21 Downshifting In Russia

Downshifting In Russia

Posted on September 16, 2012 by team

Not far from the busy and crowded Moscow there appear new settlements of people who leave big cities and refuse usual comforts, make their first steps to countryside life. Some of them live here all year around, others part of a year. They develop permanent agriculture, build adobe and straw houses, apply alternative energy resources, ranch. This trend is new to Russia and is yet developing. Not everyone can buy a house or practice in construction of it for several months. Nevertheless the settlements become bigger, new people keep coming.

We gonna show one of such settlements called “Glorious”.

The way to the settlement.


It’s especially hard for those who still live in Moscow and come here on weekends. There are only 12 weekends in a summer period. What can one build in this time if he has nothing and has to start from a bare field? What if he has no money to pay somebody and has to do everything with his own hands?

There are various houses and people of all income here. But they are united by one and the same idea. Sooner or later they want to make a self-sustaining settlement able to employ people, build good houses for year-round living and move there forever, grow their own vegetables and fruits, have healthy children and open a school.

Adobe house

Solar batteries are enough in summer for all the needs.

They already have two windmills in the settlement.


Sometimes the comforts are like in a city.

Breakfast in the open air.

Charging batteries from the solar panels.

Slow-burning stove (works on any fuel and gets maximum warmth).


Some rest for Mary Poppins.

Passing the night in a tent.

Morning frost

Someone works like this.



After the rain

A new house is being built.

How Slavnoye looked like in 2010.

If only Russia had an endless summer! It might be so much easier then.

via life-trip.ru

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21 responses to “Downshifting In Russia”

  1. cockatrice says:

    Elmendorf Wood Technology houses the world. Nice to see some of the back-to-the-earth movement is heavily using OSB (Oriented Strand Board) in their construction.

    • jac says:

      One problem with OSB for interior use is, unless it is to be covered with some other finishing, you need to buy the formaldehyde free – more expensive one. Even in western europe it is not easy to get it. These guys’ignorance might cost their health – something they’ve moved it there for right?

  2. CZenda says:

    Welcome to ER´s “Best Kludge” competition. BTW, the stove is very inefficient and not suitable for long-term heating.

    • 70KokuSamurai says:

      Actually he has upped the efficiency by constructing a thermal pile behind it, see the mass of bricks? They store heat and slowly release it back into the living space for hours. Seems they all employ tricks like that to make it more habitable, good to see this social experiment.

      • CZenda says:

        The kludge will not work. The bricks would have to be atop of the stove and not under and around the chimney pipe. The stove is fake Bullerjan. I know the original, which was supposedly invented by Canadian lumberjacks. It has many inherent disadvantages compared to “normal” stoves and its efficiency is poor (less than 70% compared to standard 76-78%). The only advantage is that one can use quite long logs to feed it.

        • Random Chaos says:

          Radiant energy heats the bricks that would otherwise be lost to the walls. Putting bricks on top of the stove would slow transfer of heat from the fire and make it more inefficient. Thermal mass often employs heat that would otherwise be wasted.

        • 70KokuSamurai says:

          Respectfully disagree with you my friend, the thermal pile collects what would otherwise be waste heat going up the stack, further, the pile captures an appreciable amount of radiant heat thrown off the backside as well. It may not be as efficient as later designs, but this guy has shown how you “row with the oars you have”.

          • 70KokuSamurai says:

            My reply was to CZenda:”The kludge will not work. The bricks would have to be atop of the stove and not under and around the chimney pipe.” Message threading on this redesigned board is less than intuitive, bring back the old one!

  3. Tiger says:

    They are doing it right…

  4. 山下智久love the nokia lumia says:

    i like the last photo…

  5. keyboardtoast says:

    is that card game “Uno”?

  6. PVinWV says:

    How much does it cost to live like you are poor?

  7. Tovarich Volk says:

    Good luck to them, the real test for newcomers will of course be the winter.

  8. zipp says:

    Not much fun in the Winter.

    • Tiger says:

      You have no idea! Winter is gorgeous in such houses if you have a nice fireside and of course enough wood. Some of these houses even do have a sauna and in fact it is so warm that you can sit in the house with your normal indoor clothes. I once lived like this for three weeks and an average of -30 degrees celsius. One of my best holidays.

      • Hans says:

        Yes, we city dwellers have no idea. That sounds like a great vacation.

        • Tiger says:

          No really, it was. Amazing was also the sort of total absense of any noise, because there were no cars, planes or others noises. And the whole nature was totally deep-frozen. So if You went on the veranda during the night You did not hear any sound. Being raised in a city, this was a marvellous experience I have never had before. Then You realize that we are subject to constant noise immissions and that one day gets to Your nerves.

  9. MAC says:

    does it get really cold during winter months?

  10. Random Chaos says:

    Just like us. Without the cold, of course. May you all multiply and your efforts be fruitful.

  11. Using a laptop on a primitive table! Haha what a contrast!

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