the Spirit-Wrestler web site or any topic about Doukhobors.
|1. Why aren't Russian Doukhbors helped to move to Canada?|
From: "Viktor Mitin" <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2006
Dear Mr. Tarasoff,
I am a Doukhobor living in Moscow, my name is Viktor Mitin. I am 48 and was born in the village of Spasovka, Georgia. My relatives left Georgia about 15 years ago, now they live in the Crimea, Ukraine.
I read your article about how you and a Russian Doukhobor traveled through Canada to meet other Doukhobors, to discuss a lot of questions with them, to tell them about their life in Russia, Georgia etc. I hope, that you have the true information about the life both in Russia and Georgia. You must know that people there live a very hard life in Russia, a little better than in Georgia.
In this connection I would like to ask you only one question is it not high time for Canadian Doukhobours to help their brothers and sisters, who live in Russia and Georgia, to move to Canada; to help us like Leo Tolstoy once helped our ancestors? Doukhobors are fond of working, but most of them have no job.
There are a lot of speeches and articles about being good and helpful, but no one has ever come to the idea to give real help to those who need it, otherwise all these words are idle talk. I am very sorry for being straightforward, but I did not want to hurt anybody.
I would like to hear from our Canadian brothers and sisters what they think about it. Hoping to receive any answer.
From: "tarasoff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2006
Subject: Doukhobors in Georgia and Russia
Hello Viktor Mitin:
I am glad to make your acquaintance. As you probably know in May 2006, I (together with Alexei M. Oslopov, an 80-year-old Doukhobor from Tbilisi, Georgia) went on a Canada-West tour visiting Doukhobors and seeing with our own eyes the people and places of historic interest. You will see some 144 pictures on my web site. Both Alexei and I are presently writing articles on our impressions of this most memorable trip.
I embrace your concern about providing assistance to Russian and Georgian Doukhobors. Thank you for being frank and straight-forward. Some of this assistance has taken place over the years with both private and corporate assistance, such as with assisting the Doukhobor villages in Chern' Raion, Tula oblast. The latest has been the setting up of a Canada-Russia Bakery and Restaurant and Communications Centre in Yasnaya Polyana, Tula. With some $100,000 from Canadian Doukhobors, this was a joint bridge-building project and a thank you to our mentor Lev N. Tolstoy in the very important way that he helped the Russian Doukhobors after their arms burning event in 1895 and the aftermath of persecution and then migration to Canada of 7500. Also the project can provide some employment for local Doukhobors as well as some understanding of the Doukhobors in the world.
Not all of us are rich in Canada, as perhaps some people erroneously think. For example, I have published some 12 books on the Doukhobors over a 50-year period and this has drained most of my resources. I am 74 years old, retired, and living on my pension. In a real sense, I have devoted much of my life to documenting the Doukhobor story worldwide. This includes documenting the visual history of the group with images in a collection that numbers into the largest Doukhobor historic collection in the world.
Today I just do not have the money to help my Russian relatives in need. Of course, I would like to help, but I just cannot provide any money for this very valid purpose. Some of my relatives in northern Caucasus have pleaded for such help, but I have had to reluctantly decline.
From your point of view, I believe some of your young people can make personal initiatives by applying for immigration to Canada as Independent Applicants. This means learning English, learning a profession, and having a family and children. These factors are all positive for the Canadian Immigration Department. This process can take some time, but it can work. So have some patience and apply your personal skills. Indeed, this is something that some of the young Doukhobors in Russia and Georgia can do if they wish to migrate to Canada.
Migration is an important factor in one's life. However, it needs to be done with reason, care and full information. Any relocation can be expected to provide hardships in language, housing, and work. Getting a job in Canada is not automatic; it remains a personal challenge for each applicant. There are many unemployed people in Canada. And our streets are not paved with Gold!
You asked if we have the correct picture of Doukhobors in Russia and Georgia. My friend Alexei Mikhailovich has lived in Tbilisi most of his life and has kept close touch with the Doukhobors there. It was only in November 2005 that he came to visit his son Petr in Toronto. His son Petr came to Canada 12 years ago as an Independent Applicant and now is employed as an instructor in a college; it was not easy for him or his wife at the beginning.
Personally I have made some 13 trips to Russia including some to the Doukhobor areas since 1957. My last one was in 1992. I hope to lead a tourist group to the historic Doukhobor areas in Russia and Georgia in the spring or summer of 2007. And I have been in correspondence with a number of Russian and Georgian Doukhobors since. As A writer, ethnographer and historian, I make it a point of keeping in touch with the situation in your country. The joint trip with Alexei Mikhailovich was precisely made to ensure that there is understanding from all sides, including the Canadian and Russian/Georgian Doukhobors. As well, in recent years, I have been in email contact with Doukhobors abroad.
Whether I and Alexei Mikhailovich have the 'full picture' of the Doukhobors in the world remains to be seen. However, we have taken concrete steps to ensure that we are knowledgeable. In our 12,000 km. trip across Canada, we have shared our knowledge with our brethren to the best of our abilities. Now we are writing our results on paper for publication in local papers as well as on the World Wide Web. Please follow our reports and I invite you to be the judge.
Regards and well wishes.
Koozma J. Tarasoff
I would like to be understood correctly money is not mentioned here, it is the end to ask for money. There could be another kinds of help just like others (e.g. Armenian Community in the USA) do it. They help their people with all possible methods they can invite people for working or studying and so on. That is what I meant, because to apply for a visa as an Independent Applicant is next to impossible. I know how people in the Embassy are being treated, when they do not have anybody abroad.
From: "Andrei Conovaloff, webmaster
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2006 (Update June 21, 2013)
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Doukhobors in Georgia and Russia
I am impressed that you write English well and use the Internet. I would think those skills give you an advantage in Russia.
I think I can help this discussion by trying to also explain why diaspora Spiritual Christians don't sponsor their brethren to emigrate from the Former Soviet Union.
