Assyrians and Yezidis
After the collapse of the USSR, information about the composition of the organized crime elite in the countries of the former Soviet camp appeared on the pages of the me-dia. Judging by this information, from the beginning of the 1990s to the present, the positions of representatives of one ethnic group, the Yezidis, have been the strongest. At first, the role of the "king of the underworld" was played by the Yezidi Aslan Usoyan (grandfather Khasan), Usoyan's nephew was succeeded by his nephew Temuri Mirzoev (Timur Tbilissky, later Timur Sverdlovsky), and after him the Yazidi Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro-young) headed the criminal hierarchy again. At the same time, the Assyrians were always present in the environment of the Yezidis, who played a significant role in the formation of the Yezidi "authorities". In Yekaterinburg, where Aslan Usoyan began to build his criminal empire in the early 1990s, he was supported by the Assyrians Tarlanovs, and in St. Petersburg, where Usoyan moved closer to the mid-1990s, the Assyrians Avdyshevs. Vyacheslav Ivankov (Yaponchik), called by the media as one of the leaders of the "Slavic" wing of Russian organized crime and a member of the Usoyan clan, was married to an Assyrian woman.
It can be assumed that the high concentration of Yezidis and Assyrians on the "criminal Olympus" is explained by the personal rise of Aslan Usoyan in the early 1990s, who brought the Yezidis and Assyrians, who were related to him, to the top of the criminal hierarchy. However, the Assyrians occupied a high position both in the hierarchy of the underworld and in the sphere of shadow entrepreneurship even during the existence of the USSR, when Usoyan did not occupy a leading position. Thus, rather, the proximity of the Yezidi Aslan Usoyan to the Assyrians played a role in his rise in the criminal hierarchy.
In order to understand the reasons for the privileged position of Assyrians and Yezidis in the Russian underworld, as well as to clarify the connection between Assyrians and Yezidis, let us turn to the history of the emergence and coexistence of these ethnic groups.
Presumably, the ancestors of the modern Assyrians were the Kurds, who adopted Christianity in the 2nd-3rd centuries AD, and the ancestors of the Yezidis were also Kurds, but who adopted the specific religion of Yezidism. These ethnic groups lived mainly in the territory of modern Iraq and Syria. There is reason to believe that both the Assyrian version of Christianity (Nestorianism) and Yezidism were based on the cult of the Lord of Light, which in Nestorianism and Yezidism personified a good beginning, and in orthodox Christianity and Islam - an evil one. The figure of John the Baptist probably played a special role for the Nestorians, perhaps even more than the figure of Jesus Christ. The beliefs of the Assyrians and Yezidis assumed the possibility of the development of "mystical technologies" (magic), which led to the presence of a significant number of "non-traditional healers" among these ethnic groups in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Nestorianism became widespread in Central Asia and, through the Tatar-Mongols, exerted a significant influence on Russia in the 13th century, probably leading to the diver-gence of the northeastern version of Orthodoxy (Old Orthodoxy), whose center was in Moscow, with the Byzantine version of Orthodoxy preserved in Kiev. In the 17th century, the Russian Tsar Alexei, for the sake of the annexation of Little Russia (Ukraine) to Russia, abandoned Old Orthodoxy (Nikonian reform), which led to a schism in Russia and the opposition of Old Believer communities that refused to return to Byzantine rituals. These communities may have become the basis for the centralization of the criminal world, which received an ideological basis for opposing itself to a heretical state.
In the 19th century, during the Russian-Persian and Russian-Turkish wars, and especially during the First World War in the 20th century, Assyrians and Yezidis, who were previously in a hostile Islamic environment, massively became citizens of the Russian Empire. After the October Revolution, a significant part of the Assyrians and Yezidis joined the ranks of criminal authorities and underground entrepreneurs, whose ideology, presumably, formed under the influence of the Old Believer communities, was close to the religious beliefs of the Assyrians and Yezidis (the cult of the Lord of Light).
During Rebuilding in the 1980s, Assyrians and Yezidis, who played an important role in the hierarchy of the criminal world and underground entrepreneurship, took part in the creation of a number of the largest criminal groups in Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg) and Leningrad (St. Petersburg) - the hometowns of the first (Yeltsin) and the second (Putin) presidents of Russia who came to power after the collapse of the USSR. The elites of these cities, to one degree or another connected with their "native" criminal groups, became the sources of the formation of the upper echelons of the Russian elite in the 1990s and 2000s.
The cult of the Lord of Light, presumably underlying the religious beliefs of the ancestors of modern Assyrians and Yezidis, has formed a specific worldview among the representatives of these ethnic groups, which may help them achieve success in business and in the struggle for power.
1. Christianization of the Assyrians. Nazarenes.
2. Sufi (Nazarene?) Roots of Yezidism.
3. Nestorianism and Russia.
4. Assyrians and Yezidis in the Russian Empire.
5. Assyrians and Yezidis in the USSR.
6. Assyrians and Yezidis in Yekaterinburg.
7. Assyrians and Yezidis in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
8. Cult of the Lord of Light.
1. Christianization of the Assyrians. Nazarenes.
Modern Assyrians began calling themselves Assyrians only in the 20th century A.D. Before that they were called Aysors, and even earlier they were called Syro-Chaldeans. There is a version that the Syro-Chaldeans are Kurds who converted to Christianity in the II-III centuries of our era. This version looks the most convincing given the close ties be-tween modern Assyrians and Yezidi Kurds, which will be discussed below. DNA studies conducted in 2011 in Brussels as part of the Armenian DNA Project identified genetic affinities between Turks, Kurds, Assyrians, Jews and Armenians. Kurds and Jews are believed to have common ancestors. These ancestors were either the ancient Assyrians, whose empire flourished in the 8th century BC. (the capital of Assyria - Nineveh - was located on the territory of modern Iraq), or the Israelites captured by the Assyrians in 722 BC.
It is assumed that the language of communication of the ancestors of modern Assyrians by the beginning of our era was Aramaic. It is argued that already in the II century A.D. In the capital of the Parthian kingdom on the territory of modern Iraq, the Christian Syro-Persian church was created, which later became known as the Assyrian Church of the East, and by the 3rd century AD. part of the population of the Parthian kingdom became its flock, including a large group of Kurds, which, unlike other ethnic groups in those territories, retained the Christian faith until the 21st century. It is the rep-resentatives of this ethnic group of Christian Kurds, presumably, who are the ancestors of the modern Assyrians.
In the II century A.D. The East was the Parthian kingdom, and the West was the Roman Empire, where Christianity and Mithraism fought for mass recognition. In the Par-thian kingdom, and later in the Persian Empire, Zoroastrianism was the predominant religion. Thus, the Christianized part of the population was an enclave among the Gentiles.
In the 4th century A.D. the confrontation between the Persian Empire, where Zoroastrianism prevailed, and the Roman Empire, where Christianity began to dominate, intensified. To avoid persecution by the Persian authorities, the Eastern Church demonstrated its separation from the Western Roman Church. It should be noted that at that time the capital of the Roman Empire was not Rome, but Constantinople. In the 5th century, Byzantium, with its capital in Constantinople, became the legal successor of the Roman Empire.
In 431, at the Council of Ephesus, convened on the initiative of the Byzantine emperor, the doctrine of Archbishop Nestorius of Constantinople was condemned, who called the Virgin Mary not "Theotokos", but "Theotokos", which was perceived as a denial of the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Nestorius was supported by the Patriarch of Antioch, who was subordinate to the Eastern Church. As a result, the first large-scale split of the Christian Church took place: the Eastern Church became independent, receiving the name of the Syrian-Persian Church (later, the Syrian Church of the East), but in historical chronicles the representatives of this religious movement were often called "Nestorians".
Perhaps the reasons for the church schism were exclusively political, and different interpretations of the dogmas of faith were just an excuse. However, it is possible that in the belief system of the representatives of the Eastern Church there were grounds for accusations of denying the divine nature of Jesus Christ. What grounds for such assumptions will be stated below.
In the 7th century, the Persian Empire fell under the blows of the Arab Caliphate. The Arabs at that time were distinguished by considerable religious tolerance, at least in relation to monotheistic religions. It was argued that it was the Nestorians who introduced the Arab conquerors to the remaining heritage of antiquity. In addition, the Nestorians be-came the court physicians of the Arab rulers, and this position allowed them to exert significant influence on the rulers. Some representatives of modern Assyrians claim that it was their ancestors who were these influential Nestorians, although they could have been representatives of other ethnic groups who adopted Nestorian Christianity. The Arab ca-liphs treated the Nestorians as their allies during the struggle against the Orthodox Byzantines. Of course, the Nestorians had fewer rights than the Muslim population of the Caliphate, and the Nestorians treated Muslims as oppressors, although perhaps they did not explicitly show this attitude.
The growth of the power of the Western European kingdoms in the 10th century led in the 11th century to a new ecclesiastical schism between Latin Rome (Catholicism) and Hellenistic Constantinople (Orthodoxy). As a result, Christianity was divided mainly into three parts: Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Nestorianism. Catholicism spread mainly in West-ern Europe, Orthodoxy in Eastern Europe, and Nestorianism in Asia. In Asia, Nestorianism spread first in Central Asia, China and India, but when Nestorianism was expelled from China in the 11th century, it gained great success among the nomads in the steppes of Central Asia and southern Siberia. The success of Nestorianism was so great that in the 12th century in Western Europe, rumors spread about the Asiatic kingdom of Presbyter John, who would come to the aid of the crusading army in the struggle for Jerusalem. The rumors were not confirmed.
According to the historian Lev Gumilyov, a powerful Nestorian kingdom could well have appeared on the territory of Central Asia, but this was prevented by the rise of Temujin, who received the title of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan united the steppe nomads not on the basis of religion, but on the basis of the ideals of military valor and mutual assistance. In the nation-army created by Genghis Khan, Nestorianism retained a strong position, although it did not become the official religion of the ruling class. It is assumed that under the influence of the Nestorians in the XII century, the Tatar-Mongol army undertook a campaign in the Middle East with the active support of the Armenian king. In 1258, the Mongols took Baghdad (the capital of the Arab Caliphate), and the commander of the Mongol army, Hulagu Khan, presented the Caliph's palace to the Nestorian patriarch.
The Mongols failed to take Jerusalem. Genghis Khan's grandchildren did not preserve his traditions and were influenced by the largest world religions: Buddhism, Islam, various streams of Christianity. The integrity of the Mongol Empire was broken. At the end of the 13th century, the Mongols still ruled Iran, but they had already converted to Islam, and in the 14th century the Nestorian population of Iran began to be persecuted. After the capture of Baghdad by Tamerlane, the Nestorian community in Iran was almost completely liquidated due to the fact that the Iranian Nestorians assisted the Mongols in the fight against the Muslim Arabs. The few Kurds who preserved the Nestorian Christian faith, presumably, became the ancestors of the modern Assyrians.
Let us touch on some of the differences between Nestorianism and Orthodox Byzantine Orthodoxy, which can give an idea of the significant cultural characteristics of modern Assyrians.
As mentioned above, the split of Nestorianism with orthodox Orthodoxy occurred due to a different attitude towards the nature of Jesus Christ, which was reflected in the different naming of the Virgin Mary. In Orthodox Orthodoxy, she is called "Theotokos", indicating that Mary gave birth to a son of God, who is one of the hypostases of the triune God (God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit). Nestor insisted on the use of the term "Christ-mother", implying that Jesus Christ was in two hypostases as a man and God, and the fact of his birth by Mary refers to the human hypostasis of Jesus. The unification of the human and divine hypostases in Jesus took place after baptism. Oppo-nents of Nestorius interpreted his teaching as follows: Mary gave birth to the man Jesus Christ, who became God only after baptism. This point of view was declared heresy at the Council of Ephesus in 431.
Thus, Nestorius attached particular importance to the fact of the baptism of Jesus, which entailed his transformation. Here the figure of John the Baptist comes to the fore, as the man who baptized Jesus and was directly related to the transformation of Jesus into a full-fledged God. John the Baptist is a highly respected figure for believers in Jesus Christ, but the opposite is not always true. Some admirers of John the Baptist refused to recognize the divine nature of Jesus, arguing that if he was an unusual person, it was only thanks to John, who, by the act of baptism, awakened mystical powers in him. There were admirers of John the Baptist, who called Jesus Christ a plagiarist, who borrowed the ideas of John to create, supposedly, his own teaching. There were even those who argued that the existence of Jesus Christ as a historical character is generally questionable, while John the Baptist is indisputable.
