Influence of Freemasons and Other Secret Societies on Politics in Russia: Myths and Reality

In the XVIII - the beginning of the XX century a wide range of secret societies of the most different kinds acted in Russia. These include sects, Orders, Masonic lodges, political organizations. In addition, at various times in Russia there were secret societies, whose members hid their activities because of its inconsistencies with moral norms. Among them were the Evin Club, which existed under Catherine II, and the Pigs society under Alexander I. Undoubtedly, similar organizations operated at the beginning of the 20th century. Clubs, student and trade unions could have a secret character. However, there is no reason to talk about any of their influence on politics. The secret nationalist organizations that fought for the independence of various peoples of Russia stand apart. Political tasks set for themselves the Order of the Knights Templar, Rosicrucian, Jesuit, revolutionary organizations. The outlook of statesmen could be influenced by their many years of participation in masonic lodges and sects. It is these secret organizations that will be at the center of this essay.

Under the conditions of the monarchy, influence on the country's policy could be achieved by influencing the emperor and large government officials. There was another way - the organization of social movements or the creation of certain sentiments among the masses. Revolutionary organizations, some sects, and religious societies followed this path. Masonic lodges and Orders applied both methods in their practice. The results of this activity in Russia and to be evaluated.

The growth in the number of secret organizations in Russia began in the second half of the 18th century. At this time, a number of “national” sects appeared in Russia — Dukhobors, eunuchs, and whips. Despite the fact that some of the sects, for example, Dukhobors, could be organized by Quakers, they had no further connection with foreign countries. Their followers set themselves purely religious tasks and acted in the lower strata of society. At the same time, Alexander I, who favored sectarians, personally visited the head of eunuchs Kondraty Selivanov. Persons from the entourage of the emperor were part of the sect of N. F. Tatarinova, who practiced elements of the practice of the Khlysty. At a certain stage, the condescension of the authorities led to the expansion of the influence of sects. The situation is somewhat different in Russia around sects, which included German subjects, often they occupied prominent posts. An important role in this regard was played by the gerngutes. In 1764, Catherine II presented a house to sectarians in St. Petersburg who came to Russia, and they also received land on the Volga (Sarepta colony). At Moscow University, the Herngouters acted simultaneously with the Rosicrucians. Hernguter, I.I. Wiegand, recalled that he was accepted into the university by the Rosicrucian, IG Schwartz, who, before his death, expressed a desire to become a Hernguter. 1 In the 19th century, Count K.Liven, Trustee of the University of Dorpat, was a political opponent of the Minister of Spiritual Affairs and Public Education A.N.Golitsyn. The clash occurred precisely on religious grounds. In recent years, the reign of Alexander I, a number of high-ranking officials were part of the I.Yu. Gossner sect, which operated in St. Petersburg. At the beginning of the century, the community of “ghost-men” “The people of God” in the capital was formed by Count T. Leschits-Grabyanka. Although he himself was arrested and died in prison, one of his followers, Prince A.N. Golitsyn, continued the assembly of the society. Quite unexpectedly, the Grabyanki Society or the People of God continued its work under Nicholas I until the natural death of its participants. Despite the fact that the above sects were of foreign origin and attracted high-ranking officials to their ranks, their members did not set political goals for themselves. There could be no talk of any unity of sectarians. Each direction considered only themselves as “chosen ones of God” and criticized competitors.

A different picture is presented by political organizations pursuing revolutionary goals. One of the first to enter the Russian arena was the Decembrist organizations Union of Salvation, Union of Welfare, Severnoye and Yuzhnoye society. Their task was to change the political system in the country through a military coup. In the reign of Alexander II, the largest revolutionary organizations were "Earth and Freedom", "Black Repartition", "People's Reprisal". At the end of the 19th century, underground political parties appeared in Russia, aiming at the overthrow of the monarchy. In some cases, opposition political trends have received support from abroad. The theory has already become classic, according to which a common control center stood behind the backs of revolutionary organizations. Most often the leading force is called masons.

Masonic lodges, the Order of the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucian began to be active in Russia from the middle of the XVIII century. The Order of the Jesuits stood by itself, with the goal of protecting the Catholic Church, including from masons. Jesuits were introduced into the organization of masons, tried to impose Christian dogma on them. Until now, there is an opinion that the Jesuits were involved in the creation of orders of non-nicers and golden Rosicrucians. Jesuits also participated in political intrigues. In 1762, the Order was banned in France, and in 1767, the King of Spain announced the abolition of the Order. Catherine II allowed Jesuits in the territory of the Russian Empire to continue their work. Jesuits tried to influence the political situation in Russia under Paul I and Alexander I. According to legend, on the day before Paul’s murder, the Jesuit general Gruber did not have time to sign with him a decree about the subordination of the ROC to the Pope. It is believed that before his death, Alexander I sent his adjutant Michaud de Boretour with the same purpose to the Pope. However, the frequent abuses of Orthodox into Catholicism led to the fact that in 1815 the Order was expelled from the capital of the Russian Empire, and in 1820 from the country. At this time, the Pope has already resumed the activities of the Jesuits in Europe. They wrote a lot of anti-masonian works. The largest of these was the writings of Augustin Barruel (1741-1820) - "The Volterians, or story about the Jacobins, revealing all anti-Christian wickedness and sacraments of Masonic lodges, having an impact on all European powers "in 12-ti volumes and their shortened version -" Notes on the Jacobins, revealing all anti-Christian wickedness and mysteries of Masonic lodges, having an impact on all European powers " Translated and published in Russia. Most likely, the Jesuits compiled a document that was kept in the archives of Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich. He was quoted in his article “Decembrists Freemasons” by Semevsky: “The Freemasons must strengthen and multiply in the shadow of secrets and repeat the terrible oaths about the right to avenge even weapons for violation of the promise to keep it, in society it should be the rule that they do not do anything contrary to the law of religion and manners. And this secret of the greatest importance should be kept only in the box of the 5 degree, composed of some architects, intended to manage and restore the building of the Temple of Solomon. All the rest will be told only that in our society it is especially advised to give help and mercy to each other. ” How plausible is this excerpt from an unknown Masonic document will be seen from the subsequent brief review of the history of Masonic lodges and Orders.

