Rus Articles Journal

Russia is the American. Part I

It is known that is axiomatic - a comic western stereotype - as if in Russia the streets are walked by wild animals, and people live in log huts without conveniences and all the year round wear caps with ear-flaps - has no relation to reality. And here in the most developed country of the world, the United States, there is a place where to this day in broad daylight in the city it is possible to meet a wild bear and where the majority of houses one-storeyed and, moreover, wooden. This place - full and quite respectable, 49 - y on the account the State of Alaska. The land which 140 years ago Russia sold to Americans for 7 million 200 thousand dollars.

the Traveller who does not have in a stock of several months, and is better than years, is doomed to choosing some one “thematic“ and geographical “corner“ of this most extensive - one and a half million square kilometers - from components of the USA. It, by the way, is one of the most sparsely populated - about 650 thousand people; statistically - the fourth place from the end. However, nothing else can and be expected from Far North. The polar circle cuts about a third of “the earth of a gold-rush“ as informally call this staff (official, written-down in the local constitution its “nickname“ - “The last border“). The lion`s share of other space is encumbered by impassable mountains so even the simple asphalted roads are rare here. There is a mass of places where the leg of the white person did not go. The number of natives, both was small before arrival of Europeans, and remains small: little more than 100 thousand.

We laid to

a route on the center of the southern coast of Alaska for that simple reason that it and there was Alaska in representation of our compatriots of the XVIII-XIX centuries. They associated these places with the concept “great earth“ taken from language of Aleuts (there it sounds as “Alyeshka“). However, if to be absolutely exact, so they called two “zones“ territorially remote from each other, - the district of Novoarkhangelsk, modern Sitka (on a so-called Alaskan tail, a narrow strip on Hugo - the East of the state, clamped between the sea and Canada) became the second center of the Russian colonization.

But nevertheless the first and main area where our compatriots were most strongly fixed: Kenaysky and Katmaysky peninsulas, island of Kadiak, southern part of modern Denali National Park.

Actually, there is no wonder. Against the environment dictating such scheme of compact moving to all who wish to render habitable difficult cold edge, it cannot be helped.

another Is surprising by

: and today on Alaska where davny - long ago the Anglo-Saxon population sharply prevails, the orthodox diocese remains to the most numerous. According to sociological polls, to 10 percent of the population consider themselves as “people with the Russian roots“. Children of 12 - 13 years at many public schools learn (at least one year - surely) language of the former mother country, and on kruzhkovy occupations make kokoshniks and other objects of our folklore use.

And not only in Orthodoxy business. Here certain almost inaudible Slavic whiffs - in a word, “the Russian spirit“ are felt. I speak not about Slavic toponyms which in funny deformed look meet here continually: Ouzenkie, Nikiski, Soldotna... Not about surnames of “the Russian root“ which are carried practically by all natives, - Kvasnikoff` y, Kotelnikoff`Y and Kompkoff`Y. And not about “sweet“ church poppy-heads. The speech, I repeat, about imperceptible.

Anchorage, the largest center of Alaska. The population - 275 thousand people. It is located on the bank of Cook Inlet. On a background - Chugachsky mountains

Local - the people pious

Position of the main air harbor quickly made young and ambitious Anchorage the largest city on all huge peninsula. At Russians the desert district where it costs now, was considered as the most distant and wild suburb of the diocese: here often killed priests. Now in Anchorage there live 40 percent of all population, and in addition it should miss through itself annually one million tourists who are eager to drop to the virgin nature.

Having arisen only during World War I as “sentry camp“ on the railroad paved then Seward (the main seaport in vicinities) - Ferbanks (the miner`s center, and also “an intermediate warehouse“ on the way to the well-known gold Klondike on the river Yukon), the settlement quickly expanded and grew rich. Here began to build smart prospectuses and skyscrapers, neon of a casino and other cheerful institutions began to shine. In March, 1964, however, it happened 9 - a mark earthquake. It is surprising what in the city died “all“ people ten, but nearly the half-cities by the morning lay in ruins.

