Friday, 7 October 2016

Tribute to Michael M. Verigin (1929 - 2016)

Michael M. Verigin died September 29, 2016. Obituary in Calgary Herald.

To Michael’s children Venera and Liuba and their children and spouses, my wife Kristina Kristova and I send our sincere condolences in the passing of a dear parent and cultural legend. Michael was a stalwart elder whom people looked up to.

In human societies, the elder is one who has experienced life fully and is respected for the lessons of time. Michael M. Verigin was one of those people who worked hard in a coal mine, who lived a long life, preserved the spirit and traditions of his Doukhobor ancestors, and has shared his wisdom with the wider world.

This cultural activist knew much about the Doukhobors in Alberta. His grandfather was among the first settlers to go there in 1915 to establish a Doukhobor colony in the southern foothills area of Cowley and Lundbreck.* As the oldest of six children, Michael Verigin grew up there as a young pioneer helping with the chores of the household. Since marrying Doris (nee Fedosoff) in 1955, he lived in Cowley for much of his life, and for over 60 years was active in the community.

Michael was generous to me with his knowledge, wisdom and hospitality. When I needed to take pictures of his collection, Michael went into his basement, looked into his trunks and brought out rich treasures: old issues of Iskra and Mir, colourful traditional costumes made by his grandparents, old pens and inkwells used in an early one-room school where he attended, and rugs made by his wife. He had a cornucopia of Doukhoboria.

Michael readily stepped in as President of the United Doukhobors of Alberta, as councilman for the village of Cowley, as Board member of the CCUB Trust Fund, representing Alberta and the Alberta Cutural Council. At the Doukhobor Community Home in Lundbreck, he regularly led the sobranie meetings and joined in the singing of traditional psalms and hymns.

True to his tradition, Michael was a strong peace activist who believed that it is wrong to kill another human being because we then destroy the humanity of each. The historic 1895 burning of guns by his Russian ancestors was an event that he felt our society today can learn from. ‘Disarm our weapons of mass destruction and bring our troops home’, he would often proclaim, ‘and respect the Commandment of “Thou Shalt No Kill”.’

From his ancestors he gained the wisdom that sharing and cooperation are essential to human development. He often visited the local Hutterite colonies where he was welcomed as an honorary member. He was against exploitation and excessive materialism. Greediness for him has no place in a healthy society. The dollar cannot be the real measure of human worth.

When the media and some ignorant writers demonized all Doukhobors as fanatics, he was there to defend Doukhobors and speak up for them. For him, ‘burnings or bombings or disrobing’ were contrary to the Doukhobor movement.

In 1995 Michael and his wife Doris organized a beautiful and harmonious ‘Toil and Peaceful Life’ exhibit on the Doukhobors at the Sir Alexander Galt Museum in Lethbridge. It was produced in honour of the 100th anniversary of the burning of guns in Russia and 80 years of Doukhobor settlement in Alberta.

Yes, Michael Verigin was a man of wisdom, a hospitable man, a man to remember. All of us will miss him. May future generations respect and learn from him and his wife how to treat our neighbours with love and compassion.
 — Koozma and Kristina

See M.M. Verigin biography: Koozma J. Tarasoff,  'Upholding the Culture of Alberta Doukhobors', Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002). pages 268-271. 

* Map by Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Genealogy Website.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Saskatchewan Pioneer Diary 1934

In 1934, teenager Laura McDonald traveled with her family of 10 for 3 weeks by horse caravan through central Saskatchewan, a 185-mile trip.

The family left Helena, Montana, USA, during the depression to Canada. So far they traveled about 500 miles to Zelma, Saskatchewan, where this story begins, in search of better farm. At the time, Canada was extensively advertising for desirable White farmers.

They had 4 wagons — a 12’ by 14’ caboose for sleeping pulled by four horses, a Bennett buggy for animals, a wagon for animal food and furniture, a wagon with heavy farm equipment; and they brought 21 cattle, 11 horses, five pigs, four turkeys, 24 hens and two dogs.

An except from her diary about the trip was published this year:
Laura McDonald. ‘The Diary of Our Trip Up North: Zelma to Mullingar via Saskatoon, 185 miles by caravan in three weeks, July 3rd to July 23rd, 1934’. Saskatchewan History, vol. 68, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2016: pages 12 - 22.
Direct route is 120 miles. McDonald's traveled 185 miles.
Her Diary was especially interesting to me because I grew up in the same area, and recall many of the images described:
  • ‘Sand drifting four or five feet deep along the road allowance’.
  • Playing ball with neighbours. Because the group travelled in the Eagle Creek area where I went to public school as well as Eagle Point School area where there was a baseball field for Sunday sports days. Perhaps my Dad and Uncle played ball with the McDonalds?
  • Crossing a ferry over the North Saskatchewan River. I have done that many times over the former Petrofka Ferry en route to Blaine Lake, Sask.
  • Picking, eating and canning very tasty saskatoon berries.
  • Many mosquitoes.
  • Drying clothes on a clothesline.
  • Her mother baked 32 loaves of bread which the family ‘ate like nobody’s business’. We did the same.
  • Mullinger, had one street, a store and two grain elevators, familiar, like Environ in the Eagle Creek District.

