Caught in the Crossfire?
Russian Sectarians in the Caucasian Theater of War, 1853–56 and 1877–78
Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 2.4 (2001) 713-750
In his memoir of 1910, Fedor Aksenovich Rylkov relates how the outbreak of the Crimean war unleashed terrible difficulties on the village of Orlovka. Settled in the 1840s by exiled Russian Dukhobors, this small community was located in the Russian empire's Transcaucasian region [Tiflis guberniia, now south Georgia], only a short distance from the Ottoman border. One morning, after Russian troops temporarily billeted there had departed for the front, the villagers saw in the distance an approaching column of Turkish soldiers on horseback and foot. Orlovka's elder (starosta) (the grandfather of the five- or six-year-old Rylkov) came forward to meet the advancing armies with traditional symbols of hospitality and peace: a table with bread and salt. Welcoming one's enemies was a centerpiece of the Dukhobors' Christian convictions and non-violent customs, and reflected their belief in the inherent equality of all peoples. At the same time, it was certainly a calculated act designed to claim neutrality and avoid any unpleasantness. Their gesture was to no avail, however. In language designed to paint the Ottomans in the most barbaric light, Rylkov describes how the Turkish troops "flew at the table with savage faces and whoops" as the villagers stood near their offering. The lead rider felled the elder where he stood, severing head from body. In the ensuing hours, the Ottoman soldiers ransacked the village, destroying property, wounding villagers, killing a small number of them, and making off with the Dukhobors' possessions, livestock, and even with many Dukhobors (among whom was a terrified Rylkov).1
Orlovka was one of several Russian villages in Transcaucasia to suffer assaults and disruptions during the early going of the Crimean war, albeit the most severely victimized. Its story reflects, in part, the experiences of Russian civilian settlers in the South Caucasus – by far the majority of which were Russian religious sectarians such as Dukhobors, Molokans, and Subbotniks – who found themselves thrust into the middle of the Russo-Turkish conflicts of 1853–56 and 1877–78.2 However, Rylkov's memories of the incursion on Orlovka tell only a portion of the story of those Russian civilians caught in the crossfire. In addition to being victims of the hostilities, settlers in Transcaucasia played an even more important and active role as participants in the military engagement. While not actually fighting in the Russian army – both because their religious beliefs led them to pacifism and also because the inhabitants of Transcaucasia were exempt from military conscription until 18873 – they did provide other vital contributions to the Russian military cause by fulfilling government contracts for transportation, provisioning, housing, and health care. In some instances the sectarians paid for their assistance in human life and material well-being. In others, they benefited from dramatic enrichment and the incalculable goodwill of tsarist officials who vociferously lauded them for their services.
The lived experiences of these religious dissenters in the South Caucasus during 1853–56 and 1877–78 have broad implications for understanding the connections between war and civilian life in imperial Russia.4 As non-Orthodox, these Russian settlers were not "average" Russian peasants, and their experiences of war were colored by their specific religiosity and unique characteristics. Nevertheless, their dual, periodically overlapping roles as both victims and agents of war expose a mutually influential and intricately dependent relationship between tsarist military endeavors and the development of Russian society. On one hand, the story of the sectarian-settlers during these wars plainly illuminates the roles that civilians could play in determining the successes or failures of Russian military ventures, underscoring that non-combatants were not solely the passive prey of war but also helped steer its course. On the other hand, it simultaneously provides a window onto the meanings and consequences, both immediate and enduring, of Russia's geopolitical disputes for the society, culture, and economy of those Russians who happened to live near the front lines.5
In examining civilian effects on military undertakings, this article strives to evaluate the results for tsarist empire-building of Russia's relatively aggressive policies of settling ethnic Russians in the empire's borderlands. As the following account makes clear, the fate of Russia's imperialist project and geopolitical endeavors in the South Caucasus were intricately linked to the internal development of the sectarians' communities there. The presence of Russian peasant colonists in Transcaucasia (even in their sectarian form) enhanced both border security and the fighting readiness of the tsarist military, among other functions. With tenuous supply lines and an infrastructure underdeveloped for a campaign, both military and civilian officials considered the contributions of the Russian settlers to the two wars – and especially to the Russo-Turkish – to be indispensable.