There's a simple, short answer its expensive. But that implies that we are not charitable, and don't care. So I'll try to give a more complete answer. Keep in mind that a minority of Doukhobors (30%) and very few non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians (1%) migrated to the Americas 100 years ago.
The problems are many hate, fear, greed, indecision, and lack of skills in cultural organization and international diplomacy. Sponsors of an immigrant must promise to provide food, housing, jobs, medical care, and insure legal behavior, which only a few can do. In return the sponsor may expect the migrant to be perfect religious, marry-in, work hard, teach Russian, ... But, many here cannot take care of their own families, so sponsoring an immigrant can be a huge burden.
Perfect Immigrant. If someone sponsors you to Canada, they might expect your family to be super Doukhobors who will live in their small town, work at any job, attend sobranie every week, and know more stikhi than anyone else. You may have other plans, and you may not be a good singer.
Most Spiritual Christians are still in Russia. 100 years ago about 30% (~7,400) of all Doukhobors moved to Canada. It was outsiders The Friends (Quakers) and Lev Tolstoy who saved a minority of Doukhobors from punishment in Russia. The Canadian government paid the majority of costs. Only about 1% (~2,500) of all non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians, mostly Pryguny helped by their families, moved to California and Mexico. (See: Why did they wait so long in Russia? Why did 99% stay in Russia?)
Today the total numbers of these descendants who are now active in the religion and culture has not grown above the immigration counts. Most descendants (80+%) are intermarried and melted into American and Canadian cultures. Few speak Russian, know their own history or care to help their brethren here or there. Most do not know all their relatives here.
Where's the "Holy land"? To many Canadian Doukhobors, you are in the right country. Immediately after migrating to the Americas, Spiritual Christian leaders talked about returning to Russia pakhod [паход] in Russian, "trek" in English. The Doukhobor leader Lukeria Kalmikoffa "...predicted that they would be forced to leave Russia for another land, where they'd become affluent but from which they would have to return [to Russia]."
In the 1920s, groups of Doukhobors and Molokans in North America tried to return to Russia. 40 Doukhobor families left Saskatchewan and formed a collective farm near Melitopol, but returned when the boys were called to army service. (A Roundtrip to the homeland: Doukhobor Remigration to Soviet Russia in the 1920s, by Vadim Kukushkin, Doukhobor Genealogy Website.) A group of Molokans in San Francisco moved to Rostov oblast in the 1920s when their relatives relocated there from Kars oblast. They founded posiolok Kalifornia, some stayed, but most returned to the U.S. due to collectivization.
Up to World War II, Dukh-i-zhiznik elders in Los Angeles advised writer John K. Berokoff not to publish any translations "due to the constant expectation by our elders that the time of the fulfillment of the prophesy, calling for our mass removal to the lands at the base of the 'mother mountain of Ararat', ..." Since there was no pakhod Russia, he began publishing in 1944 and continued to his death. Sons of Freedom tried several times to return to Russia, but their treks ended in punishments and making an illegal village on government land near Castlegar, BC. In the 1980s, the USCC sent delegates to survey free land for them near Barnaul, Altai republic. Nobody moved.
In the 1910s American Dukh-i-zhizniki reinterpreted pakhod to be "south" from the US; not south to Mt. Zion, Palestine, as the German Harmonists explained; or south to Mount Ararat as was declared in Armenia under the leadership of M.G. Rudomyotkin in the 1800s, but in the 1920s to Mexico where they planned to move with proto-Sons of Freedom who came but returned to Canada.
In the 1950s the Holy Spirit guided a few American Dukh-i-zhizniki to Uruguay. In the 1960s some announced a move to Armenia while 200+ moved south to Ararat, Victoria, Australia. In the 1970s south to Brazil (30 went and returned) then some went to Uruguay (due to no military draft). In the 1980s one congregation bought land in Mexico. In the 2000s a few Dukh-i-zhizniki talk about Israel, New Zealand and Uruguay. In 2005, diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki paid for 5 families to move from Armenia to Uruguay, then collected money to return them home.
For the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki, America is not the end place, so sponsoring someone here will not save them. The spiritual philosophy of the Doukhobors says the "Spirit of God is within you." In this sense you are always in the right place, anywhere.
Immigrants not wanted, not happy About 1950, 200 Spiritual Christian self-exiled in Iran since the Russian Revolution, were sponsored to California, but many here did not fully accept them because they had different traditions and culture. Once here, few fully integrated. They had to buy their own prayer building. Experiences with the foreign "Persian Molokans" caused the American Dukh-i-zhizniki to be prejudiced for 50 years, also not fully accepting the Pryguny in Mexico who moved to California after WW2.
In 1960, 1500 Spiritual Christians in Kars, Turkey, were not invited to America, so they moved to Stavropol'skii krai, Russia. In the 1970s, 2 families were sponsored from Kars, Turkey, but half of their kids did not "marry-in."
In the 1980s, thousands of Spiritual Christian refugees of the Karabakh war in the Caucasus were not invited to America, so they scattered in Russia. In the 1990s, Russians were hated in the Caucasus, and most, like your family, fled to Mother Russia.
In the 1990s, some Dukh-i-zhiznik families remaining in Armenia were sponsored to America, mainly because they spoke Russian and might revitalize the dwindling faiths. More diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki began to sponsor about 50 families from Armenia, half to Australia, half to the US. Some came by marriage. The hosts discovered the Armenians are too different, as were the Persians 50 years earlier. In Australia the Armenian Dukh-i-zhizniki bought their own prayer house, in America they also want to worship separately because they have more holidays and sing different melodies. They feel like fish out of water, though the Western culture and economy is fascinating.
In the 1970s I met several Russian Jewish families sponsored to Los Angeles. Half of the elders wanted to return to Russia because the American culture was too different. The kids did not want to be Jews like their sponsors thought they should be when given religious freedom. They ate pork and could not believe that American Jews held on to so many old beliefs.
