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Molochnye Vody

District: Melitopol
Province: Zaporiz'ka
Country: Ukraine
From 1802 to 1821, groups of Doukhobors from across Russia were permitted to settle along the right bank of the Molochnaya River and its estuary in the Melitopol district of Tavria province (present-day Zaporiz’ka province, Ukraine). The river region was known as Molochnye Vody (Молочные Воды), literally meaning “Milky Waters” but better translated as the “waters of the Molochnaya”. It was a region of fertile virgin soil and magnificent climate, and at the beginning of the 19th century, it was wild and empty. The decision to relocate Doukhobors there was made in order to isolate the sect from the Orthodox population of the heartland. By 1809, the Doukhobors established nine villages as well as flour mills, textile mills, leader’s summer estate, stud farm and extensive livestock herds. Their landholdings totaled 131,417 acres on which they planted vast grain fields and fruit orchards. By 1827, there were 3,985 Doukhobors living at Molochnye Vody. The settlement prospered until 1839 when Tsar Nicholas I ordered the expulsion of the Doukhobors. Almost 1,000 Doukhobors converted to Orthodoxy in order to remain at Molochnye Vody. The majority, however, remained firm in their faith and in 1841-1845, 4,992 Doukhobors were deported to the Caucasus mountain region in five parties.



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