Concurrently, the impact of war on the Transcaucasian sectarians was multi-faceted and limited neither to things military nor to the chronological time-period of the wars themselves. On one level, Russian settlers in the theater of war found the always-uncertain boundaries between combatant and non-combatant to be blurred beyond recognition. Combat turned peasant villages into targets and transformed doctrinally pacifist villagers into indispensable components in a military machine.6
On another level, warfare was a crystallizing moment that altered the settlers' world in multiple ways both by shifting the valence attached to preexisting trends and by producing new contexts. Involvement in the Crimean and Russo-Turkish conflicts transformed the sectarian-settlers' economy in the long-term, often for the better. It redirected their religious beliefs and practices, bringing doctrinal fissures to certain communities, solidifying the faith of others, and eroding the sectarians' non-violent beliefs and practices. Moreover, the clash of empires forced choices upon settlers and tsarist officials alike that not only helped to reformulate their mutual relations, but also refashioned the sectarians' ethnic identification as "Russians."7 Faced with the alternatives of Russian or Ottoman sovereignty, the non-conformists chose to align themselves with ethnicity and a pan-Christian alliance.
Similarly, these conflagrations reshaped the settlers' interactions with their South Caucasian neighbors. Rylkov's depiction of wartime atrocities, and its emphasis on the Dukhobors as victims, is silent on the pre-existing context of inter-ethnic conflict in the South Caucasus in which the sectarians were active participants despite their religiously based tenets of non-violence. The peoples meeting at this point of colonial contact, each in their own way, perpetrated thefts, aggressive actions, and acts of cruelty toward one another from the moment of the colonists' appearance in the region.8 By adding armed military personnel into the equation, the wars changed the balance of power among the different communities in the region, altering the contours of an already existing dynamic.
The Traumas of War
For the Russian settlers in Transcaucasia, the experience of war was to varying degrees filled with sufferings, onslaughts, and devastations, particularly during the Crimean War.9 Sectarian narratives (in memoirs and petitions), state reports, and journalists' and statisticians' accounts provide a certain body of evidence to determine the form and extent of wartime traumas. However, these renditions need to be read with a degree of caution. Not unexpectedly, authors routinely adapted, exaggerated, or downplayed difficulties instrumentally so best to advance a particular agenda at the moment of writing.
That said, accounts of the sectarians during wartime broadly describe two kinds of travails. On one level, settlers found the foundation of their economy disrupted by the nearby fighting. The Molokans and Subbotniks of Elenovka (Novobaiazet uezd, Erevan guberniia) [now Sevan], for example, watched as their fields lay fallow for two years while the hostilities blocked them from their usual agricultural patterns, and their livestock fell into military hands.10 On a second level, as the opening vignette indicates, these non-conformist colonists relate how they endured a series of attacks, theft (of livestock and domestic possessions, such as utensils and clothes), destruction of property (often through arson or smashing), hostage taking, and death. Sources indicate that the sectarians' difficulties came from three directions. The primary culprits were Turkish subjects, both enlisted and non-enlisted men. However, tsarist documents also record that Muslims ["Tatars"]11 who lived on the Russian side of the border also took advantage of the wars' chaos to take what they could from the settlers' villages.12 The sectarians' situation was further exacerbated by the mistreatment and abuse of Russian troops temporarily stationed in their villages.
Turkish and Muslim attacks were most prominent, and most devastating, during the opening acts of the Crimean War, when the fighting spilled over the border into Russian territory. The Russo-Turkish war of 1877–78 witnessed few if any such assaults from Ottoman troops, although local Muslims apparently remained menacing. At the same time, it appears from existing records that the Dukhobors of Akhalkalaki uezd, Tiflis guberniia (including Orlovka) suffered the most frequent and severe attacks because of their proximity to the frontier.13 The goal of these strikes is far from clear from Russian sources, but the primary motivations appear to include the inducement of material gain, revenge for the injustices wrought by Russian colonialists on Transcaucasia's peoples, the sectarians' ethno-confessional characteristics as Russians and Christians, and the need to destroy the material base of the Russian army near the border.14
