The Russian Masonic Movement in the Years 1906–1918

Ludwik Hass

The history of freemasonry in Russia during the first two decades of the 20th Century has not so far been thoroughly researched. Until recently, Soviet historiography barely took any interest in the subject at all. Only in 1974, in a work of as much a historical as a political-science nature, could one find any information about it.1 The most important work in the Russian emigration historiography of freemasonry barely mentions its existence in the 20th Century in passing, and then proceeds to steer clear of it basically, calling it carbonari, which is intended to display its non-masonic nature.2

The present writer published the first results of the research in this field in an article of ten years ago.3 The present study embraces freemasonry in the narrow sense of the word, hence organizations (lodges, Grand Lodges, Grand Orients and the like) originating directly or indirecty from the Grand Lodge in England. But it consciously overlooks para-masonic formations or freemasonry in its broader understanding, as deserving separate investigation. Within its scope falls any kind of association practising the “secret knowledge”, as well as others acknowledging the principies of humanism and the unity of mankind, and on this count related in ideology to “narrow” freemasonry, hence those such as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), the YMCA, the Rotary Club and so on. Neither does the present study take into consideration Polish, Ukrainian or Finnish freemasonry—narrow or broad—operating on the territories of the tsarist state, which also require separate treatment.

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The absolutist Romanov empire was the only state in Europe during the last three decades of the 19th century in which a ban on freemasonry existed. Aleksandr I’s decree of 1/13 August, 1822 was not only still in force officially, but had not even become a subject of political controversy. It is true that even in the first half of the 1880s pronouncements appeared in print emphasizing the positive rôle of freemasonry in Russian intellectual life in Katherine II’s times, or characterizing it as a highly moral patriotic and monarchist organization,4 but this did not have any real social impact.

There still existed small masonic groups or circles, composed predominantly of older, even aged people belonging predominantly to the privileged classes. Even individuals from the higher spheres of the tsarist court sympathized with, or straightforwardly belonged to these centres, such as the Grand Master of the Imperial Court, Viktor Aleksandrovich Bibikov. This circle continued the initiation tradition of conservative groups of the freemasonry of Aleksandr I’s epoch. In addition, they carried out charity and educational activity, and even inspired the creation of institutions and social organizations dealing in such matters, but the burning social issues of the country’s present were foreign to them. They were also a long way off any attempt at organizational expansion of their ranks, at acquiring new members, even from the new élite and prominent social groups.5 Neither did they maintain relations with local lodges in the West, and they were not familiar with the evolution which a considerable proportion of the freemasonry underwent there.

However, at that time in Russia social circles which could have accepted such a modernized freemasonry did not exist. The khozhdenie v narod movement, with its aim of penetrating the peasant and factory-worker masses, was, after all, in opposition to the masonic concept of selecting the best and concentrating them in centres of the “royal art”, and of the transformation of humanity through the perfection of the individual. The burning issues of the day, such as the agricultural question or industrialization, jarred mentally with the mood of meetings of the adepts under the sign of a stylized hammer and trowel, full of archaic symbols and rituals. In turn, for liberals who, in view of their moderation, had not found themselves a place in revolutionary circles, but whose general philosophy rendered them closer to the movement of the “royal art”, reluctance to overstep the bounds of legality, and fear of possible acts of repression, represented an insurmountable obstacle on the path to their founding any lodges— of necessity secret and illegal. And an over-wide social gap stood in the way of their coming to an understanding with the lodge adepts of the old formation.

Meanwhile, the beginnings of a modern Russian masonic circle were taking shape outside the Romanov empire, above all in Paris. In the lodges of France, especially on the Seine, alongside the growing number of petit-bourgeois and bourgeois working emigrants from the lands of the Russian Empire, one could still meet individuals bearing the great names of the Russian nobility—though otherwise unknown—such as Sheremyetev (Šeremetev), at the beginning of the 1890s a member of the Paris chapter (a lodge for those initiated beyond the third degree) “la Clémente Amitié”, or Stackelberg, active in the first decade of the 20th Century in the lodge “le Lien des Peuples et les Bienfaiteurs réunis” in Paris. Alongside both the one and the other, there now appeared the members of a class which occupied an increasingly important position in Russian social and intellectual life—the intelligentsia. These were almost exclusively people connected with the bourgeois liberalism camp, frequently with its radical wing, often extremely wealthy, and therefore far removed from the everyday living worries of the average exile. They only half, or temporarily had the status of political émigrés. The leading figure here was the philosopher and chemist Grigory Nikolaevich Vyrubov (Wyrouboff), co-worker on the leading Petersburg liberal journals in the 1870s and 1880s. Originally a member of the Paris “Mutualité” lodge, subject to the Supreme Council of France, after it went under cover he became affiliated on 7 January, 1874 to the Paris “Rose du Parfait Silence” lodge, subordinate to the Grand Orient of France, and quickly became its president, whilst the annual convention of the Grand Orient chose him as its vice-president in 1883. Then for several years he was vice-president of the Council of the Order, i.e. of the management of this same Orient. In this “Rose”, in January 1879, the physicist Vladimir Fyodorovich Luginin—also propagator and activist of the co-operative movement—already initiated earlier, but living in Russia, delivered a speech on Russian people’s banks. In the 1860s he studied in the West and at that time he was close to the Russian “Young Emigration”, and for many years afterwards he found him- self under the observation of the Okhrana. The inventor in the field of electricity, Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov (Jabločkov), settled in the French capital from the end of 1875, and initiated probably towards the end of the 1870s, was, in the middle of the next decade, president of the Paris “Travail et Vrais Amis Fidèles” lodge, obedient to the Supreme Council. During his term, towards the end of 1884 or just a bit later, a young medical graduate from Moscow University, Nikolai Nikolaevich Bazhenov (Baženov), was initiated at this centre, receiving the 2nd and 3rd degrees of initiation simultaneously. A member of the narodniki circle in his secondary-school years, he stayed in the West for academic purposes from May, 1883, establishing contact with many Russian political émigrés, and returning to his native country in March, 1885. In 1884, two other Russians were accepted into the masonic movement in one of the Paris Supreme Council lodges: the outstanding sociologist, ethnographer, and historian of social and state systems as well as of social and political doctrines, Maksim Maksimovich Kovalyevsky (Kovalevskij), at that time professor at Moscow University and leader of part of its young professoriate; and a school colleague of Vyrubov’s, the extremely liberal sociologist, Yevgeny Valentinovich de Roberti-la-Cerda. He had to leave Russia for many years, for his proposal in 1880 that parliamentary rule should be established there, and he settled in France.

The fact that, acquainted as they were with Vyrubov, Kova lyevsky and de Roberti nevertheless did not enter a lodge of the Grand Orient, but one of the centres of the Supreme Council, prompts the suggestion that the intention at that time was to concentrate Russian adepts under the patronage of this central masonic authority.6

It is reasonable to suppose that this task was to be accomplished by its “Cosmos” lodge, ceremoniously opened in Paris on 25 June, 1887. Its co-founders, among others, were Yablochkov, Kovalyevsky and de Roberti, and moreover, the first became its President and the other two were very actively involved in the work of the centre. In accordance with the statutes, initiation at the centre became dependent—apart from the fulfilling of the normal requirements—on the approval by a meeting of the lodge of a written paper in the field of political economics and of a second paper on a general topic, presented by the candidate-adept. Hence the new centre was aimed at persons from circles of the highly-qualified humanistic intelligentsia and at intellectuals. News of plans for the propagation of freemasonry by “Cosmos" amongst Russians and other citizens of the Russian state staying in Paris sometimes appeared in the reactionary Russian press, which in some measure paralysed proselytizing activity. The lodge suspended its activity in 1893, and renewed it only in December, 1898, whilst Kovalyevsky and de Roberti temporarily withdrew from the movement.7

The function of a centre concentrating on the Seine new arrivals initiated from the countries of central-eastern and eastern Europe was the carried on to some extent by the “Mont Sinaï” lodge, also subject to the Supreme Council. Among others, working émigrés from Russia such as the Petersburg doctor of law, Mark Reich, belonged to the lodge. One Russian political émigré was the former Siberian exile (1876–1882) Abram Mikhailovich Arshavsky (Aršavskij), from Odessa, doctor of medicine and member of the lodge “La Fraternité” in Avallon. In a speech delivered at the international masonic congress in Paris in 1900, he exposed political relations in the tsarist state. Ilya Danilovich Galperin-Kaminsky (Halperin-Kaminskij), ex-student of the university in Odessa, immensely prolific translator, critic and historian of Russian literature, resident in Paris from 1880, and from 1883 publisher of the periodical “Franco-Russe” in French and Russian, belonged to the freemasonry movement at least from 1895. The sociologist Yuda Chernov (Černov-Tchernoff), arriving in Paris from Nizhny Novgorod, became a member even before 1905, maintaining relations from 1903 with Kovalyevsky and the “Osvobozhdenie” group. Olga Grinevich, doctor of medicine, played a leading rôle in the founding of the lodge of mixed rite (co-masonry) in Blois in 1897. The publicist Vera Starkova (Starkoff), editor of the periodical “La Raison,” was active at least from 1901 in the adoption (women’s) lodge in Paris.8

