The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Forest Cemetery, Riga
The Forest Cemetery is an 85 hectares large cemetery in the northwestern part of Riga, the capital of Latvia, between the neighbourhoods of Mežaparks and Čiekurkalns. Formally, the cemetery is divided between 1st Forest Cemetery, with entrance from Aizsaules Street, 2nd Forest Cemetery, with entrance from Gaujas Street. In 1904, German Lutheran congregations in Riga inquired the Riga City Council for allotment of land for a cemetery in the Mežaparks neighbourhood, it was planned to become a new large cemetery after the Great Cemetery, established 1773 in Riga and had exhausted its potential. The prominent Baltic-German landscape architect Georg Kuphaldt was author of the original construction project presented 1908, which should have appeared as a park with a central via funeralis, with many small and lateral paths along the graves with low fences and small monuments; the Forest Cemetery was established 29 July 1910 following a decision made by the 3rd Imperial Duma, it was inaugurated 19 June 1913.
All burial ceremonies were conducted in a building erected 1913 after blueprints by the Baltic-German architect Wilhelm Neumann. During World War I, when the front closed in on Riga in 1916, the Forest Cemetery was receiving many fallen Latvian Riflemen. After a lengthy debate with local congregations, the Imperial Duma sanctioned the construction of a military cemetery, on land transferred from the Forest Cemetery, a cemetery, named Brothers' Cemetery; the Forest Cemetery has many sculptural tombstones created by notable sculptors. Many notable Latvian politicians and public figures are buried at the Forest Cemetery. People buried at the Forest Cemetery
Heathenry (new religious movement)
Heathenry termed Heathenism, contemporary Germanic Paganism, or Germanic Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religious studies classify Heathenry as a new religious movement, its practitioners model it on the pre-Christian belief systems adhered to by the Germanic peoples of Iron Age and Early Medieval Europe. To reconstruct these past belief systems, Heathenry uses surviving historical and folkloric evidence as a basis, although approaches to this material vary considerably. Heathenry does not have a unified theology but is polytheistic, centering on a pantheon of deities from pre-Christian Germanic Europe, it adopts cosmological views from these past societies, including an animistic view of the cosmos in which the natural world is imbued with spirits. The religion's deities and spirits are honored in sacrificial rites known as blóts in which food and libations are offered to them; these are accompanied by symbel, the act of ceremonially toasting the gods with an alcoholic beverage.
Some practitioners engage in rituals designed to induce an altered state of consciousness and visions, most notably seiðr and galdr, with the intent of gaining wisdom and advice from the deities. Although many solitary practitioners follow the religion by themselves, members of the Heathen community assemble in small groups known as kindreds or hearths, to perform their rites outdoors or in specially constructed buildings. Heathen ethical systems emphasize honor, personal integrity, loyalty, while beliefs about an afterlife vary and are emphasized. A central division within the Heathen movement concerns the issue of race; some groups adopt a "universalist" perspective which holds that the religion is open to all, irrespective of ethnic or racial identity. Others adopt a racialist attitude—often termed "folkish" within the community—by viewing Heathenry as an ethnic or racial religion with inherent links to a Germanic race that should be reserved explicitly for people of Northern European descent or white people in general.
Some folkish Heathens further combine the religion with explicitly racist, white supremacist, far right-wing perspectives, although these approaches are repudiated by many Heathens. Although the term Heathenry is used to describe the religion as a whole, many groups prefer different designations, influenced by their regional focus and ideological preferences. Heathens focusing on Scandinavian sources sometimes use Vanatrú, or Forn Sed; the religion's origins lie in the 19th- and early 20th-century Romanticist movement which glorified the pre-Christian beliefs of Germanic societies. In this period, organised groups venerating the Germanic gods developed in Austria. In the 1970s, new Heathen groups emerged in Europe and North America, developing into formalized organizations in order to promote their faith. In recent decades, the Heathen movement has been the subject of academic study by scholars active in the field of Pagan studies. Scholarly estimates put the number of Heathens at no more than 20,000 worldwide, with communities of practitioners active in Europe, the Americas, Australasia.
Scholars of religious studies classify Heathenry as a new religious movement, more as a reconstructionist form of modern Paganism. Heathenry has been defined as "a broad contemporary Pagan new religious movement, consciously inspired by the linguistically and ethnically'Germanic' societies of Iron Age and early medieval Europe as they existed prior to Christianization", as a "movement to revive and/or reinterpret for the present day the practices and worldviews of the pre-Christian cultures of northern Europe". Practitioners seek to revive these past belief systems by using surviving historical source materials. Among the historical sources used are Old Norse texts associated with Iceland such as the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda, Old English texts such as Beowulf, Middle High German texts such as the Nibelungenlied; some Heathens adopt ideas from the archaeological evidence of pre-Christian Northern Europe and folklore from periods in European history. Among many Heathens, this material is referred to as the "Lore" and studying it is an important part of their religion.
