2015-05-13

​The Rise and Fall of Eastern Ukraine's All-Pagan Battalion

Read more at: Vice.com


"This war is part of a larger evolutionary process," Sergei began. "Before any rebirth, there must be a killing off." The militiaman goes by the moniker "Yarosvet," meaning "Bright Light." His comrade, also named Sergei, goes by "Sunrise." I met the rather unusual soldiers in April at their pagan shrine hidden in a forest on the outskirts of Donetsk City in eastern Ukraine, where a war between local separatists and the central government in Kiev has been raging for over a year now. A tall post carved with the face of a bearded god stands embedded within a circle of rocks. The idol is Rod, who's supposedly the ultimate creator. Similar idols depict the blacksmith god Svarog, who they say forged this world with his anvil and hammer, as well as the goddess Lada, who was apparently also Mary, mother of Jesus. The circle marks the exact center of the Meta-Universe, Sunrise explained. The soldiers are part of Svarog Battalion, which they claim was once a militia of a thousand pagans led by Oleg Orchikov, a local father of four. They share the pan-Slavic nationalism that drives much of the fighting around here, but what sets them apart is their belief in a larger religious meaning to the conflict.
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Last modified: June 12 2016 13:08:16