As I have noted, attacks, robberies, and captive-taking had been a longstanding characteristic of the interrelations between the Russian settlers and their Turkish and Muslim neighbors, and were not simply a consequence of the war. For decades, bands of Turkish subjects had ridden across the porous border – too long, too mountainous, and too poorly manned to act as any sort of obstacle – attacked and stolen from farmers and shepherds in the fields, forayed into villages, and then crossed back to the safety of their own country with as much booty in hand as they could carry. In general, sectarian-settlers relied on their own vigilante actions to retrieve stolen property and punish Turkish attacks – post facto officially sanctioned by tsarist authorities, who could do little else.15 With Turkish soldiers involved in wartime, the balance of power in these interactions was temporarily shifted to the disfavor of the Russian settlers. Similarly, interactions between neighboring Muslims and the Russian settlers were even more fraught with mutual violence, theft, and discord. Under war's cover, the South Caucasian Muslims continued these hostilities, meting out payback for all of the harm that the Russian presence had caused them.16
Whatever the origins or objectives of the assaults, however, they had the perhaps unintended result of pushing the sectarians to one side in the conflict, whether they wanted to be there or not. The inclinations and loyalties of the settlers were by no means clear at the outset of the Crimean War. State officials often considered the fidelity of religious dissenters, including Molokans, Dukhobors, and Subbotniks, to be dubious (and their very existence to be a threat and burden to the empire). In parallel fashion, non-conformists, each group in its own way, frequently saw the tsarist state and Orthodox Russians as alien and antagonistic. However, the decision of the Turks, Azerbaijanis, and other Muslims to target the colonists for attack narrowed the sectarian-settlers' choices. It not only demarcated very clearly friend and foe, but also dissolved immediately distinctions that the sectarians held between combatant and non-combatant. At the same time, it accelerated a trend that had begun with the settlers' arrival in Transcaucasia, by which the sectarians identified increasingly with Russian ethnicity and Russian political power.17
The attacks, thefts, and general wartime disruptions also produced a flurry of petitions to government officials for relief. The sectarians approached local authorities with plaintive stories describing their devastated conditions and listing large losses. A typical petition was that of Novkshenov,18 an Orlovka Dukhobor:
While it is impossible to determine the degree to which their reports reflected their actual conditions, not all local administrators accepted the authenticity of their claims. Whereas the Akhalkalaki district administrator and the Kutaisi governor believed in the veracity of the Dukhobors' listed losses, Andrei Mikhailovich Fadeev, Chief Administrator of the Commission for the Organization of Settlement in Transcaucasia, doubted them. Although unable to calculate their exact losses himself, he argued in a polemical report of 1858 that: "one can suppose, without fear of error, that the information provided by the Dukhobors is substantially inflated." Fadeev was undoubtedly correct that the Dukhobors exaggerated their losses as much as they thought possible. Peasant embellishment in dealings with the state was by no means uncommon, and there is a formulaic nature to the Dukhobors' petitions. Nonetheless, Fadeev's own efforts to downplay their suffering were simultaneously designed to relieve the state of any obligations to help the Dukhobors, fearing that such assistance would "arouse solicitation" from others.20
Statistically, the Dukhobor commune (composed of eight villages) reported to authorities that 15 people were killed, 37 were taken hostage, and that they suffered damages during the Crimean war of 64,071 silver rubles and 92 kopeks in destroyed or stolen property (particularly horses, cattle, sheep, and cash).21 Of the hostages, while most returned to their former Dukhobor villages within a year, an unspecified number died in captivity, and at least five Orlovka inhabitants remained in Turkish hands as late as 1861. Dukhobor sources, paralleling common narratives about Ottoman subjects, assert that the Turkish soldiers abducted primarily young boys, girls, and good-looking women, who were entered into forced servitude. Those slaves who escaped back to their former villages brought with them stories of severe and inhumane treatment on the part of their captors. In contrast to the Crimean war, however, Russian military successes in the Russo-Turkish conflict led to the freeing of sectarian hostages who had been taken captive in the preceding peacetime years.22
Personal narratives about the attacks testify in poignant ways to the difficulties of the Crimean war years. The story of Irina Fedorovna Tolmacheva, atypical only in its extremes, indicates the troubles that accompanied the incursions of Ottoman soldiers. In the assault on Orlovka in October of 1853, Tolmacheva had two sons killed, her daughter taken prisoner, and her husband slashed three times with sabers. This left him alive but suffering and incapacitated. "They took away all my property and livestock and set fire to my house and hay."23 Similarly, to pick up the thread of Rylkov's memoir: "When the raid was being carried out, they began to sack the village, to take away property, smash trunks, and drive away livestock." In the melée, Rylkov was grabbed by a Turkish horseman and carried across the Ottoman border. "And at that time I was handed from one Turk to another, and each one rejoiced at his booty…. But they threw [me] away after a time." Once home, he discovered that in addition to a decapitated grandfather, two of his uncles had also been taken hostage, one who died in captivity and the other who returned after 40 days as a prisoner.24