Kovalyevsky, freed in the summer of 1887—after being hounded in the reactionary press—from service in the Russian higher-education system, settled permanently in France two years later. From then on the circle closest to him consisted of de Roberti, Dr. Ivan Zakharovich Loris-Myelikov (Melikov), cousin of Aleksandr II’s all-powerful minister, and co-founder in 1901 of the Armenian revolutionary organization “Dashnaktsuthiun”, and a former colleague from Moscow University, the radically disposed and somewhat socialist-inclined lawyer and civilist, Yury Stepanovich Gambarov. When the revolutionary crisis in Russia was coming to a head in the years 1900–1904, this group became extremely active in Parisian circles. De Roberti appeared at the 9th Peace Congress—on 30 September, 1900 in Paris—in which many outstanding freemasons from western Europe took part. Gambarov wrote a report on this for the Russian progressive press. All three of Kovalyevsky’s friends took an active part in 1900–1901 in the organization of the Russian Higher School of Social Sciences, formed in Paris on his initiative. Opened in November, 1901, it rapidly became one of the most vital centres of Russian liberal opposition abroad. Alongside well-known Russian liberal academies, western European scholars and social activists lectured at the school, among whom there were also some freemasons (e.g. Elisée Reclus, Emile Vandervelde). Initiated into the “Mont Sinaï” lodge towards the end of 1903 was the historian and lawyer, and at that time assistant professor at Petersburg University, Sergei Andreyevich Kotlyaryevsky (Kotljarevskij), who had taken part in July of the same year in a joint meeting of 20 activists of the intelligentsia and zemstvo wing of Russian liberal opposition, in Schaffhausen (Switzerland). Some rather faint signs point to lodge membership of several representatives of the intelligentsia circle present at the meeting—Pavel Berngardovich Struve, Sergei Nikolaevich Prokopovich (Prokopovič), and Yekaterina Dmitryevna Kuskova. Taking part in the name of the nobility-zemstvo wing were, among others, Dmitry Ivanovich Shakhovskoy (Šahovskoj), an intimate of Kovalyevsky, and presumably aware of his masonic connexions.9 At the same time, the growing flood of information about the Contemporary western-European lodge movement, its evolution and the politicization of some of its significant sections, and about the participation of many politicians, rendered from the beginning of the 20th Century the “royal art” more palatable and more attractive to the politically-inclined sections of the Russian intelligentsia.

And when to ail these circumstances there was added the new overall situation in Russia, which arose after the outbreak of war with Japan, Kovalyevsky and de Roberti renewed their connexions with freemasonry, and on 3 May, 1904 membership rights (so-called reintegration) in “Cosmos” were restored to them. The Paris office of the tsarist police, managed from November 1902 by Leonid Aleksandrovich Ratayev (Rataev), did not pay attention to this.10 Whilst in the lodges of western Europe the Russo-Japanese War produced pacifist reactions, but of an abstract type, and even weaker than in the case of the recent Boer War. But the very outbreak of the Russian revolution at the beginning of 1905 had already changed the situation here. From February, hardly a week went by without a paper being delivered in at least one of the Paris lodges on the situation in Russia or the revolutionary movement there. Apart from Frenchmen, both little-known masons of Russian origin, such as Dr. Lebedinsky (Lebedinskij) or Stackelberg, and figures of the stature of Kovalyevsky spoke on these matters.11 In its April édition, the French masonic periodical “L’Acacia” published an article expressing sympathy for the revolution and condemning tsarism, France’s military ally though it was. The “Société des Amis du Peuple russe et des Peuples Annexés”, headed by Anatole France, was formed in Paris with the participation of the masons.

The Grand Orient of Italy reacted to Bloody Sunday in Petersburg with a proclamation of protest. It called on its lodges and adepts all over Italy to raise their voice in protest against the repressions of tsarism. Individual outposts of this central authority, even foreign ones—in Alexandria (Egypt) and Spain, issued proclamations to the people, organized collections for the victims of the affair, and appointed committees in which non-masons also took part. In the autumn of 1905, the Grand Master of this Orient jointed a supra-party committee of protest against tsarism’s persecution of revolutionaries and Jews, founded in Rome. In September, 1906, conventions of the Grand Orient and Grand Lodge in France expressed solidarity with the Russian revolution, and also spoke about supplying aid. On hearing of the tsar’s dispersal of the First Duma, the Grand Orient of Italy called upon its lodges to express the greatest sympathy with the Russian people defending their freedom, and for an extensive educational campaign on this subject to be conducted amongst the population.12

In time with the growing revolutionary situation in Russia, Kovalyevsky took the first steps towards the founding of a masonic lodge there. In 1904, in the presence of Shakhovskoy, he talked on this subject in Moscow with the future co-founder of the Constitutional Democrats Party (the so-called Kadets), Yosif Vladimirovich Gessen, and in April, 1905, with Pavel Nikolaevich Milyukov (Miljukov). He tried to convince the latter of the organizational possibilities of freemasonry, and of the help which the Russian liberal movement—which they called a liberation movement—could receive from it. In both cases Kovalyevsky failed to achieve his aim. Milyukov considered that in the face of prospects of legalization of political groupings, the need to create secret associations would fall away. However, Kovalyevsky convinced a circle of his closest Russian associates in Paris of the need and appropriateness of formalizing the hitherto loose links which united them. As a resuit, “Cosmos” received applications from six Russian candidates. These were people who had been well-known for some years in the circles of the Russian intelligentsia: the publicists Aleksandr Valentinovich Amfiteatrov and Konstantin Vasilyevich Arkadaksky-Dobrenovich (Arkadakskij-Dobrenovič), Y. S. Gambarov, the professor of civil law, I. Z. Loris-Myelikov, lecturer at the Russian Higher School of Social Sciences in Paris, the historian Mikhail Tamamshev (Tamamšev), and the historian Aleksandr Semyonovich Trachevsky (Tračevskij), professor at the university at Novorossisk, retired in 1890, and regular correspondent of the French historian Alfred Nicolas Rambaud since the 1870s. At the lodge’s session of 16 May, 1905, only five were initiated, however. Arkadaksky most clearly withdrew. A month later (on 20 June) the literary historian and assistant professor at Petersburg University, Yevgeny Vasilyevich Anichkov (Aničkov) was admitted there. These were not the only initiations of Russians in Paris at this time. Already, on 23 March, the first degree of initiation had been conferred on the poet, resident in Paris, Maksimilyan Aleksandrovich Kiriyenko-Voloshin (Kirijenko-Vološin), at the “Travail et Vrais Amis Fidèles” lodge, belonging to the same central authority as “Cosmos”—the Grand Lodge of France, whilst at the end of April, in “Mont Sinaï”, the same degree was conferred on the exceedingly prolific literary scholar, Vasily Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko (Nemirovič-Dančenko), called a “Russian European” on the basis of his impeccable manners. Two lawyers engaged for some years in the liberal movement were admitted into Paris centres of the Grand Orient—on 15 June, 1905, Yevgeny Ivanovich Kedrin in “les Rénovateurs”, and on 18 April, 1906, Vasily Akseyevich Maklakov in “l’Avant-Garde maçonnique”: David Yosifovich Bebutov, the Georgian prince, and radical activist in the Constitutional Democrats, at the same time collaborator of the Okhrana, attained masonic initiation in an unknown lodge in France on 20 April, 1906.13

All of these adepts of the “royal art” were liberals by conviction, enemies of the traditional system. They did not like the Russian monarchy, especially its last two rulers. They considered that the insane politics of the latter would end in revolution, which— to varying degrees—frightened them. For they realized that this would mean the end of the class to which they themselves belonged, and which was still close to them, despite the fact that they personally had strayed a long way from its traditional ideas and views. Some of those belonging to this category were drawn to freemasonry by the legend of the effectiveness of its organizational forms, confirmed over the course of almost two centuries, and others in the hope of assistance for the liberation movement and of personal protection in the event of political persecution. Kovalyevsky’s personal charm was partially responsible. Intellectual motives mixed up with emotional ones also played an important rôle in their decision to submit to the initiation ceremony. Not only the ideology of the lodges, opposed to any kind of absolutism, but the whole world of masonic ideas and principles was close to these non-proletarian enemies of tsarist autocracy. Indeed, they found themselves in a situation recalling the times when this world first took shape—the eve of the bourgeois revolution. Probably the friendly disposition of the western European lodges towards the beginnings of the Russian revolution also had some sway in their decision.

At the same time, in Russia, the true freedom of speech, assembly and association gained in the autumn of 1905 by mass proletarian demonstrations, in conjunction with the Constitutional Manifesto (17/30 October, 1905), prompted the idea amongst various circles that freemasonry—an organization at one time liquidated by tsardom for its free-thinking tendencies—must be reborn. This would be a clear symbol of the victory of freedom over absolutism. Shortly, in the atmosphere of this “political springtime”, vigorous agitation sprang up—presumably owing to occult and esoteric centres—for the creation of masonic lodges. However, these were initiatives from people little known and even less influential, so that the response to their efforts proved to be small.14

It was only in the course of 1906 that the first concrete steps were taken, by Kovalyevsky. When, at the beginning of the year, he arrived in Paris to tie up affairs connected with settling finally in Russia, after more than a twenty-year absence, he be came affiliated on 11 January to the Paris “les Vrais Amis” lodge of the Grand Orient of France, and at the same time made a request in writing to its central authority for full authorization to found a lodge in Moscow or Petersburg under its patronage. The management of the authority—the Council of the Order—expressed agreement to this only four days later. Kovalevsky now attached himself to the Grand Orient, clearly because he did not manage to get similar approval from the Grand Lodge, organizationally closer to him up to this point. But he did not break off relations. On 16 January he delivered a paper at its “Cosmos” lodge on “Russian affairs. Revolution, its spirit, the present condition of the political parties. Revolutionary episodes.” Two weeks later, at this same centre, the second and third degrees of initiation were conferred on the 6 acquaintances of Kovalyevsky’s initiated here in May and June, 1905. In turn, Kedrin, ceremoniously welcomed at a convention of the Grand Orient on 20 September, declared then that he would endeavour “with the aid of all means within my power and at the disposal of the few masons at present staying in Russia” to establish freemasonry in Russia.15

