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• Sergey Kuryokhin and Pop Mekhanika – all documents
• Сергей Курёхин и Поп-механика – все документы

Hannelore Fobo

Sergey Kuryokhin: Improvisations and Performances

Part Three

Empire and Magic. Sergey Kuryokhin's “Pop-Mekhanika No. 418” (1995)

Second, revised version 11 March 2020 (First version 13 August 2018)

page 11 • It's magic!

Table of Contents >>
to page 12 • Works cited >>

page 11 • It's magic!

If hope in a miracle is contrary to rational behaviour, the Soviet dictatorship was a system based on magic, not on reason. After all, in spite of its purported scientific atheism, Paradise on Earth is not a rational concept. The following is a paragraph taken from Nikita Khrushchev’s preface to the American edition of the “Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1961.” The Soviet leader stipulated that:

Communists have no other goal than the achievement of happiness by all the people on earth. In the Program of the CPSU it is stated:

    “Communism accomplishes the historic mission of delivering all men from social inequality, from every form of oppression and exploitation, from the horrors of war, and proclaims Peace, Labor, Freedom, Equality, Fraternity, and Happiness for all people of the earth [sic].” [1]

A magical formula is needed. Andrey Kolesnikov, promoting his book about Soviet speechwriters in an interview in 2007, highlighted the magic effect of the unendingly-repeated Communist slogans, calling them “endless Marxist-Leninist mantras”.[2] For more than seventy years, mantras such as “Peace to the World”, “Glory to the KPSS” [The Communist Part of the Soviet Union], “Long Live May the First”, “Long Live Great October”, and “Workers of the World, Unite!“[3] helped to maintain the fiction that Paradise was just a short way off and that the next fight would be the last. Khrushchev was actually quite precise – the transition from socialism to communism was to start in 1980:

    The material and technical basis of communism will be built up by the end of the second decade (1971-80), ensuring an abundance of material and cultural values for the whole population;[4] Soviet society will come close to a stage where it can introduce the principle of distribution according to needs, and there will be a gradual transition to one form of ownership – public ownership. Thus, a communist society will in the main be built in the USSR. The construction of communist society will be fully completed in the subsequent period.[5]

In short:

    The Party solemnly proclaims: the present generation of Soviet people shall live in communism! [6]

Thus, on the one hand, the collapse of communism destroyed this utopia, but on the other it also removed its complement – “red magic”, or “red terror”.

This seemed to open the prospect of the final realisation of communism’s magical promise – paradoxically, through capitalistic means! Many of those who felt “humiliated and insulted” – to quote the title of one of Dostoyevsky’s books – by the dissolution of the Soviet Union expected capitalism would bring about a miraculous multiplication of goods, provided people were simply clever enough – in much the same vein as was the case with lazy Yemeliia in the fairy tale “Wish upon a Pike” – only to have their hopes frustrated.[7]

But another branch of magic started to flourish, namely esoteric literature. Kuryokhin was by no means the only one interested in this field.

Much academic research has been dedicated to the Russian penchant for the occult and the mystical, especially with respect to the life and teachings of some of its protagonists from the 19th and 20th centuries: Helena (Elena) Blavatsky (1831-1891), Nicholas (1874-1947) and Helena Roerich (1879-1955), and George Gurdjieff (1866 or 1877-1949).[8] But there were others who were no less important. It is a little known fact that Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857 – 1935), the founder of Russian and Soviet rocketry, along with many other scientists, was deeply involved in occultism, as Michael Hagemeister states:

    A magical, Gnostic understanding of science and technology was widespread among Tsiolkovskii’s contemporaries. What had previously been the business of magicians, sorcerers and alchemists became the task of scientists and engineers, namely: the conquest of natural laws, the transmutation of species and elements, the absolute domination over space and time, the advance into new dimensions, and the creation of an omnipotent and immortal superhuman.[9]

Thus, during the Soviet epoch, the passion for paranormal phenomena took on a more secular appearance, in that it was accompanied both by science and by its popular version – science fiction, a recognised genre of literature and film. Spiritual forces were not necessarily depicted in the form of extra-terrestrials, but could manifest themselves through paranormal faculties, for example as in Andrei Tarkovsky’s outstanding production “Stalker” from 1979.

