Thursday, 29 September 2022

Human Chain for Release of Assange

Peter Biesterfeld <>, film documenter and filmmaker from Toronto, Ontario, reminded us all about the October 8th Free Assange Day, being held around the world. Peter kindly sent us the following poster for the Ottawa area, inviting the public to support the release of Julian Assange. We fully support this international effort. Please come and invite your friends to this special place in Canada for a very special occasion. 

 From Wikipedia

Julian Paul Assange  Hawkins; born 3 July 1971) is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.[a] These leaks included the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder video (April 2010),[4][5] the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and Cablegate (November 2010). After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Alex A. Wishlow, 91 (1930-2022), Creston, BC

We gladly send our sincere condolences to the wider Wishlow family in the passing of a memorable personality. Alex was a creative teacher for 37 years, and one of the first Doukhobors to adopt computer technology in his courses. He passionately worked to promote multiculturalism as the way to tolerance and understanding of others.

Alex chaired the Canadian Doukhobor Society (CDS) for many years and persistently reminded its members to be a great example to others. As part of a 65-member 1995 'Voices for Peace Choir' that went international, he actively promoted peace and nonkilling as the way to our future. Alex will be missed. May he rest in peace.

Creston’s Larry Ewashen and Alex Wishlow attend Castlegar unveiling of historic Doukhobor plaquesCreston Valley Advance, October 18, 2012 — Peter V. Verigin was declared a Person of National Historic Significance, and the migration of the Doukhobors from Saskatchewan to British Columbia an event of National Historic Significance.

Read my biography (above) of Alex titled: 'Educator in the Interior of British Columbia' from Koozma J. Tarasoff, Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002): 105-106.

In 2014, Alex addressed a meeting held at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre (photo above)

See his Facebook page with a family photos

Alex's obituary at G.F. Oliver Funeral Chapel is simple: 
Donate to the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in his memory.

John E. Atamanenko, 91 (1930-2022), Saskatoon, SK

Left: Spirit Wrestlers, 2002, page 310.
Center: Obituary, Dignity Memorial, 2022.
Right: DSS
Christmas Meeting, Saskatoon, 2018.

John and I are close in age and have known each other for many years. I was Best Man at his wedding. We worked together building bridges of understanding between the East and the West, and getting to know the stranger.
  • We promoted cultural tours to the Soviet Union as well as joint business ventures.
  • In 1988, John raised funds for Vakhit V. Sharipov of Kazan, and myself to come to Saskatoon to meet Doukhobor Canadians.
  • There were many times that John generously helped with accommodation and travel related to East-West exchanges. In the 1980s, as van drivers and organizers, John and Koozma escorted a western Canada tour of Soviet poets to Alberta and British Columbia.
  • We promoted the distribution of Russian films and videos to Canadians.
That ancient wisdom is dearly needed today between the Russian Federation and the West. The welfare of the world depends on this understanding so that we can build trust to mutually work towards a peaceful world. Is anyone listening? As a generous man, John will be missed. Sincere condolences to the wider family.

In 1976 he was mentioned in his ag newsletter:
John Atamanenko '54 is now Manager of The Carpet Warehouse in Saskatoon. He has just built a new store and would be glad to have you drop in. (Saskatchewan Agricultural Graduates Association Newsletter, No 145, December 1976, page 4, col. 2)

In 2002, I included this short biography and photo (above) in my big book: Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002), page 310.
John E. Atamanenko, an agronomist by training, has worked variously as an owner of a carpet store, a bingo hall, and as a farmer. An active proponent of EastWest cultural exchanges, he is best known as founder of the Saskatoon Russian Cultural Club. The Club has promoted the use of Russian language, assisted the Russian Pavilion in town, has shown Russian movies, and has arranged for the visit to Canada of Soviet artists, students, professional and business people. His cousin Alex Atamanenko, in Castlegar, BC, is an international Russian-English interpreter, educator, and karate instructor, while Alex's brother George Atamanenko is an agricultural expert in Vancouver.

In 2003 John helped launch a project to conserve and promote an area north of Saskatoon near Blaine Lake, where he was raised. They formed the Riverlands Heritage Region project committee, ‘to preserve the historical contributions of Russian peoples who settled on the Canadian prairies over a century ago.’ By 2007 he served as president and treasurer and helped write a progress report about the project: Riverlands Heritage Region Formed in Saskatchewan. In 2015 the tour map (above) was published, titled 'Petrofka to Wingard'. By 2017 the new Riverlands website presented a virtual tour, maps, and video.

More of John’s active biography can be seen in his Obituary in The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon, and at Dignity Memorial Funeral Home.

Plant a tree in his memory.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Frank Wm. Konken, 94 (1927-2022)

Click to Enlarge

One of the early times I learned of Frank was when we published this article in The Inquirer, February 1956: 'The Capacity Crowd Thrilled by Choir', News from British Columbia by John J. Chernenkoff —

On January 13 a capacity crowd saw the Grand Forks Youth Choir (Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ) put on a concert at the K. P. Hall [Knights of Pythias Hall, Salmo, B.C.].

Frank Konken, master of ceremonies and director of the 30 voice mixed choir, introduced the numbers in both Russian and English. The first part of the program consisted of hymns and spiritual numbers while the second part took on a classic and romantic vein.

Choir members John Novakshonoff, Peter and Lucy Gretchen urged the strengthening of Doukhobor faith and the promotion of better understanding between peoples.

