PERM - The poem of the town PERM - The poem of the town
PERM - The poem of the town PERM - The poem of the town

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The prehistoric people felt the forces of Nature much better than we. They made up the rhythm of the forest's sawlike skyline and the stream's song, they took heed of thunder's threats and rain's lullabies. Trying to unite with nature and challenging it, they danced round the camp-fire, stepped back, stopped dead and again stepped forward. In their early songs they wove their voices into the sounds of the world. They made charms and talismans to spell the evil dark forces. In their shrines they worshipped a Fir-tree and the Sun, a Birch-tree and the Moon, a Bear and Fish... Something beyond everyday life made them to create the world of their own.


The Earth and the underground world, the sun and constellations, a man and a bird - this is the Perm animal style the bronze figurines of which peculiarly reproduce the ideas of the "Kama Chudy" about the world's structure. Tribe totems, pantheons, shrines - this is the soul flying through the space. Is not old Russian Perun familiar to Komi-Permian Pera? Swans, ducks, elks and bears - are not they familiar to the birds and animals worshipped by other peoples on the globe? They all belong either to the upper world of heaven, or to the middle world of earth, or to the lower world of underground...

The soul longs for the truth. This is the source of Faith. The soul longs for beauty. This is the source of Art. The present pagan feasts echo to those far-away years when people were united with trees and animals in the forest, water in the river, a camp-fire in the dangerous dead of night, flowers in the blooming meadow. A bear was his brother, not just a game.

Our land, the cradle of "unique mining civilisation" is also the land of unique spiritual culture that comprises the most valuable features from the cultures of different peoples - the Komi-Permyaks, Udmurts, Russians, Tatars, Bashkirs, Mariets, Khants, Mansis...


We know now how our land was converted to Christianity. We are more tolerant and careful in our estimation. Russia had a custom of religious tolerance. This is proved by the churches and temples of different religions whichhave remained in Perm. The time of persecuting people for their religious beliefs and violating shrines hopefully is over. Faith means free conscience and conscience is a moral category clear to a human being. The choice of the soul is a mystery beyond the power of time and fashion, beyond the opinion of other people. It is not meant to be demonstrated.

Art is different. Time distinctly imprints in poetry and prose, music and dance, painting, sculpture and theatre. The chronicle of Perm culture shows how the main thoughts and preferences changed one another, reproduces the rhythm of life, tells about sharp turning points and deep work of creative thought. Books, pictures, performances, concerts, quiet reading rooms and noisy rock music... They too are made by people, they too are people fates, their past and present. They are our life and that part of our psyche or soul which longs for the Truth and Beauty and flies beyond everyday life.

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Alexander Kashintsev © The city of Perm