Theosophical Movement in Russia - an interview (Now Online)
Mar 27, 2011 12:54 PM
Dear Konstantin, MKR, friends,
I'm co-editor of the websites www.Esoteric-Philosophy,com
<http://www.esoteric-philosophy,com/> and www.TheosophyOnline.com
I would like to inform you all that we have just published at
www.Esoteric-Philosophy.com <http://www.esoteric-philosophy.com/> the
interview given by Konstantin, under the title:
The Theosophical Movement in Russia
A Dialogue with Konstantin Zaitzev
It should be noted that Carlos says in his introductory note that he
apologizes for the delay in publishing the interview.
Joaquim (from Portugal)
--- In email@example.com, MKR <mkr777@...> wrote:
> Thanks for posting it here. Some of the points you have made are right
> target and I hope theosophists around the world read it and think for
> themselves. Also if any theosophist from the West happen to visit
> Ukraine on other business, they should try to meet theosophists there.
> would definitely help, no matter whether one is inclined to Adyar or
> On Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 3:23 AM, Konstantin Zaitzev
> > As I remembered about unpublished interview (given in last summer) I
> > publish it her, for I don't like to spend my work in vain.
> > It was taken because, as they said,
> > "We feel the Russian theosophical movement is far too important not
> > strong permanent links with the theosophical movement in Western
> > India and the three Americas. We are also gathering data and
> > order to produce a sort of "world map of the theosophical movement
> > vitality". For that, a good dialogue with theosophists in Russian is
> > essence."
> > ---
> > To: Carlos Cardoso Aveline cardosoaveline@...
> > cc: lutbr@...
> > Subj: Re: Theosophical Movement in Russia
> > Hello Carlos,
> > Thursday, July 29, 2010, 4:16:04 PM, you wrote:
> > > You can give a fully public answer in your own name ("on the
> > OK, granted that the text will be left unchanged.
> > > 1) Your full name - Konstantin Zaytsev. Correct? Year of birth?
> > I would rather spell it as Konstantin Zaitzev. Yet the above version
> > also correct. 1968.
> > > 2) You live in Moscow?
> > Yes.
> > > 3) Editor and publisher of "Messenger of Theosophy"? Is the
> > > electronic or in paper? What is its periodicity? Monthly? When was
> > > it founded? How many readers?
> > It has both electronic and printed versions. It is published 3 times
> > and contains 32 pages of A4 format, 9 point size text in two
> > somewhat reminds "The Theosophist" of its first years by its volume
> > outer appearance. It contains mostly translated material, though
> > every issue contains one original Russian article.
> > Initially the magazine was founded in 1908 and was an official
> > of the Russian Section. In 1918 it was closed by the communist
> > early 1990's an attempt was made to renew the magazine but only two
> > in 1992 and 1994, were published. In 2008, in its centennary, it was
> > again in rather humble scale. Up to this date (summer 2010) already
> > were published. It's hard to report an exact number of readers due
> > pecular manner of publication. 150 copies are being printed in
> > distributed mostly there, some for free (in the theosophical
> > some are being sold almost for the cost price (around $1 per copy).
> > other cities which have theosophical groups print small quantities
> > 10-50, two big cities in Ukraine print more, around 100. So the
> > quantity of copies of the first issue was around 400. Each group
> > to distribute them, for money or for free. An electronic version in
> > format is also available on the website. The project of digitization
> > previous issues is on, though only 20% of the work is done. The
> > magazines are already put online.
> > > 4) What's your general view of the theosophical movement in
> > > What's a bird's eye view of its historical origin and evolution?
> > The most characteristic trait is perhaps spontaneity and lack of
> > organization. Only for 10 years, in 1908-1918, it had regular
> > was a section of the Theosophical Society, though even then there
> > independent theosophical groups, or those connected directly to some
> > section. After the revolution many prominent theosophists, including
> > leadership, fled to emigration and later formed the Russian Section
> > Yet those who remained in Russia continued their work underground;
> > president of former Moscow Branch Sofia Gerye became the head of the
> > movement, though she naturally lost connection with some parts of
> > 1991 Russian theosophists with participation of those who previously
> > underground, reinstalled the Russian Theosophical Society, which
> > approved by TS Adyar.
> > Yet the attention of the public is much more attracted by the
> > movement, which has theosophy in its basis but with some substantial
> > doctrinal changes, while the theosophical teaching as taught by HPB
> > close associates has not so much adherents. The New Acropolis in
> > one of its biggest sections and is more active and numerous than the
> > Theosophical Society. The both movements publish works by HPB.
> > Another phenomenon worth to be mentioned is the publishing activity
> > is really wide and surpasses the publication efforts of the biggest
> > theosophical sections of the western counties, though conducted by
> > commercial publishers, sometimes in cooperation with theosophists.
> > Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled and Key to Theosophy are always in
> > at least 3000 copies of each title are sold every year.
> > economic crisis has undermined this activity and forced the
> > migrate to more superficial literature. See an appendix which lists
> > theosophical publications for the last several years.
> > > 5) What about its vitality? Is it increasing or decreasing
> > > right now? Why so?
> > There was some growth in the last two years, but the vitality is
> > sporadic, as the experience of the previous years shows, and I'm not
> > about steady growth. The remarks about the organizational aspects
> > partly explain why. And people are not much active. A theosophical
> > our address can be sold in several thousands copies but we receive
> > letters. Also I met many theosophists who regard theosophy as a kind
> > revelation from omniscient Mahatmas given to us throgh their
> > Among Russian intellectuals it gives an impression of theosophy as
> > another sect and impedes its admission.