Two months later, on 15/28 November, already at the decline of the revolution, the inaugural session of the first latterday lodge on Russian soil took place in Moscow. Kovalyevsky presided over the session, and Bazhenov, Kotlyanyevsky, Maklakov, V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, Anichkov, I. Z. Loris-Myelikov, Gambarov and de Roberti participated. It was resolved to found a lodge “Vozrozhdenie” (“Renaissance”) in Moscow, and place it under the authority of the Grand Orient of France. Shortly, Kedrin and Bebutov joined the lodge. Thanks to affiliations and initiations the number of members kept increasing. Even after the first months of the centre’s existence, its Paris management acknowledged its situation as being so stable that, on 15 April, 1907, it resolved to issue it with final inaugural documents, whilst at the same time it appointed a representative, in the person of its vice-president Gaston Bouley, to carry out the formal opening of the lodge. The influx of candidates also permitted the assignment in 1907—probably towards the end of the year—of adepts living in Petersburg to the lodge “Polyarnaya Zvezda” (“l’Etoile Polaire”). The aristocrat and landholder Count Aleksei Anatolyevich Orlov-Davydov, friend of the tsar’s cousin, Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich, and admitted into freemasonry in January, 1907 in France, probably in the Paris lodge “les Admirateurs de l’Univers”, became its president. The sessions of the new lodge took place in his small palace on Anglisky Prospekt. There was no collection of subscriptions in the lodge, since the president himself covered the costs of upkeep of the centre. Up to the middle of 1908 both lodges together acquired 31 new adepts, mostly born in the 1860s and 1870s, and therefore people in the prime of life, and younger than the founder-group. So that, together with those initiated in France, a group amounting to over 40 people arose. This number marked a certain organizational success in the face of the strictly élitist character given to the organization by the founders, and of the rigorous selection of applicants, in order, among other things, to avoid exposure.16

One of this haul was Nikolai Aleksandrovich Morozov, immensely popular in the Petersburg academic and literary-artistic world. Some years before, he had been a member of the “Narodnaya Volya” leadership. Sentenced to hard labour for life in 1882, and imprisoned in the Shlisselburg Fortress up until 1905, he was now politically close to the Kadets Party. Two other adepts of the “royal art”, Aleksandr Mikhailovich Kolyubakin (Koljubakin) and Andrei Ivanovich Shingarev (Šingarev), were secretaries of the party’s Central Committee and delegates to the Duma, whilst one of the party’s activists was the historian Nikolai Pavlovich Pavlov-Silvansky (Pavlov-Sil’vanskij). The bourgeois radicals were represented here by the lawyer and doctor of medicine, Manuil Sergeyevich Margulies. The Lithuanian Andrius Bulota-Bulat belonged in the Duma to the Trudoviki. The Moscow lawyers Viktor Petrovich Obninsky (Obninskij) and Sergei L. Balavinsky (Balavinskij) were connected with the People’s Socialists, and the lawyer Pavel Nikolaevich Pereverzhev (Pereveržev) with the Socialist Revolutionaries. From the spheres of higher state administration came Prince Sergei Dmitryevich Urusov, ex-deputy-minister of internal affairs, who as a member of the First Duma exposed in 1906 the provocative activity of the Police Department. The following professors came from the progressive academic world to join the lodge: the geologist Leonid Ivanovich Lutugin, the technologist Grigory Tiraspolsky (Tiraspol’skij), and the literary researcher Aleksandr Kornilovich Eorozdin; from artistic circles came the popular dramatist and aclor Aleksandr Ivanovich Yuzhin-Sumbatov (Južin-Sumbatov), director of the Maly Theatre in Moscow from 1909. Also to be found anongst the adepts were: the editor of the progressive historical monthly “Byloe”, Pavel Yeliseyevich Shchyogolev (Sčëgolev), Vladmir Vladimirovich Teplov, colonel of the Finland guards regment, and the retired guards colonel and landowner, Aleksèi Aleksandrovich Svechin (Svečin). Jewish circles were represented by Aleksandr Isaevich Braudo, well-known from his philanthropic activity, and manager of the branch of the Public Library in Petersburg, and by the lawyers Onisim Borisovich Goldovsky (Goldovskij) and Samuil Eremyevich Kalmanovich (Kalmanovič). Thus in both lodges political and social activists, well-known and respected in the broader circles of society, predominated.17

The concentration in one organization of people from circles sometimes opposed to each other, such as a prince or guards colonel and a Jewish librarian, or moderate progressives and Social Revolutionaries, was the upshot of the current moment in history. The exasperation not only of the bourgeois democrats, but also of the petit-bourgeois radicals, was still too fresh and too great for them to be able to face up to an objective analysis of the course and character of the recent revolution. Hence their disenchantment with the principies avowed or methods applied up to now, and the search for new paths towards resolving the country’s ever-urgent problems. For such people, freemasonry pointed the way by which they could reach new policy formulations. Whilst for those who, as a result of the change in the situation, had retired from their fields of social activity, the lodge became a terrain where their unrealized inclinations as social activists could find an outlet. The hatred and cruelty of the post-revolutionary period both formed the background and made a contrast to the slogans of tolerance and humanitarianism proclaimed in the lodge. Consequently, amongst those knocking at its door in the years 1907–1908, there were also members of the intelligentsia who, at the height of the revolution, had associated with the social left. So that representatives of the old constitutionalism and liberalism—now Kadets or members of related groups situated to the right of them—earlier connected with the “royal art”, now met within its bastions with their new types of adherent: the followers of the Kadet left or of petit-bourgeois democracy.

Within the lodge they learnt what was then impossible to realize outside it: people from zemstvo and capitalist circles, or yesterday’s—and sometimes even current—radicals connected with them, and even half-socialists learnt here how to relate to each other with forbearance, with tolerance. According to the regulations, they were not supposed to discuss politics here, but in the prevailing conditions of counter-revolution, even the active profession itself of the principies of humanitarianism and tolerance constituted politics, whilst the discussion of current events from this point of view—avoidance of which in these circles was impossible—was tantamount to taking a political stance. For in the given circumstances, any form of action in favour of fighting social evil—even if it be only partially effective—had necessarily to lead to postulating the overthrow of absolutism; consequently, even in the lodges the members created a united front against absolutist reaction and feudal forces, under the slogan of the transformation of Russia into a “normal” constitutional country. For the common denominator of the various socio-political attitudes of the local adepts of the “royal art” could only be such. The masonic ideology of the primacy of spiritual matters, in conjunction with the intelligentsia-dominated make-up of the lodges, predisposed them towards idealization of the method of government consisting in political subordination of the masses with the aid of the whole gamut of means for influencing them. This kind of mechanism seemed to ensure the lodges a directing rôle in society. Some of the adepts did not realize that this united front of people of various views was directed at the same time against the revolutionary threat to the capitalist system, a situation which the discussion of social reforms in the lodges did nothing to change.

In May, 1908, the two high dignitaries of the Grand Orient of France, Bouley and Bertrand Sincholle, arrived in Russia. On the basis of the authorizations in their possession, they formally installed the lodges in Petersburg (9/22 May) and Moscow (11/24 May).18 They also supplied them with bundles of signed certificates in blanco of membership with the degree of master, issued by the Grand Orient of France, which later led to many misunderstandings. In the second half of that year the number of adepts increased to one hundred, in connexion with which one more lodge was founded in each of the two cities, and then a 5-man Council of the Order was appointed to manage all the centres. This consisted of one delegate from each lodge, and a president elected by them. Thus the embryo of a Russian obedience (= a union of lodges) arose. In 1909, centres were established in Odessa and Kiev, possibly also this early in Nizhny Novgorod, and the third one in Petersburg. As early as towards the end of 1908, the Council sent abroad a 3-man delegation led by Margulies, its vice-president, to establish relations with masonic organizations in other countries of Europe. First they visited the Grand Orient in Paris, then they were in Zürich, Berlin, Budapest, Rome, Venice and Constantinople. Amongst those admitted in the second half of 1908 and in 1909, one can point to the professor of military penal law, Gen. Vladimir Dmitryevich Kuzmin-Karavayev (Kuzmin-Karavaev), close to the Kadets, and to two Kadet delegates: Osip Yakovlevich Pergament, an Odessa defence lawyer in political trials, and Nikolai Vasilyevich Nekrasov.19

Whilst the organization in question prepared itself for conspiratorial activity, certain Anglophile circles amongst the Moscow Octobrists (liberal conservatives) made an attempt in 1908 at creating a rival lodge formation which would be legal. They probably obtained Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin’s prior approval for this. For in this way the government would have at its disposal a body which constituted a counterbalance in the masonic world to the Kadet and to the left. The conservative Grand Lodge of England was to be patron of the new centre. A certain James Percy arrived in its name to conduct official talks with the Russian Prime Minister which would finalize these intentions. However, the affair ended in a categoric public refusal of legalization, since by this time Stolypin was already thinking about giving up the support given to him by the Octobrists.20

Despite precautionary measures taken by the lodges, the political authorities acquired certain information about masonic activity. In a circular of 20 April/3 May, 1908, the Department of Police had already ordered the Okhrana district heads to follow Kedrin and Bebutov. In 1909, it even came to police investigations, though no-one was arrested. To secure themselves in the future against information leaks, part of the lodge body determined to carry out a reorganization, and to get rid of persons suspected of indiscretion or giving cause for moral doubts. With this aim, it was announced in December of that year that the lodges would “go under cover” (suspend their activity). In the following year, reconstruction of the organization was carried out. The members of the former organization were reselected, and grouped into lodges numbering at most 10-12 persons each—for conspiratorial reasons. Those belonging to one lodge did not know the names of members of the others, and there were no written minutes of meetings. At conventions held every two years delegates from the lodges discussed their activity, and elected by secret ballot—for a two-year period, it seems—the Supreme Council, whose composition was not disclosed openly. The presidents of “workshops”only knew its secretary, with whom they communicated. Initially, for a short period, this was the lawyer Aleksandr Yakovlevich Galpyerin (Gal’perin), then, in the years 1912–1913, Nekrasov (and after that, for a short period in 1914, Kolyubakin, who was to die at the front before long, whereupon the functions of secretary were restored to Nekrasov). The Council would present the Convention with a report containing an appraisal of the political situation, and would put forward a programme of action for the next year. Beyond this, it had only administrative powers, and could not interfere with the work of the lodges, nor with their recruiting policy. The aim of the renewed organization was purely political. Couched in the slogan “Fight for the liberation of the motherland and for confirmation of that liberation”, it amounted to the overthrow of absolutism, the establishment in its place of a system of parliamentary democracy, and the maintaining, after victory as well, of the unity of bourgeois-left and left-centre forces and groupings.21

