The Anastasia Movement (also: Anastasia Movement) is a neo-religious movement that pursues folk settlement projects associated with organic agriculture. It originated in central Russia in 1997 through the Anastasia writings of Vladimir Nikolayevich Megre and has since spread worldwide. Its ideology, the Anastasia teachings or Anastasianism, is classified as right-wing esotericism and neopaganism. It conveys partly conspiracy ideological, racist and anti-Semitic content. German constitutional protection authorities classify the movement as a right-wing extremist suspect; the State Security Service in Austria also observes it.

The movement’s founder is Russian businessman Vladimir Megre. From 1997 to 2010, he wrote the ten-volume novel Anastasia – The Sounding Cedars of Russia. It contains ideas and views on God and creation, man’s relationship with nature, gender relations, child rearing and others.

The author presents his fantasy character, the blonde young Anastasia, as a real person who shares her knowledge with him and starts a family with him. He describes her as a godlike, omniscient ambassador, endowed with “paranormal” abilities, of a fictitious primitive culture of “Wedruses” whose descendants would still live in the Siberian taiga. Asians, Europeans, Russians and Americans are said to have descended from them. The fictitious race of the “Vedrusians” was invented by the right-wing Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, representative of Eurasism, as a contrast to the supposedly Jewish-dominated liberal civilization.

Thus Megre contrasts the urban technicized civilization with an existence that is close to nature and spiritually high. Basic features of his “doctrine,” which changes from volume to volume, are: Religions, especially Judaism and Christianity, are manipulative systems invented by sinister and greedy priests to enslave people. Their central figures (Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed) were only Anastasia’s elder brothers, none of whom had attained perfect earthly love. In the “Wedism” of the primeval time there had been a “feeling knowledge”. The following dark age of occultism is now over. Today one can create a heavenly paradise on earth. As a divine savior figure, Anastasia had led humanity from darkness to light.

Interspersed in Megre’s work are conspiracy myths: The collapse of the Soviet Union (1990) was due to ideological manipulation; “a certain organization” dominates the Russian Orthodox Church and defames ideological and religious groups such as the Anastasians as “sects.” democracy is the “most dangerous illusion of the masses,” created by the Egyptian high priest “Demon Kratie” to consolidate the rule of a “priestly organization” over states and regents; Western democracies are decadent and deformed; their journalists suppress, among other things, “the explosive nature of the Jewish question.” The Jews saw themselves as the chosen people; the Christians tried to keep man small and sinful. The Jewish priests had reinterpreted the early Christian teachings and created slave people (“biorobots”) in bondage to them. The masterminds of world events are a Levitical high priest with five priests helping him. They are Anastasia’s current opponents.

Megre explains the Holocaust and the millennial suffering of the Jews with the fact “that they instigated conspiracies against the power. They tried to deceive everyone, from the young to the old. From one who was not very rich, they tried to take away at least something, and in the case of a rich person, they endeavored to ruin him altogether. This confirms the fact that many Jews are wealthy and can even influence the government.” In the book series, Jews repeatedly represent “evil,” “modernity,” “democracy,” and “the dark ones.” For example, the Jewish high priest wants to kill Anastasia because she has exposed his alleged conspiracy.

Further, Anastasia (Megre) claims that the Jews have brought the press of various countries under their control, that television is fundamentally Jewish, and that Jews largely control the flow of money as well. The reason for this, she says, is that “Jews are simply obliged to this special position, and we are obliged to submit to them, and indeed this is sanctioned by law.” Then the novel’s character asks of all non-Jews who dislike their supposedly subordinate status, “…let’s try together to find a way to solve this problem.” Everyone can participate in this search, he says; allotment gardeners are the saviors of the planet.

Megre bases his ideal of monogamy of white-skinned heterosexual partners on the disproved genetic theory of telegony, according to which a woman’s first male sexual partner also shapes the shape and phenotype of her later children conceived by other men. He claims that a black child is occasionally born to white married couples “because his grandmother or the mother who gave birth had sexual contact with a black man.”

According to theologian Vladimir Martinovich, the narrative of mythical Vedrusian culture is based on the teachings of various Russian sects and cults, which Megre has compiled into a new doctrine of faith. In addition, Megre’s ideal of the “Wedrussians” serves the enthusiasm for Russia and its president Vladimir Putin, who is celebrated as a strong ruler, that is common in the New Right.

At the core of the ideology are family estates according to Megre’s specifications: At least one hectare of land should each contain a residence, a pond, meadows, flower beds and a forest, surrounded by a dense hedge. Modern technology such as electricity, Internet, running water and modern medicine are rejected. Plants are supposed to inform people about their state of health. Contact with strangers, including other Anastasians, is considered difficult, as their alien “vibrations” would have to be straightened out afterwards. The inhabitants believe to be in constant contact with Anastasia’s thought ray. The own, self-sufficient clod is their ideal. Consequently, they strive for their own form of school for their ideology: the forest school according to the Schetinin pedagogy described by Megre. There, the children are to teach each other without teachers, only with learning companions present. Strong patriotism and paramilitary drill are demanded of their caretakers. The LAIS learning groups established by Anastasians in some places were developed from the Schetinin concept.

