Mikhail Osorgin - a writer with a strong lurch in politics. And if you think about it, it is generally not very clear: who is he - a writer or a public figure? One thing is certain: whoever Osorgin was, he lived an eventful life.
The article is based on the material of the program “Brothers” of the radio station Ekho Moskvy. The broadcast was conducted by Nargiz Asadova and Leonid Matsikh. Fully read and listen to the original interview can be on the link.
Mikhail Osorgin is a man of extraordinary literary talents who, among other things, wrote about masons. Unfortunately, there are not so many works in Russian literature about free masons. Of the famous: the novel by Alexei Pisemsky "Masons", well, and the novel of our hero "Free Mason".
Osorgin came to the Freemasons in Italy: in 1914 he was consecrated in the “Venti Settembre” box. From 1925 to 1940, Mikhail Andreevich actively participated in the activities of several lodges working under the auspices of the Grand East of France. He was also one of the founders and was a member of the “North Star” and “Free Russia” lodges.
By the way, among the cultural figures of the Silver Age, a fair number of famous surnames belonged to free-stone masons: Alexander Blok, Leonid Andreev, Andrei Bely, Sasha Cherny, Nikolai Gumilyov, Maximilian Voloshin, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, who (interesting fact) founded his so-called “Merezhkovsky Lodge” and took into her Zinaida Hippius. For the Freemasonry and theatrical people: Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Yuri Zavadsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold were seen in sympathy for the free masons. In short, the whole constellation of great names.
Mikhail Ilyin (Osorgin). Moscow, April 1, 1903
Need proof? You are welcome. In the poem “The Middle Ages” by Nikolai Gumilyov there are lines dedicated to masons:
Do you remember how to us
A temple was blackened in darkness
Over the gloomy altars
Fire signs were burning.
He guarded our sleepy city,
Hammers and saws sang in it
In the night the masons worked.
Their words are stingy and random
But eyes are clear and stubborn.
The ancients revealed to them the secrets
How to build stone temples.
What other comments are needed here? Alexander Blok also has an excellent poem “You say that I am cold, closed and dry,” written in 1916. It ends with a very eloquent quatrain:
You are closing your face with an iron mask,
Worshiping the holy tombs
Guarding with iron before heaven's time,
Unavailable to insane slaves.
Returning to Mikhail Osorgin. As Winston Churchill used to say: “Whoever was not a revolutionary in his youth, he does not have a heart. He who has not become a conservative in his old age has no mind. ” After the February Revolution, Osorgin, side by side with Alexander Blok, was examining the police and gendarme archives after the February Revolution. By the way, Mikhail Andreevich was against the promulgation of lists of informants, against lustration, in modern terms.
Why? He was a humanist. Osorgin always felt sorry for those who stumbled. All his literature is full of sincere, not false, not pathetic humanism. He loved people, accepted them as they were. His favorite saying was: "All men, all men." In the books of Osorgin there is neither sarcasm, nor the exposure of the lead abominations of being, nor the exposure of the sores of life - they are full of sincere joy that a person can still be good, no matter what. The intonation of our hero has no equal in Russian literature - no one wrote that way. Osorgin knew people well, but he had enough intelligence and heart not to condemn them.
Yevgeny Zamyatin, Yuri Annenkov and Mikhail Osorgin. Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois, 1930s
As for Nikolai Gumilyov, he consisted of several lodges (“Cosmos”, “Northern Star”). True, unlike Osorgin, he did not achieve large ranks in Freemasonry. However, Gumilyov was a man of action, a warrior. And where, say, Osorgin limited his social activities to starving, fundraising, organizing Writers' shops, collecting books, he acted sharply, decisively, like a military man. Gumilyov was indeed involved in an officer's conspiracy, for which in 1921 he was sentenced to death.
But Vladimir Mayakovsky was not a freemason. According to some documents, he went to the Astrea box, but was never accepted into it. Why? Mayakovsky was a man of very superficial knowledge, and Freemasonry required deepening and concentration, about which, by the way, Maximilian Voloshin wrote very well in his poem “The Apprentice”.
Mind and fear, soldering and patience,
Becomes a lyric stanza, -
Be it a page
Ile copper text of the law.
For craft and spirit - a single path:
To learn to feel,
You must refuse
From the joy of experiencing life,
Out of feeling for the sake of
Concentration of will;
And from the will - for detachment of consciousness.
What can you say? Just a transcription of the verse of the Masonic catechism. Voloshin is very well defined. By the way, he himself, despite his such a stormy, artistic nature, concentrated enough. But Freemasonry requires depth from a person. Superficiality - and this was the main quality of Mayakovsky - is incompatible with Freemasonry.
Here Osorgin, the protagonist of our story, was a man of deep knowledge, great erudition. He knew several foreign languages, perfectly translated. Translations, by the way, he lived in Paris when he left Russia. First, after the expulsion, Mikhail Andreevich worked in Berlin for the newspaper Den, but because of a dispute with Kerensky, he left there. Then he moved to Paris. And already all his life was further connected with France.
In 1926, he married Tatiana Bakunina Alekseevna. Despite the significant difference in age (Osorgin was 25 years older than his wife), it was a very happy marriage. The future spouses met in Moscow, in the hospital of Bakunina’s father, Alexei Ilyich, the great surgeon and, by the way, an outstanding mason.
Mikhail Osorgin and his wife Tatyana Bakunina, 1930s
Being a non-conflict man, Osorgin was friends with so many well-known figures of the Silver Age. For example, in emigration, if we talk about the French period of his life, he was friendly with George Adamovich, Vladislav Khodasevich, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Yevgeny Zamiatin. Interesting relationships developed between Osorgin and Nabokov: the writers always dived, teased each other, but they were good companions. Incidentally, Nabokov, a great snob and egocentric, when he read Osorgin’s novel Sivtsev Vrazhek, said: “Here, a new genius has appeared in Russia.”
Indeed, the work had a completely unexpected success. It brought Mikhail Andreevich both fame and money. Osorgin improved his financial situation, and this allowed his wife to become a historian of Freemasonry. Tatyana Alekseevna compiled the “Biographical Dictionary of Russian Free Masons”, which has not yet been surpassed by anyone. She became the head of Andrei Serkov, a Russian archivist and historian who specializes in the history of Freemasonry. Bakunin-Osorgin died on July 1, 1995 in Paris. Mikhail Andreevich did not become earlier - in 1942. Perhaps, if it were not for the Second World War, he would have lived still: Osorgin was a man of excellent health, he watched himself, but Fascism absolutely crippled him. No, he did not lose faith in people, but all that horror that began to take place in civilized Europe, caught up with terrifying melancholy.
Remembering Michael Osorgin, it is impossible not to quote his Masonic sayings, without which he would not be complete. Here, for example: "The brotherhood will be really valuable for me until I realize that I am with people who are looking for the truth with me." There is also a story about how great it would be if all the masons were in line with the great ideals proclaimed by the brotherhood. Osorgin saw moral school in Freemasonry, saw a return to true religious ideals. He was a man of great faith (albeit not at all ecclesiastical), truly keeping in himself the gospel spirit of kindness. “Love prevails and forgives everything,” Mikhail Andreevich loved to repeat.
In the fall of 1922, Osorgin was expelled from the USSR with a group of opposition-minded representatives of the domestic intelligentsia (such as Nikolai Berdyaev, Georgy Fedotov, Igor Sikorsky, Pitirim Sorokin, and others). In an interview with a foreign correspondent, Lev Trotsky put it this way: "We sent these people out because there was no reason to shoot them, but it was impossible to endure."