Even as commentators in Moscow continue to debate whether the new Russian world should be based on the Soviet system or alternatively on the tsarist one, some Russians in the Donbas are reaching back to pre-Christian ideas and practices in the hopes of coming up with a definition that all Russians will come to accept.
And while their numbers are not large, at least not yet, they set a tone which is anti-Semitic, anti-modern and anti-intellectual that casts a far larger and darker shadow on those with whom they associate, a trend not unknown to those who have studied what happened in Russia during the Civil War and elsewhere during equally serious periods of upheaval.
In “Novaya gazeta” yesterday, journalist Yekaterina Fomina provides a glimpse into this typically hidden world of those who would restore pre-Christian paganism using the most modern of technologies, the Internet, and who believe non-Aryans are “reptilian” and should be destroyed.
According to Fomina, only about 1.5 percent of Russians say they follow the pre-Christian faiths of their ancestors. But because these pagans believe among other things that people can be only priests, farmers, or warriors, many of them are drawn to wherever there is fighting – and hence the share of such people is far higher on the Russian side in the Donbas.
In some places in the Russian Federation, such as Novosibirsk, the pagans are a well-organized sect; but in most, they are scattered and the followers of this most traditional of faiths which involves the worship of nature and spirits find one another via Facebook pages or online sites.
Those who have gone to fight in the Donbas form groups who celebrate the ancient gods and promote their ideas which include the notions that the Ukrainian leadership consists predominantly of Jews – President Petro Poroshenko according to them is a Jew named Valtsman — and that Russians as Aryans are superior to all other peoples.
Many of those in the pro-Moscow forces there say they were once “nominal” Christians but have now found their true faith and calling by fighting in the Donbas, Fomina reports. They vary on many things but are united by “the odious ideal of the superiority of the Slavs and sometimes more broadly of the Aryan race.”
The main enemies of Russians, these new pagans believe, are “’the reptiloids,’” a term they use to refer to other nations who supposedly have intermarried with animals and then risen to dominate whole peoples. Such humanoids must be wiped from the earth, according to the pagan thinking if the deserving are to flourish.
The Russian Orthodox Church refuses to have much to do with these people except to condemn them, but some like Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin have called for conducting “’enlightenment’ work” with them. That doesn’t bother the pagans who like to keep their distance from anything they see as linked to the political system.
One pagan said debating with officials or clergy online is a waste of time and told Fomina he “doesn’t like democracy. Instead, [he] prefers a traditional structure consisting of priests, warriors and peasants.” He’s for “this structure at the level of a single village or an entire empire. That isn’t important” — although he added quickly that he “likes an empire.”