All of that was good. But the Diary revealed some prejudice towards minorities. Here are the passages that are offensive to me:
  • July 13th, Friday ... When we were camped tonight, an old fat Mennonite drove up. He stopped and when he talked he yelled. When he left he bawled back at Dad for miles almost. He says “goot caboose”. “goot water”. “goot Missus”. “whoa!” “gaddap”!” “giddap!” until we almost died laughing at him.’ (Page 18).
  • July 14th, Saturday ... While I was in bed a Doukhobour [Doukhobor] and wife came by in a buggy. He got out and led the horse by because it was frightened. But just when he got by it jumped and the harness fell half off. The old lady hung onto the lines and screamed. When he got it stopped she got out over the wheel. But one shaft broke. Fred went out to help and gave him “hail hallelujah” in Doukobour language. She’d sit down and bawl and then get up and yell at the old man. He cut another shaft from the trees nearby but when they left she walked behind. This country is overrun with Mennonites and Doukhobours….’ (Page 18).
  • July 15th, Sunday ... There’s a smart alec city kid visiting some of his Doukhobour relations. Can he swear! He brought about 11 kids with him so we played softball. The boys against the girls. We lost. This was after dinner. Then we went for a dip. There were about 25 people at the place where they swim. 99% of them were Doukhobours. There’s only one thing that is smarter than a Doukhobour, that’s two of them. One guy could duck pretty good so he’d duck and dive and every time he’d come up, he looked like a drowned rat with a grin like a monkey….So I afterward said to dad, we saw one white man out of 100 Doukhobours and he has to be walking around with no shirt on. After supper about 15 young men came out and played ball. Us girls had a game among ourselves and my side won for once….’ (Page 19).

The prejudice of the McDonald family in the 1930s was obvious and it was wrong. Her Diary reminds me of Hazel O'Neail's Doukhobor Daze (1962), about her experiences as a one-room school teacher also in the 1930s.

The McDonald Diary and O'Neail book are mild compared to the later sensationalism of the media (1940-2000) demonizing the Doukhobors as ‘nudists’, ‘bombers’, ‘terrorists’, and ‘Communists’. However, these prejudices (mild and serious) do mould public opinion which in turn influence public policy. What can we say about human nature — have we made progress?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Q73: Am I Biased Towards Russia and Putin?

A friend in Ottawa recently asked me (August 17, 2016): ‘As a peace journalist, are you biased towards Russia instead of being objective?’ While starting to write him a reply, I decided to answer the question here, and he wished to not be identified.

"Media bias", Danielle's Journalism Portfolio, March 24, 2015.


No. I prefer to say that I am ‘friendly’ rather than ‘biased’. I understand that because my ancestors immigrated from Russia 117 years ago, some readers may be suspicious of my intentions.

I have a degree in anthropology where I learned that the first step in learning about the stranger is gaining rapport. We need to carefully listen, watch and learn, and gently walk on this earth.

I visited Russia and Europe 13 times since 1957. I feel like a citizen of the world and recognize all people as members of one human family.

My favourite motto is ‘In search of truth and a nonkilling society’ — which pretty well sums up the intent of my storytelling over the years.

‘As a peace journalist’ I have tried to be fair to all sides including Russia and the West — using many sources since the 1950s when I began publishing.

I recognize that propaganda, disinformation, information warfare, lies, fear mongering, etc. are varieties of verbal warfare and are obstacles for reporting the truth.

Because my writing often focuses on facts avoided by western media, I may appear biased to those who don’t know the rest of the story. Some examples:
Other investigative journalists, whom I admire, have also defended Russia, with facts:
Center for Citizen Initiatives speaks up:

Sharon Tennison, founder and head of the Center for Citizen Initiative has posted an article on President Vladimir Putin in how he is using graceful language that is human and friendly and invites people to work together. See Putin: Martial Arts Philosophy in Action. Sharon writes:

'It certainly is putting out a message to the world about the value of a classical man who attempts to be honest, straightforward and leaves doors open for dialogue.'

Ultimately a non-military solution is needed to create a peaceful world. But the first step is good quality diplomacy beginning with compassion within. Let's step back, breathe deeply and normalize the rhetoric and become civil.

Three informative videos:

Here’s another little known fact that exposes the rest of the story. Though my ancestors came with 7,500 Doukhobors from Russia, they were invited to settle western Canada in 1899 primarily to prevent annexation of Canada by the USA.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

No More Hiroshimas, No More Wars!

Source: Physicians for Social Responsibility, August 27, 2014.
August 6 and 9 marks the 71st anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Let's learn from the past to prevent a world holocaust by using all of our diplomatic tools.

I feel that former US President J. F. Kennedy and current Russian President Vladimir Putin believe that we share this small planet together, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s future, we are all mortal, and we must therefore work together for peace and respect each other’s sphere of influence.
  • In 1963, Kennedy established a direct communication link with President Nikita Khrushchev and negotiated a settlement to the missile crisis in Cuba. Had Kennedy succumbed to advice to attack by US military leaders, I doubt that we would be here today.
  • In 2008, Russia did not annex Georgia when Georgian president Saakashvili recklessly attacked South Ossetia, violating cease fire agreements and killing Russian citizens. Russia neutralized the Georgian army, then retreated to its bases.
  • In 2014, Russia did not invade Ukraine and seize Kiev when Washington installed a hostile regime in the Ukraine. Instead, Putin secured Sevastopol against the US fleet, protecting the presence of Russian speakers. A legal nonviolent referendum in the Crimea followed and was supported by 93% to join Russia.
  • In November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian plane, Russia did not counter attack. Instead it diplomatically humiliated and isolated Turkey. I think Russia prevented a nuclear war.
I believe that the current situation of 28 NATO members encroaching on Russia is as dangerous today as missiles were in Cuba in 1963 when the world feared the beginning of WW3.

Source: Munich Security Report 2016, "Boundless Crises,
Spoilers, Helpless Guardians," Munich Security Conference, page 25

The chart shows how the build-up of NATO bases with missiles encircling Russia provokes a protective response from the Russians. The situation resembles the time when Hitler's fascist forces were threatening USSR, resulting in mass mobilization to counter the threat.

I think people in the West are allowing a new Cold War and possibly WW3. Putin warns the West that any aggressive actions of a nuclear kind against Russia will lead to a direct response on the USA.

NATO Wants WW3 ?

Is anyone in the West listening to the threat of a nuclear war and the direct role of NATO in it? I find no news in any major North American media. US radio and TV talk show host Alex Jones asks why America is literally asleep on this issue.