For decades I periodically kept in touch with my friend, singer-musician Frank Konken. Our last call was a few days before he died on December 10, 2021. In a letter to me January 6th, 2022, his wife Ruby wrote: 'Frank always had great admiration for you and looked forward to talking with you.' Below is a list of publications about his productive life.

Condolences to Ruby and children Frank Konken Jr , Stefanie Zaytsoff, Jamie Konken. Sadly, daughter Dominca 'Damanya' Sweet died in 2020.

In Memory

'A Tovarischi' Adventurous Performer' (PDF), from my 2002 book: Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living, page 252.

Frank William Konken, Obituaries, Iskra, January 2022, No. 2170, pages 37-39.

Frank Konken, Obituaries, Grand Forks Gazette and Castlegar News, December 10, 2021

Folksinger Frank Konken dies at 94, by Greg Nesteroff, My Kootenay Now, Dec. 21, 2021; copied on Facebook: 102.3 Juice FM (radio).

Frank Konken, 10 Dec 2021 (aged 94), USCC Sion Cemetery, Find-A-Grave.

Trail Blazers: Renowned musicians Frank and Ruby Konken: From country to Russian tunes, the Konkens are instrumental players in the world of recorded music, by Sheri Regneir, Rossland News and Trail Times, Apr. 22, 2021.

Tovarischi (Comrades): Frank Konken, William Saliken, Fred Zibin,

Frank & Ruby Konken,, 1999

The Tovarischi collection,, — "...the largest contribution [of] music with intrumentation ... Beginning in 1954, a total of 21 records (42 sides) ..."

Frank and Ruby Konken: Russian Folk Songs — 10 audio files uploaded by 2019 on

Tovarischi [Hits: 23803] Label of Canadian Doukhobors. 42 songs recorded 1954-1955+ on 21 45-RPM records, from

Вечная память! Vechnaya Pamyat! Eternal memory! Rest in peace, Frank.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Doukhobors Celebrate Destruction of Guns in 1895

As 'de-Militarization and de-Natizification' is taking place in Ukraine, as the USA is struggling with gun violence, mass shootings and police brutality, and as Canada is proposing to ‘freeze…handguns’ and other safety measures, Canadian Doukhobors will celebrate the 127th anniversary of their ancestors burning their guns in Russia in 1895.

In Russia 127 years ago, pacifist Doukhobors burned all their guns once and for all. No weapons. No killing. For their protest they were severely punished. Many died. In 1898 they were given sanctuary in Canada and military exemption. About 8,300 came.

For over a century, Canadian Doukhobors have commemorated their 1895 burning of guns as a major annual holiday. This year ‘Peace Day’ will be held on Sunday, June 26th.

1895 Burning of Guns. Painting recreated by Michael M. Voykin, 1974.
On display in the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, Castlegar, British Columbia.

‘Peace Day’ gatherings, also known as 'Peter's Day' will take place in community halls in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at the Community Home, 525 Avenue I South, people will gather Sunday June 26th for a prayer service at 11 am, followed by a program and potluck. The Quakers, Tolstoy, the country they left and the country that saved them will be remembered., or contact elder Mae Popoff (email: 

Canadian Doukhobors fully support the long overdue new law to ‘freeze’ guns, but recommend banning all weapons of mass destruction. They continue to promote a nonkilling peace as the way to the future of humankind. For them, war is madness. Money spent on wars should be turned into new institutions for the betterment of humanity. Demilitarization is the way for our future survival.

CBC podcast: '50 years after the Napalm Girl photo, what do you see?

"1973 Photo Contest, World Press Photo of the Year". By Nick Ut, Associated Press, 1972.

The madness of war as a criminal act was brought to my attention by the famous Vietnam war photo "The Terror of War", showing Phan Thi Kim Phuc running down a road near Trảng Bàng, Vietnam, after a napalm bomb was dropped on the village of Trảng Bàng by a plane of the Vietnam Air Force. The village was suspected by United States Army forces of being a Viet Cong stronghold. Kim Phúc survived by tearing off her burning clothes and running with her 2 brothers and cousins.

Kim Phuc Phan Thai, now lives in Ajax, Ontario, near Toronto. On June 22, 2022, she was interviewed on the 'Ontario Today CBC podcast: '50 years after the Napalm Girl photo, what do you see?' For me, it was a moving conversation about the power of this photograph on its 50th anniversary.

Napalm that nearly killed Kim was developed in 1942 in the USA as an 'incendiary weapon' to burn buildings, not people. Tears came to my eyes as I listened to Kim, a victim of war, who deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for revealing this horror of inhumanity. She spent 14 months in the hospital to regain her health from the terrible napalm fire she endured.

This 50-year-old image helps to educate us to work for a peaceful world. Kim says: 'Our responsibility is to make people know how horrible war is.’ The truth of the photo is painful, but important to see her today as mother, as grandmother, and as a survivor.

Posing with Kim on her left are Anne Chursinoff, Castlegar, and Lucy Tarasoff, Crescent Valley (right), who performed in the Friends in Unity and Krestova Ladies Kootenay Doukhobor women’s combined choir. Photo from 'Our Way Home Reunion ... Something's Happening Here', Purple Mountain Poetry blog by Linda Lee Crosfield, 10 July 2006.

BC Doukhobors met Kim in July 2006. She was a keynote speaker with Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Our Way Home Peace Event and Reunion held at the Brilliant Culture Centre, Castlegar, British Columbia.

As we commemorate the 127th anniversary of the arms burning in 1895, let’s not forget the pain of countless wars in human history — and the urgent need to stop this mass murder from continuing and threatening our civilization. Wars must stop once and for all. As concerned citizens, we all need to add our energies to this sacred duty of saving ourselves and succeeding generations from the scourge of wars. NATO should cease, as should NORAD!


