Home Sociology Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Modern Paganism
The Search for Ancestors: Choices and Their Consequences
Several groups can be distinguished among Russian Neo-pagans depending on their religious preferences. The dominant majority does its best to integrate elements of numerous Eastern religious practices and beliefs, borrowed especially from Neo-Hinduism, with a reference to a pseudoscholarly idea about the close relatedness of the Slavs and Indo-Aryans. Naturally, they make extensive use of Theosophical heritage of Helena
Blavatsky and Nicolas and Helena Roerich, while enriching it with images of the Slavic gods. However, they express contempt for the Hare Krishna (International Society for Krishna Consciousness [ISKCON]) movement (e.g., see Krylov 1993: 8; Istarkhov 2000: 218; Ivanov 2007: 113, 133). In the 1990s, only the small “Spiritual Vedic Socialism” movement dwelt on the Aryan idea, constructing its ideology entirely on the basis of Hare Krishna (Danilov 1996). Some Neo-pagans, though, are suspicious of and have reservations about Neo-Hinduism. They are more fascinated by Zoroastrianism with its warlike traditions and dualist teaching about Good and Evil (Avdeev 1994). The followers of these ideas are less numerous and focus more on political rather than religious activity.
While constructing his “Vedic religion,” one of the most prolific writers, Aleksandr Asov, pays respect to both Hinduism and Zoroastrianism (Asov 1998: 8-10). At the same time, he argues that the Vedic faith was long maintained in an uncorrupted shape only in India and Russia, whereas after being reformed it disappeared among the Greeks, Romans and Germanics and was replaced by pagan polytheism. He claims that, despite the destruction of the “genuine” faith, the Slavs managed to preserve the “tradition of the Vedic faith” after the adoption of Christianity. According to Asov, it survived best among the Berendei1 descendants (the legendary Berendei were a Cossack clan, from whom Asov derived his roots) (Asov 1998: 16-18).
Some Neo-pagans favor the early Germanic cults. The followers of runic magic use the early Germanic runes for various speculative constructions and foretelling (Platov 1995; Troshin 1997). This movement was launched by the writer Viktor Pelevin who popularized the principles of fortunetelling developed by the American Ralph Blum in the early 1980s (Pelevin 1990). In 1994, the police disbanded the semi-political, semicriminal organization “Legion of the Werewolf,” which was a Neo-pagan group attempting to introduce an early Germanic cult. Its members were arrested, trialed and put in jail (Chelnokov 1996; Filatov 1996).
There were more unusual Neo-pagan groups in the 1990s that wanted to combine early Slavic, Hindu and Germanic heritage; the Aryan Pagan Community Satya Veda was an example. It was founded in February 1998 under the alleged protection of the god Veles (Arinushkin and Cherkasov 1998; Cherkasov 1998). Such an eclectic approach toward restoring a pagan tradition did not embarrass the community’s leaders, because, they claimed, one was dealing with related religious branches rooted in the same “vedizm, obshchii dlia vsekh ariitsev” [Vedism, common to all Aryans] (Istarkhov 2000: 196).
At the same time, the fast growth of Russian nationalism in the late 1990s resulted in the reorientation of even those Neo-pagans who had previously avoided associating themselves with the earlier Slavic tradition. Since then, many Neo-pagan groups have emphasized their Slavic origins and do their best to restore early Slavic pagan beliefs and rituals in their “pure” form. They distance themselves from external influence and avoid borrowings from outside. The cultural organization Viatiches—whose name was borrowed from the early Slavic tribe Viatiches—that emerged in Moscow in 1995 was one of them (Speransky et al. 1997). It is also telling that the term “rodnoverie” (Native Faith) became extremely popular from the very late 1990s on, and many Neo-pagan communities began to affiliate themselves with the Rodnoverie movement (Shnirelman 2012: 14). This environment demanded a manifestation of patriotism, and foreign names became inappropriate. As a result, even the Aryan Pagan Community Satya Veda had to revise its identity and become the Russian- Slavic Rodnoverie community of “Rodoliubie” (Clan-loving), thus, underlining its Slavic foundation.