The Masonic movement that came to Russia in the 18th century was never united. Between the various currents reigned fierce competition. In Russia, in their development, Masonic systems followed the European course. The first Russian lodges worked under the “English” system under the leadership of I.P. Elagina. Their work took place only in three degrees, they were simple and practically not documented. The foreign lodge, from which the work permits and installation documents were obtained, controlled only the compliance of the works with the Masonic charters. Elagin received no orders from abroad.

Everything changed with the advent of higher degree systems in Russia. The most influential of these was the “strict observation” bylaw, which hid the restored Templar Order. In 1754, the charter was introduced in Germany by Baron K. Hund. The basic idea was that the Knights of the Knights Templar were preserved in Scotland and continued to keep secret rites and relics of the Jerusalem temple. Their efforts supposedly created Freemasonry, which they themselves managed. The leadership of the Order was called "secret chiefs." Already in the sixth degree, the initiate became a Knight Templar. The Order reigned tough discipline and obligatory obedience to the younger elders, only Christians were accepted. The Templars dreamed of reviving the Order in full and returning land to him. In this regard, directives to consolidate the efforts of the knights were sent to various Provinces of the Order (to different countries). In Russia, their lodges were opened by the German and Swedish Provinces of the Order. In the 1763-1765 years in St. Petersburg, the heading of the “strict observation” system was opened by IA Shtark. In 1779, the Berlin Three Trinity Box (strict observation) opened the Three Banner Lodge in Moscow.

A strong influence on the situation in Russian Freemasonry was brought by A. Kurakin’s Swedish system in 1777. Her device was reminiscent of "strict observation" and also included the degrees of the Knights Templar. At a time when the “Swedish” system came to Russia, its head, Duke Karl Südermanland, entered into an agreement with the “strict observation” system and became the grandmaster of a number of provinces (he reformed the “Swedish” system modeled on “strict observation”). Following this, the duke declared that Russia was subordinate to the Swedish province he headed. From the Russian lodges began to demand reports in the work, the transfer of funds and the appointment of foreigners to senior positions. In 1780, the Duke of Südermanland led the Swedish fleet in the war with Russia. The contacts of the Russian masons with Sweden caused the indignation of Catherine II. Police checks of the boxes began, some of them were supposed to close. Feeling the fragility of their position, the leaders of the three lodges of mothers of different subordination, A.P. Tatishchev, N.N.Trubetskoy and N.I. Novikov, agreed in Moscow to get rid of Swedish domination. The actions of the Duke of Südermanland were also dissatisfied in Germany. The head of the Scottish lodges of the “strict observation” system, the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, announced the convening of a Masonic convention in Wilhelmsbad to discuss the further development of the system. The convention was originally scheduled for 1781, but took place in the summer of 1782. The Russian “brothers” of the united three lodges of mothers sent IG Schwarz to Berlin, who persuaded F. Braunschweig to represent their interests at the convention. Despite the fact that the Wilhelmsbad Convention ruled that the Templars were not the founders of Freemasonry, and established a new system, the “Swedish” system in Russia continued to exist intermittently in Russia until the beds were banned in 1822.

Influence of Freemasons and Other Secret Societies on Politics in Russia: Myths and Reality

