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Pushkin and the tsar’s cryptographer

Pushkin and the tsar’s cryptograph
Was Pushkin a cryptographer?

There are 29 duels on Alexander Pushkin’s account. It is common knowledge that the poet was a good shot and could shoot a bullet at a distance of 20 steps. But
he didn’t wound anybody in the duels and seldom shot first, like in his last duel with D’Anthes. It was a strange duel. At first it was settled that the duel would be a light on, but its terms changed during the night before it. Two hours before the duel the foster father of D’Anthes baron Louise Hekkeren leant that the distance was only 10 steps and the duelists had to shoot again in case non of them is killed after the first shot.

Alexander Pushkin insisted on those terms through his seconds. There was still another chance for the duel not to become fatal. Both duelists could shoot simultaneously by the second’s sign. The distance between the duelists could be twice as much and gave Pushkin, a wonderful gunner, a chance to be the first to shoot his offender. Duel codex was very severe. D’Anthes had no right to shoot first into the air. Only the second duelist could do that. Pushkin started to approach the barrier after the second had given the sign. He was waiting for D’Anthes to shoot and seemed to be sure he was safe! Who or what made him think so? Not everyone can remain calm at gun point!

Alexander Pushkin shot and saw D’Anthes fall. He exclaimed: “Bravo!” if he didn’t shoot they could consider him to be a coward or a weak-willed man. Probably Alexander Pushkin believed he wouldn’t be killed. He was told that D’Anthes had been slightly wounded. Pushkin said: “Strange! I thought I would enjoy killing him, but I don’t. Never mind. We’ll start again as soon as we recover».

There are lots of unsolved mysteries about the life of the great Russian poet. Some of them may be revealed if we study the life of Pushkin’s big friend baron P.L. Shilling von Canstadt. He was the chief of the department of the Russian foreign ministry, responsible for the development of ciphers for the most important information in Russia.

He was one of the moist mysterious people in Russia. The Corresponding Member of the Academy of Science, he had a unique collection – 9000 volumes - of the rarest Tibetan and Buddhist books. Mongolian Buddhists considered him to be the incarnation of one of divinities. Maybe Shilling von Canstadt taught Pushkin to stay calm during duels and convinced him he was invulnerable. Anyway P.L. Shilling von Canstadt taught Pushkin to fight on sables and to shoot a gun accurately. Maybe even Pushkin’s success with women was also the result of Shilling von Canstadt’s influence.

Where did Shilling von Canstadt get that broad and sometimes secret knowledge? He was a member of the secret Order of Rosenkreutz. Probably that was why there were so many symbolic images in Pushkin’s poems. Rosenkreutz Order members used cryptography and steganography in their literary works to conceal their real meaning.

Shilling von Canstadt was fond of the treatise written by the famous Indian mystic Abhinavagupta. He is the author of a genius doctrine about the influence of the human voice on the human vital energy, the so-called “living glamour”, which can provoke the flame of passion in a human being. Probably Alexander Pushkin received that knowledge from Shilling von Canstadt. He was not a very attractive man but his passionate speeches helped him to conquer the hearts of the society beauties.

It may be a coincidence that Shilling von Canstadt died the same year as Alexander Pushkin, though he wasn’t an elderly person then.

There are three pictures of Shilling von Canstadt above. The first and the second were drawn by Alexander Pushkin. The third one belongs to the hand of an unknown artist. Perhaps you will see the similarity between the image of Shilling von Canstadt in Pushkin’s drawing, in the picture of an unknown artist and in Pushkin’s picture, where he drew a man in a hat with a saber fighting with him. I suppose it one and the same man in all the pictures.

You will find new interesting details about Shilling von Canstadt in the continuation of the story “Vitte and German orders”. You will learn about Shilling von Canstadt’s researches, which made S.Y. Vitte choose the route for the Chinese Eastern Railway.

© 2011 All rights reserved. Klepov A.V.