Historic 1895 Burning of Guns: descriptions, selections and translations, by Koozma J. Tarasoff with Andrei Conovaloff, June 24, 2009. Updated 28 April 2022.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

100s Protest Canada Weapons Show

OTTAWA. June 1 — About 250 people, the most ever in recent years, protested ‘Canada’s Largest Global Defence & Security Trade Show’ for 2022. This year’s protest theme was: ‘Oppose CANSEC Weapons Fair’. It began at 7 am and ended about 10:30 am. A few activists continued next day. 

The event was hosted by Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Anti-Imperialist Alliance and World BEYOND War. Many peace groups participated.

See my 122 photos — More photos + videos #Cancel CANSEC

The David and Goliath scenario unfolded quickly. While hundreds of participants gathered outside the EY Centre in Ottawa to deliver peace messages as cars arrived, an estimated 12,000 members of Canada’s military-industrial-parliament complex conducted their lethal business inside.

Collage of most of the signs and banners. Some were in French and other languages.

What struck me this year was how many young people turned out, and the protest was global. A cluster of signs protested conflicts in India, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico.

The youth exerted much more energy than most of my generation of protesters did in the past. Using a loud speaker, they chanted “Who? WE! When? NOW! We’re going to bring imperialism down!” (17 sec. video)./div>

Some persistently blocked pedestrians and cars, shouting sharp words:
  • ‘Go Home.’
  • ‘Terrorists.’
  • ‘Shame on you.’
  • ‘Stop Having Blood on Your Hands.’

Three courageously laid on the street to block traffic.

Some used blow horns to shame the warmongers. All proudly emphasized our many peace messages against escalating wars. Among the two dozen police present were a few liaison officers who made sure the protestors rights were respected. No one was arrested, but a few were given warnings.

Inside the EY Centre, arms dealers, international buyers, government officials, and others came to negotiate lucrative contracts, and lobby for larger military budgets as NATO is preparing for a possible WW3. The Ukraine war was much on their minds sparking large profits on the stock market. The profit motive seems to have taken over for any chance of getting to know the stranger and working cooperatively for win-win solutions. The threat of a nuclear catastrophe was ignored. Is anyone listening?

The next day, June 2, a few protesters came and they were prohibited from posting signs on the fences used for many years. They decided to move across the street and hold their signs where they could be seen by entering cars.

Since 1989, the business of arms trade shows have faced strong opposition in Ottawa, but the government always gave in to big business. In 2009 I began to volunteer as a peace photographer and reporter for these annual events.

See all my illustrated CANSEC Ottawa Reports Since 2009 and links to reports on 13 Ottawa Peace Festivals from 2007 to 2019. For the 2022 event, see my 122 photos, and more photos and videos at #Cancel CANSEC.


#CancelCANSEC, Facebook

Protest against the CANSEC arms fair "The people united. We'll never be defeated!", YouTube (video 16 sec) National Observer.

Protest denounces CANSEC arms trade show, by Brent Patterson,, May 24, 2022

Monday, 9 May 2022

New cartoons on Ukraine by Talimonov

Russian / Ukrainian celebrated political cartoonist Alexey Talimonov sent me 20+ new illustrations.  Most are about the Ukraine war. A few cover global warming and the economy. None have captions, which you can suggest in comments on the album or below.

Talimonov's cartoons on Ukraine 2022 (March 1, 2017–April 20, 2022),
Album by Koozma J Tarasoff, April 21, 2022

My previous articles about Talimonov

Sunday, 6 March 2022

90 Years of Memories

On February 19, 2022, about 60 people and I celebrated my 90th birthday ONLINE!

My wife and our daughters arranged the event which featured prerecorded video messages, phone calls, and some sent an email or letter. Thank you all.

In early February my daughter Tamara and her husband John, and Kristina with her daughter Milena, decided to arrange a virtual party. They invited many people to submit short video messages at a website, or any way the guests would like. About 60 people participated resulting in a 1.5 hour video and more than a dozen emails, cards and letters.

Kristina wanted to create a photo album of my life, and we selected about 50 photos which became a slide show presentation of my '90 Years of Memories'.

See everything here:

  • Videos submitted (1.5 hours) — Link to be added.
  • Slide show of my life — Link to be added.
  • Emails received

During the planning process, I began to reflect on my 90 years and listed these highlights of my life so far, a short version of my biography and 50 Years of Doukhobor Studies.

  1. Born in 1932 in this farm house to parents and grandparents who came from Russian Doukhobor roots. Believed that hospitality, love and nonkilling are the way to a world without wars.

  2. Met Tyrus R. Cobb world famous baseball pioneer. Invited for tryout in 1953 to Pittsburgh Pirates in California. Did not make it, but exercises that I learned from Lloyd Percival of CBC Sports College of the Air persist today 70 years later.

  3. At the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where I took my BA in Arts and Sciences in the 1950s, I produced 50 monthly journals of The Inquirer at my grandparent's attic next door, which led me to become a journalist, photographer, scholar, and peace activist.

  4. After attending the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1957 in Moscow, this led me to make 12 additional trips to the Soviet Union and Russia as a bridge-building effort between the East and the West (1957, 1964, 1980, 1991, etc, ). The wisdom of getting to know the stranger persists today as one of key steps to help the people and the planet to survive.

