English. Русский.

Brief History of NORS


In 1908 Baden Powell published ‘Scouting for Boys’ in England.  When this book was read to Nicholas II, he was so impressed that he gave instructions for it to be translated into Russian with the aim of assisting the Poteshnei movement, which was  begun in 1908 by A.A. Lutskevich.
Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhoff read an article by Mikhail O Menshekov, a reporter for ‘The New Time’, who gave an excellent review of the book and so he purchased the book.  This book reminded him of the time when he was a cadet in Teflisi, Georgia, and was involved in positive camping experiences where he grew to love the outdoors, hiking, nature and the camp fire atmosphere. This enhanced his national pride and the love of God.  At that time there was a wide feeling of demoralization among  Russian youth, having just lost the war to Japan.  Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhoff realized that scouting would be a great way to restore national pride and morale, and also provide an organizational structure.  In 1909 he established the first patrol called ‘Beavers’ in Tsarskoe Selo, in the environs of  St Petersburg, Russia.


In 1910-1911 Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhoff published his  book, ‘ Young Scout’ , ( Pametki Younogo Razvetcheka) based on Baden Powell’s  book  ‘Scouting for Boys.” The popularity of the book grew rapidly throughout Russia.


In 1915 Doctor A.K.Anuhin published a book in Kiev,  ‘Sputnik Unoga Razvetcheka’ ( Sputnik of Young Scouts). This book was in great demand in the Ministerial School and as a result of its content, at the end of 1915, the  1st Kiev Druzhina was formed. This  Druzhina included for the first time a troop of girl guides under L.D.Prohorova.

In 1914 Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhoff was sent to the front and in his absence he left his troop in charge to the school director of Tsarskoe Selo, Arast Platonovich Tsetovech.


In 1915 Tsetovech enthusiastically recruited Grand Duke (Veliki Kniaz) Georgi Konstantinovich and later Tsarevitch Alexei as an honorary scout.


In 1919 at a scout’s conference in Novocherkassk, south of Russia, Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhuff was elected Chief  Russian  Scout. In 1920 in Constantinople he   was confirmed as the Chief Russian Scout of N.O.R.S. for life.
1st.September, 1922 0leg Ivanovich Pantuhoff, his wife Nina, and  two children Oleg and Igor departed the shores of Constantinople and landed 10thOctober 1922 in New York,  America.

On his arrival in New York Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhuff wrote a temporary Ustav for All Russia National Organization Russian Scouts (V.N.O.R.S.) and approved by prikaz No.146 on 23rd November 1924.

 V.N.O.R.S. became a member of the Boy Scout International Bureau in London, for boy’s scouts only.
Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhuff paid membership from his personal account. There was no central committee formed.
Under pressure from Boy Scout International Bureau to form a Girl Guide as separate identity and in January 1929, prikaz No.224  from Chief Russian Scout Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhuff appointed  his wife Nina Mihailovna as  Chief of Girls Guide and the snow drop Girl Guide badge was established.

In 1930 prtikaz No. 5 from Chief Russian Guides Nina M. Pantuhuff announced Saint Olga will be Girl Guide patron Saint.

A new Ustav was written by Scm. A.Shaternik  and approved by Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhuff in 17 August,1934 and new name was formed National Organization Russian Scouts-Razvedchiki (N.O.R.S.-R..)


24 th July 1964 a new ustav was written by the Central committee in San Francisco , and the new name ‘National Organization Russian Scouts’ (N.O.R.S.)  was distributed to all National Heads for approval and amendments. This  ustav was never amended or approved .

In 1944 Chief Russian Guides Nina M.Pantuhuff  died.

With the advent of communism, after the Russian Revolution, the Scout Organization was banned  and there was a purge of Scout Leaders, many of whom perished under the cruel hand of the Bolsheviks. The National Organization of Scouts then went into exile to almost every continent of the world.

Large groups could be found in almost every country, the movement spreading in two pronged directions together with White Russian émigrés. One wave moved through Europe, establishing movements in France, England, Finland, Greece, Serbia, Brazil and all the Baltic countries. The other wave moved through Vladivostok to the east into Manchuria and south into China where large groups of Russian Scouts grew in  cities such Harbin, Tientsin, Shanghai and  Beijing.


The first steps of N.O.R.S. in Australia were made in Bathurst Migrant Centre in October 1949 when Asst. Scoutmaster A. Konovets took a group of scouts, newly arrived from Philippines, on a trek to a nearby hill.