Let’s take heed of the wisdom of presidents Kennedy and Putin and save our civilization from the catastrophe of a nuclear holocaust and stop WW 3. With the coming of the 71st anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, let’s recall that madness and make every effort to prevent it today worldwide.

Commemorate August 6th and 9th, 2016 atomic bombings with a resolve:
  • Actively search for nonkilling structures for peace and install them in our regional and national programs.
  • Let’s work to ban nuclear weapons, as have Mayors for Peace, which represent 7,095 cities around the world (105 in Canada).
  • As concerned world citizens we should circulate a petition banning NATO.
  • People, are you listening?

On My Website
  1. Hijacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.’ August 9, 2015.
  2. May the Third Atomic Bomb Never Come.’ August 10, 2013.
  3. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki.’ August 17, 2012.
  4. Memorial of 1945 Nuclear Bombing of Japan.’ August 8, 2011.
  5. Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembrance August 2009’. August 3, 2009. 

  1. Kohls, Gary G. 'Christianity and the Nagasaki Bomb'. Information Clearing House, August 11, 2016. 
  2. Bruce Kidd, James Orbinski, Landon Pearson, Setsuko Thurlow, and Jean Vanier. ‘Let’s Work to Ban the Bomb.’ Ottawa Citizen, August 5, 2016. page A11.
  3. Cunningham, Finian. ‘Britain’s Incorrigible Warmongering Towards Russia.’ Information Clearing House, July 31, 2016.
  4. Clifford, Joe. ‘Corporate Media and Neocon Propaganda Will Get Millions Killed.’ Information Clearing House, July 31, 2016.
  5. Lvov, Petr. ‘Saudi Arabia is Setting a Trap for Moscow Yet Again.’ Information Clearing House, July 30, 2016.
  6. Hallian, Conn. ‘We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrphe Than During the Cold War.’ Information Clearing House, July 23, 2016.
  7. Putin Issues Desperate Warning of WWIII.’ (video, 8:06 min), Alex Jones radio show,, July 7, 2016.
  8. Hudson, Michael. ‘US-NATO Border Confrontation with Russia Risks Nuclear War.’ Information Clearing House, July 19, 2016.
  9. Munich Security Report 2016, "Boundless Crises, Reckless Spoilers, Helpless Guardians," Munich Security Conference, page 25
  10. Ray, Muon. ‘Michio Kaku - Top Secret Military War Plans.’ YouTube, November 17, 2012. 13:30 minutes.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Russophobia and the Olympics

Politics and the Olympics should not mix!

Political cartoons by Aleksei Talimonov.

'The Greeks saw the ... event as an occasion to halt wars and come together in peace.' (USA Today, 4 Aug 2016)

The International Olympic Committee ‘was founded in 1894 on the belief that sport can contribute to peace and to the harmonious development of humankind.’ (Peace Through Sport)

The 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism states:
Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.
In recent years, however, Western negative bias has raised its ugly head, called Russophobia, and it seems to be obstructing the Olympic Movement.
Today, we see a dangerous return to this policy of letting politics interfere with sport. … to form a negative image of countries and peoples. The Olympic movement, which is a tremendous force for uniting humanity, ... without waiting for the official publication of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s commission, have hastened to demand that the entire Russian team be banned from taking part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. What is behind this haste? (Putin, V. ‘Statement in response to the report by the World Anti-Doping Agency’,, July 18, 2016)

Rio 2016 reminds me of Russophobia in 1980

In 1980 as a photojournalist, I attended the Summer Olympics in Moscow boycotted by 65 countries because of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. I mourned that thousands of very disappointed athletes were prevented from participating.

In the 1970s, the USA was Russophobic and secretly working against the Soviet Union by funding Muslim warriors and al-Qaeda to block expansion of communism into Arab states. This funding created ISIL — Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — ironically now the major enemy of the USA since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The USA was not banned for meddling in the 1980 Olympics, nor was it banned for illegally invading Afghanistan in 2001 under the NATO banner. The USA banned itself, leading 64 other countries, to not participate in our traditional peaceful friendship meeting of people from around the world.

Today Western countries are again active in propagandizing against Russia in any and every way including anti-Russia news releases, cartoons, economic blockades (sanctions), and public policies. This is Russophobia in action.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), headquarters in Montreal, Canada, wanted all Russian athletes banned from Rio 2016; but it was overruled by the International Olympic Committee which decided:
… according to the rules of … justice … to which every human being is entitled... each … athlete must be given the opportunity to … (prove) … his or her individual case.
Despite the strict ruling, 271 (70%) of 389 Russian athletes have been cleared by the IOC and declared 'the cleanest team'.

But these strict rules for Russians don't apply to others just as guilty — Russia misses out while former drug cheats take their place in Rio, RT Novosti, 30 Jul, 2016.

My point is that the USA press propaganda spins this story of injustice (1) negative, while the Russians try to spin it (2) positive.
  1. More Than 110 Russian Athletes Barred From Rio (based on unsubstantiated claims and Cold War rhetoric)
  2. Russia says 272 athletes approved for Rio Olympics
Though Russophobia still exists, I am glad that justice prevailed, and Russia is welcomed to Rio 2016.


A fool-proof testing plan is in place for the Russian athletes, which some argue is still not fair because (a) any athlete with a previous doping record is banned even if they are now tested ‘clean’; and (b) on the average, the rate of Russian doping is 19th (see table* below left) compared to all countries.

The data shows that 18 countries score a higher rate of violations, with no extra testing required. That is a double standard. The most egregious is Iran, with an average score of 9.5% compared to Russia at less than 1% (0.91%), a little worse than Canada (0.77%) and the USA (0.71%).
* Table source is cited as on the WADA website, without dates. So far we have found the data.

The table (above right) in a report covering 44 years of doping (1968-2012) shows Russia/ USSR were assessed 10 times for doping, compared to 8 for USA and 1 for Canada. Why aren't Austria and Greece in the news? The tables and sources are in: Doping Cases at the Olympics, 1968-2012,, 21 Sept 2011.


