Vasilii Biskupskii was born in Kharkov province to a noble family. His father headed the Bogodukhov district nobility. In 1889, Vasily entered the Second Cadet Corps. After graduation, he was immediately enrolled at the Nikolaev Cavalry School in 1895. He became a cornet in the Imperial Guards' Horse Regiment in 1897. He fought in the Russo-Japanese War, going to the front as a volunteer in the 2nd Dagestani Cavalry Regiment of Huseyn Khan Nakhchivanski. After the war, in 1905 he retired with the rank of colonel. He married the renowned mezzo-soprano Anastasia Vyaltseva, whose death in 1913 greatly affected Biskupskii. In the same year, he returned to the Imperial Army and led the 16th Irkutsk Hussar Regiment. The unit fought in World War I. In 1915, Biskupskii became commander of the Emperor Peter the Great's 1st Moscow Life-Dragoon Regiment, and a year later headed up the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry Division. He soon took command of the division with the rank of major general.¹

Biskupskii welcomed the February revolution, but did not accept the October coup, and in January 1918 he disbanded the army in the Donbas area. He made contact with Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskii and was assigned to form the 1st Cavalry Division in Kyiv before being transferred to Odessa. In 1919, Biskupskii negotiated with the German command. After evacuation from Odessa (through Serbia and Czechia), he settled in Berlin.

Starting at the end of 1919 in Berlin, Biskupskii began work to reestablish the monarchy in Russia. He joined the ranks of the supporters of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, for whom he was named an officer for special assignments. He helped organize the First Monarchical Congress in Bad Reichenhall in 1921. He was connected with Vasily Shulgin, General Alexei von Lampe and Captain Garald Graf and enjoyed the support of Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. Until the 1930s, he was the representative of the princely family for political affairs. Biskupsky was involved in the Kapp Putsch in March 1920 and later made contact with German General Erich Ludendorff. Meanwhile, along with Baltendeutsche and former members of the Rubonia student fraternity, Biskupsky founded the Aufbau Vereinigung. On August 26, 1922, in Munich, he attended a secret meeting of the military board of the Supreme Monarchical Council with ROVS representatives, General Pyotr Krasnov, General Yevgenii Miller and Lieutenant General Peter Vladimir von Glasenapp. However, the activities of Biskupskii endangered all emigre organizations subordinate to Pyotr Wrangel. In particular, members of Rubonia and Aufbau joined the Nazi Party and took part in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Biskupsky actually accompanied Hitler during the events at the Feldherrnhalle in Munich. He nearly went to prison because of his ties with the Nazis and paramilitary organizations in Germany. In addition, he tried to establish contact with agents involved in Operation Trust and connect them with Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in 1926. However, after the operation was exposed, in 1927 a conflict broke out between the so-called Union of Russian Royal People (SRGL) and Biskupskii.²

On his initiative, the organization was disbanded in 1928. When the Nazis came to power, Biskupskii remained active in legitimist organizations. In the spring of 1936, he was denounced and arrested on charges of organizing an assassination attempt on Hitler. In July of that year, he was released and appointed head of the Office for Russian Emigration in Berlin (UDRE).³

After the death of the grand duke in 1938, Biskupskii lost his power within emigre organizations. He welcomed the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. From 1942, his department began recruiting Russian emigrants for auxiliary units of the Wehrmacht. In 1944, Biskupskii developed paralysis. On June 18, 1945, he died in Munich.⁴
Vasilii Viktorovich Biskupskii (1878-1945)

Vasilii Viktorovich Biskupskii

[1] Chronos. ‘Vasiliy Viktorovich Biskupskiy’. Chronos, 2021.

[2] Seregin, Aleksandr. ‘General V. V. Biskupskiy v Dvizhenii Monarkhistov-Legitimistov’. ISOM 9, no. 1–1 (2017): 79–88. doi:10.17748/2075-9908-2017-9-1/1-79-88.

[3] Semonov, Konstantin. ‘Berlinskiy Uzel ROVSa (1920—1945)’. Yezhegodnik Doma Russkogo Zarubezh’ya Imeni Aleksandra Solzhenitsyna, 2012, 17–47.

[4] Seregin, Aleksandr. ‘General V. V. Biskupskiy v Dvizhenii Monarkhistov-Legitimistov’. ISOM 9, no. 1–1 (2017): 79–88. doi:10.17748/2075-9908-2017-9-1/1-79-88.

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