Anastase Andreivitch Vonsiatsky
|Born||June 12, 1898|
Warsaw, Russian Empire
|Died||February 5, 1965 (aged 66)|
St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
Marion Buckingham Ream
|Children||Andre Anastase Vonsiatsky|
|Residence||Quinnatisset Farm, Putnam, Connecticut, U.S.|
Anastasy Andreyevich Vonsyatsky (Russian: Анаста́сий Андре́евич Вонся́цкий, Polish: Anastazy Wąsiacki; June 12, 1898 – February 5, 1965), better known in the United States as Anastase Andreivitch Vonsiatsky, was a Russian anti-Bolshevik émigré and fascist leader based in the United States from the 1920s.
He became a naturalized American citizen while leading a splinter far-right organization, the Russian National Revolutionary Labor and Workers Peasant Party of Fascists. The headquarters of the RFO were based in Putnam, Connecticut. Vonsyatsky was charged with the support of secret contacts with agents of Nazi Germany and arrested by the FBI in 1942, following the United States' entry into war with Germany and Japan. Released early from prison in 1946, Vonsyatsky lived out the remainder of his life in the United States. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1965.
Anastasy Andreyevich Vonsyatsky was born in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire). His family, though Polish in origin, was known for its long devotion to the Russian czars; one of Vonsyatsky's paternal great-grandfather had been handed a titled estate from the Romanovs. His father, Andrei Nikolaevich, was an army officer assassinated at a Radom office of the Imperial Gendarmes by a Polish revolutionary in 1910. His mother was Nina Anastasievna Plyuschevskaya.
Vonsyatsky embarked upon a military career in the Imperial Russian Army during the reign of Nicholas II. After the revolutionary events of October 1917, which brought the Leninist Bolsheviks to power and climaxed in the protracted Russian Civil War of 1917-1923, Vonsyatsky, newly admitted to St. Petersburg as a military cadet, took part in the anti-Bolshevik opposition and served in the counter-revolutionary White movement, first seeing action against the Red Army at Rostov. Leaving the White Army's stronghold in the Crimean Peninsula with the departing forces of General Wrangel, he was evacuated to western Europe in 1920.
Traveling through Constantinople and France, Vonsyatsky arrived in the United States in 1922. In March 1930, Vonsyatsky was given an American reserve officer's commission and appointed a first lieutenant of the United States Army Reserve; the military commission would eventually expire in 1935.
Forming political connections within the émigré circles after establishing himself outside Russia, Vonsyatsky was, at one point in the interwar period, a leader of the Russian Fascist Organization, an initially independent movement that later became closely associated with the Manchuria-based Russian Fascist Party (RFP). Vonsyatsky split from the RFP in 1933. On March 10, 1933, he founded the Russian National Revolutionary Labor and Workers Peasant Party of Fascists (also referred to as the All Russian National Revolutionary Party, or the All-Russian National Revolution Toilers and Worker Peasants Fascist Party (VRO)), another anti-Soviet and anti-communist organization. The headquarters were established at the Vonsyatsky estate in Connecticut and published a newspaper called Fashist.
Despite earlier publications supplemented by photographs of German soldiers beneath such titles as "The Army of the Holy Swastika" and continuing collaboration with the German-American Bund elements during World War II, in public appeals amid the growing anti-German sentiment of the early 1940s, Vonsyatsky's addresses to his target audience struck a different tone. Among other statements, Vonsyatsky wrote:
Fascisms are different. The German, Italian, and Russian Fascisms are different in many respects. The Russian Fascist Party is just a united movement of Russians against Communism, and Fascism is the only political society on the earth at the present time that can wipe out Communism. Force is the only thing that can knock it down.
In 1934, Vonsyatsky's organization merged with the Russian Fascist Party, another fascist political organization led by Konstantin Rodzaevsky and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. However, they soon parted ways.
In summer 1940, Vonsyatsky's publications declared the following:
The Russian National Revolutionary Party, of which I am the leader, does not support either Germany's or Japan's ambition for hegemony in Europe or the Far East. The Germans and the Japanese have never made clear their attitude toward a replacement of the present Stalinist rule by a Russian National Government. The sole aim of our organization is to return Russia to a free people with a government elected by the people, of the people and for the people. Our intention is to form in Russia a truly DEMOCRATIC government. Our Party is not anti-Semitic. Our Party has no membership dues; it is financed solely by voluntary contributions from its members and sympathizers. It is not subsidized by any FOREIGN POWER or foreign individuals. Our organization is BANNED in Germany and Japan. Only in the United States can we enjoy freedom of action and thought within the laws of the country. I HEREWITH STATE EMPHATICALLY THAT THE ACTIVITIES OF OUR ORGANIZATION ARE AGAINST THE PRESENT SOVIET GOVERNMENT ALONE AND THAT IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER DOES IT ACT AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR VIOLATE ITS LAWS WHICH WE LOYALLY SUPPORT. ANASTASE A. VONSIATSKY. Thompson, Conn. July 4, 1940
Vonsyatsky became a subject of FBI investigation and was indicted in 1942 for connections with proxies for German interests, including key participants in the pro-Nazi German-American Bund, whose leader, Fritz Kuhn, had previously been assisted by Vonsyatsky's bail money in 1939. Among other contacts was the American Hitler admirer and anti-semite William Dudley Pelley was also found. Indicted for conspiring to assist Hitler's Germany in violation of the Espionage Act alongside fellow conspirators Wilhelm Kunze, Dr. Otto Willumeit, Dr. Wolfgang Ebell, and Reverend Kurt E. B. Molzahn, Vonsyatsky submitted a guilty plea after first protestations of innocence, and was convicted under the 1917 Espionage Act by a jury chaired by Thomas J. Dodd in Hartford, Connecticut on June 22, 1942. He was jailed at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. Despite the official prison sentence of five years and a fine of $5000, he was released on February 26, 1946, his sentence effectively having been cut short to the three and a half years in prison already served.
After his release from prison, Vonsyatsky moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he wrote articles in Russian newspapers and journals. He authored a book entitled Rasplata (Retribution) about World War II, where "he accused the Japanese government, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his personal nemesis, Thomas J. Dodd, of hampering the anti-Soviet cause". Meanwhile, Vonsyatsky dedicated the Tsar Nicholas II Museum in St Petersburg, Florida.
Vonsyatsky was married twice. He first married Lyuba Murmosky in Ukraine in the 1920s.
On February 4, 1922, Vonsyatsky married Marion Buckingham Ream, the daughter of businessman Norman B. Ream, and a multi-millionaire heiress by the time they married. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in the Superior Court of Windham County, Putnam, Connecticut, on September 30, 1927, after his second wife appealed to Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes. Accused of bigamy by his first wife, the US federal government and the Russian Orthodox Church declared his first marriage to be void. The Vonsyatskys resided at Quinnatisset Farm in Putnam, Connecticut.
Vonsyatsky separated from Ream and started a romantic relationship with Edith Priscilla Royster in 1948. By July 1950, Vonsyatsky and Royster had a son together, Andre Anastase Vonsiatsky. However, Ream continued to take care of Vonsyatsky and his son financially.
Many of the documents of Vonsyatsky were stored in the archives of the Hoover Institution in California, in the collection of Professor John Stephan, author of The Russian Fascists: Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925-1945, and Providence College, Phillips Memorial Library.