Petr Durnovo, a member of the Tsar Nicholas II's state council of senior advisors, offers a portrait of tsarist society and predicts social upheaval as the result of the difficulties of war with Germany. In his Memorandum of February 1914, he begs the Tsar not to go to war with imperial Germany and thoroughly describes to him what the outcome may be if war was to erupt between the two nations. .
Durnovo's memorandum was interesting on two accounts. It was a brilliant prophetic statement on the possible collapse of the Russian monarchy as a result of a war with Germany, as well as its attempt to persuade the Tsar that Russia's best interests including the advance of war lay with realizing that the "English orientation of our diplomacy is in essence profoundly wrong"(p.44) and that therefore the proper course lay with a rapprochement with Germany.
Durnovo feels that because of the signing of the Anglo-Russian accord, (following the Russo-Japanese war) has put Russia in a messy position. This accord, he believes, has brought nothing of value to Russia and that it threatens an inevitable clash with Germany (p.36). He carries on to say that if Russia and England do go to war with Germany, Russia will be the one doing all of the "dirty work" by providing manpower, and maintaining defense. He feels as though "England is hardly capable of taking a considerable part in a continental war" and that "the part of a battering ram, making a breach in the very thick wall of the German defense will be ours [theirs]" (p.36). The amount of sacrifices Russia will have to make due to this siding with England will take an enormous toll on her economy.
It is quite clear throughout the document that Durnovo feels Russia will be responsible for the "dirty work" and putting forth the most effort during the war. He is quite puzzled, however, as to how Russia is expected to provide her allies with the manpower and at the same time maintain a defense.