward Grey invited him to become the “official correspondent of the British Government” (Pares, 1931: 276). As J. Haslam rightly observed, Pares was a “natural choice” as a performer of such a responsible mission to Russia1. However, there is still no consensus in historiography on what kind of work Pares actually did on the Russian front in 1914–17.

Thanks to Pares’ memoirs (“Day by Day with the Russian Army”), his contemporaries and some historians often believed that he had one position in 1914–18, that of a “military correspondent”. E. J. Simmons called Pares “an official correspondent with the Russian Army during the First World War” in the obituary (Simmons, 1949: 2). However, there are some other definitions. M. Karpovich stated that Pares was only a “semi-official British observer” during the First World War (Karpovich, 1949: 183). R. W. Seton-Watson generally avoided any definition of the Pares’ position, stating only that the Great War exposed him as “daring and adventurous” (Seton-Watson, 1949: 31). Modern researcher N. V. Kritskaia believes that Pares was “the British Military observer in the Russian Army” in 1914–17 (Kritskaia, 2015: 84–89). Russian contemporaries also repeatedly speculated on Pares’ activities at the front. In November 1916, Chief of Staff of the 12th Infantry Division, Colonel A. E. Snesarev, met with Pares. On 1 December, 1916, being in the area of the Romanian town of Briaza, he made the following entry in the diary: “Today, the Englishman Pares has left us (Bernard Pares, Bernard Ivanovich2. Address: Liverpool University, or British Embassy, 28 Basseinaia, Petrograd). Who is he? A professor of Russian literature (officially), or a correspondent, or a spy, or a supervisor, or a courier (“to raise up allied sentiments”)?” (Snesarev, 2014: 206). Snesarev considered Pares as a “typical Englishman”, who served in Russia during yet another Anglo-Russian rapprochement and fought against yet another common enemy on the continent. Snesarev compared Pares with Sir Robert Thomas Wilson, who was attached to the Russian Stavka in 1812.

In this review, there are practically no works for the first decades of the twentieth century. And this is not surprising as in modern historiography Bernard Pares rarely becomes an object of study. The pre-war period of Pares’ life, his activities during the years of the Russian Civil War, and post-war academic work are relatively well studied. The First World War, however, is an obvious gap in our knowledge, although this period played a crucial role in his Russian studies and provided material for his main works (first of all, “Fall of the Russian Monarchy”, published after the First World War). Pares’ biographies contain scant information that in 1914–18 he was a correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, worked at the Red Cross on the Russian front, and collaborated with the British Embassy in strengthening Anglo-Russian allied ties (Simkin, 1997). One of the consequences of this gap in Pares’ biography was the circulation of conspiracy theories in literature about his work for British intelligence, about his participation in the recruitment of Duma deputies, and even in the 1917 revolution. In connection with this, a more detailed and well documented study of Bernard Pares’ life and work in 1914–18 is required. This article is the first step in this direction; an attempt is made to cover in more detail Bernard Pares’ activities in the first months of the First World War. With the expansion of the source base, our knowledge of his work on the Russian front can significantly increase. In this regard, the conclusions of other researchers may differ from the conclusions made in this article.

The study was based on the documents found in two Russian archives: the Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire (Arkhiv Vneshnei Politiki Rossiyskoi Imperii, AVPRI) and the Russian State Military-Historical Archive (Rossiyskiy Gosudarstvennyi Voenno-Istoricheskiy Arkhiv, RGVIA). Nine numbered documents regarding Bernard Pares’ appointment and work are presented at the end of this article and are published for the first time. In AVPRI, Fund 134 known as “Archive ‘War’” contains a file with correspondence on the admission of foreign correspondents to the Russian front in 1914–1915. Documents 1, 2 and 3 are memos from the Foreign Office to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Pares’ appointment as a war correspondent. Documents 8 and 9 are the correspondence between Foreign Ministry officials and the officers of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief’s Stavka. Bernard Pares’ handwritten letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei D. Sazonov (Document 7) can be found in the same file. A similar file was found in RGVIA (Fund 2003 known as ‘Stavka’). Document 4 is a written undertaking containing the list of correspondents’ duties when they work at the front. The RGVIA holds the original undertaking, which contains the signatures of all frontline correspondents, including Pares. In the same file one can see a handwritten letter from Pares to the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, General Nikolai N. Yanushkevich and the correspondence of the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Stavka about Pares’ work. Documents 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 are translated by the author from Russian into English. The remaining documents (letters from the Foreign Office to Petrograd and a handwritten letter from Pares to Sergei D. Sazonov) are presented in the original language (English).

