- The Rerikh religious movement originated in the 1920s, when Nikolay Konstantinovich Rerikh (1874–1947), Russian stage designer, theosophist, and Nobel Prize nominee, and his wife, Elena Ivanovna Shaposhnikova-Rerikh, authored the philosophical and spiritual treatise Agni Yoga, which included many Buddhist ideas and principles, such as reincarnation and karma. Rerikh believed that culture, in its secular, artistic, and especially ecclesiastical forms, has a sacral role. His thoughts were a continuation of the mystical tradition that prevailed in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, particularly Eurasianism. The Rerikh Society prophesied the idea of a cosmopolitan brotherhood and denounced war and human suffering, ultimately endowing the Rerikhs with international repute.Under perestroika, the Soviet Rerikh Foundation (Sovetskii fond Rerikhov) was established to revive the Rerikh movement in its homeland. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Rerikh’s ideas became incredibly popular, with most bookstores stocking his publications and retrospective exhibitions of his art enjoying acclaim. The Rerikh movement is exemplary of the ethical and spiritual confusion of the 1990s, when anything anti-Soviet was valued irrespective of its qualitative value. Theosophy proved a convenient middle ground for the disappointed and disillusioned Soviet intelligentsia. However, in some quarters, neo-Rerikhism has taken on an extremist nationalist patina, condemning Jewish-Masonic plots to destroy Russia. The belief system has also found other adherents, including leading members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and shamanists among Russia’s national minorities.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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