The phenomenon of paranormal abilities was examined (and used) by the Soviet Secret Service,[10] thus fostering corresponding scientific research. Some of the results went public. In her article “Occult and Esoteric Movements in Russia from the 1960s to the 1980s”, Birgit Menzel writes:

    Numerous articles on topics related to the occult and paranormal appeared in popular scientific journals such as Science and Life (Nauka i zhizn’), Knowledge is power [sic] (Znanie – sila), Science and Religion (Nauka i religiia) and Technology for the Youth (Tekhnika molodezhi).[11]

Birgit Menzel describes an astonishingly large variety of ways in which people were able to gain access to occult knowledge in Soviet times, even though it was suppressed. The following is an example:

    Central State [sic] libraries such as Moscow’s Lenin Library provided open access to numerous prerevolutionary publications for professional academics, which were obviously too alien for ideological scrutiny and therefore escaped the censorship’s attention. Here, some of the pioneering occultists who later became gurus for the younger generation, Iurii Mamleev, Vladimir Stepanov, Evgenii Lazarev and Evgenii Golovin,[12] discovered the Western occult classics. The writings of Eliphas Lévi (Alphonse Louis Constant), Papus (Gérard Encausse), Julius Evola, René Guénon and Carl du Prel. Writings by Elena Blavatsky, Petr Uspensky, Rudolf Steiner and Jakob Böhme began to circulate in Samizdat in the capitals in the late 1950s, either in prerevolutionary Russian translations or in original editions from the emigré press Tamizdat, followed later by publications of the contemporary Western New Age. Libraries became places to meet other surviving occultists of the older generation by tracking down the regular readers of the same rare books. There were also a few libraries and archives preserved in some private collections for decades.[13]

Generally speaking, philosophico-esoteric literature of Western origin published after the October Revolution was available to a rather small number of scholars, and also to a few individuals outside the academic world who had access to relevant books, as was the case with the Mamleev circle, for example. With regard to such circles, Mark Sedgwick recognises that “Their self-education in the humanities frequently reached levels far beyond those commonly achieved by the self-taught in the West.”[14]

Psychedelic drugs from the Southern or Asiatic republics of the USSR also played a role, especially among hippies and artists. To some extent, it was possible for the shamanic and Buddhist practises seen in Soviet ethnic groups to be shared. In his autobiography, the Tallinn-born writer Vladimir Wiedeman (Guzman) provides a vivid picture of the situation in Soviet Estonia in the late seventies and eighties, involving gurus and yoga teachers, while also covering his trips to Uzbekistan and other Asiatic Soviet republics in search of both the “absolute centre” and unlimited quantities of dope.[15] The hippie culture was nevertheless kept under control, and remained a marginal phenomenon. Practising esoteric knowledge in a public way was not tolerated.

This rough outline of occult life in the Soviet Union demonstrates that occult knowledge and practice had in no way ceased to fascinate a significant part of the intelligentsia – scientists, artists, and writers, etc. As a matter of fact, the official ban on such knowledge only served to make it more attractive. Secrecy regarding the existence of such secret materials was a perfect breeding ground for outlandish assertions claiming to reveal the unrevealed.[16] [17] In his now famous TV interview with Sergey Sholokhov “Lenin is a Mushroom” (17 May 1991),[18] Sergey Kuryokhin demonstrated his ability to create “fake news” with ease, pasting together facts, assumptions and fabrications. Pretending to reveal the main secret of the October Revolution, he amalgamated Carlos Castaneda’s description of the psychoactive properties of the peyote cactus, the effect of the “magic mushroom” – at that time, the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms was en vogue in the Leningrad art and music scene – Tsiolkovskii’s scientific research of the cosmos, and the capacity of mushrooms to absorb radioactivity. He adorned this composite with pictures showing Lenin next to “unidentified” objects (cactuses and mushrooms), a fragment taken from a documentary film (Lenin at a funeral), and two fragments from a fictional film (Lenin walking through a forest and Lenin in conversation in his office).

