Vasily Shulgin (1878–1976): The Grandfather of Russian Nationalism

Giovanni Savino

IERES Occasional Papers, no. 8, November 2020 “Transnational History of the Far Right” Series

Cover photo: Photo of Vasily Shulgin in 1976, just before his death, by Igor Palmin. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

In 1925 in Leningrad, the journal Byloe published a little book, The Knight of the Black Hundreds, devoted to Vasily Shulgin (1878–1976). This “knight,” herald of a virulent anti-Semitic Russian nationalism and fervent monarchism, was at the time of writing an exiled man, who, just eight years before, had played a critical role in trying to change the course of history: on a cold day in February 1917, Vasily Shulgin went to Pskov to convince the last Romanov tsar, Nicholas II, to abdicate, with the hope—which would ultimately fail—of saving the monarchy from the Revolution.[1] After the October Revolution, Shulgin fled Russia and became deeply involved in the cultural and political life of the White emigration. He first lived in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he wrote Dni (The Days), his book devoted to the events of the February Revolution. Then, he moved to Czechoslovakia, spent less than one year in Berlin and one year in France, and eventually established himself in Yugoslavia in 1924, where he would live till 1945.

In December 1944 he was arrested by the SMERSH, one of the main Soviet counter-intelligence agencies, and taken to Moscow; after two years at Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters, he was sentenced to 25 years of forced labor and jailed at the Vladimir Central Prison. In 1956 he was given amnesty, and his apartment in Vladimir was a place of pilgrimage for Russian nationalists from the moment of amnesty till his death in 1976. Over more than two decades, Shulgin became the living embodiment of tsarist Russia and the White cause in the Soviet Union, passing on the memory of a bygone era to new generations of Russian nationalists. He became one of the main figures of inspiration for the “Russian Party” (the informal structure of Russian nationalists inside Soviet state organs), and met regularly with its luminaries such as the painter Ilya Glazunov and Soviet writer Vladimir Soloukhin. Despite this extraordinary life trajectory, the figure of Shulgin remains quite unknown outside of Russia and still awaits a full, scholarly biography.[2]

A Family Trajectory Shaped by Russian Nationalism

Shulgin was born in 1878 in Kiev, son of the historian Vitalii Shulgin, an active polemist and founder of the leading newspaper Kievlianin. The newspaper opened in 1864 just after the Second Polish Insurrection had been repressed. The initiative taken by local intellectuals and students in discovering a Ukrainian identity distinct from the Russian one was seen by tsarist officials as dangerous propaganda. In this way, Kievlianin became a stronghold of Russian nationalist policies in Ukrainian territories.[3] It aimed to spread and defend Russian identity in an ethnically mixed region. In the first note on the first issue, Vitalii Shulgin stated very clearly that “our land is Russian, Russian, Russian!”[4]

Shulgin’s stepfather was Dmitrii Pikhno, professor of economics and law at Saint Vladimir University in Kiev and one of the most influential men in the Western Borderlands. After the death of Vitalii Shulgin, Pikhno took his place as the head of Kievlianin, continuing to support the course of Ukraine’s Russification. The young Vasily grew up under the influence of Pikhno’s views—the cult of a Russianness to be defended together with autocracy and Orthodoxy, in support of the emergence of a Russian-speaking landlord and bourgeoisie class in Kiev.

Shulgin received his Bachelor in Law diploma from Saint Vladimir University in 1900. The beginning of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 took him out of a provincial, boring life: he enrolled as volunteer, but another great event, the Revolution of 1905, constituted the real turning point for his life and career. The young landlord was not new in politics, as he was already a member of the local noble council in his district in Volhynia: this experience was precious in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution and the creation of the State Duma. The meaning of this legislative act in favor of liberalizing the Russian Empire’s political life was interpreted by loyal monarchists as an attack on centuries-old autocratic principles. As Abraham Ascher observed,

We would like to be in alliance with the West, who once again showed himself to be not rotten but enlightened, to turn the oriental head of Genghis Khan of our days, who took the mask of Stalin.[87]

But the idea of building a Russian state, evidently pro-Nazi, on Ukrainian territory was not Berlin’s priority. Yet Shulgin’s views offer a glimpse into how White ideologists were steered by Nazi influence and the hope for a new force able to destroy Communism and reestablish old Russia. During the war, Shulgin did not engage directly with the Nazis on the Eastern Front, unlike some émigré circles, but neither did he side with the Soviet Union and the Allies, as did Miliukov and Kerensky. However, his second son Dmitrii, an active member of NTS, joined General Vlasov’s Russian Liberation Army. As other emigrants recollected:

(Dmitrii Shulgin) entered the ROA with the aim of organizing clandestine cells of the NTS in the territories seized by the Germans to fight Soviet power; with this organizational activity he was engaged in Smolensk in his free time from teaching the German language to local students.[88]

From Prison to Glory: The Grandfather of the Russian Party, 1945–1976

Vasily Shulgin was arrested in December 1944 in Yugoslavia and taken to Moscow in January 1945. After more than two years, on July 12, 1947, he was sentenced to 25 years and conducted to the Vladimir Central Prison, where he spent nine years, till 1956, when he was granted amnesty in the wake of de-Stalinization. During his time in prison, Shulgin wrote memoirs, drew, and reflected on the past. His sketches are now displayed sat the Suzdal Monastery of Saint Euthymius, a former penal colony.

After being released, Shulgin was relocated to a hospice in Gorokhovets, 157 km from Vladimir, but he was soon placed in Vladimir itself, where he obtained a one-room apartment in 1960. In autumn 1958, still in the Vladimir hospice, he wrote a small book in which he recollected his thoughts and reflections about the Soviet experiment, Opyt Lenina (Lenin’s Experiment). As Mikhail Ayvazian wrote in the reprint of the pamphlet for the journal Nash Sovremennik in 1997, “Many writers, despite the difficulties and danger at the time of communicating with him, found a way to meet with the most mysterious and unusual in Russia, a legendary man.”[89] This was indeed the beginning of a new stage in Shulgin’s life, a stage wherein he became a kind of oracle for a new generation of Russian nationalists in the Soviet Union.

Olga Matich, his granddaughter, advances in her memoirs the hypothesis that Shulgin read Lenin for the first time in prison.[90] In Opyt Lenina, he attempted to read the Soviet experience as a continuum of Russian statehood, sometimes in a paradoxical way. He described in this way the role of the Orthodox faith in the Soviet Union:

Atheism of the Russian people is faith, pure faith. And so this atheism bears in itself the signs of faith: intolerance towards other faiths, the need to root them out, mock them. It comes from the deep conviction that only she, the newfound faith, is true. Therefore, I want to lie before it in the dust and, if necessary, die for it.[91]

The debate around Shulgin’s Opyt Lenina is still a heated one. Was Shulgin converted to Marxism-Leninism? Was he a traitor to the White cause or under pressure by the KGB? In reality, Shulgin never changed his views and ideas, being till the end of his life a committed monarchist. In 1973 he sent a telegram to Yurii Andropov, at that time Chief of the KGB, with a request to celebrate a memorial service on July 17 for the Tsar Nicholas II and his family. He did not receive an answer, but a day later, two operatives went to Shulgin, telling him to celebrate the service at home.[92]

In 1960–1961, Shulgin also published the Letters to Russian Emigrants (Pis’ma russkim emigrantam), which were addressed to the New York émigré newspaper Russkii golos, one of the most important voices of Russian emigration. The publication of Shulgin’s letters had resonance, as he declared that the emigration was mistaken about Soviet power:

It seems impossible for me to stay on the old rails. I must admit that our train has gone astray, because we called for the overthrow of Soviet power. It is not necessary to overthrow the Soviet government. It is one of the foundations of the world. And that’s it. When you look into the face of the danger that threatens humanity, all questions, except war and peace, seem small. Everyone who wants peace is a friend. All who want war are enemies. So I feel.[93]

To write these two long letters (respectively, 38 and 48 pages), Shulgin was authorized by the Soviet authorities to tour Russia and Ukraine, and he described how he was impressed by the greatness of the Soviet system. Shulgin was genuinely impressed by what he saw, in particular by factories and the housing program, but he later said that “they fooled”[94] him. In one of the letters, Shulgin tried to explain why segments of the Russian emigration sympathized with Hitler: “I try to explain all this to myself by the fact that in the person of Hitler they saw a strong opponent of the Soviet government—and nothing more.”[95] But in the second letter, he attacked those Whites who collaborated with the Third Reich during Operation Barbarossa, quoting at length figures like Vladimir Romanov, metropolite Anastasii, and others who called for war against Communism.