Rylkov also lost his father during a wartime raid of non-enlisted Turkish subjects. In an effort to stand up for themselves and to retrieve stolen property, a posse of Orlovka villagers set out to catch the thieves who had made off with the village's livestock. The Dukhobors succeeded only in falling into the hands of the robbers, however. Whereas most of the Dukhobors were able to break free and take refuge in a nearby Armenian village, Rylkov's father was not among the lucky ones. Captured by the bandits, he was never seen again.25
In the context of the Crimean and Russo-Turkish conflicts, a constant expectation of enemy or bandit attack channeled fear through the sectarian communities. In September 1877, Molokans of the village of Vorontsovka (Borchalo uezd, Tiflis guberniia) told one passing Russian soldier of the ebb and flow of rumor-induced panics. Having just informed the curious villagers that fighting at the front was then locked in a stalemate, one old Molokan man interjected: "But here, not long ago, horror ruled in the middle of the night as everyone took alarm. [The Turks], they say, had come across the border … pure misfortune! We must go to the mountains, they say, because our end is coming."26 Similarly, villagers in Alty-Agach (Shemakha uezd, Baku guberniia) "lived during the last Russo-Turkish war expecting attack from one hour to the next." Although they were relatively distant from the actual fighting and in no danger of attack from Ottoman soldiers, the Molokans feared war-time assaults from their Azerbaijani neighbors who, rumor had it, had preemptively divided among themselves each of the houses in Alty-Agach to be doled out once the village was in their hands. However true the rumors and the threats were, Russian villagers found a constant shadow of violence hanging over them.27
It was not simply Turks and Azerbaijanis who inflicted suffering on the Russian settlers during wartime. Sectarians also endured poor treatment on the part of the Russian soldiers who were temporarily housed in their villages. In the Crimean War, for example, Subbotniks and Molokans from Elenovka found that Russian troops appropriated their livestock without any compensation.28 During the Russo-Turkish war, Dukhobors of Akhalkalaki uezd complained that the soldiers billeted among them frequently would not pay for services rendered, and worse yet, plundered the village for anything valuable they could carry away with [End Page 722] them. One contemporary journalist described the departure of these looting soldiers as a "shameful stampede." They took off in all directions, often trampling through the Dukhobors' fields, all of them absconding with what they could: "someone a short sheepskin jacket, someone a copper kettle or something else that they had taken." In response, Dukhobors took measures to avoid the soldiers' pilfering such as hiding their valuables in their mattresses, in their cellars, and in the district police superintendent's storerooms.29
Tsarist Responses to Civilian Troubles
In the face of the Russian civilians' complaints of mistreatment and economic suffering during the Crimean war, tsarist authorities attempted to intervene to ameliorate their situation and to moderate, if not prevent, future attacks. In doing so, state officials were required to siphon off local resources to support the civilian population at a time when they were struggling (and failing) to provide for the army alone. That said, the government's efforts to prevent the assaults were limited at best. As one journalist described: "our army in the Caucasus was small then, and the line of attack was large and the mountainous location favored escapades of robbery."30
In the midst of the Crimean War, the Tiflis military governor contacted the commander of the Caucasian corps with a plan to arm the Russian settlers of Elisavetpol' uezd, and later all Russian settlers in Tiflis guberniia. The governor wanted to supply Russian civilians with weapons in an effort to level the playing field: both because of the longstanding attacks on sectarian-settlers by their neighbors and also "so that in the current time of war, they will be armed similarly to the other Christian inhabitants." Tsarist authorities sold rifles from the Tiflis artillery garrison to the sectarians at reduced prices, often loaning them guns without charge for long periods and giving the powder for free. Once tsarist officials set this process in motion, other Russian settlers also began to request weapons from the state under these terms. By tsarist authorities turning the Molokans and Dukhobors into a quasi-militia, and by sectarians requesting weapons for the protection of their communities, the line between civilian and soldier was further blurred. In addition, these events also indicate the sectarians' ongoing distancing from pacifism, their increasing willingness to interact violently with the South Caucasian peoples, and their growing bonds to tsarist power. 31
On another proactive note, in an effort to shield the sectarian-settlers from these problems, and to relieve themselves from the responsibility of looking after civilians trapped in the line of fire, tsarist officials initiated a policy of partial evacuation of Russian villages. For example, Subbotniks and Molokans from Elenovka were almost all withdrawn to Aleksandropol' once the war broke out and put into active non-combatant service.32 Moreover, hoping to alleviate the economic plight of the Russian settlers, state officials provided emergency aid to the suffering sectarians both during and after the war, primarily in the form of tax relief but also in food assistance.33 Finally, Russian authorities also found themselves forced to take whatever (limited) measures they could to track down and ensure the release of any Russian non-combatants being held captive by Turkish forces.34
