Ivanovka is a village that tastes like a dream. The Molokans treasure the past and take it into the future. Ivanovka is provided with natural gas. But still the first thing people construct when they build a house is the old fashioned Russian stove. In my childhood, I liked to climb the same kind of stove in the house of my grand-grand mother. In the past, people not only cooked in it and warmed their houses with its help, but they also slept on this stove during the cold winter months.
Molokans believe that this stove is the heart of the house, and they say that their traditional festive noodles would never taste the same if one cooks it on gas. I tasted “lapsha” after we filmed our episode, and can assure that I have never eaten something like this. Lapsha from Ivanovka is really delicious. Every traveller who decides to visit Ivanovka can ask for this lapsha; Molokans will be happy, trust me. Many locals rent rooms in their houses and provide fresh local food along with the warmest hospitality.
Another taste which made me dream was the taste of the honey from the local bee-keeper, Ivan. But in order to get a chance to try it I passed through a real challenge. Frankly speaking, I do not feel myself comfortable in the company of millions of bees. We filmed in spring, and Ivan told us that it was the period when the bees are particularly aggressive. I put a special costume on, and feeling myself like a cosmonaut we went inside the small house where the bees live during the cold time. If you pay attention to my face in the report it is obvious – I am scared even to breath. Ivan says that he is used to the bee bites and he finds that is good for one’s health unless you are allergic. Our courageous camera man got a chance to experience it himself. Elhan got bitten in the finger and still continued to film!
But we were rewarded later on, when we came to the house of Anastasia and Vasily Kozlovtsev. Grandma and grandpa are so charming that they deserve a documentary just based on their life story. They got married when Anastasia was 18; Vasily had just returned from the army. He saw a young beautiful girl and proposed her to become friends. “No,” – answered young Anastasia “ I am already 18, I do not need a friend; I need a husband”. The next day Vasily went to ask the parents of Anastasia for their blessing. In one month they got married. The elders reminded Vasily that his wife “is not a shoe and only God will separate them”. By the way Molokans do not marry those who do not belong to their religion, but in the past years this tradition has changed. There are many Molokans who marry Azeris. By the way Azeris and Molokans have lived in friendship and peace since the time when the Russian Old believers came to this land. Matvei, on of the elders, told me that Azeris provided the newcomers with the tools to cultivate this wonderful land.
Most of the songs of the Ivanovka russian choir are dedicated to the beauty of Nature. The director of the choir told me : “We are blessed to live in the Azeri Switzerland and no matter what happens we are always happy here”.