Friday, 23 December 2016

Year-end Newsletter 2016

From Koozma J Tarasoff and Kristina Kristova

Dear Friends,

Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis, GoComics, Dec. 25, 2016.

The year 2016 has passed by quickly. Both Kristina and I are well and keep busy on our respective activities.

This summer Kristina spent a month in her homeland Bulgaria visiting friends and relatives whom she misses a lot. Her brother Dmitar, long retired, continues to live in Burgas, while son Orlin resides in Bozensi and Sofia while working as composer musician. Kristina’s daughter Milena lives and works as a music teacher in Ottawa.

With the International Languages Program (IL Elementary Program), Ottawa Catholic School Board Continuing and Community Education Department, Kristina continues her Saturday morning work as Site Administrator looking after 240 students. In July she did the same with a full month of work in the Summer School.

On June 3rd, Koozma’s brother John died at the age of 88 in Saskatoon and Koozma joined John’s children in the city celebrating John’s life as ‘a Canadian pioneering hero’. We all miss him dearly ‘a memorable brother, a friend, a father to Lorne, Kerry and Wendy — an example of a hard working man to all of us, our children and our grandchildren’.

As in many previous years, Koozma was busy as a peace activist, peace journalist, and photographer. He appeared as Peace Elder with Bill Bhaneja on Rogers TV in May. He supported the protest against CANSEC with its annual international arms trade show in Ottawa in the same month. His biggest challenge was the Ottawa Peace Festival 2016 where his illustrated Tarasoff Briefs highlighted the 11-day event celebrating peace and environment activities in Canada’s capital city.

Koozma has continued to host the Spirit-Wrestlers Website and Blog with webmaster Andrei Conovaloff in Arizona, focusing on Doukhobors and relevant issues. We often simultaneously co-edit my drafts using Google Hangouts (similar to Skype), and share news and ideas. Our ongoing projects involve false material about Doukhobors in print and on the Internet.

Koozma is behind schedule on his first eBook: Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and Their Friends, with 35 contributors. Sorry, I get interrupted, often carried away, with important current peace stories.

Koozma’s son Lev continues to teach physics at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, commuting from Guelph, Ontario. Dr. Tarasov manages glacial research with local and international collaborators. His wife Dorothee Bienzle manages a laboratory studying retroviruses, at the University of Guelph. Son Jaspar studies at Queen's University in Kingston in a dual BSc in Kinesiology and physics; he will have an overseas semester in Auckland, New Zealand this spring (fall in New Zealand); and he was the 2016 Frosh Week coordinator for his college. Daughter Katya will finish high school and will spend February to May travelling around the world before returning for soccer season.

Koozma’s daughter Tamara continues to work for Parks Canada. Her recent trip to the Western Arctic was a highlight for the year. Her husband John continues to work for Heritage Canada. Their son Nicholas began his first year of studies in Mechanical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, while daughter Elena goes to Filamen Wright School in Gatineau, Quebec. Both children are top students in school and are active in sports.

Keeping healthy and fit has been a preoccupation for all of us. Koozma’s children and families have been active in outdoor sports such as canoeing, hiking, and skiing. Koozma does his morning and evening exercises and takes outdoor walks on a regular basis. To keep their balance and remain in shape, Koozma and Kristina have joined an aerobic dance class for seniors.

As the year comes to a close, we wish our dear friends around the world the best of good health, creativity, joy, love and happiness in 2017.

Koozma J. Tarasoff and Kristina Kristova, 882 Walkley Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1V 6R5, Canada. Emails:,

Previous year-end reports 
     2015  2014 — 2013 — 2012 — 2011 — 2010 — 2009

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Doukhobors and Tolstoy Inspire Novel

Prattis  book.jpeg
Book review of a "futuristic novel"
New Planet, New World
by Ian Prattis, 2016. 288 pages.

How can we build a sustainable community from scratch on a new planet? Dr. Prattis shows 'the demise of modern civilization' via climate change, violence, inequality, and wars on earth, and attempts to provide an innovative architecture for its resurrection on another planet.

This is Prattis’ third book of a trilogy titled:
Chronicles of Awakening
  • Book One: Redemption
  • Book Two: Trailing Sky Six Feathers
  • Book Three: New Planet, New World
Ian Prattis is a friend and retired Professor of Anthropology and Religion from Carleton University in Ottawa, Buddhist teacher, and author. His fictional novel New Planet New World was partially inspired with my help by the teachings of Lev N. Tolstoy and the Doukhobors. It offers hopeful solutions for our addiction to fossil fuels.

