Sunday 3 December 2023

Awards for Georgia Doukhobor Photos

... and a new book about Doukhobors in Georgia with 90 color prints.
Click to Enlarge.

"Finalist: Natela Grigalashvili: Doukhobor women pick flowers on the Holy Blue tumulus or kurgan, which they visit every year", in 6Mois award for photojournalism – winners and finalists, ... chosen from 177 applications from 40 countries. ... The Guardian, 19 Oct 2021.

This photo of Doukhobor women in Georgia was selected as one of 12 finalists for an international biannual 6Mois Photojournalism Award in 2021. It's #12 of 35 photos in Grigalashvili's project "The Doukhobors' Land". The French name of the Award and cosponsoring magazine translates as "6 months". Two men split the first prize of €10,000 (CAN$14,000) which is awarded twice a year.

In 2021 the project was published as a 144-page bilingual French-English book — La Terre des Doukhobors —144 pages, 90 photos, cost €30.00 (CAD44.00), also at

Grigalashvili, born in 1965 in Khashuri, Georgia, is an independent documentary photographer and the first female Georgian photojournalist. She was born in an grew up in a town between Doukhobors' land and Tbilisi, and now lives in the capital Tbilisi. She mainly works on long-term documentary projects in the rural areas of Georgia focusing on the lives and issues of people living in villages and provincial cities. (About Natela Grigalashvili, LensCulture, 2023) Her colour photos are published in several European magazines.

The day she first visited these Dukhobors in 2013 happened to be during a funeral. She was so overwhelmed with the ritual that she stated: "I decided to die as a Doukhobor."

Video interview, at minute 10:53..

See her translated interview segment about Doukhobors in Georgia (minutes 7:48 to 12:19) in Natela Grigalashvili - In search of something extraordinary in the ordinary, Sakartvelo Insight, 2022 October 26.

About the award photo caption: "Doukhobor women pick flowers on the Holy Blue tumulus or kurgan, ..."
  • "tumulus or kurgan" refer to huge mounds of dirt covering ancient graves and are among the 10 "holy" mountains and hills that surround Dukhoboria (Dukhobor land) in Georgia
  • The "Blue krugan" is "Sinii Kurgan (aka Lushechkin Kurgan, Kachal Gora, Gora Madatapa)". Sinii and gora are Russian for the color "blue" and "mountain" respectively. Link is to the Doukhobor Gazetteer by Jonathan Kalmakoff.
  • Grigalashvili explained: "There are four mountains nearby — Holy Kurgan, Blue Kurgan, Ivanis Mountain, and Big Abul. The Doukhobors consider these mountains to represent a sort of border of 'The Doukhobors' Land' [Dukhoboriya]."

Click to Enlarge.

The map above is adapted from "Doukhobor Settlement in Georgia, 1841-Present" by Jonathan Kalmakoff. For more detail, click on the satellite toggle icon in the lower left. Then click on "... 50 more", left middle, to see list of all 51 locations. Click on blue dots and pins for location, more information and links to Doukhobor Gazetteer. Many places have alternate names. 

Dukhobors arrived in the 1840s when this territory was conquered by Russia and called Tiflis Governorate. Find 11 cemeteries (including Mogilochki), 9 villages, 8 valleys/gulleys, 5 kurgans, 5 mountains (gora), 4 prayer houses (2 at Molgilichki), 4 streams (rodnik), 1895 Burning of Arms site, Sirotsky dom, etc.

"The last twenty years have been especially difficult for Doukhobors. No one can say why most of them have decided to return to Russia. There are different versions: betrayal, fear, persecution, false promises. Nowadays there are approximately 150 families left, mostly in Gorelovka. Youth is in minority in the community. Lack of opportunities in education and work is forcing them to leave their villages and the country." (Natela Grigalashvili : The Doukhobors' Land : Project info, 2023)

The 6Mois contest was started in 2019 "... to support photographers who like to tell stories ... to astonish, embark, move... with authenticity, relevance, commitment. Entrants must present a project already started which tells a story through photographs."
More about Natela Grigalashvili
In 2011 documentary photographer Agnes Montanari won a similar award. — Georgia Doukhobor Photos Win 3rd Place at International Competition in Italy, Spirit-Wrestlers Blog, 14 August 2011.
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Monday 14 August 2023

Nagasaki Commemoration Ottawa

Tōrō nagashifloating paper lanterns are a traditional consolation for the approximate 200,000 souls of those killed in Japan in 1945. This event is hosted annually by The Friends, Ottawa Quakers in the Glebe neighbourhood. See 62 photos.

