Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Peace Billboard in Saskatchewan

Messages from Ed Lehman, President Regina Peace Council, Saskatchewan:
  • Photo of our peace billboard, erected May 25, 2018, outside of Qu'Appelle, SK, on the Trans Canada Highway (SK-1), about 55 km (35 miles) east of Regina.
  • Unveiling ceremony to be held at the billboard on Saturday June 16 at 2 p.m.
  • We paid for the east-facing side for one year, seen by west bound traffic.
  • Please forward this news.

Canada - Act for Peace Not War.
  • Sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
  • No Participation in Balistic Missile Defense
  • Stop Exporting Weapons of War
  • Oppose Regime Change Militarism
Regina Peace Council
in memory of Peter E. Gehl.


Peter Eric Gehl, 2008
Regina area resident and pacifist Peter Eric Gehl (1952 - 2016) was active in the Regina Peace Council, Regina Peace Quest (co-founder), the Canadian Peace Congress, and Canadians for Peace and Socialism.

PQ Regina Mourns Loss of Peter Gehl, by Ed Lehman, Peace Quest, October 25, 2016.

Ed said: 'The Billboard was done in memory of Peter E. Gehl, a past president of the Regina Peace Council, a national board member of the Canadian Peace Congress, and a co-founder of PeaceQuest Regina. Peter was a life-long worker for peace and social justice.'

When Ed Lehman was asked by phone (June 6) "Why a billboard?", he explained: "To do something different. To get our message to more people. ... To do it more broadly. ... We are normally talking to small groups of people, when when we need to be talking to tens of thousands of people. ... That highway has lots of traffic."

When asked how they chose the message, Ed said that they deliberated to be as brief as possible, to only post what was important and could be read by a passing vehicle. He added that it was expensive for them, so they paid for only one side, seen by west-bound traffic, for one year from May 25, 2018. They hope to get more exposure during the unveiling on June 16.

Contact Ed Lehman, President Regina Peace Council, 306-718-8010 or edrae1133@gmail.com.


Media Event on Saturday June 16 at 2 p.m.

To get more press coverage, the Regina Peace Council will host an unveiling ceremony next week, on June 16, 2018, at 2 p.m. on the east side of the billboard. Invite yourself and your friends.

From Regina, SK, take SK-1 east about 55 km (35 miles). U-turn back at Highway 35 (not to Qu'Appelle). Go west on SK-1 about 600 metres. It is the only billboard.


Billboard news so far

Billboard for Peace, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Saskatchwan, May 27, 2018.

Peace Billboard in Saskatchewan, Spirit-Wrestlers Blog, June 6, 2018.

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Please add any updates or posting about this billboard.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Are Doukhobors
    “people of the 25th century”?

By Andrei Conovaloff

What did Lev Tolstoy mean in 1898 when he said Doukhobors were “people of the 25th century”? And, in 1899 he said that in “500 years ... the majority of Christian[s]” will adopt Doukhobor beliefs. Was this a compliment, or a prophesy? Both?

I have seen the quote about Doukhobors being “people of the 25th century” by Lev Tolstoy several times in the past. Though it appears odd, I never bothered to question its source until this week.



The “25th century” phrase got my attention because it appeared 4 times on one page, in the promotion for this week’s USCC conference (May 18-19, 2018): “Spirit Wrestlers 2050: Call for Proposals” (link from: Iskra, issue 2125, April 2018, page 7):
  • At the end of the 19th century, author Lev Tolstoy called the Doukhobors “people of the 25th century”.
  • Today, more than ever, the world needs this 25th century thinking and action.
  • What are your ideas for action today that exemplify 25th century thinking?
  • … proposals are expected to be in alignment of the ideals and values that prompted Lev Tolstoy to call the Doukhobors “people of the 25th century”.
Are Doukhobors really “people of the 25th century”? Are they an advanced society, 400 years into the future? Hmm-m-m…. Star Trek people more than a 100 years ago? What did Tolstoy really mean?

A Google search finds more than a dozen requotes, but only one book cites the source — Andrew Donskov, Leo Tolstoy And the Canadian Doukhobors: An Historic Relationship, CRCRR, Jan 1, 2005, pages 30 and 168.
1898 December 5, letter from Lev N. Tolstoy to 2 of his daughters (Tat'yana and Mariya), Polnoe sobranie sochinenie (Complete collected works) volume 71, page 497.
I am glad that in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the death of Tolstoy in 2010, thousands volunteered from 49 countries to digitize all of Tolstoy’s work now online, with annotations, and page number anchor tags. 90 volumes of his complete works can be searched in Russian, and linked to by page number.

Here is a translated excerpt from that 1898 December 5 letter in context.

* 331. Т. Л. Толстой и М. Л. Оболенской.
1898 г. Декабря 5. Москва.
* 331. T. L. Tolstoy and M. L. Obolenskaya.
1898 December 5. Moscow.
Милые Таня и Маша.Dear Tanya and Masha.
... Нынче приехал Чернов (духобор). Вы, верно, мало говорили с ним. Я его очень люблю: такой же твердый, ясный, кроткий, как и все они, эти люди 25 столетия.… Today Chernov (a Doukhobor) came. You, of course, did not talk to him much. I love him very much. He is as solid, clear, and meek as all of them, these people of the 25th century.
В сравнении с ними особенно тяжелы те люди 15 столетия, среди которых живешь. In comparison with them, the people of the 15th century, among whom you live, are especially difficult.
Ужасно был дорогой спутник 11-го столетия. (7: Толстой, вероятно, имеет в виду какого-нибудь спутника по пути из Ясной Поляны в Москву.) My 11th-century travel companion was an awful person. (Note 7: Tolstoy probably had in mind some traveler en route from Yasnaya Polyana to Moscow.)
Миша ни то, ни се, всё в пьянстве эгоизма, но дурного пока ничего нет. ...
Л. Т.
Misha is neither here nor there, all in a drunken egoism, but there is nothing bad yet.
L. T. (Lev Tolstoy)

To paraphrase Uncle Lev in my words, he is saying that Doukhobors in December 1898 are “people of the future,” different from the backward (medieval) people of Russia, and especially ancient is Misha the drunk.