As was already mentioned, Shulgin’s son Dmitrii enrolled as a volunteer in Vlasov’s Russian Liberation Army. In his memoirs dictated to the genealogist Rostislav Krasiukov at the end of the 1960s, Shulgin explained that Dmitrii worked during the war for the Germans in Poland as a railway engineer.[96] During the Nazi occupation, he organized a local NTS cell in Smolensk.[97] During his years as a Russian language teacher at Georgetown University and then in Philadelphia, Dmitrii never left politics, actively taking part in NTS life and collaborating with the CIA in the anti-Soviet struggle. He even delivered propaganda for NTS to the students: for instance, on the blackboard, he wrote the acronym NTS as “Nesiom tiranam smert! Nesem trudiashchimsia svobodu!” (We are bringing death to the tyrants! We are bringing to the workers freedom!).[98] Being a committed anticommunist, Shulgin Jr. took part in Voice of America, a program airing to the Soviet troops in Cuba, and after the end of the Soviet Union he travelled to Moscow and met with local NTS members.[99]

In 1968, Vasily Shulgin was ready to rejoin his son in the United States, exchanging with him a lengthy correspondence, but suddenly the KGB began blocking their letters, and the project collapsed.[100] However, Vasily’s years in Vladimir were not marked by loneliness. Since the early 1960s, a pilgrimage of young people interested in tsarist Russia began taking shape for Vladimir, enabling him to meet with a living embodiment of the White past. The collective of young anticommunists and Russian nationalists was grouped around two rising stars, the painter Ilya Glazunov and the writer Vladimir Soloukhin, who were leading the movement.[101] After a trip to his native village of Soloukhin, located near Vladimir, Glazunov met Shulgin at the Vladimir railway station.

We knew that the exile V. V. Shulgin lives in Vladimir, and then we waited for him at the exit. Soon he appeared with a woman whose face reminded me at once of the boyar to Morozov on Surikov’s sketch. Being shy to approach him, Volodya and I “sent” Nina. She met the Shulgin family and brought them to us. “I’m surprised and flattered,” Vasily Vitalevich said, shaking hands with us. “The fact that I was recognized by an artist and a writer, not a politician, is twice pleasant.”[102]

Glazunov expressed to Shulgin his admiration,[103] marking the start of a long friendship which lasted till the death of the latter in 1976. Shulgin was often a guest at Glazunov’s house in Moscow, where they discussed the glory of tsarist Russia. Shulgin’s anti-Semitism had a great influence on Glazunov’s Judaeophobic views.[104] If Glazunov was a faithful, loyal, and committed pupil of Shulgin’s, another key figure of Russian nationalism, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, was colder in his judgment. Solzhenitsyn visited Shulgin with the aim of collecting materials for his Red Wheel cycle in 1972, and he recollects the meeting in this way in The Gulag Archipelago:

As a nine-year-old boy I had read the small dark-blue books of V. V. Shulgin[105] with more interest than I had read Jules Verne. At that time they were sold openly in our bookstalls. His was a voice from a world that had disappeared with such finality that not even the most extravagant fantasy could have projected that invisible point in the soundless corridors of the Big Lubyanka where his steps would intersect my own before twenty years had passed. True, I would not meet the man himself until another twenty years had gone by.[106]

Nikolay Konshin, an actor who in younger days was Shulgin’s neighbor and for some years factotum, mentioned how, after Solzhenitsyn’s visit, the writer managed to collect 12 notebooks dictated by Shulgin.[107] But there are no traces of these notebooks. Poet Nikolay Braun worked, too, as Shulgin’s literary secretary for two years before being arrested by the KGB for anti-Soviet propaganda and organizing terrorist acts (he was accused of planning the bombing of Lenin Mausoleum and the assassination of Leonid Brezhnev). Based on several recollections, it seems Shulgin hosted from two to ten visitors every week. Rostislav G. Krasiukov, in his introduction to Shulgin’s Teni, kotorie prokhodiat (The Shadows that Pass), wrote:

It cannot be said that at that time V.V. Shulgin had no attention. There were always a lot of people around him. Some maintained long-term friendly relations with him, regularly visiting him and inviting him to visit him. Others satisfied their curiosity with one visit to “Grandfather,” as many called him. And with everyone he was evenly friendly and friendly.[108]

In 1964 Shulgin portrayed himself in the movie “Pered sudom istorii” (Facing the Judgment of History), a historical fresco of the first half of the twentieth century in Russia. The movie was shown at the end of November 1965 in Moscow and Leningrad, but it was removed after three days: Shulgin was too vivid, interesting, and smart, and the film had the unexpected effect of validating his judgment against the Soviet Union. This event accentuated his prestige, making him one of the living icons of the “Russian Party,” the informal group of Russian nationalists inside the state and Communist Party structures.