Then comes the cherry on the cake: “Lenin, when listening to Beethoven’s Appassionata called it ‘divine, as opposed to human music’ […] and Beethoven, as we know, translates as ‘the spirit of the mushroom’ – ‘Beet’ being mushroom, and ‘hoven’ being spirit.”[19]

Combined with a number of other “true” stories, this produced irrefutable proof that Lenin had been a constant user of psychedelic mushrooms and that his personality had eventually been substituted by that of a mushroom.

We have seen that Kuryokhin’s parody or “styob” of magic in no way lessened his interest in “all things magical”. We will now examine a field of magic that is of interest within the context of Pop-Mekahnika No 418 – namely, the magic of the word, 418 being the numerical equivalent of “abahadabra”, the “magical formula”.

The magical formula, and accordingly, the magic of the spoken word, is far from unknown in Russian spiritual-intellectual life.[20] What is in view is not popular forms of incantation or oral charms (zagavor or prisushka, etc.), but the field of academic study and teaching, and one group of scholars in particular: Christian theologians and philosophers who research imiaslavie (onomatodoxy). This controversial yet important branch of Russian religious thought, refuted by the Russian Orthodox Church, equates the identity of the name with what it stands for: the name of God is thus God himself – but not vice versa. In the words of Pavel Florensky (1882-1937), “The name of God is god and God himself, but God is not His name nor His [This] Very Name.”[21]

А logical problems arises: if x equals the name of God, and y equals God, then x=y, but y≠x. In other words, x and y cannot exchange places.[22] Compare the non-reversibility of this equation to John 1:1  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Yet God was not the Word.

Yet it is possible to solve the seeming contradiction between the equality of x and y on the one hand and the inequality of y and x, on the other hand: it can be seen as representing two different perspectives. In conversation, artist Evgenij Kozlov suggested that the first (The name of God is god and God himself) represents the point of view of a human being, whereas the second (God is not His name nor His [This] Very Name) relates to the perspective of God.[23] To agree with Kozlov’s interpretation, we must, of course, accept the idea that a human being is able to adopt God’s perspective.

Imiaslavie is best known to Western readers on account of J.D. Salinger’s book “Franny and Zooey” (1961). The book includes reference to “The Way of the Pilgrim”, a Russian work from the nineteenth century. On his personal website, John Sanidopoulos presents the relevant passage, accompanied by an introduction:

    Franny and Zooey is not an Orthodox book, as it more corresponds to a Zen Buddhist form of philosophy, but it does have some worthwhile moments. Its significance for English speaking Orthodox is that it may be the first time the method of the Jesus Prayer [Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me][24] and the book The Way of a Pilgrim[25] were exposed to millions throughout the world.

    Below is an excerpt in which Franny explains the method of the Jesus Prayer:

    “…if you keep saying that prayer over and over again, you only have to just do it with your lips at first – then eventually what happens, the prayer becomes self-active. Something happens after a while. I don’t know what but something happens, the words get synchronized with the person’s heart-beats, and then your’re actually praying without ceasing. The prayer has one aim, and one aim only. To endow the person who says it with Christ-Consciousness.”[26]

In his treatise about imiaslavie dating to the early twentieth century, Alexei Losev (1883-1988) expounded the conditions necessary for effective prayer, particularly with regard to the Jesus Prayer. He came to the conclusion that “…the prayer can have an effect only if the name of God is Divine energy and God himself, thus when this energy is transmitted to a human being it is God who acts in this being.”[27]

There was no way for Soviet people to study either Pavel Florensky’s or Alexei Losev’s thoughts on imiaslavie. Pavel Florensky was executed by the Secret Service in 1937, and his writing on imiaslavie was first published in 1990. Losev was arrested and sent to a gulag in 1930. Although he was later able to pursue his academic career, his possibilities to publish remained restricted,[28] and his treatise “Imiaslavie” was finally published in Russian in 1993.

Religion being surpressed during the Soviet times, the Jesus Prayer fell into oblivion until was “re-imported” to Russia in the late Soviet period, via its 1973 publication in Paris.