However, tsarist officials provided assistance to the afflicted civilians only reluctantly and fell far short of covering the extent of actual losses. In the case of Tolmacheva, local administrators initially asserted that the Dukhobor community should support her with charity. Only later did they relent and grant her some direct help.35 More broadly, the tax relief awarded the Dukhobor communities represented only a very small portion of the amount they claimed was stolen. While the uezd officials and Kutaisi governor accepted the Dukhobors' claims that they had lost in the range of 50,000 rubles, the tax relief totaled only 2,850 rubles.36 Government aid was insufficient both because wartime demands were channeling resources elsewhere and also because officials such as Fadeev were vehemently opposed to the idea that the Dukhobors should receive any aid whatsoever.37 With those officials who believed their enormous losses assisting them in a miserly fashion, and Fadeev denying their sufferings entirely, the Dukhobors were not well taken care of. They did what they could to help the suffering with communal charity and frequent solicitations to the state for satisfaction. However, as they wrote to the viceroy in 1861:
Agents of War
For all their sufferings and difficulties in wartime, the Dukhobors, Molokans, and Subbotniks in Transcaucasia were not solely or even primarily victims of the conflagrations. Although they did not enlist or fight, they played active roles in the military encounter by constructing and running infirmaries, providing food and fodder, billeting troops in their villages, and, most importantly, transporting provisions, weapons, and personnel.39 With a marginal infrastructure for the needs of war, the tsarist army found itself in desperate need of extra resources in both wars, and it turned to the Russian colonists to provide it. Notably, such "out-sourcing" of military requirements to civilian contractors was not restricted to the South Caucasus, but was common on all fronts during the 1853–56 and 1877–78 wars.40
While Molokans, Subbotniks, and Dukhobors were active in both the Crimean and Russo-Turkish wars, they supplied their most extensive and sustained wartime assistance during the latter conflict. The Russian army's initial difficulties on the Caucasian front in the Crimean war, coupled with Turkish attacks on the Russian villages, restricted the scope of the colonists' contributions. That said, while the sectarians' support was more widespread in the later war, it was no less valuable to the Russian forces in the earlier one. The settlers' involvement in the war effort had both benefits and drawbacks for the colonists themselves. On the one hand, they made vast amounts of money fulfilling contracts with the Russian military. On the other hand, their participation in the conflict placed them in the line of fire, opened their communities to disease, and placed a strain on their resources.
Perhaps the most important contribution that the non-conformists provided to the tsarist forces was in the area of transportation.41 As one soldier wrote about the Russo-Turkish war: "If not for the Molokans and Dukhobors, if not for [their] cumbersome wagons, the fate of the Russian army in Asian Turkey would be very bad. One needs to consider the wagons supplied by these banished peoples to be equivalent to Cossack squadrons."42 Another author agreed: "During the war of 1877–78, sectarian villages rendered incalculable services to our army with their means of transport."43
Through the Crimean War, Dukhobor, Molokan, and Subbotnik carters [izvozchiki] transported everything imaginable. They carried soldiers (healthy, wounded, and dead) to and from the front, transmitted captured spoils of war from the battle zone, and hauled large quantities of provisions and supplies: food and firewood for the soldiers, fodder for the military horses, and military equipment such as siege artillery, guns, cannons, shells, and bullets.44 The Dukhobors from Akhalkalaki uezd, for example, "with complete willingness and without payment, carried in their own wagons all of the heavy supplies belonging to the carabineers as well transporting five of their companies to Aleksandropol' [from the nearby villages in which they had been wintering] … more than 150 sleds each with seven to eight armed carabineers in them."45 Others, such as Molokans from Aleksandropol', were similarly active in transport but were paid for their services.46