The Anastasian doctrine combines parascientific and neo-religious with anti-democratic, anti-Semitic and racist motives. It is adaptable to various alternative milieus and is received in esotericism, permaculture, social utopian community projects, and among neo-pagan groups. The movement is largely unorganized and appears as a loose network of individual or group initiatives that establish family country estates and promote ecological issues.


Following Megre’s publications, circles of readers formed in Russia beginning in 1996, and by 2001 they had established themselves as associations and organized conferences to discuss the Anastasian teachings. A market was created for this through magazines, audios and videos, and cedar oil. Megre had the product name “The Sounding Cedars of Russia” legally protected. From 2010 onwards, family estates were increasingly established. By 2011, there are said to have been as many as 700 in Russia. The first translations of the Anastasia books internationalized the movement.

Since 2016, under a law passed by Putin, Russians have been allowed to purchase up to one hectare of land in Russia’s Far East for free. This gave the Anastasia movement an enormous boost. In some sparsely populated regions of Russia, local governments gave supporters land for free. In 2008, former President Dmitry Medvedev praised the family estates. In return, Megre always called on Anastasia supporters to support Putin.

According to Russian media reports, by 2016 there were already 337 Anastasia settlements in Russia, and according to Megre’s own account, there were around 370. By 2021, an official register listed more than 230 Anastasia settlements in Russia. Their exact number is unknown, as they have no central administration.
According to various estimates, 10,000 to 50,000 people live in these settlements.

The movement is also politically active and has constituted itself into a number of local or regional organizations that cooperate loosely. Thus, there are personal, ideological and structural links to radical right-wing scenes.

Germany Settlements

By 2022, at least 20 German sites of the Anastasia movement had emerged. They had only about 50 members in 2021, but up to 800 people participated in Anastasia festivals. The “Family Landsitz & Settlement Forum” on Telegram, which networks the Anastasia movement in Germany, had more than 3300 invited members in December 2020. Overall, German-language “Anastasia channels” grew to about 250,000 subscribers by March 2023, according to a report.

In 1999, the first volume of the Anastasia books, translated into German, was published by a small publishing house in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, which was founded with Megre’s permission. From then on, Siberian cedar products were marketed in Germany, the ideology was spread as “Vedrussian knowledge” via seminars and courses, and trips to family estates in Russia were offered. From 2001 Megre attended reader meetings in German cities. From 2012, the first German family estates were built. In 2018, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Megre called for the creation of more country estates, promoted cedar products and showed a film about the Schetinin School.

In 2014, Maik Meinhard Schulz and Aruna Palitzsch founded their housing project Weda Elysia (“Knowledge of Paradise”). Weda (“Wisdom”) Elysia (“Place of the Blessed”) represents the Anastasia ideal of family estates. The group wants to work in the “places of power of our ancestors”. She is forbidden to eat meat. A hairstyle and dress code cements the distribution of roles between men and women. Income comes from the sale of natural products and Anastasia books at markets. Schulz promoted the website, which called for “self-empowerment through self-sufficiency”.

The website advertised the “Nordlicht” project near Ferdinandshof until 2014. Iris Wetzig also planned the “Goldbach” project in Mecklenburg and participated in the development of the family estate Landolfswiese in Grabow.

In 2018, the Weda Elysia group bought the Dorfgasthof in Wienrode (Saxony-Anhalt) and called it “Haus Lindenquell”. For the conversion to a cultural center, the group called for donations and founded three non-profit associations, including the Heimatverein Lindenquell e.V. for “customs (folk dance and song)” and “our German values and virtues”. With a seminar for “country seat designers” from 2019 and a group video Herzkraft from 2020, Weda-Elysia spread a folkish, anti-modern ideology that follows the new right idea of ethnopluralism.

In 2014, Markus and Iris Krause founded the Anastasia settlement “Goldenes Grabow – Familienlandsitz Landolfwiese” in Grabow near Blumenthal. Since 2006, Markus Krause has been in contact with the right-wing extremist Young People’s Association of East Prussia (JLO) and the anti-Semitic Ludendorffer Association. As a land surveyor publicly appointed by the state of Brandenburg, he was informed at an early stage of areas and buildings that were up for sale. In 2020, his group already owned more than 80 hectares of land. At least six families involved acquired the land through “land purchase” and moved into tiny houses, caravans and tents on a forest site. The state government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development subsidized a settlement barn with substantial funds. – Krause was temporarily mayor of Grabow. In 2015, the couple warned villagers about the “influx” of young men from Africa, Asia and the Balkans and called for a “village militia”. In the same year, the right-wing extremist Sturmvogel – German Youth League set up a camp on their premises. In 2017 Ludendorffer performed at an Anastasia Festival in Grabow. In 2018, Iris Krause also invited NPD politicians to the “Goldenes Grabow Spring Festival”. There are also close contacts with Weda Elysia. The Anastasia settlers in Grabow planned their own school; some stopped sending their children to government school in the spring of 2020. In November 2021, a lawyer wrote to Krause that the project had dissolved. But it was still registered and had around 20 local members who harassed other villagers with home visits.