  5. In the early 1960s, at UBC in Vancouver, I was privileged to get my MA in Anthropology and Sociology, with my thesis on 'A Study of Russian Organizations in the Greater Vancouver Area' (PDF, 15 GB). The Cold War, I discovered, was the critical element in what brings people together and what splits them apart.

  6. In 1964, as a Russian and English speaking grad of UBC, I was invited to the International Ethnological Congress in Moscow where I met anthropologists Margaret Mead and Sol Tax.

  7. In 1980, as guest Doukhobor peacemaker and photo journalist, I reported on the Summer Olympics in Moscow as a Slavic representative for North and South America. What an awesome responsibility!

  8. Over the past 60 years I have organized a number of scholarly ethnographic studies and exchanges across North America (including a 1990 3-month North American Ethnographic Expedition with Russian scholar Svetlana Inikova), the Soviet Union and Russia on my ancestors the Doukhobors and East-West understanding. Together with my work in the provincial and federal governments as social scientists, this led me to publish over 25 books and 50 articles; the gifting to the Saskatchewan Archives and BC Archives major collections of textual materials and photographs on Doukhobors, rural development, Native Indians, and ethnography; the creation of a Spirit Wrestlers website and blog with Arizona scholar Andrei Conovaloff.

  9. In November 2007, I presented a paper on 'Tolstoy and the Doukhobors' at the First Leadership Forum in Hawaii where the Center for Global Nonkilling formed; and served as reporter and photographer for 13 Ottawa Peace Festivals.

  10. In 1982 co-organized with Community Doukhobors, the First International Intergroup Symposium of Doukhobors, Molokans, Mennonites and Quakers, held in Castlegar, British Columbia, with many prominent people including the great grandson of Lev N. Tolstoy, a major world writer and proponent of nonkilling. The meeting endorsed a letter to the UN on disarmament and getting rid of wars.

  11. With distinguished Doukhobor lawyer Peter G. Makaroff (the first non-Anglo-Saxon grad in Western Canada with a law degree in 1918), and participating Doukhobor, Quaker and Mennonite reps, in 1964 and 1965, I coordinated and helped organize four major peace manifestations in Western Canada urging the government to cease research and production of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, and work towards the survival of our human species.

  12. Between 1996 and 1998, served as guest co-Curator with Dr. Robert Klymasz on 'The Doukhobors: Spirit Wrestlers' exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, commemorating the centenaries of the  Doukhobor destruction of weapons in 1895 in Russia and the January 1899 arrival of the first Doukhobors to Canada.

  13. We all know that it takes a village to raise members of a family. My grandparents and parents along with my newly acquired families and offspring deserve praise for their support. Son Lev is professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland where he is modeling the last Ice Age and is searching the major parameters of climate change. Daughter Tamara, now retired as a museum professional, recently spent the last three years working in Nunavut as Project Manager, Wrecks HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site. Their spouses, Dorothee Bienzle is an accomplished researcher and doctor, and John Pinkerton is a retired international manager for Parks Canada. Their children Jaspar and Katya along with Tamara and John's offspring (Nicholas and Elena) are outstanding students, athletes and outdoors people like their parents. I always marvel at being so lucky to be part of their family circle. 

  14. As well, I marvel at the challenge of keeping alive my 30-year marriage with Kristina Kristova, a pioneering journalist who once served for 24 years as anchor person with the Bulgarian National Television. Her daughter Milena is a music teacher in Ottawa, while son Orlin is in Sofia, Bulgaria, as a professional keyboard composer / musician. Kristina introduced me to her most fascinating Bulgarian community who have given me the title of 'Honourary Member' although I have not learned much Bulgarian language.

  15. In the 90 years of my life, this family along with all the people that I have met around the world (in person, in books and in the media), I consider all of you remarkable and many are friends and wisdom people. Bolshoe spasibo! Thank you very much! You have taught me so much. I wish all of you to live at least to 90 with good health, joy, peace and happiness.

  16. Personally, I look forward to many more years of productive life. In my work, I never got rich in money, but rich in ideas, in friendship, and in the vision of my ancestors for a peaceful world without wars.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

New Book on Doukhobor Biographies

Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and Their Friends
has just been published as a text with 459 pages and 340 images, and as a free eBook online. See press release

This 2022 book is a continuation of my 2002 book ― Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies for Living.  

To update the first book 20 years later, I invited more people associated with the Doukhobor Movement to submit their biographies, and many did.

33 biographies came from around the world ― Canada (24), Russia (5), USA (2), Caribbean West Indies (1), and Australia (1). Four have no direct Doukhobor heritage. 

They are:
  • scholars
  • lawyer
  • ministers
  • educators
  • professors
  • civil servant
  • medical doctor
  • administrators
  • heritage builder
  • Slavic specialist
  • community activist
  • geophysical engineer
  • petroleum consultant
  • wheat pool director
  • singers and musicians
  • museum professional
  • artist, storyteller, dancer
  • communications worker
  • early childhood educator
  • digital technology expert
  • ethnographer and folklorist
  • entrepreneur with a conscience
  • organic candy maker in Australia
  • organic architect in the Caribbean
  • international consular property manager
  • Canadian family in Russia living
    next to the Lev N. Tolstoy estate 
These 33 Doukhobor pioneers and their friends exhibit an extraordinary spirit and talent to create a peaceful and healthy society. Their combined lessons of friendship, love, problem solving, and respect for humanity give us hope for the future of our species on planet earth. 

This large book with 340 images was a voluntary effort. The printing was funded by a very generous donation from geological engineer Michael N. Chernoff of West Vancouver, born in Veregin, Saskatchewan. His big brother Charlie has a biography in the book. 