An organization thus arose, which, according to the aim of its creators, was meant to constitute—and in some measure was—an apparently classless, but in reality a mutual-support centre with political weight, based on the cooperation of the upper levels of bourgeois, petit-bourgeois and reformist-socialist groupings, a centre where the principle of the primacy of moral considerations would guarantee political hegemony to the representatives of the ruling classes. In keeping with this character of the organization, the ritual side was limited to a minimum, the degrees of initiation were abolished, and women were admitted. This relinquishing of certain, even sizable components of the tradition of freemasonry did not, however, represent a parting of the ways with it, but the taking of the rationalist attitudes which found voice here and there within the movement—above all within the Grand Orient of France—to their ultimate extremes. This was possible in countries where freemasonry in its traditional form had not been practised for a long time since, and where therefore the new rationalism of the lodges did not encounter opposition from the traditional side of the “royal art”.

The organization took the name of the Grand Orient of the Peoples of Russia, and became an independent but irregulär obedience. For as a consequence of its policy of not maintaining relations, for conspiratorial reasons, with the organizations of other countries, it was not recognized by them. All contacts with the Grand Orient of France were also broken off, since it was thought—which did not accord with the facts of the situation, it seems—that amongst the members of its centres in France itself, agents of the tsarist political intelligence service were to be found. Certain links, though informal ones, connected the organization, if not with Polish lodges of the tsarist empire, then at least with certain of their activists, like the lawyers Stanisław Patek and Tadeusz Wróblewski.

The aims of the obedience, formulated in grandiose masonic style, easily found their way to the hearts of the generation of the intelligentsia brought up on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and dreaming—as one of their representatives summed it up years later—of “passing from the old life to a new one, where everyone would live well, where man would be happy and joyful, and full of love for his brothers—for people”22 turning over thoughts about general disarmament and international arbitration, about the liquidation of superstitions, and their replacement by a rational religio-moral conscience, about the overthrow of despotism and the introduction of freedom in its place. The discontinuance in practice of the ritual side was doubly beneficial. For it facilitated functioning under illegal circumstances. More precisely, this type of freemasonry did not require specially adapted premises for ritual (ceremonial) meetings, of which there were none, or almost none. Whilst at the same time, doing away with the robes and ceremony, which repeatedly gave rise to critical or ironic remarks, in addition encouraged a relatively rapid and significant influx of intellectuals into the organization. So that towards the end of 1913, it already numbered over 40 lodges with about 400 members. Lodges now arose in many centres in the provinces where they did not exist before, in Yekaterinoslav, Samara, Saratov, Minsk, Vyborg, Helsinki, Tbilisi, and Kutaisi inter alia. There were several each in Petersburg and Moscow. In the capital of the state, one or even several centres exclusively assembled delegates to the Duma. The president of one of them was the leader of the “progressives”, Ivan Nikolaevich Yefryemov (Efremov). Whilst writers and officers, for example, belonged as individuals to others. In comparison with the years 1907–1909, the participation of the middle-rich, especially the so-called third element—zemstvo doctors, agronomists, statisticians and so on, increased at the expense of representatives of the wealthiest of the bourgeois intelligentsia. These people took up a position on the left wing of bourgeois ideology, or even constituted a link connecting it with petit-bourgeois and popular ideology.23

A significant proportion of the former adepts returned to the reorganized centres of the obedience. Amongst the newly-won were found people playing even important rôles in public life, such as the leaders of the progressives, the Muscovite Aleksandr Ivanovich Konovalov, at the same time textile baron and one of those situated at the summit of the widespread clan of Russian capitalists, and I. N. Yefryemov, several times deputy to the Duma, or the Kadet activists—several were deputies to the Duma, such as the banker from Tavricheskaya Province, Aleksandr Pavlovich Bart, the Muscovites Igor Platonovich Demidov and L. A. Velikhov (Velihov), Lev Afanasyevich Krol from Yekaterinburg, Vladimir Andreyevich Obolensky (Obolenskij), Vasily Aleksandrovich Stepanov, and Nikolai Konstantinovich Volkov from Siberia. The leaders of the Trudoviki and the People’s Socialists were also members—A. Demyanov (Demjanov) and Sidan-Eristov. Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky was admitted in the Peters burg lodge “Malaya Medvyeditsa” in 1912, already after his election to the Fourth Duma. People situated at the meeting-point of the left, the Kadets and the Mensheviks were also active—such as Kuskova and Prokopovich. Also to be found in this circle were the outstanding Menshevik leaders, the lawyer Yevgeny Gegechkori (Gegečkori), Akaky Chkhenkeli (Čhenkeli), Nikolai Semyonovich Chkheidze (Čheidze), and Matvei Ivanovich Skobelev. From the world of journalism came Ruvim Markovich Blank. In the Kiev lodge Ukrainian activists connected with the Kadets played a leading rôle: the lawyer and historian Mykola P. Vasylenko, the social activist, and defence counsel in the triai of Mendel Beylis, Dmytro N. Hryhorovych-Barsky (Hryhorovyč-Barskij), Baron Fyodor Rudolfovich Steinhel from Volhynia, deputy to the First Duma, L. Pisarzhevsky (Pisarževskij), and the leader of the Ukra inian bourgeois-nationalist movement, the historian Mykhaylo S. Hrushevsky (Hruševskij). The engineer Aleksandr Więckowski, former “Narodnaya Volya” member and one of the first activists of the socialist movement on Polish soil, but by this time a well- adjusted liberal, was a member of one of the Petersburg lodges.

Two Poles with a socialist past belonged to the centre in Minsk— the lawyer Kazimierz Petrusewicz, participant at the first Russian social-democracy congress (1897), and Dr. Teodor Kodis, former “Narodnaya Volya” sympathizer, and later connected with the Polish socialist émigrés in Switzerland, who was initiated during a working stay in the USA. In the face of such great political diversity in the personal make-up of the lodges, it often came to sharp discussions about fundamental problems of state life, such as the national question, the organizational form of government, or agricultural reform.24

Objectively, freemasonry constituted an integrating factor in the society of the Romanov empire, where the huge national and religious diversity created strong tendencies towards dispersal, which was in addition intensified by the sharp political divergences and the moral individualism of the intelligentsia, so influential here. Its personal make-up also contributed to this. And it consciously wanted to play such a rôle, something expressed already in the name of its organization—the Grand Orient of the Peoples of Russia.

This was rooted most firmly in the party of the Constitutional Democrats, particularly in its left wing. As a result of the latter’s victory in the elections of November, 1910 for leadership of the party faction in the Third Duma, Shingarev and Nekrasov held the positions of the two vice-presidents of the party faction, whilst Stepanov became its secretary. The first two also entered the staff of the 6-man faction office, in which the historian Ivan Vasilyevich Luchitsky (Lučitskij) was at least close to them. One of the foremost leaders of the right of this party was Maklakov. The Kadet masonic circle greatly committed itself in the election campaign for the Fourth Duma in favour of the use of blocking tactics in respect of other groupings of centre and moderately left opposition, beginning with the Octobrists.

After the afore-said elections, the activity of the now consolidated masonic organization was dominated by the question of coordinating a campaign by the opposition groupings to introduce a system of parliamentary-democratic government, based on penetrating social reforms and a federal state system. Although the majority of members were for a republic, yet in the name of the common fight to resolve the present tasks, the question was left open for the time being. Externally, this found expression in the growing political activity of the progressists, and their attempts at consolidating opposition within the Fourth Duma. In this connection, at the beginning of 1914, initial, informal contact was even established with the representatives of the Bolsheviks, Ivan Ivanovich Skvortsov-Stepanov and Grigory Ivanovich Petrovsky (Petrovskij), with Konovalov acting as mediator. The meetings, known as economic banquets, held in Moscow for several years on the initiative of the same Konovalov, and at which Kotlyaryevsky, among others, played an important rôle, had prepared the ground for such a widely conceived campaign. A union between the Moscow bourgeoisie and the right wing of the liberal intelligentsia took shape here, the fruit of which was the creation in 1912 of the party of the progressives. The presence in the parliament of mason delegates, a proportion of whom played an important rôle in their respective factions, facilitated joint action and the conclusion of agreements there between the liberal opposition groupings and the moderate left. In turn, the participation in the lodges of individuals from the realms of the aristocracy and higher state bureaucracy as well as from officer circles, made possible the broad penetration in opposition activity on the part of liberal circles into even the most secret places of the state autocratic organism.

