Precursors of a new civilization
"The shoots of the beautiful new future are in the Russian summer people!" These words sounded of their own accord, inside me. At that moment, Anastasia was not nearby. I instantly remembered the excitement and delight with which she spoke about Russian summer people four years before. She believes that it is thanks to the summer people that a planetary disaster did not occur on Earth in 1992. As it happened, it was in Russia that this amazing movement began, caressing a part of the Earth. I remembered her talking about this.
"Millions of human hands touched the Earth in love—their hands, not their various mechanisms. Russians touched the Earth tenderly on their small dacha plots, and it sensed this. The Earth sensed the touch of each hand individually. The Earth may be big, but it is very, very sensitive, and it found the strength to hold on."
Four years ago, I did not take this statement seriously, but now, after becoming familiar with many attempts by people from various countries to create spiritual-ecological settlements, I suddenly understood. In Russia, without high-profile proclamations, appeals, publicity, and pomposity, the largest-scale project was embedded in reality, a project having significance for all humanity. In the context of the many Russian dacha societies, information from different countries in the world about their creation of eco-settlements became simply silly.
Judge for yourself. In front of me lies a pile of articles and various collections where the problem is earnestly discussed of how many people should live in an eco-settlement—they advise no more than 150, and they lend great significance to religious guidance for eco-settlement government structures.
But Russia's dacha cooperatives have existed for years and count three hundred families and more apiece. Each is administered by one or two people, often retirees. Can the chair of a Russian dacha cooperative be called a manager? He is more like a registering body or an administrator carrying out the majority's will.
Russia's dacha movement has no centralized administrative bodies in general, but meanwhile the State Statistics Committee data for 1997 proclaim that 14.7 million families have orchards and 7.6 million have vegetable gardens. They cover 1,821,000 hectares. The population is independently cultivating 90 percent of the potatoes, 77 percent of the fruits and berries, and 73 percent of the vegetables.
Theoreticians who have been studying plans for eco-settlements and eco-villages for years will probably object that a dacha cooperative is not an eco-settlement, to which I respond immediately that this is a matter of essence, not names.
The overwhelming majority of Russia's dacha cooperatives operate by eco-settlement principles. Not only that, but without making high-flown statements about spiritual perfection or the need for a protective attitude toward nature, summer people have by their way of life, in deed rather than in words, shown their own spiritual growth. They have planted millions of trees. Thanks to their efforts, orchards now bloom on hundreds of thousands of hectares, formerly considered wasteland, not arable, so-called worthless land.
We hear that some Russians are practically starving. First teachers, then miners are striking, and politicians busily search for ways to solve the country's crisis. More than once during perestroika, Russia was a hair's breadth away from a wide-scale social explosion. But it didn't happen. Now let us try removing from recent years 90 percent of the potatoes, 77 percent of the berries and fruits, and 73 percent of the vegetables. Instead of these percentages, let us add the level of nervousness of millions of people. This will have to be done if we exclude from recent years the consoling factor of dachas. You don't even have to be a psychologist to see whom summer people calm down when they come in contact with their gardens. So what would we have had in 1992, 1994, or 1997? In any of those years there could have been a tremendous social explosion. What might it bring to a planet crammed with deadly weapons?
But the catastrophe didn't happen. Anastasia says that there was no planetary-scale catastrophe in 1992, thanks only to Russia's summer people, and now, after familiarizing myself with the information clarifying the situation, I believe her.
Right now, it isn't that important which smart mind in our country's leadership came up with the decision to give the green light to the dacha movement in Russia, at that time still the Soviet Union. Perhaps it suited providence to embed such a thing in Russia specifically. Right now something else is important: the movement exists. It is the most vivid proof of the possibility of achieving stability in the human community, possibly the stability toward which many peoples on the different continents have striven for millennia and been unable to reach.
Anastasia says that the dacha movement in Russia represents the greatest turning point in the development of the human community. "Summer people are the precursors of what is beautiful"—by which she means the plan she has drawn for future settlements. I myself would like to live in one of those beautiful settlements and for it to be in a prosperous country called Russia.
Книга: Volume V: Who Are We?