A limited number of printed copies were distributed to the biographers, to select libraries and archives around the world, to several book reviewers, and to a number of individuals (‘the unsung heroes’). The distribution was made free as an expression of loving dedication to the Doukhobor experience and their hope for a peaceful nonkilling world society. 

The online version will be updated over time. Printed copies can be ordered from Manager Jia Hou, Merriam Print Inc., 252 Laurier Ave. East, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6P4. Phone Jia at 613-567-5050, or email 

About the Author

Koozma J. Tarasoff was born in 1932 on an isolated Saskatchewan farm 35 miles north-west of Saskatoon. With father John K., mother Anastasia, and brother John J. in the early 1940s, he moved to Saskatoon for public schooling. He got his BA in social sciences at the University of Saskatchewan and in 1962 went to University of British Columbia for his MA in Anthropology and Sociology. 

After graduation in 1964, for three years, he worked for the Province of Saskatchewan doing ethnographic studies of the Native Indians in the Broadview area. Next he joined the Federal Government in Winnipeg and then Ottawa where he worked for Regional Economic Expansion with submarginal rural areas and Natives. In the spring of 1979, the Canadian Council of Rural Development where he was last working was dissolved and he lost his job. That change allowed him to work as an independent ethnographer, photojournalist, and author on the Doukhobors and the peace movement. 

To date, Koozma Tarasoff has written 25 books, including those on native Canadians, rural development, east-west peace making, and major works on his heritage ― the Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors. With webmaster Andrei Conovaloff of Arizona, USA, Koozma today hosts the Spirit Wrestlers website and blog ― ― from Canada’s capital Ottawa. 

Update: February 4, 2022

Among the many people who got a copy of this new book was David Swanson, director of World BEYOND War, ‘a global movement to end all wars’. He was inspired by the contents, and on January 28, 2022, posted: ‘Can We Learn Anything From Russian-Canadian Pacifists?’  

Swanson mentioned Tolstoy, Doukhobors, 1895 Burning of Arms, and quoted a paragraph from Dr. Ashleigh Androsoff's biography.

In response to Swanson’s article, Jim Popoff and Dr. Androsoff sent replies to me, which are copied below in the Comments section. Please add your comments and replies on either blog.

Note that the comment posted after Swanson article by Andrei Conovaloff is missing 3 links:
     'For clarification of the first 2 paragraphs, see:

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Canada, Get Out of NATO !

On January 18th, 2022, a coalition of Canadian peace groups issued a press release and petition that urgently demands the Canadian government and the public to take immediate action for a peaceful nonkilling settlement with Russia.

About 30 peace groups in Canada formed a joint initiative, led by the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, World Beyond War, the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, and more, to urge the Government of Canada to take immediate steps to de-escalate and demilitarize Ukraine, and to engage diplomatically in long-term peace and security with Russia, and throughout Europe. 

Please sign this petition << CLICK

      Government of Canada:

And please START WRITING to your government.
Do your part to stop the Armageddon from happening.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Business For Sale:
Family Pastimes Co-operative Games

Retiring Doukhobor seeks new owner to continue his family business of crafting cooperative board games about peace, health and ecology

Jim and Ruth Deacove

‘It’s time to retire’, says Jim Deacove. ‘’We haven’t widely advertised that Ruth and I are stepping down after 50 years of the co-operative game business, but word is getting round and a variety of offers are coming our way. The Sales Prospectus summarizes our offer. Some folks just want the portfolio of Intellectual Property.

‘Some want to move the business to another city. Some want to buy everything: the 100 acre farm, our house, the business. In the meantime it is a joy to come to the shop every day, read and answer the mail, fill the orders, make some more games in small batches. Just like the meaningful hobby that was started long ago, a social mission disguised as a business. Maybe 'Small is Beautiful' after all. Could be a perfect fit for a retired couple for a meaningful hobby.’

For details download the Family Pastimes Sale Prospectus. (PDF)

Contact: — Phone: 613-267- 4819.
               Family Pastimes, RR 4, Station Main, 796 Brooke Valley Road,
               Perth, Ontario, Canada K7H 3C6

Sale Prospectus summary:
  1. Registered trademark for next 12 years.
  2. No debt.
  3. Equipment — $222,000
  4. Finished goods — $95,000.
  5. Materials — $150,000.
  6. Intellectual property of every game, the artwork for labels, game faces, card parts, available at 10% royalty to Jim Deacove, annually on Gross Revenue.
  7. Books, like Co-operative Parlor Games (30 games, 36 pages)
  8. Rental use of all buildings: main shop, woodwork cottage, storage cottage, two 53-foot trailers for storage.
  9. Customer base from 50 years in business grew to $500,000 before the depression of 2008; since then, averaging $125,000 annually. Except during the Covid-19 period.
  10. Affiliates in the USA, Australia, and Europe.