In the past 10 years I have met 100s of Russian immigrants in Arizona. Many have no friends or family here and are very lonesome for the closeness they had back home. I have helped dozens find a Russian friend. Americans may seem sincere on the surface, but they often lack the soulful friendship common in Russia and the network of support Russians provide each other.
Weak diverse organizations. Spiritual Christians do not have big, strong international organizations with many smart leaders who have political contacts. We come from peasants. Our elders shunned education and do not think big or globally. In Russia, after perestroika, Spiritual Christians have not re-organized into big centralized organizations as they had about 1915. The elders who organized and led the migration to America have died, and no one is allowed to replace them, or the Holy Spirit has not yet anointed anyone. (See: Problems with the Dukhobor and Molokan Ethno-Denominational Groups, by Svetlana A. Inikova, Russian Academy of Science, 1998.)
Doukhobors in Canada have several organizations, but not like 100 years ago big factories, 100 farming communities, etc. Doukhobor leadership now is relatively diverse and weak and has fewer faithful followers. J.J. Verigin Jr. recently said that we have lots of Doukhobors (by name), but few members (in the organizations).
Spiritual Christians are schismatic. They divided before and again after migrating. They are not joined as one religion or one organization. Often people act alone, or in small support groups, to get many things done. For example, no Doukhobor organization has published a dozen books like one Koozma Tarasoff. Similarly, immigrant sponsorship is personal decision, not a group project.
In 1992, only 30 diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki and Molokane traveled to Ukraine (near Melitopol') to attend the 2nd International Molokan Convention. In 1997, 14 from America and Australia attended the international meeting in Tambov about Molokan youth. But none, except me, stayed for the open house ceremony of the new Molokan Center near Stavropol' which was attended by 7 others from America. Last year, only one American family 14 Molokane attended the 200th anniversary celebration near Stavropol'. See Russian reports at Molokane.org. Dukh-i-zhizniki are more interested in taking short trips to only visit Dukh-i-zhizniki in Armenia and perhaps try to get a tourist visa for a family they meet than to help large numbers in an organized effort. But they soon learn they are not welcome by many who have very different values and beliefs.
Other ethnic groups, nationalities, and religions Armenians, Jews, Poles, Catholics, Lutherans, Mormons, Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. have much larger diaspora and professional members millions rather than thousands, like Spiritual Christians. They have 100s of full-time employees and 1000s of volunteer professionals. They build and support their own schools, colleges, libraries, hospitals, and retirement homes, newspapers and magazines, even donating millions of dollars to hire professors to teach their language and culture. They sponsor groups to visit, study, work and resettle. In the past 50 years, a million+ Jews, including many Subbotniki, migrated to Israel and other countries. In the 1980s during the Azerbaidjan-Armenian war, 10,000 Armenian refugees migrated to Los Angeles. After perestroika, the Polish government got more donations from their diaspora then they collected in taxes at home!
There is not one Spiritual Christian heritage professor of their culture (sociology, history, religion). If a rich businessman would give $1 million to endow a Doukhobor or Molokan history chair at a university, no matter who would get the job many will protest the decision. But the few rich descendants of Spiritual Christians do not think like Armenians, Jews or Catholics. They lack significant nationalism, ethnic-religious value, and desire to record heritage, not to detract from much that community Doukhobors have done collectively.
How did 10,000 Armenians move to Los Angeles in the 1980s? I met many of these immigrants when I was hired to do a rental study in Glendale, CA, which I mostly conducted in the Russian language. Each was guaranteed a house and job by their host. Many American-Armenians who migrated in the early 1900s lived in the city of Glendale, east of Los Angeles, where they had large yards, big enough to build up to 8 apartments. 100s of American-Armenian families created jobs for the immigrants to build apartments for the next wave to live in, and those would build more apartments. Many American-Armenian lawyers and politicians in the greater Los Angeles Area coordinated the project with community contractors, and residents.
Most are greedy and prejudiced. The most zealous diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki believe they are the "chosen ones" and those left in Russia are not "saved" because they did not follow the Holy Spirit to America. Most in America are reluctant and/or afraid to know their relatives in Russia for financial and cultural reasons. When groups of Dukh-i-zhiznik businessmen (The Heritage Club) go to Russia on vacations, they travel as tourists, and very few (only curious women) continue after the tour to find and visit congregations or relatives in Russia. Many also shun their relatives here.
Many Dukh-i-zhizniki will not help their Russian brothers because they believe they only want to come to America to bring their families. On the other hand, many who were raised in the diaspora Dukh-i-zhiznik culture believe their heritage faith is not Christian, so they will not donate unless it is to a family in they know personally. They may socialize but will not donate much, nor do they want their kids to marry in. One Dukh-i-zhiznik elder summarizes: "We have become our own worst enemy."
Many diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki are afraid of anyone who lived in Communist Russia. Of all 3 American Dukh-i-zhiznik college girls who were educated in Moscow before prestroika, none married in their faith after returning, and all were scorned by zealots. The most zealous considered them unclean. No one has attempted to attend college in Russia since. This contrasts with the USCC Doukhobors who pride themselves for sending over 100 of their kids to attend college in Russia.
Russians were helped, somewhat. In the 1980s, money was raised by a Dukh-i-zhiznik presviter to give a big Bible to every congregation in Russia, which cost US$5 to print at that time. He knew diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki would not donate the money he needed, so he sold the same Bibles to for a bargain price of $15 each, then he could give 2 for each sold. But when he delivered the Bibles in Russia, Dukh-i-zhizniki who helped him did not know where everyone was, and most congregations got missed and were upset. Many books left to be delivered for no cost were delivered with a charge, which created further anger and doubt that their American brothers were very smart.
In the early 1990s a diaspora "Persian" Dukh-i-zhiznik elder begged all 30 congregations in America to donate to Russia. Shipping containers of donated food, clothing and money were collected, but not evenly distributed in the Former Soviet Union. Later $1000s were given by American Dukh-i-zhizniki, mainly by a few wealthy families, mostly to build new prayer houses only for Dukh-i-zhiznik refugees from the Caucasus.
