Monday, March 12, 2012

389 Unearthed cities, dated 1700 BC, locate an "Aryan homeland" near Russia's border with Kazakhstan

Unearthed cities, dated 1700 BC, locate an "Aryan homeland" near Russia's border with Kazakhstan

(1) Unearthed cities, dated 1700 BC, locate an "Aryan homeland" near Russia's border with Kazakhstan
(2) The place where Europe began: Spiral cities built on remote Russian plains by swastika-painting Aryans
(3) Unearthed Aryan cities rewrite history
(4) 4000-year-old Aryan city discovered in Russia
(5) Too late to call these people the ancestors of all Indo-Aryan people
(6) Arkaim - dated to the 17th century BC
(7) Discovery of Arkhaim spurs Russian "Aryan" nationalism - and New Age cults
(8) Russian Neo-pagan Myths and Antisemitism

(1) Unearthed cities, dated 1700 BC, locate an "Aryan homeland" near Russia's border with Kazakhstan

Peter Myers, October 7, 2010

Two centuries ago, British researchers in India realized that Sanskrit, Urdu and other north Indian languages were closely related to the European languages, so that they all belonged to one family - the Indo-European.

Frederick Engels, in his article On the Early History of the Germans (1882)
<http://www.cddc.vt.edu/marxists//archive/marx/works/cw/volume26/index.htm>, wrote

"The Germans are by no means the first occupants of the country they now occupy. At least three races preceded them."

He lists several migrations - and exterminations - Eskimos, Basques, Lapps, then writes,

"These various immigrations were eventually followed, also still in prehistoric times, by that of the last great stock, the Aryans, the people whose languages were grouped around the most ancient of them, Sanskrit."

Gordon Childe, the Marxist Prehistorian, wrote a book called The Aryans about the search for the Aryan homeland.

Colin Renfrew noted that, after Hitler's use of the Aryan theme, "Childe subsequently avoided all mention of his book The Aryans, although in fact it offered no evidence in favour of the delusion of racial superiority and was very careful to distinguish between language and culture and supposed racial classifications" (Archaeology and Language, p. 4).

After the notion of an "Aryan invasion" had been banished for some decades, Martin Bernal (a Jewish scholar), reinstated it in his book in Black Athena volume II (pp. 321-3). Getting History right was more important than political correctness. http://mailstar.net/gimbutas.html

Marija Gimbutas, like Engels from a far-left background, wrote books on how the Aryan invaders, identified by "Kurgan" burial mounds, had destroyed the more goddess-oriented cultures of Old Europe.  http://mailstar.net/gimbutas.html

Cyrus Gordon declared that the language of the Linear A script of Minoan Crete had been Semitic (Before the Bible: the Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilisations, p. 301) http://mailstar.net/gordon.html

Linear B, the script of Mycenaean civilisation, was Indo-European, but marked a transition state, after the Greek invasion of the Aegean and the eruption of Thera.

Bertrand Russell wrote, "The Greeks perfected a new type of civilization that had been inaugurated by the Phoenicians" (Authority and the Individual, London, Unwin Books, 1970, p. 27). The Phoenicians were Semites; the Greek newcomers learned civilization from those around them.

Even today, we measure 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 360 degrees in a circle, in terms of Babylonian sexagesimal (base-60) mathematics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_mathematics

People in the steppes of Central Asia, calling themselves "Aryans", having learned horse-riding and developed the war-chariot, had migrated in all directions, invading Europe (to the West), India and Persia (to the south), and parts of the Middle East. They also settled in oases on the Silk Road to China.

Joseph Needham and David Anthony wrote on the Opening of the Eurasian Steppe: http://mailstar.net/needham-anthony.html.

The war-chariot and the potters' wheel (invented in the Middle East) arrived in China from the west, although Needham noted that the Cultural Diffusion was two-way.

Cyrus Gordon (a Jewish scholar) wrote that the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, although carried out mainly by Hebrews (West Semites), was led by Aryan chariot-officers. http://mailstar.net/gordon.html

The word "Aryan" is today preserved in the names of the countries "Iran" and "Ireland", i.e. "Eire" = "Aryan", showing the extent of the Aryan conquest.

The conquest does not mean that all Europeans have "Aryan" ancestry. Rather, these invasions were like the Norman invasion of England, by which an aristocracy imposed itself and subjugated the common people and their culture.

Spencer Wells discovered a genetic marker, M17, which is the signature of the Aryan invaders from the steppe into east & central Europe and northern India (The Journey of Man, pp. 166-7). http://mailstar.net/wells-genetics.html

In his later book Deep Ancestry (2006), he assigns persons sharing a genetic marker eg M9 or M52 to haplogroups.

The major Y chromosome haplogroups for Europe are R1a1, R1b, I1a, I1b, J2, N and E36.
Major mitochondrial haplogroups for Europe are H, K, T, U, V and J.

M17 is the defining marker of haplogroup R1a1; its bearers were the Aryan invaders from the steppes.

For R1a1, the ancestral line is "Adam" -> M168 -> M89 -> M9 -> M45 -> M207 -> M173 -> M17 (p. 224).
http://mailstar.net/wells-genetics.html

The city-states near Russia's border with Kazakhstan were discovered 20 years ago, yet I never heard of them until a few days ago. It all happened because of a BBC documentary called Tracking The Aryans.

I traced the reporting of the story using Google News over the last few days. Search for Aryan  Bettany,  Bettany being the name of the host who ran the documentary; at the bottom of the screen, click "search related articles", and then "repeat the search with the omitted results included". The story has been reported in the British press, in Murdoch's The Australian, but strangly not in the American newspapers. Why so? It has been most widely reported in the press of India, which is a little surprising because the Hindu Nationalists have largely succeeded in suppressing the concept of the Aryan Invasion there.

(2) The place where Europe began: Spiral cities built on remote Russian plains by swastika-painting Aryans

From: Iskandar Masih <iskandar38@hotmail.com> Date: 06.10.2010 12:02 AM

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 10:08 AM on 4th October 2010

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1317362/Europe-begins-Cities-built-swastika-painting-Aryans-remote-Russian-plains.html
http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1317362/Europe-begins-Cities-built-swastika-painting-Aryans-remote-Russian-plains.html

Bronze age cities built by the Aryans that date back to the beginning of Western civilisation in Europe have been discovered in a remote part of Russia. Archaeologists have identified 20 of the spiral-shaped settlements that were built some 4,000 years ago shortly after the Great Pyramid in Egypt. It is believed that the buildings were used by the original Aryan race whose swastika symbol was later adopted by the Nazis in the 1930s.