Some textual sources remain problematic as a means of "reconstructing" pre-Christian belief systems, because they were written by Christians and only discuss pre-Christian religion in a fragmentary and biased manner. The anthropologist Jenny Blain characterises Heathenry as "a religion constructed from partial material", while the religious studies scholar Michael Strmiska describes its beliefs as being "riddled with uncertainty and historical confusion", thereby characterising it as a postmodern movement; the ways in which Heathens use this historical and archaeological material differ. Some, for instance, adapt their practices according to "unverified personal gnosis" that they have gained through spiritual experiences. Others adopt concepts from the world's surviving ethnic religions as well as modern polytheistic faiths such as Hinduism and Afro-Americ
In religious studies and folkloristics, folk religion, popular religion, or vernacular religion comprises various forms and expressions of religion that are distinct from the official doctrines and practices of organized religion. The precise definition of folk religion varies among scholars. Sometimes termed popular belief, it consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of a religion, but outside official doctrine and practices; the term "folk religion" is held to encompass two related but separate subjects. The first is the folk-cultural dimensions of religion; the second refers to the study of syncretisms between two cultures with different stages of formal expression, such as the melange of African folk beliefs and Roman Catholicism that led to the development of Vodun and Santería, similar mixtures of formal religions with folk cultures. Chinese folk religion, folk Christianity, folk Hinduism, folk Islam are examples of folk religion associated with major religions.
The term is used by the clergy of the faiths involved, to describe the desire of people who otherwise infrequently attend religious worship, do not belong to a church or similar religious society, who have not made a formal profession of faith in a particular creed, to have religious weddings or funerals, or to have their children baptised. In The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, John Bowker characterized "folk religion" as either "religion which occurs in small, local communities which does not adhere to the norms of large systems" or "the appropriation of religious beliefs and practices at a popular level."Don Yoder argued that there were five separate ways of defining folk religion. The first was a perspective rooted in a cultural evolutionary framework which understood folk religion as representing the survivals of older forms of religion; this definition would view folk religion in Catholic Europe as the survivals of pre-Christian religion and the folk religion in Protestant Europe as the survivals of Medieval Catholicism.
The second definition identified by Yoder was the view that folk religion represented the mixture of an official religion with forms of ethnic religion. Yoder's third definition was that employed within folkloristics, which held that folk religion was "the interaction of belief, ritual and mythology in traditional societies", representing that, pejoratively characterised as superstition; the fourth definition provided by Yoder stated that folk religion represented the "folk interpretation and expression of religion". Noting that this definition would not encompass beliefs that were unconnected from organised religion, such as in witchcraft, he therefore altered this definition by including the concept of "folk religiosity", thereby defining folk religion as "the deposit in culture of folk religiosity, the full range of folk attitudes to religion", his fifth and final definition represented a "practical working definition" that combined elements from these various other definitions. Thus, he summarized folk religion as "the totality of all those views and practices of religion that exist among the people apart from and alongside the theological and liturgical forms of the official religion".
Yoder described "folk religion" as existing "in a complex society in relation to and in tension with the organized religion of that society. Its unorganized character differentiates it from organized religion". Alternately, the sociologist of religion Matthias Zic Varul defined "folk religion" as "the un-reflected aspect of ordinary practices and beliefs that are oriented towards, or productive of, something beyond the immediate here-and-now: everyday transcendence". In Europe the study of "folk religion" emerged from the study of religiöse Volkskund, a German term, used in reference to "the religious dimension of folk-culture, or the folk-cultural dimension of religion"; this term was first employed by a German Lutheran preacher, Paul Drews, in a 1901 article that he published, titled "Religiöse Volkskunde, eine Aufgabe der praktischen Theologie". This article was designed to be read by young Lutheran preachers leaving the seminary, to equip them for the popular variants of Lutheranism that they would encounter among their congregations and which would differ from the official, doctrinal Lutheranism that they had been accustomed to.
