Sunday, 16 February 2020

‘Human Races’ Do Not Exist!

For more than a century man has been fooled by a myth, that people of different ‘races’ exist. Not true say scientists at the annual meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG2019) held September 10-13, 2019, where they endorsed the 5-page ‘Jena Declaration’. In short:
  • Racism created races.
  • All people are one human species.
  • There is no biological (genetic) basis for race.
'Among the 3.2 billion base pairs in the human genome, there is no fixed difference that separates, for example, Africans from non-Africans. ... not even a single base pair. ... The light skin colour of modern-day northern Europeans goes back less than 5000 years.'

I was very glad to read this because my Doukhobor ancestors instilled in me the notion that all people are brothers and sisters, not divided by ‘races’. It always bothered me that so much persecution, war and death were caused by racial prejudice and hatred.

In the mid-1960s, my first job as an anthropologist was to study First Nations in Saskatchewan. The native locals called me the ‘camera man’ who insisted that he was ‘neither black nor white’.

It was historically significant that the ‘Jena Declaration’ was endorsed at Jena University, Germany, 100 years after the death of its most famous zoology professor Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) who co-founded scientific racism, which led to eugenics, antisemitism, involuntary sterilizations, racial wars, the racial policy of Nazi Germany, xenophobia, apartheid, forced labor (including slavery), etc. Haeckel divided human beings into 10 races, and believed Negroes were savages doomed to extinction and that Whites were the most civilised. He is now declared wrong. Will racism stop?

The English Jena Declaration was copied at the Max Planck Institute for the science of human history. Here is the German text : Jenaer Erklärung (Jena Declaration), which links to the English.

The science for the Declaration was presented in 2 papers published in German last year. The images are educational, and you can translate the text online.

This Republished

Koozma J. Tarasoff. 'Jena Declaration: The Concept of Race Is the Result of Racism, Not Its Prerequisite', Featured Research Paper, Transcend Media Service, March 23, 2020. — Jena Declaration add, and links back to this blog.

  • 'Race'. Featured Research Paper, Transcend Media Service, March 23, 2020. — Enhanced from Peter Wade, Audrey Smedley and Yasuko I. Takezawa, 'Race: Human', Encyclopedia Britannica.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Q84: Connect Bogomils to Doukhobors?

Rifet Bahtijaragic Bach of Vancouver, BC writes:

Could you please make some connection between Bogomils and Doukhobors?

Maps from Bogomilism, Origins (Wikipedia), and
The Doukhobors in Russia, 1802, by Jonathan Kalmakoff.

Answer by Koozma and Andrei

Bogomil means 'favored by God', or 'dear to God'. Doukhobor means 'spirit wrestler'. Both appear to have partially evolved from ancient Gnostic sects south of the Russian Empire, and may be indirectly connected.
The Bogomils were dualists or Gnostics in that they believed in a world within the body and a world outside the body. They did not use the Christian cross, nor build churches, as they revered their gifted form and considered their body to be the temple. This gave rise to many forms of practice to cleanse oneself through purging, fasting, celebrating and dancing. (Bogomilism, Wikipedia)
What little is known of Gnostic sects 2000 years ago appears similar to some characteristics of staroobryadtsy (old ritualists) and many varieties of folk-protestants in Russia, including many tribes of Spiritual Christians, like dukhobortsy — all dissidents and non-conformers to a ruling orthodox faith, heretics.

Many publications say Doukhobors may have evolved from Bogomils, but you seem to be asking exactly how they connected. It appears that at different times in different places, Bogomils and Doukhobors were both influenced by ancient Gnosticism, and Bogomils may not have directly connected with Doukhobors about 7 centuries after they formed in southern Europe.

The map shows that most of Gnosticism migrated into southern Europe, forming the Bogomils and other sects, and a few missionaries traveled north, east of the Black Sea, delivering their teachings north into the territory of the Doukhobors about 700-800 years before Doukhobors were named. This is probably the possible 'connection' you are seeking.
The Slavonic sources are unanimous on the point that Bogomil's teaching was Manichaean. A Synodikon [book] from the year 1210 adds the names of his pupils or "apostles", Mihail, Todur, Dobri, Stefan, Vasilie and Peter. Zealous missionaries carried their doctrines far and wide. In 1004, scarcely 25 years after the introduction of Christianity into Kievan Rus [Doukhobor territory], we hear of a priest Adrian teaching the same doctrines as the Bogomils. He was imprisoned by Leontius, Bishop of Kiev. In 1125, the Church in the south of Rus had to combat another heresiarch named Dmitri. (Bogolmilism, Origins, Wikipedia)
Dukhobortsy were named about 234 years ago, in 1786, 782 and 667 years after the apostles Adrian and Dmitri were documented and stopped.

Dr. Svetlana Inikova, Russian Academy of Science, has extensively researched Doukhobors and their history in Russia. In 2000 she reported:
Scholars still have not solved the question as to where or when the movement first appeared. ... This is due primarily to the scarcity of eighteenth-century historical sources, and secondarily to the difficulty in accurately identifying the dissidents described in the documents. (Spiritual Origins and the Beginnings of Doukhbor History, 2000, Doukhobor Genealogy Website.)
What little may exist of this history is probably buried in foreign archives and libraries. Finding the details and publishing in English is a task for future scholars. The spread of Gnosticism into the growing Russian Empire is generally not shown in histories that focus on the origins of Catharism in Europe.

Tarasoff concludes

I believe the Doukhobors acquired and lost many characteristics since 1786, from many cultures they encountered throughout their history. In the 1890s, Lev N. Tolstoy was a major influence.