In 2006, the well-known architect Konstantin Kirsch founded a “forest garden village” in Bauhaus (Nentershausen) in northern Hesse as a future Anastasia center. He specifically invited “Reichsbürger” to an Anastasia festival there in 2013. In 2014 he published a reference book of the German-speaking Anastasia scene with Lutz Rosemann. In 2018, he allowed himself to be interviewed by Vladimir Megre’s granddaughter at the Anastasia stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair in front of 200 followers. As a result, he is considered a central figure of the movement in Germany. On his blog, he propagates some of the conspiracy theories common among contrarians, QAnon supporters and climate change deniers.

The farmer Robert Briechle founded a “mother farm” for ecological “family gardens” and permaculture in Unterthingau (Allgäu) according to the ideas of the Anastasia books.

In 2018, a total of 17 families belonged to the Anastasia project “LebensRaum e.V.” near Dresden (Saxony). The association co-founder Robert Köhn was a “Reichsbürger” until 2016. The members want to surround the region with a “ring of natural garden villages” according to the Anastasialhren. To this end, the association applied to the Dresden project “Future City” for federal funding in 2018. Until then, it owned only one meadow orchard, but was looking for more land on the outskirts of Dresden for self-sufficiency against expected future global trade wars. After criticism, the association deleted the Anastasia books from its website, but did not distance itself from right-wing esotericism.

The “LebensOase” in Altusried-Schmidberg (Bavaria) was suspended in 2022 because the mayor and owners of the land the movement wanted to buy distanced themselves.

In the state of Brandenburg, there are the Anastasia projects “Oasis Goldammer” in Werder (Havel), the “Dreamland Lychen”[34] and settlement projects in Steinreich and Liepe (Barnim). In 2019, a television program made the “Dreamland Lychen” known. The spokesman André Proetel is said to have internally represented “Reichsbürger” ideology. In early 2023, followers of Peter Fitzek (“Kingdom of Germany”) wanted to buy 44 hectares of land and several houses in Lychen-Rutenberg with the help of the already resident Anastasia settlers. Constitutional protectors warned the villagers against this.

Since 2015, Dietrich Kuhn and his family have been developing Ober-Neundorf Castle near Görlitz into an Anastasia Center. Many events on her teachings and themes have already taken place there. The family is networked in the right-wing esoteric scene and received a total of about 900,000 euros in state funding for the renovation of the castle until July 2023. The German Foundation for Monument Protection discontinued its funding in 2023 after critical reports on this. The castle facade bears the slogan “Peace, Freedom, Self-Determination” as well as the rune Algiz, which the Lebensborn association had used as a fertility symbol to raise “Aryans” during the Nazi era.

In the summer of 2021, an Anastasia group from Detmold used classified ads to search for a community house with a large garden for several families in the Lippe district. A planned Anastasi settlement in Irsee (Ostallgäu) was prevented by the mayor of the village.

The “Reichsbürger” Thomas Patock, who called himself “King of Wedenland”, founded the family estate “Arvids Gutshof” or “Wedenland” in the Faßberg district of Gerdehaus (Lower Saxony). The German anastasia pioneer Christa Jasinski and her son Simon Below established the family estate “Talmühle” in Cursdorf (Thuringia). Felix Krauß from Schkeuditz helped build Weda Elysia until 2018 and then founded his own country estate in the eastern Harz as a self-supporter, as did the alternative practitioner Christina.


During the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, around 30 illegal school projects based on Schetinin pedagogy were created in the “Querdenker” scene in Baden-Württemberg up to March 2022. According to this, around 50 children were to be taught in an illegal “lateral thinker” school in Deutelhausen / Schechen near Rosenheim (Upper Bavaria). The founder Sonja Bergfeld, a teacher, has connections to the Anastasia movement and to the Austria-based association “Gaudium in Vita”. For a fee, this offers vaccination opponents and mask refusers the opportunity to register their children in a “research project for self-determined learning” in order to avoid compulsory schooling. In September 2021, the authorities closed the school, which had been declared “Russian territory”. Sonja Bergfeld then applied for asylum with her children in Russia, founded the family estate “Altpreussische Gemeinde Bergfeld” near St. Petersburg and advertised donations for it with a “cry for help from the German peoples” on Telegram. – Rowena Jentgens from Breitenbrunn (Swabia) tried to buy real estate for the “LebensOase” country estate with her Anastasia group in 2021 and in December 2021 called online for children to be sent to illegal learning groups and underground schools instead of state schools. In February 2023, she reported on Rolf Kron’s online program about her secret home study group and her attempt to found a school for up to 120 families. The authorities stopped the school projects of lateral thinkers and Anastasia supporters in Esslingen, Essingen, Rosenheim, Gablenz, Neudorf im Erzgebirge, Rechenberg and Erlangen. – A petition by the lawyer Katja Senkel, who is part of the “Gaudium in Vita” association, for “online schools” in Thuringia from 2022 was supported by the local AfD and the right-wing extremist group “Freies Thüringen”.


