According to the laws of the sect: why Alexey Pivovarov romanticizes Russian Old Believers
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According to the laws of the sect: why Alexey Pivovarov romanticizes Russian Old Believers

15 July , 13:36
In his film about Russian Old Believers living in Brazil, the famous television journalist essentially promotes Orthodox religious fundamentalism, that is not better than the Islamic.

The theme of the Old Believers has again become fashionable in Russia. Not so long ago, Old Believer Danila Zaitsev, who was born in 1959 in China and raised in Argentina, received a prestigious literary award for his unpretentious autobiography "The Tale and Life of Danila Terentievich Zaitsev." He belongs to the third generation of Old Believers and told in his book how he tried to return to his historical homeland - there was such a program in Russia - however, he encountered bureaucracy, corruption, and frank swindle that were unusual for us and so familiar in our country. So, to decide on a return, you need to think very well.

This topic was picked up by the famous Russian TV journalist Aleksey Pivovarov, who flew with the film crew to Brazil and talked with Russian Old Believers in the depths of the jungle there. Pivovarov claims in his film, which has already gained one and a half million views on the Web, that they look and think almost the same way as Russian peasants before the October Revolution. Only instead of the usual Russian cabbage, avocados, mangoes and passion fruit are grown:

“We flew to Brazil to capture the life of these people who a hundred years ago left their homeland, but in fact were the only ones who still live in that Russia that we have irretrievably lost....”

This raises an important question: is the romanticization of the Russian Old Believers inherent in its authors appropriate for all the exoticism of this film? That's what viewers think about it.

Blogger Magomed Kurbanov compared the problems of Brazilian Old Believers that they would inevitably have when moving to their homeland, with the problems of residents, for example, the Caucasian villages of modern Russia:

“Alexey Pivovarov shot the documentary film“ How Russian Old Believers Live in South America ”for the Channel“ Revision ”. This work is about the life of Russian Old Believers who have long settled in Brazil. However, some of them are now starting to return to Russia - to live in the Far East as part of the state program. This is the main leitmotif of the film.

This is really a very high quality documentary. We can say, in the best traditions of the Parthenian school: chic full-scale shooting, attention to detail, reverent attitude to heroes, to their views, to their lifestyle. Films of Alexey Pivovarov almost always differ in their constant attempt to show something life-affirming, something positive. Even in hopeless situations, stories, they are characterized by this search for the light at the end of the tunnel. The film about Brazilian Russians is generally indicative in this regard and, inevitably moving on to the content of the film, a number of different thoughts and questions arise, perhaps not as optimistic as the author himself at the end of the film.

Even I, a Muslim, are quite conservative in some things, I understand that we are modern Russians - and these Russians from a distant continent are too different. And this is not about faith and religion, which are emphasized even in the name of the film. Thank God, in today's Russia there is no persecution of the Old Believers and this moment will not be a problem for them when moving. We are different in the cultural sense, in interpersonal communication, in everyday life.

Many viewers of the Russian Caucasus will probably notice a lot in common, familiar, even close to themselves in the way of the characters of the film, especially those who live in the countryside. Moreover, both Muslims and Caucasian Russians. Surely a lot of relatives for themselves will be discovered by the villagers in the conditional Tomsk region. But the trick is that all these Russians have a different life on the move, an hour away (we will designate it as a “city”), where everything has been different for a long time and this other life has attracted young people, it’s attracted to it (for completely different reasons) seeks. And then, once in the city, even the most conservative representatives of this youth are trying to find, to compromise. Are these immigrants ready, able to keep their children from this all? “Will they not lose the very uniqueness that is so picturesquely shown in the film?”

Political analyst Dmitry Nekrasov spoke even more critically about Pivovarov’s pathos:

“I watched with great interest the film by Aleksey Pivovarov about the life in Brazil of Russian Old Believers who had fled from the Bolsheviks in their time. The truth is very textured and this is the rare case when an hour and a half pictures can tell more than hundreds of pages of text.

In that component of the film, which is substantively similar to the anthropological study of the primitive tribes of the Amazon, the film is beautiful. But the "civic position of the author" caused me deep bewilderment.

I absolutely share Pivovarov’s general assessments that things are developing in the wrong direction in Russia, and that “all are not so guys”. However, the statement that “everything is wrong” is very different from understanding what exactly is “wrong” and where to look for samples so that it becomes “so”.