The American organization of businessman, The Heritage Club, gives $30,000 to $40,000 in scholarships only to their relatives in America, not to Russia where a small amount is very helpful. They won't even help the rare Russian Molokans who are studying in the US on their own student visas, because they are afraid to donate to a foreigner. Some are paranoid that the National Security Agency (NSA) or FBI will investigate them, and they will loose their lucrative businesses and be publicly shamed.
Do it yourself. If you really want to leave Russia fast, join the Subbotniki or Jews. Many are being moved to Israel. Read about this in Russian at Subbotniki.net. Or, marry a Russian protestant with relatives in north America.
To come to the US or Canada to study or work for a short-time is difficult to do legally, unless you have a very special skill and a company here will pay to bring you on a H2 visa. It is easier to come as a student, but you need to apply. Even getting a tourist visa is difficult, as Koozma learned when 2 invited guests missed his Doukhobor Cultural Bridgebuilding Project in May.
I know of several Molokan families and individuals from the Former Soviet Union who came to the US themselves. One boy came as a refugee from Kazakhstan 20 years ago and married a Molokan girl in San Francisco. A young family from Baku came because the wife was a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley. These families attend sobranie in San Francisco. There are a few Molokan immigrants from the FSU living other states who have little or no contact with Molokane in California.
In the Seattle, Washington area, about 200 Molokan-Adventists are arriving as immigrants. Most all are self-sponsored. The man who coordinated the move was married to a Baptist woman who had relatives in Seattle. When her relatives begged her to move, the husband begged his extended family of Molokan-Adventists to follow or he would not go. He filled out most of the forms and they arrived, one family after another, each sponsoring the next, until nearly 200 arrived. They have their own congregations, website, sponsor a sabbath service for Russian-speaking Jews who have no rabbi, host a youth festival, picnics, ...
These are some of my observations and thoughts, meant to educate, not to offend. If world economic power shifts back to Asia in the next century as many predict, Russia may be a better place than Canada or America in the future.
Respectfully, Andrei Conovaloff
|2. What's the current value of Doukhobor land losses?|
13 Jul 2006
What is the cost in todays dollars of the 1907 and 1938 Doukhobor land losses in Canada?
Andrei Bondoreff (Doukhobor and student at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC): I thought Id write to let you know that the Bank of Canada has an inflation calculator from 1914 to the present. The total value of lands seized from the Doukhobors in roughly 1907 (as one year) at 11,000,000 dollars calculated into todays dollar value would be roughly 200,000,000 dollars. On a US calculator from 1907 the total cost would be roughly 222,000,000 dollars. So the value of Doukhobor lands in todays dollars is substantial.
Koozma Tarasoff: In using a similar calculation, the 6,000,000 dollar loss in 1938 would amount to roughly $122,000,000 US. When added to the 1907 loss, the amount is a grand total of $344,000,000 in 2006 US dollars.
|3. What is hope?|
|From: Mae Popoff <email@example.com>
Date: Oct 28, 2006
Mae Popoff on the nature of HOPE:
The capacity of HOPE is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of DESTINATION and the energy to get started.
Norman Cousins (1915-1990), writer of Anatomy of an Illness and editor of Saturday Review, used nutrition, positive visualization, and laughter to heal an illness diagnosed as fatal. He received the UN Peace Medal for World Activism. Thats vision and hope in practice!
|4. War Fever and other Thoughts|
|From: "Igor Zbitnoff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: November 1, 2006
Subject: RE: Refections on CO conf in Winnipeg
These days I'm actively politically in an effort to undo the Bushworld stranglehold on the American government. I find curious comfort in reading about Germany in the 1930's. I'm reminded of a science fiction movie in which pods arrive and infect humans with "alien" personalities. I encounter conversations in which there's a curious unreality ("If it weren't for Clinton,..." for example). I'm reminded of William Shirer's writings about Germany in the 30's. "I had some German friends who shared human kindness with me. However, after a Hitler rally, they would be transformed."
For me the 60's were a liberating time. My mind soared beyond silly limitations I had. It seemed that just about anything was open to thought and examination. I'm told in history books that this was one of the thrills of the Renaissance, the exaltation of the thought process.
So, yes, I explored a number of the openings made possible in the 60's. And to paraphrase that guy in Genesis, "I saw that it was good." And maybe part of it all was that it was like that admonition, "If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him." I've thought of that as metaphor for the reminder that life has these wrenching transformations, transformations that are best not denied. But I still can remember stories of the 60's with a curious delight. In particular these days I've finally reached the point where occasionally that delight corresponds to my writing.
I call myself a left-wing blogospheric attack dog these days. In particular I write occasional biting e-mail with a definite political slant. And maybe it's a guilty pleasure that I enjoy it from time to time.
During the Vietnam War, when I was in the antiwar movement, I've had to ask myself about impact and meaning of my antiwar activity. The funny thing is that in a sense we "won." Or at least we were "right." Yet for example I've encountered in the not too distant past some Jane Fonda-hate. "If it weren't for Jane Fonda, we would have won that war." I even remember the circulation of a photo (definitely photo shopped) of John Kerry and Jane Fonda in the same picture in the 2004 election, probably by the Swift-Boaters.
I guess I'd have to say that I was amazed by the Swift-Boaters. They would lie and lie and never get called on it. I realize that politicians speak with forked-tongue, but you can only pile your lies so high. Or so it would seem.
Enough of my current state of wonder. In the Vietnam War I looked at myself as an effective propagandist. I'd read the New York TIMES plus some other literature, have some conversations with some politically enlightened (often Marxist in orientation wannabe Leninists/Trotskyist types) people, and I was smart. Or so I felt. I could talk to others and give them information that would make them feel empowered.
And I attended a number of demonstrations, from April 15th, 1965, to October, 1967. The last was a march on the Pentagon, and note was taken of this event in the now defunct magazine, LOOK. I know this because a friend called my attention to a picture in the magazine and asked me whether or not I recognized myself. Part of my Warholian (after Andy Warhol) claim to fame.