They raised the national Russian tri-colour flag, proclaiming the beginning of N.O.R.S in Australia. During the 1950s  a large group of   scout leaders arrived from China and the Philipines:
Scm. M. Plehanoff, Asst. Scm M. Nikolaiev, Asst. Scm. Konovets, Scm. P. Sokolov,  Scm. V.Mercier, Scm. B. Mercier, Asst. Scm. P.Logounov, Asst. Scm. D. Kobeleff, Asst. Scm. A Famin, Asst. Scm. A. Famina, Scm. E. Kazarinova,
Scm. Z. Peniaeva, Scm. I. Rezayeva, Scm. M. Skornikova. Scm.V. Maxwell.
From Europe: Scm. M. Aleksieva, Asst.Scm. N. Lobodovskaya, Scm. N. Gorohovnikov, Asst. Scm . G. Kant, Scm.N.N. Mesiakov.


In 1953 the  first  Saint Olga’s troop was formed  under Scm. M.Plehanov and Asst. Scm.Konavets in Sydney, and consisted of patrols: Eagle and Sokol for the scouts; Black Swan and Swallows for the guides under Asst. Scm. N. Lobodovskaya and three nests of Cubs and Brownies.
When Scm. M. Alekseiva (Akela)  joined, she became the  Cubs and Brownie's leader.
Senior scout G. Kant was troop leader and later become Asst. Scm. Master. The first camp was called  ‘Russia’ and  held in the same year at Lilyvale in the Royal National Park.

 The scout troops were from the early beginning closely linked with the Russian Club, when the club was still located in the centre of George Street in the city.


At the end of 1953 with the completion of construction of the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral at Strathfield, N.O.R.S. scouts were invited to hold meetings in an old garage on the property.


From 1956 Scm. I.Rezayeva edited a journal ‘Iskry Kostra’ ( 'Sparks from the Campfire'). Later this task was undertaken by Scm. N.Gorohovnikov.

It was a very difficult time for the leaders who had just arrived in a  new country. Not only did they have to establish their own personal lives but also  the  scouting movement. Their success was due to their dedication, belief and love of scouting, and the support and assistance of  many committed  parents, such as Natalia Dimitrevna Kravtsevich,  mother of one of the  guides who sewed  all the  hats, ties, badges , uniforms, and was also the  camp cook for many years. She was lovingly called ‘Kookie’. 

The next milestone in scouting was on 21 March 1954.  This was a  Scout meeting in  Surry Hills, Sydney at the Estonian House. In attendance were Czech, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian scout leaders and the Iron Curtain Countries Scouts Association (I.C.C.S.A.) was formed.
In July 1954 N.O.R.S. joined the I.C.C.S.A.


On 9 October 1957 the Australian Association of Scouts in Exile (A.A.S.E.) was formed and Scm. M. Nikoliaev was elected president.( Russian)


From 1961 to 1964 the Vice-President was Asst. Scm. V. Ivantsoff.( Russian)


From 1978 to 1987  the President was Scm. G. Portelli.( Russian).
The Association held competitions in the form of jamborees, swimming and athletics carnivals, mutual camps and social events.


In 1959 a Cabramatta group was formed under Scm E.Kazarinova,  Scm.I. Rezaeva, Asst. Scm. V. Ivantsov,  Scm. Z.Peniaeva and Inst.V.Raikin.  As Cabramatta Church was under construction, all scout meetings were held at Fairfield Hall.


In1961 Asst. Scm.P.Logounov joined the group. Most of the current  leaders (in 2009) were greatly inspired by him and he instilled in them a strong scout spirit and solid  knowledge of scout practice.

When Scm. M.Plehanoff departed for USA in 1958, Scm. M.Nikoliaev was appointed as National Head of N.O.R.S.
In 1959 a series of regretable events took place that led to many scout masters and young leaders leaving NORS and forming troop 'Novgorod', a branch of ORUR.

 Prior to the departure of Scm. M.Nikolaev for the USA in 1960,  Scm. V.Mercier was appointed to the position of Chief Scout of N.O.R.S.  He regrouped the organization with Scm.N.Gorohovnikov (secretary), Scm. N  Meisiakov, Scm.E.Kazarinova,  Scm.B.Mercier, Scm.N.Kravtsevich,  Asst, Scm.V.P.Mercier, Asst. Scm. D.Kobelev, Asst. Scm. G. Famin,  Asst. Scm. A.Famina,  Asst. Scm .P.Logounov.
The young leaders  were : N. Gileff , A. Davidoff,  E. Shashkof , A. Morozov, M. Shihov, G. Varnavsky, M. Bick, I. Glazirina.
This re organisation was assisted by other prominent members of  the Russian community: friends such as Michael Hohlov (Russian Club President),  businessmen ,G.E. Rodionov, Scm. V.Maxwell,  and Strathfield Church committee, clergy and many other members of the Russian community.