It was argued that the followers of the Syrian Church of the East (Nestorians) called themselves "Nazarenes", in connection with which the Arabs, who worked closely with the Nestorians, called all Christians that way. In the description of the traditions of the Syrian Church of the East of the 19th century, it is mentioned that Nazarene children were chosen from the families of priests to educate future priests.
The Gospels called Jesus Christ Jesus of Nazareth or Nazarene. There are different versions of who were called Nazirites. A description of the ancient Hebrew Nazarite rituals is given, which either contributed to spiritual growth, or simply increased the likelihood of conceiving healthy children. Supporters of the version that the Nazarene rituals contributed to the spiritual search, argued that all the followers of John the Baptist belonged to the Nazarenes, and that Jesus received the nickname Nazarene because he went through John's baptism. Members of the Gnostic sect of the Mandeans, which have survived to this day in Iraq, considered John the Baptist to be the last emanation of God, called especially righteous people Nazarites, and called Jesus Christ a false prophet.
The opposition of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, which probably served as the basis for the confrontation between the churches of the West and the East, symbolizes the presence of two currents of thought. Western tradition denies the possibility of a divine presence in every person. Man is God's creation, not a part of it. Jesus worked miracles because he was the Son of God, and he was already born that way. Ordinary people can become part of the Kingdom of Heaven only by dying. In contrast to this, the Eastern tradi-tion admits that Jesus, having been born as a man, became God, which means, theoretically, any person can be transformed from just a man into a God-man during his life. And for the Eastern tradition, the more important is the figure not of Jesus Christ, who became a God-man, but of John the Baptist, who helped people discover God in themselves. Accordingly, within the framework of the Eastern tradition, esoteric schools are formed that develop technologies for transforming a person into a God-man (Nazarene rituals). But these technologies are so complex (hermitism, asceticism, celibacy, etc.) that only a narrow circle of the elect are able to manifest their divine essence. Perhaps one of these esoteric schools influenced the formation of the Syrian Church of the East.
Describing the Nestorian traditions in Central Asia, the historian Lev Gumilyov reports that at the Lyons Cathedral in 1245, the Metropolitan of Kiev Pyotr Akerovich, answering questions about the Tatar faith, said: “They believe in a single ruler of light ... Every morning they raise their hands to heaven in honor of the creator ... They say that their leader is Saint Ivan. " Saint Ivan may well mean John the Baptist. It should be noted that the name John was common among the Central Asian Nestorians. And in Western Europe, the king of a fictional Nestorian state was also called John for some reason.
The question of who is meant by the "one ruler of light" is more complicated. This question may become clearer when we get acquainted with the basics of Yezidism.
2. Sufi (Nazarene?) roots of Yezidism.
As mentioned above, the ancestors of modern Assyrians were probably Kurds who converted to Christianity. However, not all Kurds accepted Christianity. Most Kurds probably accepted the religion that was dominant in their territory, like other neighboring peoples: Zoroastrianism - under the Parthians and Persians, Islam - under the Arabs. In addition to the Christian Kurds and most of the Kurds loyal to the ruling regime, there was probably a relatively small group of Kurds who retained the ancient beliefs of their ancestors, about the essence of which there is practically no written evidence. Unlike Christianity, these beliefs, most likely, were not recognized by Islam as a monotheistic religion, were considered pagan and were persecuted, as a result of which the Kurds, who preserved the faith of their ancestors, were forced to leave for remote mountainous areas.
In the XI century A.D. Sufi teacher Sheikh Adi bin Musafer, who according to some sources was a Kurd, according to others - an Arab, founded the Sufi order (tarikat) Adawiya, whose teachings he began to spread among the pagan Kurds. Sufism is a mystical movement that developed within the framework of Islam. The origins of Sufism were probably the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian esoteric teachings, partially assimilated and revised by Islam. At that time, Sufism had a difficult relationship with orthodox Islam, so the Kurdish community, which was alien to Islam, was a perfectly suitable place for a Sufi who decided to create a closed order, the teachings of which would be preserved among a narrow circle of the elect and which at the same time would be in some degree protected from hostile attacks by the Kurdish community. Among the ordinary members of the Kurdish community, Sheikh Adi allegedly earned himself authority by the miracles he performed, and he ensured the loyalty of the highest circles of the community by developing a new religion that included traditional Kurdish beliefs, the teachings of the Sufis, as well as elements of Islam. This religion, which was developed by the followers of Sheikh Adi, was called "Yezidism", and the Kurds who professed it were called Yezidis. Yazidism, which borrowed elements of Islam, began to be less persecuted by Muslims, while the old pagan Kurdish priests retained a privileged position in the new belief system. However, it was not they who began to occupy the highest position in the new social order, but members of the Sufi order founded by Sheikh Adi. The teachings of this order remained closed not only to hostile Muslims, but also to the overwhelming majority of the Yezidis themselves.
The holy place for the Yezidis is the Lalesh temple, which is located near the city of Mosul (northern modern Iraq). Mosul at that time was the center of Nestorian Christianity (the Assyrian Church of the East). The temple itself was located on the territory of the Assyro-Nestorian monastery of St. John the Baptist. It was in this temple that Sheikh Adi settled and began to create Yezidism. According to some sources, by the time Sheikh Adi settled there, the monastery was abandoned and the Emir Zangi, who patronized him, presented the temple to Sheikh Adi. According to other sources, Sheikh Adi received permission to use the temple from the abbot of the monastery. The fact that Yezidism ori-ginated within the walls of an Assyrian monastery may be an accident. However, given the subsequent close relationship between the Assyrians and the Yezidis over the centuries, this fact may indicate that Assyrian mystics could have had a hand in the creation of Yezidism, who could be as far from orthodox Christianity as the Sufi mystics were far from orthodox Islam. It is possible that Christian and Sufi mysticism had the same origins, for example, in the teachings of the Nazarenes, one of which, presumably, was John the Baptist. And the fact that the Lalesh temple was on the territory of the monastery of precisely John the Baptist may also be a coincidence, or it may be evidence of the continuity of the mystical tradition.
In the system of Yezidi beliefs, the central place is occupied by the emanation of God - Malak Taus, who strongly resembles the Christian angel of light Lucifer and the Muslim Iblis - fallen angels who, having hated man, betrayed God and began to play the role of the Devil in Christianity and Islam. According to the Yezidi beliefs, the luminous angel remained faithful to God and does not bear any evil principle in himself. Perhaps it was this angel of light that was meant by the "one ruler of light", who was worshiped by the Nestorians in Central Asia.
As mentioned above, in the 13th century, the Chingizid Mongols, under the influence of the Nestorians, who had great influence in the Mongol Empire, undertook the “yellow crusade” and captured Baghdad with the active support of the local Nestorians. Subsequently, the Mongol rulers of Baghdad became Islamized and began to infringe on the rights of the Nestorians. And the capture of Baghdad by Tamerlane at the end of the XIV century marked the beginning of the violent Islamization of the local population. Similar processes took place in Central Asia. As a result, in the 15th century, a significant part of the Assyrians was either destroyed, or Islamized and assimilated with most of the surrounding population. In the XVI-XIX centuries, the Assyrians as a separate ethnic group survived only in the mountainous areas of Iran. Thus, the Assyrians shared the fate of the Yezidis, who were able to preserve beliefs different from Islam, isolating themselves from Muslims in remote mountainous areas. The price for the preservation of cultural iden-tity was, presumably, a stagnation in the development of the spiritual life of the majority of both Assyrians and Yezidis, who refused to interact with other peoples. What was a disadvantage for most Assyrians and Yezidis became an advantage for a narrow circle of the elite. The isolation of communities strengthened their cohesion and control of the nobility.
Before turning to the history of the Assyrians and Yezidis in the XIX-XXI centuries, it is worth noting that before the extinction of its influence on the fate of numerous peoples of Central Asia and the Middle East, Nestorianism probably influenced Orthodox Russia, as a result of which the legendary "kingdom of Presbyter John" in In some form it was embodied in the form of Muscovite Rus, which subsequently led to the incorporation of the Assyrians and Yezidis into certain social groups of the Russian elite.
3. Nestorianism and Russia.
Orthodox Russians initially viewed Nestorians as heretics, but for Christians, heretics were worse than pagans. The pagans were "foolish children" who could and should have opened their eyes to the light of true faith. Heretics, in the eyes of Christians, were people who deliberately turned away from the true faith and became servants of the Devil.
For the first contact with the Orthodox Russian princes, the Mongol khans, who invaded the Polovtsian steppes and approached the borders of Kievan Rus in 1223, elected Nestorian ambassadors, suggesting that it would be easier for Christians to come to an agreement with Christians. But the Mongols miscalculated. The Russians executed the Nestorian ambassadors, which from the point of view of the Mongolian law - Yasy - was a terrible crime. Nevertheless, the Mongols sent a second embassy, this time consisting of people who professed the traditional Mongolian faith - Tengrianism. The Russian princes again did not accept the conditions of the Mongols and supported the Polovtsians against the Mongols, but this time they let the Mongol ambassadors go home alive. According to the historian Lev Gumilyov, the reason for the murder of the Nestorian ambassadors by the Russian princes was the brutal conflict between Byzantine Orthodoxy and Nestorianism. After the defeat of the Russian-Polovtsian army on the Kalka River, the Mongols killed the Russian princes who had surrendered to captivity, in revenge for the murder of their ambassadors.
In 1237, Mongol troops under the command of Genghis Khan's grandson Batu Khan invaded Russia. First, the Mongols captured the cities of North-Eastern Russia: Ryazan, Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal. Moving towards Novgorod, the Mongols captured Pereyaslavl, Tver and Torzhok, but did not reach Novgorod, returning to the steppe. In 1239, the Volga-Oka region of Russia was attacked by the Mongols. In 1240 the Mongols marched along the right bank of the Dnieper and took the "mother of Russian cities" - Kiev. Having passed Russia, the Mongols invaded Poland and Hungary.
At that moment, most of the Mongol troops were withdrawn and Batu Khan remained at the head of the vast conquered territory, not having sufficient forces to fully control it. As a result, Batu had to conclude alliances with the Russian princes in order to maintain control over the Russian lands. The support of the Russian princes was useful for the Mongol khans in the course of internal strife between the khans.
At the same time, Novgorod, which escaped the Tatar-Mongol invasion, was under the threat of capture by the knightly orders of Catholic Europe. The son of the Grand Duke Yaroslav Alexander, who reigned in Novgorod, defeated the crusaders in 1240 on the Neva and in 1242 on Lake Peipsi, receiving the nickname Nevsky. Being between the Tatar-Mongol threat from the East and the Catholic threat from the West, Alexander Nevsky preferred to conclude an alliance with the Mongols against Catholic Europe. The Russian Orthodox Church recognized Alexander Nevsky as a saint because he preferred an alliance with the tolerant (at that time) Mongols, who allowed the preservation of Ortho-doxy in Russia. While Rome would undoubtedly require the conversion of the Russian population to Catholicism.
In 1246, the great khan Guyuk summoned the father of Alexander Nevsky, the grand duke Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, to the capital of the Mongolian empire, Karakorum, in order to enlist his support in the conflict with the khan of the Golden Horde, Batu. However, in Karakorum, Yaroslav Vsevolodovich was poisoned, presumably, on the denunciation of one of the boyars from the prince's retinue. As a result, Alexander Nevsky supported Guyuk's opponent, Batu Khan. In 1248 Guyuk himself was poisoned.
In 1251, a supporter of Batu - Munke became the great khan. And Prince Alexander Nevsky fraternized with Batu's son - Sartak - and thus became the son of the Khan of the Golden Horde, which included Russia. It should be noted that Sartak professed Nestorianism. Thus, the Russian prince, recognized as a saint by the Orthodox Church, became a twin brother of the Nestorian heretic. This is how the political situation forced the Orthodox Russian princes to change their attitude to the doctrine, which they considered the Nestorian heresy. Those who could not show religious flexibility either died, like Mikhail Chernigovsky, who was executed at the headquarters of the great khan for refusing to take part in a certain ritual, or remained in the backyards of history, unable to enlist the support of the Mongols in the princely civil strife.