Portrait of Nikolai Novikov (Art. DG Levitsky). 1790's

At various times, other systems operated in Russia - “Melissino”, “Reichelean”, “revised Scottish charter”. Despite the fact that each of them was popular in its time, they did not have consequences for the Russian Masonic movement and were not practiced in the 19th century (with the exception of single lodges). The situation with the “Rosicrucian” system, brought by IG Schwarz from Berlin in the 1782 year, was completely different. The Order of the Golden and Pink Cross appeared in Austria and Germany in the middle of the XVIII century. Its leaders claimed that their fraternity had been operating secretly since ancient times and was known in Europe under the name of the Rosicrucians. The Order had a complex structure and was bound by strict discipline. The main occupation of the Rosicrucians was alchemy, but they also had political goals. The Order suggested that the Second Coming should take place in 1856, and it was necessary to prepare the world for this event. The Rosicrucians tried to involve crowned persons in their ranks, to enter their surroundings and to guide politics. In 1782, the center of the Order was located in Berlin, headed by Prussian Freemasons I.H.Wöllner, I.R. Bischofsverder and I.H.Teden. It was they who supervised the new Russian section. Instructions, orders, informational messages flowed from Berlin to Russia. Soon the Russian branch of the Order was headed by the baron G.Ya. Shredder sent from Berlin. In a short period of time, the Rosicrucians were able to establish control over the majority of Russian lodges and came into contact with the heir to the throne, Pavel Petrovich. Such activity frightened Catherine II, and the repression fell upon the Russian masons. In the 1786 year, by an unofficial ban, the Empress stopped work almost all the lodges. However, the Rosicrucians did not obey the ban and continued soy meetings in a “tight circle”. The result in 1792 was the arrest of their leaders and the imprisonment of N.I. Novikov in the Shlisselburg fortress.

With the accession of Paul I, the prohibitions against the Rosicrucians were lifted, some of them were rewarded and brought closer to the throne. But the new emperor did not allow resuming the work of the lie. Once again, masons began to gather openly only under Alexander I. In this period, the leaders of the "Swedish" and "French" statutes took the first place. Freemasonry became fashionable and spread widely to high society. In the 19th century, the Rosicrucians did not manage to restore their influence, since their leaders, N.I. Novikov and I.A.Pozdeev, could not divide power among themselves. During this period, the Russian masons did not have active ties with foreign centers. Danger came from the other side. The secret organizations created in the army and guards (the Decembrists) took as a basis the structure of the Masonic lodges and even tried to use some of the lodges for their own purposes. The result was a number of complaints to the emperor from the leaders of the masons, who called for the establishment of order in the movement. In 1822, the lodges and secret societies in Russia were banned. Officials have subscribed to no longer belong to them. As the ban passed, it was not possible to formally stop the assembly of the boxes, nor to prevent the Decembrist uprisings.

After 1822, only Rosicrucians continued to work in Russia. Their Moscow group existed until the beginning of the 20th century. There were no major officials and politicians among the Rosicrucians of that time, so they could only have a moral and cultural influence on society. In the second half of the XIX century, among the Russians, there were masons who were initiated in European countries. In 1906-1910, with the approval of the “Great East of France”, lodges opened their works in Russia. This Masonic organization proclaimed an orientation toward the defense of liberal values, the struggle against the autocracy, and allowed atheists into its ranks. Most of the Russians, who joined the ranks of the Freemasons (mainly professors), did not want to be actively involved in the revolutionary work, limiting themselves to moral and moral quest. For this reason, the radical leaders of the 1910 movement in February announced the slumbering of Masonic lodges in Russia. As a result, the entire organization “Great East of the Peoples of Russia” included just 37 people from 97 masons. The cadet N.Nekrasov became the head, in the new boxes they used a simplified ritual, made political reports and discussed political issues. Everything related to the “preparation by the Freemasons of the February Revolution” cannot yet be documented. It is believed that already in 1916, they prepared the composition of the new government. The “Great East of the Peoples of Russia” united under its leadership heterogeneous political forces. Military, grand dukes, writers, socialists were included in different lodges at the leadership level. Taking advantage of the collapse of the autocracy, the Freemasons managed to bring their people to power in Russia (part of the "Provisional Government"). Further collapse followed. I would like to note that, unlike the Bolsheviks, the masons did not cooperate with the Germans, the enemies of Russia. On the contrary, they were allied to by the allies who were interested in Russia continuing the war (and no less so that Russia was not among the winning countries). However, it was the masons, not the Bolsheviks, who did everything to end the monarchy. I want to believe that these people were blinded by hopes for a new democratic future of the country and overestimated their own strength. Until the beginning of the 30-ies, scattered masonic groups continued to exist in the USSR until the OGPU was finished with them.

From the beginning of the XVIII century, Freemasonry began to spread in Europe. From the very beginning, this caused a negative reaction from official churches and monarchs. In 1738, Pope Clement XII issued an edict against Freemasonry. Catholics were barred from entering lodges on pain of excommunication. In subsequent years, Freemasonry was banned in Spain (1740), Portugal (1743), Austria (1766), in the latter case the ban also applied to the Rosicrucians. Despite the repressive measures, the European aristocracy continued to actively participate in the work of the Masonic lodges. The fashion for Freemasonry became so stable that European monarchs took part in the movement, and sometimes tried to lead it. In Sweden, Duke Karl Südermanland (later the Swedish king) became the head of the Freemasons. In Prussia, Frederick II's brother, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, led the Scottish lodges of the "strict observation" bylaws. In France, the Duke of Orleans Louis-Philippe I. became the great master of the “Great East of France”. The Rosicrucians made the “biggest acquisition”. They succeeded in attracting the heir to the order of the Prussian throne, Friedrich Wilhelm II, who became Prussian king in 1786. The ministers of the new government were the Rosicrucian leaders Welner, Bischof Sverder, Du Bosac. Their rule turned out to be short and unproductive. After the king's death in 1797, they lost their posts, and with them their influence on politics.