It was during this period that great efforts were made to raise finance to build the Scout Hall in the Strathfield Cathedral grounds. Annual grand balls were held each year in June at the Paddington Town Hall to assist with the fundraising.
The scout balls with the debutantes were certainly an occasion of splendour. During that early period the scout ball and New Year’s Eve Ball were  the premier social events and were eagerly attended by the wider community. The 'berloga' or Scout Hall was officially opened on St George's Day in 1962.


In 1963 the idea developed of a combined camp between ORUR and leaders who left NORS in 1959. They held a camp named ‘Druzhba’  which was blessed by Bishop Savva. Scm.N.Gorohovnikov (ex NORS) and Scm P. Zhukov (ORUR) were the organizors of the camp. They had about 80 scouts and guides. Following the camp, ‘Druzhba’ became The Russian Scouts Association Druzhba.


In1968 the ORUR group Novgorod joined Druzhba and in 1971 at a conference of ORUR leaders held in Sydney, Druzhba was dissolved and was incorporated into ORUR.  Scm L.Apollonov, become Head of Sydney ORUR and was  later succeeded  by Scm M. Korovnikov and Scm. G Kant .


The next milestone of achievement  for NORS  was in 1963 when Scm. E.Kazarinova instituted the annual festival of the “Day of the Russian Child’.  (Dien Ruskogo Rebenka)
This festival was decided  at a meeting of the Russian community at the Russian Club.  Scm. E. Kazarinova announced her vision for preserving and celebrating Russian culture. This  event was celebrated by the entire Russian community  for many years and organisers included not only NORS leaders such as Scm P. Logounov and M.Rosentool but also prominent members of the community such as Uri Rotenko and many others.


The 1960's were a period of rapid growth in scout numbers with camp numbers rising to 180 participants. Camps were held at  Otford, Stanwell Tops, and Tahmor. 
Cabramatta – Fairfield Group had approx 50 to 60 scouts, guides cubs and brownies.  Strathfield group approx. 70 to 80  scouts, guides, cubs and brownies.


The death of Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhoff in 1973  caused  changes in NORS. The Central  committee members (Tsentralni Shtab) consisted of First Asst. to the Chief Russian Scout, Snr. Scm. V. Krasovski;  Head of the Central Committee  Snr. Scm.A Viazmitinov (USA) ; Snr. Scm. M Odinetz (France); Snr.Scm. V. Mercier (Australia); Snr. Scm. Kniazev (USA);  Scm. O.O. Pantuhoff (USA Secretary to Chief Russia Scouts); Snr. Scm. I.I, Bostrem ( France); Snr. Scm. E. Kazarinova ( Australia).
With the death of the Chief Russian Scout there was no immediate election called by  Snr. Scm. V. Krasovski  for the position of  new Chief Scout. So the representative of the Chief Russian Scouts for Europe,  Scm. M. Odinetz , took it upon himself to call the election.
As Australia had the most numbers of active Scout Masters,  the election was to be organized by NORS Australia. In the election there were scout  masters and shtab representatives  from France, Argentina, Australia and America.

During the mid 1970's  NORS was caught  in  a church dispute. The dispute was between ROCA and the committee of St. Peters and Paul Cathedral in Strathfield .
In 1975 the new Chief Russian Scout Snr. Scm. N.Sedliarevich was elected from Argentina . The first Asst. Snr. Scm. V.Mercier.was elected from Australia.


A unification of NORS and ORUR came about when a  Declaration of  both parties was signed by Snr. Scm. V. Krasovski, NORS,  and Snr. Scm. P. Urtev ORUR on 28th July, 1979. The ORUR  constitution (Ustav) was accepted without any amendments.
Snr.Scm. M.Plehanov,  Snr. Scm.O. Levitski, and  Scm M. Nikolaev took part in the ceremony .


In  1975 under  Strathfield Cathedral’s new management the NORS scout hall was closed. This  was a devastating  blow to NORS especially for the young leaders. Now there was no scout meeting place. All that  was left was the scout spirit and the bond of friendship. This was a very difficult time  for NORS. The young leaders were trying to establish their careers and families and the  work load was left with a  few  scout masters who regrouped  them selves under Group Leader Scm N.Gileff ,  Asst. Group Leader Scm.S.Golikov , Troop Leader Scm. M Shahmatov for the Scouts, and Scm.T. Portelli for the Guides Cubs and Brownies and  Quarter Master Scm. G.Portelli. The  base was  at Scm. George and Tania Portelli’s premises. Their garage held  the inventory and the house was used for meetings and parades. Shtab consisted  of Snr.Scm. V. Mercier,  Scm. V.P. Mercier, Scm.B Mercier,  Snr.Scm E.Kazarina and Scm. N. Gileff, Scm. E.Shashkof, Scm.S. Golikov ,Scm. M. Shahmatov,  Scm. G.Portelli ,Scm. N.Chubukoff.
Scm.A.Davidoff (short period ) Scm. K.Gileff, Scm.T.Portelli ,Asst Scm. T.Kobeleff (short period).The scout camps continued with slightly smaller numbers and everyone  became close as a group .


