Is Freemasonry Banned In Russia

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that has a long history in Russia. It was once an important part of the country’s social and political life, but it has since been banned by the government. While Freemasonry has not been officially recognized by the Russian government since the early 20th century, there are still some groups of Freemasons who operate clandestinely in the country. This article will explore why Freemasonry is banned in Russia and what impact this ban has had on the organization in Russia. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that traces its origins back to the stonemasons of the Middle Ages. It is a society of men with high moral standards, who are committed to brotherly love, relief, and truth. Freemasonry is based on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. It teaches its members to practice these principles in their daily lives. Freemasonry also provides opportunities for social interaction among men from all walks of life and different backgrounds, while still allowing each individual to maintain his own beliefs and opinions. Freemasons strive for self-improvement through study and mutual support.

Early History of Freemasonry in Russia

The first Masonic Lodge in Russia was established in 1731 by a group of British traders in St. Petersburg. Freemasonry quickly gained popularity among the Russian aristocracy, with many prominent members of society joining the fraternity. The Tsar himself, Peter the Great, even became a Mason. By the mid-18th century, there were over two hundred lodges throughout the country.

Growth and Expansion

In 1781, Catherine the Great decreed that all Masonic lodges in Russia must become members of one grand lodge – The Grand Lodge of Russia – which had been founded two years earlier by Count Charles de Ligne and Count Gregory Orlov. This caused a surge in membership as many new lodges were formed to join the grand lodge. By 1801, there were over three hundred lodges in Russia with more than twenty thousand members.

Suppression and Persecution

The 1820s saw a period of suppression and persecution for Freemasons in Russia as Tsar Alexander I issued several edicts banning Masonic activities and ordering the closure of all lodges. This was followed by a period of severe repression under Tsar Nicholas I who issued further edicts banning Freemasonry throughout the country. Many Masons were arrested and persecuted during this time for their involvement in Freemasonry.


Freemasonry experienced a revival after Alexander II abolished censorship and allowed Masonic activities to resume again in 1862. A number of new lodges were founded throughout the country, although they remained largely unknown to outsiders due to strict secrecy laws which forbade members from revealing their involvement in Freemasonry publicly.

Modern Day Freemasonry

Today, there are over four hundred Masonic lodges operating throughout Russia with an estimated twenty thousand members involved in various activities related to Freemasonry. Despite its long history and wide acceptance among society, it remains largely unknown to outsiders due to its secretive nature and strict regulations surrounding membership and activities within the fraternity.

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that has been around for centuries. Its members often share moral and ethical values and have a strong focus on philanthropy. But the question remains, is Freemasonry legal in Russia? The answer is, it depends.

In the past, Freemasonry had been outlawed in Russia as it was seen as a threat to the state. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Freemasonry has been seen by Russian authorities as a legitimate fraternal organization and is now officially recognized throughout the country.

However, there are still restrictions on how Freemasonry can operate in Russia. For example, members are not allowed to openly discuss politics or engage in any activities that could be perceived as anti-government or subversive. Additionally, there are strict regulations regarding membership numbers and meetings must be held discreetly and without public advertisement.

Despite these restrictions, many Russians have embraced Freemasonry and its principles of moral uprightness and personal development. In fact, there are now over 200 lodges throughout Russia with membership estimated at around 80,000 people.

Overall, while there are restrictions on how Freemasonry can operate in Russia, it is now generally accepted as a legitimate fraternal organization. Despite this acceptance, however, members must still be careful not to engage in anything that could be perceived as anti-government or subversive activity so as to avoid running afoul of Russian authorities.

Does the Russian Government Permit Freemasonry?

The Russian government does not officially permit Freemasonry. The practice of Freemasonry was declared illegal in Russia in 1822, and the ban was later reaffirmed by the Soviet government in 1922 and remains in effect today. There have been numerous attempts to overturn the ban, but thus far, all have been unsuccessful.

Despite this official ban, there are still some small Masonic lodges operating underground in Russia, although they are not officially sanctioned by the government. These groups are often referred to as “clandestine” or “unrecognized” lodges and generally operate without any open acknowledgment or publicity.

