"We consider the word 'Naturism' from the root 'Nature', so many of us focus on the point of the Green Movement and the Freedom of Mind/Soul."

 

Michael Rusinov is the co-founder of The Free Body Culture Society of St. Petersburg, Russia and the author of this book.

Q:        Mike, how long have you been a member of the Free Body Culture Society?          

MR:     I am one of the founders of this Society, so I became a member right from the start.  But I must say that it is a long tale how I became involved in Naturism!

            One day in July of 1980 I was on an article about a rare lake muskrat.  This is a wonderful, small creature and I wanted a beautiful image.  I using a telephoto lens and waiting for the muskrat near a delightful small lake surrounded by woods.

            To my surprise a beautiful young girl emerged nude from the forest and entered the water.  Of course I did my photo session with this girl instead of the muskrat, and ended up joining her in sunbathing!

Q:        How is the Society different from Naturist groups in the rest of Europe or the U.S.?    

MR:     I think in the level of sunbathing it is not different at all!  But we consider the word “Naturism” from the root “Nature”, so many of us focus on the point of the Green Movement and the Freedom of Mind/Soul.  We do not think that it is a heroic deed to show one’s naked back to the people!  Why do we have to have a feast in honor of it?  The most important this is to teach people how to understand the beauty in a body, in a mind and in  Nature.

            In terms of Naturism as an international phenomenon, we certainly do not think that Russian naturism is unique.  The history of naturism is closely linked with the history of other peoples and has historical root in many ancient cultures.  It is one of our goals to research the history and evolution of Naturism in other nations and in the cultures of antiquity.

            Perhaps we have more in common than simply sunburns in certain places!

Q:        What is the most difficult part?   

MR:     To be independent on our way of thinking!  Many times people have tried to force us to change to the Western way of thinking.  However, we have resisted this pressure in order to maintain the integrity of our philosophy and culture,  We consider, that people would first like to see the Beauty and them the photos and reports form the events.  Many artists now join us, Photo Artists, Painters, Dancers etc.  All of them place Beauty above all else!

[nb: Mr. Rusinov is responding here to an editorial in Lee Baxandall’s Nude and Natural magazine that criticized the Holy Nature website for presenting images of pretty females in their early 20’s.  Mr. Baxandall opines that art and photography of Naturists should be for documentary purposes only and should not reflect the artist’s personal perception of beauty.]

Q:        How has your group been received by the new government in Russia?         

MR:     Without any problems!  The government would much prefer to see groups such as ours instead of  porno-studios and porno-cinemas.  There are many printers in Russia producing terrible and tasteless pornography, so groups such as ours are a welcome way for society to  deal with nudity.

During the time of Khrushchex’s “thaw” in the mid-sixties, soviet naturists began to spread across the land, naturally, illegally and I secret locations.  But in the county named “The Country of Socialist Victory,” there was no official place for natural human behavior.  It was proclaimed that in the U.S.S.R. there was no Revolution-one could believe there was no sex at all!  Under these conditions nudists were considered to be mentally deranged.  Fortunately, beginning in 1986 with the arrival of “Reorganization” (Perestroiyka) and the general democratization of society, first in the former Soviet Baltic states and later in the major cities of Russia, the legalization of naturist societies began.

Q:        What kind of people join Naturist groups such as yours?

MR:     It remains today that, as a rule, the average Russian naturist represents the middle to lower economic classes of Russians.  Representatives of the “New Russian Reach People” (major businessmen), presently prefer not to relax on a clothing-optional beach that is open to the public.  The social mask of big businessmen imitated the lifestyle of the prosperous Western nouveau riche, including (from the nouveau riche viewpoint) a few compulsory elements”:

                 Vacation only on the most fashionable beaches of the West           

                 Follow the Western fashion of snow-white skin among the Upper Class

               A belief that sunburn and intense solar radiation is harmful.

Q:        Is it legal to be nude in public in Russia?

MR:     Only in the place where it is reasonable:  on the Clothes Optional Beach and in Russian Baths.

Q:        When did the Free Body Culture Society begin?

MR:     The official start of the Society was in 1991, but the first members of the Society came to the future Clothes Optional beach shortly after the end of World War II in 1949.

Q:        How many members does the Free Body Culture Society have?

MR:     We have presently set the limit at 500 official members.  But, because we are an open Society and we say welcome to all who would like to spend his/her time with us, there are in fact many more.  For example, on a hot Sunday gathering, with games and competitions on the beach, we usually have more than 5,000-6,000 guests. 

Q:        Is the Free Body Culture Society a religion?

MR:     Most of us consider Naturism as a “nonreligious religion.”  That means that we worship the Trinity of gods:  Human Health, Society Health and Nature Health,  As I have said before, Russian pagan gods had many different names.  In general, the Rosiche worshiped the gods of Clearness (call it Health-ness) for the Body, the Mind and Nature.  This is definitely the root of Russian ancient culture.  There is another opinion that naturism is simply body acceptance. We hope that this opinion is a very small part of the Wonderful World of Naturism!

Q:        Do members live together or just meet for special events?

MR:     No we do not live together.  But I could say that the friendships between us seems much stronger then for other people.  There are several groups which spend their time together, and we meet at our events and parties.  But this is usual for big societies of different interests too.

Q:        What is the most important celebration?

MR:     Of course the Kupala’s Night! (June 21-22).  But some ot the other important events are:

The start of Summer Naturist season (on Easter)

Children’s Day (June 1)

Independence Day of Russia (June 12)

Birthday of Naturist Csar Cyrill the First (June 25)

 The End of Naturist Summer (First Saturday of November)

Come and join us!

"The most important thing is to teach people how to understand the beauty in a body, in a mind and in Nature."

 

"There are many printers in Russia producing terrible and tasteless pornography, so groups such as ours are a welcome way for society to deal with nudity"

 

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

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