The long life of Vasily Shulgin intersected with almost all the most significant events of twentieth-century Russian history, and Shulgin emerged for the most part as a vivid nationalist leader. His role in some events—such as Nicholas II’s abdication or the establishment of Azbuka—was central for shaping the fate of Russia. Shulgin’s work in the émigré circles had two tracks: one as a political, publicist, and polemist figure, and the other one in forming and teaching the young Russian émigré generation in NSNP. The latter aspect still today represents a part of Shulgin’s activities quite neglected in scholarly research, with a pioneering paper by the Russian scholar Anton Chemakin being the only extant literature.[109] After his release from Vladimir Central Prison, the former member of tsarist Duma became an icon for the new generation of Russian nationalists, who sought him out to learn how life was in the tsarist Empire. Shulgin represented to them the unbroken thread of Russian national identity, and when he died in 1976, the gravestone was crafted by Ilya Glazunov. His political heritage remains major still today, as Shulgin is the central figure through which the flag of the White cause was passed from the founding fathers to the late Soviet generations.  

[1] D. O. Zaslavskii, Rytsar Chernoi sotni V.V. Shul’gin (Leningrad: Byloe, 1925).

[2] A biography by Sviatoslav Rybas, active in Glazunov’s circle (he was the president of the initiative group for rebuilding the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow) and former vice-publisher of the nationalist journal Molodaia gvardiia, is quite apologetic (S. Rybas, Vasily Shul’gin: sud’ba russkogo natsionalista, Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 2014). A work published by Dmitry Babkov, Gosudarstvennye i natsional’nye problemy v mirovozzrenii V.V. Shul’gina v 1917–1939 godakh (Moscow: Rosspen, 2012), is devoted to an analysis of Shul’gin’s views on the nation, the state, and the “Jewish question” from 1917 to 1939. Aleksandr Puchenkov wrote extensively on Shul’gin’s role in 1918–1920 as Denikin’s advisor in his book Natsional’naia politika generala Denikina vesna 1918–vesna 1920 g. (Moscow: Rosspen, 2012). A collection of Shul’gin’s correspondence with Vasily Maklakov in 1919–1939 was also published: О. Budnitskii, ed., Spor o Rossii: V. A. Maklakov – V. V. Shul’gin, perepiska 1919–1939 gg., Moscow: Rosspen, 2012).

[3] Zaslavskii points out that “Kiev was even more a Polish than a Russian city. So the University of Saint Vladimir and the Kievlianin became ones of the first strongholds of the Russian official culture, conservative and patriotic.” D. Zaslavskii, Rytsar, 5.

[4] See Kievlianin, July 1 (14), 1864.

[5] A. Ascher, The Revolution of 1905: Russia in Disarray (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 231.

[6] V. V. Shul’gin, Dni (1920), republished in Sovremennik, 1989, 281.

[7] At the same time, we can find letters and articles in Kievlianin, in which the authors consider Jews to be guilty for the pogroms and the Revolution. See for example Kievlianin, no. 311, November 9 (22), 1905.

[8] D. Zaslavskii, Rytsar, 14.

[9] V. Shul’gin, “Lozhnyi put’,” Kievlianin, no. 35, February 4, 1912, quoted in S. Sankova, Russkaia partiia v Rossii: Obrazovanie i deiatel’nost’ Vserossiiskogo natsional’nogo soiuza (1908–1917) (Orel, 2006), 45.

[10] On January 15, 1945, during his interrogation by SMERSH, Shul’gin answered to some questions about his political affilations in 1905–1907. From the answers, it emerges that Shul’gin was a member of the Union of Saint Michael Archangel and of the Russian Assembly. See Protokol doprosa V. V. Shul’gina. 15 ianvaria 1945 g. TsA FSB Rossii. D. R-48956 l.19-65, republished in V. G. Makarov, A. V. Repnikov, V. V. Kristoforov, eds., Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina. Materialy sledstvennogo dela i dela zakliuchennogo (Moscow: Russkii put, 2010), 151–152.