Residents of Anchorage, seemingly, learned lessons from this event. For memory of it they retained in the Alaskan museum the huge steel beam taken from - under huge buildings on the street Cordoba, - it was bent as if a plasticine tile, - and passed to more modest and circumspect architecture. Since then the city as old residents consider, looks even is more charming though in it there are few memorable buildings. But there are parks, sad in the long winters and cozy in the short summer, extensive fields for private samoletik and typical American toponymics: prospectuses alphabetically, streets according to numbers. And from former pretentiousness there were only couple of names like the boulevard of the Polar lights... Very early, when the sun did not ascend yet (however, at a boundary calendar spring and summer on Alaska it practically does not set), from underground garage on one of streets, perpendicular to this boulevard, the black jeep leaves the frightening sizes, and very tall thin person in a long-skirted cassock, with serebryano - a gray-haired beard and a longish face of the acute ascetic conducts it. Its preosvyashchenstvo Nikolay, the bishop Sitkinsky, Ankoridzhsky and vseya Alaska, begins the day of work.

the Little earlier his personal assistant and the director of the Russian orthodox museum in Anchorage, but also, also the bell ringer in what craft it was trained occasionally at us, in Irkutsk sits down in the amusing minicar Mayne Dzhekobs. I do not know whether you had to hear about female orthodox bell ringers, personally to me - no.

But very first on even to the sleeping city was passed by the antediluvian unit on wheels, most of all similar to a fruit van. The stocky young man in the same black cassock, as at his preosvyashchenstvo was driving it. Lunno - a yellow shade of the person, strange for the European eye liquid and at the same time quite long beard (such type of vegetation on a face is generally characteristic of Mongoloid race) direct at the unique conclusion: before us the aboriginal of Alaska, the representative of one of several dozens its small people...

Notch 1. About the people and their lands

According to modern classification, today, as well as at the time of appearance of Europeans, Alaska are inhabited by four main ethnic groups. Aleuts live on the islands of the same name and on the southern coast of the peninsula - that is where there passes the route of our travel. Having naturally come into the closest contact with Russians from the first days of their emergence, this tribe underwent the deepest orthodox influence and until now it is known special religious eagerness. Indians - tlinkita on the Alaskan tail, on the contrary, became famous for hostility to colonists and even several times attacked Novoarkhangelsk - Sitka, trying to cut out the local population. Yupiki and other branches of Eskimos inhabit the most severe, west and northern banks of Alaska - however orthodox missionaries “got“ them and there so their nowadays most part is attached to church. However, living in such solitude, they not too often meet priests. At last, possession of different groups of atabask stretch in a zone of Cook Inlet, in the field of our travel too. But they, alas, remained presently a little.

... Nikolay Soraich, future pastor of Alaska, was born in Montana, in the Serbian immigrant family 58 years ago, graduated from seminary in Pennsylvania (then managed even to defend the dissertation on theology in Belgrade - at Tito), was imposed in California, served in Las - Vegas and Maryland until at last served to a present high office. Mayna Dzhekobs`s father was Greek from Oregon. The brother Yakov Nikolay (Nikolay is a surname) from “a fruit van“ - absolute yupik from the distant village of Kvetluk on the Western coast.

So, all three are normal Americans. Nevertheless, almost every single day they stop the cars near the stocky one-storeyed building with considerably green walls and a low porch. It is the Russian orthodox Museum where all day long the domestic sacred music quietly plays, behind a small counter spill coffee, tea from a samovar and where today in 10. The appointment is made to 00 us.