Similar processes took place in Russia. Under Elizabeth Petrovna, the government paid attention to the Masonic lodges and fought against them. However, Peter III, as a zealous follower of the mason Frederick II (an outstanding statesman and military leader), opened the box in Oranienbaum. The reign of the new emperor did not last long, and Catherine II, who had dismissed him from the throne, undertook an investigation into her husband’s Masonic activities (it is not known what ended up). The Empress should have been unpleasantly struck by the fact that the associate of Lieutenant V. Mirovich A. Ushakov (who had drowned in the river and had not taken part in the attempt to liberate John Antonovich) was a freemason. It seems that it was not by chance that during the first years of the reign of Catherine II, the Russian Freemasons were headed by her protege and confidant I.P.Elagin. At first, the empress calmly treated the Freemasons, especially since the “enlighteners” she loved were in the lodges. Everything changed when systems of high degrees began to arrive in Russia. Already in the directives received by the Russian Freemasons from Karl Südermanland, it was prescribed to pay special attention to the heir to the throne, Pavel Petrovich, intended to elect him as head of the Russian Freemasons. The Empress was not going to hand over the throne to her son. Large masons were approximate Pavel Petrovich AB Kurakin, N.I.Panin, N.V. Repnin. The head of the Phoenix chapter, Beber, in his note on Freemasonry, said that the “Swedish” system had raised suspicions of Catherine II. She ordered the publication in Russia of a French satirical brochure about masons "Opportunity Society". Then the chief of police, the mason himself, advised the "brothers" to close their lodges. The leaders of the "Swedish" system A. B. Kurakin and G. P. Gagarin were removed from St. Petersburg. 2

The next round of the participation of Russian masons in politics was associated with the introduction of the Order of the Rosicrucians in Russia. So far no indications have been found that have been sent to Moscow from Berlin, however, one can trace the main directions of development of the Russian section of the Order. Even before the adoption of Rosicrucianism, N.I. Novikov and his comrades rented a university printing press and set up the translation, publication and distribution of Masonic literature. There were opened Translation and Philological Seminaries, where university students studied. Magazines opened one after another and various societies were created. By decision of the Wilhelmsbad Convention, N. I. Novikov and his comrades received a monopoly right to open in Russia the “Amended Scottish Charter” lodges. They formed the governing bodies of the "Province" and "Chapter". The place of the Provincial Grand Master was left vacant, in the hope that he would be pleased to accept Pavel Petrovich, the heir to the throne. 3 The Rosicrucians managed to take control of most of the leaders of the Russian Masonic lodges. They paid special attention to Pavel Petrovich and his entourage. The orders of the Grand Duke S.I. Pleshcheyev and N.V. Repnin entered the order structures. The architect V.I.Bazhenov maintained contact with Pavel Petrovich himself.

During the investigation, N.I. Novikov told that V.I.Bazhenov brought him a tape of his conversation with Pavel Petrovich. Novikov considered the material delivered to him so dangerous that he immediately wanted to burn it, but rewrote and sent it to the Berlin leadership. The note compiled by Bazhenov was presented by Catherine II to the Grand Duke. Pavel Petrovich responded in writing: “On the one hand, this document is a jumble of meaningless words, on the other - it is clearly compiled with malicious intent.” 4 The Empress agreed that there was slander in the “note”. As G.Ya. Shreder’s memoirs show, the leadership of the Rosicrucians in Berlin was very interested in Pavel Petrovich and his circle. Catherine II was frightened by the contacts of the Freemasons with the Grand Duke. She closely followed what was happening in Prussia around Friedrich Wilhelm II. The Empress resented the fact that the new king was being fooled by his Rosicrucian advisers (they were evoking the spirit of his father). The result was a tacit ban imposed on the operation of the boxes in Russia in 1786. The police authorities went around the premises of the boxes and warned their masters that if they did not stop work, the articles of the “Charter of Decency” would be applied to them. The lodges closed, but the Rosicrucians continued their meetings. The result was the arrest of N.I. Novikov and the involvement of his comrades in the investigation.

The end of the XVIII century became the scene of a fierce struggle between supporters of various systems of Freemasonry. There is no need to speak about any general management of secret organizations during this period. Special resonance caused the exposure of the Order of the Illuminati, as a result of its name has become a household name. Even in the XIX century, the Russian Rosicrucians warned their followers about the wiles of the Illuminati. A striking example of the struggle among the masons is the message of the Rosicrucian lodge "Friedrich to the Golden Lion" to the Wilhelmsbad convention in the 1782 year. The Brothers attacked their former comrades, who broke away from the Rosicrucians and created their own Order of the Knights of True Light. The Rosicrucians called the "knights of the world" "the satanic disciples, in their wonders copying God." They were convinced that the Knights of Light would infiltrate the convention and interfere with its work. 5 Another example is IP Elagin's reviews of the followers of the Karlsbad system (as he called the Rosicrucians). The main accusations of the “Karlsbad system” were the following: the self-interest of its members, superstition, the involvement of high-ranking officials, and the prohibition of entry into masons of other systems. Among the characteristic features of the society of I.G. Schwarz, Elagin pointed out that its members are instructed to “ceaselessly” read the Old and New Testaments, to open schools where the “brothers” teach. Elagin compared the "Karlsbad system" with the Order of the Jesuits. 6 The Vigeor of the Three Flags box of I.Figiolin subjected the orders in the Rosicrucian lodges to severe criticism. In a letter to an unknown person, he condemned the bigotry and greed of the “brothers”. “Now the brothers were prescribed prayer, fasting, mortification of the flesh and other exercises. In order of the day began to dream, superstition, miracles, folly around the adepts. Reason was rejected, he was declared a war; those who clung to him were ousted and even harassed. The vulgar, most absurd tales spread; the air was saturated with the supernatural; talked only about the phenomenon of ghosts, the divine influence, the miraculous power of faith, "wrote Vegelin. 7 In addition, some Rosicrucians passed into the ranks of the Illuminati, transferring to them the secrets of the Order. It was prescribed for all those who will use the old ciphers and symbols will be considered for the Illuminati and expelled from communication. Anyone who joined the Order of the Illuminati should have been expelled from the Order of the Rosicrucians. 8