A major contrast with Bogomils is that Doukhobors, as far as I know, were not dualists. They did not believe that the world is divided by God and Satan, but they shared with Bogomils the rejection of the church, its dogma, its hierarchy, and lavish decorations such as icons. Both called each other brothers and sisters and treated each other as such. As well they believed in unity of everything including respecting nature, and being active instead of following a literal interpretation of the scriptures. Above all, human beings were to be treated as divine — so that it became wrong to kill a member of the human family.

In brief, both Bogomils and Doukhobors believed in a radical reform of the 'church'. Their ideal conception was in being good people pure and simple. They may be indirectly connected.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Putin Improves Russian Constitution

On January 15th, my wife and I watched the Russian language broadcast of Vladimir Putin’s Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, January 15, and proposed changes to the Russian Constitution. We agree that Putin was genuine and revolutionary, and presented himself as a world statesman.

Note that Russia provides an ‘open’ English translation, but Canada and the US governments do not provide translations for foreign governments.

Putin, now 67, has been in power since 1999 — more than 20 years. In 2024 his current term ends and he will step down, unless an early election is held. The system he has put in place should continue into the future. Russia deserves to maintain its moral authority in which it and the former Soviet Union won World War II and defeated the The Third Reich at a cost of over 27 million citizens.

Our impression is nearly the opposite of most Western news commentators critical of Putin for allegedly seeking to enhance his power, and his behaviour contrasts with most western politicians who appear more focused on getting reelected than serving their constituencies.

Putin introduced his proposals with this introduction:
The Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly is delivered at the very beginning of the year for the first time. We need to address large-scale social, economic and technological tasks facing the country more quickly and without delay. … Our society is clearly calling for change. People want development, and they strive to move forward in their careers and knowledge in achieving prosperity, and they are ready to assume responsibility for specific work. Quite often, they have better knowledge of what, how and when should be changed where they live and work, that is, in cities, districts, villages and all across the nation … And, I repeat, they must be actively involved in this process.
Putin said although the potential of the 1993 Constitution is far from being exhausted, he suggests ‘a number of constitutional amendments for discussion, ... for the further development of Russia as a rule-of-law welfare state where citizens’ freedoms and rights, human dignity and well-being constitute the highest value.’

Here are Putin’s main proposals for a public vote:
  • Education National Project — Across the vast country, more day nurseries, teacher training, computers, student lunches, teacher aides and support. More university scholarships for medical specialists and technology.
  • Birth rate — Financial support for 2 child couples.
  • Internet — Free to all citizens.
  • Democracy — Move some powers from the President to the Duma (Parliament).
  • Medical — Enhanced free healthcare and medicine.
  • Wages, Pensions— Living minimum wage.
  • Military — No budget change. Now about 10% of USA budget. No threat of war.
  • Residency — Any future President should live in Russia continuously for 25 years.
  • Citizenship — Civil servants barred from holding multiple citizenship.
  • President term limit — 2 consecutive terms.
  • State council — Increased scope and powers.
In compliance with Putin’s proposals, 18 of the 23 members of the Federal Cabinet of Russia stepped down, and 5 remained. Most news focused on Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev who was replaced by Mikhail Mishustin.

Many speculate that Putin will try to manage the more strategic and powerful State Council for the rest of his life. ('The World Is Experiencing a New Form of Autocracy,' The Atlantic, March 2020.)

Russian insider, Abbas Gallyamov, a former government speech writer, reported on his Facebook page (January 21, 2020) that Putin removed 3 people strongly disliked in certain parts of society — the ministers for culture and education, and a deputy prime minister who oversaw sport at the height of a doping scandal. Previously the Kremlin said it would appoint who it wanted and didn’t care if people didn’t like their choice. Now the logic has changed and the authorities do not want to irritate society. It appears that public opinion matters. But, the new cabinet needs more business leaders to improve the economy. In general, there are no major changes to government ideology.

Russia-born writer Dmitry Orlov explained in his blog what Putin is trying to accomplish and ended with '... three elements ... missing ... from the proposed constitutional changes: titular nation status for Russians, their right of return, and right of self-determination for long-term de facto independent regions.'

In general, my wife and I believe that Russia is emerging with a new human face in a changing world, while most ‘Western media ... was aghast. “What is Putin up to?” ’ …’ What’s going on? … ‘’a major shakeup’.

I must repeat: Bashing Putin and Russia is Dangerous (November 4, 2016).

Despite the confusion in Western media, Putin's proposals have received many positive reviews:

4 gods-within us — continued in 2020

On Friday January 17, the 4 of us held another one of our adhoc coffee get-togethers at a local cafe in Ottawa, Ontario. We met for 1.5 hours.

We began by reviewing our domestic activities since we last met in the fall of 2019.

Oral Tradition

Our major discussion was the role that oral tradition and folk singing has played over the centuries as a conduit for people to share their inner messages with themselves and the world. This was especially useful for much of human development when most were illiterate. Oral tradition carried the message from one generation to the next.

We observed that folk singing, when done authentically, helps humans to breathe deeply from the bottom of their stomachs, providing more oxygen for our bodies to function. By doing this, it enhances our self-image and self-well being, thus affecting our personal health.

Intuitive Spanish artist Alberto suggested that deep breathing gives us access to the inner spirit and our connection with the divine. For him, this is the real genius of genuine folk singing which connects many generations through time, giving us the feeling of depth and eternity resembling the divine.

Bill shared the following, summarized:
I was impressed by an interview of author Karen Armstrong with Michael Valpy in January 11, 2020 Globe and Mail (she is the author of The Lost Art of Scripture) where as a comparative religion scholar she states that she found that all world religions have one thing in common — a spiritual dimension where human is seen as an image of the Divine.

