October 4, 2010

The Origins of the Illuminati Myth and the Protocols (3 of 5)

Continued from Part Two


In the late nineteenth century, Russia was a hotbed of anti-Semitism. Russia was the last true autocracy or absolute monarchy in Europe. It was also the country with the largest Jewish population in the world - some five million, or about a third of all Jews everywhere. They were confined by decree to the "Pale of Settlement" - a group of provinces extending from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south - an area which embraces much of what is today modern Poland and the Ukraine - all of which was then part of the Russian Empire. They were subjected to severe economic, residential, and educational restrictions. Throughout the nineteenth century, they were persecuted by the peasantry and were on the whole miserably poor.

The nineteenth century was also a time when the Russian Autocracy was beginning to encounter active political opposition, notably from clandestine terrorist groups which were then operating throughout Europe much in the same fashion that Middle East terrorist groups are doing today. The authorities were determined at all costs to mask the fact that the main opposition to the regime was Russian in origin and that there were actually real Russians - and educated ones at that - who so hated the Autocracy that they were prepared to assassinate its representatives. Slowly at first - and quite haphazardly - they accordingly began to pretend that all opposition to the regime, and particularly all terrorism, was the work of a "Jewish conspiracy." The appearance of Biarritz in St. Petersburg in 1872, in Moscow in 1876, and in Odessa in 1880 was connected to this pretense. Still, there existed as yet no overall theme to the tales which surfaced, and there appeared to be no coordinated effort behind it all.

After the shocking assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881, the Okhrana (i.e., the secret police) was founded by imperial decree for the "protection of public security and order." Previously, the chief organ of the Secret Police had been the "Third Section" of the Imperial Chancellery, which was founded after the Decembrist Revolt of 1825. The Okhrana had branches in all the principal towns in Russia, as well as a foreign service centered in Paris. The foreign service of the Okhrana was headed up by Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky. A Russian compatriot described him as "... slightly too ingratiating in his manners and his suave way of speaking ... which made one think of a great cat carefully concealing his claws."

As chief of the foreign branch of the Okhrana, Rachkovsky organized over a period of some nineteen years (1884-1903) a network of agencies in France, Switzerland, London, and Berlin. As a result, he was easily able to keep a close check on the activities of the various exiled Russian revolutionary and terrorist groups. During this entire period, Rachkovsky resided in Paris and made it his headquarters.

Rachkovsky was a born intriguer who delighted in forging documents. One of his favorite methods of sewing discord in the ranks of the opposition was to forge a letter or pamphlet in which a supposed revolutionary attacked the revolution. For example, in 1887 there appeared in the French press a letter by a certain "P. Ivanov" who claimed - quite falsely - that the majority of the terrorists were Jews. In 1890 there appeared another pamphlet accusing the revolutionaries who had taken refuge in London of being British spies. In 1892 a letter appeared over the famous name of Plekhanov, accusing the leadership of Narodnaya Volya of having published the "confessions" of Plekhanov. A few weeks later came another letter in which Plekhanov in turn was attacked by other supposed revolutionaries. In reality, all these documents were forged by one man - Rachkovsky! Rachkovsky’s life was filled with such intrigues.


In 1902, Rachkovsky became involved in a court intrigue in St. Petersburg which also involved the future editor of the Protocols - Sergey Alexandrovich Nilus. Nilus, a man wholly dedicated to Orthodoxy and the concept of a "Holy Russia," was the perfect picture of the classic Russian - a huge man with a long, flowing gray beard and deep blue eyes. He had a veiled and somewhat troubled look. He wore boots and a simple peasant’s shirt with a belt which had a prayer embroidered on it. In character he was capricious, unruly, and despotic. He fancied himself a mystic and a heaven sent defender of "Holy Russia." He repudiated modern civilization and saw it as a conspiracy of the powers of darkness. He had become a systematic "anti-rationalist."

The intrigue was directed against a Frenchman named Phillippi who, like Rasputin after him, had established himself at the Russian Imperial Court as a "faith-healer;" he had become the idol and spiritual guide for the Czar and Czarina. Rachkovsky and Nilus both took part in the intrigue against Phillippi, and on the same side. Phillippi was cherished, flattered, and almost worshipped by the Imperial family, but he also had powerful enemies - the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna. To break Phillippi, they had turned to Rachkovsky. Thanks to the relations which he had so carefully cultivated with the French police, Rachkovsky was able to develop an incriminating file on Phillippi.

The intrigue against Phillippi involved Nilus as the central player. Nilus, who had lost his entire fortune in riotous living while living in France as a young man, had returned to Russia and had adopted the life of a perpetual pilgrim, wandering from monastery to monastery. Around 1900 he wrote a book which described how he had been converted from atheistic intellectualism to a fervent believer in Orthodoxy. The book came to the attention of the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna. Nilus was accordingly summoned to St. Petersburg at the end of 1901 and the court clique surrounding Rachkovsky and Feodorovna hit upon the following plan: Nilus was to be formally ordained as an Orthodox priest and married to one of the Czarina’s ladies-in-waiting, Yelena Alexandrovna Ozerova. A concerted effort was then to be made to impose Nilus on the Czar and Czarina as their confessor; if it had succeeded, Phillippi would have been removed.

It was an ingenious plan, but Phillippi’s supporters were able to counter it. They drew attention to Nilus’s immoral past - Nilus had been (and still was) a notorious womanizer; as a result, Nilus fell into disgrace and was forced to leave the court. Nilus, who was then aged forty-seven, made his way to the great Monastery of Optina Pustyn. There he and his dependents - which included his usual retinue of women (of which his new bride was now a part) - found permanent lodging in four rooms of a large villa located on the grounds of the famous monastery. The rest of the villa was employed as a home for cripples and the mentally ill who lived there in the hope of a miraculous cure.

If the intrigue had failed in its original intent, it did accomplish one thing: it had brought together Rachkovsky and Nilus and established a relationship between the two which was to have a profound effect on the future course of the world.


Between 1894 and 1899, France was rocked by the arrest and imprisonment of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew who had been falsely accused of selling French military secrets to the Germans. During this same period, Russia was moving inexorably in the direction of revolution. It was during this period that Rachkovsky hit upon a plan to take des Mousseaux’s anti-Semitic material, weave it into an obscure play entitled Dialogue by Maurice Joly, and create thereby the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion - and by doing so to lay the blame for all the unrest in Russia on the Jews. The French military authorities had been doing just that insofar as the Dreyfus affair was concerned, and by 1895 it looked as if they had been successful in transferring the blame for France’s sorrowful military condition from themselves to Dreyfus and the Jews. Rachkovsky reasoned that if it had worked so well for the French, why then not for the Russians? And this is precisely what Rachkovsky was attempting to do in forging the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

Continued...Part Four