Let us analyze more closely how several Russian Neo-pagan leaders (volkhvs) constructed their teachings. Initially, volkhv Velimir (the adopted pagan name of Nikolai Speransky), one of the founders of the Viatiches community, focused on the Slavic tribe Viatiches, who lived in Central Russia in the early medieval period. Speransky acknowledges that Slavic paganism embraced a great variety of beliefs and practices—indeed, each tribe enjoyed its own gods and sacred sites. Yet he claims that from time to time some thinkers managed to integrate all this variability into a uniform system based on the worship of the pan-Russian gods (those common to all ethnic Russians). His own teaching contains a Manichean belief in the eternal struggle between Good and Evil which is embedded in the world’s political and social arrangements. Good is represented by the god Belbog (also identified as Rod) and his followers, and Evil by the god Chernobog and his admirers. Allegedly, humans were created by both of these gods: Chernobog made the human body and Belbog provided the latter with an immortal soul. Thus, a dualistic principle was embedded in humans from the very beginning. They were provided with free will and Belbog/ Rod’s intervention was very restricted (Speransky 1996: 53-54; Speransky et al. 1997: 27-28). Besides free will, Speransky’s system maintains the Christian principle of postmortal consequences unknown to pre-Christian pagans; thus, he who commits evil deeds will be punished in the afterlife (Speransky et al. 1997: 29). Evidently, Chernobog’s image as bearer of Absolute Evil is also rooted in the Christian view of Satan. Finally, dissatisfied with the lack of required sources, Speransky borrowed a lot from Russian folklore.
Speransky wanted to avoid mixing Slavic paganism with foreign traditions and therefore rejected Helena and Nicolas Roerich’s “Living Ethics,” which he regarded as useless for Russia, being based on Hinduism. He also rejected Christianity as being based on “Semitic ideology,” referring to anti-Christian and anti-Semitic literature from the period of the Enlightenment up to the contemporary works of Dobroslav.2 At the same time, he is sympathetic toward Russian folk Christianity, as if it managed to eliminate Semitic ideology from Christianity (Speransky et al. 1997: 19). Contrary to scholarly data and the views of many other Russian Neopagans, Speransky restricts the “Indo-European” to European people only, declining to ascribe it to the inhabitants of non-European regions, including India. Yet he acknowledges relationships between Russian paganism and the ideas of the early Iranian book, the Rig-Veda (Speransky et al. 1997).
While dissatisfied with the scarcity of data on the pre-Christian past of the Eastern Slavs, Speransky made an attempt to use Baltic materials. He familiarized himself with Lithuanian Neo-pagan teachings and was fascinated by their ideas about the state of “Darna,” which allowed one to distance oneself from current passing interests and reach harmony with the surrounding world. According to Speransky (1999: 4), Darna is human existence in accord with the Earth and the ancestors, which provides feelings of happiness and, thus, is favored by the gods. Therefore, despite his suspicious attitude toward non-Slavic traditions, Speransky found it beneficial to borrow from Lithuanian pagan wisdom, because, he believed, this was justified by the close relationships between the early Slavs and the Balts. Further, he claims that the teaching of Darna is able to rescue the world.
In general, Speransky worries little about the relationship between Good and Evil, and more about overcoming the drive toward unlimited consumption; he advocates a shift to self-restriction and rejection of excess materialism, arguing that Darna can teach humans to remain modest (Speransky 1999: 12, 26). One can reach Darna when far from the city, in close contact with virgin nature: thus, one can arrive at a “natural faith” (Speransky 1999: 28-38).
Based in the city of Kaluga, volkhv Vadim Kazakov and his followers stick to pan-Slavic ideas and stand for the insulation of a “traditional” all-Slavic religion. They reject the label “pagan,” calling themselves the “Union of Slavic Communities.” In this way, they underline their unbroken ties with the “Slavic world,” which they separate from all others. Yet, they highly respect Friedrich Nietzsche as an ally in their struggle against Christianity. Besides, in their book Mir slavianskikh bogov [The World of the Slavic Gods], Kazakov and the leader of another pagan group (the Vedic community Troian, based in the city of Obninsk), volkhv Bogumil, introduced more than 30 gods, including early Slavic gods (Swarog, Dazhbog, Perun and the like), Slavicized Hindu (Vyshen’/Vishnu, Intra/Indra, Kryshen’/ Krishna) and early Greek (Dyi/Zeus) gods, as well as Iranian gods (Semargl, Khors), who were integrated into the Slavic pantheon relatively late (probably in the tenth century or earlier). Also included were gods from the forged Book of Vles (Pchelich and the like) and even heroes from Russian fairy tales (such as the evil sorcerer, Koshchei), together with gods (like Chislobog, responsible for counting and numbers) invented by the authors themselves (Kazakov and Bogumil 1997).
