12 Family of Russian Old Believers

Family of Russian Old Believers

Posted on November 10, 2015 by tim

Dersu is a small village on the Russian Pacific coast. It consists mainly of Russian old believers. They are people of strict religious beliefs which prohibits them from using modern day technologies, wearing modern clothes and so on. Let’s see how they live there – thanks to an awesome blogger Alex H. who published these photos!

Alex went there with some other people who brought humanitarian aid with them. Mostly food – for people and livestock, like a hundred live chickens, and food for them. They packed it all in boxes like this:

Most of the food and chickens were donated by local businesses.

The road to the old believers’ village is very bad so they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to reach them in their small truck.

But they were surprised that the road conditions were not too bad and they reached them in time:

The morning in old believers’ house starts very early. The grown ups wake up first: mother goes to cook the breakfast meal, father wakes up kids.  Everyone in the family must work hard and have something to do during the working day, so they have to eat a good meal in the morning.

Even the smallest kids work.

In the morning all males, including the smallest ones, left the house and went to help their father, so Alex took photos of the ladies. This one is Salomania.





Women should bear as many children as they can and protected sex is a sin among these people. This is a Ivan and his wife, Alexandra.

After a small pause, the family started preparing to go to church, they go there each morning. Non old-believers are banned from entering their church so the blogger stayed at their home while they were in church.

Alexandra, the wife, started her embroidery. She said every girl has to do it from ten years old. “If a girl gets married she has to know how to do all this – embroidery, sew her blouses and skirts, milk a cow, cook food, she has to know how to do EVERYTHING! If she can’t do it – who needs such a wife?”.

At first they train with dolls – continues Alexandra, while painting green leaves. The boys help to keep the house and look after domestic animals. Girls have to repair the clothes, cook, take care of little kids, etc. There are a lot of jobs to do!

This particular family is not native here, as like many other of the old-believers in this village they came from Bolivia. There is a huge community of Russian old-believers in that country. Some of them own over 1,000 ha of land.

Then a boy rushed into the room and called the blogger to come and see how they milk a cow.

The women swapped with the men in doing this job as the men were needed to fix the flooring in a chicken house.

So the men and boys went to the chicken house.

And this is another old-believers family who agreed to be photographed (many of them don’t like this). This guy is Jacob.

And this is his wife, Irina.

Their boy Sasha.

This is a young family. Those people usually marry at a very young age. They also have a daughter but she was sleeping when the photos were taken.

All of these people moved to Russia recently. Their parents and all of their relatives were born in Bolivia, as they were also, but recently the Russian government started attracting Russian people living abroad back to Russia, offering free land to each family and other support.

This climate is of course very different to what they were used to back in Bolivia.

Also many of the modern old-believers use modern cars and tractors, as well as fridges, washers and other home appliances.

However, the huge “taboo” is the “devilish gadgets” – computers and TV sets, which are considered to corrupt and pervert good people.

Those people mostly eat their own food but they do buy what they can’t grow – salt, sugar, oils. The closest store is far away.

Those old-believers are very religious and very strict in following their rules. They don’t have priests but select their best people to be spiritual leaders.

Prayer is a very important part of their lives. They pray all of the time – before eating, when finished eating, when they wake up and when they go to sleep, when the start work and when they finish work, too.

Those people have a lot of holidays that they celebrate. The holidays originated a very long time ago.

Smoking is strictly prohibited. However, drinking is not – but only on certain days. One can drink from Monday until Saturday, but not on Sundays.

Let’s see more pictures of how these people live and what the nature around them is like!

Thanks a lot to Alex for sharing those photos and the story!

His website is below:


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12 Responses to “Family of Russian Old Believers”

  1. Vijay says:

    Amazing Blog Very well done !! These people promote peace and help bring all of humanity together in today’s world filled with selfishness and hate. It was very nice of the Russian Govt. to give them incentives to move back to such an amazing life style. Will pray for all the families of old Russian Believers in Jesus Name.

  2. Vijay says:

    Question: Are Radio’s, cell phones and mp3 players ok for the Old Believers. These people are like the Amish and Mennonites in North America.

    The one thing about technology is it depends on how it is used and not in itself evil. So it depends on the purpose TV and computers are used. Killers have stored body parts etc., in refrigerators, this doesn’t mean that refrigerators are bad for eg., If used for the intent of bringing glory to the Lord’s Kingdom for eg., like using a PC to share sermons or Video Conference with old believers still in Bolivia and elsewhere far, then this will be excellent !! Lord is good, I hope he guides them in positive manners to use most Modern Technology to bring glory to his Kingdom.

  3. Muzzlehatch says:

    Sort of like the Amish in America.

  4. L. Tuggle says:

    Wonderful photo essay. Felt like being there to see it myself. Thank you Alex for showing a different way of life.
    I hope to see others like this one.

  5. Vijay says:

    This blog made me research old believers on net. It is interesting to note that some of them exist even today in North and South America.

  6. Martinus van Brederode says:

    Beautiful photogography, thank you.
    The Old Believers have a long history, interesting to see how they still maintain their religion and way of life.

  7. don says:

    Interesting: They are emigrants to Russia from an Old Believer community in Bolivia.

    Also while they have been compared to the Amish, unlike the Amish the can own automobiles, tractors and have modern appliances refrigerators and washing machines.

  8. alsm74 says:

    I like these kerzhaks (old believers) very much. They are very healthy (mentally and phisically) people.

  9. EditS says:

    Lovely blog , very interesting!

  10. JP says:

    My wife and I met Old Believers near Arhivpovka in the Russian Far East. It was very interesting to learn about their daily life and culture. They had hand-made items for sale. Interestingly, they had moved there from St Petersburg and decided to make a new life as Old Believers (I suspect they were something like new age “minimalists” in the USA.) Anyway, they were very friendly and cooked some mean food!

  11. EditS says:

    amazing pictures and very good blog, thanks for sharing with us!

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