In May 1937, the Office for Leningrad and Leningrad Oblast of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) issued a search warrant for Apartment 2 at 9/5 Ulitsa Dekabristov, which was home to Julian Shutsky, his family, and Rimma Nikolaeva. The record of the search listed the materials the NKVD investigators confiscated, including Nikolaeva and Shutsky’s mystical manuscripts, shorthand notes, and books on theosophy, religion, and philosophy that Shutsky had hidden in a pump organ. Confiscated items included a Russian translation of British theosophist Mabel Collins’ book Light on the Path (1914), Nikolai Belotsvetov’s Religion of the Creative Will: Four Lectures on the Culture of the Future given at the Russian Anthroposophical Society in 1915 (1915), and a self-published edition of Rudolf Steiner’s 1912 lecture series On Initiation, Eternity, and the Moment: On Spiritual Light and the Darkness of Life.1

Nikolaeva was arrested and charged with being a member of “the anarcho-mystical terrorist organization Order of the Templars.” She was sentenced to death and executed on September 9, 1937. In August of the same year, Shutsky was arrested and charged with espionage. He was sentenced to ten years in a labor camp without the right to correspondence (a euphemism for the death sentence) and executed in 1938.

Daria Bobrenko

1. This information is from criminal case number П-70808 against Rimma Nikolaeva, which is in the FSB Archive for St. Peterburg and Leningrad Oblast.