In those years, Kiev, formally remaining the main Russian city where the metropolitan's residence was located, lost its former political and economic significance, being devastated by the Tatars. Vladimir, the main city of North-Eastern Russia, came to the fore among Russian cities. Since 1248, according to the label issued by Guyuk, the brother of Alexander Nevsky, Andrei, was the prince of Vladimir. After the change of power in Karakorum, the Tatars opposed Andrei Yaroslavovich and the label for the reign of Vladimir in 1252 was given to Alexander Nevsky. There is a version that Alexander Nevsky himself initiated the Tatars' campaign against his brother in order to become the Prince of Vladimir. Analyzing "The Lay of Igor's Host", Lev Gumilyov suggests that this work secretly supported the actions of Andrei Yaroslavovich, who spoke out against the Tatars and, in particular, against the Nestorian Sartak, who oversaw the policy towards Russia in the Golden Horde and had a negative attitude towards Orthodoxy. At the same time, the "Lay" veiledly criticizes Alexander Nevsky, who supported his brother-in-law, the Nestorian Sartak, against the brother of the Orthodox Prince Andrei.
Khan Batu died in 1255. His son Sartak (Nestorian, brother of Alexander Nevsky), who was supposed to inherit his father, was poisoned, presumably, by his Muslim uncle Berke. Becoming the khan of the Golden Horde, Berke organized the massacre of the Nestorians in Samarkand. At this time, the great khan of the Mongols was Munke, who enjoyed the support of the Nestorians and under their influence undertook a "yellow crusade" against Jerusalem. The Muslim Berke did not sympathize with these actions, but during his lifetime Munke was forced to support the campaign, allocating his troops for this. After the death of Munke in 1259, the Golden Horde took open hostile actions against Iran, which was under the rule of the Nestorian Mongols. In Karakorum at that time there was another struggle for power between the contenders for the title of great khan.
In 1262, tribute collectors sent by one of these pretenders, Khubilai, were killed in North-Eastern Russia. Lev Gumilev claimed that this happened on the initiative of Alex-ander Nevsky, who after this incident persuaded Berke not to carry out a punitive operation. Perhaps it was possible to reach an agreement with Berke due to the fact that Berke supported not Kublai, but another candidate for the title of Great Khan. Gumilev believed that Berke was striving for the independence of the Golden Horde from the great khans and for this he needed the support of the Russian princes.
Ultimately, Khubilai became the great khan. Born from a Nestorian woman, Khubilai at first sympathized with this direction of Christianity, but over time fell under the charm of Chinese culture, and later began to establish relations with Catholics who converted the Nestorians in China, captured by the Mongols. The enlisted Kublai founded a new dynasty of Chinese emperors, and the Golden Horde in 1262, according to Gumilyov, actually became an independent state.
In 1261, Berke founded an Orthodox bishopric in Sarai. Perhaps, by doing so, he wanted to limit the influence of the hostile Nestorianism, hoping that the oppressed Nestorians would convert to a close-minded Orthodoxy, breaking ties with the Nestorian patriarchy in the hostile Berk Iran. As a result, the Nestorian Tatars really began to convert to Orthodoxy, although not always sincerely. The rituals of Orthodoxy and Nestorianism were similar, with a few exceptions, and the Nestorians were quite successful in pretending to be Orthodox, keeping their own faith in secret. Some Nestorian Tatars migrated to Russia, going into the service of the Russian princes, who gladly accepted the Tatar heroes, trained in military science from childhood. Representatives of quite in-fluential Tatar families also went to serve the Russian princes, which, possibly, allowed the Russian princes to use their connections in Sarai to protect their interests with the khans of the Golden Horde.
In 1263, according to the will of Alexander Nevsky, who died this year, Moscow was separated from the Grand Duchy of Vladimir and transferred to the inheritance of the youngest son of Alexander Nevsky - Daniel, who at that time was about 2 years old. According to chronicles, during the next seven years, under the young prince, Moscow was ruled by the governors of Alexander Nevsky's brother, Yaroslav Yaroslavovich, who became the Grand Duke of Vladimir after the death of Alexander Nevsky. Who were these governors is not reported. There is reason to believe that the main role in Moscow at that time was played by the ancestors of the founder of the boyar family of the Velyaminovs (Protasia) - Ivan and his son Fyodor Ivanovich. It should be noted that more or less reliable information is available about the life of Protasius, who was the thousandth son of Daniel Alexandrovich - Ivan Kalita. Information about the ancestors of Protasius is rather doubtful. This question is very interesting due to the fact that the Velyaminovs over the next two centuries were the closest advisers to the Moscow princes and even raised their heirs.
The main version of the origin of the Velyaminovs says that the clan is descended from the son of the Varangian prince Afrikan - Shimon, who came to Russia to Yaroslav the Wise and converted to Orthodoxy. There is reason to doubt the truth of this version (VA Kuchkin “The Velyaminovs in the service of the Moscow princes in the 14th - early 15th centuries). Kuchkin suggests that the Varangian version of the origin of the Velyaminovs is the traditional version of the construction of the genealogies of influential boyars to the Varangian warriors of the Rurik. The true ancestor of the Velyaminovs remained unknown. According to Kuchkin's version, with the young Daniil Alexandrovich, Protasius's grandfather, Ivan, went to Moscow from Vladimir, who played an important role under Alexander Nevsky, and, possibly, under his father Yaroslav Vsevolodovich. Ivan's ancestors are unknown. Ivan, and later his son Fyodor, ruled Moscow and raised the young Moscow prince Daniel. The Velyaminovs and their descendants played the same role with varying success in relation to all Moscow princes up to Ivan the Terrible.
We can offer our own version of the origin of the Velyaminov family, which would explain the rapid growth of the importance of Moscow under the descendants of Daniil Alexandrovich and the church schism of the 17th century. It is possible that the roots of the Velyaminov family should be sought in the Golden Horde, from where the grandfather of Protasius Ivan could have come to Russia during the reign of Batu. Perhaps at first he was a representative of the Golden Horde and collected tribute from the Russian lands, and later went to serve the Grand Duke Yaroslav Vsevolodovich or his son Alexander Nevsky. If Ivan professed Nestorianism, like Alexander Nevsky's brother Sartak, who oversaw Russian issues in the Golden Horde, then the persecution of the Nestorians in the Golden Horde after the death of Batu and Sartak should have turned Ivan away from serving the Golden Horde khans. It should be noted that the name Ivan (John) was quite popular in the Nestorian communities of Central Asia. This was probably due to the fact that in Nestorianism central importance was attached to the figure of John the Baptist. The Nestorian cathedral in Samarkand was consecrated in the name of John the Baptist, and in Moscow the most ancient of the Christian churches is the temple of John the Baptist near Borovitsky hill on the site of the pagan temple of Veles and Kupala. It is argued, however, that this temple was created in the 12th century when Moscow was founded, but the reliability of this information is questionable. Perhaps the temple was created on the initiative of the Nestorians, surrounded by the first Moscow prince. It should also be noted that the name Ivan became the most popular name among the Moscow princes, starting with the son of Daniil Alexandrovich - Ivan Kalita, which can also be explained by the Nestorian influence on the princes by their educators - the Velyaminov boyars.
Perhaps the Nestorian influence on the Moscow princes led to the fact that church rites, first in Moscow and then throughout Russia, began to differ from the Byzantine rites of the Orthodox Church, and these rites were later called Old Believers or Old Orthodox. There are different versions of the explanation of why the Russian Orthodox rituals began to differ from the Byzantine ones. According to one version, changes in church rituals in Russia accumulated gradually in a random way, and the further it came from Byzantium, the more noticeable it was. Therefore, these changes have spread in Moscow, but not in Kiev. According to another version, changes in church rituals began not in Russia, but in Byzantium. Russia, cut off from the influence of Byzantium as a result of the Tatar-Mongol invasion, retained its original rituals. According to the third version, which can be found, for example, in the work of N.M. Mikhailova "Search for schisms", changes in Russian church rituals are explained by the direct influence of Nestorianism. Mikhailova points out that a set of rituals that are characteristic of Nestorianism and the Armenian Monophysitism, which is friendly to it, was entrenched in Russia (recall that the Armenian king entered into an alliance with the Mongol khans in the “yellow crusade” organized under the influence of the Nestorians). At the same time, Byzantine Orthodoxy unequivocally condemned Nestorianism and Armenian Monophysitism as heresy. This set of rituals: two-fingered sign of the sign for the sign of the cross (and not three-fingered), circular movement of the cross in the course of the Sun (and not against the course of the Sun), double chanting "Hallelujah" (not triple). In this case, it is not so important where the changes in rituals began - in Russia or in Byzantium. It is important that in a significant part of the territory of Russia precisely those rituals that are characteristic of Nestorianism were entrenched. This happened, most likely, under the influence of the Nestorians, who left the rule of the Mongol khans to serve the Russian princes. They could not impose Nestorianism in its pure form as a state religion, but they transformed important rituals of the Orthodox Church in such a way that they began to reflect the essence of Nesto-rianism, and not Orthodoxy. So, for example, the two-fingered addition of fingers at the sign of the cross, according to the most common version, reflects the dual, according to Nestorians, nature of Jesus Christ (divine and human), as opposed to Orthodoxy, which considers Jesus exclusively as a son of God, despite the fact that his mother was Human. The common people might not have attached importance to the peculiarities of finger-making, but the Russian priests, who were well acquainted with the Nestorian heresy and condemned it, could not fail to notice the fundamental changes in rituals. And they were forced to accept such changes only under pressure. The Mongol khans did not interfere in matters of religion in Russia. And besides them, only princes could force the priests to accept heretical rituals. This means that the Nestorians, who introduced these changes in the Russian lands, had great influence on the princes, for example, the influence that the Velyaminovs had on the Moscow princes.
As mentioned above, presumably, the ancestors of the Velyaminovs, Ivan and his son Fyodor, moved with the first Moscow prince Daniil Alexandrovich from Vladimir to Moscow. The first Velyaminov, whose position under the Moscow prince was first mentioned in historical sources, is Ivan's grandson Protasiy Fedorovich, who is called the thousandth of the third Moscow prince Ivan Daniilovich (grandson of Alexander Nevsky), who received the nickname Kalita ("purse", "money bag"). It is believed that the thousand people in Russia commanded the people's militia. However, according to available data, Protasius first of all gained fame not in the military field, but for his economic activities in the Moscow principality.
Ivan Kalita actually began to rule the Moscow principality in 1320. Around this time, Khan Uzbek introduced Islam as a state religion to the Golden Horde, after which the process of Tatar migration to Russia intensified significantly - Nestorian Tatars who did not want to accept Islam migrated. Ivan Kalita successfully lobbied for his interests in Sarai, which gave him an advantage in rivalry with the princes of Tver, who also tried to enlist the support of the Golden Horde Khan, but with less success. It is quite possible that the diplomatic successes of Ivan Kalita were explained not only by his personal abilities, but also by the fact that Ivan Kalita was surrounded by people from the Golden Horde who retained their connections there. These people could well have been the Velyaminovs. Perhaps the most important achievement of Ivan Kalita was the right to collect tribute for the Golden Horde not only from Moscow, but also from some other Russian principalities that were not subordinate to Moscow. This was evidence of the special attitude of the Golden Horde towards the Moscow prince.
In 1325, Metropolitan Peter moved the See from the Grand Duke Vladimir to Moscow, which made Moscow the spiritual capital of Russia. Presumably, this was done because of the special relationship between Metropolitan Peter and Ivan Kalita - Ivan Kalita at one time supported Peter in his rivalry with other church hierarchs. It should be noted that Metropolitan Peter was an icon painter, and in the surviving image of one of the icons he painted, there is a two-fingered addition of fingers at the sign of the cross, characteristic of Nestorianism. The biographies of Peter indicate that he actively fought against various heresies, but nothing is said about his struggle against Nestorianism. Researchers of Peter's activities only suggest that since Peter actively fought against heresies, then he must have fought against Nestorianism brought to Russia by the Tatars. But no evidence of this has been presented. In his will, Metropolitan Peter instructed the founder of the Velyaminov family, Protasius, whom Peter called the elder of Moscow, to complete the construction of the Assumption Cathedral and manage the entire metropolitan economy.
After the death of Ivan Kalita in 1340, his son and heir Simeon the Proud received from Khan Uzbek the right to be called the Grand Duke of All Russia.