Part of the crowd.

On August 9, 2023, more than 100 Ottawans came out in a beautiful evening to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the international criminality that took place in Japan in 1945 when USA dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The consequences have since posed an existential threat for humanity, with the possibility of our own extinction.

Since 2019 we are meeting near Queen Elizabeth Drive and Third Street, at the new Lily Pond and Monz (Moose) bench, by Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquin artist Claude Latour, northwest of the new Flora McDonald Footbridge over the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO Heritage Site. See 62 photos.

Before this Lily Pond was made, we all met at The Friends House at 91A Fourth Ave, made lanterns, and walked east 450 meters to the Rideau Canal wharf at the Canal Ritz restaurant.

Again this year the mood was, 'No More Hiroshimas! Take Peace Action Now!' as the Canadian Peace Congress, one of the participants in the evening, wrote in their handout.
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the U.S. military bombed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapons. Over 200,000 people, mostly civilians, died instantly or later succumbed from burns, malnutrition, and radiation-related illnesses, and their cities leveled to the ground. Those notorious acts will forever be remembered as the first time the devastating impact of nuclear warfare was unleashed.

There was absolutely no justification for this wanton attack. Unclassified documents have confirmed the lie of the constructed 'myth' that the atomic attack was necessary to spare the lives of U.S. servicemen and end the war. In fact, Imperial Japan was already on the verge of collapse and surrender by early August 1945....


Bill Bhaneja, MC for the evening, began the meeting by saying 'We are here to commemorate those who lost their lives.'

Tōrō nagashi.

All my reports since 2009: 1945 A-bombing of Japan Memorials, Ottawa.

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Saturday 29 July 2023

Canada Cancels Russians

'Multicultural Canada' is being tested today with defamation about abuse of indigenous kids, Muslims, Asians, Jews, Blacks, and now Russians.

Russian-Canadian citizens are being canceled and abused for Putin's 'special military operations' on Ukraine. Several instances involved Canadian Doukhobors.

In April 2022, Kootenay BC Doukhobor 'Zemfira' submitted her complaints about 'irrational hysteria, and hypocrisy' in blaming everything Russian that has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine, like 'Dostoevsky [writer] and Daniil Medvedev [tennis player]'. Read her ranting 4-page commentary: 'Canceling Russians'.

In June 2023, the New York Times quoted USCC Chairman J.J. Verigin Jr: '... because of anger over the Ukraine conflict, several Doukhobors in recent months had been denied service in local shops in Castlegar.' See: A Pacifist Sect From Russia Is Shaken by War, and Modernity.


In 2019 and 2021 a controversial sculpture in front of the Edmonton Ukrainian Youth Association was vandalized. In June 2021 'Alberta creates grant program for security measures to deter hate crimes', CBC News.

In February 2022, the Calgary, Alberta, All Saints Russian Orthodox Church was vandalized. In October 2022, a man phoned the priest and threatened to kill the Russian members, and was arrested according to Calgary CTV News.

In March 2022, Russian hockey star Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals was booed in Edmonton by Oilers fans, and everywhere he toured. (New York Times, NoVa Caps Fans blog by Jon Sorensen)

Russian Pavilion at the Edmonton Heritage Festival
Aug. 3, 2019. Edmonton Journal

In June 2023, the Edmonton Journal reported that the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Edmonton '... wants the Russian association to speak out against the war in Ukraine and condemn [Russia] ....' which did not happen. The Ukrainian organization wants the Russians banned from all public events.

In July 2023, the Edmonton Heritage Festival Association (EHFA) cancelled the Russian Pavilion 'due to safety concerns.' EHF is one of the largest three day celebrations of multiculturalism in Canada.