Although developing within a religious environment, the term came to be adopted by German academics in the field of folkloristics. During the 1920s and 1930s, theoretical studies of religiöse Volkskund had been produced by the folklorists Josef Weigert, Werner Boette, Max Rumpf, all of whom had focused on religiosity within German peasant communities. Over the coming decades, Georg Schreiber established an Institut für religiöse Volkskund in Munich while a similar department was established in Salzburg by Hanns Koren. Other prominent academics involved in the study of the phenomenon were Heinrich Schauert and Rudolf Kriss, the latter of whom collected one of the largest collections of folk-religious art and material culture in Europe housed in Munich's Bayerisches Nationalmuseum. Throughout the 20th century, many studies were made of folk religion in Europe, paying particular attention to such subjects as pilgrimage and the use of shrines. In the Americas, the study of folk religion de
Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi
Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi is a Dievturi religious building in Pļaviņas Municipality, Latvia. It is used by the organization Latvijas Dievturu sadraudze for devotional ceremonies and annual celebrations; the building is located on a small island in the Daugava river, behind the Liepkalni bakery and café in Liepsalas, close to the town Pļaviņas. It is named after the nearby Lokstene castle mound; the entire complex includes a shrine building, a ferry, an assembly and flag square, a monument to the ancestors, a gate of the sun. The project was financed by owner of the Liepkalni bakery chain. Čākurs explained that as he had grown older, he had become more interested in questions about the soul and mortality. As the Latvian people had supported his business over the years, he wanted to give something in return, hoped to do so with a house for the national gods and Latvian folk culture; the design was developed by Latvijas Dievturu sadraudze under the leadership of Valdis Celms. The architect was Ainārs Markvarts.
The interior design was done by Egons Garklāvs. The sculptor was Jānis Karlovs; the island is owned by Čākurs and is leased by the LDS. LDS began to use the building in the autumn of 2016; the official opening took place on 6 May 2017. The building hosts devotional ceremonies and celebrations, such as family celebrations, celebrations of moral and spiritual values, celebration of the Latvian national day. Anita Liepiņa of the literary magazine Jaunā Gaita argued in 2017 that the building should receive state support just like churches receive support for maintenance. List of modern Pagan temples Romuva Official website of Latvijas Dievtuŗu sadraudze
Latvians are a Baltic ethnic group and nation native to Latvia and the immediate geographical region, the Baltics. They are also referred to as Letts, although this term is becoming obsolete. Latvians share a common Latvian language and history. A Finnic-speaking tribe known as the Livs settled among the Latvians and modulated the name to "Latvis", meaning "forest-clearers", how medieval German, Teutonic settlers referred to these peoples; the Germanic settlers referred to the natives as "Letts" and the nation to "Lettland", naming their colony Livonia or Livland. The Latin form, Livonia referred to the whole territory of the modern-day Latvia as well as southern Estonia, which had fallen under a minimal Germanic influence. Latvians and Lithuanians are the only surviving members of the Baltic branch of the Indo-European family. Paternal haplogroups N1c-Tat and R1a are the two most frequent, reaching 39.9% each among ethnic Latvians. N1c-Tat mutation originated in South Siberia eight to nine thousand years ago and had spread through the Urals into the Europe where it is most common among Finno-Ugric and Baltic people.
Balts, differ from Finno-Ugrics by the predominance of the N1c-L550 branch of N1c-Tat. Haplogroup R1a is associated with the spread of Indo-European languages. Latvians share a common language and have a unique culture with traditions, holidays and arts; the culture and religious traditions have been somewhat influenced by Germanic and Russian traditions. Latvians have an ancient culture, archaeologically dated back to 3000 BC. Latvians maintained a considerable trade with their neighbors; the first indications of human inhabitants on the lands of modern Latvia date archaeologically to c. 9000 BC, suggesting that the first settlers were hunters that stayed immediately following the end of the last Ice Age. Colonizers from the south arrived driving many of the hunters northward as polar ice caps melted further, or east, into modern-day Russia and Ukraine; the Roman author Tacitus remarked upon the "Aestii" peoples, thought to be inhabitants of the modern Baltic lands, suggesting that they were abound with formidable, yet peaceful and hospitable people.
The Latvian peoples remained undisturbed until Papal intervention via the Germanic, Teutonic Order colonized Kurzeme, beginning in the first half of the 13th century. Papal decrees ordered the Teutonic Order to spread the "Word of the Lord" and the Gospel of Christianity throughout "uncivilized", "Pagan lands". Though these attempts to Christianize the population failed, the Teutonic Order redeployed southward, to the region of what was once known as East Prussia. South-Eastern Latvia, due to having a large ethnic Russian population, has maintained a large Russian influence. Most of the religious Latvians belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, but in Eastern Latvia the Roman Catholic Church is predominant, a small minority of Latvians belong to the Latvian Orthodox Church and other religious congregations. In the late 18th century, a small but vibrant Herrnhutist movement played a significant part in the development of Latvian literary culture before it was absorbed into the mainstream Lutheran denomination.