The situation with Freemasonry in the reign of Paul I is very characteristic for covering the topic of the influence of secret societies on politics. After his accession, first Yu.N. Trubetskoy and a year later N. Trubetskoy were appointed senators of Moscow departments and received the rank of secret adviser. MM Heraskov received the same rank in 1796. I.Purgenev was appointed director of Moscow University and state councilor. Igor V. Lopukhin became State Councilor and State Secretary. SI Pleshcheyev was promoted to vice-admiral and appointed to consist under the emperor, N.V. Repnin became a field marshal general. Z.Ya.Karnayev and A.A. Lenivevtsev have been promoted. Rosicrucian M.M. Desnitsky was made presbyter of the court church in Gatchina. Most of all, the new reign affected the fate of N.I. Novikov, M.I. Bagryanitsky and M.I. Nevzorov. The former were freed from the Shlisselburg fortress, and the latter from the insane asylum. However, the personality traits of Pavel Petrovich did not allow the Masonic movement to unfold again and the Rosicrucians to fully revive. FV Rostopchin recalled that, realizing the danger of the Masons, he took advantage of the trip in the emperor's carriage and “opened his eyes” to the Order. He talked about the connections of the Martinists with Germany, their desire to kill the empress and for selfish purposes. “This conversation dealt a death blow to the Martinists,” said Rostopchin. XXNX A similar message is hard to believe, since empty rumors and real facts were intricately intertwined in Rostopchin's Note. The Note on the Masons of the Special Office of the Ministry of Police indicated that Pavel Petrovich, having arrived in Moscow for the coronation, gathered the leaders of the Masonic lodges and demanded that they not gather until his special command. 9 Masons obeyed the will of the emperor, but the Rosicrucian began to revive the lodges even before the murder of Pavel Petrovich.

In the reign of Catherine II among the Russian masons were major government officials. According to G.V. Vernadsky, the Imperial Council in the year 1777 consisted of four masons, and in the year 1787 - three. The masons were in the Senate and the court staff (1777 - 11 chamberlain, in 1787 year - six). 11 The boxes included high-ranking military, such as SK Greig and N.V. Repnin (led the "marching" lodge). Among the masons there were many representatives of the titled nobility and officials of the "middle arm". It is necessary to mention the curator of the Moscow University M. M. Heraskov, the chairman of the Moscow Provincial Criminal Chamber I. V. Lopukhin, the commander-in-chief in Moscow Z. Chernyshev, who served under his supervisor S. I. Gamaleyu and I. A. Pozdeyev. These people could provide protection to the Freemasons, but they didn’t have enough strength to influence big politics.

The authorities tried to control the activity of the Masons. Police checks in lodges are known in 1780 and 1786. During the investigation, N. I. Novikov talked about attempts to implant police agents in the boxes. It was about the adoption of the secret office of V.P. Kochubeyev (the future Minister of the Interior V.P. Kochubei) to the Masons official. “There has been no quest on our part or what intentions, truly I say, as before God; but they thought that he was ordered to do this from the commander-in-chief, in order to know what was happening in our lodges ... By this very time, then, they decided to introduce him to all the degrees that it would depend on us to give, so that he could see and know, ” Novikov.12 Thus, the alleged police agent was introduced in the fifth degree "Theoretical degree of Solomonic sciences."

Iosif Alekseevich Pozdeev. Engraving by an unknown author

The situation is completely different in Russia during the reign of Alexander I - during the “golden age” of the Masonic lodges. At this time, the lodges of the "French" and "Swedish" systems were widely spread. Freemasonry became a fashion, and nobles entered the lodges en masse. The Rosicrucians were still the most active. Preserved information about their attempts to influence officials. I.A.Pozdeev became the Masonic mentor of the Razumovsky brothers (A.K.Razumovsky - Minister of Public Education since 1810) and subjugated the young leaders of masons S.S.Lansky and M.Yu.Vielgorsky. I.V. Lopukhin took care of M.M. Speransky for some time, N.I. Novikov and A.F.Labzin were guided by D.P. Among the advice given by the Rosicrucians to their wards, we see mainly moral recommendations. Politicians mentors concerned only in the case when it came to the situation in Freemasonry. For example, in the 1810 year, when the reform of the Masonic lodges was being prepared, and A.K. Razumovsky entered the Committee that was developing it, Pozdeev gave him the appropriate recommendations. Pozdeev was afraid of the official permission of the boxes, since random people could “rush” en masse to Freemasonry. He dreamed of the unofficial permission of Freemasonry and the creation in Moscow and St. Petersburg of two independent control centers - Provincial Lodges. However, the reform was never carried out. The rivalry between the two leaders of the Rosicrucians - N.I. Novikov and I.A. Pozdeyev - did not allow to fully restore in Russia the Order of the golden and pink cross.