Karen says: ‘The origins of the divine were presented as performances. They were sung, recited, acted out. They were intended to transport the audience into a transcendental spiritual dimension.’ At another place she explains that ‘until the 18th century most people listened to the scriptures. It sung or performed. Because most people couldn't read and before the invention of printing it was impossible to own a copy of the Bible. So you listened to your scripture and it was sung .…’ (Karen Armstrong explores the purpose of sacred texts in The Lost Art of Scripture, The Globe and Mail, January 7, 2020.)

That reminded me of two such sources: Flamenco dancing and singing from Spain and the Sindhi Sufi and Bhagat traditional singing and dancing from the Indus Valley, the Sindh province of Pakistan. The lyrics in those songs and the style of singing reflect yearning and longing by lover (seeker) and the beloved (divine) coming right from deep within, from one's spiritual heart. Those traditions have continued for centuries in those two cultures. Examples:
Koozma spoke about the oral tradition of the Doukhobors. He gave a contemporary example in Canada of a Doukhobor singer Ron Kalmakoff from Saskatchewan who moved to British Columbia and after many years following the passing of his grandmother, returned to visit her graveside and the community where she grew up. He then composed a beautiful nostalgic, emotional ode to his grandmother.


Koozma mentioned Vladimir Putin’s Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, January 15, and proposed changes to the Russian Constitution. He said it was a 'game changer' showing the President as a world statesman and Russia as an evolving nation for the better.

Previous 3 reports: 4 gods-within us — 2013, 2014, 2019

Sunday, 12 January 2020

World Beyond War Global Conference
Ottawa May 26-31, 2020

See the latest updates on the big event 'Divest, Disarm, Demilitarize' planned for Ottawa, Canada May 26-30, 2020 with major collaboration by dozens of peace groups led by World Beyond War.

See the promotional video. Look at the Schedule, About, Speakers, Media Toolkit (5 items on Google Drive), Rides & Lodging Board for messages, and Contact form. Share on Facebook. Help to billet out of town guests.

The 6-day 2020 WBW Conference workshops, training, panel discussions, films, art, music, dance, and nonviolent action will be held at various locations in Ottawa.

Join this international coalition of individuals and organizations which will converge on Ottawa to say 'No to CANSEC', Canada's biggest annual weapons expo. This event promises to be a peace highlight of the year for Ottawa and Canada. Dozens of peace groups will join as endorsers and sponsors, including Quakers and Mennonites; the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace plans to hold its 60th Anniversary in Ottawa at this time.

As citizens of the world, come and join us as passionate builders of peace and goodwill. Our children and grandchild deserve a viable future. We are responsible in preserving life for the new generation and saving our world from destruction.

More from my blog

Friday, 10 January 2020

Stop wars! Stop the killings!
— A Poem for Our Times

My ancestors the Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors
in 1895 burnt their guns calling on humanity
to stop wars once and for all —
or face the fate of dying together as fools.

We were inspired by the Russian writer Lev N. Tolstoy
who influenced Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
in the use of nonviolence and love in solving human problems.

Yet wars have continued with hundreds of millions killed
slaughtered on the battlefields of hell.
When will we ever learn?
The stench of mass murders
affects us all — mothers, fathers, young and old.

It robs us of the human potential for
creating peace on earth
with free healthcare, free education,
housing, clean environment, and more.
Our heritage as human beings is at stake,.

Have we not heard of the wisdom of
‘Thou shalt not kill’?
Have we not known that pointing a gun at another person
is not a friendly act?

Why are we making millions
from perpetual wars
through the manufacture of
weapons of mass destruction?
Humanity Wake Up!

Are we deaf to the wisdom of our ancestors to
‘Stop Wars! Stop the killings!’
‘Do we not know that we are our brothers and sisters keepers?’.
How many ears will it take to hear
the cry of children orphaned by war?
When will we ever learn?

At the forthcoming arms show in Ottawa of 12,000 people
gathered to see the latest free market killers,
a few brave souls will gather at the gates with signs
‘Stop the murders’.’Stop the killings’.
‘Stop manufacturing killer weapons’.
Close down CANSEC.

When will we discover
peaceful alternatives to violence and wars?
When will we stop becoming rich from wars?
Or have we been hijacked by the almighty dollar,
killing our competition, grabbing oilfields or whatever?

Statesmen and women of the world
stand up and be counted.
Stop playing chess with our lives.
And media workers, cease being pawns
of the military industrial complex — your job
is to seek the truth and share it with the world.

The sacred choice is in our hands, my dear friends:
Life, love, beauty and humanity;
or the Stone Age of human extinction?
That is the question of the new decade.
Is anyone listening to the current words of wisdom:


This poem was written for the 5th World Beyond War Conference in Ottawa, May 26-30, 2020.

Peace groups will oppose the 2020 CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa on May 30-31, 2020. Please come out and support the movement to save humanity from the scourge of war.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Paper about Doukhobor names published by Jon Kalmakoff

Jonathan Kalmakoff's latest research article of 275 Doukhobor-invented surnames has been published in a scholarly European journal specializing in names.

Jon says: "This project has been a 'labour of love' of mine. It was written over the past two years while I have been off-work and housebound, battling kidney failure. However, the research underlying it covers over twenty years of painstaking archival research and countless interviews with Doukhobor elders throughout Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan."

Kalmakoff, Jonathan. "Ulichnye Familii among Doukhobors of the Caucasus and Canada," Onomastica (Vol. 63, 2019), pages 67-114. Onomastics is the is the study of names.

In Russia, Doukhobors lived together for generations and intermarried so much that many people had the same or similar names. To separate people by name, more names were needed, a nickname, or a surname based on some distinguishing characteristic. Jon lists 275 new family identities, most brought to Canada. This list should help many who are confused trying to research their family tree.