So I spend a fair amount of time in political thought these days. I'm doing all the "conventional" things. Walking and knocking on doors, making phone calls, donating money, writing letters to newspapers, and in general spreading the message against Bushworld in cyberspace. I'm leveraging my experience in the Vietnam War, if you will.
With all of this in mind I read what you wrote [Doukhobors in World War II]. I'm reminded of how war fever can limit the range of one's thought. You're truly creating some space for thinking that seems to be in some sort of jeopardy on this side of the American border. For that reason I appreciate it because if feels like the metaphorical "breath of fresh air." To use mystical language without getting too wrapped up it I've had a zen moment (or two) of peace.
So thanks. Always good to hear from you.
Igor Zbitnoff, Ukiah, California
PS: You're welcome to use what I wrote. Please note that I use quotation marks as a literary device. For example I can't cite an exact passage from William Shirer, but I remember being struck at the time by what he said. I tried to capture his gist. Similarly the Buddha quote there was some "spiritual" book from the 60's or 70's with a title like this. Also my use of the expression "if you will" has an ironic touch. Dick Cheney seems very fond of it. He might use it like this: "The insurgents are in their last throes, if you will." With these caveats in mind please go ahead and use what I said.
|5. Laura Savinkoff poem: "In Practice and Reality"|
|Dear Friends, Sisters and
This is my annual poem of greeting and well wishes and my hope for the future for all of us not only for the Christmas season but for our collective, long term future. May The Creator bless and grant all of you and your loved ones peace, joy, love, insight, spiritual enlightenment and the strength to work and live to stop the violence and abuse that humanity imposes on itself. I know that all of you do your best to work towards our mutual goal of peace through social and economic justice and for that I am grateful and know that my life has been enriched by contact with you and will continue to be enriched and enlightened by your presence in my life and all our lives. Thank you for being who you are and doing what you do and I look forward to working together for the next year and far beyond.
In Universal Kinship and Loving Peace,
|6. Why did the Doukhobor Village Museum get re-named "Doukhobor Discovery Centre"?|
|In a tourism and heritage
eco tourism survey in 2006 by an independent consultant in
Castlegar, the consultant was most impressed with the
Doukhobor Village Museum.
However, given the 10 buildings, the 10 acres including restaurant, heritage orchard, Tolstoy statue etc. he said this is much more than a museum, it is an entire discovery into the Doukhobor way of life. It was he who suggested a name along the lines of The Doukhobor Discovery Centre.
We agreed that such a name would give a greater scope in suggesting what the facility was about and we began the name change last year. This is a gradual change as we don't want to change existing signage and in town we are simply known as the Doukhobor Museum. However, for the wider public, this name gives a more accurate picture of what we are about.
THE DOUKHOBOR DISCOVERY CENTER
Larry A. Ewashen, Curator
|7. Tambovka pictures, and reprint the entire Inquirer?|
"Trofimenkoff, Earl" <TROFIMENKOFF@SIAST.SK.CA>
Sent: March 22, 2007
Subject: Tambovka pictures, and reprint the entire Inquirer?
I am sure that you are getting better with your "new" heart for better energy. You probably could try out for senior professional baseball team.
I would like to remind you if you have your spare time to look for and find several pictures of deserted Tambovka Village near Runnymede during the 1920-30's.
I could see that today's young Doukhobor hereditary persons are very fortunate to get much information from your website as well as Jon Kalmakoff's one [Doukhobor Genealogy Website]. My two deaf children who are the university students in Washington D.C. are interested, too. [Their father Earl is deaf.]
You and I see many comic books and classic books are reprinted many times. As a busy university student years ago you edited and printed the Doukhobor Inquirer for four years. Why not combine all of them in one book and then reprint the books? I'd love to buy several books from you for my future generation.
Peace thru Doukhobor spirit, Earl Trofimenkoff, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Webmaster Andy Conovaloff: Your wish is my command. Actually I plan to scan and post all issues of the Doukhobor Inqirer (1954-58), and continue the publicaton on-line. Many of the articles here will be indexed in a new Inquirer table of contents. This project will take more than a year. In the mean time, keep reading. If you have anything to contribute, please do.
|8. How do I preserve the Doukhobor ways?|
|From: "Nick Olynyk" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007
Subject: How do I preserve the Doukhobor ways?
I am 20 years old descendant of Doukhobor ancestry. I enjoy your website and coincidentally I am also entering school next fall to learn the art of writing. I've had the fortune of visiting Tolstoy's grave in Russia and fondly remember my great-grandfather as a practicing Doukhobor. Your site is very informative on the history of the Doukhobors, however it leaves me a question--what is going on with Doukhobors today ?
Being from Canora, Saskatchewan, which is very close to Veregin, the only Doukhobors that I know of who are practicing are, quite frankly, much older than myself. I really like the Doukhobor message of peace; combined with the historical significance of their plight and their actions of rebellion in a non-violent manner. What can I do to preserve the Doukhobor ways?
Sincerely, Nick Olynyk
Koozma Tarasoff: Nick, thank you for raising a very important question that face the Doukhobors and many other groups. Namely, how to preserve its essence and traditions in the face of assimilation?
There is no one answer to this challenging question. I will post your question with the hope that other readers will add their wisdom to it.
In the meantime, may I suggest a few ways that will help preserve the Doukhobor movement.
Respond to firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I find Doukhobors to interview for my book?
|From: "Adam Pope" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Subject: Where can I find Doukhobors to interview for my book?
Since reading Resurrection by Tolstoy I have developed an avid interest in the Doukhobors. I am a writer and would like to put together a book about the current situation. My plans are to visit Doukhobor communities and speak with descendants of the original Russian arrivals. However I do not know the best locations or whether people would be happy to speak to me. I came across your website and thought I would start by asking your advice. I look forward to hearing from you.
