Robert Wilton worked for The Times in Russia for fourteen years. This included him reporting on the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Wilton was criticized by Morgan Philips Price, of the Manchester Guardian, and other liberals, for the support he gave for the military coup attempted by General Lavr Kornolov. His book, Russia's Agony, was published in 1918.
The fine weather brought everybody out of doors, and as the bridges and approaches to the great thoroughfare were for some unaccountable reason left open, crowds of all ages and conditions made their way to the Nevsky, till the miles separating the Admiralty from the Moscow Station were black with people. Warnings not to assemble were disregarded. No Cossacks were visible. Platoons of Guardsmen were drawn up here and there in courtyards and side streets. The crowd was fairly good-humoured, cheering the soldiers, and showing themselves ugly only towards the few visible police.
Shortly after 3 p.m. orders were given to the infantry to clear the street. A company of Guards took up their station near the Sadovaya and fired several volleys in the direction of the Anichkov Palace. Something like 100 people were killed or wounded. On the scene of the shooting hundreds of empty cartridge cases were littered in the snow, which was plentifully sprinkled with blood.
After the volleys the thoroughfare was cleared, but the crowd remained on the sidewalks. No animosity was shown towards the soldiers. The people shouted "We are sorry for you, Pavlovsky (the Pavlovsky Guards Regiment). You had to do your duty.
The astounding, and to the stranger unacquainted with the Russian character almost uncanny, orderliness and good nature of the crowds of soldiers and civilians throughout the city are perhaps the most striking features of the great Russian Revolution.
At the Taurida Palace yesterday it was wonderful to see the way in which the huge gathering of soldiers and civilians managed to avoid collision. Inside the building the work of the various Parliamentary Committees went on day and night with unflagging intensity.
I regret to have to say that some students of both sexes are blindly cooperating in this anarchistic propaganda. However, today the outlook is distinctly more hopeful and it is possible that a breach between the extremists and the moderates may be avoided, both agreeing to support the present Temporary Government until a Constituent Assembly decides the fate of Russia by the votes of all her 170 million people. The organization of this gigantic general election will naturally take time.
I have been appalled at the abominable behaviour of the Northcliffe Press in England, especially of its correspondent, Wilton, in Petrograd, whom, by the way, I know quite well, for spreading the provocative reports about the Union of Soldiers and Workers, and trying to discredit them in Western Europe. I only hope the Russian people will turn The Times correspondent out of Petrograd.