Such made up names in Russian genealogy are called "on the street names" (уличные фамилии : ulichnye familii), to distinguish them from official written names. Learn more at and

The 275 Doukhobor "street names" are alphabetically listed with details on the last 24 pages of the 47-page article. More than 100 references are cited on 4 pages, including 24 from Russian archives. Several of the works cited have not yet appeared as sources in print. I also count 45 people contacted by "correspondence" plus 8 interviews.

Of the 275 names listed, I count 133 (48%) taken from first names (Arina, Denis, etc.); and, 63 (23%) taken from descriptions or adjectives (dove, stubborn, etc.). Local languages provided 11 names from Turkish words, 4 from Armenian, and 2 from Georgian.

Jon first heard of Doukhobor surname changes from Eli A. Popoff's Рассказы из Истории Духоборцев (Rasskazy iz istorii dukhobortsev : Stories from Doukhobor History, 1956). He says “He also heard his great-grandmother Mabel S. Kalmakoff apply similar names to various Doukhobor families from the Good Spirit Lake and Buchanan areas.  ... these influences intrigued and motivated me to learn more...”

In November 2000 Jon mentioned the topic on his web page "Guide to Doukhobor Names and Naming Practices" (updated Aug. 2010) in the last section about "Family Nicknames" and how to notate people with two surnames.

Other cultures also created ways for identifying people with such names. French, Italian and Scottish use "dit" names. Germans have "sippe" names. Scots and Irish use "sept" names. Spanish-Catholic cultures avoid confusion during baptism by assigning the family name of both parents plus more if needed.

For Canadian Doukhobors, Jon wrote: "... today ulichnye familii have all but disappeared among Doukhobors, as a result of their assimilation, dispersal and modernization." Positive ID now relies on Social Insurance Numbers (SIN), driver's license photo-ID, cellphone number, finger prints, DNA, etc.

Dmitri (Jim) Popoff, Grand Forks BC, who helped Jon with research, complemented the published article: "Congratulations on having it accepted by such a prestigious and scholarly journal, that specializes in the very genre of your article. ... I'm ... once more struck by the depth and breadth of the encompassed data, and the conscientious attention to all pertinent details. ... (and) ... impressed with the general high level of accuracy and authenticity."

Popoff also corrected two References mistakenly attributed to his father Popoff, E. A. instead of him, by a single letter typo. John apologized. Both historians were so absorbed with the draft article content that neither noticed the changed initials at the end. The References should read:
  • Popoff, D. E. (14.01.2018). Interview with the author re: Doukhobor ulichnye familii. Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Popoff, D. E. (2008). A Turbulent Century of Transition. USCC Youth Festival Booklet (Brilliant, Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ)
Find a link to Jon's new article and more on his genealogy Facebook page, and much much more on his Doukhobor Genealogy Website.

"Street names" among non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians
(Dukh-i-zhizniki, Molokane, Pryguny, Subbotniki, etc.)

While Doukhobors changed names before migration, the non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians changed names after migration to North America.

A team of non-Doukhobor genealogists, led by Nancy Poppin-Umland, has documented only one surname change among non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians in Russia, but 60 surname changes in America.

Most name changes after migration were to hide their Russian origin in America during times of fear of Bolsheviks, Communists, Reds, and Soviets during the Cold War. My father called himself Conway for a while.

Only a few changed surnames due to unfortunate spelling. A popular oral history example is about  the Russian surname Yurin. Most were spelled "Uraine", but whose who got "Urin", pronounced like "urine", changed to "Wren".

In Russia, my wife's grandfather and a few brothers created their own "street name" still in use. He was born Vasili Antonich Samarin, among 9 brothers and 5 sisters. Most all were Molokane in Ol'shanka village, northern Kars province, neighboring Dukhobory. They lived among too many other Samarin clans of mixed faiths. He and a few brothers decided that they should have a different surname. They chose the name of a rich village elder — Sergeev — who had no nearby relatives, and maybe they would prosper with that surname.
— Andrei Conovaloff

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Get the Veregin Centennial Video for $25

One Hundred Years of the Veregin Doukhobor Prayer Home
Iskra, issue 2144, November 2019, page 17.

The National Doukhobor Heritage Village is pleased to announce that a six-CD recording of the historic 100th anniversary celebration of the Prayer Home, held in 2017, is complete and ready for distribution.

The production was guided by Dr. Veronika Makarova, an Associate Professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics and the Interdisciplinary Linguistics Program Chair at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Makarova also supported the funding of this project through her research funds and the NDHV is exceedingly grateful for her leadership in this initiative.

The six CD documentary includes choir performances, the prayer service, bus tours to surrounding historic sites and other program highlights.

Those who attended this celebration will enjoy re-living the remarkable celebration of toil and peaceful life, experienced through prayer, fellowship, song and food.

The collection is available for only $25.00 for the set to cover handling costs. However, donations are always welcome to continue supporting the work of the Village.

To order this exceptional documentary series, you may: contact the Village at 306-542-4441; write to Box 99, Veregin, SK SOA 4H0; or email

See event program, history and news:
Heritage Day – 2017 Celebration
Canada 150 / Historic Prayer Home 100 year
National Doukhobor Heritage Village Inc., Veregin, Saskatchewan

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Ron Kalmakoff back in Saskatchewan

This year, singer Ron Kalmakoff returned to his hometown of Canora, Saskatchewan, to visit family and friends; and to produce and promote his new songs and videos dedicated to his Doukhobor grandparents.

Kalmakoff signed albums at the local library.