Various social organizations also found themselves within the sphere of influence of the lodges. A considerable rôle in this area was played by Kovalyevsky, advocate of coordination on the part of the lodges—as in the West or Austria-Hungary—of various forms of social activity, and at the same time president of many different associations. Many initiatives were born at the more or less populous meetings conducted at his home. From 1908 he was also publisher of the influential monthly “Vestnik Yevropy”, one of whose permanent associates was Kuzmin-Karavayev. From 1909, the weekly “Zaprosy žizni” appeared in Petersburg, devoted to cultural and political problems, and edited by Blank, with Kovalyevsky’s participation. Amongst the persons who expressed agreement in advance to work on this periodical were practically all the outstanding liberal and moderate-socialist publicists, including the masons Borozdin, Gambarov, Kuzmin-Karavaev, de Roberti, as well as the Menshevik lawyer Nikolai Dmitryevich Sokolov, probably also an adept of the “royal art”. The Petersburg Free Economic Society, on whose premises the meetings of one of the local lodges took place, became one of the most important centres of masonic influence. During various terms, its seat of power was occupied by Kovalyevsky (president, 1911 - 15), Lutugin (vice-president, 1911 - 15), Kolyubakin, Svechin, and Prokopovich. As in other countries, the peace movement was a masonic domain, one to which Kovalyevsky and Maklakov, among others, committed themselves.25

Apart from the main masonic organization, there existed all the time a second current of the movement. It is true that on the whole there were no resounding surnames in it, but it satisfied various psychological needs—first and foremost, that pursuit of the arcane and the immaterial which made itself plainly felt in the years immediately following the revolution. Alongside all kinds of mystics, esotericists and disciples of the occult arts, attempting time and again to create masonic lodges, there was no shortage either—just as in the 18th Century—of common charlatans. Blatantly exploiting human curiosity, they extorted payment for initiation in “lodges” created by themselves, degrees conferred, diplomas issued and so on. At the meetings of such centres, old French publications of freemasonry were read, and many a time old fakes. Sometimes these founders imported from Paris various lodge implements and scarves, aprons and badges. In 1907 in Moscow there existed a lodge “Astreya”, created on the initiative of a certain Persits, half stirrer, half adventurer. The most serious attempt was undertaken by the exceedingly enterprising Moscow circle of spiritists and spiritualists. Fulfilling an intention which arose as early as 1906, at the beginning of 1908 they issued two parts of a bi-monthly, “Russkii Frank-Mason (Svobodny Kamenshchik)”, edited by the martinist Pyotr Aleksandrovich Chistyakov (Čistjakov). The single edition of 250 copies indicated its destination for a narrow circle of readers. The legal appearance of the journal would have directly implied legalization of freemasonry in Russia. Probably partly for this reason, continuation of the periodical was impossible. Despite this, the Moscow circle endeavoured to function openly as before. Towards the end of 1908, an announcement appeared in the press about the creation of a small masonic circle at the occult-theosophical weekly “Rebus”, edited since 1904 by the same Chistyakov, and its projected legalization on the basis of the law on associations. The authorities, however, did not allow this.26

The political and spiritual climate which towards the end of 1905 prompted the idea of the rebirth of freemasonry, also communicated itself to certain adepts from the remnants of masonic groups representing a continuation of the movement from Aleksandr I’s epoch. Here, too, the thought now was to disseminate the “royal art”. One such adept, probably, was Vice-Admiral Nikolai Nikolaevich Beklemishev (Beklemišev), at that time head of the Department of Commercial Ports of the Central Administration of Commercial Navigation and Ports, and at the same time president of the League for the Restoration of the Fleet. From the latter half of 1905, articles began to appear in the League’s mouth-piece, “Morye”, about the former Russian freemasonry and its ritualism. by the historian of the “royal art”, Tira Ottovna Sokolovskaya (Sokolovskaja)—not long after her debut. She first presented certain of these sketches at sessions of the League in Petersburg. In March, 1907, Beklemishev himself published an article—signed with the letters “N.B.”—on the subject of the rôle of freemasonry in the Russian fleet.27 In the years 1919-1911, its author and a group of activists of the League centred round him, such as its secretary Julian Rummel, a Polish engineer educated at the polytechnic in Glasgow, or the retired colonel, Fyodor Grigoryevich Kozlaninov, and Nikolai Ivanovich Filipovsky (Filipovskij), took part in public lectures and discussions—probably organized by themselves—on the subject of freemasonry. The group then determined to create its own organizational lodge structure. It, too, obtained from Paris documents for renewal of activity in accordance with masonic law. They were issued by the Order of the Philaleth Chevaliers, which was imbued with mysticism, and which conducted activity in the West—though less than meagre—from 1909. The first lodge summoned to life on this basis was the “Severnaya Piramida” in Petersburg. Then three more centres arose in this city: “Severnaya Zvezda”, “Karma”, and “Zorobabel”. The President of “Karma”, where Beklemishev was active, was Nikolai I’s grandson, Grand Duke Aleksandr Mikhailovich, whilst one of the members was the high official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aleksandr Porfiryevich Veretyennikov (Veretennikov), who belonged at the same time to the “Zorobabel” lodge. Rummel was initiated in one of these centres in 1911—a delegate from Paris of the Order of the Philaleths introduced him. The doctor of historico-philosophical sciences, V. V. Avchinnikova-Arkhangelskaya (Avčinnikova-Arhangel’skaja), secretary of the international committee for the defence of human rights, was connected with this group. As part of the above-mentioned Petersburg lecture campaign on freemasonry, she delivered a speech on the subject in December, 1910. At that time she apparently presented herself to the public as a member of the Order of the Philaleths.28

Thus a conservative current took shape in Russian freemasonry, organizationally later than the lodges inaugurated by the Grand Orient of France. Ideologically it was related to the Petersburg tradition of the Grand Lodge “Astreya” from the second decade of the 19th century, and in this respect it emphasized from this past the moments of loyalty towards the monarchy, and the non-radical attitudes, and was probably also a direct descendant of this central authority organizationally. During February–April, 1914, in the Petersburg weekly “Novoe Zveno”—in print since 14–27 December, 1913—there appeared a seven-part article by Beklemishev O Frankmasonstve [On Freemasonry]. In this way the vice-admiral and mason acquainted the public with the principles of freemasonry and the attitudes of its conservative Russian current. Inter alia, he spoke about its positive attitude towards the monarchy, which it wished to see in the form of a constitutional monarchy, and about the “royal art’s” past services to Russia. He also pointed clearly enough to its existence here after the tsar’s ban. The weekly in which the cycle was printed underlined its position in its subtitle—“organ of independent liberal thought”. Its editor and publisher was the well-known occultist, Aleksandr Nikolaevich Bryanchaninov (Brjančaninov), whilst amongst the numerous associates from intellectual circles mentioned in the editorial credits, apart from Beklemishev, could also be found masons of the progressive stream, such as Yefryemov, Kovalyevsky, Kotlyaryevsky, Kuzmin-Karavaev, Orlov-Davydov, or the anthroposophist and poet Vyacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov (Boris Bugaev).

Western anti-masonic literature, as well as historical data on the rôle of freemasonry in Russia in the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th centuries, became for reactionary political thought in Russia the seedbed from which the view developed that apparently the entire liberal and socialist movement in the state of the tsars had been created by this secret and ominous organization, the revolution of 1905 just now experienced being their work. Such an interpretation of contemporary events was charming in the simplicity of its explanation of complex processes, and at the same time allowed the belittling of the acute problems of the epoch demanding solution. This had already come about even before freemasonry organized itself in the state of the tsars. Later, however, when actual traces of its existence penetrated public opinion, but few people knew who belonged to it, or—more important—who did not belong. As a result, practically all the members of the Duma, politicians and even state figures—from Sergei Yulyevich Witte to Stolypin—were numbered in given circumstances amongst the adepts of the “royal art”. Reactionary, obscurantist and chauvinistic forces carried on the struggle with freemasonry, mainly in the columns of newspapers and periodicals, concentrating for the most part round the Union of Russian People and usually called the “Black Hundred” forces. The struggle was waged as part of an unceasing campaign against all progressive sections of society. The Union swiftly took over from France the “Jews-and-masons” formula, and placed the emphasis on its first component. The struggle with freemasonry came about as a consequence of this “Black Hundred” anti-Semitism offshoot. However, matters were complicated by the passion at the tsarist court for martinism, a passion known of over a wide political compass. But nobody knew quite where the boundary ran between this and the “royal art”. The extreme right circles, not wishing to injure the monarchy, were thus forced to conduct their anti-masonic campaign with caution, and in a very general way, so as not to tread on anyone’s toes unintentionally. On the other hand, the liberal and progressive groupings did not generally speak out on the subject of freemasonry, and at most there were only isolated cases where they took up a negative attitude towards it, or questioned the benefits which it might bring to Russia.29

In the Ministry for Internal Affairs, they did not come to grips too well with this problem, and in 1905, in the section of its Department of Police dealing with anti-government religious sects, a file (delo) was also opened on freemasonry, to be kept up during the following years. The information gathered on the current activity of freemasons in Russia was hazy and contradictory. In view of this, in October, 1910, the Department sent the assessor Boris K. Alekseyev (Alekseev) to Berlin and Paris, so as to acquire the desired information indirectly. However, the mission ended in a fiasco, and the emissary was only able to secure for the ministry the paid cooperation of the head of the Association Antimaçonnique de France, Father Jean Tourmentin (real name—Father J. de Villemont) whose information, however, was of little significance. The director of this same department, M. J. Trusevich (Trusevič), also travelled to the West on this matter, equally unavailingly. Tsar Nikolai II was convinced that freemasonry was mixed up in every possible campaign and plot against him. Therefore, he himself also established contact and corresponded with Tourmentin. In turn, in western European masonic circles, outside the restricted company of persons who in strict secrecy maintained organizational contacts with the newly-arisen Russian lodges, the conviction prevailed that the practice of the “royal art” in the Romanov state was treated as a common crime, commission of which “Siberia or the knout attends.”30

