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In Search of Merjamaa. 7. Conclusion

The study shows that the neo-Meryan movement is an effective form of unofficial third sector activity, and it is capable of creating and charting out symbolic, cultural and social capital. As such, the movement can contribute to the post-Soviet Russian civil society. Moreover, the study shows that activity like this can create effective bonds between different sectors of society.

Local studies constitute the essential framework of the neo-Meryan movement. However, what distinguishes the movement from more universal forms of local studies is its artistic dimension. Like the chapter 4. 2 of this study shows, ethno-futuristic art exhibitions and design projects aim at presenting “the Meryan nucleus” to the general public. This nucleus is to be found in symbols and archetypes which are a source of symbolic capital for the neoMeryan movement. Nevertheless, in order to become symbolic capital these symbols and archetypes need to be culturally understood. In other words they have to become symbolic commodities which can be distributed to the general public. Here, like the chapter 4. 3 shows, festivals and performances play an important role.

Festivals provide a means of cultural representation. By representation they constitute an interpretation of social memory, and they do this by constructing a view of the Meryan social world. However, this view can not be constructed without like-minded people. Festivals offer a way of gathering together individual people and organisations dealing with the Meryan issue. The question is about social capital.

The neo-Meryan movement is about social capital. In spite of its loose and heterogeneous structure the movement is able to create promising relationships between different actors of the cultural sector. The publishing activity which the chapter 5. 1 deals with stands as an example. The Internet and the local studies blogging it enables make it possible to create an even worldwide interest in Meryans. Moreover, like the chapter 5. 2 shows, the samizdat publishing not only enables the establishment of an alternative cultural sphere, but it also offers a way of cooperation between volunteers and private cultural organisations. The number of articles dealing with places and regions demonstrate that local studies are the most important type of activity for the neo-Meryan movement. Moreover, the chapter 6. 3 of this study shows that the neo-Meryan approach to Merjamaa, The Meryan Land, involves two major thematic categories: the category of history and the one of sanctuaries. As can be seen in the chapters 6. 4. 1, 6. 4. 2 and 6. 4. 3, the language, the towns and the regions of Merjamaa belong to the sphere of history. Especially the toponyms of the area constitute an important form of cultural capital.

However, Meryanness is not only about history. Neither does the neo-Meryan movement solely aim at revitalizing the Meryan past manifested by the ancient Meryan language. The chapters 6. 5. 2 and 6. 5. 3 dealing with sanctuaries mirror neo-Meryan activists` interest in local people. Local people stand for incorporated cultural capital. They transfer the past into the present through their habitus. Legends and beliefs reproduce archetypic local cultural features, and Central Russian villages represent a continuum of Meryanness. While towns and cities stand for the historical, the timebound, villages stand for the eternal. The interest in the local has to do with the question about civil society. Neo-Meryan grassroot activity contributes to the establishment of a society which is founded on the free union of people with similar ideas. However, public response to neo-Meryan activists` ideas is a theme which leaves room for further research. Moreover, local studies as a form of Russian philanthropy definitely offers an interesting topic for future studies.


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1 - Comment 5 March 2019. An email letter from a neo-Meryan activist. [Personal communication 5 March 2019].

2 - Comment 24 April 2019. An email letter from a neo-Meryan activist. [Personal communication 24 April 2019].

3- Comment 25 April 2019. An email letter from a neo-Meryan activist. [Personal communication 25 April 2019].

4 - Comment 29 April 2019. An email letter from a neo-Meryan activist. [Personal communication 29 April 2019].

5 - Finugor 28 March 2013. A Meryan-Russian Dictionary Was Launched. [Вышёл в свет мерянско русский словарь] [Online]. Available from http://finugor.ru/news/vyshel-v-svet-meryansko-russkiy-slovar . [Accessed 10 August 2019]

6 - Merjamaa 14 June 2010. A Holy Stone in Chelohovo Village (Western Meschera). [Святой Камень в деревне Чёлохово (Западная Мещёра)] [Online]. Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/svjatoj_kamen_v_derevne_chjolokhovo_
[Accessed 11 August 2019].

7 - Merjamaa 28 September 2010. The Blue Stone in Velednikovo Village. The Istrinsky District of Moscow Oblast. [Синий Камень в деревне Веледниково. Истринский район Московской области] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 12 August 2019].

8 - Merjamaa 30 September 2010. The Flying Church of Lake Nestiar. [Летающий храм озера Нестиар] [Online]. Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/letajushhij_khram_ozera_nestiar/2010-09-30-84 [Accessed 12 August 2019].

9 - Merjamaa 29 November 2010. The Hidden Merya (Part One). Kostroma. History and Modern Archeology. [Потаённая меря (Часть первая). Кострома. История и современная антропология] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 11 August 2019].

10 - Merjamaa 6 December 2010. The Hidden Merya (Part Two). Galich Merskyj. History and Modern Anthropology. [Потаённая Меря (Часть Вторая). Галич Мерский. История и современная антропология] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 11 August 2019].

