Home Sociology Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Modern Paganism
It would be misleading to argue that a substantial number or even the majority of participants who participated in the Kupala in Maloyaroslavlets would not consider themselves nationalists or patriots in some sense. The emphasis on “our” Russian or Slavic tradition was evident at the festival in numerous ways, and it seems safe to say that the majority would have answered “yes” to the straightforward question, “Are you a patriot of your country?” However, the advantage of the survey question about the meaning of motherland is that it reveals some nuances in the ways people feel connected to their “country” and their identifications and sense of belonging. Even the nationalistically oriented answers differed greatly. The ethno-nationalist ideology manifested itself in, for example, the two answers which referred to a slogan common in aggressive nationalist circles: “Where our ancestors have shed their blood, that land is ours.” Some people subscribed to statist nationalism in their understanding of rodina: “Put together, all the lands of Russian people, which form a state,” and “the content of the national anthem of Russia.” For others, spirituality was more central in their definition of motherland: “One’s own land. One’s own faith. One’s own people.”
The survey in Maloyaroslavets demonstrates that in addition to ethnic and civic forms of nationalism, an inclination to regard national or ethnic categories as secondary to local or global identification finds much support. Hence, this study challenges the interpretation of Rodnoverie as a movement based solely on nationalist concerns and the claim that all Rodnoverie activists subscribe to a nationalist ideology. The variety in Rodnoverie attitudes toward nationalism is illustrated by the relatively small proportion of respondents who defined “motherland” in the framework of the Russian state, and in the number of people who associated the “motherland” either with some local area or with a global context. The different ways of constructing and envisioning a Pagan community also reveal that Rodnovers may define the “Pagan community” with which they identify in terms of ethnicity, but it may also be based on some local space or a sense of being part of a transnational community: “the Earth on which our ancestors were born, the whole globe”; “where your soul yearns for, irrespective of where you were born, but where you feel connected to the earth, nature and where you feel that you are making people happy”; “everything around us, everything spiritual and dear.”
As mentioned above, the published literature may give an overtly nationalist picture of the Rodnoverie movement, especially if the focus is placed on searching and analyzing nationalist claims. The survey demonstrates the diversity of respondents’ identifications and belongings, but the festival itself also testifies that nationalism is not (any longer) at the core of Rodnoverie religious practices in the mainstream movement. This is more notable considering that the other organizer, the USCSNF, has been considered as representing the nationalist wing of Rodnoverie. The description of the festival in its advertisements and festival activities focused on the spiritual tradition instead of nationalistic concerns. The published “rules for behavior” for the festival explicitly prohibited “political propaganda” or the “display of political views by means of, for example, flags.” After the festival, attendees’ experiences were asked about in the “Kupala 2014”10 group on the social media platform “VKontakte.ru,” which is often described as “Russian Facebook.” Both in 2014 and 2015, negative features of the event mentioned by some participants included the actions of individual “extremists” or people who promoted political slogans. For example, one discussant stated that his community found shouts of “death to the enemies” unacceptable. The discussion11 included other similar comments: “The group of nationalists who stood aside and kept going on about races disturbed a little bit, but all in all, they behaved peacefully.” This comment aroused some defense of the term “nationalist”: “Do you not then consider yourself a nationalist? I thought it is exactly these kinds of festivals in which they [nationalists] gather.” However, the term was later used by others with apparently negative connotations: “I didn’t notice any drunken people or nationalists, only happy faces, people having fun and an excellent marketplace.” Such comments convey both that ultra-nationalist behavior was marginal at the festival and that it has become socially unacceptable—at least at this largest Rodnoverie event in Russia.
|< Prev||CONTENTS||Next >|