|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
History of the Russian Vegetarian Societies
From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester), March 1894, p106:
The following item was contributed by the Soyfoods Center:
The society sent a letter of support to the first meeting of IVU in Dresden, Germany in 1908 - that Congress passed the following resolution:
From the Vegetarian Messenger (UK VegSoc), February 1910:
From the report of the 1910 IVU Congress held in Brussels, Belgium:
The report of the 1932 Congress, in Berlin & Hamburg, Germany, includes the following:
From Jan Stastny in Prague:
Below is a photo from czech magazine Sbratreni, 1932, there was
an article about Russian vegetarian settlement of Tolstoy sympathisers
in Kuzneck, Siberia (1000 people - all of them vegetarian and pacifists,
about 3000 hectares - i.e. 7400 acres of land). They were persecuted and
banned, but then the Russian government decided to allow the farm in 1932,
because only they were able to supply the
The article below is compiled from information provided by the Eurasian Vegetarian Society in Moscow:
Vegetarianism appeared in Russia in 14th century. The famous Russian saints Sergiy Radonezhskiy, Seraphim Sarovskiy, Epiphaniy the Wise - in their sermons persuaded the orthodoxies that the true belief in God was incompatible with eating of meat and called them to follow Lenten mode of life. The majority of Russians observed the fasts (over 200 days per year) and kept to Lenten fare. The representatives of many religious communities were passionate adherents of the vegetarianism. In the late 19th and early 20th century Lev Tolstoy, the famous Russian writer and philosopher made a great contribution in the development of the vegetarian concept and its introduction in the common life. He believed that vegetarianism was very useful from the moral, ethical, medical and economic point of view.
At the beginning of the 20th century about ten societies were established in Russia: in Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Saratov, Poltava, Odessa, Minsk and in other cities. Moscow vegetarian society was founded in 1909. L.N. Tolstoy became its honorary member. The Moscow vegetarian society was a very active one: a dinning-hall was set up, lectures were delivered, articles dedicated to vegetarian problems were published, a Society Almanac was issued.
Due to vegetarian societies dinning-halls were established in 24 Russian cities 6 in Moscow, 7 in Kiev, 5 in Saint Petersburg. Hospitals with vegetarian nutrition were founded, vegetarian newspapers and magazines etc. were published as well.
In April 1913 in Moscow there took place the 1st All-Russia Vegetarian Congress. Vegetarianism was widely spread in the country. Among vegetarians were the writers Bunin and Leskov, the composer Skryabin, the painter Levitan, the scientist Rerikh, the academician Nesmeyanov and other famous people. The famous Russian wrestler Ivan Poddubny also followed the vegetarian diet.
The revolution of 1917 stopped the development of vegetarianism in Russia. The Soviet State authorities considered vegetarianism as a pseudoscientific theory that reflected the bourgeois ideology and therefore harmed to Soviet people. In 1929 the last vegetarian society in Moscow was closed [the 1926 IVU Congress in London, England, received apologies from the Russian Society for being unable to attend]. The communist leaders scorned the principle idea of the vegetarianism non-violence, spirit of independence, love to all the living and freedom of thinking. The leaders of the vegetarian societies were persecuted, many of them arrested and sentenced.
The Big Soviet Encyclopedia (1961) commented: "Vegetarianism is based on false hypothesis and ideas and has no followers in the Soviet Union!" The word "vegetarian" was taken away from the dictionaries of the Russian language.
The revival of vegetarianism was in post-war period when the interest in oriental systems of health, particularly in yoga increased. This time is marked by successful medical work of professor Uriy Sergeevich Nikolaev, who treated psychic diseases by means of diet with further adoption of vegetarian food. Later U.S. Nicolaev managed to establish the department of medical fasting for somatic patients in Moscow State hospital 1968.
Uriy Sergeevich Nikolaev was a son of the passionate adherent of Lev Nicolaevich Tolstoys teaching Sergey Nicolaev, whos wife took part in foundation of Moscow dinning-halls, all his children were vegetarians from childhood as well as some of his grandchildren. Uriy Sergeevich Nikolaev interested himself in natural philosophy, oriental methods of health, was in correspondence with several foreign doctors-naturopaths and gathered around himself a large amount of Muscovites and people from other cities those who were interested in natural ways of health. In Moscows cultural centers lectures concerning natural methods of health, especially vegetarianism were held; volunteers translated and reprinted free of charge books of foreign authors: P. Bregg, G. Shelton, A. Cheis, M. Gerson, K. Geffery. So by the time of the first vegetarian society in post-soviet Russia, in 1989, there were a lot of people seeking to shape vegetarian movement.
In 1989 at the time of perestroika in the USSR on initiative of Y.S. Nikolaev, Doctor of medicine, T.N. Pavlova (Center of ethical attitudes towards animals) and Irina. L. Medkova (Vegetarian Medical Center) at the Ecological Fund of the Soviet Union there was established a vegetarian society. The Vegetarian Society is headed by Tanya .N. Pavlova.
In 2001 the Eurasian Vegetarian Society was founded - an independent international non-profit and non-religious association for propaganda of the healthy life style . The activity of the Society's members is aimed at supporting and developing the principles of the vegetarianism. President of the Society is N. A. Kalanov. One of the main objectives is the creation and consolidation of vegetarian societies on the territory of Russia and CIS. In order to fulfill this task the representatives of the Society work in 25 cities of Russia, in the Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia. The Society supported the establishment of vegetarian organizations in Vladivostok and Krasnoyarsk. The members participated in the anti-corrida action in Moscow. They promote vegetarianism in the central publications, on radio and TV. The Society launched a TV-show "I don't eat meat" that was watched by 60 million viewers in Russia and CIS. Vegetarianism has been also promoted at the exhibitions-festivals in Moscow - Pressa-2001, New Era, "Soya food", "SNACKEXPO" and "Food technology". The Society supports the "Vegetarian" magazine and three web sites and has organized the first vegetarian library. Eurasian Vegetarian Society is a member of the International and the European Vegetarian Unions.
The 1964 minutes of the IVU Council, discussing the 1965 World Vegetarian Congress noted: "That the Moscow Medical Academy might send a delegate to talk on the recent establishment of 4 Nature Cure Centres with State recognition in Baku and other Russian cities. " From the above article this would appear to have been Prof. Nikolaev, but it is not known at present whether he was able to attend the Congress.
Further items about Russian Vegetarianism:
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