Vasily Vitalyevich Shulgin (Russian: Васи́лий Вита́льевич Шульги́н; Ukrainian: Василь Віталійович Шульгін; 13 January 1878 – 15 February 1976), also known as Basil Shulgin, was a Russian conservative politician, monarchist and member of the White movement.

Vasily Shulgin
Васи́лий Вита́льевич Шульги́н
Shulgin in 1913
Born(1878-01-13)13 January 1878
Kiev, Russian Empire
Died15 February 1976(1976-02-15) (aged 98)
Vladimir, Soviet Union
Resting placeBaygushi Cemetery, Vladimir
CitizenshipRussian Empire, stateless
Alma materSaint Vladimir Imperial University
Occupation(s)Politician, esayist
Political partyAll-Russian National Union

Young years edit

Shulgin was born in Kiev. His father was a Professor of history, monarchist and editor of a monarchist newspaper. Shulgin studied at the Law faculty of Kiev University and was disgusted with the constant students' protests. At that time he became an ardent opponent of a revolution and supported the monarchy. He began to write articles in his father's newspaper. He also held antisemitic views but opposed open violence such as the notorious pogroms which were common in Kiev at the time. Later, in 1913, he heavily criticised the government for the Beilis trial. Shulgin understood that participation in or turning a blind eye on the most odious manifestation of antisemitism was detrimental to the government.

Politician edit

In 1907 Shulgin became a member of the Duma. He advocated right-wing views, supported the government of Pyotr Stolypin, including introduction of courts-martial, and other controversial changes. When the First World War broke out, Shulgin joined the army. In 1915 he was wounded and returned home. Shulgin was shocked by the inefficient organization and supply of the Russian army. Together with members of the Octobrists, the Cadets, and other right-wing or centrist politicians he established the Progressive Bloc. The aim of the Bloc was to provide the army with everything necessary since the government failed to do it.

Revolution and emigration edit

Shulgin opposed the revolution, though it was evident that absolute monarchy in Russia would no longer exist. Together with Alexander Guchkov he persuaded Nicholas II to abdicate the throne since he believed that a constitutional monarchy with Michael Alexandrovich being the monarch was possible, and that this or even a republic, if a strong government was established, would be a remedy for Russia. For the same reason he supported the Provisional Government and Kornilov's coup.

Shulgin after his arrest by Soviet authorities

When all hope was lost he moved to Kiev, and then the Kuban, where he participated in the White movement.[1][2] During his time in Kiev, he published a newspaper, Kievlyanin, which supported the Whites and spread anti-Semitic conspiracies about the Bolsheviks, leading to a pogrom in Kiev.[3] In 1920 Shulgin emigrated to Yugoslavia. In 1925-26 he secretly visited the Soviet Union. He described this visit and his impression of the New Economic Policy in the book called The Three Capitals (Три столицы). While in emigration Shulgin continued keeping in touch with other leaders of the White movement until 1937 when he ceased his political activity.

Return to the Soviet Union edit

Shulgin in his last birthday, 1976

In 1944 the Soviet army entered Yugoslavia. Shulgin was arrested and sentenced to 25 years for his "hostile to communism antisoviet activity". After twelve years in prison he was released in 1956 under the amnesty. Since then he lived in Vladimir. In his later books he argued that communism was no more a disaster for Russia since former Bolsheviks turned into patriots of Russia. In 1961, Shulgin was among the guests at the XXII Congress of the CPSU. In 1965 Shulgin was the main character of Fridrikh Ermler's documentary film The Verdict of History[4] in which he told his story to a Soviet historian (the real historian could not be found, and the role was entrusted to the actor and intelligence officer [97] Sergei Svistunov). Shulgin did not make any concessions, and the goal of the film - to show that the leaders of the white emigration themselves admitted that their struggle was lost and the cause of the “builders of communism” was victorious - was not achieved; the film was shown in Moscow and Leningrad cinemas for only three days: despite the interest of the audience, the film was immediately withdrawn from distribution.[5] According to KGB General Philip Bobkov, who supervised the creation of the film from the department and communicated closely with the entire creative team, “Shulgin looked great on the screen and, importantly, remained himself all the time. He did not play along with his interlocutor. He was a man who resigned himself to circumstances, but was not broken and did not give up his convictions. Shulgin's venerable age did not affect his work of thought or temperament, and did not diminish his sarcasm. His young opponent, whom Shulgin caustically and angrily ridiculed, looked very pale next to him.”

All this - trips around the country, published books, an invitation to the party congress and the release of a film - were signs of Khrushchev’s “thaw”. But as soon as N.S. Khrushchev was removed and new leaders came to power in the USSR, ideological policy changed, censorship in the USSR was tightened. Shulgin's involvement in public life was recognized as a mistake at a meeting of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee[6]

Building nr. 1 in Kooperativnaya Street (since 1967 Feigina Street), where in the 1st floor (photo from the corner of the apartment) The Shulgins lived from 1960 until their death

Vasily Shulgin died in Vladimir on February 15, 1976, on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, at the ninety-ninth year of his life, from an angina complications. As Lyudmila Marinina, his guardian, who lived with him in recent years and cared for the old man, recalled:

... he felt good all the time, but in January he had the flu... on the night of February 15 he felt pain in his chest and took pills from angina pectoris, then in the morning at half an hour past seven he went to bed, as usual he sat at night and slept during the day, and I went to the store... I come, and he is already lying dead...


There was a burial service in the cemetery church next to the Vladimir prison, where he spent 12 years. He was buried at the Baygushi cemetery (Russian: Кладбище «Байгуши»). There were 10-12 people at the funeral, among them Andrei Golitsyn and Ilya Glazunov. KGB officers watched the funeral from a GAZ car. He was buried next to his wife.[8] Both graves have survived. A strict black cross is erected above them, mounted on a small pedestal, on which names and dates of life are engraved

References edit

  1. ^ Kenez, Peter (2004). Red Attack, White Resistance; Civil War in South Russia 1918. Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing. pp. 192–194. ISBN 9780974493442.
  2. ^ Kenez, Peter (2004). Red Advance, White Defeat: Civil War in South Russia 1919-1920. Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing. p. 160. ISBN 9780974493459.
  3. ^ Lincoln, W. George (1989). Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War, 1918-1921. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 317–323. ISBN 9780306809095.
  4. ^ British Foreign Office papers 371/189006
  5. ^ Головской Валерий. (2003-12-24). "Фильм «Перед судом истории», или Об одном киноэпизоде в жизни В. В. Шульгина". Вестник online, № 26 (337). Archived from the original on 2011-03-06. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  6. ^ Репников А. В., Гребёнкин И. Н. (2010). "Вопросы истории" (4): 25–40. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Рыбас С. Ю (2014). Василий Шульгин: судьба русского националиста. Молодая гвардия. p. 507. ISBN 978-5-235-03715-1.
  8. ^ Тихонов Д. (2008). "Тот самый Шульгин : Интервью с актёром Николаем Коншиным, который долгое время был личным секретарём В. В. Шульгина" (in Russian). Российская Федерация сегодня.