Menu Zoroastrianism in Russia 4021.03

Zoroastrianism emerged as a public entity in Russia in the 1990s, created by Russians themselves despite the normally endogamic essence of the traditional Zoroastrian communities existing in Iran and India. The first Zoroastrian organisation, the "Avestan School of Astrology" (shortened "Asha", which, in the oldest texts known as Arta, is the Persian word defining the agency of cosmic harmony), was established by Pavel Globa (1953–) in the early 1990s, and opened dozens of branches in and outside of Russia. Globa had been teaching Avestan astrology since the 1970s, and in the 1990s he had become a nationally acknowledged expert on the subject. Globa presents himself as the heir of a lineage of Zurvanism (the type of Zoroastrianism that regards Zurvan, i.e. "Time" and "Whole", as the supreme God) from north-west Iran, allegedly transmitted through his great grandmother and his maternal grandfather Ivan N. Gantimurov.[29]:449–450 Some of Globa's pupils were initiated by he himself into a priesthood (khorbad).[29]:451
In 1994 the "Zoroastrian Community of Saint Petersburg" was established by Globa's followers and officially registered. The organisation publishes the magazine Mitra and the newsletter Tiri. The Zoroastrianism that they propose is a consciously mimetic appropriation of the religion as it is practised among traditional Zoroastrian communities. This recreation involves significant changes; for instance the cords that are worn by initiates around their waist are not white woollen cords as in the original tradition, but are three-coloured cords—yellow, red and blue—symbolising, according to Globa, the three colours of Zurvan.[29]:452 Since 2001, the priest of Iranian origins Kamran Jamshidi initiated new Avestan astrologers in Minsk, and Russia became a mission field for them. Tensions arose as Jamshidi's initiates challenged the authority of Globa. Under the influence of these new missionaries, another organisation was founded in Moscow in the year 2005, the "Russian Anjoman" (Русский Анджоман; anjoman is a Persian word meaning "assembly"). They use the term of Russian origin "Blagovery" (Благоверие Blagoverie, literally "Good Faith") to define their Zoroastrianism.[29]:453
Russian Zoroastrian communities, whether belonging to the Peterburger or Muscovite movements, emphasise that Zoroastrianism has Russian origins, and traces of it have been preserved in Slavic folklore. This parallels the discourse of Rodnovery, and one of the early Rodnover ideologues, Anatoly Ivanov, defined his views as "Zoroastrian" and "Avestan". In 1981, Ivanov even published the anti-Christian text entitled Zarathustra Did Not Speak Thus: The Basics of the Aryan Worldview, inspired by Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, wherein Ivanov says that Zoroastrianism should be adopted as a new paradigm for humanity and discusses the eschatology of the Saoshyant.[29]:454–455 Zoroastrianism has been described by Stausberg and Tessmann as a "permanent discussion topic" within the Rodnover community.[29]:455 As it is the case for Rodnovers, the site of Arkaim has great importance for Russian Zoroastrians/Blagovers, since it is believed that the "Aryan prophet" Zoroaster lived there.[29]:453 In 2007, during an interview with Iranian state media, Russian president Vladimir Putin himself declared that Zoroastrianism originated in the southern part of the Ural region of Russia, and it is the base of all major world religious systems.[30]