Both Losev and Florensky had a comprehensive knowledge of mathematics and worked on number theories,[29] which influenced their approach towards the “thing” and its reference, or symbol, thus linking imiaslavie to sign theories and semantics. Florensky wrote about the “magicalitiy” of the word, that is, its magic quality: “If we examine the magicality of the word, we will understand how and why we are able to act upon the world through the word.”[30] And Losev’s comment on Florensky is “The word is magical. Magic is the encounter of the living human being with the living thing, unlike science, which is an encounter of a term with a term.[31]

The complex writings of these scholars and theologians illustrate that rigorous study and practise of the “magic of the word” is not something confined to the realm of non-Christian traditions; we find it both within Christian mysticism and in a quite sophisticated form on the part of independent thinkers emanating from the Orthodox tradition. Knowledge of these writings and teachings might have helped readers to judge the quality of the ever-increasing mass of esoteric books that had started to flood the bookshops towards the end of perestroika – books produced to meet the demand for popularised expositions of the supernatural and of conspiracy theories. The last sentence of Kuryokhin’s article from March 1996 is “We shall teach you to think.”[32] Losev’s and Florensky’s writings might have stood as a reference for systematic thought.[33]

Judging by his writings, Kuryokhin was, in the fields of philosophy and religion, himself an unsystematic thinker, and he was consequently impressed by those he considered to be systematic in their thinking, and this included Dugin and Crowley. Yet, as we have seen, neither Dugin nor Crowley were capable of creating consistent worldviews. In the case of Dugin, his spiritual and personal ambitions were in conflict, while Crowley had difficulties interpreting his mediumistic inspirations – i.e. he had difficulty distinguishing between the “ethics” of higher worlds and the ethics governing human beings.

However, when it came to magic effects to be used on stage, a consistent worldview was not of primary importance. Kuryokhin enjoyed fusing categories, and his “politics” became a branch of applied metaphysics: magic.

To Kuryokhin, magic, not politics, was the biggest show on earth, and Crowley was a master magician. In this way, Pop-Mekhanika No. 418 conjoined two different approaches: first, a technical approach aimed at fulfilling Kuryokhin’s artistic ambitions in terms of creating something new – the “big bang” – and, second, a specific “political” approach aimed at improving the world by means of Crowley’s magic, aided by Dugin. Kuryokhin no longer wanted to just entertain.

But isn’t the effect of a true work of art already magical? After all, if magic is the application of (secret, intuitive, or structured) knowledge in order to create an unexpected, unpredictable and wonderful effect, then what is the craft of an artist, if not the very same thing? The following is what Friedrich von Schiller had to say about the antique sculpture of Juno Ludovici [Ludovisi] and its impact on the viewer; (the passage is taken from his “Letters Upon The Aesthetic Education of Man”, 1793):

    It is neither charm nor is it dignity which speaks from the glorious face of the Juno Ludovici; it is neither of these, for it is both at once. While the female god challenges our veneration, the godlike woman at the same times kindles our love. But while in ecstasy we give ourselves up to the heavenly beauty, the heavenly self-repose awes us back. The whole form rests and dwells in itself a fully complete creation in itself and as if she were out of space,[34] without advance or resistance; it shows no force contending with force, no opening through which time could break in.

    Irresistibly seized and attracted by the latter, kept at a distance by the former, we thus find ourselves in the state of the greatest repose and the greatest movement, and the result is a wonderful charm, for which the understanding has no idea and language no name.[35]

Admittedly, this “wonderful charm” – a state of enchantment, a magic moment – is quite different from Crowley’s Magick. It does not lift us to the astral plane, and we do not encounter elemental beings; rather, it is the result of our being in “repose and movement” at the same time. Schiller calls this state of enchantment the “aesthetic state” and describes it in the following way:

    This high indifference and freedom of mind, united with power and elasticity, is the disposition in which a true work of art ought to dismiss us, and there is no better test of true aesthetic excellence.[36]

It seems that at one point, Pop-Mekhanika concerts, big chaotic carnivals, created just such an aesthetic state, at least for some. Seva Gakkel commented: “The final effect of all Pop-Mekhanika concerts was always the same: delight, bordering on panicking horror. I guess this was what Kuryokhin wanted to achieve.”[37] Alexander Kan: “It brought together heart-breaking melancholy, unbridled joy, subtle humour, sad irony, and, finally, just incredible delight in someone’s ability to come up with all this and to be able to realise this energy.”[38]

We might say that it is natural for both the artist and the audience to wish to experience magic through a work of art, and yet there are important differences with regard to the effect a work of art has on a given audience, the principal point being the degree to which the audience retains its autonomy. This point may explain a major difference between Pop-Mekhanika No. 418 and previous Pop-Mekhanika performances.