It appears to me that Tolstoy was having fun with words, antics with semantics, and “25th century” is used as a hyperbole, an exaggeration, along with the other numbered centuries.
  • 25th century = progressive, advanced — Doukhobors
  • 15th century = backward, medieval — Typical Russian peasants
  • 11th century = very undeveloped — Drunks
This is similar to the common Russian expression: “I haven’t seen you in a 100 years” — which can mean from “a while” to “a long time,” a few months to a year. Tolstoy appears to use "25th century" and "500 years" to mean a longer time, several years to several decades.

From Hyperbole to Metaphor to Slogan to Prophesy

BUT, for Canadian Doukhobors who commented on drafts of this article, Tolstoy's original hyperbole “people of the 25th century” has been expanded and transformed into a Doukhobor metaphor for people “ahead of their time,” embracing all the compliments and praise Tolstoy wrote and said about their ancestors and more. The phrase is now repeated like a slogan which combines and includes all their nonkilling legacies, and some interpret it as a prophesy to be fulfilled.
  • 1895Doukhobors burning their guns as a manifestation against militarism and wars, and obeying the 6th Commandment: ‘Thou shalt not murder’ — a brave historic action expressed by no other group.
  • 1897Tolstoy suggested giving Nobel Peace Prize money to "suffering and deserving" Doukhobors.
  • 1899 — Tolstoy said: "The Doukhobors’ faith approaches most closely the moral stature of people seeking God. Around 500 years from now the beliefs which made it necessary for the Doukhobors to resettle in [Canada, North] America will prevail among the majority of Christian peoples.” (Translation by Jack MacIntosh)
  • 2005 — Tolstoy "... indeed saw the Doukhobors as "people of the 25th century" — far ahead of their time." (Donskov 2005, page 168)
  • 2007 — "... the Doukhobor people were the people of the 25th century. That means it will be a long time before the rest of civilization catches up. When the first airplanes were invented many people thought they were evil ... against the spirit of God — he would have given us wings if he wanted us to fly ... You never hear them say if God had wanted us to be peaceful he would have made us that way ..." (Stenson 2007, page 150)
  • Much more .... Tolstoy and Doukhobors: A list of many online references.
Tolstoy died in 1910, long enough to learn that much of the social advantage Doukhobors had in the 1800s was lost in Canada, and elsewhere. The devastating economic setbacks due to protests by Freedomites, discrimination and repression by Canada, and mismanagement by two Verigin leaders, has been well documented, as was brutality in the Soviet Union, and after perestroika The opportunity for a [post Soviet] revival ... has been squandered.” But the moral advantage remained mostly intact as many Doukhobors of all divisions continued the social movement of military resistance, spiritual Christianity, and promoting world peace in their own ways.

The task of defining and expanding 25th century thinking and action” around the world will be discussed this week at “Spirit Wrestlers 2050.” And, participants will submit “ideas for the future.

Lucky, Tolstoy literally gave Doukhobors 4 more centuries to become “people of the 25th century.”

I hope the USCC will post videos of the 2 meetings.

Enter your comment below.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Q80: What is the Origin of ‘borshch’?

During Orthodox Easter dinner on April 9th here in Ottawa, I served my traditional Doukhobor vegetable soup — borshch — which I cooked using my mother’s recipe.

My guests asked a question that never occurred to me:
'What is the Origin of borshch'

Tarasoff Doukhobor borshch.
Answer

In the past I was more concerned about the English transliteration of the Russian spelling which does not have a ‘t’ at the end. Q76: Correct Spelling of borshch?

Historically this was a staple Slavic poor peoples’ peasant soup, made year-round with local ingredients.

A Google search for ‘origins of borshch, borshcht, borsch, borscht’ returns what appear to be well researched histories with similar information. Russian and English Wikipedia histories differ. Here is a summary with 'Sources Online' listed below:
  • The origin of borsch is unknown, most likely, it appeared on the territory formerly occupied by Kievan Rus. Apparently, the widespread opinion that "borsch" [brshch] is an Old [East] Slavic name for beets, should be attributed to folk etymology .. [the word] ... is not … in dictionaries of ancient Slavic dialects, ....(2) (Russian Wikipedia)
  • ... [a soup like] borshch used to be the national food in Ancient Rome (8th century BC), where cabbages and beets were specifically cultivated for that purpose. … the modern version of borshch appeared around the 15th century. … the name came ... from the plant borshchevik (hogweed, cow parsnip) – one of the key ingredients … [and] or, from the word brshch, which meant beet in Old Slavonic. (1,4,5)
  • In the beginning, borscht was made with brsh root [Old East Slavonic term], not red beet root. Brsh, common hogweed ... was ... fed to swine ... also human food ... in the spring peasant would gather tender brsh leaves to cook as green and store the ... roots for winter soup. ... borshch ... originated in Ukraine. (page 5) (1)
  • Variations are widely distributed by migrating Slavs and peoples who carried and modified their borshch recipes around the world, including China. (3)
  • Variations are dictated by the land, weather, and local traditions, but also by circumstance: people from different cultures intermarry; families are both willingly and forcibly moved. (6)
  • Part of the family of sour soups, borscht is originally Ukrainian, … the beetroot-centered crimson version being the best-known. … white borscht, also called sour rye soup ... green borscht, packed with sorrel leaves [Щавель кислый, sour shavel’ ]. The consistent theme is that the soup has a sour taste, and that is can be eaten warm or cold (8)
  • “There are literally hundreds of recipes,” explained Halyna Klid, of the University of Alberta’s Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. “In Chernihiv province, a handful of buckwheat is added. In Lviv province, people use hunter's sausage.” …. There is also such a thing as bad borscht. (5)
  • borsch, borscht, … was not originally cooked with beets … the first experiment in transmitting the human voice from orbital flight involved the broadcasting of a borsch recipe ? (Burlakoff 1)
  • With nearly 200 fasting days per year, the Christian Orthodox Church had a profound influence on dietary habits of the faithful ... the most important of the prolonged fasts were the weeks before Christmas and Easter. Without meat, borscht got it's flavor from vegetables, ... (page 8) ... even a watermelon soup, ... in Paraguay, is called borscht. (page 9) (1)
  • Borscht belt is a "region of predominantly Jewish resorts in and around the Catskill Mountains of New York" (9)
Sources Online
  1. Gueldner, Rose Marie. A Taste of Tradition: Borscht, Glückstal Colonies Research Association Newsletter, November 2016, pages 5-9.
  2. Борщ, Wikipedia (Russian).
  3. Borscht, Wikipedia (English).
  4. Skorchenko, Evgenia. Of Russian origin: Borshch, RT Russiapedia.
  5. Schaap, Rosie. How borscht crosses the border between Ukraine and Russia: Can a pot of soup contain clues to the character of a country and its crisis?, Al Jazeera America, April 10, 2014.
  6. Hercules, Olia. Let Me Count the Ways of Making Borscht, The New Yorker, December 7, 2017.
  7. Meek, James. The story of borshch, The Guardian, March 15, 2008.
  8. Charney, Noah. Cooking the Classics: Borscht, Fine Dining Lovers, July 11, 2017.
  9. borscht (n.), Online Etymology Dictionary.
Books by Burlakoff
  1. Burlakoff, Nikolai. The World of Russian Borsch, Aelita Press, 2013, 240 pages.
  2. Burlakoff, Nikolai. Erol Beet and the Borsch Angel: How the Borsch Angel Got Her Name, Aelita Press, June 28, 2012. 32 pages.