[11] Shul’gin was a member of the Kiev Club from the very beginning, and his stepfather Dmitrii Pikhno was an honorary member. In Zaslavskii’s words, Kiev had “become the cradle of Stolypin’s nationalism” and from there were “the main cadres of the party that faithfully served Stolypin before his fall.” Zaslavskii, Rytsar, 25.

[12] S. Piontkovskii, “Zapiski Shul’gina,” in V. V. Shul’gin, Dni (Leningrad: Priboi, 1925), 3.

[13] On June 3, 1907, the Second Duma was dissolved. The reason was an alleged insurrection attempt planned by Social Democrat members of the Duma based on dubious evidence. In the manifesto dissolving the Duma, Nicholas II went into considerable detail to explain his action: “To Our regret, a significant portion of the members of the second Duma did not justify Our expectations. Many of those sent by the people to work [for them] did not go with a pure heart, with a desire to strengthen Russia and to improve its system, but [went rather] with an explicit intention to increase unrest and to promote the disintegration of the state.” The new Duma, according to the Tsar (and Stolypin), “must be Russian in spirit,” and the electoral law for the Third Duma reduced the size of the assembly, cutting the representatives in non-Russian regions and cities to prevent the election of Liberals, Socialists, and local Nationalists. A. Ascher, The Revolution of 1905, 352–355.

[14] Sbornik kluba russkikh natsionalistov – Vypusk pervyi (Kiev: Tip. T-va I. N. Kushnerev i ko, 1909), 10.

[15] The zemstvo was an organ of rural self-government, established in 1864 during the period of Alexander II’s Great Reforms. In 1914, there were zemstvo functioning in 43 governatorates of European Russia. Many liberal elites were actively involved in zemstvo activities, and their activism became the base for the formation of the Kadet and Octobrist parties. See T. Emmons and W. S. Vucinich, eds., The Zemstvo in Russia: An Experiment in Local Self-Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).

[16] A. Polunov, Russia in the Nineteenth Century: Autocracy, Reform, and Social Change, 1814–1914 (New York and London: M. E. Shape, 2005), 235. For information about the reactions to these projects from the Kadets and the Ukrainian members of the State Duma, see G. Cigliano, Identità nazionali e periferie imperiali (Firenze: Editpress, 2013), 70 and 79.

[17] V. V. Shul’gin, Poslenii ochevidets. Memuary (Moscow: Оlma-Press, 2002), 74. Quoted also by A. Repnikov, “Besstrashie: Piotr Stolypin glazami Vasilia Shul’gina,” Rodina, no. 2 (2012): 29–31.

[18] Quoted in A. A. Ivanov, Vyzov natsionalizma. Lozung ‘Rossiia dlia russkikh’ v dorevoliutsionnoo obshchestvennoi mysli (Saint Petersburg: Vladimir Dal’, 2016), 83.

[19] V. V. Kokovtsov, Iz moego proshlogo. Vospominaniia 1903–1919 gg. (Moscow: Nauka, 1992, vol. 1), 413–416.

[20] Shul’gin was sentenced in January 1914 to three months, but the beginning of the war and the intervention of Nicholas II nullified the sentence. For more, see Makarov, Repnikov, and Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 20–22.

[21] R. Edelman, Gentry Politics on the Eve of the Russian Revolution. The Nationalist Party 1907–1917 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1980), 228–229.

[22] E. Lohr, Nationalizing the Russian Empire: The campaign against Enemy Aliens during World War I (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 13.

[23] Shul’gin, Dni, 125.

[24] Quoted in D. A. Kotsiubinskii, Russkiy natsionalizm v nachale XX stoletiia (Moscow: Rosspen, 2001), 71.

[25] J. Sanborn, Imperial Apocalypse, The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 103.

[26] Lohr, Nationalizing the Russian Empire, 21.

[27] M. Kirschke-Stockdale, Pavel Miliukov and the Quest for a Liberal Russia (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1996, 234.

[28] B. I. Kolonitskii, “Tragicheskaia erotika”: obrazy imperial’noi sem’i v gody Pervoi mirovoi voiny (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2010), 291.