Prior to Pop-Mekhanika 418, the performances had represented a unique form of mad entertainment. When it came to the last two Pop-Mekhanika performances, the concept changed, with Kuryokhin introducing Crowley’s Magick as a key element – a change all the more evident as a result of the speeches contained within the last performance. Kuryokhin overlaid magic with Magick, and it is unlikely that he had been planning to dismiss the audience with “high indifference and freedom of mind, united with power and elasticity.” At least one portion of the audience felt that they were being confronted with something they instinctively rejected as forming an intrusion into their privacy.

To better the world using magic is one thing, to better it using Magick is quite another. Aleister Crowley’s concept of Ararita, defined as describing “in magical language a very process of Initiation”,[39] was not something intended for the stage – in the same way any established process of initiation is not designed to take place simply any old where, but requires an appropriate setting and appropriate teachers, elders, and masters, etc., who are there to guide particular individuals who have undergone a process of preparation.

The magic of art can form a substitute for mystical initiation, akin to the “catharsis”  that one may experience while watching a theatre play, spoken of by Aristotle: something that, in a medical sense, elicits a healing process within the misbalanced soul. “Substitute” does not signify “second-rate”: in our day, it is essential that the autonomy of the viewers be respected. “Mass healing” is no longer possible, in that it would equate to “mass hypnosis” or “mass hysteria”.[40] One may, of course, stage sacred ceremonies, so long as they form part of a play and can be recognised as simply illustrating the “real thing.”

Crowley himself warned against trifling with Magick:

    I must conclude with a warning. So many of these branches of magick are so fascinating that any one of them is liable to take hold of the Magician by the short hair and upset his balance completely. It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magicians is the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Once he has achieved this he must of course be left entirely in the hands of that Angel, who can be invariably and inevitably relied upon to lead him to the further great step—crossing of the abyss and the attainment of the grade of Master of the Temple.

    Anything apart from this course is a side issue and unless so regarded may lead to the complete ruin of the whole work of the Magician.[41]

In the light of Crowley’s comment, Limonov associating himself with Satan, Dugin practicing chaos magic on stage, and Kuryokhin dedicating his New Year’s article to the Year of the Beast all look not only frivolous, but ignorant.

All this leaves the strong impression that none of the above worried about the possible implications of staging “Abahadrabra”, or that they even considered the possibility that there might be implications, as such. To them, it wasn’t Magick – it was magic, and it wasn’t Abrahadabra – it was abracadabra. At heart, they didn’t take Crowley seriously. They should have.

[1] Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1961. With a Special Preface to the American Edition by N. S. Khrushchev. New York: International Publishers 1963, p. 11

[2] бесконечные марксистско-ленинские мантры

Kolesnikov, Andrei “V teni vozhdei” (“In the Shadow of Leaders”) [“В тени вождей”]. Interview by Yadviga Yuferova. Rossiyskaia Gazeta, 28 Nov. 2007. Web. 31 July 2018.


[3] When necessary, the slogans were updated, but they essentially outlived the breakup of the Soviet Union. See list of slogans suggested by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation to commemorate the October Revolution in 2015:

«Da zdravstvuet Velikii Oktiabr’» Prizyvy i lozungi k massovym aktsiiam 7 noiabria 2005. (“Long live the Great October.” Appeals and Slogans Calling for Mass Action on 7 November 2015). [«Да здравствует Великий Октябрь!» Призывы и лозунги к массовым акциям 7 ноября 2015 года.]

Website of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, 3 November 2015. Web. 31 July 2018


[4] see Chapter 3, footnote 8

[5] Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1961. With a Special Preface to the American Edition by N. S. Khrushchev. New York: International Publishers 1963, p.74

[6] Ibid., p. 143

[7] The Russian title is “Po shchuch’emu velen’iu” [По щучьему веленью]. The magic pike grants Yemeliia, the lazy boy, several wishes on condition that he set it free, and Yemeliia ends up marrying the Tsar’s daughter.  