What borshch means to me

As a comfort dish of many local culinary Slavic peoples, this soup dish is commonly made in a big pot to feed everybody for several days, and is often more delicious the next day.


Many Doukhobor and Mennonite websites talk about borshch (borsht, borshcht) as a popular dish amongst their population.

As I see it, borshch has become a world wide common dish with almost institutional qualities.

Because of their pacifist nonkilling stance, Doukhobor borshch was traditionally vegetarian, with dill, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, beets and butter being its most prominent ingredients. Today, 2018, only a small minority of Doukhobors are vegetarian, although those who make borshch make it without meat.

Most other non-Doukhobor borshch recipes often include meat as part of it although in the pioneering era, less than 10 percent of the population ate meat because it was largely not available and was expensive.

Borshch is utilitarian in that you could include almost any available vegetable that you have around and add meat if that is your preference. It’s cheap, available, communal and healthy. A universal dish! A similar soup was made in Roman times.

During the Soviet Union, borshch was the most common dish enjoyed at home and in restaurants. It was even used by Russian cosmonauts in freeze-dried form.

Borshch is a ritual dish for Orthodox, Greek, Roman Catholic and Jewish peoples in Eastern Europe. For Doukhobors, it is the first food served (without meat) at funerals.

In brief, for Doukhobors, borshch is a universal dish with Slavic heritage and communal roots, and is largely known for its association with hospitality, nonkilling and good health.

Thanks to our Russian ancestors who have for centuries made this delicacy a contribution to world culture, these are outstanding human qualities that society dearly needs today. Enjoy!

Bolshoe spasibo! [A Big thank you!]

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Issues for the World Peace Forum

Plans are in full swing to hold the 12th World Peace Forum in Toronto, Canada April 19 -22, 2018, organized by the Schengen Peace Foundation.



This year the program is "Leadership for Peace" — conflict resolution, connecting peacemakers to women, stability and peace, and finding common global values.

I will not be able to attend the Toronto Peace Forum. So I emailed to my peace network, some of whom are attending, a set of issues that I believe would make the Peace Forum more dynamic and relevant:
  • A paradigm shift from a war economy and culture to one based on nonkilling peace.
  • Support the United Nations to get rid of 'the scourge of war' and confirming that life is a human right and that nonkilling is the way of the future.
  • Disarmament is the road for getting rid of weapons of mass destruction and beginning a new era of normalizing civilized life.
  • Propaganda. Recognizing that wars have been started by misinformation. Because the media and the politicians have an important role in preventing wars, how do we encourage them to be professionally responsible?
  • Education. Bringing up children of goodwill requires good schools, full health coverage, housing, transportation, and a healthy environment; and continuing education for everyone.
  • Respect our neighbours including nations, via bridge-building, diplomacy, international laws, and Departments of Peace. Avoid regime change,  military bases abroad. Get to know the stranger.

Several replied:
———————————————————————————
From Steve Staples:

Thanks Koozma. First I had heard about it.
———————————————————————————
From Gord Breedyk:

Thanks Koozma, I will look for opportunities to make those points. We aren’t sure what the “Forum” will be like, never having attended before. However, we felt we couldn’t pass it up, since it is so close There are four of us from Civilian Peace Service attending.
———————————————————————————
From Bill Bheneja:

Thank you Koozma for pointing these excellent peace themes so succinctly.

Saul and I attended one of the earliest Peace Forums in Vancouver in 2006, one of the many workshops/seminars there was on Department of Peace; it was in connection with Second Global Summit of Departments of Peace conference being held in Victoria, we had several high level speakers including US Congressman Denis Kuccinich and Dot Maver.
———————————————————————————
From Peter Stockdale:

I agree.
———————————————————————————
From Murray Thomson:

Very good, Koozma, Champion of Nonkilling (I hate the word but love its meaning)! Stay nonkillingableforever.
Reply from Bill Bhaneja:

Thank you, Murray. It was great to be out with the like- minded. 100 years ago, people hated the word Nonviolence, except a few like Tolstoy and Gandhi. 100 years from now when we become sick of deliberately taking human lives, Nonkilling will be the word. That sounds so high minded!

As I post this article on April 4th, I am reminded that 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on this day in the USA by a lone gunman. Because King made a radical indictment of US empire, militarism, capitalism and racism, the main stream media demonized him. Here are King's words of wisdom which organizers of the World Peace Forum need to take to heart by speaking truth to power:
'We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. . . . When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.' — the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1967.
King's legacy is a moral reminder to all of us that we must persevere against the forces of evil not just with words but with deeds for nonkilling peace — or face human extinction. The 12th World Peace Forum is an opportunity to address this challenge. The question is: Will the participants dare to do so?

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Peace Networking with Professor Beissel

Here’s how I happened to network with another amazing pacifist in Ottawa.

