Kiev Commonwealth of Naturists

Politics&Culture #20

NAKED TRUTH ABOUT NUDISTS

Oksana Shevchenko 

 

The “professional” holiday of the Kiev Commonwealth of Naturists - “The International Day of Naturism” – was celebrated very modestly because bad weather was in full swing.

The nudists – those people who prefer to be nude wherever possible - call those who do not share their tastes “the textiles”, and I suggest this term is somewhat abusive in their language. 

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It seems the nudists know everything about us, the textiles, whereas we know next to nothing about them. This movement, I think, emerged quite recently as a direct result of the debauchery of our modern and civilized society. The nudists have their beaches and clubs. From time to time they have problems with the police or with those citizens who have no intention to tolerate them. Side by side with the singles, we find whole families which are devoted to nudism.

That’s practically all. In all probability the lives of the dinosaurs are more interesting to us, although the number of deep-rooted naturist-philosophers is far greater than the monsters’ population.

 The rights of the nudists are protected by the International Naturist Federation (INF) which was established at the end of the 50s of the last century and unites more than 30 national federations. The INF gathers information about the activities of the national federations and coordinates it. Every two years The International Congresses are held and the Day of Naturism is celebrated on June 5th of each year.

Despite the openness and availability of information concerning nudism, the number of myths surrounding the movement is much greater than one would imagine.

I should say that the usual term of “nudism” has become somewhat obsolete and out of fashion, because its original purity has been polluted by another term:  pornography. To verify this, just type “nudism” in the browser of your computer and a great many porno sites will appear on your screen. So, a new term – “naturism”-- has been invented to reflect the ideas and principles of the nudist philosophy more correctly and objectively. Yes, I said “philosophy”, because nudism is not just a bare body, but also a way of thinking.

Some of the more famous adherents of this philosophy, by the way, include Madonna, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Princess of Monaco. If this list does not impress you, I can add Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, and Franz Kafka.

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The Nudist Stories

 If we forget the nudity of Adam and Eve, the cult of nudity in Ancient Greece, the Slavonic pagan cults, the Renaissance attention to nude forms and other manifestations of people’s attitude to the naked body, we might suggest that nudism, as a social movement, was born in Germany at the end of the 19th century.

 “Cult of Nudity”, a brochure by Heinrich Pudore, may have been at the origin of nudism. After it, there appeared a fundamental work by Heinrich Ingewitter under a very clear title -- “Nudity”.  The book was sold out in a great number.

The success of the book pushed its author to organize “Tifal”, the first nudist community in the world. It had its code: vegetarianism, abstinence, non-smoking and active physical training. 

“Park of the Free Light” became the first place for nudist cultural and physical recreation. 

Some time later, corresponding communities appeared in Berlin and Stuttgart. I should add here that the church authorities strongly condemned the opening of the nudist centers and even demanded the imprisonment of the nudists for “perversions”. 

Happily for the latter, the secular authorities did not follow those calls. Another solution was found: separate beaches were given to those who prefer to swim and tan in the buff.

Step by step, the European nudist unions removed their rigid demands for potential members. This, naturally, attracted a lot of newcomers.

The wave of naturism reached North America in the 30s of the 20th c. But the religious circles of the USA and Canada did not accept its free principles, and even today conservative-thinking Americans would like to ban it. 

The first conference devoted to the prospects of nudism in USA was held in 1929 where the American League for Physical Culture, patronizing nudism, was organized.

It is interesting that an international nudist organization was established by a Baptist priest, but under pressure from the local authorities it was re-named into “The Association of Sunbathing”.

During the epoch of the hippies, a lot of young people joined the nudist communities, but only for a short period, however, as their principle of “free love” was incompatible with the high principles of nudism.

I think that nudism destroys all barriers between the sexes. All those who would like to see striptease shows free of charge at the naturist beaches, usually leave them very disappointed.  Why?

Naturism As It Is

 In a real nudist community the rules of behavior are very rigid: its members behave with extreme reserve and with prudery.  To stare at a nude person or just have a curious look at your neighbor is unacceptable.  Family naturism is very much supported and the children in such families have no problems with nudity. By the way, some pediatricians and educators support the idea that such an upbringing has no harmful effects on the sexual development of the children. The INF is certain that nudism forms healthier and more correct attitudes to the human body as it is, and helps the children to understand that they are also a part of Mother Nature.

In my opinion, nudism destroys the final barrier between human beings and nature.

Nudism is flourishing in such countries as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and in Scandinavia.

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Don’t be surprised, but in his time the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, tried to establish nudist beaches in Soviet Russia. Lenin’s idea might have been the only common point of view between him and the Russian Emperor Nikolai the Second, who liked nudism very much. So, one may say we have historical conditions for developing this pure European movement in our country. Another example: men and women tanned together on Kiev beaches at the end of the 19th century. A German traveler of those times wrote: “The Ukrainians have already what we are still fighting for”.

In the 20s of the last century a nude demonstration under the motto “Down with shame!” took place in Kharkov.  Unfortunately for the Soviet nudists, Lenin lost his interest in the nudist movement, and so they had to wait seventy years until they finally took the risk to undress on the eve of the Gorbachev’s Perestroika.

However, a nudist beach did exist in Soviet times in a very remote place on the Crimean coast, which was not so easy to reach.In other places some people also swam in the nude, especially after a couple of shots of vodka. I don’t dare to suggest that the reason for this was any philosophical principle; rather the lack of clean and dry trunks.

So-called “wild” beaches began to appear in the 60’s of the last century. The first officially permitted nudist beach was opened in Riga in 1989.  Other beaches were later opened in Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev.

BY THE WAY: Neither Ukraine, nor Russia has any Law which bans the act of being nude in the country. Theoretically speaking, this excludes any conflicts with the police, so, in case such a conflict appears, a lot depends upon the policeman in question, his culture and level of education. Anyone here, who would dare to dip into a city fountain on a hot summer day, may be prosecuted for “hooliganism”, but nothing more.

However, the Kiev naturists say they have no any problems with the local authorities mainly because they do not impose their views on the society.

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