[29] The speech was published in F. A. Golder, ed., Documents of Russian History, 1914–1917 (Gloucester, MA: Smith, 1964), 154-166. 

[30] Quoted by Sankova, Russkaia partiia v Rossii, 289.

[31] Sanborn, Imperial Apocalypse, 188.

[32] Shul’gin, Dni, 125.

[33] Shul’gin, Dni, 157.

[34] Shul’gin, Dni, 234.

[35] Quoted in D. Zhukov, Zhizn i knigi V. V. Shul’gina (Moscow, 1989).

[36] V. I. Lenin, “Na zubok novorozhdennomu… ‘novomu’ pravitel’stvu,” Pravda no. 50, May 19 (6) 1917, in V. I. Lenin, Pol’noe sobranie sochinenii, vol. 32 (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1962), 34.

[37] Gosudarstvennoye soveshchanie – stenograficheskii otchet (Moscow, Leningrad, 1930), 107, 109, 111.

[38] O. V. Budnitskii, V. A. Maklakov i V. V. Shul’gin, 13.

[39] “Dokladnaia zapiska V. V. Shul’gina ot 5 sentiabria 1918 g.,” in Р.N. Vrangel Collection, b. 33, f. 25, Hoover Iпstitution оп War, Revolution апd Реасе, Staпford Uпiversity, republished in V. G. Bortnevskii, “K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka” (iz kollektsii P. N. Vrangelia Arkhiva Guverovskogo instituta),” Russkoe proshloe. Istoriko-dokumental’nyi almanakh, 1993, 163.

[40] “Zapiska ob otkaze V. V. Shul’gina ot ukrainskogo poddanstva,” Ukrainskoi narod, Rostov-na-Donu, 1918, 3–8; republished in V. V. Shul’gin, Rossiia, Ukraina, Evropa: izbrannye raboty (Moscow: Posev, 2015), 177–178. I have also consulted several copies in the Shul’gin file at the State Archive of Russian Federation such as GARF f.R446 op.1 d.41 “Zaiavlenie V.V. Shul’gina Kievskomu gubernskomu staroste ob otkaze priniat’ ukrainskoe poddanstvo, v vidu nedopustimosti sushchestvovaniia samostoiatel’noi Ukrainskoi derzhavy s istoricheskoi tochki zreniia,” July 1918.

[41] “Dokladnaia zapiska V.V. Shul’gina A.M. Dragomirovu,” in P.N. Vrangel Collection, b. 33, f. 11, in Bortnevskii, K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka,” 186. Shul’gin presented Baranov as colonel, but he was promoted to the new rank on December 25, 1918, after this letter.

[42] Charles de Saint-Aulaire was the French ambassador to Romania in 1916–1918.

[43] V. V. Shul’gin, Teni, kotorye prokhodiat (Sankt-Peterburg: Nestor Istoriia, 2012), 190.

[44] R. McNeal, “The Conference of Jassy: An Early Fiasco of the Anti-Bolshevik movement,” in J. Shelton Curtiss, ed., Essays in Russian and Soviet History in Honor of Geroid Tanquary Robinson (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1963), 222.

[45] Shul’gin, Teni, 190.

[46] A. Procyk, Russian Nationalism and Ukraine: The Nationality Policy of the Volunteer Army during the Civil War (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 1995), 84.

[47] It seems the Englishman was John Picton Bagge, a British diplomat with connections to the Secret Service Bureau. R. Service, Spies and Commissars: Bolshevik Russia and the West (London: MacMillan, 2011), 576 (he mentions Bagge as commercial secretary in Оdessa) and 690.

[48] Shul’gin, Teni, 191.

[49] V. V. Shul’gin, 1919 god (Moscow: Kuchkovo Pole, 2018), vol. 1, 77.

[50] Shul’gin, 1919 god, vol. 1, 78–79.

[51] Shul’gin, 1919 god, vol. 1, 78–79.

[52] Sovdepiia is the term used by the White propaganda to describe the Soviet regime, based on “Soviet deputatov,” or Council of Deputies.

[53] “Doklad V.V. Shul’gina ot 5 noiabria 1919 g.,” in P.N. Vrangel Collection, b. 33, f. 14, in V. G. Bortnevskii, K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka,165.