The documents found made it possible to trace more clearly the process of appointing foreign journalists (and, in particular, Pares) as military correspondents on the Russian front. Correspondence demonstrates how the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the allied embassies were arranging the appointments and what motives they were guided by. The documents highlight Pares’ daily routine at the front, as well as the reasons for his transition to the Red Cross in the fall of 1914. In a broader context, this article is intended to fill in gaps in the biography of Bernard Pares, a very famous foreign journalist who wrote about Russia in the most dramatic periods of its history.

The research is based on the principle of historicism, which involves coverage of events in their relationship and taking into account the historical context. The work of the correspondents depended on various factors: the situation at the front, the attitude of the military command to journalists in general, relations with allies and with neutral states. When studying the activities of Bernard Pares as a war correspondent, one should also take into account the rules for war correspondents on the Russian front, adopted on the eve and at the beginning of the First World War.

Russian General Staff and war correspondents: a short history of relations

Attempts were made to regulate the work of journalists in the theater of war in Russia even during the wars of the 19th century. After long disputes between the government and military command during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–78 (Blokhin, 2017: 28), several correspondents were admitted to the front. The military commanders faced attempts made by the press to find their “correspondents” among officers and competent soldiers even then (Blokhin, 2017: 29). The next major war of Russia, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, revealed serious deficiencies in the interactions between the command and the press. Trying to attract the readers’ attention, newspapers and magazines contrived to dodge censorship. The largest newspapers (Russkoe slovo, Novoe Vremia, Russkie Vedomosti and some others) had a great number of unofficial sources in the army along with official correspondents. As a result, a large amount of precious information found its way into the press. (Osmanov, 2005: 354).

The military chiefs were not best pleased with the press during the war with Japan and accused it of being irresponsible and treasonous. General Aleksei N. Kuropatkin believed that correspondents “increased havoc in minds, inflating the importance of one or the other of our failures” (Kuropatkin, 2003: 10). After 1905, the admission of journalists to the front was significantly more complicated. According to “Regulations on War Correspondents in Wartime” (1912), no more than 20 journalists were allowed at the front and only ten of them could be foreigners. All correspondence was subject to strict control, while personal letters and notes were not allowed bypassing censorship. All travel arrangements and movements of the correspondent were to be strictly regulated and agreed in advance. Absences without leave outside the Supreme Command Staff and movements without a special armband were penalized. The system of penalties was progressive, with the penalty doubled each time (Lemke, 1920: 131). Prison sentences were also provided for leaving the front for a period of more than three days. This version of “Regulations on War Correspondents” remained unchanged until 1914.

War correspondents on the Russian front: a total ban and a forced concession

Editorial offices began to seek access to the front by the journalists from the first days of the Great War. The foreign press demonstrated just as much activity as the Russian press. In August 1914, the world’s leading newspapers and telegraph agencies sent requests to the Stavka and Ministry of Foreign Affairs3. However, none of these petitions were approved. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Imperial Army, thought it was adverse to have journalists in the army4. Already on the second day of the war General Nikolai N. Yanushkevich informed the chiefs of the military districts that there would be no correspondents at the front. Front commanders, in turn, prohibited to give any unauthorized civilians, especially correspondents, access to the army (Lemke, 1920: 133). There were no exceptions even for journalists with a “positive” reputation, such as Vasiliy I. Nemirovich-Danchenko or the experienced correspondent of Novoe Vremia, Nikolai A. Demchinskiy.

