Meet Andrey Bogdano. At 38, he is third out of the field of presidential candidates in Russia right now (sort of where Hillary Clinton sits in the polls, but Bogdano has a better hair stylist). He is the head of the Russian Democratic Party, a fierce advocate of Russia's integration into Europe, and in a society where it is clearly understood that Dmitry Medvedev is to be the next president, no matter what the polls may say, Bogdano still managed to assemble 2 million signatures to register on the ballot.
He is also the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Russia.
According to the Washington Post:
Bogdanov says he hopes one day to unite Russia's democrats under the banner of his party, which he emphasizes is not liberal but conservative, along the lines of the U.S. Republican Party.
Bogdanov heads Russia's largest Masonic lodge but doesn't like to talk about it. Pressed during the debate, he described it as a "super-patriotic organization."
MWBro. Bogdanov is a democrat is a country where democracy has no real credibility. And more than a few Russians think Freemasonry is a Western plot, designed to weaken Russia from within. Like it needs help. Other critics say that Bogdanov was simply allowed on the ballot to make Medvedev's coronation look like a fair fight. Some wags claim he was put on the ballot so the Kremlin could then single him out as an easy target for his often-derided long hair, and his supposed role in Masonic conspiracies - always whispered, of course, but never said outright.
Bogdanov was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Russia in June 2007. The grand lodge was chartered by the Grande Loge Nationale Française in June 1995. Asked about his Freemasonry, Bogdanov said he keeps it away from politics.
"For me, it's more about being a member of a spiritual brotherhood than anything else," he said. While he has declined to discuss it further, he has said he would remain a Freemason if he's elected.