Starting in 2014, annual “Anastasia Festivals Germany” took place, for the first time at Ludwigstein Castle, in 2015 in Grabow near Blumenthal, in 2016 in the Rhön and in 2017 at the association “Am Windberg” in Thuringia. Starting in 2018, smaller regional festivals were added at four locations in Hesse and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. This promoted networking with veganism groups, right-wing esotericists, “Reich citizens,” and self-governors.

The right-wing extremist Frank Willy Ludwig has been spreading the Anastasialhren from the settlement in Liepe in German-speaking countries since 2011. According to his web pages, his “mission” is: “Awakening Aryan knowledge in the tribes, purification of man and space.” In lectures on the “Laws of Purity of Blood,” he claims that “miscegenation” prevents contact with the ancestors. Attempts to “implant a conscience in the blacks” have failed. Aryans are aliens. The Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck is a “person of the heart”. The Hitler salute, which he often shows after lectures, is a sun salute of the ancestors. In 2016, Ludwig published the book Stammeslandsitze, Siedlung & Schule, which he abbreviates as “the book-SSS.” His website “Urahnenerbe Germania,” adorned with a barely altered swastika and sig rune, calls for the “construction of natural tribal country seats […] by researching and practicing the ways of life of our ancestors, the Vedic high culture of Slavs and Aryans,” citing as its source the “SS-Ahnenerbe” and the pseudoscientific “Forschungsgemeinschaft Deutsches Ahnenerbe.” Ludwig called on the 2017 Anastasia Festival to follow Adolf Hitler and Nazi ideology: “Take care of your wife. Produce children. Get a garden, that’s it. That’s what the Führer said, too, isn’t it? Blood and soil. Strength through joy.” According to research by the television magazine Kontraste, in 2019 he said that one would “recognize the Jewish race by the gray skin color and the dark, dark eyes of the night.”[46] Homosexuality was also “racially determined.” Anastasia followers to establish “something beautiful” for camouflage, to “charm” people through song, dress, and dance, and to endear themselves to the people; then “no politician, no dark power could say any more: Ey, these are evil ones.”

Ludwig has close contacts with Holocaust deniers, “Reich citizens,” Identitarians, and Anastasia groups in Austria and Switzerland.[50] He has appeared with neo-Nazi Meinolf Schönborn, with Swiss anti-Semite Heinz-Christian Tobler, with Holocaust deniers around Ernst Köwing and Gerhard Ittner, and at neo-Nazi marches on the anniversary of the Allied air raids on Dresden. He translated the writings of the Ynglism sect into German and explained in the preface expression “Great Rasa” for white-skinned people, which he also uses in his lectures as a common code word for “white race”.

Holocaust denier Thomas Patock distributed “Anastasia products” and preparations dangerous to health via his websites, advocated Megre’s telegony theses as a means against “racial shame” and justified this with quotes from the Nuremberg Laws of the Nazi regime. In 2016, he was legally convicted of incitement of the people. On his “Wedenland” Patock organizes Samhain festivals and concerts with Dieter Strobel (“Dieter der Barde”) from Bremerhaven and Jens Lachenmayr from Augsburg (“Eloas min Barden”), who belongs to Michael Ballweg’s group “Querdenken 711”. Patock’s propaganda texts quote, for example, the National Socialist poet Erich Limpach. Patock’s brother, who according to his own statements used to be a military police officer in the Bundeswehr, has contact with the AfD in Uelzen. In their telegram channel, the brothers write about pagan customs and alleged eyewitness reports by Christa and Alf Jasinski (“Thalus of Athos”) about a civilization inside the earth, distributed by the Kopp publishing house. Christa Jasinski and Felix Krauß led a meeting in the Anastasia settlement Grabow in 2015. Krauß sought a new text for “The Song of the Germans” at Anastasia festivals. In his book “The Birth of the New Age” he conjures up a “downfall of the Occident” and approvingly unfolds Megre’s anti-Semitic theses. It is necessary to make “peace with Adolf Hitler,” to put an end to his “demonization,” and to understand why millions of people followed that “extraordinary man at the top.”

Vyacheslav Seewald also advocates the telegony thesis. He propagated the “Slavic-Arian race” on YouTube with cult founder Aleksandr Khinevich in 2011, defended the swastika as an ancient, non-Nazi symbol in 2013, and photographed himself with far-right Björn Höcke in 2017. In 2021, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) named Seewald as a propagator of anti-Semitic conspiracy ideologies that endangered democracy. He was an administrator of the Telegram channel “Putin Fanclub,” which has been disseminating Russian state propaganda for around 36,000 subscribers since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

The Weda Elysia YouTube channel offered, among other things, film clips on the head of the Austrian Identitarians Martin Sellner, on the anti-gender activist Birgit Kelle and on the QAnon ideologist Eva Herman. The telegram channel of “Haus Lindenquell” temporarily linked to the Identitarian Movement and to an association founded by Ursula Haverbeck. Weda Elysia has close contacts with Holocaust denier Nikolai Nerling. He often organizes folk dances with Anastasia supporters in front of the Berlin Reichstag building, tried to disrupt a presentation of the book “Völkische Landnahme” in Quedlinburg in September 2020 and staged a burning of the book.