The situation moved on only in early September 1914, after the Battle of Tannenberg. The defeat of the army in East Prussia was frustrating for Russia. All sorts of rumors exaggerated the extent and consequences of the battle. The possibility of the German army’s attack on Petrograd was seriously discussed. Against this background, the laconic reports made by the Stavka only increased distrust in official sources of information. At the same time, the press informally communicated with the army, while soldiers and journalists secretly covered the situation at the front. The command tried to discourage these unofficial channels by threatening soldiers and officers with military court action. However, this did not drastically change the situation.

In this context, the Stavka realized the need to improve the information about the events at the front. The first step taken in this direction was the appointment of special officers in Army staffs. They were obliged to make “descriptions of the feats of our military units” (Lemke, 1920: 135). However, they lacked a literary talent, hence there was a need for professional journalists, who could describe fights and trench life vividly.

The foreign press tried by all means to get consent from the Stavka to allow journalists to the front. Sergei D. Sazonov was a kind of mediator in this matter. Editors of The Times, Daily News, L’independence Belge and other newspapers recommended their journalists asking to facilitate their admission to the front5. The journalists themselves wrote personal letters to Sazonov. Experienced military correspondents Francis McCullagh and Stanley Washburn were also among them6. The Embassy of Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Japan in Petrograd provided all possible assistance in resolving this issue. Sir Edward Grey, through the British ambassador George Buchanan, conveyed to Petrograd a desire to cover more broadly the events on the Russian front. According to Grey, it would have been very good practice to admit four or five journalists to the location of the Russian army. This was also important for internal political reasons: Grey noted that amid rumors of “Russian atrocities” in East Prussia and Galicia, the German Jewish press organs began a campaign smearing Russia in the eyes of British public. Grey urged to resolve the issue of the journalists’ admission to the front as soon as possible in an effort not to hand the initiative to the German propaganda7.

Under these circumstances, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich did consent to the admission of the journalists to the front. Candidates for correspondents from the allied powers were coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and General Nikolai N. Yanushkevich personally8. The Stavka conceded to requests, but at the same time tightened the rules of admission to the front at this case. Only ten journalists could come to the Stavka, five of which could be foreigners. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassies of the allied countries had to agree on one candidate from the French, British and Japanese press each. By early September, candidates had been presented. The Stavka agreed to allow admission of Ludovic Naudeau (France) and K. Oba (Japan) without any questions. Later, the American candidate, journalist Stanley Washburn, was agreed on.

The situation with the representative of the British press was more complicated. London initially planned to send an entire group of journalists to the Russian front, but this idea had to be given up immediately (Document 1). It was not easy to find a suitable candidate. The journalist needed to be reputable and equidistant from the main trends in the British press. War Office nominated Bernard Pares for this position (Documents 2 and 3), and it was the most obvious choice at that time. Pares had extensive connections in Petrograd, and was also in Russia. War Office even preferred Pares to Stanley Washburn, while Sazonov believed that the Brits did not want to place the coverage of the Russian front in the hands of the Americans. Moreover, Pares was a “representative of the British government press department rather than of the independent press” in Sazonov’s view9. Buchanan suggested that Pares would become an “official correspondent of the British Government” during a personal meeting at the British Embassy, to which the latter agreed.

Frontline daily routine: expectations and reality

Pares was initially aware of the complexity of the task. He believed that he was to become “a kind of ‘eyewitness’ on the Russian side”, that is, to observe the everyday frontline life constantly and very closely (Pares, 1931: 276). In fact, the main difficulty lay not in the correspondence work but in the arrangement of this work. Before the arrival of correspondents to the front, the Stavka made new “Provisions for Russian and Foreign Correspondents Admitted to the Army”10. According to these provisions, journalists were to show all the results of their work, whether they were texts, drawings, or photographs, to the officers accompanying them. It was strictly forbidden to use ciphers and transmit information about the situation at the front circumventing censorship. Joint trips were the main innovation. Correspondents could travel only together, only accompanied by an officer of the General Staff and only on a pre-agreed route (Document 4). Correspondents were obliged to wear special armbands with letters V.K. (voennyi korrespondent, war correspondent), which journalists themselves jokingly decoded as Veselye Katorzhniki (“merry convicts”) or Velikie Kniazia (“Grand Dukes”) (Pares, 1931: 279).

