Sunday, June 08, 2008

Why Freemasonry was not responsible for the Russian Revolution

It's an interesting question, actually. Many socialists saw the socialist revolution as being the fulfillment of the French Revolution, and the Bolsheviks certainly thought of their revolution as being that. Supporters of the Russian Revolution most likely saw it in similar terms as well. But although Freemasonry was active in France and supportive of the French Revolution, that was not the case in Russia. There's a very simple reason for that.

After the French Revolution there was a minor split in continental Freemasonry, particularly in French Freemasonry. A number of people objected to the radical ideas and to the drift away from masonry having a religious background. They left mainstream masonry and founded smaller sects that mixed a greater commitment to Christianity and to traditional religious ideas with masonry. They tended to be extra esoteric because the French Revolution was anti-mystical, or at least anti-Catholic mysticism.

A number of people associated with these groups came to Russia during the 19th century and established their rites and orders at the court of the Tsar. This masonry became especially popular with the upper classes and with the royal family itself, who were of course regarded by the rest of Europe as being enormously reactionary. These were the people who directly profited from the Russian class system. Because of this, Freemasonry wasn't regarded in Russia as being particularly progressive. In fact, it was part of what was attacked before the Revolution. Everyone knows about Rasputin and how it was that his presence and influence in and over the Russian court lead to the perception of it as being decadent and offensive. But it wasn't just Rasputin who came in for criticism, it was the presence of Freemasonry and Christian occultism on down at the court that people singled out for abuse.

Freemasonry, then, was identified with the enemy, even though it had played a positive part in the French Revolution and still had progressive aspects to it in Continental Europe itself. While individual Bolsheviks, particularly those who spent large amounts of time in France before the Revolution, may have associated themselves with various masonic and mystical currents, as a whole the Bolshevik party was against Masonry as being representative of bourgeois and feudal decadence and evidence of the disconnection of the aristocracy from the working class and from the peasantry. Also, it was offensive to concepts of Marxist materialism.

So it's very doubtful that some sort of masonic conspiracy was behind the Russian Revolution, not because Freemasonry did not have Revolutionary potentials but because in the particular situation in Russia masonry was transformed into something different from what it usually was.

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