  1. Jim Passing the Family Pastimes Torch: an interview with Jim and Ruth Deacove’, The Humm (Arts, Entertainment & Ideas in the Ottawa Valley), October 19, 2021.
  2. ‘Vaccine’ for a ‘Competitive Virus’, by Jim Deacove. Spirit Wrestlers, April 20, 2021.
  3. Cooperative games? Are you serious? A remarkable Canadian success story.’ By Jim Deacove, as retold to Koozma J. Tarasoff. In 150 Canadian Stories of Peace. An Anthology (2017), compiled by Gordon Breedyk, Mony Dojeiji, Koozma J. Tarasoff and Evelyn Voigt. Pages 265-266.
  4. Why I Wrote My Book on Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors?’, October 31, 2014. — Includes an illustrated feature on Jim Deacove.
  5. Film review: Krishnamurti’s Search for Truth.’ Film hosted by Jim Deacove, Cooperative Family Pastimes, Spirit Wrestlers website August 30, 2011.
  6. A Remarkable Evening With Cooperative Pioneers, Jim and Ruth Deacove’, Spirit Wrestlers January 22, 2011.
  7. Co-operative Games and the Inventor Jim Deacove’, August 6, 2008. — A full biography.
  8. Deacove farm (Perth, Ontario) Ploughshares board game.’ Hodge-Podge section of Spirit Wrestlers website July 23, 2006.
  9. Spirit of Co-operation in a Competitive Society’ (PDF), Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies for Living, by Koozma J. Tarasoff (2002): pages 236-241.
  10. Spirit of Co-operation in a Competitive Society’ (PDF, 5.6 Mb), by Jim Deacove, in Spirit Wrestlers' Voices: Honouring Doukhobors on the Centenary of their migration to Canada, compiled and edited by Koozma J. Tarasoff (1999): pages 183-197.
  11. Jim Deacove, Board Game Designer, Board Game Geek.
  12. A Valley Gamemaker, by Mary Cooke, 2009, Seniors Young At Heart, Ever Learning.
  13. Jim Deacove, Author, Titles,
  14. 5 Questions with Board Game Designer Jim Deacove, PuzzleNation, July 17, 2014.
  15. Family Pastimes - Jim Deacove, The Games Journal, November 2000.
  16. Does Your Family Play Cooperative Games? Cooperative Games Family Pastimes, by Melissa Taylor.
  17. Meet Jim and Ruth Deacove in Canada, Facebook, February 3, 2012.
  18. Buddy the frog goes to Family Pastimes cooperative games!, video by Juan Uribe, Sep 14, 2009.
  19. Co-operative Games, podcast interview by Sandy Goldman, Each for All, September 11, 2018.
  20. Hope, Peace and Play: An Interview With Jim Deacove of Family Pastimes, Fair Play Games.
  21. Jim Deacove (Family Pastimes Cooperative Games), Friday Special Blend, with Chris White, CKCU FM 93.1 Radio, August 14, 2020.
  22. Local Cooperative Game Company Goes Digital, The Humm, March 2015 (PDF, 22MB), page 8.

Passing the Family Pastimes Torch: an interview with Jim and Ruth Deacove 
by Kris Riendeau, Editor & Publisher, The Humm, October 19, 2021.

When the world seems to be changing incredibly quickly, it’s good to know that some things are made to last. In the case of Family Pastimes, those things come in colourful boxes and contain imaginative and cooperative games! Owners Jim and Ruth Deacove have been running this delightful business in Brooke Valley for 50 years and are now well into their eighties. I have fond memories of playing such games as “Sleeping Grump” and “Max the Cat” with my own kids (who are now aged 27 and 30), so when I heard that the Deacoves were getting ready to sell this established business, I contacted them for more details. 

theHumm: Congratulations on 50 years in business! What first inspired you to create cooperative games, and how did you turn that passion into a business? 

When our girls first started playing games, they were always squabbling and first we questioned our parenting methods until we realized that the structure of the games caused the conflicts. After all, the point of the game was to beat each other. We looked around Ottawa game stores and couldn’t find any games that nurtured the family values we promoted, share toys, help one another, be kind to pets, find peaceful ways to settle problems, aso. Nada. So, necessity being the mother of invention, we started inventing them. Played our creations at birthday parties. Folks asked where they could buy them. Ergo, a cottage industry was born. 

Although the world has changed rather significantly over the past half-century, Family Pastimes has stayed true to the cooperative game model. What have been some of the biggest changes in your games and the way you market and sell them? 

With new equipment, we made our handcrafted versions look more professional. The basic rule of thumb for my designs has always remained, Play Together. That is, I don’t have people against people. What has evolved is that early on, I marketed the games as Everyone Wins or Everyone Loses. My thinking has evolved away from this rather competitive Win/Lose paradigm to How well did we all do? Now we measure the degree of success and there is no losing involved. Didn’t get all of our carrots harvested before winter arrived? How many did we get in? We started out selling at craft sales, then to retail stores, and now we sell on our website 

Why do you think it’s still important to offer kids (of all ages) cooperative, hands-on games to play?

What skills are fostered by playing Family Pastimes games that perhaps aren’t addressed by electronic toys and video games? The list is long from conducive to better health and liking one another; teamwork, shared decision making, openness, trust and safety, self worth and personal power, less aggressive behaviour, emotional maturity…all the myths about competition are dispelled. Cultural conditioning trains us to confuse success with trying to beat others. All games require overcoming some obstacle, but nowhere is it written that the obstacle must be other people. 

I understand that you are hoping to sell the business to someone new who can run it for the next 50 years. What kind of abilities and expertise would make someone a good match for this business?

Having a kind heart is essential. Family Pastimes is very much a social mission disguised as a business. As the business grew internationally, took on a fair-sized work force, the help of local business experts were necessary. Currently, Covid has made us small again and, to be honest, while we have been big and whoever takes on Family Pastimes again may choose to go big, they may realize what we are feeling now and that is that small is beautiful. 

