For Immediate Release – December 31, 2007
A new book has been published in Russian about the Doukhobors. Strana Dukhoboriya by Alla Bezhentseva was published in Tbilisi, Georgia by Russkii Klub in late 2007. The English translation of the title is “Land of the Doukhobors”.
Cover of Strana Dukhoboriya.
Strana Dukhoboriya documents the historical origins and development of the Doukhobors over the past two hundred and sixty years. It begins with the birth of the Christian Protestant doctrine in mid-eighteenth century South Russia. It then follows the lives of early teachers Siluan Kolesnikov, Ilarion Pobirokhin and Savely Kapustin who spread the Doukhobor faith among the Russian peasantry and formed the core of the sect’s worship and devotions. The history of the Doukhobor community is traced from its establishment at Molochnye Vody in 1801 through to its expulsion to the Caucasus in 1841-1845. The book explores the pivotal events of the late nineteenth century which helped define the modern face of Doukhoborism. It follows the immigration to Canada – the second homeland of the Doukhobors – and the problems they encountered with integration into the society and culture of North America. It also examines the little-known history of the Doukhobors during the Soviet period, through Perestroika and the fall of the Soviet Union, to the present period, including recent mass immigrations of Doukhobors from Georgia to the Central Russian provinces of Tula, Bryansk and elsewhere.
The appendix to Strana Dukhoboriya contains a rich and detailed exposition of Doukhobor culture in Georgia today. It studies traditions, past and present, including local dialect, food and dishes, ceremonies, as well as songs and psalms. It includes a selection of psalms from the Doukhobor Zhivotnaya Kniga or “Living Book”. As well, it contains a parting word from the Doukhobor elders of Dmanisi, Georgia, the hometown of the author. It concludes with a detailed bibliography and interview of the author by Georgian journalist Nino Tsitlanadze.
The author, Alla Nikolayevna Bezhentseva, was born in Tbilisi, Georgia and currently lives in the town of Dmanisi, a district administrative centre with a significant Doukhobor population. She has a PhD in civil engineering and taught engineering design at “Gruzgiprogorstoi” Institute in Sukhumi for fifteen years. She has designed numerous buildings throughout Georgia including theatres, houses of culture and recreation, government administrative buildings and hotels. She is actively involved in a number of women’s and humanitarian organizations, notably the Union of Russian Women in Georgia. She is also an accomplished writer, having written a number of Russian and Georgian language texts and materials.
Author Alla Bezhentseva speaks at the book release in Tbilisi, Georgia in December, 2007.
Bezhentseva’s Doukhobor research was sponsored and published by the Russkii Klub (“Russian Club”), a Georgian-based cultural and educational organization dedicated to the promotion of cooperation, friendship and mutual understanding between the states of Russia and Georgia. Fittingly, her book was released in December 2007, symbolically declared the “Year of Russian Language” in Georgia. The book release, which took place at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Tbilisi, was attended by Russian and Georgian dignitaries as well as members of the Doukhobor community in Georgia.
A Doukhobor choir from Dmanisi, Georgia performs at the book release in December, 2007.
At a time when Russian culture generally, and Doukhobor culture in particular, in Georgia is in serious decline, Bezhentseva’s book graphically illustrates the life, doctrines, history and traditions of the Doukhobor community in Georgia. It is a valuable and interesting source of information for present and future generations.
Book release at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Tbilisi, Georgia in December, 2007.
Strana Dukhoboriya (IBSN 978-9941-0-0088-1) is a 152-page Russian language book. To read, search, download, save and print a full PDF copy of the book, free of charge, visit the Russkii Klub website. By special arrangement with the author and publisher, an English translation of select chapters is underway and will appear on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website in early 2008.