Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky, Дмитрий Сергеевич Мережковский (August 14, 1865, St Petersburg-December 9, 1941, Paris) was one of the earliest and most eminent ideologues of Russian Symbolism. His wife Zinaida Gippius, a poet like him, ran a fashionable salon in St. Petersburg. Both he and his wife were freemasons.
In 1888 he met his wife, Zinaida Gippius, in Borjomi in the Caucausus. They married the following January and settled in St. Petersburg. He and his wife supported themselves modestly through their writing, and their salon would later become a centre of the Silver Age of Russian poetry. Merezhkovsky is credited with first articulating the basic tenets of Russian Symbolism with his essay On the Causes of the Decline and on the New Trends in Contemporary Russian Literature (1893).
After 1900 he and Zinaida, along with Dmitry Filosofov and Vasily Rozanov, were promoting a new religious consciousness through the group Bogoiskateli, or God-seekers. This group of "spiritual Christians" regularly met with representatives of the Othodox Church until 1903 when these encounters were banned by the notorious Konstantin Pobedonostsev, procurator of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church . In 1901 they founded The Religious-Philosophical Society which published Novyi put ("New Path") as its mouth piece. They lost a large portion of the readership following Pobedonostsev's ban. In 1904, publication of Novyi put was interrupted, as they departed on a trip across Russia, extending beyond the Volga river and meeting representatives of various mystical sects, with many of whom Merezhkovsky kept in touch.
Between 1894 and 1905 Merezhkovsky wrote a trilogy of historical novels entitled The Death of the Gods (1894, on Julian the Apostate), The Resurrection of the Gods (Russian) and The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci (English and French) (1896; being considered Volume II of Christ and Anti-Christ) and Peter and Alexis (1902) about Peter the Great and Tsarevich Alexis. Whilst providing a platform for the author's historical erudition, it invited scathing criticism from the underground magazine Osvobozhdenie:
While an erstwhile editor of Novyi put, Georgy Chulkov, turned to editing Nikolai Ryabushinsky's Zolotoe runo, Aleksandr Blok published his critique of Merezhkovsky's "psychological extremism" in this journal. Merezhkovsky no longer submitted material for Chulkov's journal, which more and more became identified as a mouthpiece for Chulkov's Mystical Anarchism, which had been based to some extent upon his metaphysical views.
Later books of Merezhkovsky include Emperor Paul (1908), Alexander I of Russia (1911), and the Decembrists (1918). His views on the philosophy of history were expounded in Christ and Antichrist (1895-1905) and The Kingdom of Antichrist (1922). Among his critical works, a study on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (1902), is best known.
After the October Revolution, Merezhkovsky again fled to Paris, where he ruthlessly attacked Bolshevism. With his wife he joined the Social Revolutionary Boris Savinkov in Poland as he headed an army of 20,000-30,000 Russians (largely POWs) for a march on Moscow. Merezhkovsky proclaimed that Marshall Josef Pilsudski was fulfilling a messianic mission to free Russia. He was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but his alleged support for Hitler prevented him from winning the award.