Doukhobor Cultural Bridge-building Project

    1. May 4 — Winnipeg, Manitoba (4 photos)
    2. a. May 5-7 — Veregin, Canora, Saskachewan (21 photos)
      b. May 5-6 — South Colonies, Saskatchewan (23 photos by Dr. Fred Strukoff)
    3. May 8-11 — Saskatoon, Langham, Blaine Lake, Regina, Saskachewan (13 photos)
    4. May 12 — Pincher Creek, Cowley and Lundbreck, Alberta (4 photos)
    5. May 13-14 — Calgary, Alberta (5 photos)
    6. May 15-16 — Creston, British Columbia (4 photos)
    7. May 17-28 — Castlegar, Nelson and Grand Forks, B.C. (14 photos)
    8. May 20-21 — USCC Union of Youth Festival in Brilliant, B.C. (25 photos)
    9. May 22-June 1 — Return trip to Ontario (31 photos)

Doukhobor Cultural Bridge-building Project

Donations needed for guest costs

March 2, 2006 — Letter To the Editors of Iskra and The Dove:
I would like to inform your readers about a unique cultural appreciation bridge-building project between Russian Doukhobors and Canadian Doukhobors. The idea is to learn from each other and help dispel some of the misconceptions that the public has about Doukhobors.

During the entire month of May, my plan is to travel by car to western Canada with three [maybe 4] Russian Doukhobors. One of these is 80-year-old Alexei Oslopov, a Doukhobor elder formerly of Tbilisi, Georgia who since November 2005 has been living in Toronto with his son Peter [who also wanted to tour with us]. Alexei is one who has helped many Canadian Doukhobor tourists visit the traditional heritage areas in the Caucasus (such as Bogdanovka and the arms burning site, Azerbaidzhan, and Armenia). He is very knowledgeable and is a direct link with the past.

The other two are elder Nikolai Alekseevich Strelyev and his 33-year-old son Andrei of Rostovskaya Oblast in Russia.* The father is knowledgeable about Doukhobors in the Rostov-on-Don and the Volgadonsk regions.

All three are very interested in meeting Doukhobors in Western Canada as well as learning about their friends and relatives in the country. We plan to make stops in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Veregin-Kamsack-Canora, Saskatoon, Langham, Blaine Lake and Regina in Saskatchewan; Cowley-Lundbreck and Calgary in Alberta; Creston, Salmo, Castlegar-Nelson (including the annual Youth Festival in Brilliant 19-21 May), and Grand Forks, BC. Where appropriate, the Russian Doukhobors would speak on the state of their countrymen-and-women in Russia and the Republic of Georgia; this would be followed by discussion. We will be glad to stay with local billets.

The project promises to benefit East-West understanding and provide a fresh appreciation of our Slavic and Doukhobor heritages in the world. As coordinator, interpreter, photographer and writer, I plan to prepare a set of illustrated human interest stories which I would send for publication to the media and post on the World Wide Web. All of this should help dispel some of the misconceptions of Doukhobors in the world today.

Alexei Oslopov


Koozma Tarasoff

However, to make this unique educational tour possible, I urgently need your assistance (approx. cost is $5,000 including rental of car, gas, some accommodations and meals, insurance for two Russian visitors, film supplies and $1,200 for a plane ticket for pensioner Nikolai). I require answers for the following:
  1. Are you interested as individuals or as a Society in meeting with us during the month of May 2006? Preferred days?

  2. Would you be prepared to billet us during our visit to your district?

  3. Would you or your Society like to donate some money to finance this project? The request is very urgent!
Please contact me as soon as possible. By Email:, or by phone (613) 737-5778.

— Koozma J. Tarasoff

* Unfortunately Strelyevs' visas did not arrive in time, and Peter Oslopov decided not to join his father. So only the elder Alexei Oslopov toured with me. See schedule and many photos below. When we got to Grand Forks, we learned another invited Doukhobor from Russia had not arrived because of his slow visa.

Doukhobor Cultural Bridge-building Project

Schedule May 1-31, 2006

Description: This is cultural appreciation tour of Western Canada featuring a Russian Doukhobor Alexei Oslopov, an 80-year-old elder from Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia (now living in Toronto). Two other Russian Doukhobors [Strelyev Nikolai and son Andrei] were invited, but they were not able to get their Canadian visas on time.