In 2013, according to participants, Reich citizen ideology was also conveyed at Robert Briechle’s mother farm. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been monitoring the farm since 2018. Briechle denied that he was an Anastasia supporter, but met with Frank Willy Ludwig in July 2020 for a conversation in which he expressed his racist ideas. Despite critical reports, Briechle was able to continue promoting permaculture and family estates in the region.

The “Anastasia Movement Germany” advertised Briechle’s mother farm in a video with songs by the singer “Schwerti von der Thing Au” (artist name) who lived there. The video shows billionaire Bill Gates with a syringe, hints at brainwashing and QAnon. Frank Willy Ludwig also advertises the singer’s videos. Its lyrics link QAnon symbols with political coup plans. The journalist Sebastian Lipp (“Allgäu right wing”) referred to “Reichsbürger”, “lateral thinkers” and supporters of free economy Silvio Gesells in the environment of Allgäu Anastasiagruppen. He described their apparently purely ecological projects as a means of making themselves popular locally and then gradually spreading far-right ideas.

The Hamburg professor Ralf Otterpohl promoted the Anastasia movement in his book The New Village (2017) and attributed its right-wing extremist tendencies to external critics. After criticism, he wanted to have the passage removed from the next edition of the book, but at the same time defended Robert Briechle and his mother farm project.

The esotericist Erich Hambach thanked Anastasia in his work “Bargeld ade! It hurts to divorce …” (2016) alongside the conspiracy ideologues David Icke and Jan Udo Holey. Hambach founded a “Peace Path” from 2017 and appeared frequently with the “Organic Christ Generation” (OCG) and the “Anti-Censorship Coalition” of the sect founder Ivo Sasek. OCG supporters from Bautzen wanted to found a Schetinin school in Görlitz from 2018. Observers see this as a convergence of the Anastasia movement with other conspiracy ideological groups.

In 2020, Anastasia groups held several non-public networking meetings in the Berlin area, for example on November 29, 2020 in the Teufelssee forest school near Müggelsee and on December 21, 2020 to celebrate the winter solstice in Putlitz (Prignitz district). Anastasia supporters celebrated a private “Festival of Good Fruit” in Pansfelde in April 2021. The “Alliance Bunter Harz” protested against this.

The propagandist and Holocaust denier Martin Laker networks the Anastasia movement with the QAnon and Reichsbürger scenes via his Telegram channel, which has around 50,000 subscribers (January 2023). He wants to replace the current “satanic construct” of the Federal Republic with a multi-year military dictatorship and then rebuild the German Reich. He released a video of a conversation with Traugott Ickeroth, a supporter of the alleged right-wing terrorist “Patriotic Union”. From May 2021, Laker planned an “Akademie Engelsburg” and called on Anastasians to found regional groups for it. As a result, several hundred regional groups are said to have emerged on Telegram. Markus and Elvira Mägel planned the family estate “Arche Achental” (Bavaria) and were looking for comrades-in-arms for it, but excluded people “who were infected with the experimental RNA vaccine” or who were ready to be vaccinated on their website; who “believe in man-made climate change”; “followers of gender mainstream”; “Sympathizers of helpers and smugglers of illegal migrants, with the aim of mixing peoples and destroying Germany”. In June 2021, Elvira Mägel opened her own telegram group for Martin Laker supporters who “want to build a new, Vedic earth and a new, strong Germany”. Laker keeps in touch with the local groups at his “Akademie Engelsburg” via telegram videos, visits many of them personally and organizes concerts for them.

Members of the association “Weda Elysia” attended several meetings of the neo-Nazi “Artgemeinschaft – Germanische Faith Community” in the southern Harz and support the association “Schöne Harzer Heimat” against the construction of wind turbines. In response to a counter-demonstration, they held a “folk festival” in Wienrode in August 2023. Among the approximately 120 visitors were the AfD politician Merten Wittig-Brandt from Stapelburg, members of the neo-Nazi party The Right and supporters of the former “Harz Revolt” as well as the “Blankenburg Wolves”, the “MMA Nationalist Fight Club” and the NPD youth organization ” Young Nationalists”. According to observers, the association and its village tavern are developing into a center for right-wing extremists in the region with considerable influence on local politics.


In 2003, the lawyer Vera Weld founded Austria’s first Anastasia reading group in Vienna. Since then she has been committed to spreading the Anastasia teachings in the country. She often visits ethnic country estates in Russia, gives lectures and seminars and wanted to found her own Anastasia country estate called “Hoffen” in Lower Austria’s Waldviertel in 2017.

In 2003 Rupert Peterlechner converted the farm he inherited in St. Radegund (Upper Austria) to permaculture and called it “Anastasialand”. He and his wife advocate the idea of a self-sufficient family estate and rent out farmland.[14] The couple founded a private Montessori nature school on their premises as “Anastasialand early support and educational workshop” and received official permission for state-recognized schooling there in 2010.