In recent years, there has been a growing movement among some Russian citizens to overturn the official ban on Freemasonry. Proponents argue that the official ban is outdated and violates their constitutional rights to freedom of association and religious expression. They point out that many other countries in Europe have legalized Freemasonry, and that it should be allowed in Russia as well.

Opponents of lifting the ban counter that allowing such groups would be detrimental to Russia’s national security interests as well as its social stability. They also cite concerns about potential links between Freemasonry and extremist political movements or foreign interference.

At present, it appears unlikely that the official stance on Freemasonry will change anytime soon, but there is still hope for those who wish to pursue Masonry in Russia. Although it is not officially recognized by the government, some clandestine lodges continue to operate under the radar and provide a safe space for those who wish to practice their Masonic beliefs without fear of persecution or reprisal from authorities.

What Is the Relationship Between the Russian Government and Freemasonry?

The relationship between the Russian government and Freemasonry has been complex throughout history. During the Soviet era, Freemasonry was officially outlawed and viewed as a symbol of bourgeois decadence. In Russia, Masonic lodges were shut down, and members of the organization were persecuted. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Freemasonry has made a return to certain parts of Russia, although it is still viewed with suspicion by many in positions of power.

Despite these restrictions, there are some indications that there is some degree of cooperation between the Russian government and certain Masonic lodges. For example, a number of high-ranking government officials have been known to attend Masonic meetings in order to discuss strategic matters and share ideas. Furthermore, some Masonic lodges have been known to receive grants from the government in order to support their activities.

At the same time, however, it is important to note that there are limits to this cooperation. The Russian government has not officially recognized Freemasonry as an organization or given it any kind of official status. In addition, while certain Masonic lodges may receive funding from the government or engage in dialogue with government officials, they are still largely independent from any direct control by state authorities.

Overall, it appears that while there is some degree of cooperation between certain elements of the Russian government and certain Masonic lodges, this relationship remains limited and constrained by various restrictions imposed by authorities. While there may be opportunities for collaboration between these two entities in certain areas, Masonry remains largely independent from any direct control by state authorities.

Consequences of Being a Freemason in Russia

Being a Freemason in Russia has serious consequences for those who choose to join the fraternity. In Russia, Freemasonry is considered to be a criminal activity and is officially banned by law. Those who are found to be members of the Masonic order can face fines, prison time, and even deportation. In addition, Freemasons in Russia can experience difficulty when trying to find employment or access government benefits, services, and privileges.

The Russian government has long viewed Freemasonry as an anti-government organization that threatens its social and political control. This attitude has resulted in a number of laws that limit the rights and freedoms of Freemasons in the country. For example, it is illegal for any Russian citizen to join or establish a Masonic lodge within the country’s borders. Additionally, any person found participating in Masonic-related activities can face prosecution.

In addition to legal restrictions, there are also social stigmas associated with being a Mason in Russia. Many people view Masons as being part of an anti-religious group that engages in subversive activities against the state. Because of this perception, many Russians avoid associating with Freemasons and may be reluctant to do business with them or even be seen in their company.

Therefore, members of the Masonic order can also face various forms of discrimination from members of society and even from within their own fraternity. Many Masons report feeling ostracized or judged by non-members who do not understand their beliefs or practices. Additionally, some members feel they are not given fair treatment within their own ranks due to religious differences or other factors.

Overall, it is clear that there are serious consequences for being a Mason in Russia due to both legal restrictions and social stigmas associated with the fraternity. Those who choose to join should be aware of these potential risks before doing so.

Are There Any Masonic Lodges Still Operating in Russia?

Masonic lodges have a long and complicated history in Russia. Masons have been present in the country since the 18th century, but their activities have been subject to much controversy and suppression. The Russian Empire was initially tolerant of Freemasonry, but this changed drastically during the 19th century when the government became increasingly hostile towards it. By the beginning of the 20th century, Masonic lodges were banned and membership was punishable by imprisonment or exile.

