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Being a Russian, I have never encountered anywhere neither the word "стихия", nor the word "элемент" in any alchemic meaning. They are widely used, but in other senses; in their usual meanings, they are certainly not synonyms, not in the least. Usually, "стихия" means some natural or social process that is hard to stop or control, while "элемент" means a part of something, especially if this part is founding, i.e. either if some analysis starts with this part, or if this part is difficult to divide further. - 14:04, 14 September 2013 (UTC)