For years peace activists in Canada had planned a Vimy Ridge Anti-war Project, a simultaneous cross-Canada protest to educate the public that ‘the spectacle of war… where more than 10,000 were killed or wounded in 4 days’ in France in April 1919 is being glorified as the 'Birth of Our Nation'.

On November 11, 2016, I volunteered to assist an Anti-War Pop Up (#1) event about our national 100th Anniversary of the WWI Battle of Vimy Ridge, hosted by the War Resisters Support Campaign. This was an educational meeting at a bookstore to organize a larger event at the Ottawa Public Library on April 9, 2017: Anti-War Pop Up 2 : Public Readings of Plays by David Fennario.

Our library event strategically preceded the April 10, 2017, lecture in the same Auditorium about the Canadian National Vimy Memorial at the Vimy Visitor Education Centre 175 km north of Paris, France.
Henry Beissel

On April 9, I choose a good seat up front to take photos, and a late comer took an empty seat next to me. Four performers read from 2 recent plays by David Fennario: ‘Bolsheviki’ and ‘Motherhouse’. (See photo album.)

Afterward, during the question and answer session, the man next to me (photo right) stood up and made one of the most brilliant statements about pacifism I have ever heard. I really wanted to know who this man was, so before he departed I invited him for coffee. I immediately bonded with Henry Beissel as we shared our life stories, and exchanged emails.

Later by email I again thanked him, and he replied:
I don't wish to denigrate the presentation organized by the peace group, but I suspect what we heard was nothing new to any of us. The brutalities and idiocies of war have been written about, filmed and presented graphically time and time again, yet we're still carrying on with wars. What I want to know is what concretely can we do to end this vicious suicidal cycle.
That means trying to identify the root causes and proposing how to deal with them. I think I can make some contribution to research in this area, but I don't have the answers either. However, unless we zero in on an honest diagnosis we will never be able to find a cure. Of course, there may be no cure. In which case homo sapiens is doomed. I prefer to think that there is enough intelligence between the best humans to get us beyond aggression and violence.
In short, Beissel is disappointed that no solutions for world peace were discussed, nor were presented at later ‘peace’ events to which I invited him. See his comments on November 13, 2017 (Remembrance Day), and September 2, 2017 (film at Ottawa Peace Festival).

I agree that we are spending lots of time talking about promoting peace, but not actually doing it. How can it be done? Is peace possible to achieve?

I invited him to participate in our book project: 150 Canadian Stories of Peace. And he contributed 2 poems (below). I gave him a copy of the book, and asked him to send a comment in which he again raised the issue of human survival, analyzing arguments over emotion and instinct, cooperation vs. aggressiveness, concluding with the hope that the arts can save us from annihilation.

Henry Beissel is a retired professor of English literature, poet, playwright, essayist, translator and editor who lives in Ottawa. He was raised Catholic in Germany, and after WWII moved to Canada where he became a secular humanist. His wife Arlette Franciere is a translator of French and Russian and is an accomplished painter. We recently had dinner together so our wives could meet.

At one of our lunches together, Beissel told me about a book that inspired him and gave him the technology to recover from cancer some 20 years ago (Mike Samuels, M.D. and Nancy Samuels, Seeing with the Mind’s EyeRandom House, 1975). I got a copy and read it.

Beissel says that cancer is not a disease but a dysfunction of our immune system. He used visualization to shrink cancer to zero when he went through the treatment chamber and visualized the malignant cancer cells dying. He regularly uses visualization in his work.

We found that we share similar journeys:
  • In the 1950s I published The Inquirer in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with ‘an inquiring approach to social problems’. Then in the 1960s, for two years, Henry was professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he published eight issues of Edge, an independent periodical that addressed controversial topics.
  • Henry moved to Trinidad and Tobago for two years as a Canadian Aid Professor and returned to Concordia University in Montreal as a Distinguished Emeritus Professor. He and his wife settled in Glengarry County (a rural area between Ottawa and Montreal near Manville) on 100 acres of undeveloped bush where they built their own house with a study for Henry and a studio for Arlette. They lived there for 35 years while Henry commuted to Montreal (150 km to office each way). Their neighbour Gary Geddes was editor/ publisher of Cormorant Press whom I visited to publish my books about Doukhobors.
  • We both knew Canadian poet Al Purdy. I never met him personally, but corresponded with him in the 1950s and received his newsletter.
  • We are close in age. Henry is 88 (turning 89 on April 12, 2018), while I am 86. Both of us strive to maintain our good health and fitness. We both have set the bar high, striving to reach at least 110. ‘Who will be first?’

More

Update: April 7, 2018

This article is republished in The Shift Catalyst, Issue 7: Peace, April 8, 2018, a bi-weekly e-zine with 420,000 subscribers.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Peace Networking Works

As a Doukhobor, I have striven to develop a personal network among people for peace, particularly where I live in Ottawa. I often attend peace events, lectures and meetings with The Society of FriendsOttawa Peace Festival, Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CPI), No War/Paix, and other efforts promoting world peace.

In 2007 I was invited to attend the First Global Nonkilling Leadership Forum where I met over 30 participants from 20 countries. I presented my paper: Tolstoy and the Doukhobors and expanded my peace network.

Dr. S. Jeyapragasam addressing a panel discussion:
'Mahatma Gandhi Today: In India and the World',
Carleton University, June 23, 2017.

There I met and befriended many like-minded people for peace including Dr. S. Jeyapragasam, co-editor of Ahimsa Nonviolence, journal of the International Gandhian Institute for Nonviolence and Peace (IGISP), India. Since then, Dr. J. has visited Canada where we met again on several occasions. During our conversations he invited me to contribute articles to this international journal.

In the latest issue of Ahimsa Nonviolence (May-August 2017), two of my short articles were published at the beginning and end of the journal.
  1. 'What I have learned from peace activism in the world', pages 84-85
  2. 'Remember peace and nuclear disarmament on "Remembrance Day"', pages 158-159 — Excerpt from my blog post on 13 Nov 2017.


