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Kin’s Domain Settlements or Ecovillages?

by | Jun 8, 2024 | Featured, Kin's Domains

– Written in 2018 by Alexey Gornaev, founding member of Kovcheg Settlement

Where do we live? What are “Kin’s Domain Settlements” and “ecovillages”? Are they just names of communities? Or do these words hide a deep difference of meanings, ideologies, ways of life?

What ecovillages are – has long been widely known. The impetus, the main motive for their creation was a protest against the meaningless urban life with all its consequences. In fact, it is an escape from the urban lifestyle. Ecovillages exist all over the world. In the late 90’s in Russia, the idea of “Kin’s Domains” was born. A Kin’s Domain is a plot of land of at least 1 hectare where a family lives, creating its own paradise on earth. Nowadays, the idea of Kin’s Domains is developing rapidly in Russia and is of great interest in Europe, America, and many countries of the world.

What is the difference between these two forms of leaving the urban environment? And is there any difference in their principles? After all, it is good to move to the land in any case.

After living for 14 years in our Kin’s Domain in the Kovcheg (“Ark”) settlement [Gabriel’s note: one of the oldest and largest Kin’s Domain Settlements in Russia, Kovcheg consists of 300+ families & Domains and is 20+ years old] in the Kaluga region, Maloyaroslavets district, we came to the conclusion that these are completely different paths, different goals, and different futures.

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Photos of Kovcheg
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Ringing Cedars of Russia USA + Canada | Anastasia Foundation
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In ecovillages, everything is common, the family has nothing of its own, and often there are no families themselves. All life and activities of an ecovillage are based on the powerful authority of the creator, leader, ideologist.

A Kin’s Domain is a self-sufficient unit. Of course, it is better when there is a community of Kin’s Domains in the form of a settlement, but even one Domain for one family is self-sufficient. It is a certain indivisible unit in which the whole world, the whole Universe is concentrated — there is everything.

The best ecovillages are known for large community projects for creative transformation of nature. Settlements of Kin’s Domains also have such projects. There are no differences here. Many talented people live in ecovillages, and there are great achievements in the field of alternative energy, permaculture, and ecological construction. There is something to learn here for the residents of Kin’s Domains. This is a topic of possible cooperation.

The most important key issue is the issue of family composition. In Kin’s Domain Settlements, traditional families live, children are born at home and are mostly raised at home. Same-sex marriages, polyamory families (where several men and women live in the same house and have children in arbitrary combinations), and anything else for that matter, are common in ecovillages. Children from the age of two are put in kindergarten. The question, “Why?” is usually answered: “So they don’t see the dirty lives of adults.”

In 2015, the world ideologist of the ecovillage movement, Diana Christian, came to us [on our Settlement in Russia]. It is very good that she came, and we learned everything firsthand. When she was asked the question, “Do you have homosexuals?” she answered, “Of course we do.”

Such an answer caused murmurs and indignation in the hall.

There was a heavy pause in the hall. For half an hour, the residents of the Kin’s Domains tried to explain to Diana that homosexuals were unacceptable in a Kin’s Domain Settlement because this phenomenon was not conducive to the birth of healthy children. She, in turn, was perplexed and asked: “What don’t you like, it is allowed by law.” There was no mutual understanding.

This is how we learned firsthand what the ideology and philosophy of ecovillages is on this most important issue.

The next point: the so-called issue of planned population rotation. Imagine that we have a peasant family, let’s say our ancestors. They have built a house, planted a vegetable garden, an orchard, and settled down and now live happily. And then in 5 years, someone comes to them and says: “Get out of here. We have a planned population rotation!”

The men will take up pitchforks, won’t they? This is exactly what happens in ecovillages. The very stay of living and working in an ecovillage is seen as a certain stage, but it is not worth staying too long.

Of course, historically our ancestors did not always live in one place. They went out into the migratory trades, developed new territories. However, the concept of “Motherland” has always been present in the soul of a Russian person as the most fundamental concept.