In 1359, after the death of Khan Berdibek, unrest began in the Golden Horde. One after another, weak-willed descendants of Genghis Khan replaced each other in Sarai, behind which often stood the clever and strong-willed temnik Mamai, married to the daughter of Khan Berdibek, but had no legal right to rule in the Golden Horde. Until 1374, Mamai's relations with the Moscow prince Dmitry Ivanovich (Donskoy) were contradictory: Mamai then took away from Dmitry the label for the great reign, then he returned it back.
In 1374, the Moscow thousand Vasily Velyaminov died. Dmitry Donskoy, instead of appointing his son Ivan as the new tysyatsky, liquidated the very position of the tysyatsky, thereby demonstrating the strengthening of princely autocracy and the weakening of city self-government with boyar influence. The offended Ivan Velyaminov left Moscow for Tver to join Dmitry Donskoy's rival Prince Mikhail Alexandrovich of Tver. Under the influence of Ivan Velyaminov, Mamai decided to give the label for the great reign to Prince Mikhail, which finally spoiled the relationship between Mamai and Dmitry Donskoy. The Moscow army laid siege to Tver and forced Mikhail to recognize the power of the Moscow prince over himself. After that, Moscow opened hostilities against Mamai himself.
It should be noted that the hostile actions of Ivan Velyaminov against Dmitry Donskoy did not entail the struggle of the entire Velyaminov family against the Moscow prince. After the elimination of the post of tysyatsky, the most important role was played by the okolnichy, who was another representative of the Velyaminov family. If the tysyatsky commanded the city militia, then the okolnichy commanded directly the prince's servicemen. The entire family of the Velyaminovs renounced their outcast relative Ivan Velyaminov, who was hiding at Mamai's headquarters.
At first, the clashes between the Russian troops under the leadership of Moscow and Mamai went on with varying success. The opening of hostilities against Mamai Tokhtamysh, a descendant of Genghis Khan, who had the legal right to rule in the Golden Horde, changed the situation. With the support of Tamerlane, Tokhtamysh began to seize the Golden Horde lands. In 1378, victories over the troops of Mamai and the Russians began to win. Ivan Velyaminov was captured and publicly executed soon after. The defeat of Mamai was completed by the Battle of Kulikovo, after which Tokhtamysh became the khan of the Golden Horde.
In 1382, Tokhtamysh undertook a campaign against Moscow to restore the payment of tribute by the Russian principalities, which Dmitry Donskoy, inspired by the victories of Russian arms over the Tatars, refused to pay. However, there is an alternative version, suggesting that Tokhtamysh's campaign against Moscow was initiated by Dmitry Donskoy himself in order to pacify the residents of Moscow who rebelled against his power. The punitive operation was carried out successfully, and the payment of tribute to the Horde, stopped in 1380, was resumed.
Tokhtamysh began a struggle with the former ally Tamerlane and was overthrown by him in 1395. The khans of the Golden Horde began to "appoint" Tamerlane's temnik Edigei, just as Mamai had appointed them before - troubled times came again in the Golden Horde and Moscow began to gain independence from it, from time to time stopping the payment of tribute. It should be noted that Tokhtamysh's sons found shelter in Moscow, which refused to hand them over to Edigei. For the next 25 years, the sons of Tokhtamysh fought for the throne of the Golden Horde both with the henchmen of Edigei and with each other.
After the death of Edigei in 1419, the disintegration of the Golden Horde into several khanates began. The Siberian, Uzbek, Kazan, Crimean and Kazakh Khanates, as well as the Nogai Horde became independent. The heir to the Golden Horde was the Great Horde with its capital in Sarai. In 1472, the Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III stopped paying tribute to the Great Horde. Attempts by the troops of the Great Horde to make campaigns on Moscow ended in failure. After standing on the Ugra River in 1480, when the Horde army did not dare to attack the Moscow one, Moscow finally gained independence from the Great Horde.
In 1472, Ivan III married Sophia Palaeologus, the niece of the last emperor of Byzantium, who died during the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. The initia-tive to conclude this marriage came from the Pope, who hoped for Moscow's recognition of the Florentine Union, according to which the Orthodox Church had to recognize the truth of Catholic dogmas. These hopes did not come true, despite the fact that Sophia, after the capture of her homeland by the Turks, was under the patronage of the Pope and even converted to Catholicism. Once in Moscow, Sophia returned to Orthodoxy.
After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Moscow became one of the centers of attraction for Orthodox Greeks, and the fact that the niece of the last Byzantine emperor became the Grand Duchess of Moscow increased Moscow's attractiveness for the Greeks. If in the 13th-14th centuries Moscow became a refuge for Nestorian Christians from the East, oppressed by the Mongols who converted to Islam, now in the 15th century Moscow played the same role for Orthodox Christians from the West, oppressed by the Muslim Turks. If the influence of the Nestorians in Russia, presumably, led to a divergence of Russian church rites from the Byzantine ones, then the migration of the Byzantines to Moscow should have led to the opposite result. Which ultimately happened, but after almost 200 years it was no longer in Russia, but in Russia and under another dynasty. In the meantime, under the influence of the Byzantine party, Ivan III began to call himself tsar and adopted a two-headed eagle as a symbol of his power.
Under Sophia, translations of Western church books began in Russia, which, for example, indicated the truth of the "triangular hallelujah" as opposed to the "deep hallelujah" adopted or preserved in Russia under the influence of the Nestorians. Greek influence was especially strong during the reign of Vasily III (son of Ivan III and Sophia). However, under Ivan IV the Terrible, the Stoglavy Cathedral in 1551 established as obligatory for the Moscow Church the double-fingered addition of the fingers at the sign of the cross and the severe hallelujah, characteristic of the Nestorians.
In the last years of Ivan the Terrible's life, Boris Godunov became one of his confidants, descending from the Tatar murza Chet, who entered the service of Ivan Kalita. The heir to the throne, Fyodor Ioannovich, was married to Godunov's sister, and after the accession of Fyodor's poor health and mind, Boris Godunov actually became regent, defeating the influential boyars. It is very likely that the ancestors of the Godunovs were Nestorians, and Boris Godunov continued to consolidate the Nestorian rites in Russian Orthodoxy. With the participation of Godunov, Job became the Moscow metropolitan, who, after the death of the childless Fedor, when his wife Irina Godunova was the ruler of Russia for a short time, became the first Russian patriarch. Job sent teachers to Georgia to "correct the Orthodox faith." It should be noted that in most Orthodox states, including Georgia, church rituals corresponded to the Byzantine ones, and in Russia a significant difference in rituals was fixed. Thus, Patriarch Job, appointed by Godunov, brought Georgian Orthodoxy in accordance with Moscow (influenced by Nestorianism), and not Byzantine (opposed to Nestorianism).
With the support of Patriarch Job, Boris Godunov was elected tsar at the Zemsky Sobor. However, many influential boyar families were unhappy with the rise of the not too noble Boris Godunov, and the famine of 1601-1603 caused discontent among the people. The Polish army invaded with the intention of planting on the Moscow throne, supposedly, the escaped son of Ivan the Terrible, Dmitry. The power of Boris Godunov was fragile, and after his death in 1605, a rebellion began in Moscow that destroyed his heir. Troubles began in Russia.
The Pope's attempts to impose Catholicism on Russia during the Time of Troubles were unsuccessful. Both the people and the nobility held on to a kind of Russian Ortho-doxy.
The turmoil in Russia ended with the accession of Mikhail Romanov, the son of Patriarch Filaret. Despite the fact that the Romanovs were persecuted under Boris Godunov, who suspected them of a conspiracy against him, after the accession of Mikhail Romanov in Russia, church rituals defended by Godunov continued to be preserved. A radical change in church policy took place only during the reign of Mikhail's son, Alexei Mikhailovich, nicknamed the Quietest for his supposedly meek disposition.
One of the confidants of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich was Fyodor Mikhailovich Rtishchev - not too well-born, but an educated person. It should be noted that the Rtishchev family was of Tatar origin, but the representative of this particular family played an important role in the refusal of the Russian Church from the elements introduced into it by the Nestorian Tatars. In 1646-1647, Rtishchev summoned monks from Little Russian (Ukrainian) monasteries, which became the basis of a scholarly brotherhood engaged in book translations. In Little Russia, church rituals were brought in accordance with Byzantine and the "educational" activities of Little Russian monks inevitably had to come into conflict with the Moscow church tradition. At this time, Muscovite Rus fought for the inclusion of Little Russia in its composition, which required the support of the local population. A version was expressed that Aleksey Mikhailovich decided to sacrifice the interests of his own people and accept alien church traditions as the main ones in order to enlist the support of the Little Russians and expand the boundaries of his kingdom. In 1653, with the accession to the patriarchal throne of Nikon in Russia, the three-fingered sign of the cross was introduced as a mandatory one. The Moscow Cathedral of 1656 cursed everyone who continued to be baptized with two fingers. Ultimately, the goal was achieved and Little Russia was annexed to Muscovite Rus, which marked the beginning of the transformation of Rus into Russia. But the price for this was a split in Russia itself.
People who stubbornly held on to the previous church rites began to form communities that were called Old Believers or Old Orthodox. They preferred to commit the act of self-immolation than to abandon their faith. As a result, the government was forced to come to terms with their existence, despite the fact that often the Old Believer communities supported any unrest in the country directed against the government. However, there were other reasons forcing the authorities to come to terms with the preservation of the Old Believers, besides the fanatical stubbornness of the zealots of the old faith. Old faith was largely preserved among the merchant class. Suspicions were expressed that the richest families of the Stroganovs and Demidovs were secret Old Believers. The preservation of at least the relative loyalty of the rich Old Believers was necessary to maintain the stability of state power.
The main assets of the Stroganovs and Demidovs were located in the Urals and Siberia, where Old Belief was especially widespread, due to its remoteness from the capi-tal. The capital of the state, meanwhile, was moved to St. Petersburg, which became the center of the aristocratic court of Russia, while Moscow remained the merchant center of Russia. True to their habit of supporting any revolt against a heretical state, some wealthy Old Believers also supported the 1917 revolution. A version was expressed that the Bolsheviks moved the capital from Petrograd back to Moscow precisely because they had significant support there.
Since the Old Believers supported any opposition against the oppressive state power, it is possible that the Old Believers' communities had a significant impact on the criminal structures. It can be assumed that it was under the influence of the Old Believers that scattered criminal groups could organize into a single shadow state with its own ideol-ogy, opposing the official ruling regime. This can explain the emphasized religiosity of the Slavic elite of the criminal world. If this is so, then the religiosity of the Slavic "thieves in law" may have ancient Orthodox roots, formed under the influence of Nestorianism.
4. Assyrians and Yezidis in the Russian Empire.
In the 19th century, Assyrians began to provide assistance to the Russian and British Empires, which fought wars with the Ottoman Empire and Persia, as Christian Russia and Britain were seen by the Assyrians as allies in the cause of getting rid of oppression from Muslim Turkey and Persia. The conflict between the Assyrians and the Ottoman Empire reached its climax during the First World War. In 1915, events took place that a number of historians described as the genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Yezidis on the territory of the Ottoman Empire by the Muslim Turks and Kurds. However, even the victims of these events reported that not all representatives of these peoples were subjected to extermination, but only men.
An interesting source about the Assyrians at the beginning of the 20th century is the creations of the occultist Gurdjieff Georgy Ivanovich, who created an esoteric school that is quite well-known in the world. George Gurdjieff was an inspired dreamer, which is recognized even by his closest followers, therefore, of course, it is impossible to consider the products of his work as reliable historical sources. However, the central importance that Gurdjieff attached to the Assyrians, given the role played by Gurdjieff himself in the social and political life of the Russian Empire, may shed light on the role that Assyrians and Yezidis play in modern Russia.
Georgy Gurdjieff was born into a Greek-Armenian family in the 70s of the 19th century in Alexandropol (now Gyumri in Armenia), a city that became part of the Russian Empire during the Russian-Persian war of the early 19th century. Alexandropol was a multinational city, inhabited by the Assyrians, who at that time were called Aysors, and the Yezidis, whom Gurdjieff probably regarded as one of the Aysor groups and called them not only Yezidis, but also Satanist Aysors. The Yezidis are often called Satanists because, as mentioned above, in the system of Yezidi beliefs, the central place is occupied by the emanation of God - Malak Taus, which strongly resembles the Christian angel of light Lucifer and the Muslim Iblis - the fallen angels who, having hated man, betrayed God and began to play the role of the Devil in Christianity and Islam. According to the Yezidi beliefs, the luminous angel remained faithful to God and does not bear any evil principle in himself.
