Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Doukhobors in Georgia: to stay or move?

Духоборы в Грузии: остаться или уехать?

The BBC Russian office posted a 3.5 minute TV Russian news video on 14 August 2012, summarising the current situation of the few remaining Doukhobors in Transcaucasia. Translation of introduction:

In southern Georgia near the border with Armenia and Turkey, many Doukhobors relocated here in the mid-19th century. Here in Ninotsminda, formerly the Bogdanovka District of Georgia, historical monuments are preserved of the difficult history of the Doukhobor movement. Today, nearly two centuries later, most Doukhobors moved to Russia, and many fear that the history of the Doukhobors in Georgia is coming to an end. Correspondent, Nina Akhmeteli, BBC Russian office.

The report is excellent for its stark images, good interviews, very good articulation in the Russian language, and a tone that is neither gloomy nor optimistic. Villagers are shown herding and milking cows, and during a Sunday meeting. The cave and cemetery are toured.

Four residents are interviewed: 

Dressed in traditional Doukhobor clothes, Tatiana Oslopova tells how a few elders come to the Sirotskoi Dom (Orphan's Home) on Sunday to 'meet God' and pray together.

Maria Belousova describes how Doukhobors once had a thriving milk economy, but now most the Doukhobors have moved away, including her family. She sold her cow, survives on her garden, and wants her daughters to return to their homeland.

Young Vladim Sukorukov of the village of Gorelovka sees no future for Doukhobors here unless something unexpectedly happens.

Bearded elder Nikolai Sukorukov visits the cave (peshcheriska) near one of three 1895 Arms Burning sites, then the cemetery (mogilitchki) in Orlovka. He came to the area 30+ years from Tbilisi, says he sees hope that the area pulls people back to their homeland.

The reporter concludes that almost two centuries after the Doukhobors were exiled from the Milky Waters area in 1841, many now fear that the Doukhobor history in the Caucasus is rapidly coming to an end.

More about Doukhobors in Georgia.


  1. Nice images. Thanks Koozma.

  2. Gunter Schaarschmidt24 August 2012 at 22:34

    I very much enjoyed the video. You can tell from the interviewees that, after all, Gorelovka is their "rodina" even though many dukhobortsy have left the area for Russia. To stay or not to stay, that is the question. And, of course, the decision to leave, if it were made, is irreversible. In Russia, assimilation will be the biggest threat, as I see it. The situation is somewhat similar to the Canadian context although, of course, Georgia cannot really be compared to Canada. Nonetheless, 170 years is a long time, certainly a lot longer than the 113 years the dukhobortsy have been in Canada. I must say that I have become inspired enough to visit the Georgian settlements in the near future.

  3. Canada always has a place for them :)

  4. I lived in Ninotsminda and remember the stories that local people told about Doukhobors and their relationships with them. It always has been warm,peaceful and harmonious... It really impressed me a lot...