Alexander Nikolaevich Golitsyn. Portrait work K. Bryullov. 1840

The closest friend of Alexander I, Prince A.N. Golitsyn, was involved in the Avignon Society. For a decade, the freemason R.А.Koshelev became the ideologue of reforms in the spiritual sphere. With his direct participation in Russia, events were held that are very reminiscent of the actions of the Rosicrucian ministers in Prussia. The English “Bible Society” was attracted to Russia. Membership in it has become almost mandatory for officials. In 1817, the Ministry of Spiritual Affairs and Public Education was established, headed by A.N. Golitsyn, who received the nickname “educational extinguisher”. The main problem lies in the fact that no one was able to prove the fact of A.N. Golitsyn’s admission to the Freemasons, and R.A. Koshelev didn’t have any Masonic connections after his entry into power. Golitsyn was the perfect executor of the will of the emperor. He tried not to interfere in the affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and was concerned about improving the welfare of the clergy and raising its prestige. There are cases when Freemasonry was an obstacle to the careers of those who served under Golitsyn. So DPRunich did not get the place of the director of the department, since it turned out that he was a member of the “Dying sphinx” box.

We do not have information about the links of the XIX century Masonic lodges with the European centers. As before, the lodges were self-financed and lived off membership fees and money contributed for initiation and promotion in degrees. There is no information about how Russian masons received money from abroad; on the contrary, in the 18th century, the leadership of the “Swedish” and “Rosicrucian” systems required sending part of the acceptance fee to Stockholm and Berlin. The paths of state officials in the lodges were different. Often they entered even in their youth, before occupying high positions, often followed the dictates of fashion. In this respect, the bed of the “French” system “United Friends” is characteristic (in its list compiled by A.I. Serkov, there are more than 500 members). The box included Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, Duke Alexander Virtembergsky, Count Stanislav Pototsky, Count Alexander Osterman, Major General N.M. Borozdin, I.A. Naryshkin (court master of the court), A.H. Benkendorf and A.D.Balashov (Minister of Police). The police authorities gave the bed the following description: “the teachings had little, but no object and purpose.” 13 Another remarkable phenomenon is the “Polar Star” box, created by the direct order of Alexander I, caused by the St. Petersburg reformer of Freemasonry I.A.Fessler. . The box included officials of the Commission for the drafting of laws M. M. Speransky, M. L. Magnitsky, A. I. Turgenev, P. D. Lodiy, G. A. Rozenkampf, S. S. Uvarov, E. E. Elizen and etc. It is curious that the short time spent in the box led Speransky to the fact that all his life he wrote works on Masonic themes. Similarly, in his youth, DPRunich, PDMarkelov, Yu.N. Bartenev, F.I.Pryanishnikov, V.N.Zhadovsky entered the lodge "The Dying Sphynx". Having long ceased visiting the lodges and occupying major government posts, in their free time they continued to study Masonic literature and even write their own Masonic compositions. A more interesting example is the student and alumnus of I.V. Lopukhina, A.I. Kovalkov. He was not officially in the lodges, but left behind him the deepest alchemical writings (he ended the service as a secret adviser). There is no need to talk about any influence of Freemasonry on the service activities of all these people.

No matter how favorable the liberalism of Alexander I was for masons, they never received official permission for their work. Moreover, in 1822, the only decree in Russian history was issued prohibiting the activities of Masonic lodges and secret societies (repeated by Nicholas I). Some leaders of the masons, who were concerned that revolutionary elements were penetrating the lodges, insisted on introducing the ban. Indeed, the Decembrists tried to use some of the lodges as branches of a secret society (“United Friends”, “Favorite Michael”). However, they abandoned their plans, preferring to create their own societies as lodges. Researcher V.I. Semevsky compared the statutes of the Russian Astreya lodge with the Masonic old duties or basic laws of 1723 of the year and came to the conclusion that the Freemasons of the Astrea lodge were "loyal slaves of the Russian government." The researcher wrote that the charters of the “Astrea” lodge demanded the immediate exclusion of any “brother who rebelled against the state”. The old English laws, on the contrary, did not suppose any expulsion from the box for political views (although it was prescribed not to approve “outrage”). When covering the conservative and pro-government views of Russian masons, Semevsky was amazed at how Decembrists could join them, even for a short time.

In fact, in Russia, lodges have never been secret organizations. Most often, they worked under the direct permission of the authorities. Upon request, they submitted for verification their acts. Secrecy was largely formal. The secret meetings of the Rosicrucian were really secret. About their activities preserved nuggets of information. They all show that it was a religious, not a political organization.