Another path was chosen by the volkhv Veleslav3 (Ilia Cherkasov), who initially constructed his teaching with reference to Germanic and Indian sources. However, with the wave of patriotism in the late 1990s, he became one of the founders of the Rodnoverie stream within contemporary Russian Neo-paganism, although his teaching retained traces of his former beliefs. In contrast with Viatiches, the Satya Veda community was more open, perhaps because of its younger student members. On the one hand, they attempted to restore the “Aryan” cults, that is, the beliefs of early Indo-European groups, mainly the Germanic and Indian ones, but with an emphasis on “the Russian spirit” and Russian consciousness. On the other, they claimed that membership in any religious denomination could not block enrollment in the community, regardless of racial, religious or political identity (Cherkasov 1998: 74). Veleslav’s attitude is based on his belief in the archetypical nature of paganism as the basic religion of the Tradition,4 which he says contains the roots of all later religions in the world.5 Notably, they have reservations about the Book of Vles, but are not embarrassed about borrowing from it.
Veleslav graduated from high school in 1990 and during the 1990s familiarized himself with various religious systems, favoring mainly NeoOrientalist ones. Russian Orthodoxy, which he learned about from Deacon Andrew Kuraev’s lectures, did not attract him; he decided to stick to paganism. He explains his search for spirituality with reference to his dislike for the culture of consumerism. While sharing many of the ideas of the national patriots,6 he disagreed with their emphasis on violent behavior ranging from hate speech to physical attacks (Aitamurto 2011; Shnirelman 2013). In his view, to get rid of the chains of modern civilization one had to return to genuine traditional values. While understanding it was impossible to return to them entirely, he believed that one could reconstruct the “Aryan-Slavic spirit” and at the same time manifest universal values through it (Cherkasov 1998: 74-75). His view of evolution dwells on Rene Genon’s traditionalist scheme depicting a sequence of Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages. He was fascinated by the traditionalist view of cyclical time, which anticipated the arrival of the Golden Age. He treated this as a “Neo-Aryan” approach and did his best to build a living religious system which embraced a mythology, beliefs and rites.
The first leader of the Moscow pagan community, which emerged in 1989, Selidor7 (Aleksandr Belov), traces his origin to the Teutonic knights, which legitimated his extensive borrowings from Germanic folklore. In addition, he identifies his ancestors as Aryans, and this opened the way to both Indian folklore and esoteric wisdom. He also uses numerous archaeological sources from prehistoric Europe. Identifying commonalities among classical and early medieval peoples (Rugiis, Rosses, Rosomons, Etruscans, Ruyans and Varangians), he claimed in the early 1990s that all originated from the earlier proto-Slavic community, going so far as to claim that the Rus’ emerged much earlier than the Slavs. He identified the Indo- Europeans with the Cro-Magnon people, presented Sanskrit as the language of Neolithic Europe, and derived “Slavism” directly from the early Bronze Age Battle Axe (known also as Corded Ware) culture. He associated this culture with the Trypillian culture, which flourished much earlier, and he had no doubt that it enjoyed its own Trypillian state. He dated belief in the Trinity (“Tribozhie”) to the Neolithic period, the “period of the common European Vedas,” and accused Christianity of plagiarism and distorting this “great idea.” He developed all these ideas in order to trace the allegedly unbroken development of the “Russian ethnos” from the Paleolithic and to present paganism as invaluable knowledge which was more developed than contemporary science (Belov 1992). One learns from his books that the Aryans enjoyed “higher knowledge” long before Judaism and Christianity and that the latter obtained all their knowledge by stealing it from the Aryans (Belov 2007: 23, 26, 33-34). Thus, one can blame Christianity for brutally and thoughtlessly exterminating the “early
Aryan heritage.” Belov’s ideas also included the Aryan arrival from the North Pole (Belov 1992: 11, 47).