11 - Merjamaa 27 December 2010. ”The Blue Dame” of Berendeyev Marsh. (Some Holy Places of Yaroslav Oblast). [«Синяя баба» Берендеева болота. (некоторые сакральные места Ярославской области)] [Online]. Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/sinjaja_baba_berendeeva_bolota_
[Accessed 11 August 2019].

12 - Merjamaa 20 April 2011. A Meryan Legend of Lake Saytan. [Мерянская легенда про озеро Шайтан] [Online]. Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/merjanskaja_legenda_pro_ozero_
[Accessed 11 August 2019].

13 - Merjamaa 12 May 2011. And Worshipping The Idol Stone… The Holy Stones of Uglich. [И покланяшеся Идолу каменну… Священные валуны Углича] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/i_poklanjashesja_idolu_kamennu_svjashhennye_valuny_uglicha/2011-05-12-246 [Accessed 11 August 2019].

14 - Merjamaa 30 August 2011. The First Emission of the Almanac ”Meschera-kraj” Was Launched. [Вышел в свет первый выпуск альманаха "Мещёра-край"]. [Online].
Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/vyshel_v_svet_pervyj_vypusk_almanakha_meshhjora_kraj/2011- 08-30-326 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

15 - Merjamaa 11 November 2011. ”The Whole Chuhloma” 2011 or a Trip to the Meryan Land. ["Полная Чухлома" 2011 или путешествие в страну Меря] [Online]. Available from
puteshestvie_v_stranu_merja/2011- 11-11-388
[Accessed 10 August 2019].

16 - Merjamaa 27 December 2011. The Cultural Archeology of the Meryan Myth. [Культурная археология Мерянского Мифа] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/kulturnaja_arkheologija_merjanskogo_mifa/2011-12-27-436 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

17 - Merjamaa 15 February 2012. Moscow. Vladimir Dobrovinsky`s Meryan Branding. [Москва. Мерянский брендинг от Владимира Добровинского] [Online]. Available from
vladimira_dobrovinskogo/2012- 02-15-487
[Accessed 8 August 2019].

18 - Merjamaa 14 February 2013. Meryan Ethno-Futurists from Moscow Were Reborn as Spirits in Latvia. [Мерянские этнофутуристы из Москвы перевоплотились в Духов в
Латвии] [Online]. Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/merjanskie_maski_v_latvii/2013-02-14-707 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

19 - Merjamaa 27 March 2013. Meryan Language. Resurrection from the Dead. [Мерянский язык. Воскрешение из мертвых] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/merjanskij_jazyk_voskreshenie_iz_mertvykh/2013-03-27-723 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

20 - Merjamaa 8 April 2013. The Amulets of Pajwa – The Northern Ethnos. [ОБЕРЕГИ PAJWA – СЕВЕРНАЯ ЭТНИКА] [Online]. Available from
https://merjanin.livejournal.com/118719.html [Accessed 10 August 2019].

21 - Merjamaa 13 June 2013. Ethno-Futurism is Patriotism. [Этнофутуризм это патриотично] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/ehtnofuturisty_obratilis_k_istokam_rossii/2013-06-13-752 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

22 - Merjamaa 5 August 2013. Bylinnyj Bereg. The Young ”Merya”. [Былинный Берег. «Меря» молодая] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/bylinnyj_bereg_merja_molodaja/2013-08-05-785 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

23 - Merjamaa 9 August 2013. The Keremet of Unzha. “The Black Birch” and the “Potok” Fountain. [Унженская кереметь. "Чёрная береза" и источник "Поток"] [Online].
Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/unzhenskaja_keremet_
[Accessed 12 August 2019].

24 - Merjamaa 17 September 2013. The Meryan Urbanistics Yarislinna of the Project Yaroslavl. [Мерянская урбанистика Ярислинна от проекта YΔR⊕ϟΛA L] [Online]. Available ∇
from http://merjamaa.ru/news/merjanskaja_urbanistika_
[Accessed 8 August 2019].

25 - Merjamaa 31 March 2014. S. B. Chernetsova Saint Silvester Obnorsk`s “Preserved Grove“. [С .Б . Чернецова «Заповедная роща» св. Сильвестра Обнорского] [Online].
Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/rastitelnye_kulty_povolzhja/2014-03-31-888 [Accessed 112 August 2019].

26 - Merjamaa 19 May 2014. A Meryan art project Volga was opened in the ”New gallery” of Ivanovo at ”The Night of Museums”. [В "Новой галерее" Иваново в «Ночь музеев» открылся мерянский арт-проект Volga] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 8 August 2019].

27 - Merjamaa 25 June 2014. Vitalij Kurennoy. The Imperial Historical Matrix and the Local Culture of a Small Town. [Виталий Куренной. Имперская историческая матрица и локальная культура малого города] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 8
August 2019].