Describing the business qualities of the Aysors, which for Gurdjieff are practically identical to the ability to cheat, and which he calls "trickery", Gurdjieff cites the following proverb, allegedly prevalent at that time in the Transcaucasus: "Add seven Russians together - you get one Jew, add seven Jews - you get one Armenian, add seven Armenians - you get one Aysor".
Gurdjieff's fascination with supernatural phenomena was formed largely under the influence of his acquaintance with the Yezidis and those, supposedly inexplicable by science, phenomena that were associated with them. Gurdjieff argued that there is a certain Sarmung Brotherhood (Sarman Brotherhood) - an ancient esoteric Mesopotamian school, whose followers keep some secret knowledge and have a decisive influence on the life of mankind. According to Gurdjieff, during the Middle Ages, the Aisors were mem-bers of this Sarmung Brotherhood, and the center of this school was located near the city of Mosul, that is, probably where Yezidism originated (or was reformed).
George Gurdjieff wrote that he began searching for the Sarmung Brotherhood and, in order to receive material and organizational assistance in this search, became an agent of Russian intelligence. The Russian Empire, which waged wars with Persia and the Ottoman Empire, actively supported the nationalist organizations of the Christian peoples who were under Muslim rule and who were fighting for liberation. The Russian authorities, most likely, did not believe in the existence of the Sarmung Brotherhood, but pursued their own rather mundane goals - control of the rich lands of the East. However, there could also be an ideological motive - the seizure of the territory of the former Byzantium, which Russia claimed as the heir to the second Roman Empire: Moscow is the third Rome ... It cannot be ruled out, however, that there could exist in Russia an analogue of the Hitlerite society “Ahnenerbe”, which was looking for sources mystical power. In his stories, Gurdjieff mentions a certain Russian prince Yuri Lubovetsky (Lyubovetsky), who was engaged in the same searches as Gurdjieff himself.
According to Gurdjieff, the Armenians and the Aysors were drawn into the political games of the Russian and British intelligence services, for which they paid with persecution by the Muslims. Gurdjieff himself, however, in these games is not a victim, but a player, using the resources of Russian intelligence to achieve his goals. It is argued that Gurdjieff remained an agent of Russian intelligence after the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia. It is quite possible that the Aysors, at least the most influential part of the Aysor elite, also played their own games. Information was published that part of the Aisors left for Russia from the Ottoman Empire shortly before the beginning of the extermination of Armenians, Aisors and Yezidis by Muslims in 1915.
Despite the fact that the British and Russian empires were allies in World War I, Russia and Britain competed for influence in Asia Minor and the Middle East, and the intelligence of the two countries in this region often played against each other. The Aisors collaborated with both. By the way, one of the most significant students of the former Russian intelligence agent Georgy Gurdjieff was British intelligence agent John Bennett. In 1949, when the Aisors were already living on the territory of the USSR, they were accused of cooperation with the Turkish and British intelligence services, which served as the basis for the resettlement of the Aisors from Transcaucasia to Siberia.
In 1912, George Gurdjieff began to create in Moscow the "Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man". Gurdjieff became famous at the court of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II. At that time, a fascination with the occult was popular among the Russian nobility. Circles of influential courtiers formed around famous occultists. Hope could be pinned on Gurdjieff for the healing of the heir to the Russian throne from hemophilia, which he, thanks to his hypnotic skills, could successfully maintain for some time. Gurdjieff married the maid of honor of the Empress Countess of Ostrovskaya. It was reported that Gurdjieff hoped to occupy the place occupied by Grigory Rasputin with the imperial family. But either Rasputin's hypnosis turned out to be stronger than Gurdjieff's hypnosis, or Gurdjieff had other plans, and Gurdjieff did not enter the immediate circle of the imperial family, but became close to the liberals who opposed the throne and insisted on the constitutional restrictions of the monarchy. It should be noted that at that time the Armenians were generally characterized as a liberal people, not very loyal to the Russian state authorities. And Gurdjieff was an Armenian by his mother. The February Revolution was a short-lived triumph for Russian liberals. After the October Revolution, Gurdjieff first moved to Georgia, and then, when the Bolsheviks took power in Georgia, he left for Turkey. It is interesting that, according to British intelligence in Turkey, Georgy Gurdjieff, who fled from the Bolsheviks, could have been an agent of the Soviet regime. If this information is true, then there is nothing supernatural about it. Even some of the cadre intelligence officers of the Russian Empire remained to serve after the change of power in Russia, and Gurdjieff, collaborating with the tsarist intelligence, was by no means guided by monarchical or patriotic convictions.
Summarizing the history of the relationship of the Assyrians with the authorities of the Russian Empire at the beginning of the 20th century and the biographical data of George Gurdjieff, who was probably greatly influenced by the Assyrians and Yezidis, we can formulate the following conclusions and assumptions:
- Assyrians and Yezidis were involved in close relations with Russian intelligence, due to which part of the Assyrian and Yezidi elites, probably, established close contacts with influential representatives of intelligence, included in the elite of Russian society;
- the ancient mystical teachings preserved in the Assyrian and Yezidi communities could interest the representatives of the Russian elite, who was fond of occultism;
- successfully fooling the heads of Russian aristocrats, using the skills of hypnosis or simple persuasion, some Assyrians and Yezidis could gain significant influence in the circles of the Russian elite (although we do not categorically reject the possession of Assyrians and Yezidis with real magical abilities and knowledge, we consider it unlikely);
- ideologically, the elite of the Assyrians and Yezidis were probably more inclined towards the liberal currents of the Russian elite, as a result of which the Assyrians and Yezidis were not on the path with both conservative tsarism and radical authoritarian Bolshevism. As a result, the Assyrians and Yezidis were inclined to cooperate with the opposition to the ruling regime, with underground and criminal organizations;
- The incorporation of the Assyrians and Yezidis into the elite of the Russian criminal world could be facilitated by the fact that Old Belief (Old Orthodoxy), possibly underlying the religious beliefs of the Slavic criminal elite, has the same mystical roots as Nestorianism and Yezidism.
5. Assyrians and Yezidis in the USSR.
After the revolutions of 1917, Russia virtually ceased hostilities against the Ottoman Empire, the hopes of the Armenians, Assyrians and Yezidis to free the Turks from power collapsed, and some of these peoples moved from the Ottoman Empire to the Transcaucasia, to the North Caucasus and southern Russia. The number of Assyrians who lived in Soviet Russia in the 1920s is estimated at approximately 35-40 thousand people. Assyrians also left the territory of Persia en masse, not only and not so much to Russia as to the countries of Western Europe, the USA, as well as to Australia and New Zealand.
In 1949, Assyrians, Kurds (probably Yezidis) and Greeks began to be massively resettled from Transcaucasia (Azerbaijan and Georgia) to special settlements in Siberia. The reason for the resettlement was accusations of espionage in favor of Turkey and Great Britain. Initially, this also affected the Armenians, but they soon returned from Siberia, presumably due to the influence of Anastas Mikoyan, who held high posts in the Communist Party and the government of the USSR. The cancellation of the decree on residence in special settlements for the Assyrians occurred only in 1955-1956.
Taking into account the national characteristics of the Assyrians and Yezidis (the "cheating" mentioned by Gurdjieff), the probable "opposition" of the Assyrian-Yezidi elite, the universal infringement of the rights of Assyrians and Yezidis by the Soviet authorities led to the fact that a significant part of the large underground entrepreneurs and the criminal elite of the USSR made up Assyrians and Yezidis.
There are different versions explaining the symbolism of the tattoo of eight-pointed stars, which indicate belonging to the elite of the Russian criminal world - “thieves in law”. A version can also be proposed that explains this symbolism in terms of the influence on the elite of the criminal world from the Assyrians and Yezidis. One of the meanings of the eight-pointed star is a symbolic representation of the "morning star" (Venus), which in turn symbolizes the luminous angel - in the Christian tradition of Lucifer, who over time from God's beloved angel turned into the devil. As already described above, one of the most respected figures in the religious beliefs of Yezidism - Malak Taus - strongly resembles this luminous angel. Only in accordance with Yezidism, Malak Taus does not carry an evil principle, unlike the Christian Lucifer. Perhaps the eight-pointed star of the thieves in law originally symbolized the Yezidi Malak Taus and was pricked by the Yezidi crime bosses, and later the eight-pointed star began to be pricked by the criminal authorities of other ethnic groups, who had a poor idea of the original mystical meaning of this sign. Therefore, the eight-pointed star on the tattoos of the "uninitiated" "thieves in law" began to acquire species bearing a different meaning, for example, "wind rose".
It is possible, however, that the eight-pointed stars in the symbolism of the criminal world appeared before the incorporation of the Assyrians and Yezidis into the criminal elite. But given the fact that the formation of the ideology of the criminal elite was significantly influenced by the Old Believers, whose views, in turn, were influenced by Nestorianism, it can be assumed that the eight-pointed star of thieves in law, indeed, symbolizes the "Lord of Light", revered by the Assyrians and the Yezidis, but this symbol was introduced into the Russian criminal elite not in the 20th century by the Assyrians and Yezidis, but earlier - by the descendants or disciples of the Nestorian Tatars. It should be noted that the Old Believers' cross also has eight ends, like the eight-pointed star "Lord of Light". Maybe this is an accidental coincidence, or maybe the followers of the "Lord of Light", thus, encrypted their sacred symbol in a Christian symbol, disguising themselves as devout Christians, just as, for example, the Manicheans disguised themselves as Buddhists in China, hypocritically accepting the rites of the official religion, but secretly keeping his true faith.
The Assyrians' penchant for mysticism led to the appearance in the ranks of the Assyrians of a significant number of "healers" who became widely known. The most fam-ous Assyrian healer in the USSR was Juna Davitashvili (née Bit-Sardis Evgenia Yuvashevna). Juna moved from Georgia to Moscow in 1980, either thanks to her husband's connections, or at the request of influential members of the party elite (in particular, the chairman of the USSR State Planning Committee Nikolai Baibakov), who heard about Juna's miraculous abilities. There were rumors that the improvement in the condition of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Leonid Brezhnev in 1980 was due to Juna. It was argued that later both Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsinresorted to Juna's help. Recall that the Nestorians (including, possibly, the Assyrians) in the Middle Ages, presumably, played the role of healers at the court of Arab rulers, which gave them some opportunities for political influence. In November 1991, Juna presented the Order of the Assyrian Goddess Bau and the Maltese Cross of the Knight Commander to the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin. For some reason, the message about this was published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta only on December 12, 1991. Later, information appeared that the knight's cross, presented to Yeltsin by June, had nothing to do with the knightly Maltese order, which has a thousand-year history and diplomatic relations with most of the states of the planet. However, the very fact that Boris Yeltsin publicly accepted some kind of award from the hands of "healer" Juna indicates that Juna had some influence in the circles of the Russian political elite. However, Juna failed to convert this influence into personal political capital. In 1995, at the elections of deputies to the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the electoral association "Blok Dzhuna" won only 0.47% of the vote. In 1997, Juna proclaimed herself the queen of the Assyrian people, with which the Assyrian people themselves did not seem to hasten to agree. It is possible that the former barmaid from Tbilisi Juna had connections with underground entrepreneurs and used her influence in their interests, but no information about this could be obtained. In 2007-2008, one little-known site flashed information that in 1980-1990, Vladimir Putin repeatedly visited the Academy of Alternative Sciences of Juna in Moscow, and as evidence a photograph was cited, allegedly in 1987, where Juna is in a dress with the symbols of the Order of Malta against the background of Putin. The photo looks like a low-quality fake, which raises doubts about the reliability of this publication. However, there is other information about the possible connection of Vladimir Putin with the Assyrians, which will be given below in the section Assyrians and Yezidis in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Actor Stanislav Sadalsky wrote about another "healer" whom he called the Assyrian princess - Bisma Babaeva (née Bet-Issa). According to Sadalsky, the mother of Boris Berezovsky, an influential Russian businessman in the 1990s, often turned to her for help.
Thus, three areas can be distinguished where representatives of the Assyrian-Yezidi diaspora achieved significant success and, due to this, gained access to the circles of the Soviet elite:
- "non-traditional healing";
- the criminal world;
- underground entrepreneurship.