Comments by email

After I sent the link of the journal (PDF) to my peace network on December 1st, I got 8 replies:

————————————
Dr. S. Jeyapragasam, India
Dear Brother,
I thank you for your email. I admire and appreciate your continued noble work for Peace and Nonviolence. Let us remain in touch. 
With gratitude, regards and prayers.
————————————
Bill Bhaneja, Ottawa, Ontario
Thank you so much for this empowering piece and the work you have been doing all these years holding light to truth and building bridges for peace. It has been a privilege to work side by side over the past decade. Also, wonderful to see after a long time the PDF copy of Ahimsa Nonviolence, your article rightfully deserved the lead in this issue.
In Unity of Peace.
————————————
Hon. Douglas Roche, Edmonton, Alberta
Thank you for sharing your wonderful article, which I read with great appreciation. I am grateful for all you do to keep us focused on the peace issues. 
All the best.
————————————
John and Barb Taylor, Vancouver, British Columbia
Thank you for your many contributions toward peace. I remember you from a Peace and Disarmament conference in Ottawa in the mid-1980s. I was there from Halifax as a member of Voice of Women. Afterwards, you sent me an envelope of photos from the event, which I still have.
I read with interest your article at the beginning of the Ahimsa Nonviolence journal cited below. If we still had our Vancouver WILPF Peacelines journal, I would ask for permission to reprint it. Even more, I appreciated your photo report from the Peace observance of Remembrance Day in Ottawa on Nov. 11, 2017. I was unable to copy and reprint it, so urge all those interested to click on your Spirit Wrestlers website and scroll to the bottom three pages to view it.
Just as Professor Thompson "said that ‘this was the best Remembrance Day’ that he [had] experienced,” I was encouraged by the Peace Poppy campaign in Vancouver last month. For the second year in a row, a ceremony of placing white poppy wreathes, “Let Peace Be Their Memorial,” was held at the Seaforth Peace Park in Vancouver. I had the feeling that afternoon that despite our smaller numbers, we were beginning to turn a corner in more people understanding that “To remember is to end all wars.”
————————————
Ken Bilsky, Ottawa, Ontario
A nice article on peace activism and your efforts: 'Koozma Blinded by the Might...'
Until we change the economic system 180 degrees and have a PUBLIC banking system that respects all life and shares the resources of the earth in a sustainable way with everyone, we will continue to struggle and people will suffer unnecessarily. The Capitalist system is trashing the planet and the US Military Industrial Complex is sending us into more and more wars which could end in a nuclear winter. Canada is lock step with the USA and NATO in beating the war drums and creating more carbon instead of less.
The geo-engineering that has been going on the last 50 years to slow down global warming by spraying our atmosphere is compounding the problem along with the heavy use of carbon based fuels which is driving the drastic climate change chaos. A double edged sword of problems and concern for most life on this planet.
Our oceans have become the sewers of the earth, our ancient forests are less than 5% of all the trees and our ancient grasslands are less than 1% of what they were just a few hundred years ago. The ship hasn't turned around yet. It will take a major change in consciousness and the violence ingrained in our capitalist culture will need to be washed away as our 'Modus operandi' for human conflicts. Along with that we need to treat all life with respect and understanding. The mammals, birds, fish, insects etc, deserve their own space on this planet if we want to keep a diversity of species and the continuation of a healthy life cycle. Instead we are adding more and more toxins into the system and are surprised by the negative effects. We are truly deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to earth management using symbiotic and holistic principals.
I think self ownership is a subject that we have to start debating more along with the need for local autonomy and a respect for freedom to control our own destiny. Patents need to be short and quickly move into the Commons so that everyone can modify, improve, innovate and benefit from new ideas. As we connect the dots, we see that everything we do has an effect and we need to be more aware and mindful of what we are doing to our mother.
Time is short to make such drastic changes and realistically Gaia, born from chaos, is not going anywhere but we definitely are. 
Peace, love and resistance.
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Lawrence Klippenstein, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Thanks very much for your Christmas note on peace and congrats for 60 years of work on it! My involvement may be more like 40 years and not as much writing to show for it. Right now it is has to do with promotion of my book Peace and War and giving verbal encouragement like I am doing now. I am in fact working on a second edition of my book with the CDs and paperbacks I did produce all gone but one of each.
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Miguel Figueroa, Canadian Peace Congress
Thank you very much for sending us this link to your article published in Ahimsa Nonviolence. We appreciate the spirit and passion of your message, and your continuing commitment to the cause of peace.
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Max Zbitnoff, Boston, Massachusetts., USA
Here's to you and your 60+ years of peace making. It has been a pleasure and privilege to know you.   [In 1995, Max created a T-shirt in honour of the Spirit-Wrestlers / Doukhobor arms-burning centenary.]

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Readers may leave comments below.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

150 Canadian Stories of Peace — the book


Ottawa, Canada. Dec. 13, 2017 — In recognition of Canada’s 150 years of Confederation, a collection of stories — told by ordinary Canadians aged 4 to 88 — is released. The Anthology 150 Canadian Stories of Peace was compiled by Gordon Breedyk, Mony Dojeiji, Evelyn Voigt, and Koozma J. Tarasoff.

Read it free online at 150canadianpeacestories.com

‘We wanted to hear the voices of Canadians, and how they are contributing to a culture of peace,’ says Mony Dojeiji, member of the volunteer committee who gathered these stories. ‘The main criteria were that the stories be true and concise, fitting on one page.

From almost 200 submissions, 150 were chosen by an independent review committee for this book. We are honoured to bring them to you.’

There are stories expressed in prose, poetry and song. Stories that are joyful and funny. Stories that are sad and heart-wrenching. All inspire and invite reflection.

Stories take place in the schoolyard, homes and communities, and on the international scene, documenting Canada’s role in development and diplomacy.

The online book website links to a blog (for comments) and 17 story categories (shown here in alphabetical order):
  1. ADR/ Restorative Justice/ Mediation
  2. Business/ Private Sector
  3. Children and Youth
  4. Education
  5. Environment
  6. Family/ Relationship
  7. French/ Francais
  8. Heath/ Medical
  9. Indigenous/ First Nations
  10. Innovation/ Cutting Edge
  11. International/ Development Assistance
  12. NGO's/ Civil Society/ Co-op/ Unions
  13. Protest/ Activism
  14. Spirituality/ Inner Peace/ Reflections
  15. The Arts
  16. United Nations/ Peacekeeping/ Governance
  17. Women in Peace
The 4 organizers (listed below) believe that ALL stories of peace are important and have chosen to make them ALL available for free viewing on 150canadianpeacestories.com.

