Edgar Beret is a writer, traveler, actor, author of books on gastronomy, travel and languages. Hungarian by origin, but lives in Romania, and is fond of Cossack culture and Russia, since childhood he fell in love with Russian literature and absorbed the spirit of the Russian Cossacks.
- Where were you born, where did you study?
- I was born in Romania, in Transylvania, in the old German city of Sighisoara. My father was a veterinarian and my mother was a teacher and translator. I only received my schooling. I have always been interested in languages, I often changed schools to learn the languages in which these schools specialized, taking every opportunity to learn a new language. My teachers were ordinary people and the street, I took a lot from there. He traveled to different countries (more than forty) and studied local life, communicating with both educated and ordinary people. But I did not receive a higher education, because I realized that it was not interesting to me.
- And when did you become interested in the Cossack theme?
- I very often visited Ukraine and Moldova, was fond of the Soviet Union, and began to learn Russian at school. The first contact with the Cossack theme happened at the age of 9, when I read Sholokhov and Babel. My relative had something like an abandoned farm, in which an old Cossack saber was kept. I've looked at her for years. Several years ago I started studying with her. He visited the Cossacks in Russia and Ukraine, and gradually learned everything about them. In Odorhei-Secuesc I am the only Cossack of Hungarian origin. Recently, he began to arrange meetings between Cossacks and hussars.
- What types of weapons do you still own?
- With a sword, dagger, whip, saber ... He studied martial arts in Japan.
- What do you feel when you pick up a checker?
- Freedom, strength, fire - everything. For the past three years I have been practicing with her daily, but now I need to buy a new checker to resume training, since the old one had to be sold
- Where did you learn this?
- Nowhere. I am self-taught, I just began to copy what I saw. Later I developed my own theory of working with a checker, and wrote a book about it - more than 200 pages with illustrations.
- Many modern men argue that a checker is not relevant.
- Yes, I know, because now there are other weapons. But I'm not going to kill anyone. I do this as an art, and it is very similar to the Japanese katana - a highly developed martial art. It is valuable not only for Russia, but also for the whole world, for everyone who appreciates history.
- It turns out that you combine weapons, language, and costumes...
- Yes, I collect a kind of mosaic of language, food, music, clothing... I love Russian music, literature, and history, especially the period of the Civil War, but also the era of Tsarist Russia. To better understand a certain era in Russian history, you need to understand and feel the character of the Cossacks. What did they wear, what did they do? How did ordinary Russian Cossacks live, what feelings did they have when they took checkers in their hands? This is not just a metal product. This is the only way to understand the characters of the heroes of your favorite novels.
I also have their clothes, I eat Russian food, read Russian classics, listen to Russian music, communicate with Russians, I want to understand the Russian spirit. To do this, you need to see the places in which they live, and it is not enough just to learn the language. And I love the Russian language, its musicality, its expressions. I love it when different situations and opportunities arise to say and explain something in this language. You need to penetrate deep into the language and culture. Usually people usually take only the top of the material, and do not get to the depth, they will never understand what is inside. I prefer to study topics from the inside.
- What happens to you when you put on Cossack clothes? How do you feel?
- I feel like a completely different person. I can change the sound of my voice. It is very difficult to explain how I feel. I have been working as an actor since 25 years old and can be different. I can be German and convey this character, and I can be Russian. I feel many different souls in me. I am like a chameleon. I can adapt to the environment, including the linguistic one. For example, when I was in Ukraine, I did everything that the locals did: I ate the same food, dressed as they did and spoke their language. I accepted everything that was important to the people and never neglected their values.
The communists have destroyed a lot, but I am not focusing on that. I am always looking for what is good, beautiful, useful. After all, the historical heritage of Russia is also the heritage of the whole world. Foreigners shouldn't ignore Russian chess, Russian ballet, Russian hockey and Russian literature - everyone recognizes that it's beautiful.
It is much better to love and study Russian ballet, for example, than to deny Russian beauty for political reasons. Let's learn the art of chess from the Russians, they play better than us! The Russian heritage is important and valuable for the whole world, not just for me.
- It turns out that you kind of broadcast this culture to the whole world, putting on clothes, practicing martial art...
- Yes. You can take a look at my photos. If I put on a Caucasian hat, I am a spitting image of a Chechen, if I put on clothes of another nation, I turn into a representative of that nation. They ask me if there are Russians in my family. I answer: there are no Russians in the family, but I would like to be Russian. I can identify myself with the Russians. And the point is not that I am a Russophile, the meaning is different: when I put on Cossack clothes and take Cossack weapons in my hands, I begin to think like a Cossack.
- How could you describe the "Russian spirit"?
- This is difficult to do, since the Russian soul is tied to the earth. Mother Earth ... To understand the Russian spirit, you need to realize the fact of connection with the earth. I think that black bread is a kind of symbol here. Tolstoy often said that Russians should live in harmony with nature. It is impossible for a truly Russian person to live in a big city, copying fashions that came from the West.
In addition, Russian people are not able to be individualists, to live alone, as, for example, is customary in Europe. They live in a society, first of all, in a family, they need a family, moreover, a large one: husband, wife, children, grandparents. This is the Russian soul.
- Modern Russians are losing their national identity. What advice can you give them?
- Go back to history, to the village. It is better to be uneducated, but with a pure mind and soul as a farmer, than to live in big cities. If earlier, during the time of tsarist Russia, Russians adopted a lot of good things from the West, now young people take the worst. Therefore, it is better to be a farmer, revive folk music, crafts, woodcarving, and not be a slave in a metropolis to some nonsense imposed by the West. Well, or serve art - a musician, artist, dancer, and so on. There are many geniuses among Russians.
- I know that many of your fellow citizens show no interest in Russia, even have a negative attitude towards it.
- In my family there was such an assumption that my father was the son of a Russian soldier who raped my grandmother. But everyone told my father that he was a "bastard". But these are just rumors, and I don't know how reliable it is. It is difficult to be a Cossack here, Russians are not liked here, they are associated with communists. By the way, in our city there is a Russian cemetery where soldiers who died during the Second World War are buried. I look after him ...
But people often called me a traitor, and I answer them: “Yes, Russian soldiers were here. Perhaps they were drunk and raped local women. But they were still people, not dogs. They had mothers who were waiting for them at home...". When I clean this cemetery, I think about it... Let's just respect this motherly feeling. I do not want to die somewhere in the field, to be treated like a dog like these soldiers. It is not right.
It is clear that we kill enemies, but we must salute the killed enemy. This is where our spiritual strength lies. Only a brave man is able to show respect for a dead enemy. Most of them treat the corpses of their enemies like garbage...