6. Assyrians and Yezidis in Yekaterinburg.
Underground entrepreneurs played a significant role in the ruling elite of the USSR. Despite the widespread belief that underground entrepreneurs began to gain strength dur-ing the liberalization of the Soviet economy under Nikita Khrushchev, there is evidence that large underground empires existed during the reign of Joseph Stalin. Underground entrepreneurs supplied the party and bureaucratic nomenclature with consumer goods (including imported ones), which were in short supply in the conditions of the closed planned economy of the USSR.
Shadow entrepreneurs enjoyed the greatest freedom of action in Georgia and Armenia. It was in these Soviet republics that the most numerous diasporas of the Assyrians and Yezidis lived. Supposedly, the most widespread shadow business was among the Jews, but the Assyrians also played a significant role in the shadow economy of the USSR.
One of the most influential shadow entrepreneurs of the Sverdlovsk region in the 1970-1980s was a representative of the Assyrian Tarlanov family - Tarlanov Igor Pavlovich. One of the publications on the website compromat.ru claimed that Igor Tarlanov had established close ties with a member of the regional party elite, Yuri Petrov, who was a close associate of Boris Yeltsin. In 1985, Petrov headed the Sverdlovsk Regional Committee of the CPSU, and in 1991 became the head of the administration of the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin.
In 1990, one of the most influential crime bosses of the USSR, Aslan Usoyan (grandfather Khasan), was transferred to the Sverdlovsk region to serve his sentence. Aslan Usoyan was a Yezidi by nationality. Usoyan appointed his nephew Temuri Mirzoev (Timur Tbilissky, later Timur Sverdlovsky) as the overseer of Sverdlovsk. The Kosmos restaurant, which was controlled by Igor Tarlanov, became Mirzoev's headquarters in Sverdlovsk. It is assumed that Igor Tarlanov supported Aslan Usoyan in the person of Temuri Mirzoev. According to some reports, the son of Igor Tarlanov - Pavel Tarlanov - became a member of Temuri Mirzoev's criminal group. According to other sources, Pavel Tarlanov created his own group, which worked closely with the group of Mirzoyev. It can be assumed that the "thief in law" Yezidi Aslan Usoyan became a partner of the underground businessman of the Assyrian Igor Tarlanov due to the historically established close ties between the Yezidis and Assyrians, as described above.
In 1990, the largest organized criminal groups of the Sverdlovsk region - "Center" and "Uralmash", as well as the "Afghan" community took shape. A number of sources suggest that the backbone of these organized crime groups were athletes who did not recognize the laws of the traditional criminal world and competed with the "authorities", to whom Aslan Usoyan belonged. However, there is a version that the representatives of the traditional elite of the criminal world themselves began to recruit athletes for the new class of entrepreneurs that has significantly increased in the scale of racketeering, which appeared in the context of perestroika. In Sverdlovsk, the most active role in this regard was played by the Assyrian-Yezidi partnership between Aslan Usoyan and Igor Tarlanov, which combined criminal ties and the experience of solving problems by force of Aslan Usoyan with the capital and connections in the state authorities of Igor Tarlanov. On this basis, the group of Oleg Vagin grew up, which received the name of the OCG "Center". Over time, the brothers "got sick" and began to bite the hand that had raised them - criminal wars began in Sverdlovsk. However, it is possible that the reason for the criminal wars was not only the maturation of a new type of criminal bosses, but also friction in the traditional criminal community, moreover, between representatives of the Assyrian-Yezidi diaspora. For example, the Center organized criminal group was close to the Yezidi Aslan Usoyan, and the Uralmash organized criminal group showed support for the Yezidi Korogly Mamedov (Karo).
The beginning of the largest war between the criminal gangs of Yekaterinburg was marked by the murder of a crime boss named Aziz, close to Aslan Usoyan, in 1990. In 1992, Tarlanov Jr. disappeared (presumably, he was kidnapped and killed), and soon after that Tarlanov Sr. was also killed.
There is reason to believe that Aziz was the name of a representative of the Yezidi family of Amirians - Amiryan Muraz Dzhimoyevich (or Dzhemoevich). The Amiryan family played a significant role in the criminal world of Yekaterinburg, and, perhaps, continues to play to this day. Based on the available data, it can be assumed that Muraz was the first among the Amiryan brothers to move from Tbilisi to Sverdlovsk. There is evidence that in 1975 he already lived in Sverdlovsk. Information was published that his brother Amiryan Tengiz Dzhimoyevich was married to Aslan Usoyan's niece.
Amiryan Prince Dzhimoyevich and Amiryan Tengiz Dzhimoyevich played a significant role in the formation of the Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna) in Russia in the 1990s. Since 1976, the main curator of the preaching of the teachings of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in the USSR was an American of Italian origin Robert Campagnola (he was named Harikeshi Swami when he was initiated into Hare Krishna). In 1980, according to a letter from Campagnola in Leningrad, the chairman of the Leningrad Committee of Book Artists, Graphics and Posters Shilov Mikhail Nikolaevich (received the name Mama Thakur) was ordained to the Hare Krishna. The artist Mikhail Shilov was involved in, among other things, the restoration of icons, and this type of art was in great demand in the field of shadow entrepreneurship, since the sale of icons abroad was an important source of income for Soviet underground entrepreneurs. Shilov himself claimed that, carried away by the preaching of the Hare Krishnas, he sold all the antiques he had and subsequently lived only on alms, but according to the available unconfirmed information in the 1990s, Shilov was mentioned in the operational reports of the RUOP of St. Petersburg as an antiques dealer.
According to Mikhail Shilov, in 1981 on the pages of one of the issues of the magazine "Communist" there was a statement by the then deputy chairman of the KGB, Semyon Tsvigun, who mentioned the Hare Krishna movement among the greatest threats to the Soviet way of life along with Western culture and rock and roll. This statement served as a signal for decisive action on the part of the Soviet authorities. The first Russian Hare Krishnas were repressed, including Shilov himself. In the first half of the 1980s, Shilov spent a significant part of his time in Georgia and Armenia, which were the main centers of Soviet underground entrepreneurship, as well as the places of the greatest distribution of Assyrians and Yezidis in the USSR. With the beginning of pere-stroika, the persecution of Hare Krishnas in the USSR ceased.
In December 1987, on the initiative of Mikhail Shilov, the Sankirtana cooperative was registered in Leningrad - the first Krishna vegetarian cafe in the USSR (the Hare Krishnas advocate the rejection of meat-eating). According to Shilov, one day Andrei Kutin from Sverdlovsk and Lev Ulya-nich from Chelyabinsk came to this cafe on the recommendation of friends. Among the friends of Kutin and Ulyanich, Shilov mentions a certain Tengiz, without giving his last name. Presumably, it was Amiryan Tengiz Dzhimoyevich. In 1990, Mikhail Shilov, who came to Sverdlovsk to preach Krishnaism, met with Andrei Kutin and invited him to create a similar cafe in Sverdlovsk. As a result, the cafe was created and, according to Shilov's supporters, it became the largest institution of its kind in the world. Amiryan Tengiz Dzhimoevich became the actual leader of the Hare Krishna movement in Yekaterinburg. However, the participation of the Amirians in the Hare Krishna movement was not limited to Yekaterinburg. In January 1993, the Sankirtana International company was registered in St. Petersburg, the founders of which were the aforementioned Andrey Kutin and Lev Ulyanichev, as well as Logos LLP. The founders of Logos LLP were Andrey Kutin, Amiryan Prince Dzhimoyevich (in the constituent documents he was listed as Ashiryan Prince Dzhimayevich) and several residents of St. Petersburg.
According to publications on the Internet, the main source of income for the Society for Krishna Consciousness was the trade in Krishna literature. However, it may have been only the visible part of the iceberg. In 1997, at the request of the St. Petersburg prosecutor's office, investigators of the anti-bandit department of the Sverdlovsk prosecutor's office detained Tengiz Amiryan in Yekaterinburg, who was accused of drug trafficking. The leaders of the Society for Krishna Consciousness in Moscow disowned their Yekaterinburg colleague, saying that Tengiz Amiryan is an impostor, he has nothing to do with the Hare Krishnas, just like the Sankirtana company, and in general Tengiz Amiryan worships not Krishna, but Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. the closest analogue of which in Christianity is Satan. It should be noted that some members of the Amiryan family worked at Shiva LLC, registered in the town of Kasli, Chelyabinsk region. So the figure of Shiva could be significant for Tengiz Amiryan. Moreover, both Shiva and the Christian Satan (Lucifer) had many similarities with the Malak Taus, which is highly revered among the Yezidis. However, this does not yet prove that the Society for Krishna Consciousness was not associated with the drug trade, in which Tengiz Amiryan may have been involved. Drugs are often used in spiritual practices to transcend individual consciousness, and examples of this are mentioned in the world practice of the Society for Krishna Consciousness. Thus, the Society for Krishna Consciousness could well have been considered by Tengiz Amiryan as a drug distribution channel.
Shortly after Tengiz Amiryan was accused of drug trafficking, Robert Campagnola ceased his activities in Russia. According to Wikipedia, this is explained by the fact that Campagnola's business in Russia suffered significant losses due to the 1998 default. After Campagnola left Russia, Mikhail Shilov lost his leading position in the Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The Amirians continued their entrepreneurial activity in the territory of the Sverdlovsk region. There is information that the Amirians supplied fruits to the Central Market of Yekaterinburg through Assol LLP, and flowers from the republics of Transcaucasia through Orchidea-LTD.
The main role in the economy of the Sverdlovsk region is played by the metallurgical industry. And in the 1990s, the largest Sverdlovsk organized criminal groups fought for the right to trade in the products of metallurgical plants in the Sverdlovsk region. The largest among them were the Nizhniy Tagil Metallurgical Plant (production of ferrous metals) and the Uralelectromed plant (production of refined copper). According to available information, the Amirians were closely associated with the "authoritative entrepreneur" Alexander Kruk, who in the 1990s had a significant influence at the Uralelectromed plant. Part of the Amiryan family lived in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, where the Uralelectromed plant was located. Some publications claimed that the general director of the plant, Andrei Kozitsyn, and the head of the plant's security service, Valery Varaksin, maintained good relations with the Amirians, but no evidence was found to support this statement. In 1999, on the basis of the Uralelectromed plant, the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC) holding was established, the main owner of which was Iskandar Makhmudov. Among the close ties of the Amirians in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, the namesake of Iskandar Makhmudov, Mahmudova Manana Mikhailovna, should be noted. She is probably related to the Amirians and was one of the founders of a number of companies associated with the Amirians. It is tempting to assume that Manana Makhmudova may be a relative of Iskandar Makhmudov, a number of whose relatives live in Verkhnyaya Pyshma and, probably, control the work of the main asset of the UMMC company. However, no evidence of such a kinship could be found. This version is not supported by the fact that Iskandar Makhmudov was born in Uzbekistan, and Manana Makhmudova was born in Georgia.
In 2000, with the participation of the Amiryan brothers, EAM Commercial Center LLC was established. It should be noted that at that time the Nizhniy Tagil Metallurgical Plant (NTMK) was controlled by the EAM Group (Euro-Asian Metals). Perhaps the company founded by the Amirians had something to do with the activities of NTMK.
At the turn of the 1990s-2000s, the relatives of the Amirians Bsharyans (Bshari), who were closely related to the Amirians not only by kinship, but also by business relations, supplied rolled metal products to Uraltransgaz through a number of companies controlled by them. In 2007, the Bsharyans opened the Richmond Hotel with 50 rooms in Yekaterinburg.
In 2004, Amiryan died Prince Dzhimoyevich, who presumably played a major role in the legal business of the Amiryan family. Amiryan Tengiz Dzhimoyevich, who most often appeared in criminal chronicles, is fading into the shadows. Perhaps he even changed his name. The second generation of Amirians living in the Sverdlovsk region began to come to the fore. Ritual services are becoming a priority area of business for the Amirians and their closest relatives.
Amiryan Tengiz Murazovich (son of Muraz Amiryan, who was killed in 1990), worked as an individual entrepreneur in the field of funeral services under the trademarks of the Izida Funeral Services Bureau, as well as Izida-Service and the Izida funeral salon. Subsequently, under these trademarks, entrepreneur Feroyan Teimuraz Surenovich, closely associated with the Amirians, began to work. However, the most famous in the ritual market of Yekaterinburg was the Yezidi Mamedov Rafael Mrazovich.