Submission of stories is not closed. Readers are invited to submit their stories which could be added to the website.

The book can be purchased at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle e-book, or by contacting the organizers in Ottawa at 150peacestories@gmail.com. Images available upon request.

Project Organizers
More Information

Monday, 13 November 2017

Remember peace and nuclear disarmament on ‘Remembrance Day’

Peace and nuclear disarmament was the theme of a Remembrance Day meeting at The Canadian Tribute to Human Rights (Human Rights Memorial) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on 11 November 2017.

Morgan Gay, Pacifi organizer, speaks at The Canadian Tribute to Human Rights.
About 25 people observed two minutes of silence to remember all victims of all wars around the world, current and past; and to learn from the past, work for peace and tackle the causes of war. The event was organized by Pacifi17 photos of this event.


Our ‘peace’ group was miniscule compared to the thousands who were at the ‘official’ event at the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill, 600 metres north of us on the same street.

After gathering at the monument, we walked 2 blocks south to the Fox & Feather Pub and Grill to relax and hear historian Dr. David Thompson, University of Ottawa, explain the origins of Remembrance Day and efforts by veterans to promote peace. He listed five lessons from the anti-war vets:
  1. The importance of veterans in peace making.
  2. Postwar experience matters.
  3. Respecting veteran intelligence in discerning the causes of war by colonialism and 20th century capitalism is useful.
  4. There is recognition that one can be anti-war, but not pacifist.
  5. The battle is for peace, freedom and economic equality.
A rich discussion followed. These are some of the many noteworthy comments.
  • The white poppies that the activists wore symbolized all soldiers and civilians, as compared to the red poppies which generally relate to the military dead. White poppies have been around since 1933.
  • A Moslem fellow from Somalia asked: ‘What is peace? By the gun, or Gandhian peace?”
  • J. S. Woodsworth was cited as a hero for peace because he had the courage to stand up in the Canadian House of Commons in 1939 to oppose Canada going into war.
  • ‘What is freedom and democracy?” Is it freedom to starve?
  • A Quaker from out of town suggested that war is ‘counterproductive’; that in today’s world, it threatens our ability to deal with climate change and the future of our civilization.
  • A prominent Canadian poet Henry Beissel said that peace is complicated. Economic corporate interests rule the world including hijacking the mainstream media, and making us consumers of extreme capitalism. ‘I despise Remembrance Day because it glorifies wars, resulting in perpetual indoctrination of our youth for wars….What freedoms are we protecting? Canada has not been attacked for 200 years….We are closer to war today than in 1948. I am not sure what to do?’ More than ever before, said Dr. Beissel, we need more cooperation to deal with issues of equality, injustice, and local services. To achieve this, we have a huge opportunity if we decide to stop wars and divert resources to urgent human needs.
  • Perhaps a backlash to President Donald Trump will lead us away from emphasis on violence and wars?
  • A Pakistani man: ‘If we survive, it will be through sheer luck.’
  • It was noticed that Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reneged on his promise to follow through with voting reforms resulting in a loss of democracy. Does this mean that all politicians are vulnerable to lying when pressured by corporate interests which fund the particular party?
  • ‘I’m not cynical, not pessimistic, but believe that humans have the intelligence to survive.’
  • ‘Who is the real hero: the soldier or the peacemaker?’
  • The annual anti-militaristic demonstration at CANSEC near the Ottawa International Airport has been successful in holding up cars for several kilometres and getting the message out that disarmament is the way of the future. Pacifi organizers invite activists to continue this action in May 2018.
Following the 1.5 hour afternoon session, Thompson said that ‘this was the best Remembrance Day’ that he experienced in his life. I was impressed, too.

I wanted to title this story with ‘Armistice Day’ because I prefer the original historic name, but most people have forgotten it. In my opinion as a Doukhobor, the meaning of the holiday was changed with the new name. I do not want to remember war with red poppies, rather to remember peace symbolized with white poppies, meaning no more wars.

More

By Tarasoff:
Green, Roedy. Six reasons why I despise Remembrance Day, Canadian Mind Products.

Moorghen, Sandra, "Should we still wear the poppy?", Opinion, Issuu, 11 November 2013, page 11.

Gary G. Kohls, MD, ‘Changing the “War No More” Sentiment of Armistice Day to the War-Glorifying Propaganda of Veterans Day’. 13 November 2017, in Transcend Media Service.

War With Russia: Two Great American Myths. 11 November 2017, in Saker.

Peace Pledge Union. 'Alternative Remembrance Sunday Ceremony hears from people suffering in current wars'. 11 November 2017.

Mairead Maguire, Peace Laureate. 'Prospects for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament'. Presentation to the International Symposium on Nuclear Weapons at the Vatican, Rome, 10-11 Nov 2017: The Peace Process in Northern Ireland. Posted in Global Research, November 14, 2017.

David Swanson. 'A New Armistice Day'. November 8, 2017.

Jay Janson. 'Buried History: 27 Million Died in Russia Because Wall Street Built Up Hitler's Wehrmacht to Knock Out Soviet Union'. Posted in The Greenville Post, August 8, 2017.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Huge Doukhobor Book Collection for Sale

A total of about 266 books about Doukhobors of the highest quality are for sale in Vancouver, B.C. as a lot. You may never see a Doukhobor book collection like this again.


For 24 years I have built it under the guidance of the B.C. Doukhobor community including the Russian program at the Castlegar school.

In my travels to sell books to the schools in the Kootenay region of B.C. I have met many Doukhobor people and I came to deeply admire their ideological commitments.

These items are for sale for the regular market price which is over $100 for some books. As a collection it is clearly worth much more, but if an institution or university or individual wants to buy the entire collection (with multiple copies of each book) the price of each item will remain the same.

Buying the collection or even just one copy of each will save a huge amount of acquisitions time and the huge payroll costs of purchasing each title individually.

The government now has the funds for support now of our wonderful Canadian Doukhobor culture and history. But you will need to hire the right grant writer.

I do not have the time to make or provide a list of these books. I want the buyer to visit and see the great quality of this collection.

