All religions of the world have worship for a God, but in Russia, gods lived with relatives as members of the same social group. Thus, it is reasonable to say that social stereotypes existed in the Ancient Russian Society.
If the god of the Hunt did not give the bag to the Rosich (the name for the Ancient Russians), it was then possible for the Rosich to punish this god. A Rosich had the power to crush the god (to fire him) or to deprive the god of a meal (sacrifice). If a god’s destruction occurred, a new one was later produced.
The supreme god was the god of the Sun, named PERUN. There was a T’MA of gods (T’MA = one thousand).
What was the basis of this partnership?
Who were the leaders? The Rosiches or the gods?
The sacredness of a Rosich depended on the cleanliness of his nature – internal, spiritual cleanliness; cleanliness of body; cleanliness of his environment; including social, moral and economic cleanliness of trade relations. Thus, the process of cleansing spiritual “dirt” was the process of increasing the degree of the “Sacredness” of members of the Ancient Society, and consequently, to present them to their gods.
The essence of Christianity when it arrived in Russia was the social structure of total slavery to worship and subordination to Christian symbols and their presenters.
The attitude of the Rosiches to natural resources (Flora & Fauna)
Rosiches took both fish and animal. They took both to store, and for exchange, but they only took as much as necessary. The stocks were calculated with the utmost care as were the exact amount of the needs (requirements) of society, thereby, “business-plan” was created over the span of many years.
he relationship between gods and people was definitely simple. The Rosiches addressed the god, as if a father, a senior brother, or a teacher (guru). People performed large sacrifices to gods that is to say that the god was fed, given water, and dressed (decorated). If a god defaulted on a request, the meal was being taken away from him and sometimes he was even fired and a short time later a new god was created.
In Ancient Society the children were brought up and educated by the entire community, therefore there was very little interest to which the children were born to. Consequently, surnames were taken away. In Western Europe the genealogical (family) tree played a considerably more important role. Summary: The main purpose of the Holiday was the Duplication of Life instead of making pleasure for the gods.
The evening of Ivan-Kupala’s day
(*comment: The Sun – “He”, not “It”!)
On the day (Solntzevorot-day) of Summer Solstice, it was the shortest night and the longest day of the year. The ancient belief was that the sun is forced down from his way and the clear-eyes girl Zarya (Daybreak) helps him on his way again. She not only conducts him across the sky, but also cleans him with water (wash him) with the help of the early-morning dew from the summer well which fragranced the fields of grass. Therefore when the morning dew was on the grass, people bathed with the power over each other using cold water and floated in the river. They believed that the water on this day has a specific cleansing force.
The Mongolian Yoke had come to Russia. Along with its arrival came the loss of the ancient Russia’s joyful holidays. The Great Trouble had come and there was no room for holidays in Russian life.
New Times have come and three hundred years of the Mongolian Yoke is buried in oblivion, though three centuries of violence and oppression as left an indelible mark on Russia’s cultural traditions.
1. There was no strong, centralized State authority until the reign of Peter the Great (1672-1725), as well as, no strong, centralized religious power as there was in Western Europe.
2. Christianity in Russia was Orthodox, as opposed to Catholic, as in the rest of Europe, so it had a more humanistic side.
3. Russia did not partake in Crusades.
4. Lastly, the tone of Russian life remained in some sense “pagan” or “natural”.
Moreover, there are many national customs which could possibly be understood as the continuation of pagan or natural ways, since the old days determined conditions on when it was time to work the fields, sow the seed, etc. Peasants honor these ancient customs very much (and they stool alone from Christianity!)
In spring, before sowing has begun, a husband should make love to his wife on arable land. In so doing, insure that there will be a good harvest.
In summer, after the end of sowing, on the night of Kupala’s Day Eve, the same is done for the same purpose.
At the end of summer, after the last sheaf was made, naked women somersaulted and rolled on naked, arable land for the purpose of removing the tiredness from their bodies and from the land.
In winter, after a Russian bath, males swam in a hole in the ice of lakes and river and females rolled in the snow. It was done in order to catch the power of the water and for good health.
The Peasant tone of Russian life was very close to nature was natural and even expedient. Therefore, nudity was understood to be a part of nature.
Religious authority rose in power and became Western European oriented. Already in the cities Russian Baths were prohibited, but in the villages the new fashion had not come, so nothing really changed.
If SN of the ancient Rosiches was the bright expression of ritual character. Russians from the time of the Mongolian Yoke to the reign of Catherine II considered it to be simply ordinary phenomenon. After the imposition of restrictions on SN, the notice the loss!