Available data suggest that Rafael Mamedov may be Amiryan's son-in-law Tengiz Dzhimoyevich. In the media, Rafael Mamedov appears as the nephew of Temuri Mirzoev (nephew of Aslan Usoyan). According to the sources of the late journalist Maxim Borodin from the New Region - New Day news agency, the firms controlled by Rafael Mamedov, at the peak of their success, occupied up to 30% of the funeral services market in Yekaterinburg. It was alleged that Rafael Mamedov was patronized by high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Despite this, in 2011, a criminal case was initiated against Mamedov's employees on the fact of violent actions against competing organizations. As a result, by 2013, Mamedov's firms were squeezed out of Yekaterinburg.
In 2016, the mass media resonated with the mass beating of Rafael Mamedov's cousin, Guram Davrishyan, who had been accused in funeral criminal cases several years earlier. As it turned out, the organizers of the beating of the Yezidi Guram Davrishyan were the Yezidis Revaz Tamoev and Raja Javoyan. The situation of the early 1990s was repeated, when the largest criminal showdowns in the Urals were caused by the conflict within the Yezidi diaspora.
In 2017-2018, Deniz Mikhailovich Usupin-Rozhkani was mentioned as the chairman of the Sverdlovsk cultural and youth organization "Yezidi of the Urals". Based on the available data, it can be assumed that Deniz Usupin was the son-in-law of the late Prince Amiryan.
According to available information, Temuri Mirzoev, who represented Aslan Usoyan in the Sverdlovsk region, was registered in the house where the first head of the regional Armenian community "Ani-Armenia" Petoyan David Manukovich lived in the 1990s. It should be noted that the Yezidis interacted very closely not only with the Assyrians, but also with the Armenians. A well-known lawyer in the Sverdlovsk Armenian community, Guliyants Karen Robertovich defended in court the interests of both influential Yezidis (Temuri Mirzoyev and Tengiz Amiryan) and influential Armenians (businessman close to the OCG "Center" Gegam Oganisyan, former deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Sverdlovsk region, Armen Armenian community of Masis Nazaryan). Nazaryan Masis Khachikovich has been the head of the Armenian community of the Sverdlovsk region since 1996.
In October 2018, Major General Vladimir Romanyuk, former deputy head of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for the Sverdlovsk Region, was detained in Moscow. According to the Znak.com news agency, Romanyuk confessed that he received a bribe from the organizers of the gambling business in Yekaterinburg, Samvel Martirosyan and Petros Galetyan. It was reported that the gambling club was located on the first floor of a residential building at 139, Kuibyshev Street. It was at this address that “Ani-Armenia” Trade House LLC was registered in 2005, the founder and head of which was Masis Nazaryan. In 2006, however, this company was liquidated.
The officially declared activities of Masis Nazaryan's firms were shoe making (Lori LTD LLP), trade (Masis LLP) and catering (Oasis-service LLC). Judging by the registration addresses of legal entities controlled by Masis Nazaryan, it can be assumed that Nazaryan was in close contact with members of the OCG Center. As already noted, members of the Yezidi-Assyrian diaspora of the Sverdlovsk region Temuri Mirzoev and Igor Tarlanov probably took an active part in the creation of the OCG “Center”.
After the death of Oleg Vagin (1992), Nikolai Shirokov (1993) and Mikhail Kuchin (1994), Eduard Albertovich Kazaryan began to be considered the head of the Center OPG. Leonid Bilunov, who in a number of publications was called a criminal authority and was in close relations with the organized criminal group "Center", in his book "Three Lives" argued that Eduard Kazaryan, who appears under the pseudonym Edik Kazak, is a relative of the Tarlanovs. This is quite likely, given that Kazaryan, according to available information, is Assyrian by nationality, as well as the Tarlanovs. In August 1994, Eduard Kazaryan was arrested in Budapest with the help of Interpol and convoyed to Yekaterinburg as part of a criminal case against the Central Group. However, already in February 1995, Kazaryan was released for lack of evidence of the charges. After that, Eduard Kazaryan sold his apartment in Yekaterinburg to the Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Valery Yazev, who had close business relations with the leaders of the OCG Center, and left abroad for permanent residence. It was reported that the leadership of the OCG "Center" passed to Alexander Varaksin.
According to media reports, Eduard Kazaryan returned to Yekaterinburg in 2000 and began making attempts to regain his former influence. It was reported that one of the consequences of such attempts was the assassination of the vice-president of Ural-Business-Oil Vladimir Reftov in 2002. It was argued that Alexander Varaksin prevented the return of Eduard Kazaryan's influence.
In 2004, the leader of the Uralmash organized crime group, Alexander Khabarov, gathered a gathering of loyal crime bosses in the center of Yekaterinburg. During his speech, Khabarov said that he supported the criminal authorities Trofa (Andrei Trofimov) and Karo (Korogly Mamedov) and would not tolerate attempts to dispose of them by Aslan Usoyan. Among those who “stir up” against Trofa and Karo, Khabarov mentioned Timur (Temuri Mirzoev is a relative of Aslan Usoyan), Avto (Avtandil Kobeshavidze) and Kazaryan (Eduard Kazaryan), whom Khabarov especially noted as the instigator of criminal clashes. Among the negotiable authorities, Khabarov mentioned the leader of the organized criminal group "Center" Varaksin. The demonstrative gathering in the center of Yekaterinburg and the mention of the undesirability of inciting interethnic conflicts was probably addressed to the federal center and state power structures, so that they would take action and extinguish the conflict in the bud. But Khabarov's calculation turned out to be wrong. Law enforce-ment agencies first of all hit not on Usoyan and Kazaryan, who were in the shadows, but on Aleksandr Khabarov, who dared to bring the conflict into the public domain. He was charged with coercion into a deal with Bank24.ru shares and driven to suicide in a pre-trial detention center in January 2005. It is not entirely clear in this whole story the role of the leader of the organized criminal group "Center" Alexander Varaksin, who was also accused in the case with the bank's shares, but came out dry. There were versions that Varaksin did not actually conflict with Usoyan and Kazaryan, but played along with them, luring Alexander Khabarov into a trap.
It should be noted that Khabarov tried to play the national card, claiming that he was protecting Yekaterinburg from the expansion of Caucasian crime bosses. And some media picked up this topic, presenting the conflict as a showdown between Caucasian and Slavic crime bosses. In reality, the conflict was probably between two Yezidi clans - the clan of Aslan Usoyan and the clan of Korogly Mamedov, in which Alexander Khabarov sided with Mamedov.
After returning to Yekaterinburg in the late 1990s, Eduard Kazaryan avoids direct involvement in entrepreneurial activities, probably because of his reputation as a “crime boss”. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that a stable group of entrepreneurs is acting in the interests of Eduard Kazaryan – Eduard Kazaryan's relatives and people close to him work on the legal entities controlled by this group. In some cases, entrepreneurs from Kazaryan's entourage practiced forceful methods of doing business, for which they used controlled security companies. Legal entities, presumably acting in the interests of Eduard Kazaryan, worked in Yekaterinburg in those areas of business where the support of the city administration is needed - construction and passenger transportation. Kazaryan likely had such support at least in the 2000s and early 2010s.
Among the influential Yezidi families of Yekaterinburg, the Gasoyan family can be noted. According to some sources, the Gasoyans worked closely with Temuri Mirzoev, thus being in the zone of influence of Aslan Usoyan. And according to other sources, they maintained good relations with Korogly Mamedov, who competed with Aslan Usoyan for influence in the Sverdlovsk region.
One of the most influential members of the Gasoyan family was Gasoyan Shirin Siabandovich. In the mid-1990s, Shirin Gasoyan was one of the founders of Urartu LLC together with Yevgeny Vadimovich Roizman, his common-law wife Yulia Vladimirovna Kruteeva and Elena Eduardovna Radosteva. According to unconfirmed reports, Shirin Gasoyan supplied gold from the Transcaucasian republics for the jewelry business of Evgeny Roizman and Vadim Evgenievich Churkin.
At the turn of the 1990s and 2000s, Yevgeny Roizman became a well-known public figure in Yekaterinburg, joining the management of the City Without Drugs charity founda-tion. Aleksey Ivanov wrote in his book Eburg that the City Without Drugs Foundation headed by Roizman strangled the worst drug trade in the city - in the gypsy village of Le-ninsky district of Yekaterinburg. Indeed, in 2000-2001, the City Without Drugs Foundation sought to evict the Ogly Gypsy family from several private houses in Yekaterinburg. Yevgeny Roizman, who served as vice president of the City Without Drugs Foundation, also took an active part in these actions. In particular, members of the Foundation took part in the destruction of the mansion at 10, Voenny Fleet Street. Subsequently, the media complacently wrote that the City Without Drugs Foundation had cleared the Gypsy village of Roma drug dealers, and the houses of the former drug dealers were occupied by respectable Russians and Yezidis, who had nothing to do with their former owners. This, to put it mildly, was not true.
After the Ogly Gypsy family moved out of the house at 10 Voenny Fleet Street, the Gasoyan Yezidis settled there, with one of whose family members Yevgeny Roizman was in partnership. At first glance, it may seem that with the support of Roizman Gasoyan they "wrestled" the house from Ogly. But in fact, there is a lot of unclear in those events. There is information that Gasoyan Norik Siabandovich (brother of Yevgeny Roizman's former business partner Shirin Gasoyan) lived in a house on Telman street, 12 in the same gypsy village together with members of the Ogly family, and also maintained relations with Ruslan Bardinov, who helped the Ogly family to fight off attacks by activists of the City Without Drugs Foundation. In 2001, Norik Gasoyan was killed. There is information that the Gasoyan brothers Shirin, Norik, Mais and Serozh had problems with the law due to theft, robbery, hooliganism and bribery. The son of Yevgeny Roizman's business partner Gasoyan Revaz Shirinovich was detained with heroin back in 1998. According to the tes-timony of the residents of the village, while the activists of the City Without Drugs Foundation were spending time and energy on demolishing the walls of the gypsy mansion in ku-valds, they continued to sell drugs in neighboring houses. True, these drug dealers were probably not Ogly and not gypsies at all.
Based on the available information, we can state the two most likely versions of those events. Perhaps the Yezidis of the Gasoyans were initially on good terms with the Ogly gypsies, but then a conflict occurred, during which the Gasoyans dealt with the Ogly, using ties with Yevgeny Roizman and in law enforcement agencies. Or the Gasoyans maintained good relations with Ogly and after the attack on Oglu by the City Without Drugs Foundation minimized Ogly's losses by buying their house. Roizman, having driven Ogly out of the gypsy village, resigned himself to the fact that their place was taken by the Gasoyans, with whom he had business relations in the past.
In 1994, Aslan Usoyan moved from Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) to St. Petersburg (Leningrad). Information was published that support for Usoyan in St. Petersburg was provided by the criminal authority Konstantin Yakovlev ("Kostya-grave"), but probably more significant was the support of the Assyrian Georges Avdyshev, who was called the assistant to the deputy chairman of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg and who was the brother of the criminal the authority of Julvern Avdyshev.
Perhaps Aslan Usoyan's move from Yekaterinburg to St. Petersburg was due to close ties between the Assyrian diasporas of these cities, which could have formed on the channel for the supply of imported goods to Sverdlovsk through the Lenfintorg foreign trade association. Before the liberalization of foreign economic activity began in 1989, the state had a monopoly on foreign trade in the USSR, and the foreign trade departments were predominantly located in Moscow. Exceptions to this rule were some "regional" foreign trade societies, which received the right to direct (without the mediation of central foreign trade organizations) trade with countries bordering the USSR in the northwest (Lenfintorg), the south (Vostokintorg) and the Far East ("Dalintorg"). V / o "Lenfintorg", which traded with Finland, was accredited in Leningrad, but over time, organizations from the Urals regions, in particular Bashkiria, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, received the right to use its services. Timber and metals were exported from the Sverdlovsk region to Finland. In exchange, Sverdlovsk organizations received from Finland scarce imported consumer goods, the right to distribution of which belonged to the management of enterprises and local authorities. This channel for the supply of scarce goods, although formally under the control of the central government, but not directly controlled by it, was probably a gold mine for underground entrepreneurs. It can be assumed that it was too risky for the officials and heads of enterprises to implement crimi-nal schemes. It was safer to “close our eyes” to the machinations of underground entrepreneurs, who in the Sverdlovsk region loaded more goods into the trains sent to Finland than indicated in the documents, and in response, accordingly, received more imported goods from Finland. Then these illegal surpluses were distributed by underground entrepreneurs, including among the regional party and state elite.
