Russia welcomes back Old Believers


Interfax-Religiia, 18 October 2019


Eight heads of communities of Old Believers from Brazil, Bolivia, and the U.S.A. will soon receive Russian citizenship, the head of the World Union of Old Believers, Leonid Sevastianov, told Interfax on Friday.


He said the decision regarding this was made days ago in Moscow at a session of the Commission on Citizenship under the president of the RF.


"This is the first case when citizenship is being granted to people who left Russia more than 100 years ago. We urge giving citizenship to all Old Believers whose ancestors at some time left Russia by reason of persecution," Sevastianov said.


He noted that work in support of Old Believer resettlers is being conducted pursuant to the order of Vladimir Putin on 17 May 2017, for which a special working group was formed under the Presidential Administration. As of today, Old Believers are selecting regions of the Far East for resettlement.


Sevastianov recalled that modern Old Believers in countries of the far abroad are children and grandchildren of Old Believers who were repressed by soviet authorities from the territory of Transbaikal and Cisamur, who made their way through China and with the support of the Red Cross in 19545-1956 went from Hong Kong to new territories across the Pacific Ocean. The greater part arrived in Brazil and the lesser, in Australia.


"With the support of Brazilian authorities, the Old Believers, thanks to prayer and labor, were able to sow on tens of thousands of hectares of nonarable lands (red soil) soybeans, corn, and other crops. Today Brazil occupies second place in the world in soybean cultivation and it is a leading agricultural country," Sevastianov noted.


He said that in this way the prosperity of many Old Believer families grew, who began resettling throughout the world. As of the present, Old Believers number from 5 to 7 thousand persons in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.S.A. (states of Alaska and Oregon), and Uruguay. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 October 2019)

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