After reading excerpts from the Anastasia books, the well-known permaculture representative Sepp Holzer praised the movement in an interview in August 2010 as an “opportunity for all countries, especially those of the former Soviet Union”. In 2014, together with the entrepreneur and Anastasia supporter Andrei Alexeyevich Nikitenko, he designed the agricultural concept for the large Russian settlement project “As Grad” near Omsk. After a report about it, he emphasized that he only advised the project and was not an Anastasia supporter himself.

In November 2022, the Documentation Center Political Islam published plans and teachings of Anastasiagroups in Austria. According to the report, an anastasia group wanted to buy a 54-hectare site around a farm in Poppendorf in Burgenland starting in 2021 to build an “Academy Elysion” and a family settlement with tents and huts. Former German travel manager Norman Kosin wanted to use Telegram to bring “hundreds of families” to his “place of love,” a family country estate he founded in southern Burgenland. In June 2021, he and friends moved into Krumphof in Poppendorf and planned, among other things, a private school for children there. There, a nature-oriented way of life and seminars on the “true content of Anastasia” were to be taught. Although the group gained popularity due to the protests during the Corona pandemic, it was unable to raise the agreed purchase price of 2.5 million euros and returned the site to the previous owner in 2022. In July 2022, Kosin had to leave the site. In November 2022, a project partner took over the academy and continued it under a new name. Kosin also remained organizationally active in the region. On his Telegram channel, Kosin had claimed that every German had more than half of his life’s work stolen by “the Zionists”; “dark forces, evil itself,” held “us captive in a bio-matrix.” He had also shared a YouTube video, “The Secret Network of the Rockefellers,” with anti-Semitic content. He told ORF he felt the content was true, but denied he was anti-Semitic.

An association in Tyrol for families interested in an Anastasia-style lifestyle had 20 members in 2021, according to founder Bruno W., and a “partner place” on Lake Wörthersee. By then, there were an estimated six Anastasialandsites in Austria and plans for several more.

Since 2014, the Anastasia movement in Austria has been founding home-based learning groups or learning courses based on the LAIS concept, first in Klagenfurt, then in Salzburg, the Waldviertel, Styria and Upper Austria. They are advertised as an alternative to mainstream schools and their pressure to perform. Interested parents are promised huge learning successes in the short term through “natural”, fear-free, reciprocal teaching of the children. The origin of the concept from the Russian right esotericism is concealed or covered up. The founder of the Klagenfurt Laisgruppe, Alexandra Liehmann, denied her links to the Anastasia movement, but according to media research belonged to the reading circle of the Viennese lawyer Vera Weld. With her, Liehmann visited völkische country estates in Russia, read the Anastasia books, became acquainted with the Schetinin concept and then wanted to spread it in Austria. Until at least 2012 she led an “Anastasia Group Carinthia” and organized “Mother-Child Anastasia Meetings” on the topics “Settlement Project, Exchange Circle, Implementing Anastasia Ideas in Everyday Life (…) Stand Family Country Estates in Russia, Travel Information for Russia Trip in Settlements, Dolmen & Schetinin School by Guest Vera Weld”. The Klagenfurt Lais group trains learning guides of other learning groups, including Anastasia followers. The esoteric association “Gaia,” which reportedly has 4,000 members and promotes Ryke Geerd Hamer’s right-wing radical “Germanic New Medicine,” supported the foundation in Klagenfurt. In 2015, manager Eduard Kaan started a lais project in Hof near Salzburg with German Dietlinde B. from the federal board of the far-right youth organization “Sturmvogel,” a splinter group of the banned Wiking Youth. When questioned, Kaan claimed that he had not known about B.’s right-wing extremist activities and had not checked where those interested in his project came from. He himself received rooms from the Golden Earth Vision association and appeared on “Krypto-TV,” whose founder openly denied the Holocaust and interviewed vaccination opponents, conspiracy ideologues and esoteric authors.

Christian Kreil (Der Standard) attributes the veneration of Putin in Austria’s esoteric and corona denial scene largely to the influence of the Anastasia movement: Megre’s writings “bristle with transfigured rural romanticism and anti-Semitism,” making Russia a “metaphor for wisdom and earthbound spirituality” and a projection screen for authoritarian, backward-looking longings.

Austria’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution attributed around 800 people to the movement in Austria by July 2023. The groups are organized in a decentralized manner and network primarily via Telegram. There, the channel “Anastasia Audiobooks” had more than 20,000 subscribers in November 2022.


Russian nationalist Vladislava Ruggle emigrated to Switzerland in 1995 and has since spread Anastasia teachings throughout the German-speaking world. She regards homosexuality as an invention of “Jewish high priests” and a means of “the elites” to bring about a “genocide of the white race” through childlessness. She advocated this, for example, in a promotional video for her “Power of the Ancestors” seminar in the canton of Baselland. Through her contacts, she connects the Anastasia movement with German-speaking and Russian right-wing extremists. Her comrades-in-arms include Russian nationalist Oleg Pankow, who in 2017 glorified the Sig rune of the Waffen-SS at the far-right “memorial” in Guthmannshausen, as well as Vyacheslav Seewald, Frank-Willy Ludwig of the “Urahnenerbe Germania” and Burghard Bangert, who has become known as the “Nazi Druid.” The latter had welcomed the murder of Kassel’s district president Walter Lübcke in 2019 and called for violence against Jews, asylum seekers and leftists. Afterwards, several weapons had been seized from him.