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Markin’s New CD About Doukhobors

12 original new folk songs dedicated to the Doukhobors are composed, played and sung by Dr. Allan Markin of Penticton, British Columbia.

Places: Songs of Toil and Peaceful Life is his new album with themes about arms burning, sailing to Canada, women pulling plows, building communal villages, zealotry in the Kootenays, and constructing the Brilliant Suspension Bridge.

Dr. Markin reports the 46-minute album took 18 months to write, and describes the music genre as:
... folk-roots, more specifically original Doukhobor folk music in English. I aimed for a traditional Russian feel (in various degrees) throughout the whole album. Deda’s Song in particular uses the accordion, balalaika, and spoons to capture the sound.
Regarding the historic accuracy of the album (lyrics, photos), he responds: 'I used some poetic license.'

Background vocals are by Maureen Haworth and Naida Cochran, both in Grand Forks. Dave Favell, Kelowna, plays acoustic guitars. Other orchestration is composed and performed by Ron Mahonin, Grand Forks, who also recorded and produced the CD.

Dr. Eclectic’ (Markin’s stage name) is an avid guitar player, singer, entertainer, storyteller and part-time songwriter. Selections were first performed on July 2016 at the Whatshan Jam 2016 Family and Friends Festival.

His website — — has lyrics for all 12 songs, and a list of 5 songs with summaries and audio samples.

In Comments, Jim Popoff, Grand Forks, wrote:
… the CD... gave me a strange feeling of sadness and wistfulness about the moving panorama of our people's existence over the past 120 years or so, which you've covered well in your lyrics... and at the same time a kind of pride that a PhD academic could return to his roots in this touching way, with more than a modicum of musical talent, and come out so strongly in artistic manifestation of his heritage. A commendable endeavour by all concerned!
To produce the album, in October 2014 he tried to raise $7,500 on, but only collected $395 from 6 people, not Doukhobors, in 21 months (accessed 7/26/2016). The album is self-financed.

Price: $20 (Canadian), from: Allan Markin, 112 - 170 Stocks Crescent, Penticton, British Columbia V2A 9C6. Phone: 250-493-6150. And, 4 places in Grand Forks and Castlegar, including the USCC office and Doukhobor Discovery Centre.
In November 2011, Markin submitted a letter to the Boundary Sentinel newspaper protesting an editorial that referred to Doukhobors as undesirable ‘borscht’, 13 times.
A different Doukhobor, Allan P. Markin, Calgary, was chairman of Canadian Natural (oil, gas) and co-owner of the Calgary Flames ice hockey team. These two Allan Markins are not related.

Album Review

My wife Kristina Kristova and I enjoyed the album very much. The selections are fresh, the lyrics are written in a way that praise the Russian / Canadian pioneers for their commitment to peace, honest labour and adaptability, and the accompaniment music is colourfully unique. Great rhythm!

Here are some phrases that easily roll of the tongue and create images of a proud people striving to survive in a strange land and build a world without wars:
  • #4 : Baba’s Waltz — ‘I can hear your voice so crystal clear... Do you think of coming to Canada, To a land you’d never seen ….’
  • #6 : The Bridge —‘The Brilliant bridge that Doukhobors built ... was built to last.’ Doukhobors built for the future.
  • #7 : Grave Digging Man — ‘Big John was a grave digging man. ... We were his crew. ... He said to do it right.’ Perfection was the way.
  • #9 : The Five-String Guitar — ‘Deda said “Guitars are not the Doukhobor way. ... a sin”. But the new generation was open and adopted to new ways.
  • #10 : Doukhobor Assimilation Blues — While children moved to the cities ‘in search of high degrees’, others remained home with toil and peaceful life stemming from the God of Love Within.
  • #11 : The Wish — ‘Unlock the secrets of your heart, and bless a bright day.’ The heritage calls to make a better world.
  • # 12 : Burning of the Guns — ‘War no more. Nor more fighting. No more. No more.’ This is a classic Doukhobor call for a nonkilling philosophy in a troubled world. Bravo to our brave pioneers for their eternal wisdom!
‘Places: Songs of Toil and Peaceful Life’ is probably the only original CD in the English language that is authored by one composer and one theme (the life and times of the Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors). It is an example of adaptation and creativity in our times. But, I have 2 complaints:
  1. The background music is at times too loud for me, especially #2 ‘Deda’s Song’, making it difficult to hear the words.
  2. #5 ‘Wagon Train to Verigin’ is historically unclear. The photo (lower right) on the disc below shows Yorkton, Saskatchewan (not Verigin). From Yorkton, the wagon train traveled ~100 km (~60 miles) south, ending at Broadview, where the community Doukhobors boarded trains to British Columbia.

Though he dropped out of high school, Markin persevered to earn a PhD in 19th Century English Literature from the University of Calgary in 1981 (thesis: "George Eliot and Education"), and won a Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship to conduct research in the rare-books libraries at Yale University and the British Museum. In 1988 he became a 'Doukhobor professor' (his words) then administrator in 1988, and retired in 2003 as Dean of OUC’s Okanagan/ Similkameen Region in British Columbia. He learned to play the guitar in his youth, and did not play for 35 years until after he retired. Bravo for contributing new folk songs about his Doukhobor roots.

Markin has already contributed to the forthcoming eBook that I am producing (Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and Friends) which is scheduled to be published later this year.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Independent Doukhobor Project on Radio

The ‘Doukhobor Prayer Service Preservation Project’ was promoted by Ryan Androsoff on Ottawa radio, Tuesday July 19th, 2016, for 87 minutes, and Koozma Tarasoff joined by telephone for 8:37 minutes.

Androsoff works in Ottawa with the federal government and comes from a Doukhobor family in Saskatchewan. Tarasoff is a well published Doukhobor historian.