His musical career began in Canora at age 16 when he entered the annual June Days talent show. That performance helped break his shyness. At 19 he recorded his first album, and so few were made it is now a collector's item. Local radio stations invited him to play live, which led to TV appearances and meeting a few professional country-western singers, and joining a band. He was hooked on writing and performing his own music. At age 24 he moved to British Columbia to learn and work in the music industry.

For his recent album dedicated to his grandparents, Kalmakoff revealed:
"The best way for me to describe the song is, when you start losing generations of your family who have come before you, you start analyzing who you are as a person, .. I had to make it soulful but also channel my Doukhobor roots, you can hear that in certain sections of the song. I put myself in a space while recording where I starting thinking back to some amazing voices and singing I’ve heard over the years from my culture and that helped me connect to the song.”

Ron Kalmakoff news, videos, websites

"Ron Kalmakoff", in Tarasoff, Koozma J. Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living, 2002, pages 86-87. — Biography and photo.

"Ron Kalmakoff remembers his Canora roots," by Calvin Daniels, Yorkton This Week, Kamsack Times, April 24, 2019, pages 6, 11. (Full edition on — With ads at

"Successful area recording artist comes home to Canora," Kamsack Times, October 19, 2019, page 2.
(Full edition on — With ads at — 3 photos.

"Ron Kalmakoff- Ever Since You Went Away" (Official Music Video) Youtube (6 min.) Oct 26, 2019. — Opens with Lord's Prayer in Russian. Walking and aerial images of Veregin and Canora SK Dedicated to his Grandparents, Lorne & Anne Dergousoff, Canora SK, with Doukhobor images and psalm.

"Ron Kalmakoff - What Brings You Home" (Official Mini Documentary Video) Youtube 14 min.) Nov 23, 2019 — In Canora and Veregin, Saskatchewan, Ron Kalmakoff talks about family and visits fans.

Ron's Website —
Ron's Facebook Page —
Ron's Instagram —

Friday, 22 November 2019

‘Saskatchewan Doukhobors’ documentary shown in Ottawa

Some 80 people attended the movie ‘We’ve Concluded Our Assembly: The Saskatchewan Doukhobors’ at the historic Mayfair Theatre on November 10, 2019, in Old Ottawa South. The 90-minute documentary was followed by a discussion led by producer-organizer Ryan Androsoff with Spirit Wrestler Productions.

Mayfair Theatre markee.                        Ryan Androsoff.

Available for sale were DVDs of the film (90 minutes), CD recordings of the Saskatchewan Doukhobor Prayer Service (42 minutes, Russian and English); and a booklet 'Song Lyrics and Credits' (Russian, transliterated Russian, English) with a list of financial contributors and acknowledgements of participants. All can be bought online and at the gift shop of the Saskatoon Western Development Museum and the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in Castlegar, BC. Donate; the Project is $20,000 short of breaking even.

In 2016, Ryan Androsoff initiated the ambitious Saskatchewan Doukhobor Living Book Project ‘with the mission of preserving the oral history and spiritual traditions of the Saskatchewan Doukhobor community for future generations’ as a soundscape, and to ‘start a conversation about the future of Doukhoborism for generations to come.’

This Project is specifically about ‘Independent Doukhobors’ in Saskatchewan, who comprise about one-fourth of all Canadian Doukhobors, and are partly organized as the Doukhobor Cultural Society of Saskatchewan (DCSS). Most descendants of Community Doukhobors in British Columbia are not the focus.

This was my third viewing of the entire project. As soon as it was available, Ryan mailed me the DVD, CD and booklet to review.

The documentary film opens with a typical Sunday gathering (called sobranie in Russian) of Independent Doukhobors in Saskatchewan. A traditional prayer service was performed by 8 men and 20 women (28 singers) who recited and sung Doukhobor psalms in Russian (translations provided).

The location was the Blaine Lake Doukhobor Community Home (which in my opinion is erroneously called the Doukhobor Prayer Home) located 80 km (50 miles) north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Blaine Lake is one of the 5 remaining active Independent Doukhobor meeting halls in Saskatchewan.

Inter-weaved throughout the 90 minutes were interviews of 30 men and women from ages 8 to 95, historic images, maps, and video clips of Doukhobor events in Saskatchewan (like the annual Doukhobor Peace Day under a tent with community picnic outdoors).

A total of 42 participated, 12 members of the choir were not interviewed. About a third are closely related family.

William Kanigan spoke with pride about one of his two sons who turned down a lucrative military contract because it would have contradicted with his heritage roots.

I enjoyed the freshness of Jonathan Kalmakoff's daughters, Katie and Emily, who told stories learned from their father, a Doukhobor genealogist and historian. Hundreds of articles, charts and maps are on his Doukhobor Genealogy Website.

The documentary ended at the sobranie with the hymn (in Russian and English): 'We've Concluded Our Assembly'. Credits followed.

Themes covered:
After the film, questions were asked about the Doukhobor migration to Canada beginning in 1899, if there was a Doukhobor meeting in Ottawa [No], about singing, and the transliteration of Russian to English.

At the end of the Question period, I thanked the producer and made the following comments:
This is a beautiful contribution to the cultural treasure of Doukhobors in Saskatchewan. The film will be remembered by children and grandchildren for years to come. They will recall that their ancestors believed in the Spirit of God within each person (based on a deep philosophy of love, truth, hospitality, and humanity), that peace is the way to a sustained future on Planet Earth. Nonviolence or nonkilling is central. Also they will remember that the collective style of life gave their ancestors strength to survive. And this attitude will likely prevail and give the new generation strength to carry on their mission into the future.