In November 2015, Anastasia supporters founded the association “Familienlandsitze Schweiz”. As its press spokesman, former Franciscan friar Beno Kehl promoted the founding of Family Mansions and the Anastasia honors in 2019. In response to questions, he claimed that he had “simply read over” anti-Semitic and racist passages in the Anastasia books. After a report about this, he took the books off his homepage.

Thomas-Heinz Wegmüller founded the Anastasia group “Wedia Helvetia” in Bern. Wegmüller propagates self-sufficiency of families in the countryside to save society and restore the “paradise in the Garden of Eden”. In 2017, he invited the German far-right esotericist Frank Willy Ludwig to give a lecture at Allerheiligenberg in the canton of Solothurn.

The anastasia group Cine12 in Thun emerged from the related group We are Change Thun. Founder Heino Fankhauser invited German right-wing extremist Frank Willy Ludwig to give lectures in Thun and Solothurn in 2017. However, after it became known, the owners of the rented event rooms canceled. Another offshoot of the movement in Winterthur became known in 2018 due to a custody dispute.

Around 2017, Swiss Anastasia followers founded a “Lais Institute” for school projects using this method. The institute does not disclose that the Anastasia movement is behind it. Lais projects were established in Grosswangen, Lenzburg, Lucerne and Zurich. The operators submitted applications for private schools to authorities and in some places received permits to teach groups of children at home. According to the Infosekta counseling center, they propagate “natural learning” that is supposed to give children access to their “cosmic primal knowledge” again, with which they could supposedly acquire the material of the entire school period in just one year.

In July 2022, the canton of St. Gallen approved a private school in Uznach based on the model of a Russian Schetinin school. The advertising flyer promised that “through the contact of the bioenergetic field” one could grasp “eleven years of mathematics in ten days”. In response to inquiries, the school supervisory authority stated that the applicants’ concept showed no connection to the Anastasia movement; they had denied a religious-ideological background. Project founder and investment manager Thomas Kochanek claimed he had never heard of the movement. Schetinin projects found particular favor among corona deniers, who networked and promoted homeschooling during the pandemic. For example, the magician and memory trainer Ricardo Leppe founded the association “Knowledge Creates Freedom,” which propagated the pseudoscientific “Germanic New Medicine,” the anastasia teachings, and so-called free schools based on the Schetinin method. For this also a “grass roots school” of the mask opponent Prisca Würgler promoted. The “Lehrernetzwerk Schweiz” in turn promoted Ricardo Leppe. This was allowed to appear at the “Modelhof” of the entrepreneur Daniel Model. The board of education in St. Gallen responsible for the permission of private schools included a politician of the SVP and representatives of the corona-skeptic movement “Friends of the Constitution”.

In the summer of 2022, the right-wing esoteric association Campus Vivere founded a private school for primary and secondary education in Rikon, according to the operators a “First International Free Learning Place according to international humanitarian law”. The association intended to establish further private schools. It had organized lectures on “Reichsbürger” topics in the months before and applied for a school permit in the canton of Zurich after the canton of Thurgau had banned homeschooling. The school website referred to additional training for the learning facilitators “in experiential learning, Montessori, Steiner, Schetinin, etc.” On the school door hung a “letter of protection” from the “Trivium United Institute,” founded in Germany, which issues its own passports to its members to protect them from alleged government encroachment. The institute has contacts with the Siga Siga locale in Ternitz, Austria, a well-known meeting place for right-wing extremists. Nevertheless, the Zurich school board approved the private school for an initial two years. It stated that it had only learned of the association’s Reichsbürger connections through inquiries in the press, but held on to the permit and at most wanted to investigate specific indications of violations of the rules in private lessons.

Politicians from various parties then demanded better control mechanisms for private schools and emphasized the incompatibility of the Anastasia and Reichsbürger ideology with Swiss public education law. Three cantonal councillors in Zurich submitted a parliamentary question on the matter in August 2022. In November 2022, the government council of the canton of Zurich replied that the private school in Rikon had been permitted in accordance with legal requirements and announced random checks.

Other countries

In Lithuania, the first offshoot of the movement in 2002 was the Skambantys kedrai club in Kaunas, then the Gyvieji namai group in Vilnius, as well as quite a few family homes in the countryside. There are groups of followers in Riga (Latvia) and Tallinn (Estonia). Anastasia pilgrims consider the Lithuanian village of Tverai to be a “place of power” and an ancient shrine.[83] Rural communities of the movement also exist in Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Vera Weld, known for spreading the Anastasia movement in Austria, lives in a settlement in Lovászpatona in Veszprém, Hungary.

Other Anastasialand settlements have been established in Australia, North America, Scandinavia, and South Africa, and according to self-reports, also in Italy and Peru.

Classifications and criticism

The religious scientist Matthias Pöhlmann and the Swiss specialist agency InfoSekta note right-wing esoteric, conspiracy ideological, anti-Semitic, nationalistic and racist components in the Anastasian ideology and in statements of many of its representatives. They therefore classify Anastasianism as a völkisch, right-wing extremist blood-and-soil ideology.

