Our Notes & References
The first extensive general study of Russian freemasonry: a fine, complete set of Bashilov’s main work, rare in such attractive condition. A 2-vol. work on freemasonry was published in Russia just before the Revolution, but it wasn’t focusing especially on Russian masonry, rather on Western-European.
An active anti-communist and a convinced nationalist, Boris Iurkevich (1908-1970) was captured by the Germans during WWII and later became a member of the Kaminski Brigade, a collaborationist group, also known as Waffen-Sturm-Brigade der SS RONA (Russian National Liberation Army), before being sent to a Displaced Persons (DP) camp. After the war, Bashilov resided in Munich, was a member of the CIA-backed NTS (National Alliance of Russian Solidarists) and was the secretary of the Posev publishing house. It is around this time that he began to study the history of freemasonry and came to believe that it was the main reason for some Russian intelligentsia’s hatred of historical Russia and their dream for a Western European society. As a result, Iurkevich the nationalist became a firm Orthodox monarchist and a principled opponent of freemasonry, as well as Judaism. In 1948, he broke up with the NTS and settled in Argentina, where he established the Rus publishing house through which most of his works saw light under the pen name of Bashilov, including many about freemasonry.
Recent studies suggest that Iurkevich-Bashilov was under KGB surveillance: one of the compositors at the Rus publishing house was an agent of Soviet intelligence.
Bashilov’s Istoriia was the culmination of his life’s work. Taking 8 volumes, Bashilov develops the history Russian Freemasonry during each tsar’s reign and explores how – according to him – Freemasonry impacted the Russian political system and the mindset of people. His portrayal of Freemasonry as a criminal and anti-national organisation seeking to dismantle and destroy Russia had a profound impact on Russian emigrants, echoing many such ideas in this community – and in Russia in general since the late 18th century.
The work is composed of 17 parts, or smaller works, all with their independent title page and pagination: they could also be bought individually. The very first work of the group is by Ivanov, and the last one is ‘Masonstvo i russkaia intellingentsiia. [Chast] I’ (also published separately): however it seems that no ‘part II’ was ever published. An elusive 9th volume is sometimes mentioned without indication of sources, and our research and verifications could not confirm such a publication.
Avenir Nizoff (a pianist in the second half of the 20th century, living in Edmonton, Canada, who gathered a very large library of Russian works of all kinds, with a strong representation of émigré works).
Kublitskaia, M. Russkie knigi, izdannye v Argentine. XX vek, 49-56.