{photo} Desolate: The Bronze Age cities were built some 4,000 years ago by the Aryans in a 400 miles long region of the Russian Steppe
<http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/03/article-1317362-0B75E11F000005DC-111_470x288.jpg> {end}

TV historian Bettany Hughes explored the desolate part of the Russian steppe which borders Kazakhstan this summer for a BBC Radio 3 programme Tracking The Aryans. She said: 'Potentially, this could rival ancient Greece in the age of the heroes. 'Because I have written a lot about the Bronze Age world, there always seemed to be this huge missing peice of the jigsaw puzzle. 'We are all told that there is this kind of mother tongue, proto-Indo-European, from which all the languages we know emerge. 'I was very excited to hear on the archeological grapevine that in exactly the period I am an expert in, this whole new Bronze Age civilisation had been discovered on the steppe of southern Siberia.'

 Explorer: TV historian Bettany Hughes was stunned when she saw the bronze age cities on the ground

The remains of the ancient city were explored for the first time around 20 years ago shortly after Soviet officials relaxed strict laws banning non-military aerial photography. But because of the region is so remote the incredible cities have remained virtually unknown to the rest of Europe until now. They are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece and would have housed between 1,000 and 2,00 people.

Hughes was driven to the vast region by the expedition's chief archaeologist Professor Gennady Zdanovich who pointed to the cities that were buried in the ground beneath them. The Aryan's language has been identified as the precursor to a number of modern European tongues. English uses many similar words such as brother, oxen and guest which have all been tracked to the Aryans. Items that have so far been dug up at the sites include make-up equipment, a chariot and numerous pieces of pottery. The artifacts were daubed in swastikas which were used in ancient times as symbols of the sun and eternal life. But the swastika and Aryan race were adopted by Hitler and the Nazis as symbols of their so-called master race. Evidence of ritual horse burials were found at the site which ties in with ancient Aryan texts that describe the animals being sliced up and buried with their masters. Hughes, a visiting research fellow at King's College London, added: 'Professor Zdanovich took me to this expanse of grass; you couldn't tell there was anything special. Then, as he pointed to the ground, suddenly I realised I was walking across a buried city. 'Every now and again you suddenly notice these ghostly shapes of fortresses and cattle sheds and homes and religious sites. I would not have known these had he not shown them to me. 'These ancient Indian texts and hymns describe sacrifices of horses and burials and the way the meat is cut off and the way the horse is buried with its master. 'If you match this with the way the skeletons and the graves are being dug up in Russia, they are a millimetre-perfect match.'

(3) Unearthed Aryan cities rewrite history

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/unearthed-aryan-cities-rewrite-history/story-e6frg6so-1225933563131

The Sunday Times October 04, 2010 12:00AM

BRONZE Age cities archaeologists say could be the precursor of Western civilisation are being uncovered in excavations on the Russian steppe.

Twenty of the spiral-shaped settlements, believed to be the original home of the Aryan people, have been identified, and there are about 50 more suspected sites. They all lie buried in a region more than 640km long near Russia's border with Kazakhstan.

The cities are thought to have been built 3500-4000 years ago, soon after the Great Pyramid in Egypt. They are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece, which started to come into being in Crete at about the same time.

If archeologists confirm the cities as Aryan, they could be the remnants of a civilisation that spread through Europe and much of Asia. Their language has been identified as the precursor of modern Indo-European tongues, including English. Words such as brother, guest and oxen have been traced back to this prototype.

"Potentially, this could rival ancient Greece in the age of the heroes," said British historian Bettany Hughes, who spent much of the northern summer exploring the region for a BBC radio program, Tracking the Aryans.

"We are all told that there is this kind of mother tongue, proto-Indo-European, from which all the languages we know emerge.

"I was very excited to hear on the archeological grapevine that in exactly the period I am an expert in, this whole new Bronze Age civilisation had been discovered on the steppe of southern Siberia."

She described driving for seven hours into the steppe grasslands with chief archeologist Gennady Zdanovich. "He took me to this expanse of grass; you couldn't tell there was anything special. Then, as he pointed to the ground, suddenly I realised I was walking across a buried city," she said.

"Every now and again you suddenly notice these ghostly shapes of fortresses and cattle sheds and homes and religious sites. I would not have known these had he not shown them to me."

The shape of each of the cities, which are mainly in the Chelyabinsk district, resembles an ammonite fossil, divided into segments with a spiral street plan. The settlements, which would each have housed about 2000 people -- the same as an ancient Greek city such as Mycenae -- are all surrounded by a ditch and have a square in the middle.

The first city, known as Arkaim, was discovered in 1989, soon after the soviet authorities allowed non-military aerial photography for the first time.

The full extent of the remains is only now becoming apparent. Items that have so far been dug up include many pieces of pottery covered in swastikas, which were widely used ancient symbols of the sun and eternal life. The Nazis appropriated the Aryans and the swastika as symbols of their so-called master race. Ms Hughes believes that some of the strongest evidence that the cities could be the home of the Aryans comes from a series of horse burials.

Several ancient Indian texts believed to have been written by Aryans recount similar rituals. "These ancient Indian texts and hymns describe sacrifices of horses and burials and the way the meat is cut off and the way the horse is buried with its master," she said. "If you match this with the way the skeletons and the graves are being dug up in Russia, they are a millimetre-perfect match."

(4) 4000-year-old Aryan city discovered in Russia

PTI, Oct 4, 2010, 03.30pm IST

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/4000-year-old-Aryan-city-discovered-in-Russia/articleshow/6683681.cms

LONDON: Russian archaeologists have unearthed some ancient and virtually unknown settlements which they believe were built by the original Aryan race about 4000 years ago.

According to the team which has discovered 20 of the spiral-shaped settlements in remote part of Russia steppe in southern Siberia bordering Kazakhstan, the buildings date back to the beginning of Western civilisation in Europe.

The Bronze-age settlements, the experts said, could have been built shortly after the Great Pyramid some 4000 years ago by the original Aryan race whose swastika symbol was later adopted by the Nazis in the 1930s.

TV historian Bettany Hughes, who explored the desolate part of the Russian steppe for BBC programme 'Tracking The Aryans', said: "Potentially, this could rival ancient Greece in the age of the heroes."

"Because I have written a lot about the Bronze Age world, there always seemed to be this huge missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle," Hughes was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

She said: "We are all told that there is this kind of mother tongue, proto-Indo-European, from which all the languages we know emerge.

