Russia’s burning secrets


Image result for burning fields russia

In the summer of 2010 during a record heat-wave, central Russia burned. Muscovites and residents of surrounding areas were choked by toxic smoke from the peat-bog fires surrounding the capital. This state of affairs was the logical conclusion of a history of the management of “nature” dating back to early Soviet times, when the peat-bogs were drained by the Soviet state to supply fuel to electrical power stations, and never reflooded after natural gas was discovered in Siberia. It is also the result of more recent reforms, which deregulated and privatized the Russian forestry sector. In 2007, President Putin’s new Russian Forestry Code privatized all forests and related lands, collectively known as “The Forest Fund,” that were previously under governmental jurisdiction; it also cut 75 percent of the forest guards that prevented and combatted fires.

It is in this cultural climate of distrust and nostalgia that the Anastasia movement, also known as the Ringing Cedars movement, emerged. The movement is based on the “Ringing Cedars” books by Vladimir Megre, which, beneath all their esoteric and cosmological details, advocate a nationwide land reform and a society based on self-sufficient, multi-generational homesteads practicing small-scale agriculture.

Virtually no scholarship exists on this phenomenon. To the extent that it is mentioned by Russian academics, it is either in the context of work on mysticism and related practices (Markovin 2002), or briefly referenced in a critique of technocracy (Tarasovskaya et al. 2010:317); Western academics have not engaged with it at all.

Read more of Veronica Davidov’s article ‘Beyond Formal Environmentalism: Eco-Nationalism and ‘the ‘Ring Cedars’ of Russia

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