What is the Anastasia Movement? The podcast “Seelenfanger” shows their positions: anti-modern, anti-Semitic and anti-feminist.
She wanted out. Get out of the depressing job and all kinds of everyday things, into natural experiences. Feel yourself in an unalienated life. She wanted to escape the disenchanted world. Swetlana found her way to the Anastasia Movement (AB) through a yoga retreat in the Russian Caucasus. In the first few episodes of the podcast “Soul Catchers: The Anastasia Cult“ the Jewish woman describes her turn to the right-wing extremist esoteric movement – and her departure. She is one of the many voices in the six-part podcast by the author team Emeli Glaser and Dennis Müller for Bayerischer Rundfunk.
From the Allgäu to Brandenburg with a detour to Austria, Glaser and Müller have researched AB, which comes from Russia and which organized its first festival in Germany in 2014 and is striving for a return to nature on family estates. Glaser and Müller have collected sounds and impressions and combined them, collated them factually and told them calmly.
As Svetlana, now 30, slowly makes contact with AB in Germany in 2017, she raves about the warm hugs and deep conversations. She hikes with the devotees, hugs trees and jumps over fires. But then she feels more and more dissonance. Some supporters speak of “white supremacy” and “Jewish machinations”. They found their world and way of life through Vladimir Megre’s Anastasia book series. The ten volumes are the bible of the movement.
Empire movers and druids
Frank Willy Ludwig heralds the break in this community of Swetlana. He is a missionary for the movement and operator of the Urahnenerbe Germania website. He looked like a druid, close to nature and nice, says Svetlana, but he talked about the overpowering trans lobby, about men with nail polish being the downfall of the West.
The journalist Silvio Duwe, who researched the movement undercover for the ARD magazine “Contrasts” for two years, reports on a meeting at which a woman complained about right-wing extremist historical revisionism. The Reich movement and right-wing extremists who were present would have cried because their fatherland was being badmouthed. The woman had to leave the group.
The podcast team also visited the operator of a family estate in Austria, Bruno Weihsbrodt. During the tour, he not only explained the planting while chewing leaves, but immediately explained that people control and command the World Bank and the politicians. He says himself that these statements appear in the books of Megre. The authors intervene at such points, explain the statements or let experts make classifications – this interaction is one of the qualities of the podcast.
Glaser and Müller often refer to passages in Megre’s epic that play with apparent fiction and putative fact. The author and former businessman claims to have met the Russian forest fairy and found “wisdom” in conversation with her. But he not only proclaims natural romanticism, but also makes tales of Jewish power influences, turning the persecuted into allegedly responsible. He writes that a “young woman’s” first sexual partner would give her physical and psychological imprint on the later offspring she has with other partners. Anna Weers from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation clearly classifies this long-discarded 19th-century idea. It is pure racism to preserve the white race.
There are said to be over 200 family estates in Russia, and around 20 projects are known in Germany. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution hardly observes the movement of the “Taiga Queen” (quote from the authors), which Andrea Röpke criticizes. The journalist is an expert on right-wing extremism. She reports on right-wing meetings at the AB project “Goldenes Grabow” and warns that the eco-look should not hide the radicalism. Glaser and Müller come to a similar conclusion: At the AB, right-wing extremist positions are inextricably linked to a love of home and nature.