The appearance of Sergei Mavrodi’s Ponzi scheme in Russia in the mid 1990s was paradigmatic of the magical promises so prevalent in the post-soviet era. In his article for the Chicago Tribune, Howard Witt wrote “Conventional wisdom has it that last week’s collapse of the apparent Ponzi scheme run by the MMM fund, which may have lured as many as 10 million Russians with intoxicating promises of thousand-percent returns, could spark a new crisis of confidence in President Boris Yeltsin’s economic program. […] In fact, interviews with several dozen MMM investors indicated that very few of them were naive lambs ripe for a fleecing. Most said they had understood from the beginning that the investment company was running a “game” that was too good to be true. But like gamblers the world over who figure they can pick the right horses or hold the right cards, MMM’s players thought they were smart enough to win big before the inevitable bust occurred.

Witt, Howard. “Russian Investors Entered Stock Scheme With Eyes Wide Open.” Chicago Tribune, 31 July 1994. Web. 27 July 2018.


[8] The rich and variegated literature of writers and poets from the “Silver Age” was also influenced by mystical inspirations, especially Symbolism (Alexander Blok). However, the poetic aspect of mysticism is not the subject of this article.

[9] Hagemeister, Michael. “Konstantin Tsiolkovskii and the Occult Roots of Soviet Space Travel.” In The New Age of Russia. Occult and Esoteric Dimensions, edited by Birgit Menzel, Michael Hagemeister and Bernice Glatzer. München et al: Sagner, 2012, p. 146

[10] See: Shishkin, Oleg. “The Occultist Aleksandr Barchenko and the Soviet Secret Police (1923–1938).” In The New Age of Russia. Occult and Esoteric Dimensions, edited by Birgit Menzel, Michael Hagemeister and Bernice Glatzer. München et al: Sagner, 2012, pp. 81-100

[11] Menzel, Birgit “Occult and Esoteric Movements in Russia from the 1960s to the 1980s.” In The New Age of Russia. Occult and Esoteric Dimensions, edited by Birgit Menzel, Michael Hagemeister and Bernice Glatzer, pp. 151-185. München et al: Sagner, 2012, p. 154

[12] Alexander Dugin was also a member of this circle. See Chapter 3.

[13] Menzel, Birgit “Occult and Esoteric Movements in Russia from the 1960s to the 1980s.” In The New Age of Russia. Occult and Esoteric Dimensions, edited by Birgit Menzel, Michael Hagemeister and Bernice Glatzer, pp. 151-185. München et al: Sagner, 2012, p. 153

[14] Sedgwick, Mark. Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press 2004, p. 222.

Sedwick adds an explanatory note to this statement: “[…], the fact that these levels of learning were arrived at without intellectual supervision often resulted in a lack of rigor and discipline, and might give rise to surprising lacunae.”

Sedgwick, Mark Against the Modern World: Additional Notes to Chapter 12. Web. 28 July 2018


[15] Guzman Dzha, Vladimir. Tropoj Sviashchennogo Kozeroga ili V poiskakh aboliutnogo tsentra (The Trail of the Holy Capricorn, or The Search of the Absolut Centre) [Тропой Священного Козерога, или В поисках абсолютного центра]

Saint Petersburg: Red Fish publishers, 2005

[16] See Chapter 2, Footnote 2 – Alexander Dugin’s election slogan “The secret will be revealed”.

[17] One of the first independent newspapers from the late perestroika period was Sovershenno sekretno (Totally Secret) [Совершенно секретно], founded in 1989, and specialising in sensational, muckraking-type investigative reporting.

[18] Lenin – grib (polnaia versiia) (Lenin is a Mushroom (full version)) [Ленин-Гриб (полная версия)]

TV show “Piatoe koleso” (“The Fifth Wheel”) ["Пятое колесо"], 17 May 1991, Sergey Kuryokhin. Interview by Sergey Sholokhov. Web. 31 July 2018.


A transcription of the first 32 minutes is available at:

https://www.skeptik.net/prikol/lenin_gr.htm Web. 31 July 2018.

