Mari People, A Pagan Beauty
There are about 600,000 people with Finnish ancestors living in a rural area around Joshkar-ola in the Republic of Mari-el, Russia. They are called Mari and are the last pagans of the West. They live in symbiotic relationship with nature, celebrated as the basis of their existence; nature exerts a magical religiosity on people; the cyclical nature of the land merges with the ancient pagan practices. Religious subjugation was never fully accepted by the Mari. During the Cold War many prominent personalities of the Red Army, fascinated by their magical power, turned in secret to the Mari spiritual guidance looking for answers on the possible outcomes of their military strategies.