The collection can be viewed at 1818 Quebec street (near Main St.), Vancouver, B.C.

David Ellis, bookseller
Text: 604 916 6081 — davidellis@lightspeed.ca
News

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Q80: Two Streams of Doukhobors?

Are there two Streams of Doukhobors? 
Apostolic and Inclusivist?

Bill Kanigan of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and his son Kim Kanigan, Queensland, Australia, posted a paper in The Dove April 2017, pages 5-15, 'The Two Streams of Doukhobor Faith'.

Kanigans describe two streams: Apostolic and Inclusivist.

Generally, the 'Apostolic Doukhobors' are grounded in a central belief in Jesus Christ including the Christian belief in arising and being born again, in erasing sins, in the existence of god, and a belief in the creationist myth.

'Inclusivist Doukhobors' reject much or most of organized churchism whether this is the bible, its rituals, and its mythology, and instead base most of their beliefs on the universal truths of love and god within.  

Does this categorization help the process of understanding Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors?


Answer by Koozma

The proposed dichotomy of 'two streams' of Doukhobors is too simplistic and encourages splintering. We are much more complex and diverse, as Doukhobors testified in Chapters 13-14, Traditional Doukhobor Folkways, 1977 (Revised 2017).

Though I support the effort to understand Doukhobor heritage (and Bill's and Kim's work is most welcomed and should continue), their dual categorization fails to recognize the real Doukhobor genius as a social movement in human development. I believe that describing Doukhobors in terms of these two streams leads to fake news and divisions which discourage understanding of what Doukhobors really stand for.

The best description of contemporary Doukhobors (in my assessment) are those who have long dropped their chains of churchism in favour of a new paradigm of morality based on love and compassion for life. They tend to be ahead of the curve of human progress by rejecting the mythology of organized religions. Their nonkilling ethic is a call for nonviolence and a world without wars.

Readers should know that Bill's wife is Roman Catholic, which provides him with the opportunity to better understand the Orthodox and Protestant faiths.  Also know that my wife, Kristina, is Orthodox, which has not changed my Doukhobor beliefs from before we got married.

More by K.J. Tarasoff
Update: February 8, 2018

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Books and Videos about Russia

While writing my Book Review: Romanov, Introduction to Canadian Studies, I wished that such a book existed about Russia that was as interesting and fair as Dr. Romanov had written about Canada. So we began searching for such a book. In the meantime the Oliver Stone documentary about Putin appeared.

My recommendations for books and videos about Russia

Russia: A Reading Guide', Center on Global Interests (CGI), August 30, 2016
— 12 experts share the 50 books that shaped their understanding of Russia. Only one book is mentioned by two people.

Richardson, Paul E. & Mikhail Mondasov. The Spine of Russia, July 2016, 200 pages.
— In the Fall of 2015, a Russian and American journalist travelled 6,000 kilometers from Russia’s northwestern corner in the Arctic to Sochi, in the tropical climes of the Black Sea. The group tells the stories of Russians whose life and work is taking the country forward, and what they feel patriotic about, what is important to them.

Stone, Oliver. (book) The Putin Interviews: Oliver Stone Interviews Vladimir Putin, Skyhorse Publishing Inc, June 16, 2017, 288 pages. — Transcripts of all 20 hours from video.

Stone, Oliver. (video) ‘The Putin Interviews’, (4 hours total video) Showtime cable TV, June 12-15, 2017.

More books about Russia

To be fair to my list of books above, I include lists below recommended by journalists. I feel that many (not all) of these books are biased, because they seem to be limited in scope, often stuck in a paradigm of one ‘super policeman state’ rather than respecting wider regional players.

Basulto, Dominic. 'The 7 Best Books of Summer 2016 for the Avid Russia Watcher', Medium, June 16, 2016. — Former columnist for The Washington Post’s “Innovations”

Begley, Sarah. '9 Books That Can Help You Understand Russia Right Now', Time magazine, February 15, 2017.

Elkin, Dimitri. 'Top 10 books on Russia in 2016', Russia Direct, December 30, 2016. — The best books of 2016 include those that take a closer look at U.S.-Russia relations during the Cold War and perestroika, enabling readers to better understand the current Putin era.

Honig, Michael. 'Top 10 books on Vladimir Putin's Russia', The Guardian, April 20, 2016.

Lebedev, Sergei. '10 Books That Explain Russia Today', Publishers Weekly, February 19, 2016 — Lebedev, who was born in Moscow in 1981, picks 10 books that explain Russia's complicated past and present.

Weafer, Chris. 'Six ‘must-read’ books on Russia from last 25 years', Johnson's Russia List, September 10, 2015.

'The Top 10 Summer Books for Russia Watchers', The Moscow Times, July 2, 2015.


Readers:  Enter your recommendations in Comments, below.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Russia Trip 2017 by US Citizen Group

'Grass root' Citizen Diplomacy

Since 1984, the Center for Citizen Initiatives has built 1000s of person-to-person bridges between Russia and the USA. Here's what they did this year.

In May 2017 a volunteer delegation of 30 American citizens flew to Moscow to meet Russian citizens. They divided into groups for meetings in 10 locations — Moscow, Volgograd, Kazan (Tatarstan), Krasnodar, Novosibirsk (Siberia), Yekaterinburg; the Crimean cities Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol; and gathered in St. Petersburg before returning home.

Link to map

Observations and Facts
  • Western sanctions have hurt sectors of Russia’s economy but encouraged agricultural production.
  • Some Russian oligarchs are making major infrastructure investments.
  • There has been a resurgence of [state] religion in Russia. 
  • Russia increasingly looks east. [to China]
  • Russia is a capitalist country with a strong state sector.
  • There is some nostalgia for the former Soviet Union with its communist ideals.
  • There is a range of media supporting both government and opposition parties.
  • Public transportation is impressive.
  • President Putin is popular.
Russians and Americans meet in Yekaterinburg, June 2015

Current Political Tension
  • [Skepticism] about Russian “meddling” in the U.S. election.
  • There is a strong desire to improve relations with the U.S.
  • Western media reports about Crimea are hugely distorted.
  • Russians know and fear war.
  • Russians see themselves being threatened.
  • Russians want to de-escalate international tensions. [Met with Gorbachev]
Original article
More

Monday, 29 May 2017

Q79: Different Doukhobor groups?