Ruth and I are keeping the business almost at the level it was when we began 50 years ago, as a meaningful hobby. Digital printing, cutting and assembling parts, gluing game boards and boxes and so on are easily learned. It is a little more complicated preparing invoices and labeling cartons, because this is done by internet these days, but that also is easily learned. There are two, if not more, ways the hand-over could take place. A young couple with the technical skills in place could take over. But, also I picture a recently retired couple who are looking for a meaningful hobby would also be a perfect fit. In any case, interested folks can contact me at and I will send them a detailed Sales Prospectus.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Jim D. Kolesnikoff (1936–2021)

Jim D. Kolesnikoff, a stalwart of the Doukhobor Movement, died in Hamilton, Ontario on June 29, 2021, remarkably on the exact date of the Doukhobor Arms Burning in Russia 126 years ago. 

Three important historical occasions brought Jim and myself together.

  1. 1957 — December. At the all-Doukhobor youth conference: ‘Building bridges of understanding’. Jim was one of the hosts. The Saskatoon Doukhobor Students’ Group initiated meetings with Community Doukhobor students in British Columbia to jointly discuss ‘Where do we go from here?’ Jim is seated on the right end in this group photo. (See: ‘Young Adult Tour of Western Canada’, The Inquirer, December 1957, pages 8-12.)

  2. 1982 — June 25-28. During the International Intergroup Symposium that brought together over 1,000 Doukhobors, Mennonites, Quakers, and American Spiritual Christians from Russia, to Castlegar, BC. Jim served as Secretary of the Convening Committee of four (Jim Kolesnikoff, John J. Verigin Sr., Jim E. Popoff, and me Koozma J. Tarasoff as Coordinator) and signed a letter to the United Nations.

  3. 1999 — October 22-24. At the Doukhobor Centenary in Canada conference held at Ottawa University, Jim presented: ‘Understanding violent behaviour: the “Sons of Freedom” case’, published in Doukhobor Centenary in Canada (edited by Andrew Donskov, John Woodsworth and Chad Gaffield), 2000, pages 114-128.

These events brought Canadian Doukhobors together to focus on examining our identity in the new world today.

  • ‘Who are we?’
  • ‘What contribution can we make to world society?’ 

That’s how I knew Jim.

Jim was born in Watson, Saskatchewan. His family moved to British Columbia where he graduated from high school in 1954. For several years he worked for the Sunshine Valley Co-op and the Grand Forks Credit Union and was an active member of the USCC Union of Youth in a program of singing, the Russian language evening school program and Iskra.  

In the 1960s, Jim attended Moscow State University where he received his MA in Russian language and literature, returned to Canada, and in 1978 obtained his PhD in Slavic Linguistics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

A big event in Jim’s life was meeting Nina, a Polish student on scholarship in Moscow. They married in 1968 and moved to Canada the same year. They lived in Edmonton, Alberta where Nina completed her PhD studies in the Department of Comparative Literature. The couple moved to Hamiliton, Ontario where Nina became a professor of Slavic Studies at McMaster University. Jim commuted to Toronto where he worked with a company (dissolved in 2002) importing precious and semi-precious metals, and jewelry from Russia to Canada.

In 2002 I published a short biography of Jim and his wife: ‘Slavic Scholars Broaden International Boundaries’, Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies for Living (2002), pages 232-233. (PDF, 1.3 Mb)

Jim was interviewed by Gregory James Cran for his doctoral thesis: 'A Narrative Inquiry into the Discourse of Conflict among the Doukhobors and Between the Doukhobors and Government', University of Victoria, 2003, pages 105, 128, and 200. (PDF, 5 Mb). The thesis was modified into a book published in 2011 titled: Negotiating Buck Naked: Doukhobors, Public Policy, and Conflict Resolution, where Jim is quoted on page 81. (See my book review.)

Published Obituaries for James (Jim) Kolesnikoff

  • Iskra, No. 2166, September 2021, pages 35-38. Bilingual Russian and English.
  • Grand Forks Gazette, (photo) June 12, 2021. Photo 
  • Today in BC, Black Press Media (Surrey, B.C.) June 12, 2021

Joan Kazakoff Parker (1934–2021)

 Joan Parker (née Kazakoff) of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, died June 10, 2021 of stage 4 lung cancer. 

She phoned me a few days earlier saying that she was alive and in good humour. 

Joan was born in the Kamsack area of Saskatchewan to Doukhobor parents.

Her son Jeff was looking after her in the home where he was raised and where her husband George, a professional engineer, died May 5, 2018

Surviving are two children Jeff and Wendy, and Wendy’s son Aaron who is а professional chef in London, England.

Her father George Kazakoff miraculously survived the as-yet-unsolved train explosion near Farron, British Columbia in October 1924 which took the lives of Peter V. Verigin and eight others. 

Joan lived in central California where she attended college. She learned of a cousin, Allan Zolnekoff (1953–), adopted by a Dukh-i-zhiznik family near Los Angeles. His mother was her aunt Dunya "Doe" Samoyloff. And, Allan is an adopted cousin of Koozma's webmaster, Andrei Conovaloff, who shared the same step-grandmother. Small world.

In 1984 she toured the Soviet Union with a group that included my mother Anastasia. Smaller world.

Joan was an interesting personality that I have known for many years by email. Though we never met, I interviewed her and published five stories (below). 

Joan did watercolour and acrylic painting, she made jewelry, and became interested in the culinary arts. At the age of 76, Joan Parker published Joan’s Favourites, a cookbook of 350 recipes from around the world including a section from her Russian Doukhobor heritage. The book is liberally embellished with 28 colourful wisdom proverbs I liked so much that I gathered them into a list posted in 2011.

Items I published about Joan:

Monday, 5 July 2021

Artist Bill Perehudoff (1919–2013)

Sketch of Bill Perehudoff
by Russian artist Vladimir Gubanov
Originally posted on 2 March 2013.