The well-known volkhv Dobroslav8 (Alexei Dobrovol’sky) was fascinated with Blavatsky’s works, which opened for him a vast field for borrowings. He aimed his religion toward the Slavs and shared the myth of the Russes as an ancient people who settled extensively throughout Eurasia and gave rise to numerous other peoples (Dobroslav 1996: 6). While projecting contemporary ethical norms into the remote past, he was searching for the roots of ethics in a Paleolithic Golden Age when harmony prevailed, and people did not kill animals (Dobrovol’sky 1994: 9-11, 71). He argued that the early Aryan tribes long declined to do that, and that their Sun god Mithra did not approve of bloody sacrifices (Dobrovol’sky 1994: 66). Dobroslav failed to mention both the important role of animal sacrifice in the Iranian cult of Mithra and a well-developed early Indo- European pastoralism. Perhaps for this reason he avoided making reference to the Book of Vles, which enjoyed high respect among many other Neo-pagans. Instead, he condemned the bloody sacrifices allegedly practiced in early Judaism (Dobrovol’sky 1994: 49, 70).
While identifying himself as pagan, Dobroslav borrowed a lot from esotericism: he referred to global compassion and sympathy as an occult superfield which encompassed the universe, the moral-cosmic unity of existence, bioenergy which radiated at death, telepathy, karma, the astral field, the Single Initial Will and World Reason (Dobrovol’sky 1994: 13-15, 17-19, 33). He borrowed extensively from various cultures— African, Central American, Chinese and Siberian—and exploited shamanic beliefs and practices. He was not embarrassed that this might undermine the idea of Slavic originality. Indeed, Dobroslav even enriched his teaching with ideas borrowed from Christianity (such as postmortal reward).
The Omsk volkhv Aleksandr Khinevich founded his Early Russian Ingliist Church “Dzhiva Temple of Inglia” in 1991. Initially, he concentrated on the early German chronicles, mainly the Island sagas, where he picked up the term “Inglings.” Later he turned to esotericism and developed an original teaching based on a syncretic Slavic-Aryan myth.9 He also included Indian sources. His teaching integrates gods of a great many religions, who are respected as prophets (Khinevich 2000). Khinevich avoided using the term “religion,” let alone “neo-paganism.” He talked of the “early ancestors’ beliefs” that were neither monotheistic nor polytheistic (Khinevich 2000: 16), while offering his students dozen of gods, including Slavic, Germanic, Iranian and Indian ones, as well as those invented by Asov and himself. This multiplicity of gods was presented as incarnations of the Universal God. Khinevich borrowed the idea of reincarnation from Hinduism and esotericism, and the idea of the struggle between Light and Darkness from Zoroastrianism and Christianity (and also from esotericism). Christianity with its Ten Commandments was regarded as backward in comparison to Ingliism, which enjoyed 99 Commandments. Khinevich’s eclecticism is further seen in his invention of a variety of festivals, such as a Day of Krishna, Day of Buddha, Day of Osiris, Day of Moses commemoration and the like.
Above all, Inglings are preoccupied with nationalism. Despite the numerous borrowings described above, they claim to reject cultural borrowings from outside and stand for a “Russian spiritual culture” which can rescue people from corruption (Yashin 2001). Together with quite reasonable and noble appeals, their teachings contain racist ideas, for example, segregation and prohibition of interracial marriages.
The syncretic nature of the Slavic-Aryan myth manifested also in the “Temple of Perun’s Wisdom” founded by Khinevich. The entrance was decorated with a signboard covered with Book of Vles paleography. Russian icons were placed next to pictures of Konstantin Vasiliev (a cultic artist among Neo-pagans) and swastika. One could find images of Perun and Krishna and the Chinese Yin-Yang sign as well.
Similar to esoteric science, Inglings are ambivalent toward Christianity. On the one hand, they respect Jesus Christ as one of the prophets, but claim that the early Slavic volkhvs were aware of the major Christian ideas (such as the Universal God and the Trinity) long before Christ. On the other hand, they accuse the Church of distorting genuine Christianity, whose major ideas were allegedly contained in the apocryphal literature which the Church rejected. The Inglings’ journal Dzhiva-Astra has published such Albigeois apocrypha as the “Tainaia kniga Ioanna” [Secret book of Ioann], as well as the “Novyi zavet Sviatogo Apostola Fomy” [New Testament of the Holy Apostle Thomas], discovered in Egypt in 1945—both referred to extensively by many Russian nationalists. Like many other Neo-pagans, the Inglings treat Christianity as an antinational agent aimed at the enslavement of people, mostly the Russians. Their antiChristian reasoning contains anti-Semitic connotations as well (Yashin 2001; Shnirelman 2015, vol. 2, 72-74).
