The history of Fraternitas Arctica 

On 21st of October 1880 15 komilitones (former members of the recently disbanded student fraternity Borysthenia) and 11 fechtbodists, mostly students of Russian origin, together with other students of Baltic Polytechnicum, decided to form a new, this time Russian, fraternity with the name “Fraternitas Arctica” and with colours gold-grey-red.

Since one student fraternity in Germany already had these colours, Fraternitas Arctica changed its colour scheme into gold-black-red (with black-gold-red for dekel) and took up a motto in the old Slavic Р.С.Т. (Рцы Слово Твердо, Rci Slovo Tverdo), which means “be true to your word”. Fraternitas Arctica became a member of Riga Chargierten Convent (C!C!) on 6th of November 1880. The next day (7th of November 1880) senior of C!C! informed the Convent of Fraternitas Arctica about the official recognition, and since then the fraternity celebrates this date as the date of foundation. Afterwards, the Convent of Fraternitas Arctica decided upon the embroidery on the top part of its dekels: in the middle of the top of the dekel the fraternity’s golden cirkel with an exclamation mark, which consists of 11 golden points which symbolize the month of the foundation (November) are depicted. Around the cirkel 7 interlaces, which are connected with a single line, thus symbolizing the day of foundation (7) are embroidered. The first presidium consisted of the following members: senior- com! David Richter; vice senior- com! Victor Brokmiller; secretary- com! Ivan Jevecky; olderman- com! Karl Koch.

The new fraternity, among the members of which, apart from Russians, were students of other nationalities, supported the first Latvian fraternity in Riga (Selonia), which members were struggling for the right to wear their colours openly. Fraternitas Arctica, together with Polish fraternities Arconia and Veletia, voted for the recognition of Selonia, which the fraternity received only in 1897.

In 1915 Riga Polytechnic Institute (earlier Polytechnicum) was evacuated to Tartu, and later to Moscow. Fraternitas Arctica moved to Moscow as well, where its active life continued till the end of the spring semester of 1916 (since most of the active members were conscripted). With the beginning of the Revolution, Fraternitas Arctica discontinued its activity. During the World War I, Revolution and Civil War in Russia, the fraternity lost many of its members. When the society of filisters was founded in the December of 1921 in Riga it appeared, that connection could be established with only 55 members out of 455.

On 8th of February 1922 Fraternitas Arctica (its active Convent consisting of 3 komilitones and 1 fechtbodist) re-established its active life and was matriculated by the University of Latvia. Soon it became a member of the Convent of Presidiums (Prezidiju Konvents or P!K!). In the autumn semester of 1922 26 new fuxes joined the fraternity. By the June of 1940 the fraternity consisted of 180 members. During 1920s and 1930s Fraternitas Arctica concluded cartel treaties with the following student fraternities: Vironia (Riga, later Tartu, now operates in Tartu, Tallinn and Toronto), Neo-Ruthenia (Saint-Petersburg), Fraternitas Slavia (Tartu), Fraternitas Slavia (Tallinn), Fraternitas Slavia (Prague), Fraternitas Aeterna (Tartu), Boeteia (Tallinn), Fraternitas Ergonia (Tallinn).

Nowadays Fraternitas Arctica is the only Russian student fraternity in the world. And even though Fraternitas Arctica is the Russian fraternity, among its members have always been Latvians, Polish and Germans who feel themselves connected with Russian culture. Fraternitas Arctica has always been a non-political organization. The aims and ideals of the fraternity have always been the same: the achievement of true student friendship, preservation of old Russian academic traditions, tolerance towards other nations. For the first time Fraternitas Arctica was the head of the Convent of Presidiums in the autumn semester of 1924, for the second time - in the spring semester of 1933, and for the third time in the autumn semester of 2011.

In 1940 the fraternity was abolished by the Soviet regime. It renewed its active life in Germany after the World War II. In 1950s the global Convent of Fraternitas Arctica moved to the USA. Since the January of 1988 fraternity’s main Convent resided in Canada. Being abroad, the fraternity actively participated in the life of the Association of Latvian Fraternities (Latvijas Korporāciju Apvienība or L!K!A!). In Latvia the active life of the fraternity still continued, though in a smaller scale. But nevertheless, the gatherings of the rightful members of the organization were regularly taking place, new fuxes were joining Fraternitas Arctica and even a song-book was published.

On the 19th of May 1990 in the historical building of the organization on Maza Smilšu street 8 the gathering of the old members of the fraternity decided to renew the active life of Fraternitas Arctica as of an officially registered organization on the basis of existing statutes.