"I was very excited to hear on the archaeological grapevine that in exactly the period I am an expert in, this whole new Bronze Age civilisation had been discovered on the steppe of southern Siberia."

The remains of the ancient city were explored for the first time around 20 years ago shortly after then Soviet officials relaxed strict laws banning non-military aerial photography.

But because of the region is so remote the incredible cities have remained virtually unknown to the rest of Europe until now, according to the archaeologists

They are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece and would have housed between 1,000 and 200 people, they said.

Hughes was driven to the vast region by the expedition's chief archaeologist Professor Gennady Zdanovich who pointed to the cities that were buried in the ground beneath them.

The Aryan's language has been identified as the precursor to a number of modern European tongues. English uses many similar words such as brother, oxen and guest which have all been tracked to the Aryans.

From: Iskandar Masih <iskandar38@hotmail.com> Date: 06.10.2010 11:58 AM Subject: Tracking the Aryans

4000-year-old Aryan city discovered in Russia

PTI, Oct 4, 2010, 03.30pm IST

LONDON: Russian archaeologists have unearthed some ancient and virtually unknown settlements which they believe were built by the original Aryan race about 4000 years ago.

According to the team which has discovered 20 of the spiral-shaped settlements in remote part of Russia steppe in southern Siberia bordering Kazakhstan, the buildings date back to the beginning of Western civilisation in Europe.

The Bronze-age settlements, the experts said, could have been built shortly after the Great Pyramid some 4000 years ago by the original Aryan race whose swastika symbol was later adopted by the Nazis in the 1930s.

TV historian Bettany Hughes, who explored the desolate part of the Russian steppe for BBC programme 'Tracking The Aryans', said: "Potentially, this could rival ancient Greece in the age of the heroes."

"Because I have written a lot about the Bronze Age world, there always seemed to be this huge missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle," Hughes was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

She said: "We are all told that there is this kind of mother tongue, proto-Indo-European, from which all the languages we know emerge.

"I was very excited to hear on the archaeological grapevine that in exactly the period I am an expert in, this whole new Bronze Age civilisation had been discovered on the steppe of southern Siberia."

The remains of the ancient city were explored for the first time around 20 years ago shortly after then Soviet officials relaxed strict laws banning non-military aerial photography.

But because of the region is so remote the incredible cities have remained virtually unknown to the rest of Europe until now, according to the archaeologists

They are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece and would have housed between 1,000 and 200 people, they said.

Hughes was driven to the vast region by the expedition's chief archaeologist Professor Gennady Zdanovich who pointed to the cities that were buried in the ground beneath them.

The Aryan's language has been identified as the precursor to a number of modern European tongues. English uses many similar words such as brother, oxen and guest which have all been tracked to the Aryans. From:

Iskandar Masih <iskandar38@hotmail.com> Date: 06.10.2010 12:04 AM

(5) Too late to call these people the ancestors of all Indo-Aryan people

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/dmk9x/

Unearthed Aryan cities rewrite history (theaustralian.com.au)

Comments

xenofon

... This region is indeed one of the places where ancient Indo-Aryans lived. However, the period of these settlements (1500BC to 2000BC) is much too late to call these people the ancestors of all Indo-Aryan people. This was a time when many European language groups had already split from the proto-IndoEuropean language. At best, you can call it a population of Indo-Iranian people. However, it is not even the earliest of those, since there is evidence that the same Indo-Iranian people had already settled in Iran and were arriving in India at this time. Obviously, their roots go back further, before these settlements in Arkaim and other regions around Chelyabinsk. These settlements are all part of the Andronovo Culture, or more specifically the Sintashta-Petrovka-Arkaim branch of it. This is a fairly late Indo-European culture, linguistically speaking. It's a wonderful discovery. Any 3000-4000 year settlements are great for archeology, since so little is known about these early days. ...

JCDntn

The Aryans are more properly described at a culture rather than a race. Nobody knows what race they were, in fact, the evidence is that they were of many races that lived across a somewhat large area in Eurasian Russia. On the other hand, the Aryan culture is well-identified, marked by things such as a patrilineal organization of the tribes, an economy based on domestication in particular of cows and horses, worship of certain gods (such as the sky god), use of solid wheels (and later development of spoked wheels for chariots), etc.

(6) Arkaim - dated to the 17th century BC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkaim

Arkaim

Coordinates: 52°37?37?N 59°33?40?E

Arkaim is an archaeological site situated in the Southern Urals steppe, 8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi) north-to-northwest of Amurskiy, and 2.3 km (1.4 mi) south-to-southeast of Alexandronvskiy, two villages in the Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, just to the north from the Kazakhstani border.

The site is generally dated to the 17th century BC. Earlier dates, up to the 20th century BC, have been proposed. It was a settlement of the Sintashta-Petrovka culture.

Contents

Discovery and excavation

The site was discovered in 1987 by a team of Chelyabinsk scientists who were preparing the area to be flooded in order to create a reservoir, and examined in rescue excavations led by Gennadii Zdanovich. At first their findings were ignored by Soviet authorities, who planned to flood the site as they had flooded Sarkel earlier, but the attention attracted by news of the discovery forced the Soviet government to revoke its plans for flooding the area. It was designated a cultural reservation in 1991, and in May 2005 the site was visited by then-President Vladimir Putin.

Settlement

Although the settlement was burned and abandoned, much detail is preserved. Arkaim is similar in form but much better preserved than neighbouring Sintashta, where the earliest chariot was unearthed. The site was protected by two circular walls. There was a central square, surrounded by two circles of dwellings separated by a street. The settlement covered ca. 20,000 m2 (220,000 sq ft). The diameter of the enclosing wall was 160 m (520 ft). It was built from earth packed into timber frames, and reinforced with unburned clay brick, with a thickness of 4–5 m (13–16 ft). and a height of 5.5 m (18 ft). The settlement was surrounded with a 2 m (6 ft 7 in)-deep moat.

There are 4 entrances into the settlement through the outer and inner wall with the main entrance to the west. The dwellings were between 110–180 m2 (1,200–1,900 sq ft) in area. The outer ring of dwellings number 39 or 40, with entrances to a circular street in the middle of the settlement. The inner ring of dwellings number 27, arranged along the inner wall, with doors to the central square of 25 by 27 m (82 by 89 ft). The central street was drained by a covered channel. Zdanovich estimates that approximately 1500 to 2500 people could have lived in the settlement.

Surrounding Arkaim's walls, were arable fields, 130–140 m by 45 m (430–460 ft by 150 ft), irrigated by a system of canals and ditches. Remains of millet and barley seeds were found.