Adam Pope, 07947 644156, deadwasps.blogspot.com
Koozma Tarasoff: Adam, thank you for telling me about your interest in the Doukhobors following the reading of Lev N. Tolstoy's book Resurrection.
As a start, I would suggest that you study the various articles on my website (www.spirit-wrestlers.com) where you will many maps and photos. To get started, see links in letter #10, below. As well, you ought to have a look at my latest book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002). By studying both the Interent and books, you will be in a position to better approach your topic.
Once you have done that, I could meet with you when you come to Canada. After that, I would be glad to advise you who might be most useful to talk to. With over 50 years of research on the Doukhobors, I believe I have something useful to contribute to your project.
Is there a Doukhobor group near Toronto?
|From: "Kudritska, Olga"
Sent: Monday, May 7, 2007
Subject: Is there a Doukhobor group near Toronto?
Would you be able to tell where I can find the Doukhobor community / group closest to Toronto? Thanks in advance, Olga Kudritska
Koozma Tarasoff: Thank you for your inquiry. The closest Doukhobor community to Toronto would be in Saskatchewan. However, you may have a look at my website (www.spirit-wrestlers.com) for information on the Doukhobors. The site is quite comprehensive and includes community news, analysis of events, and web links. Find maps and photos of Doukhobors in Saskachewan, Alberta, and British Columbia; The National Doukhobor Heritage Village in Verigin, Sask.; on the Doukhobor Message Board there is information about two groups that meet regularly in the Calgary area; and on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website there are many maps and lists of most all Doukhobor locations in Canada and Russia and a comprehensive list of links to much more information about Doukhobors on the Internet. Is there something specific that you would like to know? If so, please feel free to contact me. All the best in your search.
Olga Kudritska: May 8, 2007 Thank you so much for your quick reply. I have looked at your fantastic site yesterday and it's really a lot of useful and interesting information collected. May be community is the wrong word. I am looking for the group that could be joined for the spiritual services. I heard that there is a small group in London, but I can not find their address or telephone. Thank you so much for your attention.
|11. Easter Greetings 2007|
|Где Любовь, Там и Бог "Where there is LOVE,
There is GOD"
From the Desk of Alex Wishlow
Happy Easter to you and yours.
Easter this year brings another thought into my mind. The news is featuring the ceremonies at Vimy Ridge.
I recall my visit to the memorial honouring Canadian dead in the First World War. It was on the last adventure which I organized for the P.C.S.S. Travel Club. We started in London and continued across the English Channel to France. In the countryside, we saw several cemeteries with white crosses so I asked the bus driver if he knew where the Vimy Memorial was. He said, Its very close. I asked him to take us there before going on to Paris.
My students thought this was a lark. But when we arrived, they had sober thoughts.
Even before it was rebuilt, the Vimy Memorial was an imposing structure. On the back, the names of all the Canadian dead were engraved and at the front stood a tall statue representing Jesus. Jesus looked very sad and it looked like he had a tear coming from his eye. There are many names on the memorial wall, including some 3600 Canadians who died at Vimy Ridge. I looked very intently but did not see a Wishlow name.
This Easter Day, my thoughts are with Jesus who died on the cross and is now resurrected in the righteous. I think of Mathew Lebedeff, who put down his gun at the army barracks in Russia that Easter Day and said he would follow Jesus and never take a human life. I think of Vimy Ridge and the tragic loss of so many Canadian lives.
I am happy that Mr. Lebedeffs courageous act eventually resulted in my living in Canada as a Doukhobor. I am happy that I have Jesus resurrected in my soul. I pray that more people will take the stand against killing and I will see an Easter when the world is at peace.
With brotherly love,
Alex Wishlow, Creston, British Columbia
|12. Back to the Past: Celebrating Saskatchewan's People and Places|
|E-mail From: Mae Popoff
Friday, May 25, 2007
BACK TO THE PAST Celebrating Saskatchewan
Paul Spasoff in his 2006 book BACK TO THE PAST: Celebrating Saskatchewan's People and Places, on pages 5659, wrote about Doukhobors heading to the Canadian prairies to escape persecution. Spasoff was correct when he stated that central to Doukhobor belief was the idea that God lived in every person.
Their search for universal brotherhood, LOVE, GOD, TRUTH, EQUALITY and GOODNESS acted as guides. Halleluia!!! The young researcher from Regina wrote about the essence of Doukhobors without the arachaic translation for TOIL.
Webmaster Andy Conovaloff: And how many years did it take Doukhobors to educate the English press? You're glad when they pay attention.
|13. Doukhobors in Georgia?|
Friday, June 08, 2007
Subject: Doukhobors in Georgia
I am a photographer presently based in Tbilisi, Georgia. As I started a project on minorities in Georgia, I have come across the community of the Doukhobors. There are presently only 2 villages left, Orelovka and Goreliovka both situated in the Samskhe-Javakheti region (south west of Georgia, close to the Armenian border). Going through various sites, I have been surprised to see no mention of the Doukhobors of Georgia. I have been listening to their songs and I must say am unable to know in which language they are as no words can be really heard. I have been listening to few songs recorded in Canada but to me they look different. When asked, the community told me that the songs were psalms coming from Babylon. Could I have your comments on that? How many Doukhobors are still in Canada?
Thanking you very much for your help and consideration,
Best regards, Agnes Montanari
Photos of Doukhobors in Georgia by Agnes Montanari
Koozma Tarasoff: June 8, 2007 Thank you for sharing your experience as a photographer in the Republic of Georgia. I am quite aware that only two Doukhobor villages remain in Georgia: Orlovka and Gorelovka. I have visited both on a number of times from the 1960s to 1992.
A lot has been posted a lot about Doukhobors in Georgia:
Traditional Doukhobor singing is based on oral tradition and probably goes back to at least 1000 years as Canadian musicologist Kenneth Peacock wrote in Twenty Ethnic Songs form Western Canada (Ottawa: National Museum of Canada, 1966): 16. 'This tradition of men and women singing in octaves a melody ornamented with primative counterpoint has survived in the later Doukhobor hymns as well, imbuing them with an archaic flavour quite different from, say, the Lutheran chorale.'
