ORGANISATION OF RUSSIAN SCOUTS
History and Traditions
National Organisation of Russian Scouts was founded in
1909 following the visit of Lord Baden Powell to Russia.
Tsar Nicholas II commissioned Colonel Oleg Pantuhoff to
start Russian Scouting, and the first troop was formed at
Tsarskoe Selo, St. Petersburg in 1909. The Tsarevitch
Alexei was the first Scout. The first Russian Scout
campfire was lit in the woods of Tsarskoe Selo, in
Pavlosk Park, to be exact. A beautiful Russian scout song
exists to remember this event. It is rare and almost
unknown in modern day Russia.
|Palace of Catherine the Great
at Tsarskoe Selo
the city where Russian Scouting was established
by Tsar Nicholas II
First Russian Scout
Chief Russian Scout
|Pavlovsk Park, site of the
first Russian Scout campfire.
of Russian Scouting, Revolution and Exile
National Organisation of Russian Scouts spread rapidly
across Russia and into Siberia.
advent of Communism, after the Russian Revolution, the
Scout Organisation was banned and there was a purge of
the Scout Leaders, many of whom perished under the cruel
hand of the Bolsheviks. The National Organisation of
Russian Scouts then went into exile to almost every
continent of the world.
groups could be found in almost every country, the
movement spreading in a two pronged direction along with
the White Russian emigres. One wave moved through Europe,
establishing groups in France, Serbia, Bulgaria,and other
European countries. A much larger mass moved through
Vladivostok to the east into Manchuria and south into
China where very large groups of thousands of Russian
Scouts came into being in cities such as Harbin, Tientsin
Chief Scout of Russia, Colonel Oleg Pantuhoff first
resided in France and then moved to the USA where large
troops of the National Organisation of Russian Scouts
were established in cities such as San Francisco (Gerie
Street), Burlingame, Los Angeles etc. He returned to
Nice, France where he passed away at a very mature age.
Other troops worked in Argentina,Chile & Paraguay.
Communism reached China in 1949, the Russian Scout troops
of Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies and Rovers emigrated
interesting historical sidelight which is almost unknown
to the international scout brotherhood, is that during
this time tens of thousands of White Russian emigres,
along with Russian Scouts, were repatriated from Shanghai
through the kindness of the United States and the
refugees were literally dumped on a remote island
(Tobabao) near south Samar and near the landing place of
General MacArthur. Due to the urgency of further
evacuations, the Russian refugees were given tents, bully
beef tins of food (many bloated & toxic) and left to
fend for themselves in the jungles.
the National Organisation of Russian Scouts that came to
the rescue of the unfortunate refugees, many of whom were
professionals and had no idea of how to erect a tent, let
alone survive in such an enervating environment.
tent city was built by the scouts. Abandoned war
equipment such as generators, pumps and jeeps were
salvaged by the scouts from nearby islands and the colony
lived on with the help then of the United Nations.
National Organisation of Russian Scouts comprised over
1500 members with famous Scoutmasters such as Alex
Kniaseff (later to be Chief Russian Scout) Michael
Plehanoff and Oleg Livitsky, leading a * DAILY * life of
the numerous troops along with with their respective
Philippines National Organisation of Russian Scouts moved
to Australia and also joined compatriots waiting in USA.
The first troop in Australia was formed in 1949 and grew
rapidly into many troops.
camps numbered 250 participants of both genders and to
this day NORS in Australia is very strong and is in the
process in assisting in the rebirth of scouting in
interesting to note that during the Stalinist era, the
dictator recognised the worth of the scout system and
created the Pioneers and Komsomol Youth League and even
adopted the motto "BE PREPARED." Of course God
was removed being replaced by Lenin and the communist
began to re-emerge in Russia in 1991, with various
factions competing for recognition. Some former pioneer
leaders and civilians who wished to form scout groups for
whatever reasons (hopefully scouting ideals) belong to
the FSR. Church influence can be seen in the Orthodox
Scouts who received assistance from National Organisation
of Russian Scouts in France & Australia. There is
also ORUR, an emigre group which came into being in 1946.
