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ISSUE 5 (21):

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Valery Serovaiskiy
President of Russian Society of Studying Cacti and Succulents

    From the Editor: Our congratulations with the fifth anniversary! In October, 1998 Russian Society of Studying Cacti and Succulents (RSSCS) and its magazine "Cacti and other xerophyte plants" were established. We wish a year-round blossoming of yours plants and creative successes!

Comments from the RSSCS President Valery Serovaiskiy

Photo 1.
On images - cover of the double issue 1-2(15-16), 2003 of the Cacti and other xerophyte plants  magazine

By the end of the Socialism era, there were more than 200 cactus clubs in the USSR. Only Russian Federation had about a hundred clubs. The clubs were integrated in republican and national societies. National seminars, conferences and plant fairs were held. They attracted hundreds of cactophiles from many towns.

After the collapse of the USSR, most clubs vanished. In the conditions of impoverishment cacti receded into the background. All resources were spent on surviving the economy downturn. Still people did not give up their hobby at homes. But as people adapted to the new economic conditions, their interest to collecting cacti and socializing with colleagues grew up. Vanished clubs began to restore, also new ones appeared. Of course, this happened due to the enthusiasts, able to persuade administration to patronize such clubs and give them room for expositions, meetings and lectures.

Now there are about 30 cactus and succulent clubs in Russia. It is much less than it is used to be, but there is a positive tendency. Yet in about a dozen of cities and towns clubs are going to be established or resurrected soon. A new thing in amateur cacti collecting is issuing private magazines on cacti - Cacti and not only and Cactus club. It was absolutely impossible in the times of the USSR.

Photo 4.

In 1998 the first national society in Russia was founded. It is called Russian Society of Studying Cacti and Succulents (RSSCS). The Society unites amateurs on the principles accepted in civilized countries (that is, regardless of the place of residence and age, without membership fee). In the times of the USSR, the members of societies could be only clubs, not persons. RSSCS issues two magazines registered in the international classifier. One of them is Cacti and other xerophytic plants  (ISSN 0236-3216). It is targeted mostly at amateurs and issued 4-6 times a year. The other magazine, Succulents (ISSN 0236-4700) is for specialists. It is published in Russian and English and issued twice a year.

The Society works a lot at popularization of cacti and other succulents, it holds regular exhibitions. The members of RSSCS are about 200 cactophiles. Most of them are from Russia, but there are also members from Ukraine, Kirghizia, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics. There are also applications from abroad. I can conclude that cactus growing in Russia is going up. There are lots of young people showing interest. A quarter of RSSCS members are teenagers. This looks very promising.


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