In a later book, Songs of the Doukhobors (Ottawa: Mational Museums of Canada, 1970), page 5, Peacock writes: 'Several attempts have been made to trace a direct line of descendance from early Christian sects to the heretical sects which emerged in Russia centuries later. Beliefs surviving in Doukhobor oral tradition point to this relationship. The Bogomil doctrines, which originated in Bulgaria in the tenth century, are of particular interest in this connection. The fundamentalist teachings of Bogomil soon spread into southern Russia where they were heavily censured by the newly established Orthodox Church. Bogomil beliefs, in turn, are thought to be based partly upon the much earlier Manichaen doctrines, which spread from Babylonia throughout the ancient Christian world during the third and fourth centuries .... The extent to which Doukhoborism has been influenced by these early Christian traditions remains to be established. In the case of Bogomil beliefs and practices, the influence appears to be considerable. However, conclusive evidence will depend upon comparative studies between Doukhobor oral literature and the Slavonic texts upon which our knowledge of hte Bogomil doctrines is based.'
I understand that you are having difficulties in determining what language the Doukhobors of Georgia are using in their traditional singing of psalms and hymns. For strategic purposes, early Doukhobors used Russian but stretched out their singing so as to preserve the main message yet prevent outsiders from determining what the words are. By this way, the group survived the censure of the Church and state. Some psalms, such as 'The Singing of Psalms Beautifies Our Souls', take over five minutes to sing just the first five words (See Peacock, 1970: 33). Originally the entire psalm would have taken at least two or three hours. Of course, in modern times, traditional singing of this psalm is limited to two verses, the remainder being recited.
I hope this is helpful. Please keep me posted on your progress. I will be glad to post your success on my website.
Best wishes, Koozma J. Tarasoff
|14. Should Doukhobors Participate in Politics?|
|Excerpt from The Dove, July
2007: 11-12 on Spirit Wrestling on the Convention Floor:
Tales of a Liberal Doukhobor, by Ryan Androsoff
(Saskatchewan Liberal Party candidate for Saskatoon
.What is an article about internal Liberal Party politics doing in a Doukhobor publication? I think it is sometimes too easy within the confines of the Doukhobor discourse in Canada to view politics as part of the other part of our lives as Canadians but not as Doukhobors. Sure a Doukhobor group may write a letter occasionally to their MLA, or MP, or even the Prime Minister on an issue of peace and social justice. But beyond that, the fact that Doukhobors participate or are involved in politics often seems to be regarded something that should be kept in the realm of home, and not in the community.
Working in politics, for me is more than a hobby, social activity, or vocation. It is, if I may be so bold, an expression of my faith. I would argue there are few things I have done in my life for me come closer to the true meaning of being a Spirit Wrestler than fighting along side leaders across this country in defence of collective vision for a better tomorrow. Indeed, now more than ever with serious issues of war and injustice facing us around the globe we need the Doukhobor perspective in our national debates: a voice that values above all the universal kinship Toil and Peaceful Life.
This may not be the most conventional place for an article about partisan politics, but if there is one political issue that we should be discussing in these pages it is the Doukhobor deficit in Canadian public life.
Koozma Tarasoff: Sept 14, 2007 I welcome Ryans challenge to discuss politics in Doukhobor life. Party politics aside, the 1895 Arms Burning event in Tsarist Russia was one of the most political acts in Doukhobor history. Readers, please write and share your opinions.
|15. Were Doukhobors involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement?|
|From: Christopher Powell
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Hi Koozma, I got your name from Larry Hannant. I am working on a doctoral dissertation on the anti-Vietnam War movement in Canada, and wanted to know if there was anything published on Doukhobor involvement in this movement. He tells me you're the one to talk to on this. Can you help me?
Chris Powell, Hay River, NT
Koozma Tarasoff: Aug 25, 2007 Congratulations to you in working on the anti-Vietnam theme for your doctoral dissertation. Indeed, Canadian Doukhobors have been and still are actively involved in the peace movement in Canada. The "Spirit Within" stimulates them to treat life as a human trust. For them it is wrong to kill another human being because in so doing you are killing the spirit of God or the divine in each individual.
Their 1895 arms burning events in Tsarist Russia was an indellible mark on their psyche. Since that time, every year, they have commemorated that event on June 29. They spoke out publically against the Vietnam War and wrote letters to the Prime Minister of Canada and the United Nations. The USCC has co-hosted the first two annual Our Way Home Peace Events & Reunions for Vietnam war restistors.
A number of my books reveal the depth of Doukhobor involvement in the peace movement:
Also see the Guide to the Records of the Koozma J. Tarasoff fonds (volumes 1-3), with reference to pacifist and peace movement. I donated them to the Saskatchewan Archives. Referenced online are: Tarasoff Papers Now Available for Researchers. Vol. 47, No. 2, p. 2. If you cannot go to Saskatchewan, see: Saskatchewan Archives' Procedures for Handling Distance Research Inquiries. My contact is Nadine Charabin, Chief Archivist, Collections, Saskatchewan Archives Board, 3 Campus Drive, Room 91, Murray Building, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask. S7N 5A4 (Phone 306-933-5832) or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is the Bible NOT used
at Doukhobor meetings?
Lymburner (nee Chernoff) of Redmond, Washington, USA
Why is the Bible NOT used /read /discussed/taught at Doukhobor meetings?
We are no longer illiterate like our ancestors were.Now we can read about God. Where is the Lords prayer originate from? The Christmas story? Easter? We claim to be Christians so why ignore His Word? Isn't that rejecting God? Whats wrong with reading or quoting scripture during a service/ meeting/funeral/wedding? Are we ashamed of it? Is it because we were told that is not the thing to do???? Is it because the Russian clergy had made life difficult for believers a hundred years ago? If we dont have a Bible as our source for spiritual nourishment, where/ who do we get it from? I believe we can be strong spiritually mature Doukhobor Christians only by knowing, reading and obeying the Bible without shame or fear.
