The document in question is believed to have originated during the inaugural Zionist Congress in Basel. It made its way to Russia via a French translation acquired by a Russian aristocrat residing in Paris during the early 1900s. The earliest version of the Protocols surfaced in the Russian language in 1902, notably cataloged as ''British Museum n.3926 D-17'' by Professor Nilus. Interestingly, some individuals within the Jewish community downplay this version in favor of a 1905 edition, around which they have woven a complex narrative to dispute the document's authenticity.
In 1921, when The Times, under new ownership by a Jewish financier, asserted that the 1905 edition of the Protocols was a fabrication concocted by the Tsarist Okhrana, drawing inspiration from ''The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu'' written by French political exile Maurice Joly. It's worth noting that Joly, despite his role in this controversy, was a converted Jew named Moses Joel and had connections with Isaac-Jacob Adolphe Crémieux, the founder of the ''Alliance Israélite Universelle.'' Furthermore, Joly's work bore similarities to a book titled ''Machiavel, Montesquieu, Rousseau,'' published in 1850 by Jacob Venedey, who was a close associate of Karl Marx. Venedey's book appears to have served as a source of inspiration for Joly.
This intricate web of historical connections underscores the complexity of the Protocols' origins and its contested history. Evidence suggests that ideas resembling those found in the Protocols were circulating among prominent French Jews in the mid-19th century, providing a reasonable estimate for the emergence of the early draft versions. Remarkably, there are accounts suggesting that knowledge of the Protocols existed within the Jewish community in Odessa as early as 1895, even preceding the First Zionist Congress in Basel.
*Note: It is worth mentioning that a manuscript of the Protocols was stored in the Masonic lodge ''Misraim'' in Paris. One individual, Jacob Schorst (also known as ''Shapiro''), reportedly disclosed this information for a sum of 2,500 francs, selling a copy to Justine Glinka, the daughter of a Russian general.