Despite this dark period in its history, Freemasonry has continued to exist in Russia throughout the years of Soviet rule and afterwards. It is believed that several clandestine Masonic lodges operated during the Soviet era, though these are difficult to verify as their members were often practicing in secret. After 1991, when Russia became an independent state, several new lodges began to form and were officially recognized by Grand Lodges around the world.

Today there are several open Masonic lodges operating in Russia which are recognized by international Grand Lodges such as The United Grand Lodge of England, The Grand Lodge of Scotland, and The Grand Orient de France. These lodges include Moscow’s Lodge “Leo Tolstoy” No. 829 and St. Petersburg’s “Gatchina” No. 733 which both operate under The United Grand Lodge of England; “St Andrew” No. 577 which operates under The Grand Lodge of Scotland; and “St Alexander Nevsky” No 1160 which operates under The Grand Orient de France.

These Masonic lodges now practice freely in modern-day Russia without fear of persecution or prosecution as they once had to endure for centuries before them. They continue to be a source of support for their members while also promoting values such as brotherhood, tolerance, and charity among all people regardless of race or religion – ideals that have long been close to the heart of Freemasonry since its inception many centuries ago.

Ban on Freemasonry Impacted Society in Russia

The ban on Freemasonry in Russia has had a major impact on society. The ban was put in place by the Tsar in 1822 and has been strictly enforced ever since. This has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of Freemasons in Russia, with estimates of fewer than 10,000 members remaining. This represents a major decline from the estimated 1.5 million members prior to the ban.

The impact of this ban is felt throughout Russian society, particularly among those who had been involved with Freemasonry prior to the ban being enacted. The loss of this organization has caused many people to feel isolated and disconnected from their peers and from their own personal history. Many former members find it difficult to make new connections or build relationships without the support of their former membership network.

The lack of Freemasonry also impacts how people view themselves and their place in society. Without an organization that promotes values such as tolerance and understanding, many people struggle to find meaning or purpose in their lives. Furthermore, without a supportive group that provides a sense of belonging, many people find it difficult to make meaningful connections with others, which can lead to feelings of loneliness or depression.

Therefore, the ban has impacted how Russians view organized religion and spiritual beliefs. Without an organization such as Freemasonry that promotes religious tolerance and understanding, there is less support for those who hold non-traditional beliefs or who want to explore alternative forms of spirituality. This can be damaging for individuals who need guidance and support as they explore their spiritual side but are unable to find it outside of traditional religious institutions.

Overall, the ban on Freemasonry has had a significant impact on Russian society by diminishing people’s sense of connection and purpose as well as limiting access to alternative forms of spirituality. The long-term implications for Russians remain unclear but it is clear that this restriction has had a negative effect on many individuals’ lives as well as wider society as a whole.

Last Thoughts

It is clear that Freemasonry is not officially banned in Russia, however, the government has taken steps to limit and regulate the activities of Masonic Lodges. This has had a significant effect on Freemasonry in Russia, with fewer members and lodges than before. The situation is made more difficult by the fact that the Russian government does not recognize any of the international Masonic organizations, and therefore there is no official recognition or support for them.

The situation is also complicated by the fact that Freemasonry has a negative reputation among many people in Russia, due to its association with Tsarist-era secret societies. This means that many people may be skeptical of Freemasonry, making it difficult for lodges to attract new members.

Overall, while Freemasonry is not officially banned in Russia, it has been significantly limited and regulated by the government. This has resulted in fewer members and lodges than before, as well as a lack of official recognition or support from the Russian government.

Despite this, some Masonic Lodges still operate in Russia and continue to provide fellowship and support to their members. These lodges have managed to weather the storm of governmental restrictions and negative public opinion and are determined to continue their work for as long as possible.

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1 thought on “Is Freemasonry Banned In Russia”

  1. Overall, the ban on Freemasonry has had a significant impact on Russian society by diminishing people’s sense of connection and purpose as well as limiting access to alternative forms of spirituality. The long-term implications for Russians remain unclear but it is clear that this restriction has had a negative effect on many individuals’ lives as well as wider society as a whole.

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