Russische Föderation: Lyudmila Varfolomeeva

I believe in life; I trust myself and keep afloat due to the shining light!

— Lyudmila Varfolomeeva

Lyudmila Varfolomeeva (born 1957) grew up near Lake Baikal. She graduated from the Medical University in Irkutsk and later obtained a degree in Business Administration. She has worked at the Russian Academy of Sciences and participated in the Russian-American Project for Sustainable Development of Lake Baikal. Today, as Vice-President of the Fund dealing with the protection of the constitutional rights of indigenous peoples of Russia and an activist in the Regional Union of Women Angara, she promotes the protection of the cultural heritage and the safeguard of the environment in Russia.

In 1992 on Olkhon Island (Lake Baikal), the newly revived ritual of an All-Buryat shamanistic tailagan (a communal sacrifice, usually performed by a shaman) took place. Lyudmila Varfolomeeva was invited as guest of honor. “You belong to a special family. You have a special role in life. The spirits of your ancestors say that you are destined to fulfill a very important mission–to help your native land. Do not be surprised by anything and do not be afraid of anything–there is a long road ahead of you.” This is what the shamans and elders of Olkhon told her. These words have motivated Lyudmila in different situations. At the beginning, she lacked funds and the support of the authorities. She even faced a certain resistance, but impossible things became possible, and the unreal became reality. It seemed as if heavenly powers were helping her in her activities and projects. She has never wavered from her commitment to protect Lake Baikal and to revive and preserve the old indigenous traditions of the Baikal region. Today it can easily be said that on the shores of Lake Baikal, the world's deepest and cleanest lake which became part of the UNESCO World Heritage in 1996, extraordinary events have not ceased to occur. It was Lyudmila who once proposed and worked out the master plan for the now popular Baikal Economic and Baikal Women's Fora. She organized and participated in the sacred Erdyn Games festival whose historical roots stretch back into antiquity and which is nowadays celebrated on Olkhon Island. Lyudmila strives to raise the awareness of Russian society and the world about the necessity to protect local indigenous cultures of this region which, both geographically and spiritually, has always played an important role as a bridge and a meeting point between Eastern and Western traditions.

Fond zashchity konstitutsyonnykh prav koriennykh narodov Rossii (Fund for the Protection of the Constitutional Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Russia) Baikalsky regionalny soyuz zhenshchin Angara