If a person has arms, legs, and a head, then he has a motherland. It was implicit, self-evident. Even if a person had been away from his motherland for 10, 20, or more years and then returned, it was a completely normal, ordinary, and necessary action for everyone.

To put it more precisely, the right to have a motherland is an inalienable human right, like the right to life.

After living for several years on a Kin’s Domains Settlement, many people come to understand the Kin, experience a lively feeling of the necessity to gather their Kin. For this purpose, they invite living relatives, celebrate solar holidays [equinoxes and solstices], and plant trees on their land in honor of departed relatives.

This is out of the question in ecovillages. It turns out that in ecovillages, by default, there is a ban on considering and rethinking the main worldview issues, such as Motherland, family, and Kin. If you walk around our Kin’s Domain Settlement on a warm summer evening, you will feel that a gigantic life force emanates from the Domains where people live permanently. And the character of this force is similar to the character of the owner. Trees, plantings, location of buildings – everything speaks about the owner of the Domain. One can say that each person paints his self-portrait on the living land with living colors. In the near future, the settlement will look like this: from the bird’s-eye view it will be a gallery of beautiful self-portraits of the creators of the Kin’s Domains.

But the plots where people rarely visit are standing, too.

They are “sad”, they do not have such an optimistic life force. In our opinion, one of the sides of the genius of the project of Kin’s Domains is that it contains a precise balance of public and private.

Ask the question [to any of our residents], which is the best Domain on our settlement? “Mine, of course. And I will prove it in 10 pages of small print.” And the best Domain to my neighbor is his Domain. And the amazing thing is there’s no contradiction in that. Go to a Domain and politely ask the owners to show you their Domain. You can be sure you won’t be leaving anytime soon. Until they show you every last bush, they won’t let you go. And then, of course, there will be tea, talks, conversations, etc… Now imagine a commonwealth when the whole Settlement consists of Kin’s Domains.

Let’s talk quite simply. Where is it better to live: in an ecovillage, or a settlement of Kin’s Domains?

Of course, in a Kin’s Domain Settlement. A fish seeks where it is deeper, and a Man seeks where it is better.

While the best achievements of the ecovillage residents described above (permaculture, ecological construction, alternative energy, i.e., those positions on habitat improvement that are acceptable and desirable) can be easily adopted by the residents of the Kin’s Domains, in order to adopt the idea of the Kin’s Domains, the ecovillage residents will have to reject homosexuality and polyamory families, i.e., to reconsider the most important aspects of the ecovillage process.

The basis of one’s life. The ecovillage has not solved the main ecological issue – the issue of human ecology.

For us, there is no doubt that it is better to live in a settlement of Kin’s Domains, but at the same time, it is more difficult. And it is not about material difficulties, of course. According to our observations, every inhabitant of the Kin’s Domain Settlement, who has started to make at least small steps towards the cognition of the Divine program of life, starts to receive streams of information as if from a huge bowl.

Apparently, the trust of our righteous ancestors in each inhabitant of the settlement is so great that each inhabitant of a Kin’s Domain is precious to the Universe now, and great hopes are pinned on each of them.

Diana Christian’s arrival coincided with the seminar [we were hosting at the Settlement] “Habitat Improvement”. No one had planned this on purpose. One group was in charge of the workshop and another group was in charge of Diana’s arrival. In addition, Diana Christian is an elderly person in poor health, so it was unclear until the last moment whether she would be able to make it to our settlement, Kovcheg, at all. However, by an amazing coincidence, these two events happened at the same time. Two American women of Russian origin came to the seminar “Habitat Improvement”. They were bored in America and came to Russia to look for land for a Kin’s Domain. When they saw Diana Christian, they were very surprised, and one of the women, who had lived in the United States for 25 years, said the following verbatim: “What do you have Diana Christian doing here? What can she teach you? After all, you have gone far ahead.”

We are old, founding members of Kovcheg and remember very well that when the settlement was created, a group of pioneers were inspired by Anastasia’s ideas in V. N. Megre’s books “The Ringing Cedars of Russia”.

These people have managed to create a very vivid creative image of the future beautiful life in the Kin’s Domains. And the image works in an incomprehensible way, despite all the temptations to deviate from it that arise in the minds of some of our residents.