The 17th century date suggests that the settlement was about co-eval to, or just post-dating, the Indo-Aryan migration into South Asia and Mesopotamia (the Gandhara grave culture appearing in the Northern Pakistan from ca. 1600 BC, the Indo-European Mitanni rulers reached Anatolia before 1500 BC, both roughly 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) removed from the Sintashta-Petrovka area), and that it was either an early Iranian culture, or an unknown branch of Indo-Iranian that did not survive into historical times.

In pseudoarchaeology and national mysticism

Since its discovery, Arkaim has attracted public and media attention in Russia, from a broad range of the population, including esoteric, New Age and pseudoscientific organizations. It is said to be the most enigmatic archaeological site within the territory of Russia, and as with many archaeological discoveries, many conflicting interpretations have been put forward.

Swastika City

In order to gain publicity, the early investigators described Arkaim as "Swastika City", "Mandala City", and "the ancient capital of early Aryan civilization, as described in the Avesta and Vedas". The swastika description refers to the floor plan of the site, which (with some imagination) may appear similar to the swastika symbol, albeit with rounded arms (similar to the lauburu) attached to a central ring instead of a cross. ...

References
 Jones-Bley, K.; Zdanovich, D. G. (eds.), Complex Societies of Central Eurasia from the 3rd to the 1st Millennium BC, 2 vols, JIES Monograph Series Nos. 45, 46, Washington D.C. (2002), ISBN 0-941694-83-6, ISBN 0-941694-86-0.
 Panel-Philippe, G.; Stone-Peter, G., The Constructed Past:Experimental Archeology, Education and the Public, Routledge (July 1999)ISBN 0-415117-68-2.

External links
 Ural State University invitation for conference
 Archaeology and ethnic politics: the discovery of Arkaim
 General information
 Magnetic phenomena in Arkaim

Categories: Archaeoastronomy | Archaeological sites in Russia | Bronze Age Europe | Eurasian nomads | Former populated places in Russia

This page was last modified on 12 June 2010 at 06:25. ==

Pottery: http://perm-asha.chat.ru/arkaim_e.html

(7) Discovery of Arkhaim spurs Russian "Aryan" nationalism - and New Age cults
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001123/112397e.pdf

Archaeology and ethnic politics: the discovery of Arkaim

V. A. Shnirelman

ISSN 1350-0775, Museum International (UNESCO, Paris), No. 198 (Vol. 50, No. 2, 1998)
© UNESCO 1998
Published by Blackwell Publishers, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JF (UK) and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148 (USA)

The discovery in the southern Urals of a perfectly conserved city some 3,600 years old was not merely a significant archaeological event. As V. A. Shnirelman explains, it set off a chain reaction of far-fetched speculation and extreme ethnic nationalism which sought to exploit the find for purely political purposes. The author is a member of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Nothing unusual was foreseen for 20 June 1987. During the summer of that year a team of archaeologists from Chelyabinsk State University headed by Gennady B. Zdanovich was to examine archaeological sites in the Bolshaya Karaganskaya river valley, where the construction of a reservoir had begun the previous autumn. The valley lies in the south of Chelyabinsk oblast (Southern Urals) at the confluence of the Bolshaya Karaganka and Utyaganka rivers. The archaeological sites already known in the locality had yielded little and had not aroused any great hopes. The summer digging season appeared sufficient to provide a general outline of cultural evolution in a valley that was to be submerged in the spring of 1988.

The inquisitiveness of two youths was, however, about to upset the plans of the archaeologists and the developers. On 20 June, Aleksandr Voronkov and Aleksandr Ezril, two schoolboys working for the expedition, informed the archaeologists about some curious embankments that they had found in the steppe. To the experienced eye it was apparent that something most unusual had been unearthed. That same evening Zdanovich informed the members of the expedition about an outstanding discovery, and the schoolboys, who had been the first to spot it, were rewarded with a tin of condensed milk.

What had the archaeologists seen in the steppe and what had so astonished them? During the 1970s and 1980s Soviet specialists had been engaged in bitter disputes concerning the whereabouts of the original homeland of the Indo-Europeans, the nature and development of their ancient culture, and the migratory paths of individual groups. The impetus for these disputes had been provided by two linguists, Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Tomaz V. Gamkrelidze, who were of the opinion that the Indo-Europeans had come from Asia Minor. They were opposed by the eminent historian of the ancient East Igor M. Dyakonov, who located the early Indo- Europeans in the Balkans. Many Soviet archaeologists were convinced that the main area of settlement of the early Indo- Europeans had been the Eurasian steppes and wooded steppes where the cultures that developed had been mainly those of the cattle-herding population that had given rise to the remarkable cultures of the Scythian world.

Linguistically, the Scythians were a Persian people, and the languages spoken by the Persian peoples are closely akin to Indo-European languages, the best known of which is Sanskrit, the language of Vedic literature, the scriptures of the Indo- Aryans. At one time the Persian and Indo-Aryan languages had constituted a linguistic whole. Archaeologists connect the Indo-Aryans with the steppe cultures of the second millennium B.C. What is in dispute is when and where the Indo- Aryans emerged as a distinct group and how they came to be in India. Some authors locate their original homeland in the southern Urals, while others seek it along the northern shores of the Black Sea.

This is why the discovery of Arkaim caused such excitement among archaeologists. Arkaim is a circular fortified settlement, roughly 150 metres in diameter, dating back to the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries B.C. It is surrounded by two concentric defensive ramparts of clay and adobe blocks on a log frame. Within the circle close to the ramparts are some sixty semi-dugout dwellings with hearths, cellars, wells and metallurgical furnaces. The dwellings open on to an inner circular street with wood-block paving. A drainage gutter with water-collecting pits was constructed along it and a rectangular 'square' graced the centre of the settlement. Entrance to the settlement was via four intricately constructed passages through which it would be difficult for enemies to gain access. All the evidence suggests that the settlement had been built to a common plan, which is indicative of a society with a developed social structure and local leaders with high authority. This impression is further strengthened by the fact that more than twenty circular and rectangular settlement sites dating from the eighteenth to sixteenth centuries B.C. have now been found in the southern Urals and northern Kazakhstan. The area, which archaeologists have dubbed 'the land of fortified towns', covers an area of 400 x 150 km.

