August 1991, Putsch-time. Mikhail and Galina Rusinov stand defiantly with thousands of other Russians in St. Petersburg and prepare to die under the tracks of tanks. In Moscow, Boris Yeltsin stand defiantly before the tanks as well, and in a great overturning of Russian authority, ousts the “vacationing” Mikhail Gorbachev and with him seventy years of Communist tyranny.   “Thank God the tanks did not advance,” Mikhail Rusinov remarks, “But, we had to do it.  We could not let totalitarian rule return.”

Such resolve speaks to the central message of this book.   Mikhail Rusinov is a co-founder of The Free Body Culture Society, a remarkable social project with far-reaching implications for the “new” Russia.   Aligned with the Green Party, they call themselves Holy Nature, and they have begun to gain international recognition for their efforts to re-integrate the values and mores of an ancient Russian culture (the Rus) into modern life.   Based in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), and long considered the intellectual and cultural capital of Russia, the Free Body Culture Society has grown to well over 700 members, with hundreds more joining in spontaneously on sunny days at the clothes-optional beaches.

The Free Body Culture Society began quietly and secretly among 20 or so people, including the current president, Kirill Vasiliev, in the 1970’s during the heart of government repression.  Despite continuous government harassment, the group expanded dramatically and, by 1983, formally elected Vasiliev.  For eight more years, the group continued to attract new members and to expand its activities, all the while under constant surveillance and restraint by the police and the KGB.

In 1991, after the putsch, they were granted official recognition by the newly liberalized regional government. With the support of the local media, word spread and membership grew to the point now, on a sunny June day at Finnish Beach, over 2,000 nude sun bathers can be found participating with the “official” members of the society.  With growing numbers at the beaches and a rejuvenated connection St. Petersburg naturists felt with their beaches, lakes and woods, an organized effort to preserve their natural surroundings began and, in 1991, Kiril Vasiliev and Mikhail Rusinov formed the St. Petersburg Green Party, known as Holy Nature.  Through his ability to translate Russian and English, along with his extraordinary skills in internet communications, Rusinov and his associates have created an international voice for this burgeoning new group.

Alerted to the Holy Nature website by an article written in a U.S. naturist publication, I visited their remarkable homepage and immediately contacted Mikhail.  The result is this book.

As modern communications create a world community, we have the exciting and critical ability to utilize the best in our diverse cultures and unload the unhealthy burdens from our stagnate closed community past. This book is our first publication toward achieving this goal. To Mikhail, Kiril, Uliana and all their colleagues and friends we say,  Bnarogapio Bac !!

--Joshua Davidson, Publisher
   Body & Mind Publications

Foreward   Holy Nature Manifesto    Introduction
A Day in the Russian Countryside   A Naturist Wedding and Feast    Children's Day Celebration
The Eve of Ivana Kupala   Interview: M. Rusinov    Interview: Alla
Suggested Reading    Purchase the Book  e-mail

Copyright© 1998 by Body & Mind Publications
Design: George Mattingly Design
Printing: Penn&Ink

ISBN 0-9664609-0-1

Body & Mind Publications
Post Office Box 15701
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USA