Our planet Mother Earth is moving at breakneck speed in cosmic space, every second of time being in a different place. Thus, every day the whole Universe, every person, literally every cell in him is different. In order to keep the image of the Divine dream in oneself, it is necessary to confirm this image in oneself every day in the most direct concrete sense. Not everyone, and not always, do people succeed in this. The original beautiful image of some people begins to blur. They have an illusion: “I’ve already built the Domain, and now (I’m smart) I’ll move on.” The range of opinions on how to live in an entire settlement is huge.

Some say: “I want everything to be cool here, like in a cottage village” and try to convince others that we don’t need any Kin’s Domains, but we need to build a cottage village.

Others say: “The idea of Kin’s Domains is morally obsolete, outdated, we need to join the world community of ecovillages, because only in this way we will be recognized and given Western grants.” At the same time, people who continue to think along the lines of Anastasia’s ideas come to the exact opposite conclusions. They realize that a Kin’s Domain is a powerful living device for materialization of any creative dream of a person. We have only just begun to feel and understand the functions and limitless possibilities of this living device, and some of us have already begun to use it consciously.

Others say: “We live in a village, we don’t need any self-government, we should give all powers to the municipality – the municipality will do better.

The fourth sings: “Only Krishna can save us.”

The fifth declares: “I’ll build a hotel complex here and serve foreigners for cheap.”

At first, it is astonishing that these are the same people who, upon entering the general meeting, publicly voiced their intention to build a Kin’s Domain and nothing else. How much they have been swept away from their own dream, their own idea! And how do we explain that the grace accumulated in this space is a spiritual product of the life of all of us living here, that the laws of the new civilization and this grace is for all, but it cannot be traded? What is to be done with all this?

Those who adhere to Anastasia’s ideas are sometimes in the minority on the settlement. How not to fight, not to quarrel, not to say, “Why did you, dear neighbor, say one thing at the general meeting when you were accepted, and now you say another thing and sing completely different songs?” And how do we deal with all this? At the same time, all these people are your neighbors, who have helped you many times, and you have helped them many times, and with whom you’ve lived for many years. Who has a ready formula – give me a hint!

In fact, we can now see that the image of the Kin’s Domain Settlement is still stronger: people hold on to their Domains, planting, no matter what transitory ideas and hobbies they may be caught up in at the moment. And even people who initially came as consumers, not creators, are forced to recognize over time that Kovcheg is still an Anastasia inspired Kin’s Domain Settlement.

Since 2016, we have also observed in conversations with local and federal officials that they, the officials, have had a decisive change in the perception of the very words “Kin’s Domain”, “Settlement of Kin’s Domains”. In the past, officials used to be more likely to get nervous and twitch on the subject of “whether sectarians have come to me”, but now this is not the case at all.

Now, in the vast majority of cases, there is benevolent interest and support on the part of officials. Something elusive, imperceptible, but very much real has changed. The promotion of the idea of Kin’s Domains has reached a new stage, one could say a State stage.

The efforts of the Government and the President to promote the idea of Kin’s Domains are already clearly visible. The number of Kin’s Domain Settlements is growing. More and more people are finding their motherland, cognizing the Divine meaning of life.

By Elena Katkova and Alexey Gornaev, parents of many children and grandparents of many grandchildren,
Kin’s Domain Settlement “Kovcheg” (Ark)

*This article was translated and edited by Gabriel Miguel, shared with the explicit permission of Alexey Gornaev

Alexey’s VK page: https://vk.com/id424354935

Kovcheg Settlement VK page: https://vk.com/les_eco_kovcheg

Alexey’s excellent YouTube channel, Accent TV : https://www.youtube.com/@user-AkcentTV777

Kovcheg Settlement website: http://www.eco-kovcheg.ru/index.html

Alexey is also a featured speaker at the upcoming Russia-America Exchange #6, hosted by the Anastasia Foundation: https://anastasia.foundation/rae6/

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Alexey Gornaev
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Alexey, Elena, and their grandchildren.

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