Ryan Androsoff and his team are to be greatly applauded for their efforts in creating this documentary film. Fundraising was a big challenge met by Doukhobors and others. The team interviewed 30 people who said many good things. The inclusion of several young people in the interviews is an acknowledgement that the new generation expects a voice with new changes. And the intent of the film was correct — ‘to help start a conversation about the future of Doukhoborism for generations to come.'
Topics not covered about the Doukhobor Movement in Saskatchewan
  • The real contribution of Doukhobor settlers to Saskatchewan and Canada. See my book: Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living, 2002; and search for major sources on Doukhobor pioneers in the Public Archives of Saskatchewan found on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan. Also check for ‘Saskatchewan’ articles on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website.
  • The marvelous Doukhobor bread-baking project at the Saskatoon Exhibition annually since 1955. This is a national and international door-opener on the Doukhobors.
  • The inspiring peace manifestations organized by Doukhobors, like attorney Peter G. Makaroff in the 1960s, and others — an inspiration for future generations in helping save our civilization from destruction.
  • The unique contributions of Saskatchewan Doukhobor journals of The Inquirer, The Dove, and The Doukhobor Sheaf to alternative media.
  • Classes on Doukhobor history and culture are currently taught at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon by Dr. Veronika Makarova. Also Dr. Ashleigh Androsoff teaches history courses which includes Doukhobor pioneers.


In 2016, I helped Ryan promote this project on Ottawa radio (Independent Doukhobor Project on Radio, July 20, 2016), and continued to help announce the project four more times on my website (1 Aug. 2016, 28 Oct. 2017, 20 May 2019, 27June 2019).

For over two years money was raised (crowdfunding, donors), the choir rehearsed, film and audio crews hired, and hours spent recording the meeting service, psalm singing, and interviews with many people, including me. Today, the project is about $20,000 short of covering all costs.

Donors from around the world and across Canada.
Click here to see world donor map.
Click on map pins (blue markers) to see donors names.

Dr. Ashleigh Androsoff helped with research, scripts and interviews. She is a history professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and Ryan’s 3rd cousin. See her 2011 doctoral dissertation: 'Spirit Wrestling: Identity Conflict and the Canadian “Doukhobor Problem,” 1899-1999'.

The project has cost about $57,000 to produce, of which $27,000 has been paid by grants and donors around the world. $20,000 remains to be paid. Please donate.

Ryan has promoted the project on TV, radio and newspapers, all documented on his website and Facebook.

Doukhobor soundscape at the Western Development Museum, Saskatoon.
Each singer had a microphone, and 4 video cameras recorded simultaneously.
For the soundscape, each singer is played on a speaker on a pole at that
singer's position in the choir. Walk through this virtual sobranie.
Ryan said it is "... an immersive experience, like you were there."

Over 200 people attended the project launch on June 28, 2019, at the Western Development Museum (WDM) in Saskatoon, with a dazzling walk-through multimedia soundscape and exhibit that continued through October 20, 2019. The WDM has featured local Doukhobor history in the past, but this was the largest exhibit.

On June 29, 2019, the film was shown at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon, followed by a discussion.

DVD, CD and booklet available online from the gift shop of the Saskatoon Western Development Museum and the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in Castlegar, BC.


Wednesday, 6 November 2019

A Quaker Summary of Fighting

Book review.
  • Are you worried about increasing hate crimes?
  • Does it feel like our world is becoming more divided?
  • Do you care about peace?
In 2017 the Peace Program Coordinator and Communications Coordinator for the Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers) proposed to answer these questions scientifically by conducting a peace literature review and bibliography. He originally planned to compile a 50-page report to summarize:
  • What does science reveal about achieving interpersonal peace, avoiding conflict and hatred?
  • Do we really need to fight?
The short project continued for 2 years, and grew to 327 pages. To include as much as possible into the book, the font size was reduced, yet much had to be omitted. Perhaps a second volume will be published to compile the rest of their research.

Matthew Legge. Are We Done Fighting? Building Understanding in a World of Hate and Division (New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, 2019): 327 pp. Copyright by Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC, Facebook).

I read the book with much interest and then attended a book launch by the author on October 23th, 2019 at the Friends’ Meeting House, Ottawa, Ontario. Some 30 people attended. A question-answer period followed.

The event was audio recorded by Ken ‘Kensky’ Billings, and posted for you on pCloud, linked from his Digileak Canada website:
Matthew Legge (pronounced: ‘Le-ZHAY’) has been on a book tour across Canada, speaking on radio, at universities, bookstores, and Friends Meeting Houses; and teaching a few workshops. See schedule at bottom of This is his first presentation fully recorded and posted online.

My Review

This book is a 2-year cooperative effort of many people: the author Matthew Legge — an anthropology graduate from the University of Toronto — and his staff at the Quaker Centre in Toronto.

Matthew emailed to me:
‘The book has about 750 end notes that made it into the final copy. I can't say how many hundreds of books and studies I read, many hundreds did not make it into the book. I didn't do 100% of the research myself. 2 other staff and volunteers did parts and sent me things.’
The book is mostly a literature review of many sources related to avoiding violence — 'Evidence and techniques you can use right now'. The research team examined publications in psychology, anthropology and sociology of peace, mostly focusing on cultural ‘interpersonal peace issues’, not inter-government politics.

The author presents many tips for avoiding personal conflict and misunderstandings in daily living, but little about preventing WW3. The intent was to examine what is known about ‘hate and division’ in society. A very challenging aspect of war prevention!

In 24 short chapters, each ending with helpful tips, the author attempts to reach people with different educational, political, religious and cultural backgrounds. The result is a comprehensive text with many insights into the fundamental issues of hate and division, without a guarantee of what will work or not work. Although very useful as an academic study, in my opinion it fails to be a practical guide to action.