The difficult ideological and moral dilemmas which confronted the masonic organizations of countries taking part in World War I, from the moment of its outbreak, did not pass by the Russian organizations either, including the largest of all—the Grand Orient, which at the beginning of 1915 comprised 49 lodges with—at a guess—about 600 members. The mood of the time facilitated a departure from its previous principies, both of a general humanitarian nature and specifically Russian and political. Even Kovalyevsky, sensitive to the ideological aspects, saw in the war in progress—like certain adepts in Germany—a benefit for mankind, spoke with enthusiasm of “an entire generation of young people sacrificing themselves in the name of a great idea, or of greater justice,” and asserted that this “splendid sowing” would bring forth “the most beautiful fruits,” “a moral good” for many years to come. Whilst Russia—he foresaw—would be indebted to the war for the reorganization of its industry, the emergence and exploitation of material resources and initiatives which it hardly suspected existed, and finally for administration reform and the spiritual regeneration of the nation, and perhaps even for a constitutional system. Accordingly, too, the Grand Orient of the Peoples of Russia revised its political programme. It traced out a new direct aim for itself—unqualified defence of the state, and to achieve this—conciliation of all classes and social strata, together with efforts towards the political union of society and its reconciliation with the tsar. The freemasons now placed their abilities and contacts at the disposal of the political aims of tsardom. Even within the first weeks of the war, Kotlyaryevsky participated in a four-man group which worked out the draft of the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich’s address to the Poles on 14 August, 1914, then held talks on its subject-matter with the leader of the nationalist Poles, Roman Dmowski, and perhaps also with the Polish democratic activists in Russia. In mid January, 1915, it came to Polish-Russian talks or negotiations in Warsaw through lodge channels, which ended, however, in failure. V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, despite his years, was again writing war correspondence, whilst the semi-political-émigré Amfiteatrov returned to his country, and at the end of 1916 became editor of the newspaper “Russkaya Volya” in Petrograd, which came out in favour of keeping faith with the military allies and of leading the war to a victorious conclusion. The former publisher of the republican newspaper, Margulies, became president of the Petrograd Health Commission, and from the latter half of 1915 played an important rôle in the War-Industry Central Committee, of which Konovalov became deputy président, and in which Kuzmin-Karavayev was also active.31

The abundantly evident activization of the Russian bourgeoisie (particularly after the failures of the summer military campaign of 1915) which, on a patriotic and nationalistic platform, intended to take into its own hands the problem of the material and technical equipping of the army, thus removing the autocracy with its bureaucratic apparatus into the background, and becoming itself the de facto power of the country, reanimated Russia’s social life. Various elements from all sections of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois technical intelligentsia concentrated round the network of War-Industry Committees—with the Central Committee at the head—created by the bourgeoisie. The most reformist of the workers’ activists were also drawn in to cooperate. Direction of the entire campaign rested mainly in the hands of the liberal group of the bourgeoisie, connected with light industry and the textile and sugar industries. At least from the beginning of the second decade of the 20th Century, certain threads had linked the group with Russian freemasonry. In 1915, when both bourgeois and intelligentsia liberal circles found themselves in a paralysing quandary of hesitation between offering support to the authorities and storming them, a sizable field of operation opened up before the freemasons. It was, after all, almost an ideal situation for an élite organization, striving in the quiet of its sanctuary halls to resolve pressing problems, far away from the broad masses, through the aid of string-pulling behind the scenes. Therefore, in 1915 activization began of the lodge organization, at the head of which at that time were found—as members of the Council— Kerensky, secretary of the Council from the time of the 1916 convention, Nekrasov, and probably Mikhail Ivanovich Tereshchenko (Tereščenko) (the son). The latter, until recently an ardent music-lover and collector of objets d’art, and living off an enormous inheritance from his father, became an important figure on the left wing of the liberals, even though he did not belong to any of the political parties. A quick gain was now sought in the number of new adepts, especially of persons with well-known names. Lodge membership was offered, among others, to Nikolai Ivanovich Astrov, a Moscow politician close to the Kadet left, and to the historian and publicist Sergei Petrovich Melgunov (Mel’gunov). They managed to almost completely overrun the Free Economic Society as well as the Technical Society, and they gained many officer members.32

It also came about on masonic territory that closer political links were established, as early as 1915, between the group of Polish democratic activists in Russia and many outstanding politicians of the Russian liberal camp and moderate left. This was expressed in the cooperation of the Polish secret Independence Association with the Circle of the Friends of Polish Independence, also secret, and brought to life specially. Its inspirer and founder was Więckowski, whilst its leading activists were the masons Kerensky, Chkheidze, Skobelev, Nekrasov, Tereshchenko, Sokolov, Demyanov and Kuzmin-Karavayev.33

Masonic connexions and inspirations most clearly played their part, too, in contemporary efforts aimed at consolidating the political groupings of the bourgeoisie and the progressive land-holders. In the summer of 1915, actually on the initiative of Yefryemov and Konovalov, but in Kovalyevsky’s apartment—the father of Russian freemasonry—negotiations were taking place between some of the Duma and Council of State members, concerning an inter-party agreement, which was concluded in August, under the name of the Progressive Bloc. In turn, the bitter friction on its left wing, arising out of their attitude towards the most important current issues of the international situation and the problems of the war, the end-result of which was the departure of the progressives from the Bloc on 31 October/13 November, 1916, was paralled in masonic life. In the years 1915–16 things led to political conflicts in the lodges between the Kadets and the progressives, as a resuit of which 10 centres disintegrated. The joint newspaper of the Mensheviks, the Socialist Revolutionaries and the People’s Socialists, already at an advanced stage of preparation in the latter half of 1915, if it was not the upshot of its inspiration, at least corresponded to the tactical line of the Russian lodge organization. Konovalov was to provide the financial means for this enterprise.34

In the autumn of 1916, when the profound decay of economic life was already visible, new attacks on the liberal bourgeoisie came from government circles, and the workers demonstrations, growing in strength, heralded the “street’s” appearance in the political arena, freemasonry carried out a reassessment of its military programme. It gave up the policy of reconciling society with tsardom, and prepared itself—first and foremost its directive group prepared itself—for a palace revolution. This would lead to the replacement of Nikolai II on the imperial throne by his brother Mikhail Aleksandrovich, closely connected with the bourgeoisie, but at the same time subdue the “element” which terrified the latter—the working class. Towards the end of 1916, Nekrasov, until recently secretary of the Supreme Council of the Grand Orient, and still a member, was elected—as a decidedly opposition politician—deputy president of the Duma. In the 5-man group centred round Guchkov and preparing the coup d’état, at least two adepts of the “royal art” were to be found (Shingarev and Tereshchenko). Therefore, the leaders of the Progressive Bloc scarcely knew even in a very general way of the existence of this kind of plan, whilst the management of the Russian Grand Orient was fully briefed on the progress of the conspiracy preparations, and it was only their technical details it did not go into. In connexion with this action, it made efforts towards creating an information office for the left groupings. This was comprised exclusively of masons: Nekrasov, Kerensky, and Chkheidze. The office was to gradually prepare public opinion for the coup, and then to offer the latter support. To some degree this sheds light on the meetings of the leading activists of the left—from the Trudoviki to the Bolsheviks inclusive—in the apartments of the two masons or close to it—Sokolov and A. Ya. Galperin, both lawyers, to which things seem to have led in January and February, 1917, and perhaps even earlier as well.35

The outbreak of the February Revolution in Russia surprised the freemasonry movement there, and thwarted the preparations mąde under its direction for the military-palace revolution. About 40 lodges with 400 members at most must have belonged to the Grand Orient of the Peoples of Russia at this time. Shortly, a masonic congress was called, at which the Grand Orient appeared. Balavinsky made efforts in its name to secure recognition of the organization by the Grand Orient of France. Despite favourable reaction from that corner, the establishing of relations did not come off—for reasons unknown.36

At least in the first months of the revolution, the lodges were still open; on 4 April, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries, Boris Viktorovich Savinkov, was initiated in the Petrograd “Istinnye Druzya” (Vrais Amis). Party-political activity now most clearly consumed all the energy of the organization members, to that degree, that they devoted less and less attention to the organization’s own affairs. Consequently, only 28 centres were to last until the October Revolution. Petrograd lodges of the conservative faction behaved in a similar way. They summoned the Grand Lodge “Astreya” into being, which was connected with its predecessor from the times of Aleksandr I not only by name, but also took its constitution. Neither did this obedience turn out to be over-active. Up until 1918 its head authority gathered no more than twice. This passivity on the part of both factions apparently explains the surprising fact that in a situation where there was now full freedom in public life, including freedom of the printed word, no news or reports appeared in the press about the organization of lodges or an increase in masonic activity. Equally, nothing was heard of propaganda directed at acquiring new adepts. Again, both former anti-masons and people previously actively engaged in recruiting new members were silent.37

Although the masons did not organize the mass movement which overthrew tsardom,38 many of them immediately found themselves at the summit of political and state structures, often precisely thanks to their masonic connexions, and the personal connexions built up on this basis. It was they who played a certain part in the forming of different cabinets of the Provisional Government. In the 10-man team of the first of these, there were at least 5 hammer and trowel adepts (Kerensky, Nekrasov, Shingarev and Tereshchenko). Over and above these, in the following cabinets sat Yefryemov, Pereverzhev, Prokopovich, Skobelev and V. N. Stepanov. Deputy ministers for certain periods were Savinkov, Urusov and Volkov; Chkheizde was president of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. Teplov, already a general, commanded the Petrograd military district during the Kornilov period. One could come across many an adept in other responsible positions. In the 66-strong Central Committee of the People’s Liberty Party (the new name of the Kadets), elected in May, 1917, there were at least 11 adepts of the “royal art”. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see any influences of the masonic management or of the ideals of the movement in government policy. The logic of the class struggle—as in the days of the French Revolution or the Paris Commune, and in similar situations—again turned out to be much stronger than the generalized doctrinal formulations of the “royal art”, and its methods of operation, relying on conditions of the peaceful, small-scale functioning of the mechanism of party-political life.39