28 - Merjamaa 25 June 2014. The Blue-eyed Kostroma Taiga, ”Kitech Town the Other Way Around” and a Meryan Pagan Temple. [Синеглазая костромская тайга, "град Китеж наоборот" и мерянское капище] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/sineglazaja_tajga_grad_kitezh_naoborot_i_merjanskoe_kapishhe/2014-06-25-907 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

29 - Merjamaa 31 December 2014. The Meryan Outcomes of the Year 2014 According to the Version of ”Uralistica”. [Мерянские итоги 2014 года по версии "Uralistica"].
[Online]. Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/merjanskie_itogi_2014_goda_po_versii_uralistica/2014-12-31-975 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

30 - Merjamaa 16 June 2015. Aperture Symbolics as an Example of the Sacral Rural Complexes in The Kostroma Area [Пронимальная символика на примере сакральных деревенских комплексов Костромской земли] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 12 August 2019].

31 - Merjamaa 6 August 2015. Uncle Mazay and Vyozhi Island – The Novgorodian-Meryan Inhabitation of Early Middle Ages. [Дед Мазай и Остров Вёжи – новгородскомерянское поселение раннего средневековья] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/ostrov_vjozhi/2015-08-06-1028 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

32 - Merjamaa 14 September 2015. The Non-Slavic Life of Muscovian Posad. [Неславянская жизнь Московского посада] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/neslavjanskaja_zhizn_moskovskogo_posada/2015-09-14-1038 [Accessed 11 August 2019].

33 - Merjamaa 6 October 2015. From What Moscovia Emerged? From the Meryan Zalesski Land! [С чего начиналась Московия? С мерянской Залесской земли!] [Online]. Available
from http://merjamaa.ru/news/s_chego_nachinalas_moskvija_s_
[Accessed 8 August 2019].

34 - Merjamaa 2 January 2018. The Meryan Art Exhibition ”A Meryan`s Measurement´ was organized In Saint Petersburg. [В Санкт Петербурге прошла мерянская артвыставка «Измерение Меря»] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 8 August 2019].

35 - Merjamaa 6 February 2018. Ancient Water Routes. The Centuries of Monasteries. A Route to the North along the Rivers Lescha and Obnora. [Древние водные пути. Монастырские века. Пути на север по рекам Лежа и Обнора] [Online]. Available
from http://merjamaa.ru/news/drevnie_vodnye_puti/2018-02-06-1330 [Accessed 11 August 2019].

36 - Merjamaa 5 September 2018. Unoroch 2018. Excavations in Zavolzhian Meryans` Capital Continue. [Унорож 2018. Продолжаются раскопки столицы зоволжской мери] [Online]. Available from
[Accessed 10 August 2019].

37 - Merjamaa 23 September 2018. The Cherepovets Inhabitants Were Shown Jewelry from the Millenial History. [Череповчанам покажут украшения мерянский модниц тысячелетней давности] [Online]. Available from
http://merjamaa.ru/news/merjanskie_modnicy/2018-09-23-1386 [Accessed 8 August 2019].

38 - Merjamaa 6 November 2018. Scientists Told How Kostromeans` Meryan Ancestors Lived and How They Looked Like [Ученые рассказали, как жили и как выглядели мерянские
предки костромичей] [Online]. Available from http://merjamaa.ru/news/kak_vygljadeli_merjanskie_predki/2018-11-06-1405 [Accessed 10 August 2019].

39 - Russkaya Derevnya (2011). About the Price and Value of Books. [О цене и ценности книг] [Online]. Available from http://www.hamlet.ru/?view=about_prices [Accessed 10 August 2019].

40 - Za Granyu Budnej (n. d.). Good Time of the Day! [Доброе время суток!] [Online]. Available from https://holiday-trips.ru/about [Accessed 10 August 2019].

To be continued http://www.merjamaa.ru/index/in_search_of_merjamaa_appendices/0-51

The contents http://www.merjamaa.ru/index/in_search_of_merjamaa_aapo_kihlanki/0-43


мерянский Павел Травкин чашечник меря финно-угры чудь весь Merjamaa Меряния финно-угорский субстрат вепсы История Руси меряне суздаль владимир история марийцы мари Ветлуга Ростов Великий ростов новгород Русь экология славяне топонимика кострома КРИВИЧИ русские Язычество камень следовик синий камень камень чашечник сакральные камни этнофутуризм археология мурома Владимиро-Суздальская земля мерянский язык ономастика Ростовская земля балты финны городище Векса озеро Неро краеведение православие священные камни этнография святой источник общество Плёс дьяковцы Ивановская область регионализм культура идентитет искусство плес ингрия антропология россия москва ярославль мифология вологда лингвистика Марий Эл будущее Унжа вятичи Залесье волга поэзия нея галич деревня туризм север мерянский этнофутуризм Древняя Русь шаманизм латвия русский север иваново буй капище Ярославская область Языкознание реконструкция скандинавы средневековье Европа магия Этногенез коми старообрядцы Костромская область христианство