[54] “V. V. Shul’gin – V. A. Stepanovu, 6/19 ianvaria 1919,” in Р.N. Vrangel Collection, b. 33, f. 12, in V. G. Bortnevskii, K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka,169.

[55] Р.N. Vrangel Collection, b. 33, f. 8, in V. G. Bortnevskii, K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka, 175.

[56] P.N. Vrangel Collection, b. 33, f. 8, in V. G. Bortnevskii, K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka, 176.

[57] “Ob’iasnitel’naia zapiska k smete Organizatsii Azbuka za Iiun, Iiul i Avgust 1919,” in P.N. Vrangel Collection, b. 33, f. 38, in V. G. Bortnevskii, K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka,176–178

[58] Shul’gin’s letter to Kolchak, June 21 (August 6) 1918, GA RF f. R5827 op. 1 d. 54. “Pis’mo V.V. Shul’gina Admiralu A.V. Kolchaku ob organizatsii bor’by s Sovetskoi vlast’iu. Kopiya Mashinopis’.” The file is dated May 21, 1918, but it is a mistake, as the letter is dated June 21.

[59] Shul’gin’s letter to Kolchak.

[60] Shul’gin’s letter to Kolchak.

[61] “Svodnyi spisok sotrudnikov organizatsii ‘Azbuka’,” in V. G. Bortnevskii, K istorii osvedomitel’noi organizatsii “Azbuka,” 181–185.

[62] Dnevnik, kniga no. 24 (29). S 1 iiulia (st. st.) po 19 sentiabria 1919 g. i s 3 oktiabria 1919 g. po 18 fevralia (n. st.) 1920 g. GA RF f. R5853 op. 1 d. 1 l. 5.

[63] Protokol doprosa V.V. Shul’gina. 28 oktiabria 1946 g. TsA FSB Rossii D. R-48956 l.179-218, republished in Makarov, Repnikov, Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 265.

[64] TsA FSB Rossii D. R-48956 l.219-242, republished in Makarov, Repnikov, Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 283.

[65] In one of the documents of Shul’gin’s arrest, Iakushev is mentioned as an “agent of the German military secret service,” but this is impossible to prove: Iakushev was arrested in 1934 and sentenced to ten years of gulag, where he died. See Makarov, Repnikov, and Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 142.

[66] The organization was built on the basis of a preexisting monarchist underground in Moscow: Iakushev was arrested by the GPU because one of his letters to a White representative in Tallinn was discovered, after which he was offered to be the leader of this pseudo-Monarchist Union. See L. Freishman, Iz istorii zhurnalistiki russkogo zarubezh’ia: V tiskakh provokatsii – operatsiia “Trest” i russkaia zarubezhnaia pechat’ (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2003), 49.

[67] D. Zhukov, “Kliuchi k Trem stolytsam,” in Shul’gin, Tri stolitsy (Moscow: Sovremennik, 1991), 417.

[68] N. Chebyshev, “Trest. Istoriia odnoi legendy,” Vozrozhdenie, August 5, 1935.

[69] See О. Pavlova, Rytsar Beloi idei (general A.A. fon Lampe) (Оrel, 2013), 54.

[70] Shul’gin, Tri stolitsy, 9. He repeated his position in the film “Pered sudom istorii,” as well as in the 1967 Soviet serial “Оperatsiia Trest,” available at

[71] In his first SMERSH interrogation, Shul’gin answered questions about his trip in the USSR in 1925. He referred to Iakushev as an agent of the German military service and said that he received the task from General Evgenii Klimovich, one of the closest officers to Wrangel. The Polish secret service helped Shul’gin cross the Soviet border, as he recollected—but it is now widely known that the GPU prepared a “window” for letting him enter the Soviet Union. Protokol doprosa V. V. Shul’gina. 2 ianvaria 1945 g. TsA FSB Rossii. D. R-48956 l.10-18 republished in Makarov, Repnikov, Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 147–150.

[72] Freishman, Iz istorii zhurnalistiki russkogo zarubezh’ia, 91.

[73] Chebyshev, “Trest.”

[74] Shul’gin, Tri stolitsy, 291.

[75] Shul’gin, Tri stolitsy, 345

[76] Shul’gin, Tri stolitsy, 436.

[77] V. V. Shul’gin, “Otvet tov. Stalinu, Chto takoe SSSR?” Za Rossiiu, no. 28, 1934.

