September 01, 2019

Scout's Honor

Scout's Honor
A Russian Scout troop of unknown affiliatin in 1918, in an orphanage. The flag reads: К борьбе за рабочее дело будь готов (Be prepared for the struggle for the workers’ cause).

In late 1910, a renowned Englishman, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, came to Russia to have a look around. Yet this was no ordinary sightseeing trip, and Baden-Powell was no ordinary tourist.

His invitation had come from Tsar Nicholas II, whose affinity for all things English included a deep admiration for his guest. The author of a popular book, Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell was the founder of the international Scouting movement, which had taken root in Russia with the formation of a troop in Pavlovsk in 1909, one year prior. In stops at St. Petersburg and Moscow, the tsar’s English guest checked out the extent to which his ideas were being cultivated in Russia, where his recently translated book had been very well received.

In fact, Nicholas was such a fan of the Scouting concept that his son and heir, Tsarevich Alexei, became one of Russia’s earliest Scouts. Artists of the present century have even made icons depicting Alexei dressed in a Scout uniform and neckerchief, and holding an Orthodox cross. Indeed, the tsarevich is so revered as a martyr that he is referred to as “the august Scout,” and is first on the list of persons mentioned in the Day of the Faithful ceremony to recognize Russian Scouts’ fallen predecessors.

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