The legal work of Fraternitas Arctica in Latvia was restored by the following filisters:

  • Aleksey Dogadkin (mech. et arch., was accepted in Riga in the autumn semester of 1924);
  • Alexander Putniņš (rer. nat., was accepted in Riga in the autumn semester of 1932);
  • Andrei Titov (ing., was accepted in Riga in the spring semester of 1934);
  • Kirill Molchanov (ing., was accepted in Riga in the spring semester of 1934);
  • Boris Krivoshapkin (ing., was accepted in Riga in the autumn semester of 1934);
  • Vladimir Schelegov (arch., was accepted in Riga in the autumn semester of 1934);
  • Victor Karpovsky (agr., was accepted in Riga in the autumn semester of 1937);
  • Leonid Osipov (chem., was accepted in Riga in the autumn semester of 1938);
  • Victor Putnev (mech., was accepted in Riga in the spring semester of 1939);
  • Eižens Upmanis (arch., was accepted in Riga in the autumn semester of 1980).

The first presidium, which was elected after the restoration, consisted of the following arcts: senior – ph! Leonid Osipov, vice-senior – ph! Alexander Putniņš, secretary – ph! Eižens Upmanis, olderman – ph! Boris Krivoshapkin (he was also the last olderman of Fraternitas Arctica before the fraternity was abolished in the spring-autumn semester of 1940).

Since that day the fraternity continues its active life in P!K!. Throughout its history more than 800 students became members of Fraternitas Arctica, of them more than 400 became filisters.


Famous members of Fraternitas Arctica are:
count Mstislav Tolstoy, vice-governor of Saint-Petersburg;
artist Constantine Rausch von Traubenberg;
author Mikhail Prishvin; 
artist Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky;
theorist of law and author Vasily Sinaiski; 
professor, entomologist, rector of the University of Daugavpils Arvid Barshevsky;

as well as many others science, military, art and political figures.


The time-line of our fraternity

06.12.2012 - Tartu branch of Fraternitas Arctica was established;


2011/II – Fraternitas Arctica presided in P!K!;

04.03.2011 – the first 3 fuxes from the University of Tartu became members of Fraternitas Arctica;


06.11.2010 – cartel treaty with Vironia was officially restored and the new song-book was published;


07.11.2005 – the song-book of 1927 was republished;


1992/I - the first coetus after reestablishment of Fraternitas Arctica was accepted (2 fuxes);


19.05.1990 – Fraternitas Arctica was officially re-established in Latvia, by Riga Technical University;


01.01.1988 - the global Convent of Fraternitas Arctica was transferred from the USA to Canada;


30.11.1980 – a fux was accepted on an illegal meeting in Riga;


12.06.1971 – friendly relations between korp! Fraternitas Arctica and Riga Russian fraternity Ruthenia were officially established.


07.11.1970 – song-book of 1927 was re-published in Montreal (Canada).


07.11.1965 –the song-book of 1927 was secretly re-published in Riga.


05.09.1953 – the global Konvent of korp! Fraternitas Arctica was transferred from Germany to the USA, where the first presidium on the American continent was elected.


06.08.1946 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica was re-established in Germany.


13.07.1940 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica was officially closed by Soviet authorities.


1933/I – korp! Fraternitas Arctica presided in P!K!;


30.10.1931 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica moved to its own house on Maza Smilshu street 8.


11.11.1928 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica concluded a friendship agreement with Russian fraternity Boeteia (Tallinn). In the same year friendship agreements with Russian fraternities Fraternitas Aeterna (Tartu) and Fraternitas Ergonia (Tallinn) were also signed.


07.11.1927 - song-book of korp! Fraternitas Arctica was published for the first time.


06.11.1926 – friendship agreement with Russian fraternity Fraternitas Slavia (Tartu, Tallinn, Prague) was concluded.


1924/II – korp! Fraternitas Arctica presided in P!K! for the first time, also friendship agreement with Estonian fraternity Vironia was concluded.


31.12.1922 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica became a member of P!K!.


8.02.1922 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica was officially re-established by the University of Latvia. The first post-war coetus (the biggest coetus of korp! Fraternitas Arctica after the World War I) was accepted (26 fuxes).


11.01.1922 – society of filisters of korp! Fraternitas Arctica was established in Riga.


1916/I – korp! Fraternitas Arctica was suspended due do the conscription of all active members.


1915 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica was evacuated to Moscow together with Riga Polytechnic Institute.


1912 – cartel treaty with Russian fraternity Neo-Ruthenia (Saint-Petersburg) was signed.


07.11.1880 – the Convent of korp! Fraternitas Arctica is informed about acceptance to C!C!. Since that time this date is regarded as the date of foundation of korp! Fraternitas Arctica.


06.11.1880 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica was accepted into C!C!.


21.10.1880 – korp! Fraternitas Arctica was established.


07.04.1880 – korp! Borysthenia was disbanded.


08.02.1877 – korp! Borysthenia was accepted into Riga Chargierten Convent (C!C!).

16.02.1876 – student fraternity Borysthenia was established by Riga Polytechnicum, 15 komilitons of which later established korp! Fraternitas Arctica.

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