The answer to the question of whether there was anything unusual about the discovery of Arkaim is both affirmative and negative. In the late 1960s and early 1970s archaeologists had begun to find remains in this area of fortifications and rich burial grounds dating from the second quarter of the second millennium B.C. The best-known achievement of the seventies was the excavation of the Sintashta burial ground, where a rich cache, including remains of a chariot and horse trappings, was discovered. It was already apparent at that time that the southern Urals were a most important region in the formation of a complex society that had acquired war chariots – a marvel of military technology at the time. Arkaim provided confirmation of that assumption and imparted a new perspective to it, by virtue of being the first well-preserved fortified settlement to be studied in some detail by a team on the spot. The fact that it was Arkaim that was investigated in this way was, of course, the result of a chance combination of circumstances. It is a fact that we now know of larger fortified settlements of the same type with far more impressive stone architecture.

The battle for Arkaim

Arkaim acquired special renown from the very dramatic struggle to rescue and preserve it. The reservoir was being built by what was at the time the all-powerful Ministry of Water Resources of the USSR. As initially conceived, the work was scheduled for completion in 1989, but the builders decided to force the pace and complete the project a year ahead of schedule. The whole valley, along with the unique site, would therefore have been submerged in the spring of 1988. That had to be prevented by all possible means. The archaeologists did everything they could to mobilize opinion for the saving of Arkaim. Academicians, leading scholars and public figures spoke out in its defence.

Although the archaeologists were initially asking no more than that the building work be halted until 1990, there was soon talk of establishing a protected area or even an archaeological museum site in the Bolshaya Karaganskaya valley. In March 1989, following a lively discussion, to which specialists and representatives of public groups contributed, the Praesidium of the Urals Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR issued a decree establishing a special scientific laboratory to study the proto-urban civilization in Chelyabinsk oblast and requested the Council of Ministers of the Russian Federation to establish a protected historical area.

The arguments put forward by the scholars were so convincing and public opinion was so vocal that members of the local and provincial ( oblast) authorities also came to the defence of Arkaim. At the same time the Ministry of Water Resources rapidly lost authority as the democratic process spread throughout the country, the Soviet Union moved towards collapse at an alarming speed, and regionalism began to develop in the Russian Federation. It was riding upon that wave that the Council of Ministers of the Russian Federation decided in April 1991 to halt the construction of the reservoir and to establish the 'Arkaim historical and geographical museum protected site'. In the following years work was put in hand for the creation of a scientific campus, the provision of tourist facilities and the setting up of a Museum of Natural History and Man. It is proposed to restore the natural landscape of the valley, which has been greatly distorted by agriculture. At the same time, the parlous state of the Russian economy means that the museum site constantly faces financial problems. Its directors quite often have to accept charitable donations, especially from astrologers, which is bound to put the archaeologists in an equivocal position.

In the opinion of many specialists, Arkaim and similar sites could have been established by the earliest Indo-Iranians long before their separation and their migrations along the Eurasian steppe corridor and the southward movement into Persia and India. Some scholars draw parallels between circular fortified settlements of the type of Arkaim and the city of the legendary King Yima, reproducing the model of the universe described in the Avesta, the holy book of the ancient Persians.

All these hypotheses were actively employed by the scholars in their struggle to save Arkaim. In seeking to make their arguments more impressive, they tried to play on the imagination of officials by having recourse to some very risky assumptions. Arkaim was presented as one of the oldest settlements in the country, as the 'centre of a form of statehood of nomarchical type', as a temple-observatory comparable to Stonehenge, and was even referred to as the native land of the Persian prophet Zoroaster. Officials and tourists visiting Arkaim could see a placard with the inscription 'Zarathustra was born here'. Furthermore, Arkaim was included in the list of 'national and spiritual shrines'. In that context, it was sometimes asserted that Arkaim had not been built by Indo-Iranians, but by Indo-Aryans, who were allegedly closely related to the Slavs and could serve as a model for contemporary mankind of harmonious interrelationships between culture and the natural environment. The 'land of fortified towns' was referred to unequivocally on another occasion as 'the land of the ancient Aryans' and endowed with some special spirituality. The term 'Aryans' began to be used arbitrarily in a wider sense as a synonym for Indo-Persians.

Arkaim and the 'Russian idea'

As things turned out, the discovery of Arkaim and the intensive archaeological investigation of the 'land of fortified towns' coincided with the rapid collapse of the Soviet Union. The USSR, the successor to the Russian Empire, had always been looked upon as having been created by the efforts of Russians over the centuries, with the result that until fairly recently Russians felt themselves to be at home anywhere within it. The situation had begun to change in the ten to twenty years before the collapse of the USSR. The growth of local ethnic nationalism in the border areas made Russians feel for the first time as if they were foreigners, and many of them began to return to the central regions of Russia. Given that the formation of the vast Russian Empire had taken place over the centuries through wars of conquest, acquisition of territory and the rapid expansion of the Russians into regions inhabited by groups having different cultures and speaking other languages, it is not surprising that with the growth of ethnic nationalism the legitimacy of the presence of Russians in various parts of the country should raise questions for the indigenous non-Russian population and the Russians themselves.

Under these conditions Russian ethnic nationalists began a feverish search for historical justification for Russian domination over the entire territory of the former Empire. The history of the recent and medieval periods, replete with campaigns of conquest, was not well suited to that purpose. The prehistoric past offered more tempting prospects for the propounding of arbitrary constructs as promising theories. Russian ethnic nationalists reopened on their own account the long-forgotten and rejected reasoning of the 'Slavic school of history' that had vainly sought to identify the Slavs with the ancient nomadic inhabitants of the steppe who spoke Persian languages (Scythians, Sakians and Sarmatians). Moreover, having armed themselves with modern archaeological data, they began to insist that the 'ancestors of the Slavs' had already conquered the European steppe zone back in the Bronze Age. They increasingly identified these ancestors with the 'Aryans', arbitrarily including in that category those groups of Indo- Europeans whom they found most acceptable as forebears. In this way the aggressive policy of the Russian Empire was represented by them in a different light as the return of the Russians to their hereditary lands.

In that context the discovery of Arkaim was most opportune. Zdanovich himself did not refrain from acknowledging this trend. 'We Slavs,' he wrote, 'consider ourselves to be new arrivals, but that is untrue. Indo- Europeans and Indo-Iranians had been living here [in the southern Urals] since the Stone Age and had been incorporated in the Kazakhs, Bashkirs and Slavs, such is the common thread linking us all.' Although archaeologists themselves seek the cultural roots of Arkaim partly in the middle Volga region and partly in southern Siberia, the Russian ultranationalists have opinions of their own on the matter. From 1991 onwards, when it was acutely felt that the territory of the Russian state was contracting abruptly and shifting northwards, the 'hyperboreal idea', according to which the original homeland of the 'white people' was to be found in the Arctic region, came into vogue among them. Climatic cooling and the advance of the ice sheets had obliged those 'Aryans' to seek a new refuge.