Russian and foreign correspondents arrived at the Stavka on 26 September 1914 (OS). Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich awarded the journalists with a personal audience. He noted in his brief speech that he highly valued the press and realized its importance. “Of course, I can’t allow you to see everything you might like to see,” Nikolai Nikolaevich admitted. “But you will see a lot that will highlight our successes and encourage Russia’s morale”11. On the same day, the correspondents signed “an oath of a peculiarly stringent kind” (Pares, 1931: 278) – an obligation to keep military secret and obey all the requirements of the Russian command12. By that time, General Yanushkevich had already approved the route of correspondents’ trips along the front: Rovno, Brody, Lvov, Rava-Russkaya, Sokal, Vladimir-Volynskiy and Kovel. It was planned to visit the cities and surroundings, hospitals, battle sites13. Each correspondent received an identity card signed personally by Quartermaster General of the Stavka Yuri N. Danilov14.

However, the journalists found the idea of following the planned route most annoying. Pares remembered that correspondents were “terribly disgruntled” after Lvov (Pares, 1931: 280) and were “on the verge of mutiny” by the end of the route (Pares, 1931: 282). Constant personal guardianship by a Stavka officer, lieutenant colonel Pyotr L. Assanovich, sometimes did not even allow them to make extra steps aside. The journalists often met with the officials, but hardly met with the frontline life of the Russian army. A certain idea of the course and consequences of the war could have developed only on the battlefields, which, however, had already been left by the troops. Problems also arose with censorship, which delayed and reduced even what had already been inspected by Assanovich15. Various domestic difficulties were added to professional restrictions: long crossings on crowded railways, car breakdowns, off-road terrain, and cold autumn. Russian correspondents Konstantin M. Shumskiy and Simon F. Belskiy left the group because of having colds16.

Correspondents tried to get away from the agreed route from the first days of their trip. After visiting Lvov, Pares appealed to lieutenant colonel Assanovich with a request to transfer him for the service in the Red Cross. At the same time, Pares openly said that it would help him to study everyday life on the frontline better. Assanovich was suspicious about this request. He expressed fear in his letter to General Yu. N. Danilov that being on service in the Red Cross Pares would see the ugly side of the trench life (Document 5). Danilov only repeated that “all correspondents have to finish the trip on the same grounds” and “no exceptions can be made to anyone”17. Having been refused, Pares appealed to higher ranks, General Nikolai N. Yanushkevich (Document 6) and S. D. Sazonov (Document 7). Pares noted that the format of work suggested by the Stavka would not allow him to fulfill the task of the British government to provide comprehensive coverage of events and everyday life on the Russian front.

The Stavka was not in a rush to answer, and Pares traveled along the front as part of the group of correspondents until 26 October 1914. The second visit to the front was delayed indefinitely due to “military circumstances”18. Journalists were also banned to stay at the Stavka and were obliged to get back to Petrograd. Pares faced a difficult choice: “to write about the war without seeing it”, or “seeing it without writing about it”. Buchanan advised him to accept the latter arguing that Pares would be able to tell his readers about his impressions later (Pares, 1931: 283). He made a decision to change the place of duty following the example of Vasiliy I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, who soon moved to work in the Red Cross after coming back from trip (Pares, 1931: 282). In mid-November 1914, after a long correspondence between the Stavka and Sazonov, Pares was eventually allowed to work for the Red Cross (Documents 8 and 9).