The Russian Heritage Cultural Development Association (RHCDA) reported that their members and the local Russian community have been subject to defamation, bullying and threats over past few months, and banned by EHFA from participating. The EGFA violated their own 'Core Values' and the 'Alberta Human Rights Act.'

Doukhobor elder singer Alexander Kalesnikoff, third generation Russian, President of the Calgary Folk Arts Council for the past 25 years, has also been the Master of Ceremonies at the annual Calgary Heritage Day festival, to be held August 7, 2023.

When asked about any abuse of Russians in Calgary, his comments were that there have been some instances, however, it seems not on the scale of what was happening in Edmonton. The Russian Orthodox church suffered some damage, along with the Bible burnt at another.

There is only a handful of Doukhobors, approximately 35-40 thousand Russians and Russian-speaking people in Calgary, and 'about 345,000 of ... Ukrainian descent'.

In 2022, Kalesnikoff said that there was no abuse of any sort at the Heritage Day Festival. I would never let that happen, also, I would not disallow any cultural entity to perform on our stage. This year in 2023 we have police present for the safety not only for the performers, but the general public as this is a family event, young and old.

In 2022, there were Russians dancing and showing off their culture in song, music and dance, alongside Ukrainians. This year in 2023, we have the Russian and Ukrainian groups performing at the Heritage Day Festival also, in fact, some of the Russian groups have amongst them some Ukrainians, some from Belarus, some from Kazakhstan. Cultural diversity is the basic fabric that integrates, without assimilating more than 120 cultural organizations that exist in the City of Calgary. Heritage Day Festival promotes the preservation, development, advancement and awareness of the community at large.

Kalesnikoff says: 'We may have a unified identity in the country we live, but we are indeed proud of the uniqueness of our individual heritage.'

Heritage Day Festival’s are partially funded by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, and by business sponsors which may or may not be more sensitive to their images.

The Edmonton Heritage Festival is is much larger in many ways than Calgary. In Edmonton, 70-75 pavilions, over 100 cultures may be present at the three-day celebration, whereas in Calgary, it is a one day affair, presenting folk arts in song, music and dance on one stage at Olympic Plaza. Attendance of over 5,000 in Calgary, in Edmonton 350,000.

Kalesnikoff surmised tensions in Edmonton, maybe be due to the fact that the City is hosting thousands of ‘displaced’ Ukrainians, more than in Calgary and this may or may not affect the decision made.

'Over 12000 Ukrainians have already come to Edmonton, with about a thousand more arriving each month' is stated on Edmonton Hosts Ukrainians website.

60,000 Ukrainians have emigrated to Ontario under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program due to the war. Under the federal program, each adult is eligible for a one-time payment of $3,000, while families with children can get an additional $1,500 for each child. 

Also see: Canada: Ukrainian refugee crisis (2022–present), Wikipedia.

Bridge building

To stem future harassment in the Kootenays, the UCCC could try to invite the racist store owners to their events escorted by a guide to translate, introduce them to members, the history and tour the buildings and landmarks. Maybe Doukhobors can help un-cancel Russians in Canada.

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Update: 2 August 2023

In their Comments below, the Rev. Dr. Mealing and Dr. Beissel remind us of Canada internment of different nationalities during WW1 and WW2, the effects of which still linger.

Thursday 6 July 2023

Mark Mealing: Review of Doukhobor Pioneers and Friends

Book Review by Rev. F. Mark Mealing Ph.D:

Spirit Wrestlers: 
Doukhobor Pioneers and Their Friends 
Compiled by Koozma J. Tarasoff, 2022.

It’s an academic joke that a scholar has only one book, no matter how many times it’s written. This is, of course, a wry look at those of us who, having chosen a topic for life, examine and report on it from different directions, point of view, and with respect to newer learning.

Koozma J. Tarasoff has for decades now taken on what was once a fragile, unpopular topic previously and with a bare handful of exceptions studied badly or not all: Doukhobor society and culture. He began his research in the 1950s with the publication of The Inquirer, then with a 1,006-page mimeographed edition of his research, In Search of Brotherhood (1963), down to the present with Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and Their Friends in 2022, with many in between, often superbly illustrated and annotated, and from varied points of view.

Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and Their Friends collects interviews, photographs and other discussions with some material in Russian as well as in English, with Doukhobor elders and others deeply involved in the life of that society. It thus not only presents precise documentation of historic views, but also of viewpoints and attachments in significant depth. It also includes some useful aids and good advice for others who wish to continue such work. It is thus another real treasure for Doukhobor Studies scholarship.

I cannot commend Koozma too highly for this lifework he has pursued, honest, diligent and valuable. I have known him for over 50 years, chiefly through correspondence but also by direct meetings when possible. Since I too made Doukhobor Studies the major part of my scholarly life, I can legitimately commend the value of his work. I trust he will continue it as long as possible and wish him all the great honour and respect he so richly deserves for his devotion to Doukhobor people and their significant culture and place in history. I am only sorry that great pressure from outside circumstances has delayed this note for almost a year.

Link to the ebook:
Order printed book: Jia Hou, Merriam Print Inc.,
252 Laurier Ave, East, Ottawa, Ontario K1N OP4. 

About Rev. Dr. Mealing 
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Wednesday 26 October 2022

Mich Ozeroff, 83 (1939 - 2022), Langham, Saskatchewan

Michael 'Mich' Ozeroff, 83, died October 23, 2022, at the Langham, Saskatchewan Care Home. 

He was one of 33 biographers in my most recent book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and their Friends. Here is my Introduction:

Mich Ozeroff is a retired successful farmer, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Director, choral singer, and Doukhobor community activist in creating a cooperative, just, and peaceful society. 

He and his wife Dorothy reside in Langham, Saskatchewan where he continues to encourage the development of a rich culture and the authentic ethics of the Doukhobor movement. 

With the help of others, Mich recently produced a remarkable visual and audio study of the Saskatchewan Doukhobor Youth Festivals 1955 - 1968, recording their history, communities, choirs, singers and recorded songs and photos.

Michael ('Mich') Ozeroff, Saskatoon Funeral Home, November 2022.

Mich Ozeroff, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Director. In Koozma J. Tarasoff, Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and their Friends (2022): 287-299.

Koozma J. Tarasoff, Mich Ozeroff, Elmer Verigin and Andrei Conovaloff, Saskatchewan Doukhobor Youth Festivals, 1955 - 1968. Summary of history, communities, choirs, singers, recorded songs and photos. 22 pp. 

Jack Tarasoff, 89 (1933 - 2022), Calgary, Alberta

Jack Tarasoff, 89, died August 26, 2022 in Calgary, Alberta. 

Jack was one of 33 biographers in my book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and their Friends. 
Here is my Introduction to him:

Jack Tarasoff is a retired professor of First Nations Studies and Adult Education. Curretly he resides with his Welsh wife Jan in Calgary, Alberta. 

From attending many First Nations feasts, Swet Lodges, and Pow Wows, Jack considers that he has gained the wisdom of being a 'a professor for the Underdog Natives'. From being an executive member of the Federation of Russian Canadians and being active with Doukhobor groups, Jack learned the meaning of contributing to the common good, stopping the killing of fellow human beings, and rejecting the destruction of all life on the planet.

Read his entire biography.  
  • Obituary Jack Tarasoff (1933-2022), in Calgary, Alberta. by Dignity Memorial. A Memorial Service will be announced at a later date.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Human Chain for Release of Assange

By Peter Biesterfeld <>, journalist, @DocSchool, Toronto, Ontario. 

'Free Assange Day' to be held October 8th around the world

Gather at noon at Parliament Hill, Ottawa, in solidarity with thousands of people around the world who support Julian Assange —  Don't Extradite Assange.

Added  Oct. 21, 2022.
Assange 'Human Chain' events were held at 3 locations in Canada (2 Ontario, 1 British Columbia).

Ottawa — short video.

Toronto 8 photos

Victoria 2 photos of drum circle by Sherry Claton and friends. 

Around the world the event was promoted mostly on social media: 
and on websites:
The largest protest was in London, UK, led by wife Stella Assange and a few politicians, followed by  Melbourne, Australia.

My previous blogs about and with Peter Biesterfeld

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.
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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.