[78] V. V. Shul’gin, “Plebistsit,” Za Rossiiu, spetsial’nyi vypusk, 1934.

[79] V. V. Shul’gin, “Gitler,” Golos Rossii, no. 2, June 25, 1936.

[80] « V.V. Shul’gin, Natsionalizm takov, kakovy natsionalisty. Otvet M. Iu. Rodionovu,” Golos Rossii, no. 19, October 27, 1936.

[81] Shul’gin, “Otvet tov. Stalinu.”

[82] V. V. Shul’gin, “Fashisty vsekh stran, soediniaites!” Russkaia gazeta, no. 164, November 4, 1924.

[83] Protokol doprosa V. V. Shul’gina. 1 noiabria 1946 g. TsA FSB Rossii. D. R-48956 l.241-242, republished in Makarov, Repnikov, Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 277.

[84] Makarov, Repnikov, Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 277.

[85] Makarov, Repnikov, Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 277–278.

[86] V. V. Shul’gin, Anshluss i my (Belgrade: Izd. Rybinskogo, 1938), 9.

[87] Anshluss i my, 13.

[88] O. Matich, Zapiski russkoi amerikanki: Semeinye khroniki i sluchainye vstrechi (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2017), 247.

[89] V. V. Shul’gin, “Opyt Lenina,” Nash Sovremennik, n. 11, 1997, 138–139.

[90] Matich, Zapiski russkoi amerikanki, 59.

[91] Shul’gin, Opyt Lenina, 146.

[92] N.N. Lisovoi, “Poslednii ochevidets,” in V. V. Shul’gin, Poslednii ochevidets: memuary, ocherki, sny (Moscow: Olma Press, 2002), 10–11.

[93] V. V. Shul’gin, Pis’ma k russkim emigrantam (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo sotsialno-ekonomicheskoi literatury, 1961), 16.

[94] Makarov, Repnikov, Kristoforov, Tiuremnaia odisseia Vasilya Shul’gina, 84.

[95] Shul’gin, Pisma k russkim emigrantam, 12.

[96] Shul’gin, Teni, kotorye prokhodiat, 62.

[97] Matich, Zapiski russkoi amerikanki, 247.

[98] Matich, Zapiski russkoi amerikanki, 258.

[99] Matich, Zapiski russkoi amerikanki, 252–254.

[100] Lisovoy, Poslednii ochevidets, 7.

[101] Glazunov in his memoirs wrote how Soloukhin, then Secretary of the Russian Union of Writers, followed Shul’gin’s views, organized meetings abroad with NTS members, and possessed a ring with Nicholas II’s portrait. I. Glazunov, Rossiia raspiataia (Moscow: AST, 2017), 707.

[102] Glazunov, Rossiia raspiataia, 145.

[103] Soloukhin claimed in 1983 to Olga Matich that he was a Shul’gin’s fellow and once drove him from Vladimir to Moscow, but Matich notes that she did not find evidence of this claim. Matich, Zapiski russkoi amerikanki, 386. Yet it seems quite plausible, because Glazunov often hosted Shul’gin at his Moscow house.

[104] L. E. Kolodnyi, Ilia Glazunov. Liubov’ i nenavist’ (Moscow: Algoritm, 2017), 289.

[105] The “small dark-blue books” were Dni and 1920, published in Soviet Union in the 1920s. Nataliia Solzhenitsyna reaffirmed this version in an interview on February 1, 2017. V. Nordvik, “Nataliia Solzhenitsyna: Ves tekst pronizan boliu,” Rodina, no. 217 (2), 2017,

[106] A. I. Solzhenitsyn, Archipelago Gulag: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 2007), vol. 1, 264–265.

[107] D. Tikhonov, “Nikolai Konshin: ‘Shul’gin byl dlia menia kak rodnoi dedushka’,” Smolenskaia narodnaia gazeta, April 22, 2014,’gin-byl-dlya-menya-kak-rodnoj-dedushka/.

[108] R.G. Krasiukov, “Predislovie,” in Shul’gin, Teni, kotorye prokhodiat, 12.

[109] A. Chemakin, “‘Neonatsionalizm’: Gitlerovskaia Germaniia i vopros o nemetskoi interventsii v rabotakh V.V. Shul’gina 1930-kh,” Voprosy natsionalizma, no. 2 (30), 2017, 99–114. I want to express my gratitude to Chemakin for his precious suggestions.