Jack Tarasoff, Calgary AB writes:

Our family is having a family re-union, and I was asked to make a short presentation about the different groups of Doukhobors, i.e. their titles, major beliefs and positions. J.J. Verigin has offered some help, but I feel I need a little more for the family.

Jack was former chairman of the Council of Doukhobors in Canada.


Answer by Koozma

Doukhobor groups and personal identities and affiliations varied by time, place, environment and individuals. People could form new groups, intermarry, and join and leave groups. Our social evolution since 1886 (death of Luker'ia Kalmykova) has evolved in many directions — primarily from Russian heterodox to a multi-faceted religious and social movement.

However, the 1895 arms burning and the dropping of sectarian roots towards a nonkilling social movement ethic has remained stable as the defining element of Doukhoborism in the 21st Century. This evolution has incapsulated Lev N. Tolstoy's attempt at a real reformation in the formal church as well as a strong message to the military industrial complex to get rid of wars once and for all.

Here are some useful references:
The category 'Sons of Freedom' is omitted because historically they opted out of the Doukhobor movement, but some have returned, more so in recent years.

All of this should help you designing your talk on the Doukhobors.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

GREETINGS: 70th USCC Youth Festival

“Celebrating 70 Years ~ A Journey for Peace ~ Past, Present Future”
Grand Forks and Castlegar, British Columbia
May 19-22, 2017 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Spirit —

Congratulations to the USCC, volunteers and visitors who made the annual Doukhobor Youth Festivals happen!

70 years is a lifetime for many people.
Well done our pioneering and younger friends!
In these many years, there have been many achievements:
  • You have shown that cooperation is possible in a world of run-away capitalism and that the road to a ‘win-win’ scenario is important for the sustainability of human life on Earth.
  • By bringing people together, you have achieved a unity of spirit and built bridges of understanding between the East and the West. You have reminded us that we are living in One World where ‘respect’ is a golden word.
  • By bringing together songs from the heart you have made the wider world more beautiful.
  • Finally, and most important, you remind us of the mission statement of our ancestors who sought to develop a world without wars. Burning weapons in 1895 is another way of saying that today we need to work actively to drastically reduce our military industrial complex, get rid of NATO, and encourage the development of an architecture for peace — such as setting up a Department of Peace in Canada’s parliament.
You have made us Doukhobors and non-Doukhobors proud by celebrating our unity of spirit and friendship, the beauty of song, the sound of joy, the sharing of wisdom for a nonkilling society, and the hope for a world at peace.

— Koozma J. Tarasoff and Kristina Kristova, Ottawa, Canada.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

New Russian Thesis on Doukhobor Singing

Anastasia Vladimirovna Zernina
Зернина Анастасия Владимировна
'Singing Tradition of the Doukhobors in Rostov province: Denominational and Regional Aspects', is the translated title of a fresh doctoral thesis by Anastasia V. Zernina, 2017. Rostov, Russian Federation.

She did her field work and research in 2012-2016 among Doukhobor and Molokan villages in Tselinsky district, Rostov province, Russian Federation.

Her work focuses on Doukhobor oral traditions of burial, marriage, beliefs (ideology), calendar events, and singing (religious, worldly), with many references to neighboring Molokane. The phrase "Doukhobors and Molokans" appears about 26 times in the text.

The Russian title: 'Певческая Традиция Духоборов Ростовской Области: Конфессиональный и Региональный аспекты' is online in PDF, and abstract in a separate PDF. It was submitted in 2017 to the C.V. Rakhmanninov State Conservatory, Rostov-na-donu («Ростовская государственная консерватория им. С. В. Рахманинова»).

Table 1 (page 74), 'Singing repertoire of Rostov Dukhobors', summarizes her categorization of all songs, shown below translated.

Click on chart to ENLARGE

Half of the thesis pages (129 to 251) are Bibliography (231 references, 15 Canadian) and Appendixes. Missing in Bibliography are:
Dr. O'Brien-Rothe's analysis is similar to Zernina's in that both report the origin of Spiritual Christian religious song melodies are evolved adaptations of Orthodox church chants and old Russian folk music. Solemn drawn-out (protyazhennaya) singing of religious hymns, like Oche nash, was developed to comply with the Russian law against "infecting" heterodox faiths, to sound non-sensible to an Orthodox who might hear the very slow singing. Doukhobors and Molokane only sing spiritual verses during Sunday service, but Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki added melodies from faster folk song genres, especially for ecstatic spiritual jumping. Zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki in the U.S.A. and Australia scorn singing Russian folk song lyrics for entertainment, though they adapted folk song melodies to their own spiritual words.

A long 24-page chart (pages 164-187) lists 380 songs logged for her study — 157 (41%) religious, and 223 (59%) worldly folk songs. The chart has columns for Song number, Title (first words), Variants, Source (religious) or Author (folk songs), Recording location, and Notes. Below is a summary count of each category in this chart.

Religious chants (157)
  • Psalms (35)
  • Spiritual verses (15)
  • Stishki (spiritual songs) (105)
  • Prayers (2)
Folk songs (223)
  • Lyrical - slow (115)
  • Lyrical - fast (32)
  • Romance (58)
  • Lullabies (10)
  • Chastushki (7)

2 stishki are borrowed from Molokane (page 173, numbers 81 and 91, Dukh-i-zhzinik Sionskii pesennik 64 and 129)

32 examples (including 2 variants) of musically notated songs with lyrics are shown (pages 189 to 244). Maybe a talented reader will record this sheet music for those of us who cannot read music to help create the first notated songbook with audio.

At the end (pages 245+), 91 informants interviewed from 1930 through 2012 are listed alphabetically by 8 villages (82 count) and 1 city (9 count), with the year and location of birth shown for 85 people, not the year interviewed. One man, Vasilii P. Lisichkin, was born among Molokane.

Though many high quality maps of Russia exist online, Zernina reports that she cannot use them because they are not "officially published", per rules for theses in Russia. She apologizes for the inaccurate, approximate Soviet era map on page 163, which was the only map she could use. Here's a list of better maps:

More