In their southward advance they chose the southern Urals as the place where they would settle. It is there that the Russian ultranationalists locate the 'second homeland of the Aryans', from which they subsequently spread out over the vast expanses of Eurasia to the Carpathians in the west and China in the east. Those who put forward these views regard the southern Urals as the source of the Vedic faiths and consider that the area was practically the oldest example of statehood in the world, the capital of which was in holy Arkaim. Some of them refer to this statehood as 'Slavic'. These are breathtaking fantasies that entrance the spirit and, as is acknowledged by one of their disciples, Arkaim gives one 'the feeling of embodying all past millennia, destinies and decisions, pains and triumphs over difficulties. ... There is a realization of being the heir to and the continuer of some great undertaking that turns out to have been alive within you for a long time. ...'

The feelings that Arkaim arouses in Russian ultranationalists are once again reaching passionate heights. As one of them declares, 'Ancient Russia [Rus] existed, there was a written and spoken language, there were its spiritual values and Arkaim is the proof of all that.' Another individual interprets Arkaim as 'a symbol of Russian glory' and his comment to that effect is published with satisfaction by the Russian ultranationalist newspapers Russky Vostok [The Russian East] (Irkutsk) and Za russkoe delo [For the Russian Cause] (St Petersburg). This idea is not without a touch of racism, and it is called upon to inculcate openly xenophobic attitudes. It does, after all, invite Russians to remember their racial roots and 'Aryan origin', declares Arkaim to be 'the source of the proto-Slavic group of the Aryan people' and at the same time laments the dependence of the white race on some kind of alien culture stemming from 'the prophet Moses'. The plans for the inundation of Arkaim, that were successfully resisted with great difficulty by 'national patriotic forces', are instanced as an example of a blasphemous attitude to the heritage of the Aryan ancestors. The conclusion drawn is the declaration by Russian ultranationalists that 'until such time as national patriotic forces come to power, it will be impossible to repulse those who insult and plunder Russia'.

New fantasies, old assumptions

This idea suffers from megalomania and as time passes is accumulating new fantasies and the most strange assumptions. Those who hold it have no difficulty increasing the age of Arkaim by a millennium or more, making it 'older than the Egyptian pyramids' and asserting at the same time that iron was smelted there. Arkaim is also identified with Asgard, the secret homeland of the ancient Germanic god Odin. The sources of this myth are once again sought among the ancestors of the Slavs. Nor is any greater difficulty experienced in accusing 'Soviet freemasons' of having had barbaric plans for the inundation of Arkaim and in calling upon 'Aryans' to return to the 'Indo-European (Vedic) main line of development' in the name of the restoration of the 'Spiritual Superpower' (within the 1975 boundaries of the USSR).

A further 'theory' equally arbitrarily makes sites of the type of Arkaim and Sintashta a thousand years younger so as to declare the southern Urals to be the original homeland of the prophet Zoroaster, where he produced the holy book, the Avesta, before taking the light of the new teaching far to the south. The legendary King Yima is credited with the building of Arkaim, 'the city of the Aryan hierarchy and racial purity', and the Sintashta burial ground is said to be the place where 'the great Old Russian priestwarrior' Zoroaster is buried.

The swastika is proclaimed as the symbol of Russian Aryanism. It grieves me to have to write that archaeologists provided the food that nourished this and many other 'Aryan ideas' of the Russian ultranationalists by their attempts to rehabilitate the swastika, in which they saw analogies both in traditional Russian rural culture and in the materials from Arkaim.

The Aryan theory was also to the liking of Russian astrologers, the best known of whom, Pavel and Tamara Globa, adherents of Zoroastrianism and 'Aryan astrology', had their own view on the importance of Arkaim. Pavel Globa stubbornly insisted that the ancient Persian priests had a special interest in the territory of the future Russia, that the prophet Zoroaster was born in the Volga-Urals region and that traces of the long-forgotten earliest civilization were to be sought in Russia.

Tamara Globa visited Arkaim in 1991 at the time of the summer solstice. While there she announced that the memory of it had been preserved for centuries by the Indian Magi and that its discovery had been foretold by the medieval astrologer Paracelsus. In later speeches she even let it be understood that the discovery of Arkaim was due to her. She had no doubt that it was the city temple built by the legendary King Yima, ruler of the Aryans in the 'Golden Age'. She proclaimed the Urals to be the centre of the world and the 'land of fortified towns' to be the middle of the earth. She saw the fact that Arkaim, an 'island of the past', had seemingly surfaced out of nothingness as a pledge that 'the Urals will gather together the Aryans' and 'will become the place of their spiritual concentration' after millennia of 'the powers of darkness'. Russia, being in the constellation of Aquarius, had a great future and 'will rule the world'. Tamara Globa stigmatizes as guilty of 'trembling when confronted with the future of Russia' all those who have a sceptical attitude towards the 'Aryan idea' and who see in it the birthmark of Nazism. Nor is that all. She tries to vindicate the swastika as well as the 'Aryans', describing it as 'the symbol of the connection of Rus with the Aryan race', adducing as proof the depictions of the swastika sometimes found on clay pots from Arkaim and proclaiming that the swastika was embodied in the very design of this fortified town.

There are organizations of mystics and practitioners of the occult arts in Chelyabinsk itself. They observe annual holidays and hold festivals and gatherings of their followers and worshippers who come from all over the country and from abroad. These activities usually take place in the spring and summer, and the programme often includes a visit to Arkaim.

Ever since archaeologists declared Arkaim to be a legacy of sun-worshipping Aryans, an atmosphere of secrecy has been built up around it and it has been recognized as a place where there is a build-up of mystic forces. There has been an endless influx of tourists, prominent among whom have been followers of the teaching of Rereck, 1 astrologers, practitioners of the occult, neopaganists, followers of Hare Krishna, fire worshippers and simply people eager to be cured of crippling diseases. The most popular festival is the Night of Ivan Kupala, 21/22 June, when there are heathen rituals here, accompanied by dancing and leaping over fires, mass orgies with bathing in the river, meditation and singing. The valley is visited by pregnant women, who believe that the waters of the Karaganka river are at least as beneficial as those of the Ganges. Tourists love to climb the Bald Mountain that rises above the valley and spend hours there 'tapping' energy from outer space.

