Uncovering Anastasia: Europe’s Far-Right Concern

Ines and Norman Kosin dropped everything to bring to life in the Austrian countryside the precepts of Anastasia, a Russian sect classified on the far right, advocating a return to nature and driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the couple, paradise is this isolated area, unearthed three years ago. Located in the south of the Burgenland region, on the border with Hungary, it would be the ideal place to found a community inspired by the novels of Vladimir Megre, accused of anti-Semitism.

A Mysterious Woman With Powers

Between 1996 and 2010, the Russian entrepreneur published ten volumes recounting his encounter in the Siberian taiga with Anastasia, a mysterious woman with long blond hair endowed with supernatural powers. He transcribed there the advice she gave him during his visits to leave the industrial society which, by despising nature, would leave the field open to “dark forces” directing it towards a world catastrophe. Becoming his prophet, Vladimir Megre offers each family the opportunity to rediscover the purity of their origins by creating a permaculture farm aimed at food self-sufficiency.

Eyes riveted on the surrounding fields, Norman Kosin, 36 years old like his wife, ignites for what he calls his “space of love” likely to bring together “a hundred families”. “Imagine that a doctor, midwives, craftsmen and lumberjacks evolve side by side” in harmony, he says, touching his cedar wood medallion which he says “feels it absorbs the energy positive”.

Concern in Europe

A way of life widely developed in Russia where 400 settlement initiatives existed in 2019, according to Vladimir Megre’s own words. In Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Norman Kosin, a figure in the movement also known online as Felix von Elysion – named after the community he hopes to see born – has between 3,000 and 4,000 followers.

If these figures are impossible to verify independently, a recent Austrian report worries about a new craze. “The Covid-19 pandemic has given Anastasia a considerable boost in German-speaking countries”, where she meets an antivax movement carried by the far right, wrote the documentation fund on political extremism motivated by religion in November. Beyond the Germanic world, there are active members in other European countries, from Portugal to Bulgaria.

In France, where national meetings on the subject were held last week, the Interministerial Mission responsible for combating these phenomena (Miviludes) also noted a “significant increase” in sectarian aberrations in connection with the health crisis.

Conspiracy And Anti-Semitism

Former manager of tourist accommodation, long graying hair and full beard, Norman Kosin confirms that he has been reinforced in his convictions by the anti-Covid restrictions. Wind up against the vaccine, it was out of the question for his wife and him to submit their daughters to the mandatory nasal tests and the “indoctrination” of the school.

In addition to a channel devoted to Anastasia, he participates in the animation of conspiratorial channels on Telegram with nearly 250,000 subscribers, on which he denounces in particular the “lies” of the media.

With the pandemic, conspiracy theories “have experienced a massive boom”, confirms Ulrike Schiesser, head of the Federal Office for Sectarian Affairs, in an interview with AFP. In the Anastasia movement, she sees an esoteric concept that seemingly “contains all sorts of harmless ideas for better living”. But “it poses a problem”, she believes, because “it positions itself against democracy, the state or science” by presenting itself as the way forward for an “elite” holding the truth, called to separate common ignorant mortals.

This expert also notes “the anti-Semitic elements clearly present in the books” of the sect and “generally ignored, denied or minimized, as if one could not criticize the writings of the guru”. “Because of two or three chapters, all those who read the works are placed in the national socialist category”, effectively sweeps Norman Kosin when questioned on the subject.

Faced with the expansion of the movement, the Austrian authorities are sounding the alarm and for lack of financial means, the project of Ines and Felix could come to an end. Unable to prove sufficient income to stay in Austria, they are under threat of a deportation notice to their native Germany.

This article is originally published on ladepeche.fr

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