Gems I found especially useful and noteworthy:
  1. Equality is a useful ingredient in respecting people and countries. Trying to be overly superior to others will not lead us to a peaceful world. We need to acknowledge that we are all part of one world community and need to work together to survive.
  2. The understanding of ‘power over’ and ‘power-from-within’ are useful concepts in avoiding exploitation and violence (pages 23-24). Working together for a ‘win-win’ outcome would also help. 
  3. ‘....The peace virus can demand patience and perseverance, and the way we live it out makes a difference to the results we get’ (page 49). Peace virus is transmitted to children through modelling (page 126). Parents and teachers, please take note and be a model for living.
  4. The ‘creative power of silence’ can be used to begin a meeting (page 44), as is done effectively in many Quaker meetings. This is mindfulness at work.
  5. Among the communication skills, try communication instead of changing someone’s beliefs by shooting down our opponent (page. 56). Recognize, acknowledge, and even respect other views. Work together on common ground issues such as climate change, disarmament, etc.
  6. Emotions are contagious — treat them with care (p. 84). We can all be manipulated towards goodness or violence. Psychologists tell us that our interdependence and malleability shapes what we think and do. Beware of psychological warfare (page 79).
  7. Effective communication involves shared values of rapport building, careful listening and observing, and seeking truths (page 94). Take note of body language. Use humour when appropriate, but avoid humiliation (page 90).
  8. War ‘is not natural’ (page 124), but is a learned behaviour. It follows that we can learn to create a peaceful world.
  9. There is a problem today with mainstream media where the bias is towards sensationalism, such as the bomb. How about seeking good news stories?
  10. Establishing Ministries of Peace around the world is ‘an intriguing idea for improving the capacity and will to engage in prevention’ (page 228).


The 327 pages of fine print, of which 52 pages are end-notes and index with even finer print makes it very difficult to read.

Though over 1,000 books and articles are listed, many important items for peacemaking familiar to me were not listed. It appears that the author and his team did not look at my website and blog which are full of valuable aides for peacemaking. I suggest adding these 7 missing items/topics.
  1. The Center for Citizen Initiatives in California has escorted groups of “citizen diplomats” (mostly Americans) to Russia since 1984 to engage in personal dialog. President Sharon Tennison has visited Russia for 35 years and rejects the war propaganda. “Misunderstandings, fallacious accusations, flare ups and demonizing ... we see the need and possibility for changing this situation. When real people in large numbers get involved, amazing things begin to happen. Join us!” Next trip: June 2020.
  2. In June 1895 my ancestors burnt their guns as a public resolve to get rid of wars. The war / peace issue is very much part of the Doukhobor movement, and I continue to be part of that movement to create a world without wars. Since the 1950s, I have been working steadily on a study of Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors with connections to the wider peace movement. A dozen books have been published and countless articles are in print and many more are steadily being produced in my Spirit-Wrestlers website and blog.
  3. 'A Study of Russian Organizations in the Greater Vancouver Area', 1957, my MA thesis in anthropology and sociology. During the first Cold War, I attended the University of British Columbia and studied the issues of what brings people together and what splits them apart. I found that both hot and cold wars split societies apart and cause undue suffering to humanity. If   we are to achieve a sustainable nonkilling society, this means we urgently need to get rid of the ‘scourge of war’ and make war a crime against humanity!
  4. ‘Opening Doors For Survival: A Handbook on Soviet-West Initiatives’, 1986. I produced this practical manuscript which was expanded and published in very limited numbers in 1991 by Peace Train Foundation in Ottawa, Canada as Discovering Soviet-West Cooperation. A Handbook on Soviet-West Bridge-Building Initiatives. The insights into peace-making are as valid today as they were in the 1980s.
  5. 'Doukhobor — Quaker Connections : Talk with Young Friends in Ottawa', December 6, 2009 Presentation Outline, Comments (updated 2019). Includes useful suggestions of what young Friends can do to make a contribution to society. The article also includes the story of effective peace manifestations  in Western Canada in the 1960s involving Doukhobors, Quakers, Mennonites, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and other groups. 
  6. Dr. Glenn D. Paige’s book Nonkilling Global Political Science, (2002), advanced the thesis that it is possible for humans to stop killing each other. The thesis supports the conclusion of the World Report on Violence and Health (Geneva, 2002) that human violence is a ‘preventable disease’. In November 2007, Dr. Page organized the First Global Nonkilling Leadership Forum, Hawaii, at which I presented my paper: ‘Tolstoy and the Doukhobors’. Wisdom people from around the world united to create a Nonkilling Society. The forum launched the Centre for Global Nonkilling ‘to promote change for a killing-free society’. While killing is deeply entrenched in world culture, it is not universal. Nonkilling is a new paradigm for a brave new world. The wider peace community should take note.
  7. 150 Canadian Stories for Peace — An Anthology, 2017. One of my contributions here was 'Opening Doors for Survival during the Cold War' (pages 101-102). In 1984-1985 I held 17 living room discussions on East-West bridge-building. My article concludes: ’With fake news in today’s Cold War world, are we not repeating again the dangerous lies about our northern Russian neighbours and others? When will we ever learn?’

Contact the author Matthew Legge at Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC, Quakers), 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1C7, Canada. Phone: 416-920-5213 Web: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @CFSCQuakers. Get a free chapter of CFSC's book at:

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Thursday, 3 October 2019

Talking to Youth at Global Climate Strike

By Henry Beissel,  (His 5th appearance on my blog)

On September 27, 2019, I joined the young folk who decided to march in Ottawa, protesting the duplicity of politicians who talk about climate change, but do nothing to prevent an ultimate environmental disaster.