Arkaim has flared up like a blinding meteor in the murky sky of post-Soviet reality, giving rise to flashes of doubt and of hope in the minds of the inhabitants of Russia. The mirages will disappear with the passage of time, but the riddle of the lost southern Uralian civilization will long continue to excite the imagination of researchers. I should like to believe that the Arkaim museum and protected area will have a long and fruitful life.

Note

1. A twentieth-century Russian artist and philosopher and well-known expert in Buddhist and Hindu philosophy – Ed.

(8) Russian Neo-pagan Myths and Antisemitism
by Victor A. Shnirelman

Acta no. 13, Analysis of current trends in antisemitism, 1998. Copyright © 

http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/13shnir.html

Abstract

Russian Neo-paganism is one branch of contemporary Russian nationalism that emerged and developed in the 1970s–1990s. Its ideology is based on the glorification of the pre-Christian Russian past and accuses Christianity of the brutal destruction of the legacy of the Great Ancestors. At the same time, Christianity is treated as an evil ideology created by Jews in order to establish their own dominance of the world and the subjugation of all peoples. Russian Neo-paganism is in fact rooted in Nazi-style rhetoric full of latent or open antisemitism. This paper discusses the ideology and its political implications.
 
Contemporary Russian Nationalism and Neo-paganism

In November 1995, the Moscow newspaper Moskovskii komsomolets informed readers of the establishment of the Pagan community there with its own folklore, cults, and rituals. ...

Russian Neo-paganism emerged and flourished in the wave of the “Third Russian nationalism” in the 1970s and 1980s. 5 Some Russian intellectuals were alarmed with what they perceived as the eradication of traditional Russian culture and the loss of a distinctive Russian identity in the wake of Communist modernization and internationalization with the formation of a “new Soviet personality” as an inclusive identity for all Soviet citizens. They saw this process as the end result of a long history of expansion of the Russian state with the formation of an empire that sacrificed the particular interests of the ethnic Russians. ...

In contrast to Russian nationalism of the ninetee and early twentieth centuries, which identified Russianism with Russian Orthodoxy, the new nationalism that developed under the atheistic communist regime began to emphasize the pre-Christian legacy, as if that were the true essence of Russian culture.11 Neo-pagans consider the past thousand years of Russian history as a dark age, and point to a mythical Golden Age of the pre-Christian Rus, whose baptism in the tenth century is viewed as a catastrophe. The previous age they glorify as the epoch of a strong Slavic-Russian empire with a well-developed pre-Cyrillic writing system and extensive literature, and charge Christianity with the destruction of this rich intellectual legacy. One writer argues that the decline of true Russian culture had already begun by the time of the Kievan Rus (tenth century), and he calls for a restoration of the pagan Rus empire, which he claims was flourishing before the ninth century.12 Historically, there is almost no written evidence of the Eastern Slavs, let alone the “Rus,” and hence the door is open for the creation of extravagant fantasies and the invention of a glorious past. ...

Neo-pagan ideology developed in the 1970s and 1980s among Russian patriotic intellectuals who were simultaneously engaged in the official campaign against Zionism. Anatolii Ivanov [Skuratov] and Valerii Yemelyanov were among the best-known ideologists of the anti-Christian historiosophic myth. In a condensed form with some latent antisemitism and a very modest anti-Christian aspect, the myth was disseminated through the poetry of Igor Kobzev, the fiction of Vladimir Chivilikhin, and the science-fiction writings of Valerii Skurlatov and Vladimir Shcherbakov. Until recently, the myth’s advocates avoided combining the story of the Great Slavic ancestors with the criticism of Zionism. The case of Skurlatov’s writings are very instructive on this point. In the 1970s, he was the first to present the Vles Book in the general media as a “historic” document, and occupied himself with writing science fiction based on the prehistoric Slavic past. At the same time, he published one of the most militant anti-Zionist pamphlets.29

Only in the 1990s was the myth of the Great Slavic prehistory combined with open militant antisemitism.30 The myth incorporates a notion of a world struggle between Good (Russian Slavs, i.e., “Aryans,” who occupied Europe and half of Asia in the distant past and defended their territories against various enemies) and Evil (the Jews, their most dangerous enemy). The emergence of the Jews, according to this myth, was the result of a conspiracy of evil forces who dreamed of world dominance and attempted to seduce the Slav-Aryans who stood in their way. All of world history can be seen as a process of Semitic Jewish expansion to push the Slavic “Vened” ancestors out of their original lands, destroying their civilization, and exploiting the indigenous peoples. (Note that the myth identifies the Slavs with the “Veneds” of classical writers, but in the mythic version, the Veneds were settled throughout the Near East and Europe.) The mythic history focuses on the conquest of the Canaanites by the ancient Israelite tribes, the Semitic invasion of Mesopotamia, the collapse of the Hittite kingdom, the flourishing of the Khazar khanate, and finally, the baptism of the Rus by Prince Vladimir. This latter event is crucial to the Neo-pagan myth, in which Prince Vladimir is said to be the son of a Jewish woman who sought through him to gain revenge for the brutal destruction of the Khazar khanate by Prince Sviatoslav in 965. Thus the Neo-pagan ideologues argue that Jews from the beginning of time sought to enslave the Russians.31 Christianity, many of them claim, was actually created by the Jews in order to establish world dominance.32 The transition to Christianity undermined the vital power of indigenous intellectual life and pushed those societies into a crisis that led to their enslavement and decline.

Not all Neo-pagan ideologues take such an anti-Christian stance. In order to enlarge their political base, some of them temper their criticism, and treat Russian Orthodoxy as a “younger brother” of Russian paganism, thus building a basis for a joint Christian–Neo-pagan struggle against a common enemy. ...

The Organizational Structure and Political Strategy of Contemporary Russian Neo-pagans

According to some experts, the Pamiat movement in its early period in the 1980s was based on Neo-pagan ideology.60 Its leaders were proud of their association with the Communist Party and were sincere advocates of the stable and highly integrated Soviet empire. There were neither Christian believers nor monarchists among them. At the same time, Neo-paganism included a mixture of Slavic paganism and popularized Hinduism. By the 1990s, however, Neo-pagans had access to the mass media and were able to establish political movements.