> > > 6) How much of real interest in the inner and ethical aspects of
> > > original theosophy there is in the Russian theosophical movement?
> > It's hard to say, it seems that everyone finds his own aspect of
> > For some it's philosophy, for others ethics, for some
> > connection and even experimenting. For me it was the scientific
> > theosophy has attracted me because it clearly explains phenomena
> > regarded miraculous, unexplained or even non-existing by the general
> > > How far goes the interest for its 'fashionable" or superficial
> > only?
> > An interest to superficial aspects isn't considerable, as those who
> > are being attracted rather to different new-age schools than to
> > > 7) What about the organizational aspects of the movement in
> > is
> > > the relationship between the Theosophical Society in Russia and
> > > Society? (Initially, it seems the Russian TS was not chartered by
> > Yes, the above mentioned renewed Russian Theosophical Society wasn't
> > approved by TS Adyar. In my opinion the good relations weren't
> > due to mistakes and arrogance of both sides. Several years later RTS
> > and ceased an official existence due to the internal splits and lack
> > support from abroad. The biggest and most active remaining part of
> > Moscow Theosophical Society which has no official status and no
> > helds regular meetings which are open for all.
> > > How many lodges and theosophists does the Theosophical Society in
> > > Russia have, in how many cities?
> > TS Adyar still has no official branches in Russia though membership
> > grows. Most attendants of the theosophical meetings aren't the
> > many members don't visit the meetings, though the groups somewhat
> > interpenetrate and people from the Moscow TS join TS Adyar.
> > There are theosophical groups in other cities too but they aren't
> > though some of them have friendly connections with Moscow group.
> > sometimes helps them by literature or other ways, though hasn't any
> > directing functions.
> > > 8) Is there any work in Russia effectively linked to - or clearly
> > inspired
> > > by - the Pasadena Society (former "Point Loma" and "Covina")?
> > No, as far I know.
> > > 9) Is there any influence in Russia of the United Lodge of
> > Not much. I am the only ULT associate in Russia which I know of,
> > course there can be others. I met several people who strictly hold
> > teachings of H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge only. In 1998 I've
> > declaration in Russian both in the Internet and in the printed form.
> > years ago "Ocean of theosophy" and some articles by W.Q. Judge were
> > published, though the quality of translation of the former wasn't
> > satisfactory. As far I know, it was an initiative of American ULT
> > associates. There is an improved translation of "Ocean" on our
> > > 10) How do you see the international movement today? What about
> > > strength and its vitality? What mistakes should be corrected, if
> > > any, to increase its vitality worldwide? How do you see the three
> > > main currents of thought in the theosophical movement?
> > It seems to me that all the currents lack vitality. The leaders of
> > theosophical movement are too aged and often are completely out of
> > There are exceptions but they are too few. In my opinion, the
> > do too little to propagate theosophy, and even less to do it modern
> > resourses they have aren't used effeciently. Entusiastic persons
> > much more than entire organizations and get not much support from
> > > 11) How do you see the future of the theosophical movement in
> > > and in the world? What should be the international role to be
> > > by the Russian Theosophical Movement? How should it be fulfilled?
> > The future is uncertain. It can grow or decay and die. Theosophical
> > movement will grow and play important role it its leaders change
> > methods of work. Theosophical movement becomes alike many other
> > even sects, what it wasn't intended for. It should be a society for
> > spiritual help for people of all views who support Three Objects.
> > can be an important power in the world. As for the Russian
> > movement, it's future will depend on general trends in Russia, i.e.
> > country move to democracy or to clericalization. Christians cannot
> > Theosophical Society as they have done before, for they would be
> > by the Church. 100 years ago one could visit both the church and the
> > theosophical meetings, what most Russian members did, now he has to
> > choice. So the theosophical movement is rather a part of underground
> > part of mainstream which it almost succeeded to become in beginning
> > century. Due to this it's hard to say anything about international
> > the Russian theosophical movement, though 20 years ago many people
> > that it will be the center from which revitalization of the world
> > theosophical movement will begin. Probably we have to position the
> > Theosophical Society as fully secular and even scientific society.
> > > 12) What about the theosophical movement in Ukraine?
> > Unlike that in Russia, it has much common with theosophical movement
> > other western country. It has its official center in Kiev, 4 lodges,
> > good connection with Adyar headquarters. Ukrainian theosophists
> > mostly Russian-speaking) regularly visit international conventions
> > congresses, organize their own conferences and seminars which are
> > attended by theosophists from Russia. The literature in Ukrainian
> > is lacking, the Russian translations are in use. (Russian and
> > languages are much alike, like Spanish and Portuguese). Recently
> > of Silence" was translated to Ukrainian.
> > > 13) How do you see the actual relationship between the
> > > movement in Russia and the international theosophical movement?
> > It isn't considerable. It is so probably due an inactivity from the
> > headquarter's side and lack of knowledge of foreign languages from
> > Russian side. And many theosophists have not enough money to travel.
> > > 14) In what aspects this relationship is strong and well?
> > In digitization, translation and publishing activity.
> > > In what aspects it is not well?
> > In most others. Personal visits are rare.
> > > What possible barriers are there in this relationship to be
> > Conservatism. Also it seems that there's a strong prejudice against
> > Russians in the West, and some theosophists unfortunalely share it
> > they should be above prejudices against nations.
> > > 15) In what ways can and should we take steps to increase the
> > > cross-cultural dialogue and cooperation between the movement in
> > > Russia and the movement in Western countries?
> > Probably we need more personal visits. Conventions and conferences
> > enough, theosophists of one country should be guests in the houses
> > theosophists of other country and live with them for weeks. We
> > forget that one of our objects is brotherhood.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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