According to right-wing extremism researcher Matthias Quent, Anastasian ideology “transports cultural racism and anti-Semitism,” but “rather casually,” for example “to explain what’s all wrong with the modern world.” This pattern, he said, was also familiar from National Socialism: Modern society was doomed, he said, and one had to retreat from it to one’s native sheol or family estates. “Through the back door, it is then argued who is responsible for these alleged destructions and what the right, supposedly natural life – namely, on an order of inequality between ‘races’ – should look like.”

Marius Hellwig (Amadeu Antonio Foundation), an expert on the völkisch settler movement, judges Megre’s statements about Jews as relativizing the Holocaust: using classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, he blames them for their own persecution.

Historian Laura Schenderlein criticizes Megree’s story “that we are all manipulated and in a kind of sleep from which we must be awakened to return to bliss.” Democracy appears to him as a “manipulative technique to which we are subjected, where politicians represent the puppets who make us dance to their liking. And in the background is an elite that pulls the strings.” He claimed, in “Nazi ductus,” that the Jews control the flow of money worldwide and that a Jewish circle of priests in the background manipulates us all.

Until February 2019, the German government had no knowledge of the movement’s far-right background. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Saxony-Anhalt classified the Weda Elysia 2022 association as belonging to the “völkisch Siedelnden”, “which are characterized by nationalistic, anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic views”. According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Thuringia, the members use the themes of nature conservation, organic farming and customs to camouflage their ideology of “people and homeland” and implement it in regions with weak settlements. In this context, experts classify the Anastasia movement in German-speaking countries as part of a völkisch racist land-grabbing movement, but so far not as a violent group. In June 2023, the Brandenburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) classified the movement as a suspected right-wing extremist group. The BfV has been monitoring them nationwide ever since. According to the BfV, the Anastasia books spread “anti-Semitic resentment” and “anti-democratic and racist content.” Jews are portrayed as “threat and string pullers” who instigate economic crises or wars. Democracy is described as the “most dangerous illusion. BfV President Thomas Haldenwang also referred to “connections of actors of the Anastasia movement to Reich citizens and self-governors.”

Austria’s Federal Office for Sectarian Affairs dealt in detail with the Anastasia movement, its ideology, its schetinin and lais projects in 2017 and presented the attitudes of parents and students involved in case studies. Megres’ strongly dichotomous world view is striking – here the harmful, negatively portrayed “modern” world with technology and progress, there the “natural” down-to-earth-traditional life on one’s own soil, man in an idealized connection with nature, “the natural” par excellence. There are also anti-Semitic passages in several places.” A critical argument with such statements is not recognizable in the movement itself. In 2023, esoteric expert Ulrike Schiesser of the Sektenstelle confirmed that several passages in Megre’s books were “clearly anti-Semitic,” and that conspiracy theories frequently appeared in his work. Austria’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (BVT) had been monitoring the movement since 2019, and the State Protection and Intelligence Directorate since 2021.

As a result of critical media reports, Anastasia supporters moved to stop publishing information. Actors of the neurechten scene tried unsuccessfully in 2019 to prevent critical publications such as the work Völkische Landnahme with mass warnings. Permaculture organizations publicly demarcated themselves from the Anastasia movement. Experts interpret their interest in permaculture as a means to infiltrate the permaculture scene.

Following criticism of the Anastasia movement, the Swiss Permaculture Magazine published an article in 2018 titled “Permaculture and the Ecological Right.” This traced the historical connection between ecology and right-wing extremism, as well as the internal debates that led the magazine to distance itself from the right. The participating association Permaculture Switzerland had voted out a right-wing extremist board member in 2017, after which other members had left.

Parts of the movement are counted among the scene of preppers and “survivalism,” who expect disaster scenarios and try to prepare for them with self-sufficiency and retreat into structurally weak areas. In the process, the families, “clans” or “tribes” favored by Anastasia adherents are supposed to confront an increasingly desolidarized society, but at the same time live largely separately from one another despite the cultivated folk nationalism. In their Internet media, used despite rejection of modernity, contributions by Anastasia settlers about self-sufficiency and love of one’s homeland find great resonance in the survival scene.

As a result of the protests against protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, the Anastasia movement grew even stronger together with “lateral thinkers,” “Reich citizens,” and other alternative to right-wing extremist milieus, increased its following and influence far beyond the topics of family homesteading and self-sufficiency. Andreas Speit therefore sees them as part of an anti-modern, Social Darwinist “new life reform movement” since 2021. The Fachstelle Radikalisierungsprävention und Engagement im Naturschutz (FARN) confirmed in 2022 after the empirical evaluation of digital channels: “The Anastasia movement is in the middle of the network of völkisch right-wing extremists and followers* of the Reich ideology. The content of the Anastasia movement and WSF [‘Knowledge Creates Freedom’] has also been shown to have the greatest influence on the groups organizing protest against the pandemic response measures (Parents Stand Up and Freedom Messengers).” FARN therefore called for a stronger visible demarcation of sustainability and organic agriculture activists from right-wing esoteric ideologies.

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