The proportion of masons in the bureaucratic environment of Alexander's reign was great. At the same time, the masons in their official activities were guided by personal and official, and not at all masonic interests. Most convincingly this fact is proved by the subscriptions collected from masons according to the decrees of 1822 and 1826. In both cases, the collection of information about masons officials and military was of a formal nature (the government did not believe that they were a danger to the state). Many of them concealed information about membership in lodges and higher Masonic structures and did not bear responsibility. Even Nicholas I, who almost lost the throne as a result of the Decembrist uprising, calmly tolerated masons in ministerial posts. He allowed A.N. Golitsyn to assemble the Freemasons in the special office of the Postal Department and gave them important instructions. Repressive measures were not taken to the Rosicrucians who had gathered in Moscow, although there were police reports on this matter. We must assume that the Russian emperors did not believe in the possibility of a world masonic conspiracy. They paid tribute to the business qualities of freemasons, “closing their eyes” to their original hobbies.

The October manifesto of 1905 of the year opened the possibilities of legal party and parliamentary activity in Russia. In the context of World War II, the Russian society succeeded in introducing the idea that the country could not win under the control of Nicholas II. The opposition of the monarchy has developed in almost all sectors of society (especially in the politicized "elite"). However, it was very difficult for the Duma liberal leaders, the generals, grand dukes and socialists alike to fall or change a monarch, to unite and develop a common line. The point of contact of diverse political forces was found thanks to Freemasonry. It is still debated whether the Great East of the Peoples of Russia was a regular Masonic lodge. This organization was actually devoid of ritualism, the "brothers" pursued political goals, no documentation was kept. The network of lodges that united groups of Russians of different social, professional and political affiliations made it possible to coordinate the activities of the opposition. 14

Masons-Duma leaders were guided by the political program of the parties to which they belonged, the military was in a completely different position. The critical situation itself required them to leave the political struggle until peace was concluded. However, the generals M.V. Alekseev, N.V.Ruzsky, A.S.Lukomsky played a central role in the abdication of the emperor. In the event that these people were participants in the conspiracy, their act has no excuse. It seems that membership in the masonic lodges played a key role in the political struggle of the period of the Provisional Government. The “dual power” was artificially maintained in the country until AF Kerensky became the head of the government. At a certain moment, this leader ceased to organize “brothers”, and then people united against him in the “February plot”, MV Alekseyev, AM Krymov, N.V. Nekrasov, came out against him in a united front. They used L. Kornilov to remove the unpopular head of government from power and to clear Petrograd from socialist elements. The failure of their enterprise predetermined the coming to power of the Bolsheviks.

The question of the influence of Masonic lodges on the individual, society and politics has been repeatedly debated in the literature. The influence of Freemasonry on each individual person who entered the box was very selective. For example, N.V.Suvorov or N.M.Karamzin, who entered Freemasonry in their youth, did not participate in the works. The situation was different with people who had visited lodges for many years, changed systems and received high degrees. Among the Rosicrucians S.I. Gamalei, N.I. Novikova, I.A. Pozdeeva, R.S.Stepanov, this secret sphere of their life ousted and overshadowed everything else. These people lived the deepest spiritual life, practically abandoning all material things. The statement of Metropolitan Platon (Levshin) is quite applicable to them: “I pray to the all-glorious God so that there are Christians like Novikov all over the world.” 16 There are other cases. The priest Job (Kurotsky), who entered the box "The Dying Sphynx", went crazy and defiled his church. According to the testimony of Archimandrite Photius (Spassky), the head of the “French” system lodges, A.A. Zherebtsov, committed suicide. Mason I.F. Wolf, according to the memoirs of S.T. Aksakov, went insane and starved himself. Some were repressed for their passion for Freemasonry: N. I. Novikov and M. I. Bagryanitsky spent four years in a fortress, M. I. Nevzorov spent the same amount in a lunatic asylum, his friend V.Ya. Kolkolnikov died in prison, was sent A.Labzin, A.D. Dubovitsky spent many years in exile in a monastery (for organizing a sect).

The influence of Freemasonry on Russian society can be seen "with the naked eye." N.I. Novikov, A.F.Labzin, M.I. Nevzorov and other lesser-known Masonic publishers and translators have done a lot to promote and spread Masonic ideas. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th and 20th centuries, Freemasonry was actively introduced in Russia, and after that the fashion for Freemasonry spread. A.S. Pushkin became a vivid example of such influence. He just before the prohibition of Freemasonry, he entered the box "Ovid", has not yet had time to get official permission to work. It is obvious that the influence on the work of the “sun of Russian poetry” was made not by fleeting participation in the box, but by the social circle where Masonic motifs were fashionable. Anti-masonic literature also influenced society. Already from the end of the 18th century the thesis about the world masonic conspiracy began to spread in Russia. In some respects, such propaganda also drew attention to Freemasonry as to the phenomenon. Masons have traditionally been distinguished by wide tolerance (in the 18th and early 19th centuries in relation to various areas of Christianity). Some of these led to sects.