They have now moved their headquarters from New York to
Moscow and are negotiating with the FSR (the Federation
of Scouts of Russia).
assisting in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ukraine and
French branch of NORS, headed by Senior Scout Master
Alexei Rutschowsky, is continually travelling to Russia
and receiving contingents from Russia – the latest one of
of 120 scout from St Petersburg due to arrive in Paris in
May 1996 for investiture as the National Organisation of
Russian Scouts, and to learn the historical basis of
Russian Scouting. I understand they have started a
Historical Scout Centre in St. Petersburg, much of the
material provided by the National Organisation of Russian
scouts in France and in Australia.
international community in conjunction with WOSM has made
great inroads into Russia with many activities taking
place. Eventually it is hoped that Russian Scouting will
come under the one National banner.
of the National Organization of Russian Scouts
emblem of the National Organization of Russian Scouts is
the original emblem of Russian Scouting as formed in
Saint Petersburg in 1909 by Colonel Oleg Pantuhoff. It
went into exile with the Scouts after the Revolution. It
continues in use by the National Organization of Russian
Scouts outside Russia. The emblem depicts Saint George
slaying the dragon superimposed on the traditional
fleur-de-lis of Scouting. Saint George is the patron
saint of Russia and appeared on the Imperial Arms on a
shield supported by the double-headed eagle. Another representation of the NORS Emblem is found at the
top of this page. It is adapted from a hand-carved wooden
shield in use by Scouts of NORS in Australia.
Arms of Moscow
Arms of Russia
with the shield of Saint George
||The Arms of Moscow
slaying the Dragon
Arms of Imperial Russia
with the shield of Saint George
and the cross of Saint Andrew
double-headed Eagle has served as the Russian Coat of
Arms since 15th century, when it was borrowed by Tsar
Ivan the III from the Byzantine Empire. The original
color was black, as one can still see on the flag of
Albania. With the expansion of the Russian Empire, the
Eagle was decorated with shields of conquered countries
and regions. These arms were banned after the Revolution
Russian Duma (Parliament) restored the double-headed
eagle as the official Arms of Russia. The shield of
St.George the Victor has served as the Arms of the City
of Moscow without interruption since the 14th century.
This shield is superimposed on the double-headed eagle as
a symbol of the Russian capital.
|NORS Guides Emblem
Russian Guides were founded by Colonel Pantuhoff’s wife,
Irina. Their symbol represents the white wildflowers that
appear first after the winter’s thaw. In Russian they are
called "Podsnishnik." This means "from
under the snow." White symbolizes the Guide’s
purity. The motto in the center is "Be
Prepared;" on the sides – Remember Russia. The
fleur-de-lys of the NORS emblem is used by both Scouts
George and Scouting
George is a popular figure in chivalry and heraldry. He
is the patron saint of England and, as B-P says in Scouting
for Boys: "He is also the Patron Saint of Boy
Scouts everywhere. Therefore, all Scouts should know his
story." For more about St. George see Saint George,
Patron Saint of Scouting.
If you are interested in the work of the
National Organization of Russian Scouts,
please write to: Nikita Gileff,Chief
Scout of NORS, Australia at:
Links to the History of
the National Organization of Russian Scouts
of the National Organization of Russian Scouts.
Includes Links to Russian Scouting.
Russia, 1909-1922. Some rare pictures of
Scouting in Russia before the Revolution,
including pictures of the First Chief Russian
Scout, Colonel Oleg Pantuhoff.
China, 1922-1949. Many Russians moved
east to Siberia and Northern China during the
Civil War between the Reds and the Whites from
1917 to 1922. A large number settled in China
where they maintained the traditions of Russian
Scouting. NORS was recognized by the World
Organization from 1928 to 1945 as a Scouting
organization "in exile."
the Philippines and France, 1949-1950. With
the Communist takeover in China, most Westerners
left the country. Many Russians were evacuated to
the Philippines and brought Scouting with them.
Also, Russian Scouting continued in France,
America and other countries with large Russian
Australia, 1949-1996. A large
number of Russians moved to Australia from the
Philippines and China. NORS continues active in
the Russian community in Australia to the present
Australia: Summer Camp, 2001. Photographs from 2001.
Australia: Summer Camp, 2002. Photographs from 2002.
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