- Yes, of course, you are right: in all this it is necessary to see Divine Providence. But it is present at all fair acts, especially if they seem unpromising, isn`t it? So it turned out and here: after purchase of Alaska the new authorities very much tried to etch from it Orthodoxy. And at one time it seemed that they are close to success. To the middle of the XX century we had no own educational institution. On all staff only 10 priests served. The Mikhaylovsky cathedral in Sitka burned down at the casual fire, the majority of other churches threatened to collapse not today, so tomorrow. And what now? - On a considerable face of the bishop Nikolay hardly noticeable celebration appeared: - 43 pastors. I also do not speak about “white Americans“ - seven or nine of my priests are turned from Protestants. And the flock grows. I was told that “we“ is already more than 10 have some of alyaskinets.

Here the bishop smiled to

, and, encouraged by it, I made a slip. The matter is that, explaining a phenomenon of success of Orthodoxy on Alaska, many American historians specify: it is supposedly congenial to basic pagan traditions. Therefore it is easy for natives to remain in a bosom of this faith. To that various examples are given: the cult of ancestors is similar to honoring of aged men and local devotees, tendency of clergymen of the Russian ceremony to household mentoring reminds a role of the leader or shaman in the village... I asked preosvyashchenny Nikolay about all this. Gravity returned to that at once:

- I do not understand what you mean. We are Christians. The Russian missionaries brought the good news on the earth of pagans. It changed. The church - is not present. You are convinced soon that neither with initial, nor with ritual nor from any other point of view my services and my believers differ in nothing from what can be met in the center of Moscow... Father Yakov! Tomorrow morning our guests go to a way according to the plan. I ask you to show them Eklutna today.


, however, convinced us more likely of the return to the told Vladyk`oy as spiritual children call the bishop.

Having escaped from a grid of streets and having overcome about 100 kilometers of the beautiful road framed with poetic birches we dived into not striking glade and unexpectedly appeared before a wide fence from a rare shtaketnik. The fence was the most usual - that is usual for the Russian remote place: paint peeled off, crossbeams are broken off here and there. Behind it - a churchlet of the most modest look, slightly at some distance - the thrown small chapel...

But if to pass after silent and smiling Yakov for the creaking gate God knows why locked, to round both cult buildings and to appear on an orthodox native cemetery, the strange show will open. Whether much you know Christian graves where a funeral hillock what before a cross, will be wrapped up in a duvet? And tiny as if you over graves saw the multi-colored lodges which are hammered together at school manual training? And such composition is precisely unique: behind a metal fencing what meet seldom here - probably, the man of means is buried - the wooden elk in a cap with a peak towers in human growth. It dexterously clamps some bag of pieces of paper in one hoof, and - podbochenitsya slightly by another. In legs, “as it is necessary“, - a cross.

- What it means? - I ask Yakov.

- I do not know. An old grave, nobody remembers whose...

- Well, and blankets what for? Whom to warm here?

- As whom? - ingenuously the aboriginal of Alaska answers. - It is cold to lie in the earth, here relatives also warm.

- And lodges?

- Oh, it is a sign of the fact that here the child lies. Or leader. If a lodge behind a colored ogradka, then, so, dear stranger. Someone from other village who did a lot of good to Eklutna`s inhabitants. At each sort - the color of a lodge, on all generations... What are you surprised? Local - the people pious. They do not forget traditions.

with the same name of Eklutn (at the Russian missionaries it was Knik) to us happened to be convinced by

Of the “live“ village that really do not forget, though do not give them pagan - sacral value by which the father Yakov “frightened“ us: “Graves - the fact that, here in the settlement each family builds a cherdachok for spirits. Without it a cherdachka as without icon, - nobody and will not begin to live in the house...“ At entrance to “a manned zone“ ran together, chattering something about dollars, children. Through holes from a rust in the broken jeeps which grew into the earth about 20 years ago filtered with bark of a dog. Behind windows silhouettes were swept up. And at once some wooden boxes similar to big skvorechn and placed on very high goats before thresholds were evident. But “... not - et, what spirits, nonsense...“ - cheerful, a figure reminding nice pumpkin, Laura Chilligan did not distract from polishing of an accurate wooden bar. - “Why you make if not for spirits?“ - “And for appearance. That it was pleasant to visitor to look. However, nobody especially comes to us, here to you thanks...“