Khinevich depicted Christ as the “Velikii Putnik” [Great Wanderer], who was sent by the gods to the “Velikaia Rasa” [Great Race], and accused the “foreign enemies” who arrived from the “world of Darkness” of his murder. Although he extensively used code words and allegories, the context and content of his narrative left no doubt that by “foreign enemies” he meant Judaism and Christianity. He claimed that the “Great Wanderer” was an “insider” and that Christian missionaries distorted his genuine teaching (Khinevich 1999: 37-50, 121-128).
During the 1990s, the St. Petersburg pagan and esoteric scientist Viktor Kandyba disseminated his own teaching of the “Russian religion.” His major book Istoriia Russkoi Imperii [History of the Russian Empire] was published in 1997. Its structure was influenced by the Bible: the author offered an ambitious scheme of human development based on genealogical principles, whose core was a history of the Russian people. Historical constructions were mixed with religious reasoning, prayers and ... political slogans. The book was intentionally written in an ethnocentric way: it covered mainly the Russian people and was aimed at the Russian people. Yet, what Kandyba meant by the Russian people was confusing—sometimes he wrote about all the inhabitants of Eurasia and sometimes about “the white race” or even “the yellow race” (Kandyba 1997).
The “Russkii Bog” [Russian God] was at the center of the “Russian religion.” While inventing this religion, Kandyba borrowed from the Bible without reservation and claimed that he was returning stolen and lost wisdom to the Aryans. Thus, in his books, one finds well-known extracts from the New Testament, including the Sermon on the Mount. Like the early Medieval chroniclers, he used biblical expressions and prayers, but in a transformed shape. For example, one of his books opened with the epigraph: “ Vnachale byla ideia, I ideia byla v Bogei Bog byl ideia” [First, there was an idea, and the idea was in God and God was the idea] with reference to the Rig-Veda. He also borrowed a strategy from the Old Testament: using a pseudo-genealogical structure to combine historical narrative with religious teaching, closely integrating human history with the history of a particular people (Kandyba and Zolin 1997). The prophets of this religion included Zoroaster, Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mohammad, along with some others invented by the author. All were called “Russian prophets,” and Islam, Buddhism and Russian Orthodoxy were presented as younger branches of the “Russian religion” (Kandyba 1997: 299).
What allowed Kandyba to relate Islam and sometimes Buddhism to “Russianness”? First, he claimed that in their evolution many peoples had broken away from the original Russian stock, and, second, that they had retained a recollection of the “Russian Northern Homeland.” Being “Russian” thus includes all who feel deeply the sacredness of the territory they live in, and this sense allegedly differentiates all Russians from other people, who understand national borders in rational terms (Kandyba and Zolin 1997: 82). Kandyba emphatically protested against identifying Russians with only one of their tribes, the Slavs (Kandyba 1997: 356). In a broad sense, he identified Russians with all people of the “white” and “yellow” races (Kandyba 1997: 414 ff.).
To put if differently, Kandyba’s construction contained the Eurasian idea of the unity of all who had ever inhabited either the Russian Empire or the USSR. It is no accident that he dreamed of a Russian-Islamic union and a “restoration of Empire,” which, in his view, should legitimately include the territory from early Libya to the Pacific Ocean and from the “Holy Arctic” to the “Holy Indian Ocean” (Kandyba 1997: 355). The Empire was to be consolidated by the restored Russian religion, which Kandyba viewed as the “national state ideology” (Kandyba 1997: 355). This is another feature of his view of religion and its social role. He had grown up in an environment of scientific atheism focused on the political and social functions of religion rather than on spirituality. Therefore, he treated religion as ideology, calling the earliest priests “ideologists” (Kandyba 1997: 14). That is why his “Bible” was sometimes reminiscent of a political tract and contained slogans exhorting readers: “Enroll in the Russian Religion, and we will be a real physical and military force,” “Everyone has to make his choice—either you are Russian or the enemy: the enemy of the Russian people, enemy of God, enemy of Truth and enemy of life on Earth.” Side by side with these appeals, one came across the slogan of the Russian National Congress (Sobor) of General A. Sterligov: “My—Russkie! S nami—Bog!” [We are Russians! God is with us!] (Kandyba 1997: 56-57, 92, 355, 467).
