Ukrainian ‘native believers’ restore Slavic traditions at cost of neo-Nazi claims

A Sylenkoite priest preaching in a Ukrainian temple (Source: Yuri Samson, Narodna Pravda)

Transitions Online (12th April 2011) reports that there are 80 neo-pagan associations with a likely membership of 3,000 adults currently active in the Ukraine. The main vehicles for popularising neo-pagan views are magazines and rock bands. In the Ukraine, the associations describe themselves as rodnovery, or ‘native believers’, in contrast to the term ‘pagan’ which normally carries negative connotations for Ukrainians.

Magazines such as Perun, Snezhen, and Svarog carry numerous articles featuring metal bands, may of which encourage nationalism, racism and the cult of violence. Ancestral devotion is used to stir up resentment and prejudice towards those ‘not privileged to be white’. However, supporters also point to other rodnovery groups which avoid these extremist views and promote the rule of nature and the pagan gods, pointing to their essentially peaceful co-existence with humankind and nature.

Some rodnovery pagan shrines have been attacked in recent years, following the movement’s resurgence after the demise of communism and official prohibition. Local Orthodox priests are usually suspected. The rodnovery movement’s recognised ‘wise man’ or magus, Svitovit Pashnyk, recently spoke out against the destruction of shrines in several locations across the Ukraine.

The Ukrainian associations are linked to similar groups in Russia and Belarus although most acknowledge the historical precedence of the Kyevian state over that of Moscovy and consequently international meetings tend to favour the Ukraine as the location of choice. Most rodnovery claim that their civilisation dates to over 7,500 years ago and that long before the rise of Mesopotamian states, the white race had spread from the Carpathians to the River Don.

For further information there is also a short piece on the Ukraine in the wikipedia article on Slavic neo-paganism.

Explore posts in the same categories: new religious movements, pagan, Ukraine

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