Koozma Tarasoff: Mar 3, 2008 I know that you are spiritual person who is interested in searching for the truth about the place of Doukhobors in the religious spectrum of things. The 'Spirit Within' is fundamental to Doukhobor understanding. Through the centuries, Doukhobors developed an alternative view of spirituality and morality from the Orthodox Church.
Let us recall several facts. Doukhobors distanced themselves from the official church 350 years ago. They found this institution corrupt, exploitative, and superfluous. Within the church, the Bible is a book which had existed for centuries. In the late 1800s Lev N. Tolstoy in his extensive research on Jesus of Nazareth's teachings found that there were countless changes made to the original Biblical writiings. Some teachings were totally omitted, some were deliberately misinterpreted, others were inserted under the illusion that they were those of Jesus. The Doukhobors came to the same conclusion and instead shifted their gaze to the actual lifestyle of the individual and not mere rhetoric in print. In sum, they argued that our deeds must be a measure of our level of spiritual development.
As to how the Doukhobors viewed the Bible, let us refer to one of the earliest Russian Orthodox theological scholars, Orest Novitsky, who in the 1890s in his Ph.D thesis correctly understood that the early Doukhobors recognized the Bible as a worthwhile collection, containing important writings, but not necessarily the direct word of God. He found that the Doukhobors viewed the Bible as a 'dead book', in contrast to the Living Book of oral tradition which lives in our minds and hearts.
Doukhobors selected the best biblical stories, psalms, and questions and answers, revised them in their oral tradition, and out of this developed 'The Doukhobor Book of Life'. However, to this day, Doukhobors universally select bread, salt and water (not the Bible) as the only symbols which they acknowledge and place in front of official sobranie meetings.
For the Doukhobors, Jesus of Nazareth was probably a teacher of wisdom and was a very strong and provocative social critic. Some considered him as 'the first Doukhobor'. For them Jesus was likely a human being who provoked people to come up with their own solutions to their social problems. He encouraged everyone to ask themselves what we can do to resolve our social problems. And out of this came a morality of love stemming from the 'Spirit Within'.
As early as the 1200s the Bogomils (predecessors to the Doukhobors in spirit) and later in the 1700s Doukhobor leader Savely Kapustin considered Jesus as a man with a normal birth. Jesus was the Son of God in the same sense that he represented the divine wisdom. Everything that there is narrated concerning Jesus is repeated in us as an eternal gospel, living in our hearts. We are all Sons and Daughters of God. Often Doukhobors say: 'God is wisdom, God is love, God is man.'
In summary, because Doukhobors do not believe in creeds or in the Bible, they take hard work, respect for the earth and hospitality to one's fellow men and women as the essence of their morality. In this sense, Doukhobors are a social movement whose goal is to create a nonkilling just global society. [Read more on this question at Doukhobor Talks.]
|17. Marketing the Doukhobor Movement ?|
|E-mail with Bill Kalmakoff,
Marketing the Doukhobor Movement
Bill Kalmakoff, editor of The Dove journal, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, wrote an editorial in the July issue:
'As indicated by our Youth presenters at our Manitou Conference "We are at the crossroad, there is a fierce urgency of now, our message is powerful and universal, there is a need to communicate and to market who Doukhobors are." [Also see: Council of Doukhobors in Canada - (BC), Minutes for Meeting May 15, 2007, Attachment #2, and Hodge Podge: 2008 Feb 23 Restructuring Committee Formed on the Future of the USCC]
In the April issue of The Dove, Bill wrote:
'We have had many publications and brochures on Doukhobor values, beliefs, a way of life, put out by various Societies and individuals, throughout the years. There is a need to revise these.'In response, Koozma J. Tarasoff wrote:
'A up-to-date and revised brochure on Doukhobor values and beliefs already exists in my latest book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002) where Wisdom of the Ages appears in Chapter IV.'
'This is an excellent treatment of Doukhobor values and beliefs ... and perhaps should be reprinted in a Booklet ... However, I still see the need to have prepared a one or two page brochure which could be handed out to visitors to our Societies, to Multi-faith groups, and to the general public, explaining who we are and indicating where further information can be obtained.'
|18. Support Israel COs ?|
From: "Laura Savinkoff" <email@example.com>
Palestine, please sign petition before Dec 18
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008
To: "Alex Atamanenko Ottawa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Israeli teenagers imprisoned for refusing to serve in Israeli military in Palestine, please sign petition before Dec 18
Hi All: I received this email about teenagers in Israel who are being sent to Israeli Military prisons for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories in Palestine. Being imprisoned for being a Conscientious Objector.
In Israel, if a young person refuses to serve in the Israeli military in the Occupied Territories they are put in prison for two weeks, then they are interviewed by military psychologists to determine if they are now willing to serve. If not then back to prison for another two weeks. This is repeated until they agree to serve. Imagine this being the official policy in Canada.
I have sent you this message in the belief that you will feel motivated to take a minute and help those students who refuse to abuse the Palestinians. Please do so. Simply go to http://december18th.org and fill out the quickie form.
PS: Please forward this to all your contacts
December 17, 2008
From: William Kanigan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Hi Koozma: I just learned about this today [from Fred Makortoff, Council of Doukhobors in Canada]. Did you know about this movement? How admirable these young people know the meaning of love. How can the Doukhobors be inspired to support them in a very real way?
The Shministim (Hebrew for 12th graders) are a group of CO Israeli high school students jailed in August for refusing to serve in their army because it enforces occupation of Palestinian land. They sent out a plea for help The Shministim Letter 2008 and ask you to send your message to Israel to free them. Jews for Justice for Palestinians lists actions to support those in jail. The "refuzniks" are calling for an "International Shministim day of action on December 18".
Koozma Tarasoff: December 17, 2008
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