The discovered archival documents demonstrate that Bernard Pares worked as a representative of the British press on the Russian front for only two months, after which he formally ceased to be a correspondent. However, he apparently did not regret leaving this position. In his view, this was not a correspondent’s work in the proper sense of the word. A pre-arranged route, strict censorship and constant control by Stavka officers – all of this became an unpleasant surprise for Pares. In particular, the new position contrasted with his pre-war activities in Russia. It was not even about the official title of his position and the list of duties: the very spirit of the new job was fundamentally different. Accustomed to informal journalistic work, Pares was clearly constrained by the new framework and almost immediately began to look for an opportunity to write about the war in the way he would be satisfied with. The appointment to the Red Cross was an original, but still a solution to this problem. This benefited him to see, among other things, what was diligently hidden from the eyes of official correspondents. Pares’ status was really “semi-official”. In fact, he continued writing about the war, despite the prohibition of the Russian command. The result was not long in coming: one of his most famous books about the First World War, “Day by Day with the Russian Army”, was published in 1915His voluntary renunciation of the official correspondent status (which many journalists kept trying to get unsuccessfully in August-September 1914) allowed Pares to become one of the most famous correspondents on the Russian front during the Great War.

1. Letter from the British Embassy in Petrograd to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2 September 1914 (OS)19

In deference of the wishes of the Imperial Government, the British War Office have abandoned the idea of an official deputation. But, in view of the difficulty of arriving at an agreement with the English Press as to delegating one correspondent to represent entire press, the War Office would like to send either Professor Pares or another properly qualified person in place of a press representative.

The War Office, s nominee would of course be subject to Russian censorship and would require no more extensive facilities than those granted to a Press representative.

2. Letter from the British Embassy in Petrograd to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 6 September 1914 (OS)20

His majesty’s Embassy has been informed by Sir E. Grey that the appointment of Professor Pares as British correspondent with the Imperial Russian forces at the front has been definitely decided upon.

3. Letter from the British Embassy in Petrograd to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 September 1914 (OS)21

The arrangements in connection with Doctor Pares are that he should proceed to the front for several weeks at a time remaining there during the progress of any major operations and returning, during the intervals, either to Petrograd, Warsaw or Kiev to draw up his reports.

He will send his reports, after they have been subjected to Russian censorship, to this Embassy for transmission to the Foreign Office and the War Office.

4. Written undertaking of War correspondents on the Russian front, 27 September 1914 (OS)22

I, the undersigned, following the “Provisions for Russian and Foreign Correspondents Admitted to the Army”, approved on 26 September 1914 by the Chief of Supreme Command Staff give a written undertaking:

Paragraph 2 of the Provisions: one should comply strictly with these Provisions while staying in the field army area and comply with all claims which may be made in addition through a field-officer of the General Staff appointed to look after the correspondents.

Paragraph 8 of the Provisions: one should not write either in the present or in the future anything that could be used by our opponents to the detriment of our army; all notes, messages, photographs, drawings, sketches and the like, any materials collected during the trip concerning the actions of our troops or enemy troops or concerning general matters of a military nature must be viewed by the Office of the Quartermaster General under the Chief of Supreme Command through the field-officer of the General Staff appointed to look after the correspondents.

Signed: George Mewes, Bernard Pares, Stanley Washburn, Nikolai A. Kravchenko, K. Oba, Vasiliy I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, Konstantin M. Shumskiy, Sergei N. Syromiatnikov, Ludovic Naudeau, Aleksandr M. Fedorov, Simon Belskiy.

5. Telegram of Lieutenant Colonel Pyotr L. Assanovich to Quartermaster General of the Stavka Yuri N. Danilov, 5 October 1914 (OS)23

The Englishman Pares, one of the military correspondents, appointed to be escorted by me, asks for permission to separate from the main group and be present in the theater of operations under the Red Cross, for then he will much better carry out the instructions entrusted to him by the British Government to inform properly about the activities of our army. This is not entirely clear to me, and I have not yet granted him any special benefits compared with the others, telling him that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did include him in the list of correspondents, but no special mission was reported. Bearing in mind that the Red Cross units are moving up to the frontlines, I believe that it is quite possible for Pares to be present over there, which can serve as an undesirable example for the others. Reporting on the application of the Englishman Pares, I seek instructions as to whether he should be allowed to join one of the Red Cross Commissioners or other voluntary health service organizations, if he provides their written consent. Or, if he does not wish to be a military correspondent on a general basis, Pares should be offered to go to Petrograd and file his new application through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from there.