According to Alexis Ipatovtsev, the interview was first broadcast in January 1991

Ipatovtsev, Alexis. “Aquarium's Leningrad Period”. Interview by Hannelore Fobo, 31 March 2019. Web 8 July 2019


[19] Ленин говорил, слушая "Апассионату". "Божественная, нечеловеческая музыка" […] а Бетховен, как вам известно, переводится как "грибной дух"... "Бет" – грибной, "ховен" – дух. Ibid.

[20] The term “spiritual-intellectual” is used because, in the current author’s opinion, these categories cannot be regarded as being entirely separate in Russian thought.

[21] Имя Божие есть бог и именно Сам Бог, но Бог не есть ни имя Его, ни Самое Имя Его Florensky, Pavel. U vodorazdelov mysli. (At the Watersheds of Thought.) [У водоразделов мысли]. Volume 2. Written before 1926. Moscow: Izdatels’tvo “Pravda”, 1990, Chapter IV.7. Web. 31. July 2018. http://www.vehi.net/florensky/vodorazd/P_47.html

[22] In terms of mathematics, the function f(x) = y has no inverse function g(y) = x.

[23] Private conversation on 10 August 2018. See also

Kozlov, (E-E) Evgenij “Two Cosmic Systems”, Leningrad, Russkoee Polee, 1991

Web. 10. August 2018. http://www.e-e.eu/2-cosmic-systems/index-en.htm

[24] Also “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.”

[25] Original title: Otkrovennye rasskazy strannika dukhovnomu svoemu ottsu [Откровенные рассказы странника духовному своему отцу]

See the introduction to the book on the website of Hermitary: “The Way of a Pilgrim: a Russian Orthodox Hermit's Path.” 2006

Web. 31. July 2018. https://www.hermitary.com/articles/pilgrim.html

[26] Sanidopoulos, John. “J.D. Salinger and the Jesus Prayer.” 28 Jan 2010. Web 31 July 2018. https://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/01/jd-salinger-and-jesus-prayer.html

[27] Иными словами, действенная молитва возможна лишь в том случае, если имя Божие есть энергия Божия и сам Бог, отсюда — когда эта энергия сообщается человеку — в нем также действует Бог.

Losev, Alexei. Imiaslavie. [Имяславие]

Biblioteka Gumer – kul’turulogia. Web. 31. July 2018. Undated, before 1920. The Russian text, a retranslation of a German translation from 1919, was first published in Voprosy filosofii, 1993, No. 9, pp. 52-60 Web. 31 July 2018. https://www.gumer.info/bibliotek_Buks/Culture/Losev/imjaslav.php

[28] Losev’s main work “The Dialectics of Myth” from 1930 – the cause of his arrest – was confiscated and almost entirely destroyed. The second edition was only published in 1990.

Sergey Bulgakov, another important exponent of ‘imiaslavie’ was expelled from Soviet Russia in 1922, and settled in France.

[29] Florensky worked both on imaginary numbers and in the field of physics. Losev was additionally a professor of music.

[30] Рассмотреть, в чем магичность слова, это значит понять, как именно и почему словом можем мы воздействовать на мир.

Florensky, Pavel. U vodorazdelov mysli. (At the Watersheds of Thought.) [У водоразделов мысли]. Volume 2. Written before 1926. Moscow: Izdatels’tvo “Pravda”, 1990, Chapter IV.6. Web. 31. July 2018.  http://www.vehi.net/florensky/vodorazd/P_46.html

[31] Магия. Магия слова. Слово магично. Магия – встреча живого человека с живым веществом, в отличие от науки – там встреча понятия с понятием.

Losev, Alexei. “Termin ‘magiia’ v ponimanii P.A. Florenskogo” (“The Term ‘Magic’, as Understood by P.A. Florensky”) [“Термин «магия» в понимании П.А.Флоренского”]

Addendum to Pavel Florensky's chapter “Magichnost' slova”, (“The Magicality of the Word”) [Магичность слова], Ibid. Note that “magichnost’ slova“ is sometimes translated as “the magicity of the word” (Sanja Veršić, Larissa Alexeeva, and others).

[32] Мы научим вас думать.

Kuryokhin, Sergey. “S Novzm godom Zverya!” (“Happy Year of the Beast!”) [“С Новым годом Зверя!”] OM magazine, Moscow, March 1996, p. 69. Web. 31 July 2018.