1. Communities that oppose the marriage of their members with non-believers prohibit buying clothes and a significant part of the products in the city, make women walk only with a scythe, practice marriages at the age of 14, etc. etc. they are religious fundamentalists, no different from Islamic ones. This is a religious sect.

Their whole ideology and lifestyle are completely anti-modern. This is the archaic of pure water. Dangerous archaic is akin to the anti-modernization agenda of the Russian Orthodox Church, which the “liberal public” is opposing within the country. You can certainly be touched by the way they say "tudes of syuda, tutos" and wear fords and homespun shirts with sundresses. But some Amazon tribes also make funny tattoos and pierce their cheeks with wooden tubes.

It is unlikely that, on this basis, someone in their right mind would show them in that vein: "Oh, how good the guys would live like that." And to connect the possible revival of the country so that these natives with pipes in their cheeks are brought to Moscow.

The film clearly lacked a texture about domestic violence, broken fates and various other excesses that this Old Believer splendor hides. (It is clear that the Old Believers themselves will not show them, but it can be assumed).

When Dud is looking for patterns for a "beautiful Russia of the future" in Silicon Valley, this is understandable. But when the life of an archaic religious sect is presented in the same style and with the same civic pathos, it looks very strange.

2. In the film, one can observe a rare example of how a liberal journalist found in modern Russia a useful good official engaged in business and praised him. To go nuts what’s the matter: in 10 years, as many as 120 old-believers have relocated from America to the Far East. There is simply no word what effective use of state resources and the country's primary problem are.

3. Talking about the terrible state of Russian agriculture always irritates me, as it directly contradicts reality and demonstrates the speaker’s unwillingness to understand the topic to a minimum.

Agriculture is almost the only branch of the Russian economy that is growing steadily even during the last 10 years of general stagnation. It is growing at a rate of over 5% per year. Crop production even exceeded the indicators of the late 1990s by almost 2.5 times, and Soviet peaks by almost one and a half. Over 20 years, agricultural exports have grown more than 10 times.

Do not confuse the state of agriculture and the state of the village. The village is degrading and doomed to further degradation. Just because in order to feed Russia and even be a world leader in agricultural exports in the countryside, 10 times fewer people are living there than they currently live.

Modern agricultural technologies do not require a lot of people; these people are doomed to leave for work from the village to the city. It is not necessary to save the village, but to help people move from where there is no work and is not expected. Moreover, it is not expected not because agriculture is bad, but precisely because it is rapidly developing and modernizing, and, consequently, it is reducing people.

Abandoned fields somewhere in the Non-Black Earth region are also a direct consequence of the modernization of agriculture. Since 1990, cultivated arable land in Russia has decreased by 25%, and the crop has grown by almost 1.5 times. And since today we still have 3-5 times lower yields per hectare than world leaders, there is a huge potential for production growth without increasing the area of arable land, or even with a further decrease in it. And plowing is much more meaningful in the southern fertile regions, logistically close to export ports, and not near Moscow, where the conversion of arable land into a cottage village is more than rational.

The demonstration of the agro-production of the Old Believers as ultramodern, obviously betrays the fact that the author of the film did not happen to be in a truly modern agricultural holding somewhere in the Kuban, where they drive not old GPS tractors (this is a miracle), but using real-time satellite grouping fields are tracked. It is clear that they are agricultural holdings of poor oligarchs, who have grown together with power, who are much less attractive than a bearded sectarian in a blouse. But in the modern world, a 100 hectare farm cannot be as effective as a 100,000 hectare farm. And the advanced Russian agricultural holdings are technologically ahead of the old believers who have gathered to raise Russian agriculture for decades technologically.

I’m all of this to the fact that in the XIX - early XX centuries, in the minds of Russians, too, it sounded "all wrong guys." And the problem, too, was that, along with a completely just criticism of tsarism, this “all wrong” was accompanied by a love of very strange patterns of what’s so. Everyone was enthusiastic about the community - they received collective farms, they said about the ideals of the French revolution - they got the GULAG. And further down the list.

Between “everything is not so”, “not so specifically this and that” and the samples for “so” take an enormous distance there. It is possible, of course, from the general premise that everything is “wrong” to make a private conclusion, which is also “wrong” with agriculture, but such logic leads to the fact that when suddenly there is a chance to change “wrong” to “wrong”, out of ignorance and reluctance to understand will again change "wrong" to "wrong".

And so the film is very interesting. I recommend watching..."

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