Some Lenfintorg employees who gained experience in export-import operations and established contacts abroad, after the liberalization of foreign economic activity, created large private companies and entered the economic elite of new Russia after the collapse of the USSR. Such former employees of Lenfintorg include Gennady Timchenko, who is ranked among the circle of close acquaintances of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the late 1980s, Timchenko, with the participation of foreign intelligence officers of the KGB of the USSR, created a joint venture Urals (Urals), which was engaged in the export of oil and oil products abroad. No information has been found on the involvement of the Assyrian diaspora in oil exports. Perhaps it was not their level, and such a valuable resource as oil, before the collapse of the USSR, was completely controlled by the KGB. On the other hand, information was published that the Sverdlovsk Assyrian Igor Tarlanov had connections in the KGB. The Leningrad Assyrians, who were closely connected by personal and business ties with the Sverdlovsk Assyrians, probably also had connections in the KGB.
7. Assyrians and Yezidis in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
The Assyrian family of Benjaminovs was related to the Tarlanov family, whose representatives, like the Tarlanovs, were actively involved in criminal activities in Sverdlovsk. One of the members of this family, Eduard Borisovich Benjaminov, presumably moved from Sverdlovsk to Leningrad in the 1980s, where he became the head of one of the criminal groups subordinate to the influential crime boss Vladimir Feoktistov. After Feoktistov's arrest, Eduard Benyaminov became the right hand of Livi Ilyasovich, a native of Baku, Abramov. After the unsuccessful attempt on his life, Livi Abramov emigrated to the United States, and Abramov left Eduard Benyaminov as the chief in his "organization". In 2000, Eduard Benyaminov was killed.
Another representative of the Assyrian family of Benjaminovs - Benjaminov Vladimir Borisovich - was the head and co-founder of the Regional Public Organization "Assyrian Diaspora of St. Petersburg". It is not known whether he is a close relative of the crime boss Eduard Benyaminov. However, there is information that Anatoly Borisovich Benjaminov (Vladimir Benjaminov’s brother) is one of the leaders of the Volna women's basketball club, and Eduard Benjaminov was listed as the coach-administrator of this club. In addition, it should be noted that the nephew of Igor Tarlanov in social networks mentioned that his "brother" is the person who organized the group "Assyrians of St. Petersburg" on social networks. Perhaps this "brother" is Vladimir Benjaminov.
The public organization "Assyrian Diaspora of St. Petersburg" together with Vladimir Benyaminov was founded by representatives of the Armenian Nazarov family - Alexander Alexandrovich Nazarov and his son Sergei. It was mentioned above that the Assyrians and Yezidis have historically been closely associated with the Armenians. Alexander Nazarov was a significant person in the Armenian diaspora of St. Petersburg. He was the head of the Regional Public Organization “Armenians of St. Petersburg”. It was argued that the ancestors of Alexander Nazarov came from the princely family of Shah-Nazaryants (Shah-Nazaryan). It should be noted that the surnames Nazarov, Nazaryan, Nazaryants, perhaps, come from the word "Nazarene". As noted above, representatives of other faiths could call ordinary Christians this way, but also this word was used to call the righteous ascetics who could be related to the isolation of the Assyrians in the first centuries of our era, as well as to the creation or transformation of Yezidism in the Middle Ages.
Note that the descendant of the Shah-Nazaryan clan was the Assistant for International Affairs of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev Georgy Khosroevich Shakhnazarov. However, the Shah-Nazaryan clan gave a large number of related lines that honor the memory of their ancestors, but probably do not closely interact with each other. In addition, it should be noted that Georgy Shakhnazarov himself claimed that his surname is translated as "royal clerk", noting that he is a prince (melik) by origin.
The brother of Vladimir Benyaminov, entrepreneur Anatoly Borisovich Benyaminov, maintains close friendly relations with the former sambo coach Alexander Shakhnaza-rovich Amirov. The patronymic of Alexander Amirov indicates that he, too, may be a descendant of the Shah-Nazaryan clan. The connection of the Assyrians with the Leningrad sambists is of particular interest, since the future President of Russia Vladimir Putin grew up in this environment.
It was not possible to establish a direct connection between Alexander Amirov and Vladimir Putin. According to information from the Internet, it can be assumed that Alexander Amirov was on good terms with Momot Demid Aleksandrovich, who was called Putin's friend in some sources, as well as with Leonid Ionovich Usvyatsov, who was Putin's coach. However, the very fact of acquaintance in this environment does not necessarily indicate their support for each other. So the fact that Alexander Amirov met former sambists close to Vladimir Putin does not yet prove that Amirov or his Assyrian friends could have any influence on the President of Russia.
An important role among Leningrad sambists was played by Alexander Samuilovich Massarsky, who created a group of stuntmen at the Lenfilm film studio, which included, among others, Putin's coach Leonid Usvyatsov, Putin's friend Arkady Rotenberg, as well as the future crime boss Konstantin Yakovlev (Kostya-Mogila), who supported the Yezidi Aslan Usoyan, who moved from Yekaterinburg to St. Petersburg in 1994. It should be noted that relatives of the aforementioned Armenians Nazarovs, who founded the public organization Assyrian Diaspora of St. Petersburg, worked at Lenfilm. However, Alexander Massarsky himself does not mention the Nazarovs in his published memoirs.
Among the most famous representatives of the Assyrian diaspora in St. Petersburg, the linguist Sado Mikhail Yukhanovich is mentioned. In 1964, Mikhail Sado, together with like-minded people, founded an underground anti-communist organization - the All-Russian Social-Christian Union for the Liberation of the People. In 1967, Sado was ar-rested and sentenced to 13 years in prison. In 1980, Mikhail Sado was released, and the only one who dared to take a politically unreliable former convict to work was the rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy, Archbishop Kirill (Gundyaev Vladimir Mikhailovich), who in 2009 became the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Some publications claim that the Assyrian "healer" Juna met with Archbishop Kirill in Leningrad on several occasions and predicted that he would become patriarch.
One of the influential representatives of the Assyrian diaspora in Moscow is Khoshaba Nugzar Piruzovich (also appears under the names Khoshabaev, Tsiklauri and Petrov). In the 1990s, firms controlled by Nugzar Khoshabe were registered in Moscow at 1 Butyrskiy Val street, board room. On the basis of these firms, a large network of petrol stations "NeftMagistral" was created, which as of 2014 consisted of about 70 petrol stations in Moscow and the Moscow region. It should be noted that in the 1990s, at the same ad-dress as the firms of Nugzar Khoshaba, the firms of the Energia group of companies, which controlled the oil company Volganeft and the oil service company Saratovneftegeofizika, were registered. The Energia group of companies controlled the Volganeft company jointly with the LUKoil oil company, and the aforementioned network of Assyrian filling stations has a connection with the LUKoil structures. Entrepreneur Nikolai Anatolyevich Zhukov was closely associated with the structures of the Energia group of companies, whose firms in the 1990s were also registered in Moscow at 1 Butyrskiy Val st., Board room. Nikolai Zhukov has connections with members of the Podolsk organized criminal group. In addition, there is reason to believe that Nikolai Zhukov could be related to the control over the large registrar of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands Commonwealth Trust Limited, in the creation of which in 1994 persons close to the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Oleg Lobov could take part. It should be noted that in 1989 Oleg Lobov was the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, where, along with Georgia, there was the largest Diaspora of Assyrians and Yezidis on the territory of the USSR. Information was published that Oleg Lobov could be associated with the Yekaterinburg organized criminal group "Center", in the creation of which the Assyrians Tarlanovs took part. It was not possible to find a direct connection between Oleg Lobov and the Assyrians. From the facts described above, one can only assume that such a connection is possible.
8. Cult of the Lord of Light.
It was mentioned above that the Russian Old Belief (Old Orthodoxy), the Assyrian version of Christianity (Nestorianism) and Yezidism may have common mystical roots. The central figure of this mystical foundation is the Lord of Light, who in Central Asian Nestorianism and Yezidism (Malak Taus) symbolizes Good, and in Western Christianity (Lucifer) and Islam (Iblis) - Evil. Some historians see the origins of the veneration of the Lord of Light in sun worship and see a relationship between Yezidism and Mithraism. But, probably, it is more correct to associate the cult of the Lord of Light with fire worship, and the morning prayers were probably addressed not to the rising Sun, but to the “morning” star - Venus, which first “lights up” and the last “goes out” in the firmament, and symbolizes the “luminous angel ".
According to the historian Lev Gumilyov, the description of the Lord of Light also corresponds to the Jewish Yahweh, who, according to Old Testament sources, appeared either in the form of a pillar of fire or a burning bush. At the same time, according to Gumilyov, in the Old Testament, two names of God are initially mentioned: Eloi and Yahweh, which personify two hypostases of God (creating - Eloi and destroying - Yahweh). Subsequently, the angry punishing Yahweh appears in Judaism as the only God who is very jealous of attempts to honor other gods. In Christianity and Islam, on the contrary, angels are described, very similar to Yahweh, who began to play the role not of a co-worker of the creative God, but of his adversary - the Devil. In Christianity, God has no name at all, and in Islam the name of God - Allah - probably comes from the Old Testament Eloi.
The closest analogies of Eloi and Yahweh are probably deities from the Hindu pantheon: the creator Brahma and the destroyer Shiva. Only in Hinduism, Shiva did not acquire a satanic connotation, but is considered one of the necessary divine hypostases - in order to build a new one, one must first destroy the old. If Brahma is the patron saint of the priestly caste, then Shiva is the warrior caste. Interestingly, a representative of the influential Yezidi family of Amirians in Yekaterinburg was accused of worshiping Shiva.
In his historical works, characterizing the processes of ethnogenesis, Lev Gumilev introduces the concept of "anti-system". The ethnic system is organically linked with the area of its existence - the dominant forms of the economy of such an ethnic group correspond to the natural conditions of the place in which the ethnic group was formed and exists, which determines the positive attitude of the ethnic group to the place of habitation and life in general. The “anti-system” is characterized by a nihilistic attitude towards life due to the fact that, for various reasons, the economic life of the “anti-system” is not connected with the habitat. Gumilev refers to the category of "anti-systems" some Gnostic sects, in particular, the Manichaeans, who preached that the material world was created by an evil demon opposed to God. This demon-Demiurge in such sects often appeared in the form of a light-bearing angel, who was portrayed as fire in the darkness.
The worldview of an ethnic system positive according to Gumilev is characterized by the perception of a person by a part of nature, even if it occupies the upper link of the bio-cenosis. For the worldview of the "anti-system" is characterized by the opposition of man to nature. In his works, as far as the authors of these lines managed to understand them, Gumilev unequivocally assessed the first approach as ethically positive, and the second as negative. However, you can look at the situation from a slightly different angle. Man's opposition to nature may not necessarily lead to a negative attitude towards nature, as something hostile. This juxtaposition can be characterized as subject-object relations that contribute to economic prosperity through more efficient exploitation of natural resources. Such a worldview allows us to consider nature not as something sacred or insignificant, but as a useful material that can be used for your own purposes. If you take this point of view to the extreme, you can get a predatory plunder of natural resources, leading to an ecological catastrophe, but in moderate forms something is consonant with Protestant ethics: a person in this world is a co-worker with God, who has the right and must transform nature in accordance with his goals. Probably, this worldview also cha-racterized the Protestant communities, which laid the foundation for the economic prosperity of the United States, and the Russian merchants-Old Believers, who played the main role in the development of the Urals and Siberia by Russia / Russia, and the Jewish tycoons who laid the foundation of the modern world financial system, and Assyrian, Yezidi, Jewish dealers who, even in the conditions of the state planned economy of the USSR, managed to create millions of fortunes in underground entrepreneurship.
According to Gumilyov, "anti-systems" sometimes acted as ruling elites in some countries. For example, Jews in Khazaria or Masonic lodges in France in the 18th century, who played a significant role in the revolution. Such elites are cut off from the spiritual connection with the people and look at it as a material that needs to be processed by a master. Again, ethical considerations aside, such a worldview can contribute to the acquisition of political power by a group of people who share similar beliefs. Treating the people not as a goal of government, but as a means, internally frees a potential ruler to manipulate public opinion, which may ultimately turn out to be an advantage in the struggle for power.
Thus, the cult of the Lord of Light, claiming that the material world was created not by an all-good God, but by some fire-like Demiurge, could serve as the basis for the formation of a worldview that gives an advantage to those who shared it in economic prosperity and the acquisition of political power.
Date of information update: 2019.