Androsoff was interviewed on the radio show ‘Tuesday Special Blend, With Mike Powell and Adam Coombs’, CKCU (93.1 FM) Campus radio, Carleton University, Ottawa. On 1 August 2016, Androsoff posted a shortened version (1 hour) of the radio show which he edited, minus interruptions, on, with better sound quality.

He got the special air time by donating to ‘listener supported’ public radio during a fund drive in October 2015, when he was working in Paris, France.

The goal of the Preservation Project is to ‘... document and explore the traditional Doukhobor 'Molenya' ... as practiced by the Saskatchewan Doukhobors.’

Androsoff is now conducting a crowd-fundraising campaign online for $15,000, to produce
  1. a documentary video about the Saskatchewan services, and
  2. a portable exhibit of the service in surround sound.
In his proposal, Androsoff explained his motivation and urgency:
While there have been a number of documentaries that have captured Doukhobor history and culture, there has been little focus in these works on the spiritual rituals of the Doukhobors in detail. The actual mechanics of a Saskatchewan Doukhobor prayer service have not been well documented … With the rapidly declining membership of Doukhobor societies in Saskatchewan and the aging of those who are left, there is a limited window left to capture and preserve the experience of a Doukhobor prayer service for future generations.
The project is endorsed by the Doukhobor Cultural Society of Saskatchewan (DCSS) with particular involvement from the Doukhobor Societies of Saskatoon and Blaine Lake.

The funds, when collected, will hire a video company (Bamboo Shoots), audio-engineer Ross Nykiforuk. Everyone else is a volunteer.

Two professors at the University of Saskatchewan — Dr. Ashleigh Androsoff and Dr. Veronika Makarova — are helping with some of the research for the script and interviews. Ashleigh and Ryan are 3rd cousins, with roots in Blaine Lake. She grew up in B.C.

Recording is scheduled for October 22, 2016, and a premiere of the video and exhibit in Fall 2017.

Androsoff explained the project will be funded and executed in 3 Phases.
  • Phase 1: Development and Production, January - October 2016
  • Phase 2: Post-Production, November 2016 - Spring 2017
  • Phase 3: Release and Distribution, Summer/Fall 2017

Androsoff chose to raise funds with, a large mature company that does not charge fees for non-profit projects. All money donated goes to the project.

Updates and news about the project will be posted by Ryan Androsoff at

After the broadcast Androsoff went to Saskatoon. He met with the audio and video crews, attended a choir practice for the recording session in October, and updated the Doukhobor society.

On August 1, 2006, Androsoff posted an update on his blog, including a short video of choir practice in Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Doukhobor Prayer Service Preservation Project.

In August 2016, Iskra, issue 2105, page 2, Androsoff wrote a guest editorial about his project.

On August 14, 2016, Androsoff broadcast this message by email:

'Friends — as you may know, these last few months I've been putting an increasing amount of my time and energy into a project to preserve some of the traditions of my Doukhobor ancestors in documentary film and multimedia formats. This is a project of personal passion and one that has a real time pressure behind it. The Doukhobor community in Saskatchewan has been declining in recent years and of those who are left, it is a rapidly aging population among whom we have lost many members in recent years. Put simply, this project won't be possible to do in a few years.

'But this type of work doesn't happen for free — and giving it the professional treatment that it deserves doesn't come cheap — and that's why we've started a crowdfunding campaign this summer to help get us along the path to the $15,000 we need to raise. Summer is always a tough time to raise money while people are busy enjoying vacation season, but we've had to start our efforts to be able to get the pieces in place we need for our recording session planned for October. While we've started getting some donations coming in, we are still far from where we need to be.

'There is just over a week left in this first phase of fundraising and while we may not be able to raise the full $15,000 in this first attempt, I am hoping it will get us a significant way towards the goal and help us be able to leverage other funding opportunities (e.g. many grant opportunities require matching funds).

'This is where your support can really make a difference right now. As we come to the end of this first fundraising effort, if you are willing to contribute financially now is the time to take a moment and push that "donate" button! Click here to donate. While there are perks in place for larger donations (at the $25, $50, $100, and $500 levels), any amount helps as momentum matters.

'We are encouraging people to donate through the online crowdfunding page, however if for whatever reason you are more comfortable donating by cheque or cash I can accept those as well. Cheques can be made out to "Spirit Wrestler Productions" (which is the non-profit company that has been set-up to manage this project).

'Finally if you are looking for more information about the project, you can check out some of the media coverage we have received:
'If you have any questions about the project don't hesitate to ask me. Whatever support you can give, in whatever amount, is sincerely appreciated from the bottom of my heart.

'Thank you!'

More Online
  1. Read the project fundraising site: Doukhobor Prayer Service Preservation Project, and donate.
  2. Listen to Tuesday Special Blend, a 2-hour show.
    1. Androsoff begins at minute 5:00 for 87 minutes, ending at minute 92:10, interrupted with news, weather and commercials.
    2. Tarasoff begins at minute 66:45 for 8:37 minutes, to 75:22.
  3. Tarasoff’s radio notes: Insights on the Doukhobors Since the 1950s, with Comments and Corrections of mistakes spoken on the radio.
  4. Ashleigh Androsoff does PhD thesis on Doukhobors, 27 August 2007
  5. New Doukhobor Course at the University of Saskatchewan, by professor Dr. Veronika A. Makarova, 10 September 2013

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Appeal: No to War. No to NATO

At the brink of a NATO summit in Europe (8–9 July 2016, Warsaw, Poland) there is an urgent Appeal to the international peace movement to oppose this meeting and its sable-rattling rhetoric. Following US President Barack Obama's visit to Canada on June 29th, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau caved in to Obama's plea to go to the Warsaw meeting in Europe and lead a combat mission in Latvia on Russia's border. That action is threatening world peace and making us become accomplices to the terrorism of war.

Shame on Prime Minister Trudeau for abandoning his election promises to work for a peaceful world.