6. Letter from Bernard Pares to the Chief of the Supreme Command Staff, General Nikolai N. Yanushkevich, 10 October 1914 (OS)24

My dear sir, Nikolai Nikolaevich!

I respectfully request permission to separate from the main group of correspondents on the basis that the assignment I received from the British Government is special and the terms of the general trips make it very difficult to carry it out.

This task is to submit reports, rather than telegrams, to the British Government, concerning the life of the Russian army. The main purpose of these reports is to encourage British society to get familiar with the spirit and work of Russian soldiers, to make strenuous efforts in providing the government with new troops and other donations, to bring this war to an end successfully. Such reports should be carefully thought out and be authoritative in nature. The Government gives those reports to the British press at its discretion.

Having worked for many years for the constant strengthening of Russian-British relations, being Professor of Russian History, Director of the English School for the Study of Russia, editor of Russian Review and the secretary of the London Anglo-Russian Committee, I have the past of a journalist behind me, not of an obedient performer. Not being a candidate for a military correspondent at the front, I was informed by the British Ambassador that I was appointed, as indicated above, as part of a group of correspondents, not as a journalist or a newspaper correspondent, but on the personal trust of Sir Edward Grey and at the request of the Imperial Foreign Minister. It was reported at my request specifically to the Stavka from the British Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where I received advice to raise the issue of separate work after the first experience of my activities.

Having already informed Mr. Lieutenant-Colonel Petr Lvovich Assanovich, who conveyed my desire to the Stavka, I dare to submit the above request. In my view, the travel conditions appropriate to the newspaper work and meeting the needs of journalistic haste do not provide me with an opportunity to stay in one place and engage in proper activities or with freedom to study the subject that I need to make my reports reputable enough, which is desirable to achieve the above objective. Since it was not only a general trip, but also a general program of activities, I found it very difficult to do conjoint materials with others, who had different goals. In carrying out this general program, I have not been able to use the information and instructions of the various officials I have met before and who are now supposed to work in the theater of war, because I cannot separate myself from the group; and until I take part in the work of war, I find it very difficult to convey the spirit of this atmosphere that I have been instructed to write about. Meanwhile, it is known that the best representative of the British press could be chosen to convey daily impressions through talented journalism.

For these various reasons, I respectfully request permission to remain in the army on my own for systematic and consistent work, as far as possible, on the subject of concern to me, and begin my observations with the Red Cross, according to the invitation I received from N. A. Khomiakov25 and M. A. Stakhovich26, accepting the conditions which the Stavka will put forward and sending directly to its censorship all reports or telegrams which I am going to write in the area of the military theater.

I would like to take this opportunity to express to Your Excellency my deep gratitude for the reception extended to me along with others in the army and for giving me the opportunity to complete the trip, which was interesting and gave a lot of useful material for observation.

I ask Your Excellency to accept my assurances of my highest consideration and devotion.

Bernard Pares

7. Letter from Bernard Pares to Foreign Minister Sergei D. Sazonov, 11 October 1914 (OS)27

Dear Mr. Sazonov,

You will remember that the British Government commissioned to send information on the life of the Russian army and that I was thus included among the correspondents at the front. I have found considerable difficulties in the discharge of my work, with which, I am sure, you will allow me to acquaint you.

We have so far had a common journey and a common programme. It has naturally been planned for the needs of journalism. My own reports are for the British Government for such circulation as it may consider useful to the work of the war, and speed is not a requisite. With our rapid chances of place and an exacting programme of short impressions, detailed and considered work is exceedingly difficult, and I feel that my work is not being of such use as I should wish.