The national language of the Latvian people is Latvian. Latvian is part of a unique linguistic branch of Indo-European languages: the Baltic languages. Latvia. Lettish Life in Legendary & Modern Times by Florence Farmborough. In: Peoples of All Nations: Their Life Today and Story of Their Past. Vol 5 – pp. 3267-3296 List of Latvians Demographics of Latvia Latvian American Latvian Australian Latvian Brazilian Latvian Canadian Baltic people in the United Kingdom
Polytheistic reconstructionism is an approach to modern paganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, which gathered momentum starting in the 1990s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world, in contrast with neopagan syncretic movements like Wicca, "channeled" movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy. While the emphasis on historical accuracy may imply historical reenactment, the desire for continuity in ritual traditions is a common characteristic of religion in general, as seen in Anglican ritualism, or in much Christian liturgy. D. H. Lawrence put a sketch of a fictional program into the mouth of a character in The Plumed Serpent: So if I want Mexicans to learn the name of Quetzalcoatl, it is because I want them to speak with the tongues of their own blood. I wish the Teutonic world would once more think in terms of Thor and Wotan, the tree Igdrasil, and I wish the Druidic world would see that in the mistletoe is their mystery, that they themselves are the Tuatha De Danaan, but submerged.
And a new Hermes should come back to the Mediterranean, a new Ashtaroth to Tunis. The term "Reconstructionist Paganism" was coined by Isaac Bonewits in the late 1970s. Bonewits has said that he is not sure whether he "got this use of the term from one or more of the other culturally focused Neopagan movements of the time, or if just applied it in a novel fashion." Margot Adler used the term "Pagan Reconstructionists" in the 1979 edition of Drawing Down the Moon to refer to those who endeavour through scholarly research and use of folklore, to revive or "reconstruct" a accurate, pre-Christian spiritual practice. This emphasis on reconstruction contrasts with the more fanciful and eclectic approaches to paganism, as seen for example in Wicca. Linzie enumerates the difference between modern reconstructionist polytheism, "classical" paganism as found in eighteenth to mid-twentieth century movements. Aspects of the former, not found in the latter, are as follows: There is no attempt to recreate a combined pan-European Paganism.
Researchers attempt to stay within research guidelines developed over the course of the past century for handling documentation generated in the time periods that they are studying. A multi-disciplinary approach is utilized capitalizing on results from various fields as historical literary research, religious history, political history, forensic anthropology, historical sociology, etc. with an overt attempt to avoid pseudo-sciences. There are serious attempts to recreate culture, politics and art of the period in order to better understand the environment within which the religious beliefs were practiced; the use of the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan" to apply to polytheistic reconstructionists is controversial. Some reconstructionist and indigenous religious groups take great issue with being referred to as "Pagan" or "Neopagan," viewing "Pagan" as a pejorative term used in the past by institutions attempting to destroy their cultures and religions. In addition, reconstructionists may choose to reject the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan" in order to distance themselves from aspects of popular Neopaganism, such as eclecticism, cultural appropriation, the practice of magic, a tendency to conduct rituals within a Wiccan-derived format, that they find irrelevant or inimical to their religious practice.
Among those reconstructionist groups who see themselves as part of the broader, Pagan or Neopagan spectrum, or who see some members of the Pagan community as allies, there is still a refusal to accept or identify with what they see as the more problematic aspects of that community, such as the above-noted eclecticism, cultural appropriation or Wiccan-inspired ritual structures. Many Polytheistic Reconstructionists see Reconstructionism as the older current in the Pagan community, are unwilling to give up this part of their history because eclectic movements are more fashionable. Armenian: Hetanism Baltic: Baltic Neopaganism Canarian: Church of the Guanche People Caucasian: Caucasian Neopaganism Celtic: Celtic Reconstructionism Egyptian: Kemetism Finnish: Suomenusko Germanic: Germanic Heathenism Greek: Hellenismos Hungarian: Hungarian Neopaganism Latin: Roman Tradition Romanian: Zalmoxianism Semitic: Semitic Neopaganism Slavic: Rodnovery Baltic: Romuva Uralic: Uralic neopaganism Turkic: Tengrism Linzie, Bil.
"Reconstructionism's Role in Modern Heathenry". Retrieved September 2008. Linzie, Bil. "Uncovering the Effects of Cultural Background on the Reconstruction of Ancient Worldviews". Retrieved May 2015. Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Goddess-Worshippers, Other Pagans in America Today ISBN 0-14-019536-X ecauldron.com: What is Pagan Reconstructionism? The Association of Polytheist Traditions While not reconstructionist, APT is an educational group concerned with ancient historical religions as well as modern syncretist new age religions Neopagans vs. the Recons The CR FAQ - An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionism A consensus document, co-authored by representatives