‘Europe’s Last Pagans’ is the role given to the Maris. Photojournalist Ikuru Kuwajima recorded Mari life when he journeyed deep into Russia’s Mari El republic – about 600 miles east of Moscow. Under Soviet rule, the Maris were encouraged to abandon their way of life and join the mainstream. Most joined the Russian Orthodox church during the Soviet era. But many kept their pagan traditions alive in secret, practising witchcraft and animal sacrifice, believing in half-men, half-deities called ‘keremets’ and seeking communion with Nature – a source of absolute good.
Via Ikuru Kuwajima