The Russian Folk Heritage Centre in Ivanovo, Zapovednik, is now nine years old. It's a very unique and incomparable place. The process of reviving Russian past, handicrafts and folk heritage is still very young. For almost a century Russia was living under the communist motto “to destroy the old world completely and to build up a new world”. That is why during the Soviet era people were made to forget the past and former wealth of old Russia. They had to dispose of everything that used to make Russians rich and hardly understand the value of their own folk heritage.
In Russian, Zapovednik means “area of conservation or protection, or sanctuary”. There are many kinds of 'zapovedniks', some of them protect animals and nature, restrict hunting, and the collection of plants and fowling. In historical conservation areas, people who care about their country attempt to save historical objects and the image of Russia during the times of the Great White Empire.
A different type of a conservation area was founded in Zapovednik, the Heritage Centre of Folk Life. It aims to retain the very spirit of those people who contributed to the greatness of old Russia. They were not the rulers or philosophers, but simple people who built up and accumulated Russia's wealth.
We began neither with history, nor historical objects and not even with nature. We started with Psychology, or to be more exact, with the Science of Psyche, which is Greek for “ Soul”. We started with the Science of the Russian Soul. Without understanding Russian soul, we cannot restore and save the Russian Folk way of life. Any heritage or a certain way of life could and will be distorted, it will destroy itself without the presence of soul, just as has happened with a lot of alternative communities.
The goal of Zapovednik of Folk Life is to understand our identity as Russians, not as successors and grandchildren of the revolutionaries who fought the barricades, but rather of the people who made the very buildings the barricades were made of. We aspire to save the best of our ancestors' heritage and to implant it into contemporary Russian life. Our forefathers were respected, wealthy and successful. The reviving of their way of life may make it possible for us to become that again.
The folk way of life starts with the soul and develops people's self-esteem. That is why we create conditions to bring back our dignity. We study Russian handicrafts that allow a person to feel the skill of mastering and to value the work of his/her own hands.
The handicrafts, restored as they were in the olden days, return the spirit of our nation as we were once
before. We learn more about who we are and become aware of our self through our culture.
Thus is the main task of Zapovednik of Folk life in Ivanovo, Russia.
Restoring of the old way of life is not the goal. One cannot bring back the past. We can only revive the pride of our country and all the best things that do not conflict with modern life. We can revive the economic prosperity of the folk, which shattered considerably with the shattering of state industrialization.