Europe had come to Russia and brought with it not only religious, secular education and temporal power, but also with European immigrants, the European fashion of milky-white skin. Now all women tried to protect themselves from direct sunlight. Umbrellas and swimming suits, which covered the body from the neck to the heels, appeared. Sunburn was considered to be extremely vulgar and was condemned by society.
The situation continued until the reign of Nicholas II (1894-1917), who not only removed all restrictions on SN but he was also an avid participant and believer in nudist ideals. The thought that nudity could help preserve and improve the health of society. His entire family and their attendants were also followers of nudism. One can readily see this from the photographic and cinematic records of the Tsarist family.
At the same time, there was no philosophic basis for nudism in Russia at all. It was the natural nudity of individuals based on the primordial Russian style of behavior.
Why was there a prohibition on SN during the reign of Empress Catherine II? The fact is, in Russian history. Catherine II is considered to be the most extravagant of all Russian Empresses. The lifestyle forced upon the Russian court by Catherine II resulted in extravagance of the entire ruling clique. This extravagance may be considered to be the major factor in the prosecution of SN. Nudity was declared to be a sin, i.e. to be harm to society.
From the start of the reign of Bolshevism until the creation of the U.S.S.R., SN was not considered to be harm to society. It is rumored that Lenin himself enjoyed the pleasure of being naked in the sun. Then Stalin came to power, creating a totalitarian society and almost immediately began prosecuting SN.
It seems that in a society where the ruling clique is very extravagant, from the standpoint of common morality; where totalitarianism is present (it can be qualified as extravagance of power and policy); where there is infringement upon the vital interests of the social majority; there is complete absence of social and body freedom.
During the time of Khrushchev’s “thaw” in the mid-sixties, Soviet naturists began to spread across the land naturally, illegally and in secret locations.
But in the country named “The Country of Socialist Victory”, there was no place for each human behavior. It was considered that in the U.S.S.R. there was no prostitution, no Western-style Sexual Revolution –there was no sex at all! Under these conditions there were no nudists/naturists either. Nudists were considered to be mentally deranged.
Since 1986 with the arrival of “Reorganization” and general democratization (Perestroika) of society, first in the former Soviet Baltic States and later in the major cities of Russia, the legalization of naturist societies has begun. It is interesting to note that nearly all officially registered Russian societies are not referred to as being nudist. There are societies of “Healthy Lifestyle,” the “Societies of Sun Fans,” “Free Body Culture Society,” various clubs named “Harmony,” “Sun,” “Aqua,” etc. Why?
The foreign word, “nudism,” has no roots in Russia because of past history. It was definitely connected with bad behavior from the point of view of Soviet leaders. Russian naturism has a multi-century link with the defense of nature. Its motto is “The Health of Spirit, the Health of Body and the Health of Nature”. It seems like the other side of the religious “coin,” named the Russian Holy Trinity.
The following are brief remarks not relating to the main article:
1. We would like to consider here the aspect of Russian naturism.
As a rule, the average Russian naturist is representative of the middle to lower economic classes of Russians.
Representatives of the “New Russian Rich People” (major businessmen), presently would not prefer to relax on a common-clothing-optional beach.
The social mask of big businessmen imitates the lifestyle of the prosperous Western nouveau riche.
Such a lifestyle includes some compulsory (from the nouveau riche viewpoint) elements:
- relax on the most fashionable beaches of the West
- following fashion, particularly the present Western fashion of snow-white skin among the upper class
- the belief that sunburn and intense solar radiation is harmful!
It is very important for Russian big businessmen to achieve a preferential level of safety. This includes body protection and defense against unauthorized photo or film of them in public places.
On the other hand, many of our famous businessmen, actors and other unsanctimonious people would like to become naturists, but they are forced to follow the rules of behavior for their class.
It is well known here that most Russian naturists are intelligent people: students, small businessmen, doctors, etc. By the way, there are very few workers as well as big businessmen in naturism.
2. We certainly do not think that Russian naturism is a unique one. Probably, the history of naturism is closely linked with the history of other peoples and has historical roots. It would be interesting to get acquainted with the history of other nations with respect to naturism. Perhaps we have more in common than sunburns in certain places!
3. Russia has only just recently learned about the effects of long-term exposure to sunlight and its effect on mental and psychical health.
We are very interested in learning about how you deal with these problems.
We are very interested in how you save the history of naturism.
We are very interested in how you understand the healthy lifestyle of naturism.