We have been informed that in the second half of our present journey several restriction of the programme will be relaxed; but my work is of a different character from current journalism for a given periodical and I am convinced that it cannot be satisfactions ... less. I am able to work independently of the common group of journalists.

For this, as I am well aware, I need to have the confidence of the General Staff; and I venture to address you for this reason and in view of the distinctive character of my commission. General Yanushkevich, who has been very kind in the matter, suggests that the question should be raised by yourself in connection with the organization of further journeys. I am, of course, prepared to submit to any regulations as to my condition of work made by the General Staff, to send to its censors all that is written by me in the theatre of war, and to obtain writing this wherever required by the General Staff to do so.

In the interval between correspondence work from the army area, I shall be extremely abused if I may be allowed to be associated in some way with the work of the Red Cross; my reason is my strong desire to take some part in the work on this war, and the contact into which it will bring me with those who are doing it. Mr. Homiakov and Mr. Stakhovich have invited me to work of this kind, Mr. Stakhovich asking me to serve as one of his personal staff; and I should be obliged if, after the conclusion of present journey I may have a permit to be in Galicia, whose condition, I will add, are also of interest to my work.

I am encouraged by your constant kindness to raise these questions now, in my wish to obtain conditions for more effective work as early as possible.

With sincere respect, 

Yours very truth, 

Bernard Pares

8. Letter from Quartermaster General of the General Staff Nikolai A. Monkevitz to the head of the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Baron Mavrikiy F. Schilling, 11 November 1914 (OS)28

Dear Sir, Baron Mavrikiy Fabianovich,

As a consequence of Your Excellency’s letter No. 756 dated 5 November 1914 concerning the admission of Professor Pares to work in the Red Cross, I have the honour to inform you that the person named is entitled to obtain all documents that can prove his identity at the military theater in the Main Directorate of the Russian Red Cross Society. In the presence of these documents, Professor Pares’ transfer from Petrograd to the place of destination can take place without delay and will not cause the need for a special pass to travel to the existing army from the Main Directorate of the General Staff.

I ask Your Excellency to accept the assurances of my full respect and devotion.

N. Monkevitz

9. Letter of the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Stavka Nikolai A. Kudashev to Foreign Minister S.D. Sazonov, 14 November 1914 (OS)29

Dear Sir, Sergei Dmitrievich,

Upon receipt of Your Excellency’s letter No. 734 dated 11 November 1914, I immediately acquainted with its content the Chief of Supreme Command Staff. General Yanushkevich expressed his consent to the admission of Professor Pares to work in the Red Cross Unit, adding that the said professor should strictly refrain himself from any correspondence.

With the deepest respect and perfect devotion, I have the honor to be, my dear sir, the most obedient servant of Your Excellency,

N. A. Kudashev


1 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 42 (2004) Oxford Univ. Press.

[Pares was often jokingly called “Bernard Ivanovich” by Russian friends and acquaintances (Karpovich, 1949: 183; Shulgin, 2002: 283)].

АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 6.

4 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 19.

АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 6, 16, 39. 

6 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 8, 82.

7 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 14.

8 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 13.

9 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 77.

10 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 21.

11 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 35.

12 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 25.

13 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 27.

14 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 33.

15 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 69.

16 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 92.

17 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 52.

18 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 35.

19 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 53.

20 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 54.

21 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 55.

22 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 25.

23 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 48, 49, 50.

24 РГВИА. Ф. 2003. Оп. 1. Д. 1442. Л. 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67.

25 [Nikolai Alekseevich Khomiakov (1850-1925) was a special representative of the Russian Red Cross Society in the 8th Army in 1914].

26 [Mikhail Aleksandrovich Stakhovich (1861-1923) was a special representative of the Russian Red Cross Society in the 3rd Army in 1914].

27 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 59, 60, 61, 62. 

28 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 68.

29 АВПРИ. Ф. 134. Оп. 473. Д. 23. Л. 66.


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Поступила в редакцию 19.03.2020