128 Wellington street, at O'Conner street, next to Parliament Hill, Ottawa.
Photo by Dr. Lev Tarasov.

At first, I felt a little out of place as I walked with boys and girls whose great grandfather I could be. I also felt that some of them looked at me askance and I'm not sure that I didn't see a glint in their eyes signalling: ‘Hey, old man, we're inheriting this mess from you!’

It may just have been my conscience. It's true that I've seen the climate crisis creeping up on us for almost half a century and I have raised my voice in protest on various occasions and in various media. But it is also true that I haven't done enough to prevent this disastrous environmental crisis from spinning out of control.

Anyway, as the young folk were standing around on the hill, waving their signs and occasionally breaking into some protest slogans, I walked up to some smaller groups to thank them for having both the insight and the courage to make their voices heard against the current Climate Change. I thanked them, saying that they made one of my dreams come true, that the young would rise up against those who triggered the crisis and refused to take the necessary steps to end it.

That broke the ice, and I chatted with a number of groups and found them determined to continue protesting until the politicians would listen and introduce the changes necessary to prevent an environmental disaster.

I ended each of my conversations with a warning.
‘Don't trust the politicians’. I said, ‘they will make you all kinds of promises even while they have no intention of keeping them — so long as they can stop you marching and protesting.’
I was astonished but pleased to hear that they had no illusions about the duplicity of politicians.
‘If they think’, one of them said, ‘they can silence us with empty promises, they have another thing coming. Just wait and see!’
On the whole, my conversations with the protesters gave me new hope. They have a healthy skepticism towards politicians and they're not going to give up until there is tangible action against climate change.

My final warning to them was:
‘Action against climate change at the government level is extremely important, but ultimately we can prevent a disastrous environmental collapse only if all of us, that is all of you and the rest of the people, lower their demands on the world. You must be prepared to reduce your standard of living, you must be content with less, drive less, travel less, consume less if climate change is not to destroy us all.’
That astonished some of them and I could see I'd given them something to think about. I hope some of them realized that protesting is not enough, we must also be prepared to change our way of life to live within the limits of what nature can provide, especially for a species in a state of population explosion.


15 photos by co-marchers, sister and brother: Tamara Tarasoff and Dr. Lev Tarasov.

Videos by Ken Kensky Billings, Digileak Canada, of four groups at the Climage Strike Protest on Parliament Hill:

Saturday, 17 August 2019

1945 A-bombing of Japan Memorials

'The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, with the consent of the United Kingdom, as required by the Quebec Agreement [held August 1943 in Canada]. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.' (Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Wikipedia, accessed August 10, 2019.)

Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right)
I have often reminded my readers of these mass murders during their annual August anniversaries. This is a chronological list with links to my memorial articles.

Monday, 29 July 2019

'Wake up' — Let's Prevent Nuclear War

Why is the threat of WW3 at an all time high?

The Doomsday Clock, maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947, shows the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. During the past 3 decades it has steadily moved to an all time danger. Why? What can we do?

August 6 will be the 74th anniversary of the bloody 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. By educating ourselves about the global politics and propaganda of war, I hope we will prevent WW3 and a nuclear holocaust, by protesting war industries, writing our governments, alerting our family and friends — anything to protect future generations.

The chart (click to enlarge) shows minutes to doom. The lower, the worse. It got worse from the end of WW2 (1945) through the Korean Conflict (1951-1953), then relaxed after the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), and remained fairly steady during the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) decade (1969-1979). Again it got worse, until President Reagan (1981-1989) and Secretary/President Gorbachev of Russia (1985-1991) began peace negotiations, which ended with the breakup of the Soviet Union (1991). Since then, for nearly 3 decades, threats have steadily escalated to an all time closeness to doomsday.

How did this nearly 30-year decline happen? Evidence points to the expansion of NATO and the USA foreign policy of perpetuating wars.

I believe that Russia is not our enemy, we are. To explain, I recommend three videos online. The first is in English, and two are in Russian on YouTube.

1. The Putin Interviews : Vladimir Putin & Oliver Stone Discuss NATO, by Oliver Stone, Information Clearing House, July 22, 2019 — Many short videos with English subtitles, and text.

2. В Борьбе за Украину. Нерассказанnая История Украины (2019) [The Struggle for Ukraine. (or) The Untold Story of Ukraine]. (Russian: 83 minutes), by Oliver Stone. (Wikipedia Russian) — The film shows how the USA and the West were directly involved in the 2014 Maidan coup in Ukraine. Snipers killed 100+ people to entice Ukraine and Western countries to blame Russia and President Putin. A tragic flop! Due to NATO circling Russia, the film concludes a higher probability of a nuclear war. Putin and his Ukrainian associate Viktor Medvedchuk are interviewed, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa, Ivan Kachanovsky, who for five years has been investigating this story.

3. Голливуд как источник мужество [Hollywood as source of manhood], Бесогон ТВ (Besogon TV), Channel 24. (Russian, 55 minutes). — Explains how Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin sold out the USSR to the West on the promise that the West was ready to help the Russians, instead the USA wanted to destroy Russia. While the USSR disarmed and became ‘pacifist’, USA did not. USA propaganda claimed to spread ‘freedom and democracy’ but murdered tens of thousands, fooling most Americans to believe they were ‘victims’ of the uncivilized ‘them’ — like heroes in a Hollywood movie. On March 1st, 2018, Putin was reelected President of the Russian Federation, with a majority 77% of the votes. Due to the broken promise, on that day Putin announced the development of superior atomic weapons, so as to wake the sleeping world up to what is happening today. Narrator Nikita Mikhalkov shows that Hollywood created fictional heroes who defeat 'Chinese, Russians, animals', and others in the interests of the American Empire. War is shown, not 'democracy'. In contrast, Putin says the real heroes were those who lost their lives defending their motherland.