It is easy to notice that when the English lodges of IP Elagin came to Russia, they practically did not influence society. In another way it went after the establishment of the Orders of the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians. They established lively contacts with foreign centers, tried to attract officials and the heir to the throne. At the beginning of the XIX century, conspirators-revolutionaries took advantage of the masonic movement, the result was the Decembrist uprising. In the third arrival of freemasonry in Russia, it already bore a bright political connotation and, in the opinion of some researchers, became the basis of the conspiracy that led to the coup d'état.

For the profane, the Masonic movement is often represented as one. In fact, both in the XVIII and XIX centuries, and today there are many areas that do not recognize each other. According to their constitutions, regular lodges (three degrees) should not be involved in political and religious issues. Until the beginning of the XX century in Russia it was. However, such restrictions on themselves were not imposed by members of organizations adjacent to Freemasonry — irregular lodges and Orders. They most often participated in the political struggle. The political activities of regular masons were not related to their masonic activities. Each of them was guided by his own calculations and reasons in his official work. The person who entered the box already had established views, and further “work” allowed him to develop in the desired direction (“Freemasonry makes good people even better”). He who did not like the Masonic "work" could leave the box as a bad experience and no longer remember this page of his life. In other words, the Masons-officials were free in their political activities. The legends that M.I. Kutuzov missed Napoleon from Russia in his Masonic sympathies or Admiral PSNakhimov (whose freemasonry was not confirmed) on the instructions of the Masonic “center” deliberately lost to the Crimean War, are a funny joke. In fact, during the fighting, the masons could pick up and save the wounded "brother" of the enemy (as was the case with GS Batenkov), but this is not a political, but a moral step.

1 Timoshuk V.V. Pastor Wiegand // Russian past. 1892. No. 6. C. 560-562.
2 Pypin A.N. Freemasonry in Russia. M., 1997. C. 150.
3 Longinov M.N. Novikov and Moscow martinista. SPb., 2000. C. 194-195.
4 Shumigorsky E.S. Emperor Paul I and Freemasonry // Freemasonry in its past and present. M., 1991. T. 2. C. 148.
5 Album Lansky // IRLI. D. 4880. L. 142.
6 Pekarsky P.P. Additions to the history of Freemasonry in Russia XIX century. SPb., 1869. C. 100-104.
7 Letter of I.F. Vegelin to the Unknown // Kiselev N.P. From the history of Russian Rosicrucianism. SPb., 2005. C. 335-345.
8 Pypin A.N. Freemasonry in Russia. M., 1997. C. 313.
9 Note on Martinists // Russian Archive. 1875. Part III C. 78-79.
10 Note on the masons of the special office of the Ministry of Police // Collection of historical materials extracted from the archive of his own imperial majesty's office. SPb., 1901. Issue 11. C. 302.
11 Vernadsky G.V. Russian Freemasonry in the reign of Catherine II. SPb., 1999. C. 128.
12 Materials about the persecution of Novikov, his arrest and investigation // Novikov N.I. Favor. cit. M .; L., 1951. C. 659.
13 Freemasonry in its past and present. SPb., 1991. C. 159.
14 Kerensky L.F. Russia is at a historic turning point. Memoirs. M., 1993. C. 62-63.
15 Kondakov Yu.E. On the way to dictatorship: L. G. Kornilov, A. M. Krymov, M. V. Alekseev // Revolution 1917 of the Year in Russia: New Approaches and Views. SPb., 2009. C. 53-60.
16 Longinov M.N. Novikov and Moscow martinista. SPb., 2000. C. 442.
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  1. donchepano
    10 October 2012 11: 09
    OKH AND THE PITCHER turns out to exist in Russia before the revolution ...

    1. biglow
      10 October 2012 17: 59
      Yeltsin, if he was a member of any order, it was an order - a holy bottle of vodka
    2. gribnik777
      10 October 2012 20: 42
      Quote: donchepano

      The backstage of the world awards Yeltsin with the title that almost every member of the world Masonic government, the knight-commander of the Order of Malta, bears. He receives it on November 16, 1991. No longer embarrassed, Yeltsin poses in front of correspondents in the full possession of a knight-commander.
      In August 1992, Yeltsin signed Decree No. 827, “On the Restoration of Official Relations with the Order of Malta”. The content of this decree was kept secret for some time. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia was ordered to sign a protocol on the restoration of official relations between the Russian Federation and the Order of Malta.
    3. 0
      10 October 2012 20: 53
      Quote: donchepano

      yolkin was just a member
  2. 0
    10 October 2012 14: 21
    Shift issues?
  3. vladimir64ss
    10 October 2012 18: 46
    For me it’s all interest circles. There were, are and will be. And their influence on politics and other spheres of life does not have any unequivocal value. There is always room for a factor of chance.
  4. -1
    10 October 2012 21: 00
    many Russian aristocrats, who held posts from lieutenant to commander of armies and fleets, were in this very massonia. but during all wars they did not betray the fatherland for the interests of society. and massonia was afraid to apply executions and other punishments to them, even a decrease in rank, despite the disobedience to their masters. since the formation of the USSR, this muck was transferred, but not all is seen. heroes, if they remained in the highest echelons of power, they are not visible. conspirated?
  5. Pessimist
    12 October 2012 01: 30
    Was it not freemasonry that destroyed the political system of the USSR? After all, they are the rulers of banks and finance, and not "pioneer circles" ....