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Matvei Golovinski

Matvei Golovinski

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Matvei Vasilyevich Golovinski (alternatively Mathieu; ; 1865–1920) was a Russian-French writer, journalist and political activist. Critics studying the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have argued that he was the author of the work. This claim is reinforced by the writings of modern Russian historian Mikhail Lepekhine, who in 1999 studied previously closed French archives stored in Moscow containing information supporting Golovinski's authorship. Back in the mid 1930s
File:1930s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Dorothea Lange's photo of the homeless Florence Thompson show the effects of the Great Depression; Due to the economic collapse, the farms become dry and the Dust Bowl spreads through America; The Battle of Wuhan during the Second Sino-Japanese...

, Russian testimony in the Berne Trial had linked the head of Russian security service in Paris, Pyotr Rachkovsky
Pyotr Rachkovsky
Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky was chief of Okhrana, the secret service in Imperial Russia. He was based in Paris from March 1885 to November 1902.-Activities in 1880s-1890s:...

, to the creation of the Protocols.


Matvei Golovinski was born into an aristocrat
Aristocracy (class)
The aristocracy are people considered to be in the highest social class in a society which has or once had a political system of Aristocracy. Aristocrats possess hereditary titles granted by a monarch, which once granted them feudal or legal privileges, or deriving, as in Ancient Greece and India,...

ic family in the village of Ivashevka (Ивашевка), Simbirsk guberniya
A guberniya was a major administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire usually translated as government, governorate, or province. Such administrative division was preserved for sometime upon the collapse of the empire in 1917. A guberniya was ruled by a governor , a word borrowed from Latin ,...

. His father, Vasili Golovinski (Василий Головинский) was a friend of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Both were members of the Petrashevsky Circle
Petrashevsky Circle
The Petrashevsky Circle was a Russian literary discussion group of progressive-minded commoner-intellectuals in St. Petersburg organized by Mikhail Petrashevsky, a follower of the French utopian socialist Charles Fourier. Among the members were writers, teachers, students, minor government...

, sentenced to the capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 as conspirators and both were pardoned later. Vasili Golovinski died in 1875 and Matvei Golovinski was reared by his mother and the French nanny.

While studying jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

, Golovinski joined an anti-Semitic counter-revolutionary group Holy Brotherhood ("Святое Братство"). Upon graduation, he worked for the Okhrana, secretly arranging pro-government coverage in the press. Golovinski's career almost collapsed and he had to leave the country after his activities were publicly exposed by Maxim Gorky
Maxim Gorky
Alexei Maximovich Peshkov , primarily known as Maxim Gorky , was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.-Early years:...

. In France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, he wrote and published articles on assignments of the Chief of Russian secret service in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Pyotr Rachkovsky
Pyotr Rachkovsky
Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky was chief of Okhrana, the secret service in Imperial Russia. He was based in Paris from March 1885 to November 1902.-Activities in 1880s-1890s:...


After the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 of 1917, Golovinsky switched sides and worked for the Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s until his death in 1920.

Authorship of the Protocols

On November 19, 1999, Patrick Bishop reported from Paris:

Research by a leading Russian historian, Mikhail Lepekhine, in recently opened archives has found the forgery to be the work of Mathieu Golovinski, opportunistic scion of an aristocratic but rebellious family that drifted into a life of espionage and propaganda work. After working for the czarist secret service, he later changed sides and joined the Bolsheviks. Mr. Lepekhine’s findings, published in the French magazine L'Express
L'Express (France)
L'Express is a French weekly news magazine. When founded in 1953 during the First Indochina War, it was modelled on the US magazine TIME.-History:...

, would appear to clear up the last remaining mystery surrounding the Protocols.

In his 2001 book The Question of the Authorship of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a Ukrainian scholar Vadim Skuratovsky offers a scrupulous and extensive literary, historical and linguistic analysis of the original Russian language
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 text of the Protocols. Skuratovsky provides evidence that Charles Joly, a son of Maurice Joly
Maurice Joly
Maurice Joly was a French satirist and lawyer known for his work titled The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, later used as a basis for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.-Life:...

 (on whose writings the Protocols are based), visited Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 in 1902 and that Golovinsky and Charles Joly worked together at Le Figaro
Le Figaro
Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is one of three French newspapers of record, with Le Monde and Libération, and is the oldest newspaper in France. It is also the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, but...

in Paris. Skuratovsky also traces the influences of Dostoyevsky's prose (in particular, The Grand Inquisitor
The Grand Inquisitor
The Grand Inquisitor is a parable told by Ivan to Alyosha in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov . Ivan and Alyosha are brothers; Ivan questions the possibility of a personal, benevolent God and Alyosha is a novice monk....

and The Possessed) on Golovinsky's writings, including The Protocols.

In his book The Non-Existent Manuscript. A Study of the Protocols of the Sages of Zion, Italian researcher Cesare De Michelis writes that hypothesis of Golovinski authorship was based on statement by Princess Catherine Radziwill
Catherine Radziwill
Princess Catherine Radziwiłł was a Polish princess from the Polish-Lithuanian aristocratic Radziwiłł family. She was born as Countess Ekaterina Adamovna Rzewuska. She married Prince Wilhelm Radziwiłł at age 15 and moved to Berlin to live with his family...

, who claimed that she had seen manuscript of the Protocols written by Golovinsky, Rachkovsky
Pyotr Rachkovsky
Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky was chief of Okhrana, the secret service in Imperial Russia. He was based in Paris from March 1885 to November 1902.-Activities in 1880s-1890s:...

 and Manusevich in 1905, but in 1905 Golovinsky and Rachkovsky had already left Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and moved to Saint-Petersburg. Princess Radziwill was known to be an unreliable source.

Golovinski had been linked to the work before; the German writer Konrad Heiden
Konrad Heiden
Konrad Heiden was an influential journalist and historian of the Weimar Republic and Nazi eras, most noted for the first influential biographies of German dictator Adolf Hitler. Often, he wrote under the pseudonym "Klaus Bredow."Heiden was born in Munich, Germany, on 7 August 1901, and graduated...

 identified him as an author of the Protocols in 1944.

Golovinski's books (published under the pen-name of Doctor Faust)

  • From a Writer's Notebook. M. M. Levin edition. Moscow, 1910. [Belles-lettres and autobiographical prose]
  • The Black Book of German Atrocities. Saint Peterburg, 1914.
  • An Experience of Criticism of Bourgeois Morals. A. Karelin's translation from French. With a preface by the author. 1919. (The supposed 1910 French original has not been discovered.)
  • Conversations with My Grandfather about Typhus. Published by V.M. Bonch-Bruevich (Velichkinoj).

External links