Alexei is a Doukhobor not only because he was born in a Doukhobor family, but because of his strong personal interest in the Doukhobor heritage and affairs. Over the past 40 years, he has helped many Canadian Doukhobor visitors to the Caucasus during their tours of the historic sites in Bogdanovka in Georgia (the Museum, the mogilitchki/ burial grounds, and the site of the arms burning in 1895), Slavyanka in Azerbaidzhan, and Tbilisi. Since coming to Toronto in November 2005, this is his first opportunity to travel by car to Western Canada.

With this bridge-building project, Alexei Oslopov will visit the major Doukhobor settlements in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, meet relatives, friends and acquaintances as well as learn about Doukhobor life in Canada. At the same time, Canadian Doukhobors and the wider public will learn about the problems and challenges of Doukhobor brothers and sisters in Russia as well as observations on Russia today.

The two men representing Russian, Georgian and Canadian Doukhobors will discover Canada by car and share their insights into the state of contemporary Doukhobors. In the Caucasus, for example, Alexei says that there were 6000 Doukhobors in 1991; now in 2006 only 300 remain, while the rest have settled in various parts of the Russian Republic. As an active 80-year-old, Alexei will reveal his personal story including working for 35 years in the profession of communications using Morse Code in transportation and in government. He will be glad to share his secret of longevity. He will also be glad to tell you what this international project means to him. His son Petr (and family) arrived in Toronto in mid-1990s and today teaches at Seneca College in the Newman School of Electronics and Computer Engineering.

As initiator and coordinator of this project, Koozma J. Tarasoff will be glad to answer questions as to why he took this Russian Doukhobor on a cross-country tour of Canada, especially the historic settlement sites in the West.
Itinerary (see map above):
  1. May 4 — Thur — Winnipeg, Manitoba (contact: Fred Chernoff 204-488-7652).

  2. May 5-7 — Fri-Sun — National Doukhobor Heritage Village, Veregin, Canora, Saskachewan. Tours of North and South colonies; meals; meetings; prayer sobranie at 11 a.m on Sunday. Contact: Keith Tarasoff at (306) 563-5941 or Fred Strukoff (306) 542-2123.

  3. May 8-11 — Mon-Thur — Saskatoon, Langham, Blaine Lake,  and Regina. Contact: Mae Popoff (306) 373-2991., or Bill Kalmakoff (306) 373-0952. Sobranie in Saskatoon on Wednesday evening May 10th.

  4. May 12 — Fri — Pincher Creek, Cowley and Lundbreck, Alberta.

  5. May 13-14 —Sat-Sun — Calgary, Alberta. Contact: Jack Tarasoff, or (403) 289-4689. Sobranie at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

  6. May 15-16 — Mon-Tue — Creston, B.C. Contact: Alex Ewashen (250) 428-9634.

  7. May 17-28 — Wed-Sun — Castlegar, Nelson and Grand Forks areas. Contact the Doukhobor Village Museum (250) 365-5327 and leave a note for Koozma.

  8. May 20-21 — Sat-Sun — 59th Annual USCC Union of Youth Festival in Brilliant. Also contact John J. Verigin Jr. at the USCC office: (250) 442-8252.

  9. May 29  — Mon — Begin the return trip back to Ontario.
An Opportunity: If you would like to meet the Russian Doukhobors or help with accommodations, etc., please contact the coordinator or one of the hosts.

Coordinator: Koozma J. Tarasoff
Phone (613) 737-5778.

Click on Photos
to Enlarge

144 photos taken at
locations on map above
  1. Manitoba (4 photos)
  2. a. Saskachewan — Veregin, Canora (21 photos)
    b. Saskachewan — South Colonies (23 photos by Dr. Fred Strukoff)
  3. Saskachewan — Saskatoon, Langham, Blaine Lake, Regina  (13 photos)
  4. Alberta — Pincher Creek, Cowley and Lundbreck (4 photos)
  5. Alberta — Calgary (5 photos)
  6. British Columbia — Creston (4 photos)
  7. B.C. — Castlegar, Nelson, Grand Forks (14 photos)
  8. B.C.— Brilliant (USCC Union of Youth Festival) (25 photos)
  9. Return trip to Ontario (31 photos)

1. Manitoba

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C1423-04 — Alexei M. Oslopov, Goose statue, Wawa, Ontario. May 3, 2006 C1423-07 — Alexei M. Oslopov at the site of the Terry Fox monument, Thunder Bay, Ontario. May 3, 2006 C1423-09 — Alexei M. Oslopov at the shipping terminal of Fort William in Thunder Bay, Ontario. May 3, 2006 C1423-16 — Alexei M. Oslopov with Natasha and Fred Chernoff, Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 4, 2006
To next page of photos: 2a. Saskachewan