“Restoration“ of the nature on - Anglo-Saxon

to the Majestic northern landscapes opening from first minutes of travel on the South on Staroye Syyuardskoye Highway will be equal at these latitudes a little. Thick languages of snow, probably, since fall the plains which stiffened on the way from Kenaysky mountains to a narrow trench, did not thaw yet, but already grew brown and blurred, preparing for the to “the last hour“. Paints with each kilometer become more brightly, place names - are more picturesque: Twisting streams, the rivers Kasilova and Skilak are replaced by Copper glades, Quartz, Mirror, Fresh creeks.

of the Highway first coils between the coast of the Ankoridzhsky gulf - parts huge, a form of Cook Inlet reminding a trunk, - and ridge which gradually comes to naught “resolves“ in process of advance to the South. The wood, on the contrary, gets denser, the proportion of ice and free water on a surface of insufferably blue glacial lakes inclines towards the last. On coast foreseeable after the journey silhouettes of brown grizzlies and American black (they are more slender) bears - and the fact continually are seen that nearby to take a look at them about ten travelers stop, any animals do not confuse.

Such it is courageous - an idyllic picture - minus, certainly, cars and frequent block stroyenyitsa - judging by many reports - memoirs, it was observed on Kenaye and at the time of arrival of Europeans, it is observed and now. But... not in an interval between two eras!

Approximately since that moment when the Anchorage Daley Tayms newspaper - go printed on January 3, 1959 the triumphing heading “We Are In!“ on the front page - “We entered!“ meaning finding by the Alaskan territory of the status of staff, after two centuries of ruthless destruction of local fauna the well-known Anglo-Saxon method of “restoration of the nature“ began to get here. Its essence in creating some kind of “the museums under the open sky“. Not to rescue separate populations and types and the more so not to isolate them from people. To create for ecosystems not hothouse conditions, but such in which the person and the nature can coexist without serious consequences.

... Having taken away from us all Russian trifle, the door-keeper - Kenaysky`s cashier the conservation center, appeared a passionate numizmatka, let in us wild Alaska which, as well as is necessary to the Northern land, more strikes with quantity, than a variety. Types here as, actually, and on all peninsula, indeed lives a little: the same elks with bears, reindeers (Carib), deer sitkinsky chernokhvosty, the musk oxen delivered as well as to us to Wrangel Island, from Greenland in the XX century... But there are no special restrictions for public. You want - move between herds and dens on the car, you want - get out, you want - though in a mouth to a grizzly climb. Nobody will forbid you. Of course, councils in company correctly - ironical style, it seems everywhere are hanging:“ The bear who is widely placing forepaws tries to show the superiority. Do not try to copy its pose if you do not feel rather surely as a prepotent male“. On the alert there are also attendants who just as police everywhere in the West, are not visible when in them there is no need, but arise as the devil from a snuffbox when, in their opinion, something goes not so. Lev Veysman should establish, for example, before moose “zone“ some large object from the photographic arsenal as from - for a corner the open jeep already hurries with the person in a ridiculous knitted helmet: “Guys! You try not to frighten cubs. You see it is orphans. They only last week were brought from different places here and lodged together. Poor creatures had to endure much. They can die of a stress...“

Really as it is amusing, the main source of replenishment of kenaysky populations is as speak on Alaska, “adoption“ (here in general everyone and everything is suggested “to be adopted“, even highways - in sense to invest money in them). Cubs and adult animals continually are found across all territory of the state in “difficult circumstances“ and after short rehabilitation taken here. So, one bear cub was found directly at steps of the building of the congress of the state Alaska in the capital, Juneau... In effect, tourists need to stop by in the center for the guaranteed supervision over different types in the squeezed interval of time, and so - on all Kenaysky peninsula to them the same pictures absolutely free of charge open...