The Appeal is one that Canadian peace groups could readily support. We have to act quickly. Contact your Member of Parliament and support the views of sanity for a new world order that is safe for our children and our grandchildren. Stop supporting criminal corporate-neocon-fascists who have a big appetite to make blood money from war.

William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defence in the Clinton administration, says that the danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.'

The detonation of even a single nuclear bomb today could destroy our way of life.

Appeal to the International Peace Movement

In the interest of peace — participate in the protests of the international network “No to War — No to NATO” against NATO’s summit taking place from July 8th until July 10th, 2016, in Warsaw.

We protest for
  • the end of confrontation with Russia! No troops and maneuvers at Russia’s Western border;
  • no further armament in the NATO member states! It can only be financed by sharply reducing spending on education, health care and social security systems;
  • no new nuclear weapons (and no modernization of existing arsenals) in Europe and worldwide;
  • no missile defense system in Eastern Europe because this system only furthers the dynamic of armament and confrontation;
  • no NATO operations against refugees.
In the last couple of years we have never been as close to belligerent confrontation in Europe as today. Leading politicians, military officials and scientists of different NATO member states therefore warn about the politics of aggression pursued by NATO.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists doomsday clock is at three minutes to midnight. It is time to stand up, it is time to protest: the next major war in Europe will be the last one. Therefore, we call on all of you: come to Warsaw and join the anti-NATO-protests at

It is time to say NO to war and confrontation and YES to peace, to life, to disarmament, to cooperative security in Europe.
For the international network “No to War — No to NATO
Kristine Karch, Lucas Wirl (Co-Chairs)


NATO: War Games  on Russia's Border Endanger Humanity. Sputnik News, July 2, 2016.

Mason, Jeffrey W. July: This Month in Nuclear Threat History. Published in Nuclear Age Foundation, July 1, 2016.

Perry, William J. A Stark Nuclear Warning. Originally published in The New York Review of Books, republished in Russia Insider, July 1, 2016.

Belous, Ilia. 'The Forgotten Truth About Lenin'. Fort Russ, July 1, 2016.

Oberg, Jan. 'Why is NATO so irrational today?' Global Research, June 30, 2016.

Canada expected to send troops to Latvia to deter RussiaThe Globe and Mail, 30 June 2016.

Dobbin, Murray. 'As NATO war-mongering against Russia intensifies, Canada faces a difficult choice'., June 24, 2016.

Behrens, Matthew. 'Saying no to Canada's death game'., June 22, 2016.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Doukhobor Peace Day 2016

Message to the 121st Commemoration of the Doukhobor Peace Day

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Spirit,

Although we the Doukhobors do not venerate saints, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul on June 29th (Old Style), July 12 (New Style) has traditionally been a day of celebration for us.

Since 1895, this date has acquired a new significance as a commemoration of the Burning of Arms, the Doukhobors’ destruction of their weapons, as a symbol of our refusal to participate in state-sponsored killing. It is now celebrated by our descendants as simply the Doukhobor Peace Day or originally as ‘Peter’s Day’.

As we celebrate this 121st year of this historic event which transformed us from a sect to a social movement, let us rededicate our commitment to the the spirit of love, beauty and God within all of us.

We gather today at a time when the Cold War is warming up in our world and nuclear annihilation is again a threat. As Spirit Wrestlers (Doukhobors), we need to renew our appeal to our conscience and heart and speak up for the creation of a nonkilling world. We owe this to our children, grandchildren, and to all members of the human family.

As we sing today, let’s raise our voice for humanity: ‘Leaders of the world, wake up before it is too late. The way to peace is nonkilling peace.’

My well wishes to all,
Koozma J. Tarasoff
Ottawa, Canada

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

American 'Citizen Diplomats' in Russia

Peace and Friendship Tour — June 15-30, 2016.

An unofficial group of 20 Americans, who disagree with the official US government policy, are conducting their own 'grassroots' citizen diplomacy in Russia for 2 weeks.

Volunteer American public figures, former government officials, teachers, doctors from Washington, Salem OR, San Francisco and New York, are traveling through Moscow, Crimea (Yalta, Simferopol, and Sevastopol), Krasnodar, and St. Petersburg.

Center for Citizen Initiatives peace tour in Crimea, ~20 June 2016.

The trip was organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), San Mateo, California, headed by Sharon Tennison, president and founder. CCI did similar trips in February to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Volgograd; and in previous years. The CCI website states:
'Our chief objective will be to get a realistic understanding of Russia today, from students at their universities to policy makers in their offices. We will engage in informal discussions with Russian businessmen and women, NGO organizers, physicians, educators, working journalists and families in their homes. Dividing up in groups of four Americans each day, we will have different experiences which will later develop into a composite picture of what collectively we have learned.'
To unite Russians and Americans in Crimea, they are meeting local officials and citizens, will do a short tour of the South Coast, and swim for peace and friendship in the Black Sea at Yalta.

Among the 20 citizen delegates are:
Dr. Gould and 3 others probably joined after the list was published, bringing the total count to the 20 reported in the Russian news.

Col. Wright acknowledged:
'Sanctions policy never works, ...'; and 'I admire the courage of the Crimean people who despite all sanctions, they say that they will do what they see fit, and not what everyone wants from them.'
Raymond McGovern described the distorted view Americans have of Russia and stressed:
'It is very important for us to come here ourselves and to see and hear about events from their direct participants, because we can not fully rely on the information that we presented to the American media.'
'People shape our policy towards Russia seems to have no idea of ​​what threatens escalation.'
Elizabeth Murray added that 'in her country, there is no complete and objective information on how Crimeans live and what has changed in their lives over the past two years.'

The Crimean newspaper South-Yalta reported:
'Our American colleagues wanted to make sure that the Crimeans do not live under the pressure of the authorities [and] that it is their personal choice. They are very surprised to see just such Yalta, because their media show peninsula in a different light. Upon arrival in America, these public figures will share their experiences in the local press.'
Video reports should be posted at CCI, as they did for previous trips. See 21 videos, most aired on 'Present!', KMVT 15, Mountain View Community Television, Silicon Valley, California. The videos feature 1.5 hours with Vladimir Posner, who explains the danger of NATO aggression, American mistreatment, misunderstanding and other topics.