After the October Revolution, the majority of adepts of the “royal art” engaged from the very first in organizational work for the counter-revolution and in plots against the young Soviet government. Some of them, like Kedrin, Krol or Margulies, were soon to become présidents or vice-presidents of the regional “White” authorities. The ban on all bourgeois organizations issued by the Soviet of People’s Commissars at the beginning of 1918 also cut the ground from beneath the lodges’ feet in a way, membership incurring the threat of heavy penal sanctions from this point on. However, masonic life did not die out all at once. Some of the adepts at least still thought of continuing organizational activity. In the latter half of 1918 or at the beginning of the following year, after returning to Poland, Więckowski established a lodge in Warsaw connected with the all but defunct Russian centre. In Petrograd a masonic circle composed of the remnants of the former conservative lodges was active in the summer of 1918. Beklemishev presided, whilst Veretyennikov was one of the members, a previously high official at the Credit Association and a former town councillor. On the initiative of an official at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Julius Gehrmann, here after the Brest-Litovsk treaty with the aim of organizing a German Consulate-General, where he then became general-secretary, on 16 June, 1918 the Society of the Friends of Freemasonry was formed. It numbered 42 members, adepts of lodges or sympathizers of the movement. Gehrmann became president, and the former assessor of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ernst v. Behrens—secretary. It gathered in rooms at the Hôtel d’Angleterre (on Voznesyensky Prospekt) and the official language was German. With the support of the Society, as early as 24 June 9 masons founded the masonic circle “zur aufgehenden Sonne am Newastrande”. It came under the authority of the lodge “Am Berge der Schönheit” in Schöneberg near Berlin, of which Gehrmann was member. This lodge was subject to the old, conservative “Three Globes” Grand Lodge in Berlin. Gehrmann was elected president of the circle, Behrens—deputy, and an ex-colonel of the tsar’s guards, Heyermans—treasurer. Adepts of lodges in Germany, England, Rotterdam, Paris and Shanghai belonged to the circle, presumably mainly foreigners. It established relations with the local Russian circle. Veretyennikov was the link. He also took over the management of “Am Newastrande”, after Gehrmann had transferred jobs to Berlin in the early autumn of the same year. None of these three centres existed long. As early as the beginning of 1920, Veretyennikov was in Berlin, where he was engaged in organizing, with Gehrmann’s participation, the first organizational masonic cells there of the Russian émigrés.40

Before freemasonry quite disappeared from the territories of a Russia steeped in revolution, the Russians again began to apply for initiation in Paris—as in the years 1905–1907. This time, however, they were opponents of the proletarian revolution of various shades. Some of those who came knocking at the doors of the lodges were to have been found until recently at the upper end of the civil and military hierarchy to tsarism or the Provisional Government. Slowly, then, a new Russian masonic milieu took shape in Paris, the embryo of Russian émigré freemasonry.41

(Translated by Phillip G. Smith)

Source: Hass, L. (1983). The Russian Masonic Movement in the Years 1906-1918. Acta Poloniae Historica, 48, 95-131. Retrieved from

