Tag Archives: Great Game

Death of a Russian Samurai

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 was to prove advantageous for Japan and its Western maritime backers Britain and the United States, while the conflict was a multifaceted disaster for Russia. Amidst the bloodshed, however, were found moments of chivalry exemplified by the warriors of each side. Here is one such account:

Hunter and scout Vasilii Timofeevich Riabov was born in 1871 and grew up in the village of Ivanovka outside Penza. Almost a century and a half has gone by, yet his memory persists through the centuries.

After his discharge from active military duty and joining the reserve, Riabov relocated to the neighboring village of Lebedevka. He was a brave and active man, he loved the theater and his wife, even though he sometimes hit her after drinking. And sometimes he used other people’s things without permission. That happened too. But he atoned for all his sins with his act of bravery. Continue reading Death of a Russian Samurai

The Bolsheviks’ Occult War

In his analysis of the modern world, French Traditionalist thinker René Guénon noted that the true masters of revolutions, materialism and secularism were not actually ends in themselves, but only the initial phases in the occult processing of society. The ultimate end of the cryptocratic elites, Guénon believed, was the destruction of sacred tradition and the enthronement of infernal forces in a new counter-religion. With the experience of the Bolshevik Revolution and early-period Soviet intelligence’s forays into the realms of the esoteric, we have a powerful example of Guénon’s thesis in action, as recounted by contemporary Russian journalist Georgy Filin.

Sami sorcerers and Buryat shamans, connoisseurs of cryptography and ancient poisons, hypnotists and psychics, telepaths and clairvoyants – who wasn’t brought in to work in the OGPU [Unified State Political Directorate] Special Department directed by one of Lenin’s closest colleagues, Gleb Bokii. The Special Department was consulted by luminary of Soviet psychiatry academic Vladimir Bekhterev, and one of its key officers was none other than the famed terrorist Yakov Blumkin, a favorite of Cheka head Felix Dzerzhinsky and the prototype of Maksim Isaev, Stierlitz. And Bokii himself possibly served as the prototype of another well-known personage – Bulgakov’s Woland. It was said that at the Chekist’s dacha events frequently took place akin to the ball described in Master and Margarita.

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The Demise of Enver Pasha

Turkish warlord Enver Pasha (1881-1922) was not only the architect of the Armenian genocide, but also a key player in the early twentieth-century Great Game. A consummate intriguer, Enver attempted forging a Pan-Turkic empire in Central Asia, where he would meet his death at the hands of the Red Army.

The assassination of Enver Pasha cannot be called a special operation in the full sense of the word. It was sooner a special military operation carried out by the forces of the army and special services. But we can form a conception of how Soviet power was established in Central Asia, and by what methods, on its example.

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The Great Game in Tibet

From the archives of the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service, comes a fascinating story of the early-twentieth-century Great Game between Imperial Russia and the British Empire, as the two sides intrigue and maneuver for geopolitical advantage in the mysterious mountain kingdom of Tibet. 

His Imperial Majesty’s Minister of the Court, Baron Fredericks, was clearly irritated. Only at the last moment was he informed that the program for visits to the Tsar for January 14th, 1904, had to be changed, since the Russian Army’s General Staff requested Nicholas II to immediately receive two Don Cossacks on a secret mission to Tibet for a “confidential audience.” The Tsar agreed, and Baron Fredericks had no other option but to relay to the organizers of the Tsar’s hunt in the Ropsha pheasant preserve that His Majesty could not arrive today and would delay the hunt for several days, about which would be additionally reported.

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The Tsar’s Man in Tehran

The tragic and untimely death of Russian poet, playwright and diplomat Aleksandr Sergeevich Griboyedov (1795-1828) in Tehran was just one episode in a geopolitical duel, the Great Game, as Russia and Great Britain maneuvered for position in Central Asia throughout the 19th century. This official account from Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), authored by A.N. Itskov, tells a story of diplomacy, espionage, and murder in Persia. Translated by Mark Hackard.

For the first third of the 19th century, Russia was engaged in bloody wars with Persia (1804-1813 and 1826-1828). Consequently Russia emerged victorious, and Persia was forced to recognize Russia’s annexation of Georgia, Dagestan, Northern Azerbaijan, and also the Yerevan and Nakhichevan khanates. In elaboration of the conditions of the Treaty of Turkmenchay, which legally formalized the results of the two wars and became the basis of relations between the two lands up to October of 1917, a most active participant was the diplomatic counsel under the Commander of the Russian Army of the Caucasus Ivan Paskevich, Aleksandr Sergeevich Griboyedov. Griboyedov had already worked in the Russian embassy in Persia between the two wars and had learned well the situation in the country. And when he journeyed to the camp of Abbas Mirza, the son of the Shah and commander of the Persian Army, to resolve political questions, at the same time he studied the state of the army and detected its low morale. Griboyedov also “probed” Abbas Mirza’s adjutant, Haji Mahmud Aga, regarding the latter’s possible future use as an agent, and was practically able to receive his consent on cooperating[i].

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