Well, I already touched on the topic of Russian knights in this community, but then it was about the membership of Russian noblemen and tsars in a powerful foreign order, and today we will speak about a real knightly order in Russia.
What do men usually want who have a lot of money and power? That's right, even more power, and Matvey Dmitriev-Mamonov was no exception to this rule. A descendant of the ancient family, whose roots went as far as Ryurik himself, and whose father was one of the closest associates of Catherine II, from an early age was ambitious and sought fame.
Matvey Alexandrovich entered the civil service early and, thanks to the patronage, quickly made a career. He had close ties among Russian Freemasonry, published his own poems. In the 1812 year, after the start of the Patriotic War with Napoleon, he formed his own cavalry regiment as part of the Moscow militia at his own expense, and most of the personnel he recruited from his own serfs, being one of the richest landowners in Russia.
It is impossible to say that the twenty-two-year-old general was very fortunate: ambitions were ahead of combat experience, and even the help of more experienced subordinates did not help to avoid common mistakes of novice generals: problems with discipline, supplies disrupted the ambitious plans of a noble young man, his “Mamonov” regiment was nicknamed “Mama” . But all this did not stop the Russian Chevalier - he took part in the Battle of Borodino and in the foreign campaign, and as a result of the campaign, we can say that he completed it successfully.
At the end of the war, Dmitriev-Mamonov returned to social work in masonic organizations. His most loyal comrade becomes another war veteran - Mikhail Orlov. Through the prism of the centuries, we may find strange thoughts and actions of high men of that era, but we need to clearly understand the spirit of the time: after winning the epic battle of that time, everyone was in a state of rising spirit, people were moved by the most liberal hopes, the wind of change was in the air, and many relied on liberal social reforms. In addition, the society embraced the fashion for Russianness, and the French-speaking courtyard first began to express itself in Russian. Dmitriev-Mamonov was an innovator here - this is the first aristocrat who became publicly wearing a Russian dress, he spent much time at home reading historical and philosophical works. The result of all this was the creation of the Order of Russian Knights, an organization that had no analogues then either now.
Gentlemen approached the matter thoroughly, drafted a program of deep reforms of the political system of society, chief among which was the restriction of the power of an absolute monarch, the extrusion of foreigners from political life, the abolition of Poland, the abolition of serfdom, benefits for retired military personnel, the reduction and even abolition of certain taxes, the introduction of military uniforms of the Russian model (implemented under Alexander the Peacemaker), the accession of Norway to Russia (hoo!) and privileges for the oldest cities in Russia.
What motivated these people? Is the thirst for personal power hidden by liberal demagogy or the desire for reform framed by the will to power? Hard to say, I think both motives took place. One way or another, one thing is clear: these were the classic European aristocrats who considered themselves masters, but at the same time Russians were to the core and in love with their Fatherland. Inspired by the success of the Foreign Campaign and the Congress of Vienna, the dreamers and reformers who in their minds carried out the projects of the beautiful Russia of the future. Tempered knights of the great war, who chose the path of noble spirit and enlightenment.
However, these plans were not destined to come true: after the failure of the Decembrist uprising, Dmitriev-Mamonov was declared mentally ill and custody was appointed, and Russia took the path of further strengthening the central government. Kings do not share power with anyone, they only multiply it. But Matvey Alexandrovich, the Grand Master of the Russian Order, has left us an example of a true brotherhood of patriots who are ready to risk everything for their own ideals.
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