William (Bill) Perehudoff was a farmer, designer and artist whom I have known since the 1950s. He died in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on February 26th at the ripe age of 94.

The Saskatoon Doukhobor choir will sing at the funeral at Saskatoon Funeral Home at 10:30 a.m., Monday, March 4. Burial at Bogdanovka (Cee-Pee) Cemetery, 6 miles west of Langham.

For me, Bill was a Doukhobor legend. He illustrated several of my books. In 2002, I wrote:

'One prominent artist in a family of five is an honour. But when the wife [Dorothy Knowles] is also a prominent artist and the children [Rebecca, Catherine, and Carol] are equally promising, that is something outstanding. All were born in Saskatchewan where the landscape and the spirit of the Canadian prairies had affect. William (Bill) Perehudoff (1919- ), the head of the family, comes from a Doukhobor background and has been painting for over fifty years. His passion for form and colours have led him to experiment in his farm studio on the North Saskatchewan River. His perseverance and tenacity appear to stem deeply from his Russian roots.' ('A Family of Artists Reveals Its Prarie Roots', Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002), pp.117-119.)

Little is published about Bill's opposition to militarism and war. During World War II, he was one of 92 Doukhobor absolutist conscientious objectors who chose to go to jail for four months in Prince Albert, Saskatchwan. While many of his contemporaries in the 'English' (other Canadians) world were avid patriots, Bill in his true Doukhobor spirit of plakun trava (meaning, flowing against the current) bravely went against the prevailing military propaganda of the day.

In Saskatoon in 1948, Bill was first known for murals he painted in the Intercontinental Packers Limited cafeteria. In 1952, he began a 25 year career as art director at Modern Press, a company owned by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, and publisher of the weekly Western Producer.

I began to know Bill in 1955 when he contributed Mother and Child, the first of his 5 abstract covers for The Inquirer, the first Doukhobor publication in the English language, which I edited. The original was soon purchased by the Saskatchewan Arts Board (page 10). By 1958, we published four articles about Bill's art career.

Pen and ink work by Bill Perehudoff
of the Arms Burning by Russian Doukhobors in 1895

For my first book, Pictorial History of the Doukhobors, published in 1969, Bill laid out the text and did 16 pen and ink drawings of arms burnings and other historic views. I worked closely with Bill as he greatly enhanced this first pictorial book about the Doukhobors. His images filled in a missing visual texture of our Russian Doukhobor heritage. Coming from a Russian Doukhobor background, Bill had a creative feel for his Slavic roots, and admired the Doukhobor movement.

I vividly remember examining the finished book for the first time at the Doukhobor Historical Village Museum in Verigin, Saskatchewan. It was July 6, 1969, the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Canadians of Russian descent. Bill arrived in his station wagon filled full of books and 16 framed pen and ink drawings. We stacked the books for sale on a table at the meeting site. I sat for hours selling and autographing copies, talking and watching people admire the new pictorial volume. I also bought all his drawings, some of which have been on display in my living room for decades.

In 1980, the Doukhobor land and buildings Verigin was renamed the National Doukhobor Heritage Village. For a while my first book become a rare collector's item which sold for up to $700 a copy. Now you can find lower prices online.

Click to ENLARGE
Doukhobor Dress
In 1977 Bill retired from Modern Press, but continued to paint until 2001 when poor health restricted his work.

When I was co-curating the exhibit The Doukhobors: 'Spirit-Wrestlers' at the Canadian Museum of Civlization in 1995-1997, Bill generously donated a large abstract painting of a Doukhobor sash, acrylic on canvas (Tarasoff, 2002: 118) to the Museum. In 1995 he donated a painting ('Doukhobor Dress', right) to the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in Castlegar, BC. To the National Doukhobor Village Museum in Verigin, Saskatchewan, he donated an artistic depiction in colour of the 1895 arms burning which was then used in the Centennial quilt design (ibid.).

In 1994 was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and in 1999 was named a member of the Order of Canada. He also received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

CBC Interview
At the end of the 1990s the CBC videotaped A Conversation with Bill Perehudoff on resistence to abstract art at his rural home and studio overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. This video was aired again by CBC on February 8, 2013. Bill asserts the need to simplify confusion to allow art to last and 'let colour come alive'.

I feel that Bill Perehudoff is not fully recognized as an abstract modern artist, nor is his Doukhobor heritage well known. A Google search for the name Perehudoff finds 100s of pages about Bill's art career, and images of him and his paintings, even a Wikipedia page. After his death, some of his paintings are being sold for more than $80,000.

In sum, Bill Perehudoff's legacy will carry on not just as a creative artist who experimented with the abstract form as a way to discover something new so as to attract public attention, but also his deep roots in the prairie soil, and in the Russian Tolstoyan Doukhobor tradition of the Spirit Within, including its important nonkilling universal ethic.

We will miss you, Bill, but we will remember the beauty that you have given to the world, as well as the wisdom to work towards a world without wars.

Bravo, my dear friend. Bravo!

Update: 21 May 2018 — Since 2013, Bill's works have been shown and sold in 4 solo shows, 10 group shows, and included in 13 gallery shows.
William Perehudoff (1918-2013), Curriculum Vitae, Artsy. Accessed 21 May 2018.

Update: 5 July 2021 — Since this article was posted on 2 March 2013, it has been targeted with excessive comment spamming. For that reason, the original URL was deleted and reposted here, with the 2 original comments. On 21 July more links and 'Doukhobor Dress' were added.