[33] This assumption remains a hypothesis; had the Bolsheviks not come to power, it is also possible that ‘imiaslavie’ and the writings of Losev and Florensky may have been condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, following on from the Orthodox Church’s persecution of Name-worshipping monks in 1913, Tsar Nikolai II received a delegation of these monks, which led to the relaxation of measures against the followers of ‘imiaslavie’ in 1914. When the Bolsheviks took over, the Russian Orthodox Church had as yet not decided whether or not to consider ‘imiaslavie’ heretical, and indeed it has left the question undecided to this day – contrary to the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles. The latter considers Name-worshipping a heresy, condemning it as an “esoteric desire to be able to control the actions of our Creator”, and, on 18 December 2014, it pronounced an anathema on the monks considered heretical. Web. 31 July 2018.


See also Tchantouridzé, Dn. Lasha “In the Name of God: 100 Years of the Imiaslavie Movement in the Church of Russia” The Canadian Journal of Orthodox Christianity Volume VII, Number 3, Fall 2012, pp. 216-288. Web. 31 July 2018. http://www.cjoc.ca/pdf/Vol_7_3_2_Imiaslavie.pdf

[34] In German: “und als wenn sie jenseits des Raumes wäre.”

A better translation of “jenseits des Raumes” would be “beyond space”.

[35] Schiller, Friedrich Von Letters Upon The Aesthetic Education of Man, 1793. Letter XV, p. 21. The name of the translator is not indicated. Web. July 31 2018.


English Translation of the second paragraph corrected by the current author.

Original German text of the second paragraph: Durch jenes unwiderstehlich ergriffen und angezogen, durch dieses in der Ferne gehalten, befinden wir uns zugleich in dem Zustand der höchsten Ruhe und der höchsten Bewegung, und es entsteht jene wunderbare Rührung, für welche der Verstand keinen Begriff und die Sprache keinen Namen hat.

[36] Ibid. Letter XXII, p. 29

[37] Конечный эффект всех концертов Поп Механики всегда был одним — восторг на грани панического ужаса. Вероятно, это было именно то, чего Курёхин питался добиться.

Kushnir, Alexander [Aleksandr]. Sergei Kurekhin. Bezumnaia mekhanika russkogo roka, (Sergey Kuryokhin. The Crazy Mechanics of Russian Rock) [Сергей Курехин. Безумная механика русского рока], p. 133 Moscow: Bertelsmann Media Moscow, 2013

[38] Каждый кирпичик в здании, каждое стеклышко в калейдоскопе «Популярной механики» призваны были служить музыкальным (а то и немузыкальным) символом или знаком определенной эпохи, определенного исторического, культурного, политического смысла. [...] А под грохот индустриальной секции, в сопровождении садомазохистского шоу или бредущего по сцене стада гусей рождался очень сложный комплекс щемящей тоски, безудержного веселья, тонкого юмора, грустной иронии да и, в конце концов, просто невероятного восторга от сумевшего все это придумать ума и сумевшей все это осуществить энергии.

Kan, Alexander [Aleksandr]. Kurekhin. Shkiper o kapitane (Kuryokhin. What the Skipper says about the Captain) [Курехин. Шкипер о Капитане]

Saint Petersburg, Amfora, 2012 p. 70. PDF for Digital Editions version. Web. 31 July 2018.


[39] See Chapter 5, footnote 21

IAO 131. Liber DCCCXIII Vel Ararita Sub Figura DLXX. Basic Information. Undated. Web. 31 July 2018. https://iao131.com/commentaries/liber-dcccxiii-vel-ararita-sub-figura-dlxx/

[40] In his “epic theatre”, Bertolt Brecht took great care not to overpower the audience emotionally and developed techniques to keep a distance between the dramatis personae and the audience, such as the introduction of a narrator.

[41] Crowley, Aleister. Magick Without Tears. LETTER 83: Epistola Ultima,

Biblioteka Peyades

Complete and Unabridged, edited with a Foreword by Karl J. Germer2

© 1954 Karl J. Germer for Ordo Templi Orientis

Renewed 1982 © BLURB. Web. 28 July 2018


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Uploaded 13 August 2018
Last updated 11 March 2020