The Americans are following delegations to Crimea from France (June 2015), Israel (Feb 2016), Italy (May 2016), Germany (May 2016), China (May 2016), Greece and Iraq who were seeking business and trade relations, which initially confused some Russian reporters and is repeated in secondary reports.

Tennison is a 30-year citizen diplomat and advocate for peace with Russia, and owns an apartment in St. Petersburg. Though an advocate trying to help Russia, in February she was arrested and detained until Russian officials realized the CCI 'were Americans of goodwill just trying to find a way to build bridges with Russian citizens.'

Primary Russian News, 21 June 2016

Экс-аналитик ЦРУ в Крыму призывает к диалогу между РФ и США
(Former CIA analyst in the Crimea calls for dialogue between the Russian Federation and the United States)

Делегаты из США считают нарушением прав людей "блокады" Крыма
(Delegates from the United States considers a violation of the rights of people 'blockade' of the Crimea)

Делегация из США прибыла с деловым визитом в Крым
(The US delegation arrived on a business trip to the Crimea)

Американская делегация предложила создать общество дружбы Крыма и США
(The American delegation proposed to create a Crimea and US friendship society)

Американцы в Ялте устроят заплыв за мир и дружбу
(Americans in Yalta will swim for peace and friendship)

Полковник США в отставке: восхищаюсь мужеством крымчан
(A retired US Colonel admires the courage of Crimeans)

Правозащитница из США: мы не боимся санкций за посещение Крыма
(The human rights activist from the United States: 'We are not afraid of sanctions for visiting Crimea')

Общественница из США: в Крыму видны позитивные изменения
(Social activist from the United States: 'Positive changes can be seen in the Crimea')

Американская делегация восхищается мужеством крымчан
(The American delegation admires the courage of Crimean).

Мэр американского города поприветствовал симферопольцев
(The mayor of Simferopol welcomed the Americans)

Делегат из США рассказал, что американцы знают о Второй мировой войне
(A delegate from the United States said that the Americans know about World War II)

US Delegation Visiting Crimea to Promote Citizen-to-Citizen Dialogue, Sputnik International

В Крым приехали американские общественники [фото]
(American public figures arrived in Crimea [photo]), "Искра"

Member of US delegation says its visit of Crimea symbolically breaks sanctions, TASS.

Делегация из США встретится в Крыму со столичными властями (The U.S. delegation will meet with the Belarusian authorities in Crimea ), РИА Крым, 19 June 2016.

American Blogs

Russians Ask "Why Do Do You Demonize Us When We Are So Much Like You?". Center for Citizen Initiatives, 4 July 2016.

We Just Arrived Back From Russia, Center for Civil Initiatives (CCI), 2 July 2016.

Call for a National Debate on U.S. “Regime Change” Policy, Center for Civil Initiatives (CCI), 20 June 2016.

St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Volgograd, February 4-19, Center for Civil Initiatives (CCI), February 19, 2016.

Defender of Putin, Detained in Russia: American Activist Deemed U.S. 'Agent', Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, 17 February 2016.

On the Ground in Russia, Huffington Post, 28 July 2015. — Summary of 2015 trip.

Russia Report on Putin, by Sharon Tennison, Johnson's Russia List, 21 April 2014


The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens' Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises, by Sharon Tennison, 2012.

Discovering Soviet-West Cooperation. A Handbook on Soviet-West Bridge-Building Initiatives, by Koozma J. Tarasoff. First limited edition publication by Peace Train Foundation, Ottawa, Canada, October 1991.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Canada — Stop Aggression Abroad !

Introduction: According to a report by Lee Berthiaume 'Canada courted as Russian bulwark' in National Post, published in Ottawa Citizen, June 18, 2016, page NP5:
'Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met this week with Latvian and Norwegian counterparts in Brussels. Norwegian officials say no decision has been made whether the country will contribute troops alongside Canada. Similarly, Sajjan's office says the government is "actively exploring options" to help NATO.'
NATO aggression in encircling the Russian Federation, playing war games, and demonizing it 'as an aggressor' is a dangerous game in a nuclear world. To avert Canada from being complicit in this war, I felt a need to send a personal letter to Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

By Mike Peters. Mother Goose and Grimm, 2016-06-12, Image Number: 143737.
Transformative fair use: A nuclear war means end of the world.

The Letter (June 18, 2016)

Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing this on behalf of my children, grandchildren and other children of the world (including yours). Wars are not healthy around the world. According to international law, wars are genocidal especially in invading weaker nations without legal reasons, as has been done and is being done by USA dominated NATO in many countries of Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Presently NATO is trying to persuade Canada to be an active part of its alliance from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Prime Minister, please STOP THIS AGGRESSION.

This uncivilized behaviour is liable to get Canada being taken to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Prominent scholars and filmmakers such as Stephen S. Cohen, Noam Chomsky, Johan Galtung and John Pilger are very concerned that this NATO-led escalation is threatening world peace. In a nuclear age, this is suicide.

Canada should 'keep its nose clean' by staying out of this conflict and urging nations to focus on bridge-building (such as with the current space program), honest negotiations, peace-making and nonkilling.

I am appalled that the Canadian government last September hosted President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine who today has ordered the killing of its Russian citizens in the Ukraine. This is double standard that is not acceptable in a peaceful world. As a citizen of Canada, I urge you and your cabinet to immediately STOP BEING A PARTY TO THE COLD WAR IN EASTERN EUROPE! Bring your troops home.

In search of truth and a nonkilling solution,


Koozma J. Tarasoff
Ottawa, Ontario


Monday, 6 June 2016

Will Business Start a War With Russia?

A few days ago I read this article: Warning! Neocons Are Close To Starting a Nuclear War With Russia, Dmitry Orlov in Russian Insider, June 1, 2016.