  1. N. Jakovlev, 1 avgusta 1914, Moskva 1974. For a discussion of Jakovlev’s views on the rôle of Russian freemasonry, see M. K. Kasvinov, Dvadtsat’ tri stupeni vniz, Moskva 1979, pp. 303–305. ↩︎
  2. T. Bakounine, Répertoire biographique des francs-maçons russes (XVIIIe et XIXe siècles), Bruxelles 1940 (reprint: Paris 1967), pp. XVIII–XIX. Archive material on the new Russian freemasonry has been published in: E. Elkin, Attempts to Revive Freemasonry in Russia, “The Slavonic and East European Review”, vol. XLIV, 1966, No. 103. ↩︎
  3. L. Hass, Rosyjskie wolnomularstwo lat 1906–1918 (Fragment z dziejów liberalizmu w Rosji) [Russian Freemasonry of the Years 1906-1918 (A Fragment from the History of Liberalism in Russia)], “Studia z Dziejów ZSRR i Europy Środkowej”, vol. XVIII, 1971, pp. 127–178. ↩︎
  4. J. Porfir’ev, Istorija russkoj slovesnosti, vol. II, pt. II, Kazan’ 1884, pp. 263–305; J. Opočinin, Neskol’ko istoričeskih svedenij o frank-masonah, S-Pbg 1883, p. 19 (author’s conclusions). ↩︎
  5. [A. N. Pypin], Literaturnoe obozrenie “Vestnik Evropy”, 1881, 2, p. 886; N. B. [Beklemišev], O Frankmasonstve, “Novoe Zveno”, 1914, No. 66, p. 169; V. A. Bibikov (1807–1883) bequeathed to V. S. Arsenev his library and 100,000 roubles, earmarking them for the founding of a masonic lodge, when conditions under the law should permit it (Bakounine, op. cit., p. 66). According to Russian tradition, the “Neptune” lodge, founded in Petersburg in the 18th Century, lasted until the second half of the 19th Century. Initiated in the lodge were both the literary historian Aleksandr Nikolaevič Pypin (1833–1904) and the naval officer and future vice-admiral, Nikolai Nikolaevič Beklemišev, brother of the well-known artist (see V. L. Vjazemskij, Pervaja četvert’ veka suščestvovanija zarubežnogo masonstva, “Vestnik Ob"edinenija Russkih Loż D i P Śotlandskogo Ustava”, 1960, No. 5, p. 19). ↩︎
  6. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (hereafter—BN), FM2 632, dossier “L∴ Rose du parfait silence (Paris)”, list of members of 1 July, 1874; “La Franc-Maçonnerie démasquée”, 1894, No. 2, p. 61; “Chaîne d’Union”, 1879, No. 1, p. 44; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 139–144; P. M., Čto takoe patsifizm i obščestvo “Mir”, “Novoe Vremja”, 4/17 Jan., 1912, No. 12864, p. 3. ↩︎
  7. L. Hass, op. cit., p. 144; Dernières Nouvelles, “Chaîne d’Union”, 1887, No. 10/11, p. 308; Compte Rendu des Travaux de la R∴ L∴ ... sous le numéro 288 et le titre distinctif Cosmos, Paris 5899 (= 1899), passim; Loge Alsace-Lorraine 1872–1890, Paris 1890, p. 50. ↩︎
  8. Archives of Grande Loge de France, Paris (hereafter—AGLdF), set R∴ L∴ No. 6 “Mont Sinaï”; Songrè Maç∴ International de 1900, Paris 1901, p. 40; Conférences à l’étude, “Revue maçonnique”, 1895, No. 183, p. 141; Logen-Berichte und Vermischtes, “Schlesisches Logenblatt”, 1897, p. 39. On Halperin-Kaminskij’s rôle see V. Boutchik , La littérature russe en France, Paris 1948, especially pp. 32–33. According to one author worthy of attention, Lev Davidovič Trotskij was initiated in one of the lodges of the Grand Lodge of France, attaining the degree of journeyman there, after which he broke with freemasonry (E. Lennhoff, Über slawische Freimaurerei, “Die drei Ringe”, 1930, No. 2, p. 42). ↩︎
  9. L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 145–147; N. Jakovlev, op. cit., p. 231. Russian masonic tradition ascribed to the masons the credit for the rebirth of liberal opposition in the country at the beginning of the 20th Century, and for bringing closer to each other, at the Schaffhausen meeting, its two wings mentioned above. Even if, in a literal sense, this was at variance with the facts of the situation, from a wider, unofficial point of view it turns out to be right. For a proportion of the liberal activists mentioned and others entered lodges in full formality in the course of 1905. So that one can accept that even beforehand they contitued a masonic group from the point of view of ideology, though not yet formalized organizationally. ↩︎
  10. “Bulletin hebdomadaire des Loges de la Région parisienne”, 1904, No. 1054, p. 14. Apparently, freemasonry was praised at a public lecture in Moscow even in 1903 (see P. Dernov, Masony kak vragi hristianskoj tserkvi i gosudarstva, S-Peterburg 1913, p. 35). ↩︎
  11. Lebedinskij delivered a paper on The History of the Intellectual and Revolutionary Movement in Russia in the lodges “l’Avenir” (10 Jan., 1905) and “Etoile Polaire” (1 March, 1905) Stackelberg one on Events in Russia, and Their Consequences in “le Lien des Peuples et les Bienfaiteurs réunis” (24 May, 1905), Kovalevskij one on The Proposal for a Russian Constitution and the Zemstvo in “Cosmos” (21 Feb., 1905), (“Bulletin hebdomadaire...”, 1905, No. 1090, p. 8, No. 1095, p. 14, No. 1097, p. 16, No. 1109, p. 8). ↩︎
  12. Protesti massoniche contro le sanguinose repressioni in Russia, “Rivista della Massoneria Italiana”, 1905, No. 1, p. 45; Plebiscito massonico, ibidem, No. 2, pp. 57–69, No. 3, pp. 123–131; Per i massacri in Russia, ibidem. No. 8, pp. 378–380; Informazioni, ibidem, 1906, No. 5/6, pp. 275–276; P. M., Čto takoe patsifizm i obščestvo “Mir”, “Novoe Vremja”, 1912, No. 12864, p. 3. ↩︎
  13. “Bulletin hebdomadaire...”, 1905, No. 1108, p. 8, No. 1113, p. 8; AGLdF—set R∴ L∴, No. 137, “Travail et Vrais amis fidèles”, book Contrôle de la Loge; Annuaire de la R∴ L, N. 6 “Le Mont Sinaï,” Anneé 1906, Paris 1906, p. 7; Archives of Grand Orient de France, Paris (hereafter— AGOdF), dossier “L∴ Les Rénovateurs (Paris) 1907–1910”; dossier “L∴ l’Avant-Garde maç∴ (Paris) 1901–1908”; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 150–153, Porfolio of the “Vozroždenie” lodge (private possession, Paris). ↩︎
  14. L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 154–155. ↩︎
  15. “Bulletin hebdomadaire...”, 1906, No. 145, p. 6; Compte rendu aux Atéliers de la Fédération des travaux de l’Assemblée Générale du 17 au 22 septembre 1906, Paris [1906], p. 127; L. Hass , op. cit., pp. 155–156. ↩︎
  16. AGOdF, dossier “L∴ Fraternité des Peuples (Paris) 1919–1920”, letter of the lodge secretary, 26 April, 1919. Recueil semestriel et confidentionel. Du 1er Juillet au 31 Décembre 1920, Paris 1921 (Orloff-Davidoff); V. L. Vjazemskij, op. cit., p. 21; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 156–157. M. S. Margulies later gave from memory the year 1908 as the date of founding of the Petersburg lodge. Probably he meant the end of the preceding year. ↩︎
  17. L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 156–159. ↩︎
  18. Baženov and Bebutov in Paris sought the delegation of these particular two people as installers. Some not very reliable accounts speak about the simultaneous installation of a third lodge as well, mentioning Warsaw and Kiev interchangeably. At that time, however, there was still no masonic centre in either of these localities. ↩︎
  19. M. S. Margoulies, La Franc-Maçonnerie en Russie depuis 25 ans, “L’Acacia”, 1925, No. 16, p. 290; N. Jakovlev, op. cit., p. 230; L. Hass, op.cit., pp. 162–163. ↩︎
  20. A. P., Masonstvo v Rossii, “Golos Moskvy”, 3 Dec., 1908, No. 280, pp. 1-2; [no title], “Rossija”, 17 Dec., 1908, No. 943, p. 1; [no title], “Russkoe znamja”, 17 Dec., 1908, p. 1. ↩︎
  21. State Archives of the Town of Warsaw, set “Warsaw Provincial Police Administration”, 2911, card 2; Compte rendu de la Quatrième Conférence Internationale de Suprêmes Conseils du 33e degré, Paris 1930, p. 50; L. Haimson, The Problem of Social Stability in Urban Russia, 1905–1917, “Slavic Review”, 1965, No. 1, pp. 13–14; Burcevjada i Azefy Velikogo Vostoka, “Novoe Vremja”, 1912, No. 12945, p. 5; N. Jakoviev, op. cit., pp. 230, 232; V. L. Vjazemskij, op. cit., p. 21; L. Hass, op. cit., p. 166. ↩︎
  22. A. J. Verhovskij, Na trudnom perevale, Moskva 1959, p. 21. ↩︎
  23. L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 166-168. ↩︎
  24. AGOdF, dossier “L∴ Etoile du Nord (Paris)”; dossier “L∴ Fraternité (Paris)”; Z. Kodis-Freyerowa, Wspomnienia [Reminiscences], Biblioteka Narodowa (National Library) (Warszawa), accession No. 11258, card 20; N. Jakovlev, op. cit., p. 231; J. V. Gessen, V dvuh vekah, Berlin 1937, p. 217; N. Smith, The Role of Russian Freemasonry in the February Revolution: Another Scrap of Evidence, “Slavic Review”, 1968, No. 4, pp. 605–606; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 167–168. The following liberal and semi-liberal politicians, about whom rumours circulated that they belonged to lodges—Mihail Vladimirovič Rodzjanko, Prince Georgij Evgen’evič L’vov, P. N. Miljukov, A. J. Gučkov, Pavel Pavlovič Rjabučinskij, N. J. Astrov, Mihail Vasil’evič Čelnokov, N. Čebyšev, M. P. Fjodorov—not only were not freemasons, but even regarded the movement with hostility (P. Buryškin, Zarubežnoe masonstvo i ego protivnik, typescript, pp. 4, 7, 36 AGDLdF). Whilst in emigration, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries, Nikolaj Dmitrievič Avksentev, attained the degree of master in an unknown lodge in 1908. ↩︎
  25. L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 168–169; G. Katkov, Russia 1917. The February Revolution, London 1967, p. 243; Otvet V. I. Lenina na pis’mo I. I. Skvortsova-Stepanovoa (mart 1914 g.), “Istoričeskij Arhiv”, 1959, No. 2, pp. 11–18. ↩︎
  26. S. P. Mel’gunov, Vospominanija i dnevniki, vol. I, Paris 1964, p. 144; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 164–165. ↩︎
  27. N. B. [Beklemišev], Značenie frankmasonstva dlja flota, “More”, 1907, No. 11/12, pp. 312–327. Earliest article on freemasonry in “More” — T. Sokolovskaja, Tajnaja masonskaja instrukcija šotlandskoj masterskoj, “More”, 1905, No. 25–26; eadem, ibidem, 1906, No. 23/24; 1907, No. 8; 1907, No. 11/12. The author placed her first masonic publication in the Petersburg “Vsemirnyj Vestnik” in 1904 (No. 5, pp. 20–36). ↩︎
  28. Letter of J. Rummel from 9 July, 1931, Library of Warsaw University, accession No. 2862; “Lotos” (No. 638). Iistorija obrazovanija i dejatel’nosti 1933–1949, Paris 1950, pp. 7, 34; L. Hass, op. cit., p. 169. ↩︎
  29. P. Buryškin, op. cit., pp. 1–2; Zettegast [H. Settegast], Masony v Germanii. Ih učenie i celi, SPb. 1907, pp. 63–64. ↩︎
  30. J. Tourmentin, La Maçonnerie Française devant l’Allemagne, “La Franc-Maçonnerie démasquée”, 1920, No. 5, p. 198; Padenie carskogo režima, vol. III, Leningrad 1925, pp. 332–334; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 165–166; Russie, “La Lumière maçonnique”, 1912, No. 32/33, pp. 484–485. ↩︎
  31. Velikoross, Istoričeskaja spravka ob učastii masonstva v organizacii revoljucionnyh dviženij, “Dvuglavyj Orël”, 1922, No. 31, p. 26; L. Hass, op. cit., p. 172. ↩︎
  32. N. Jakovlev, op. cit., p. 8; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 173–174. ↩︎
  33. L. Hass, op. cit., p. 174. ↩︎
  34. S. P. Mel’gunov, op. cit., pp. 198, 202; L. Kozłowski, Rewolucja rosyjska i niepodległość Polski [The Russian Revolution and Polish Independence], Warszawa 1922, p. 31; L. Hass, op. cit., pp. 174–175. ↩︎
  35. A. Kerenskij, La Russie au tournant dé l’histoire. Paris 1967, pp. 206–207; N. Jakovlev, op.cit., p. 231; S.P. Mel’gunov, op. cit., p. 231; S. P. Mel’gunov, Na podstupah k dvorcovomu perevorotu, Paris 1931, pp. 180, 187–188, 192–193, 197–198, 213, 220; A. P. Buryškin, Moskva kupečeskaja, New York 1954, p. 317. ↩︎
  36. P. Buryškin, Zarubežnoe..., pp. 4, 6; Compte rendu de la Quatrième Conférence..., p. 51. The masonic organizations of France and Italy which expressed enthusiasm for the February Revolution did not know of the existence in Russia of organized centres of the “royal art”. See L. Hass, Le Paris franc-maçon face aux problèmes de l’Europe centrale et orientale, “Acta Poloniae Historica”, vol. XLII, 1980, pp. 126–127. ↩︎
  37. Letter of J. Rummel of 9 July, 1931; AGOdF, dossier “Fraternité des Peuples (Paris) 1919–1920”, announcement of B. Savinkov’s affiliation of 17 June, 1919; Zur Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Russland, “Die drei Ringe”, 1925, No. 9, p. 179; N. Jakovlev, op. cit., p. 230. ↩︎
  38. Attemps—sometimes on the part of the masons as well—to attribute the February Revolution to inspiration emanating from the lodges are rather groundless. Cf. M. Margoulies, La Maçonnerie russe au XXe siècle, “Les annales maçonniques universelles”, October/November, 1931, p. 280; Russian Freemasonry, “The Builder,” 1927, No. 6, p. 187; A. Kerenskij, op. cit., pp. 128–129; J. Gessen, op. cit., p. 217. Soviet historiography’s position—G. Z. Ioffe, Fevral’skaja revoljucija 1917 g. v anglo-amerikanskoj istoriografii, Moskva 1970, pp. 45–49, 125; J. I. Ieritskij, Jubilej Oktjabrja i buržuaznaja istoriografija, “Istorija SSSR”, 1968, No. 3, pp. 219–221. A similar (negative) point of view from western scholars—H. Seton-Watson, Russia’s February Revolution, “Encounter”, 1967, No. 6, pp. 78–79; A. Asher, February 1917, “Survey”, 1967, No. 65, p. 112; T. Hasegawa, The February Revolution, Washington 1981, pp. 192–197. ↩︎
  39. N. Jakovlev, op. cit., pp. 231–232. See also allusions in P. N. Miljukov, Vospominanija 1857–1917, New York 1955, vol. II, pp. 332–333. ↩︎
  40. L. Hass, Rosyjskie wolnomularstwo..., pp. 176–177; idem, Rozwój organizacyjny wolnomularstwa w Polsce międzywojennej [The Organizational Development of Freemasonry in Inter-War Poland], “Najnowsze Dzieje Polski 1914–1939”, vol. XIV, 1969, p. 85. ↩︎
  41. S. Theakston, La Franc-Maçonnerie russe en France, “Travaux de Villard de Honnecourt”, vol. VIII, 1972, p. 79; H. Coston, La F∴ M∴ russe, “Les Documents Maçonniques” 1943, No. 5, pp. 153–156; L. Hass, Le Paris..., pp. 140–142. ↩︎