Another way to construct a monotheist religion was taken by the writer Aleksandr Asov. He is an advocate of a primeval monotheism, which he identifies as proto-Vedism, the true faith which, he argues, later divided into regional and national traditions. Russian Vedism, or Orthodoxy, was among the latter. Asov argues that it was the Russian tradition of Vedism that brought the genuine Vedic teaching to us in better shape. He claimed that it was the source of the Vedic faith and Vedic culture, and that it still determines the life of modern civilization to a major extent (Asov 1998: 14). He contrasts Vedic teaching with paganism, which he identifies as pantheistic and polytheistic, rejecting of the universal God identified with Rod. For years, Asov occupied himself inventing “Holy Scripture” for Russian Neo-paganism. His teaching consists of two parts: Slavic myths and Slavic sacred history. To restore them, he extensively uses apocryphal literature, in particular, the “Golubinaia kniga” [Pigeon’s book], a collection of religious verses of the late fifteenth to early sixteenth centuries, and claims that the god Rod was depicted there as Christ.
Asov’s fantasies are not restricted by time, space, local religious tradition or linguistic rules. The early Iranian gods Semargl and Khors are presented as genuine Slavic gods. Yav’, Prav’ and Nav’, invented by the emigrant Yuri Miroliubov,10 are imagined as essential principles of the Vedic religion. The Biblical Trinity loses its mystical meaning and turns into an ordinary (although heavenly) family: Father, Son and Mother. Asov’s supernatural world is inhabited by numerous gods and goddesses (there are even several Trinities), yet it does not stop him viewing his religion as “monotheist.” Mount El’brus in the North Caucasus appears to be the sacred stone of Alatyr’ from Russian fairy tales, and prince Bus of the historical Ants (the early Slavic tribes of the fourth to seventh centuries) becomes an “incarnation of the Supreme God,” who, in his glory and destiny, can challenge Christ. Asov is sensitive to the Biblical idea of the Messiah, and his religion incorporates both precursor (Veles) and Messiah (Vyshen’) (Asov 1998: 41).
Asov is not embarrassed about borrowing Biblical legends and Slavicizing them: the tale of Noah is rewritten and ascribed to the first man Vania (Asov 1998: 89-90); narratives of how the child Koliada was put in the river in a basket and found by Khors, as well as the childhood of Aryi Oseden’ who was hidden from the Dragon (Asov 1998: 128, 250-251), are evidently based on the legend of the wonderful rescue of Moses. Asov integrates the Christian idea of postmortal reward, which sends righteous souls to paradise in the Sun, while limbo (the threshold of Hell) is connected with the Moon. All other souls are to reincarnate and come back to Earth (Asov 1998: 57)—this idea is evidently borrowed from Hinduism. Pictures of the pagan gods have been drawn by Asov in collaboration with M. Presniakov according to the Christian canon. Asov calls them “icons” and decorates them with their names in Cyrillic, as is common for Russian Christian icons.
While depicting the “Slavic gods” Asov borrows also from archaeological materials—not without confusion. For example, his Aryan-Scythian Sun god of the third millennium B.C. (Asov 1998: 130) proves to be a variety of the Scythian goddess Apy (Earth goddess), wife of the Supreme god Papay, whose images date to the third century B.C.
Like Kandyba, Asov follows the Bible and builds up a grand historical scheme, which ascribes Indo-European and Aryan traditions to the Slavs and discovers Slavic roots in the Paleolithic. While presenting his fantasies as scholarly truth, Asov refers to a thick layer of Vedic literature. He includes not only Hindu and Zoroastrian texts, but also Russian folklore: fairy tales, legends and parables, regardless of their background (sometimes Christian). He argues that Russian folklore maintained the “original Vedas” lost by the Aryans on their way to India. Although he acknowledges using Biblical materials (Asov 1998: 141-143), he accuses the Bible’s authors of borrowing from Aryan wisdom and deliberately distorting it (Asov 1998: 260-263). Finally, Asov uses fakes—the Book of Vles and the Hymn of Boyan. To legitimate this, he naturalizes and Russifies various religious traditions. He argues that all religious traditions that were founded by Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster and Christ were as native for the Ants’ princes as the teachings of Kryshen’, Koliada and Veles. The Russian Vedic teachings (close to Vishnuism) and Zoroastrianism were born in lands run by the Bus princes and Keianids (Asov 1998: 285).
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