Neocons is short for neoconservativism, a political term coined in 1973 to label politicians who hire big businesses to fight communism and conduct wars so the US can police the world.

Here’s what I think and want to add to simplify the article:

Trust — Russia can no longer trust most of the American-managed rhetoric of so-called democracy, superiority, justice and truth. The US dominated NATO lied to Russia in the early 1990s when it promised not to advance towards Russia. The US now encircles Western Russia and is a threat to its security.

Media — The Western media takes every opportunity to demonize Russia and President Putin. That is not honest journalism, but a takeover by western corporate interests. The West must acknowledge that the
USSR won World War II, with 27 million deaths and defeating fascism. 90% do know know this fact.

More dangerous signs:
What is needed is a major change of orientation by the West from war thinking to peace, from extreme capitalism to a form of democratic socialism, working together instead of fighting each other. Hopefully we in the West will wake up and help our people to change the orientation towards a more respectful relationship with other members of the human family.

You see how complicated and dangerous the world is today.

US Superpower — The United States (US) insists in remaining the world's superpower. It has over 1,000 military bases around the world, a CIA, Pentagon, many NGOs, and a media too often spreading propaganda and lies. But other countries have legitimate interests. The superpower model should be replaced by regionalism and equality of nations.

Huge budget — The US annually spends US $1.7 trillion on its military, because big business needs to profit from war and government needs to perpetuate the notion of a superpower, and regime changer if necessary. More spending should go to social services, infrastructure, etc/

Problems — The US is facing formidable problems not well known or understood.
  • Its economy is in bad shape (debt to China is $1.24 trillion, January 2015).
  • It has the largest prison population in the world, 2.2 million, and many work like slaves for private companies.
  • Its deteriorating physical infrastructure such as railroads and bridges is horrendous.
  • Gun violence is endemic with more private weapons than any country; 32,000 people killed yearly with guns.
  • Many lack adequate health care.
  • Public education is often narrow and expensive.
And we can go on. The American Empire is on the way to collapse within a decade or two unless drastic changes are made.

Extreme capitalism is doomed. Profit at any costs (even war) cannot be sustained. The rich cannot maintain gross inequality. Too much money for a small portion of the top 1% disrespects the worth of the wider humanity. A cooperative sharing relationship is urgently needed.

See next blog: Canada — Stop Aggression Abroad !, 19 June 2016.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Q72: 1924 Train Explosion Files Still Secret?

Mich Ozeroff, Langham, Saskatchewan, May 31, 2016, wrote:

One cloudy and dull afternoon last February I 'googled' Farron, B.C. and was introduced into a topic many of us have heard about for many long years — 'explosion on the Kettle Valley line, the death of Peter Verigin'.

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.
Explosions on the Kettle Valley Line. The Death of Peter Verigin

I spent two or three days reading the list of articles printed leading up to the death of Mr. Verigin, much of which I've heard before until I read about the 'inquest' and was surprised and amazed at what I read in the last paragraph in the inquest report.
'In late April, 1925, six months after the event, neither the CPR nor the B.C. ministry of the attorney general had a copy of the transcript of the Nelson inquest because the court stenographer had not completed it. In fact, even today, the B.C. Archives does not appear to possess a complete transcript of the Nelson inquest, as the typewritten numbering shows 57 pages missing out of a total of 138 pages.'
This is just about beyond comprehension, in this country, for this to have happened and still presumably not corrected. Have you heard if these missing pages have been accounted for and can I as a citizen get a 'complete copy' of the inquest into the death of Peter V. Verigin in Farron, British Columbia in 1924?


In October 29, 1924, Peter V. Verigin and eight others were killed in a mysterious train explosion in the mountains between Castlegar and Grand Forks, British Columbia. The case remains unsolved.

Like you, many Doukhobors are frustrated that the BC government or someone else is still hiding our history by not releasing these files for more than 85 years. Also, we have no idea if the USA FBI has any files on this case.

In 1977 Larry Ewashen made a public video about his struggle to get access: “The Death of Peter V. Verigin & Freedom of Information,” shown on the CBC program “Ombudsman.”

Larry concludes that we need an act of Parliament, like the more liberal Freedom of Information Act in the USA, to get these files. Is the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act protecting the privacy rights of unknown individuals, such as government officials?

For now, the most comprehensive work about this file is online at the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History. Explosions on the Kettle Valley Line. The Death of Peter Verigin.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Letter to Editor Ottawa Citiizen

Ottawa Citizen     Homepage
Page A7 : Your letters for Friday, May 13

Two world events ignored by western news media.

I am appalled that the Ottawa Citizen and other western media have generally ignored or downplayed two international humanitarian cultural events: one in the ancient city of Palmyra on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day in Syria, and the second at Victory Day in Russia.

The first event brought the famous St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, headed by Maestro Valery Gergiev, to Palmyra, six weeks after ISIL was forced out, as a celebration and in gratitude to all those who fight terrorism and sacrifice their lives.

The second event, May 9 in Moscow, commemorated 71 years since the defeat of Nazi forces and the memory of Second World War veterans. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people in defence of the country and of freedom for the world. More than 40 countries took part in this memorial, which attracted 800,000 participants to the Moscow parade.

Koozma J. Tarasoff, Ottawa

Martyrs’ Day

May 6, 2016, was the 100th anniversary of a massacre in Damascus and Beirut, Syria by Ottoman military leader Jamal Pasha 'The Butcher'. Russia ordered a cease-fire, and sent an orchestra to participate in the Syrian memorial for the dead. Concert title: 'Pray for Palmyra. Music revives ancient remains'.

Victory Day

(Russian: Den' Pobedy) honors veteran dead relatives as an 'Immortal regiment' (Russian: Bessmertnyi Polk). Photos of dead veteran relatives are carried by mourners. In 2016, citizen video journalists documented 3 memorial parades in Canada.