Old Believers Amur Region

Old Believers

the Far East



receive turn out believe (2)
decide find out find/found/found
allow hectare immigrate
arrive palm (2) smooth (2)
heel worldly head-scarf
in fact wander loaf/loaves
sin forbidden take out (2)
swear abroad stay in touch
touch relative read/read/read
move give out citizenship
settle Far East persecution
busy territory domesticate
heal sombrero wear/wore/worn
bustle mosquito keep doing
gnat Uruguay fly/flew/flown
golden force (2) try as you might
entire century generation
sale (2) foreign live on (2)
explain keepsake cottage cheese
land cultivate sell/sold/sold
groom pass down begin/began/begun
region continent buy/bought/bought
accept convert grow/grew/grown
tractor all sorts of write/wrote/written
bride customary send/sent/sent
faith count (3) teach/taught/taught
barn make sure embroidery
fertile homeland document
rent dwelling equipment
fund as soon as adaptation
assist turn out step-by-step
step screen (2) veterinarian
path authority prohibited
refuse couple (2) registration
frame make sure






Russian Old Believers from Latin America, almost a hundred (100) years after immigrating, are returning to their homeland. They decided to go to Russia after finding out about the program: Fall Eastern Hectare which allows them to receive free land. And now, there are already a few families developing farms.

And if everything turns out well for them, then soon, thousands more of our Old Believers may arrive to the Far East.


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Anfisa bustles around in the kitchen, talking on the phone along the way, a usual story for modern housewives. Only now the girl is dressed in a head-scarf and a dress to her heels.

And she takes golden loaves of bread out of the oven.

Anfisa is from the community of Old Believers, so both the phone and the washing machine for her are in fact, forbidden, as well as any home appliances.

Anfisa, Old Believer: “It’s possible, but it’s a sin. Granpa swears, of course, that we should not get phones, and get other things. And that there is no internet, that is a must.

How can I not use the internet? We have everybody abroad, relatives, with whom we have to stay in touch, somehow.”

A family of fourteen (14) people has just moved to the Amur region from Uruguay. As soon as the Old Believers found out that in the Far East, they were giving out land, they decided: it was time to return to the homeland.

Here it is, the new village of the Old Believers, still without a name, and just three houses.

One large family has settled here, actively domesticating the territory. And they are ready to receive other relatives from far away South America.

Old Believer, Young Man: “And that’s how they wear it.”

A sombrero and a couple of photos for keepsake—but they don’t miss the Uruguayan palms and hot climate.

Fyodor Kilin, Old Believer, Elder: “Winter is very good for us: clean air, no mosquitoes, no gnats, none of those.”

Tatiana Kilina, Old Believer, Elder: “If you only knew how we flew to Russia, how much I wanted it. The Chinese, then Spaniards, try as you might, they are not warm at all. Try as you might.”

Tatiana Kilina knows a little Chinese, speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Religious persecution forced the Old Believers to wander countries and continents almost the entire 20th century. In Uruguay, this woman lived for more than forty (40) years.

In foreign lands, they lived on money that they could get from the sale of homemade cheese, cottage cheese, eggs and bread.

Tatiana Kilina, Old Believer: “The Spaniards; you need to sell to him, you need to explain to him what and how to cook — they don’t know anything. Explain, then he will begin to buy.”

In the Amur Region, the Old Believers are going to keep doing the same thing: cultivate the land, grow potatoes, wheat, oats, breed cattle and birds. All skills are passed down from generation to generation.

But it’s not customary to send children to school. Reading and writing are taught using church books, written in Old Slavonic.

Olga, Teacher: “Solving a little bit we know: to count, but all sorts of other different ones, no. I was seven years old when I started milking a cow. Since I was seven years old and still milking them. I’m already 44, and still milking them.

Olga’s son Levkiy turned eighteen (18) years old; it’s time to look for a bride. On the other continent, one could marry Brazilian women who accepted the Old Believers’ way of life.

Levkiy Pechtov, Old Believer: “If she converts to my faith, then I can marry here. If not then I can’t. Here there are Christians, ours, that is.”

While women are busy in the barn or sit over the embroidery frame, men work the land. They say that Uruguayan lands are no less fertile, but too expensive.

Fyodor Kilin: “They pay rents of $200 to $300 for a hectare. And here it’s $2 to $3. Is there a difference? They work for this rent.”

But in Russia, not everything is smooth for the Old Believers: problems with document registration and lack of funds for the first time. The Kilins already tried to settle in Primoriye, but it did not work out.

Old Believer, Young Man: “We need citizenship, land and some kind of equipment.”

Now, the government at the highest level is ready to assist them. In the country, an adaptation service for the Old Believers is created. There, it will be explained step-by-step, how to get a Russian passport, or for example, rent a tractor. Or how to call a veterinarian. The cow, Nastya, hasn’t given milk for two days, and refuses to eat.

Journalist: “Is she the only milking cow you have?”
Old Believer, Girl: “Yes. If she is gone, then there will be a problem.”

If the Amur land authorities accepts and farming turns out strong, then other Old Believers will return to Russia, using the path made by the Kilins.

For now, relatives can only be seen on the screen. A worldly laptop in the dwelling of Old Believers is again, prohibited. But what won’t you do to make sure that there, under the Uruguayan sun, everything is OK with your relatives?

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1. The Russian Old Believers only live in Russia. True or false?

2. Do they wear mostly blue jeans, T-shirts and sneakers?

3. The Old Believers go to stores and buy bread, milk, cheese and butter. Is this right or wrong?

4. Have they traditionally used phones, radios, TVs, newspapers, magazines, cars and washing machines?

5. Have the Old Believers lived in the Amur region for hundreds of years, or did they recently move there?

6. Why did they leave Russia about a hundred years ago?

7. Do they work with computers in offices and in factories?

8. Will more Old Believers be moving into the Amur Region?


A. Are there Old Believers, Amish, Mennonites or other traditional communities in your country?

B. What are the advantages, benefits or pros of their lifestyle?

C. Are there any disadvantages, drawbacks or cons of their lifestyle?

D. I love their lifestyle. I want to live like them. Yes or no?

E. What might happen in the future?

F. Should more people live like the Old Believers?

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