The masons of Russia in the autumn will have its own temple in the North of Moscow. One of the most secret organizations today, relies on openness. Masons give a big interview to “Russia 24”, conducts its own page in instagram, but still full of mysteries. To find out what they don’t say on camera, the correspondent of “Companion” decided to join the secret society.
Who are the Freemasons
Modern Freemasonry originated in Western Europe in the early eighteenth century. The basis was taken the ancient community (actually the unions) architects – the most profitable and popular crafts of the time. As the masons gained strength, they began to join the free wealthy people from other professions. Over time, they made up the majority, and building elements such as cutter and hammer, a plumb line, level, compass, try square, etc., have acquired a purely symbolic value. The elitism of Freemasonry, coupled with its complex rituals made him suspicious of society. But the members of the most ancient of the men’s club is even more like.
The President is aware and not against
To help the layman (as masons call ordinary people) – Internet and the website of the Grand Lodge of Russia, head of the organization. It all starts with an application form as when applying for a job: name, nationality, education, professional experience, etc. in About a month I called back and scheduled an appointment.
Place – Japanese restaurant on the outskirts of Moscow.
My first Mason is a typical representative of the middle class: the 40-year-old smiling Manager Igor with electronic cigarette in your pocket and a car in the Parking lot. The interview is reminiscent of the philosophical debate:
– How do you understand the expression “good character”? What is religion? What is a free man?
Reply unusual, but not difficult. There is a feeling that I, as a student, pulling in the assessment.
Learn, learn… and to replenish cash
Talking about Freemasonry, Igor lowers voice, and once even interrupted:
– It seems, over my shoulder someone is he far?
In between philosophical arguments have time to ask their “mundane” issues.
– Of course, without the permission of the President of the Russian Freemasonry in 1992 would not have appeared – meets Igor. I’m not saying that Yeltsin is a Mason, as Macron is now suspect. But the President was aware and gave the nod. There was a special meeting. With the next President there were no problems. In the security services about us, who should know. Here in Belarus there are difficulties, there is not possible to obtain official status. In General we have to discuss politics, and religion at meetings prohibited.
– And the head of the Grand Lodge of Russia, Andrey Bogdanov – party presidential elections of 2008 and the head of a political party?
– In this respect there are different opinions, but it’s a private matter, – meets Igor.
From beginner requires not so much to cultivate, to learn the rituals, and of course, to replenish the cash.
– There is an annual fee – 10 thousand rubles, and there are posetitelei – 15. Organization we are a nonprofit, your spending resets themselves. Purchase of ceremonial swords, the payment space in the center of Moscow, they paid, plus taxes, “communal”. Ritual meeting once a month, but just to meet, beer to drink and can often.
Men in black
I never would have thought that chain coffee shop in the centre of Moscow, by which held a thousand times, and the conventional meeting place of masons.
Sunday morning I have a major test survey with the blindfold.
At the appointed day, waiting in a cafe. For me a black suit, white shirt – required dress code. The waiters do not look askance, apparently accustomed to.
Soon shows four in black. On lapels – badges with compasses, stars and a Laurel branch on the cuffs – some cufflinks seems to be with the hammers. No one thinks to escape.
Between – triple kiss (a sign of trust).
With you until we are, they say.
This time the philosophical conversation is more fun.
Family? Sorry. We do welcome non-traditional communication. Okay, just kidding, relax. Everything will be fine.
“Leave no one will”
I pass the second interview, and we go to the chess club next door, which is empty in the early morning of the day. There I was blindfolded and arms slowly lead into the next room. Beneath the black armband is visible only a piece of black-and-white floor. Hear play a Requiem and seems crackling candles. Judging by the noises and voices, I sit in the center of a circle of about ten people. They take turns asking the questions: “What are you most afraid of?”, “What is evil?”, “What are you proud of?”
Try to answer sincerely, but on the third question defuses the situation:
– I think I look pretty good.
Around hear suppressed laughter.
Sometimes the question specifically: “What is your financial situation?” and even more sharply: “You understand that if we accept you, then leave, no one will?” Here already not to jokes.
After 30 minutes I go outside, not used to squinting in the sun. Feelings – mixed.
Three hours later, the phone receives a message: “Congratulations, the decision is positive. You have been accepted. The date of initiation will write to you later.” No, gentlemen, Rosicrucians, I come to you – just look.
Between the dispatch of the questionnaire and this time it took two and a half months. According to Andrey Bogdanov, the Masonic community made up of people of different professions, from business to the arts to power structures. The entrance is closed only atheists and convicted. Something struck me as odd the first issue under the bandage: “Give the full name and date of birth.” It seems while I was away from mysterious interviews, fellow Templars get a good shot of my personal data.
Between Lubyanka and banks
The premises of the Lodge is 400 metres from the FSB building, opposite the offices of several banks and the Orthodox Church. Geolocation is a gift to conspiracy theorists. During the day, children played intellectual games, in the evening, the men blindfolded talking about their secret desires.
According to EGRUL basis, in addition to the club, here was the Russian public policy center and the Independent psychiatric Association of Russia. There’s something in this set.
– If all is well, the dedication you will be assigned in may, but after the holidays. We all disperse with their families to relax, ‘ says the Mason Igor after interviewing the bandage.
Rites rites, but Mayday that for mere mortals, that for masons is sacred.
Bonus video: (38:44) the correspondent of “Companion” talks about his experience of introducing a Masonic Lodge in the air of “Echo of Moscow”.
The comment of the expert
“In Russia – thousands of masons”
The political scientist, expert on Freemasonry Nikolai Trubetskoy told “Interlocutor”, which represents the brotherhood of Freemasons today:
– The number of Freemasons in Russia is estimated in the thousands rather than tens of thousands. But it is constantly growing. The Foundation Assembly is part of the ritual, as well as writing, reading, discussion of texts on philosophical topics, which are called “architectural works”. Among masons there are famous people known by millions. But in European countries and USA more of them. Until the presidents.
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The material was published in the edition of “Interlocutor” No. 14-2019 under the heading “It’s not a dream: now I’m a Mason”.