Be Like Anastasia
Zofia Stryjeńska, Rural Farm, 1960

Be Like Anastasia

Life in a New Age Slavic Homestead
Ewa Pawlik
time 16 minutes

Far, far away there lives a little girl who spends entire days playing in the forest. When the evening arrives, she happily falls asleep in the sweet embrace of a bear. The bear’s name is most probably Misha, but let’s not get distracted. The most important thing is to feel the Slavic power within.

“Health to your bright thoughts!” So begins the e-mail that will become my ticket to a better world. No need for a visa or to book a flight. I don’t even have to speak Russian. As luck would have it, a better world is being built near to my hometown. Just a dozen or so kilometres up the motorway, a northbound exit allows me to leave the matrix.

I reach the last house on the outskirts of a picturesque village and am greeted by women in long robes, as well as bearded men. I’m dressed just like them and wear no make-up. Showing up at the agreed time to the address that I was sent by e-mail, I introduce myself as a happy mum and an unhappy citizen of the technocratic world, pining for nature and a different way of life. It’s not a lie, but it’s not exactly the truth either.

Fortunately my hosts kick things off in a similar fashion. They mostly live in big cities, where they feel a distinct lack of belonging, as if they’re in a foreign land. Each of them will soon own a plot of land on the vast grounds here. For now, the grounds belong to a couple who have lived here for three years, residing in an old home that used to belong to some Germans. The couple will move out as soon as their family homestead is built, just a few metres up the hill.

With all the participants gathered together, we walk down a path to a plot of land that will be part of the future settlement. There is a simple wooden house, without running water or electricity. One day it will be turned into a school. Inside, long-haired women in full-length dresses prepare vegan dishes, while bearded men set tables and seats outside. We sit in a circle, where we’re joined by many children.

“Peace to your bright thoughts,” the organizer


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