Three types of Neo-pagan groups exist today in Russia. First, there are small communes consisting of those who have moved to rural areas in order to live in relative isolation from mainstream society and observe their various rituals. One example is the family of A. Dobrovolski (Dobroslav) who settled in a small village in the Kirov region. A second group comprises urban intellectuals whose way of life differs little from that of their neighbors, although they gather from time to time to celebrate pagan holidays and perform rituals. “Ideological pagans” make up the third group, for whom paganism is a world-view, and an expression of their attitude toward the outside world. In recent times, this group has insisted that paganism is not a religion, but rather a system of scientific “Vedic” knowledge which supposedly flourished among the Slavic ancestors, but is now almost completely lost. Hence, the appeal is to restore, develop, and disseminate this knowledge for the benefit of humanity. A number of myths — with antisemitic undertones — form the basis of their beliefs. Recently, racist aspects have become more popular, and the need to rescue “white humanity” is proclaimed.

Only a small number of the first type of commune exists, scattered about the country, with each having a few dozen members. Communities of the second type are more widespread, each group having upwards of a hundred members. Sevesuch can be found in the larger Russian cities; three or four are found in Moscow, for example. The ideological Neo-pagans comprise the largest grouping, and include those who take part in political movements based on these ideas.

The role of the Neo-pagan ideological myths, especially those concerned with the supposed Aryan legacy of the Slavs, will be discussed separately. In recent years, these myths have spread rapidly, and have even been picked up by some Russian ethnonationalist political parties and movements which continue to stress their loyalty to Russian Orthodoxy and otherwise distance themselves from Neo-paganism. The most popular myth presents a Manichaean confrontation between good Aryans and evil Jews (Semites). In the past two or three years, such ideas have been disseminated by the Volgograd newspaper Kolokol, an organ of the restored Union of the Russian People. The newspaper is willing to publish anything appropriate for propaganda; it recently printed an article by a Neo-pagan denying the Holocaust. 61

The “Vedic” movement in St. Petersburg, established by the openly racist and antisemitic Viktor N. Bezverkhii, is the best known of the ideological Neo-pagan movements. ...

Is There Room for the Jews in a Russian Pagan State?

Contrasted with the tone of the articles found in the Neo-pagan press, the actual programs proposed by these groups is much more modest. For example, the Russian Party adopted a program in March 1993 aimed at the restoration of the Russian nation and the establishment of ethnic Russian power. Respect toward traditions, customs, and the religious beliefs of other peoples was emphasized, as well as the major role of Russian Orthodoxy in national self-awareness. In fact, the party recognized an equal role for Russian Orthodoxy and the “Aryan Vedic worldview” for the Russian people, and called for their restoration and strengthening.76 A similar statement was issued by the National Republican Party headed by Yuri Beliaev.77

However, all Russian Neo-pagans bear a grudge against the Jews. The Russian Party states that all the Russian misfortunes of the twentieth century were caused by “world Mason-Zionism” and the thirst of the “chosen people” for world supremacy. Hence, “the main goal of the Russian Party is a restoration of the Russian ethnos, its rescue from the Mason-Zionist yoke, and a restitution of goods, robbed by Zionists, to the laborers.” The party demands the separation of any Jewish elements from the Church, and a rejection of any “Masonic” notions of “chosenness.” The Russian party also advocates the introduction of “ethnic proportional representation” in both the power structures and in the professions. They say that the Zionist monopoly for power, control of the mass media, economics, education, and science must be eliminated. The party plans to “struggle irreconcilably against ideologies which are hostile to the Russian national idea, the Russian people, and Russia itself.”78 ...

Conclusion

Russian Neo-paganism is hardly original. Rather, it mirrors the same trend found in the West in which people look to pre-Christian and Eastern cults for solutions to various crises — ecological, economic, social, and intellectual.101 The past two millennia, they hold, has been dominated by the monotheistic “Judeo-Christian” religion that they see as anthropocentric, which legitimizes exploitation, persecutes minorities, and seeks to eliminate cultural diversity. Only a return to pre-Christian beliefs can foster proper care for the environment and inspire toleration and equality. It is allied with a feminism in which the Mother Goddess is worshipped and only women serve as priests. Contemporary Russian Neo-paganism is clearly influenced by Western “New Age” ideas, with its prophecies of a coming “spiritual revolution” that will change human nature and rescue humanity from catastrophe.103

Both Neo-paganism and the New Age movement are very amorphous; composed of many different and even opposite ideas, worldviews, and predictions about the future, some aspects of which are both questionable and alarming. Some groups, as we have seen, take an extremely negative view of multi-culturalism, object to the “mixture” of kinds, support isolationism and the prohibition of immigration.104 Racist and antisemitic trends are explicit, for example, in the occult teachings of Alice Bailey (founder of the New Age movement) and her followers, who wish to cleanse Christianity of its “Jewish inheritance” and reject the “Jewish Bible” as a prerequisite for entering the Age of Aquarius.105 In her view, the twentieth century has been a period of world catastrophe, soon to be replaced by a Golden Age. Jews were depicted as the “human product of the former Solar system,” linked with “World Evil” and justly punished for their rejection of the Messiah.106 Similar ideas are found in the philosophy of the Italian fascist Julius Evola, who held that the contemporary epoch was part of the decline which began in the 8th–6th centuries B.C. He, too, predicted a coming catastrophe to be followed by a Golden Age.107 ...

Open racism and disregard of Russian Orthodox values have marginalized Neo-paganism within Russian society, however, since a great many Russians—despite a general decline in religious feelings—consider Orthodoxy to be an invaluable part of their cultural legacy and a core element in Russian identity. This inclines some Neo-pagans to take a more moderate attitude towards the Orthodox church. It also seems unlikely that Neo-pagan racist ideas would become widely popular in Russia, since the Russian people were in fact formed through assimilation with various non-Russian ethnic groups with whom they made contact in the long course of territorial expansion. Most are well aware that such ethnic mixing has taken place in the twentieth century as well.

In spite of this, Russian Neo-paganism is a dangerous development. It is, for example, growing in popularity among the students of some Moscow universities. The most recent sociological surveys indicate that while in general, the intensity of antisemitism is decreasing in Russian society, it is growing significantly among those in the state bureaucracy, among intellectuals, and white collar workers.109 These latter groups are among those involved in Neo-pagan literary production and other activities. In this author’s observation, there is an increase in Neo-pagan literature, as well as that which reproduces and exploits these ideas. More and more people, especially youngsters, will be infused with such ideas in the future. ...

Footnotes supplied but omitted here. They are available at http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/13shnir.html

Victor A. Shnirelman received his Ph.D. in History and is a senior researcher of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has published studies and articles on interethnic relations and conflicts, and focused on Russian nationalist ideologies and antisemitism from the historical and current perspectives. He teaches the sociology of interethnic relations and nationalism, as well as an introduction to the History of antisemitism at the Jewish University of Moscow.

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