We got to know each other working on the annual Ottawa Peace Festivals for 10 years. Prattis, through his organization Friends of Peace hosted the largest gathering of musical performances at City Hall. I am glad he asked me about the Doukhobor Movement and Tolstoy and integrated the wisdom into his book.

In the book, the teachings of Doukhobors and Tolstoy relate to the central value of love, the willingness to cooperate and share, as well as compassion for humanity — values of gentleness, nonkilling and respect which provide hope for the creation of a society without wars.

In short, Earth is destroyed and rebuilt from scratch by '... protagonists ... from different centuries and cultures.' The hero Sian the Celtic seer works with Catriona, blood sisters, Four Hopi Sacred Keepers, Doukhobors, Tolstoy, and others. The survivors conquer the problems of individualism and greed that destroyed Earth, connect as human beings, reject self-centeredness and self-absorption, and take care of Nature.

After two stages of space flight, Prime 3 on Jupiter One Station had a change of crew of Americans replaced by a Chinese and Russian co-pilot from their respective Space Agencies. The Russian co-pilot was Nikolai Chutskov, with wife Elena and son Igor. In the attempted landing on a new planet there was an explosion and the parents were separated from their children, and some pioneers were killed. Two children Andrew and George who lost their parents were adopted by the Chutskovs.

At a meeting of the new settlement, Elk Village, Nikolai addressed the pioneers including Igor and his adopted children, saying they were descendants of the Russian Doukhobors who 'followed a path of peace' (pages 215-216):
The Doukhobors created a movement for peace ethics and community in nineteenth century Russia. They rejected both state militarism and the clergy. In 1895 they sent a strong message of protest by burning three piles of government-issued guns and swords to emphasize their ethics of non-killing and community. This immediately brought state persecution and exile. An initial migration of seven thousand five hundred Doukhobors to Canada soon followed with the help of Tolstoy....
Elena picked up the story. 'Tolstoy was an incredible philosopher and is regarded to this day as the conscience of humanity. He articulated the beliefs of the Doukhobor Movement in his prolific writings, referring to them as "people of the twenty fifth century," which is quite a statement about how they were ahead of their times. They had ethics, values, education and community-living bound up in a new paradigm that re-visits us today with the establishment of Oasis and the the two new settlements to be created at Crossroads and Black Elk Village. We are just hearing about them....'
Elena continued. 'Our ancestors did not migrate to Canada. They settled with other communities in Georgia and at the same time stayed true to their Doukhobor beliefs. This was passed down from generation to generation and came to rest with Nikolai and me. We chose to make a career as astronauts [cosmoauts] with the Russian Space Program rather than serve in the military....The Wisdom of the Elders fits the creed we were born into love, caring, ecology, community and peace....'
Prattis explained his inclusion of Tolstoy:
Ethical settlements grow as a mirror for Tolstoy's vision of 'people of the 25th century' – ahead of their time. ...The inclusiveness of science combines with Tolstoy's vision, ... The underlying message is from Tolstoy, the 'Conscience of Humanity.' He described humanity's bottom line as the cultivation of love, the mainspring for authentic and responsible living. I do not present this as idealism, rather as down to earth wisdom.
The narration is well-crafted, technologically knowledgeable, fast-paced, with twists and turns suitable for a movie. The characters are historically international. The problems to be solved are real — poverty, rape, jihadists, PTSD, hate, revenge, youth involvement, and more.

Mysticism combines with hi-tech. The power of extra sensory perception, dreams and creative breathing are explained. The previous 2 books provide Guidelines for organization, work, ceremony for people to mature, protocols for justice and relations with other people and all creatures and the land are discussed by Rising Moon, mother of Trailing Sky and others.

This is a book for our times which addresses Climate Change, violence, and mass murder wars; and is really about love.

Get it as a gift for your children whose future will depend upon how we handle our problems wisely in the spirit of knowledgeable and friendly humanity. Order from Amazon for Hardcover, Paperback or Kindle E-book editions. Soft cover $25 Canadian, plus S&H. If you order directly from Prattis you will receive a FREE copy of Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers with your purchase!

Thank you Ian Prattis for writing your muse. I was glad to share my knowledge of Doukhobors and Tolstoy with you. My ancestors are honoured you heeded their wisdom.