In the early eighties the scout masters’  own children became the Cubs and Brownies of   NORS which was  revived with monthly events, weekends away, excursions, camps and parades.


In 1984 Snr. Scm.A.Kniazov was elected as the new Chief Russian Scout.
The main  aim of the new Chief Scout Kniazev was to produce a constitution so that the organization could function properly. He produced a constitution by himself and published it  in USTAV 1989 and distributed it to all National Heads for  approval .


In 1989 National Head Snr. Scm. V. Mercier died . Scm. N.Gileff was elected as the new National Head.  Scm. S.Golikov became Group  Leader.


In 1991 Scm. A.Rutchkovski,  France’s National Head became first Asst. to the Chief Russian Scout.


In May 1993 Chief Russian Scout Snr.Scm. A.Kniazev died. As Scm A. Rutchkovski was the first Asst. to Chief Russian Scout, and although  no election was  held,   Scm. N. Gileff offered  Scm. A.Rutchkovski the position of Chief Russian Scout.

In the late eighties and the beginning of the early nineties  many of the former scout family leaders returned to scouting  with their families. Now there were Scm. N. Tolpigin,  Scm. S.Prozsenko ,Scm. I. Andrews ( Kasperski), Scm. L. Treskin, Scm. J.Fernandez, Scm. K. McCartin ( Mazin). This was the revival of NORS. All contributed their talents, commitment  and efforts  resulting  in   interesting camp programs, bus excursions, hikes ,mini – camps and  long weekends. All activities were excellently organized by the various duty officers.

All scout practice was carried out at camps which were a week long during the Christmas holidays . During this week all the razriadi/scouting rank and scout practice requirements were achieved   for the scout and guides, and everyone had  a great time as well. The camps were located at beautiful locations –  Telford overlooking the river , Wanawong near the river in the National park  and later  mountain views at  Mt. Kiera.


At the end of the nineties and beginning of the new century more leaders returned with their families -  now Scm. B.Petrenko, Inst. E.Maslowski.  and have remained in the organization bringing  fresh energy and knowledge .


In 1998  unification occurred between the Federation of Scouts of Russia and ORUR, and they named  themselves ‘The National Organization  Russian Scouts – Razvedchikov’.( N.O.R.S.-R. )

The Chief Russian Scout Snr. Scm. A Rutchkovski  decided to change the French Otdel to the National Organization Russian Scouts Abroad ( Z.N.O.R.S.)
Now they are registered as Association of Russian  Scouts in France. Z-N.O.R.S.

As a direct result of France changing to ZNORS,  the Chief Russian Scout had to relinquish his position.   He decided to pass the position of  Chief Russian Scout onto Scm. N Gileff.   However reelections to that position have not been held to date.  Elections for this position according to the constitution are to take place every five years.


On 21ST.December, 2008 Head of Australia NORS,  Snr. Scm. N. Gileff  resigned due to illness.

 Scm. S Golikov was elected as Head of Australia.


To date the shtab members are as follows:
Scm. M Shahmatov ( Group Leader. )
Scm. I.Andrews (Secretary)
Scm. G. Portelli (quarter master)                                                                                   
Scm. K.Gileff (treasurer)
Scm.E. Shashkof
Scm. N. Tolpigin
Scm.B. Petrenko
Scm. J. Fernandez
Scm. T Portelli
Scm. L. Treskin
Scm. S.Proszenko
Scm. K.McCartin ( Mazina)
Asst. Scm. M Senchenko ( Troop leader scouts )
Inst. N, Fernandez ( Asst. Troop Leader )
Inst. S. Apollonov ( Troop Leader guides )
Inst, A.Laletin ( troop secretary )
Inst. A.Tikhomirov ( troop treasurer )      
Inst.D.Chubukoff (asst. quarter master)
Inst. T. Andrews (Public relation)
Inst. L. Tikhomirova (leader cubs and brownies)
Rover D. Goloskokov ( leader Rovers )
Snr. Scm . Gileff remains as Chief Russian Scout                                  

Positions as of  March 2009.



‘Russian Scouts Movement'   G. Koudrishov.
'Heydays family memoirs'   Oleg Pontuhoff.
'Russian Scout 1969 Jubilee Book.' A.M.Viazmientinov
Magazine 'Sparks of Fire'.(Iskri Kostra - 1961-1963)
Films, photos - Cabramatta NORS group archives 
Interviews: Scm A.Konovets, Scm M.Alekseeva, Scm G. Kant,
Scout Masters George and Tania Portelli.
Scm. E. Shashof, Guide E. Kristof (Davidova),  Scm. A. Vasilev
N. Shkapsky