During the Russo-Turkish war, Dukhobors, Molokans, and Subbotniks sustained and expanded their vital transport support.47 Military and civilian officials lauded the Dukhobors for "consistently and efficiently" maintaining from 400 to 600 wagons for military use. Indeed, almost half of the Dukhobor male population worked as army carters at some point during the 1877–78 war.48 State sources reveal that in 1876, even before the outbreak of the war, Aleksei Zubkov, the Dukhobor starshina, voluntarily sent out as many as 400 wagons with drivers to help transport military personnel, goods, and equipment closer to the border. Once the war began, the Dukhobors were ubiquitous in providing a variety of support services to the military. When cavalry units became stuck en route because snowdrifts or rasputitsa made roads impassable, the Dukhobors cleared the roads and then brought wagons to carry the equipment and facilitate the soldiers' journey. The Dukhobor transport team was particularly important in the battle over Ardagana. When the Russian soldiers were coming to the last of their provisions, the Dukhobors braved the battle zone to bring needed food and fodder from the stores in Akhalkalaki. Moreover, Molokans and Dukhobors alike brought the wounded and sick from the battlefield to hospitals – "all kinds of mutilated and blood-stained corpses," as one Dukhobor described – and carted the dead away to be buried, some piled in adobe huts until the spring thaw permitted digging the ground.49
In addition to transport work, Molokans, Dukhobors, and Subbotniks also provided a series of other, equally important functions during both wars. They supplied temporary housing to large numbers of Russian troops as they were moving to and from the front. For example, a Dukhobor village of 50 households lodged 120 to 150 men at a time.50 The Dukhobors were also instrumental in Russian efforts to track down Turkish deserters who had come across the Russian border.51 In addition, the sectarians supplied significant quantities of food aid to Russian forces: sheep, cows, eggs, dairy products, and bread made expressly for the soldiers, as well as hay and fodder for the cavalry's horses and other draught animals.52 Moreover, non-combatant Russians provided equipment and animals that Russian soldiers used for carting and riding. During the 1877–78 war, for instance, Akhalkalaki Dukhobors sold bulls, draught horses, and cavalry horses (with saddle) to the Russian army.53 Molokans supplied "Arabian horses and bulls" and an "enormous" quantity of horses and wagons that Russian military personnel used for transport.54
Finally, the sectarians contributed vital medical assistance to Russian troops in addition to the transportation of injured and ill soldiers.55 Medical military units often rented buildings in Dukhobor villages in which they would look after the sick and wounded before they were sent on the long trip back into central Russia. When typhus raged through other military hospitals in 1877–78, as many as 1,500 soldiers were evacuated to the village of Gorelovka, where they were not only housed in "comfortable quarters" but fed precious meat which the Dukhobors gave them specially to help them recover. Other Dukhobor villages constructed an infirmary at their own cost in order to help the sick and wounded. At the same time, the Transcaucasian Dukhobor community gave 1,000 rubles to the Red Cross Society for its efforts in helping the sick and wounded.56
Reasons for Involvement
Given their religiously based opposition to violence and military action, it is in many ways a surprise that Dukhobors and Molokans would become involved in supporting the Russian war machine. Certainly, Mennonites in Southern Ukraine had similarly compromised their non-violent tenets in these and other wars, and the sectarians' movement away from practicing pacifism had begun well before the dissenters engaged in these conflicts.57 Nonetheless, their motives and expectations in joining the war effort shed important light on the experiences and meanings of war for these communities. Their willingness to take part speaks to the degree to which these banished non-conformists had come to embrace (or not embrace) Russia and its imperialist designs. Moreover, it highlights the relationship between religious belief and daily practice; that is, the degree to which earthly demands could bend the contours of their religiosity.
The exact reasons that the sectarians became involved in supporting the Russian military machine are difficult to pin down both because of a lack of records and also because different sources point to various motivations. The preponderance of documents that discuss this question come not from wartime but from later periods. As a result, they reflect a certain refashioning of memory and the concerns of distant generations in different contexts. In addition, extant sources shed disproportionate light on the motivations of the Dukhobors, and are more forthcoming about the Russo-Turkish war than the Crimean. Despite these serious limitations, the documents hint at four defining factors in the settlers' decision to render assistance: trepidation about the power of Russian political authority, the fear of Turkish attack, a sense of "Russian-ness," and the allure of wartime profit. In the conduct of these two wars, the sectarians' communal needs and goals overlapped sufficiently with those of the tsarist state so that they easily found common cause with one another.
The sources are relatively silent about how and why Molokans, Dukhobors, and Subbotniks began to provide services to the army during the Crimean War. As one 19th-century analyst wrote: "it is unknown whether [they became involved] of their own volition or by order of the administration."58 That said, their sufferings at the hands of the invading army, combined with the demands for assistance from military authorities, would appear to be motivation enough to join forces with the tsarist army. Notably, unlike in the later war, documents dealing with the Crimean war indicate that the sectarian drivers voluntarily carried out a significant part of their transportation activities without payment from the state.59
In contrast, the Dukhobors' contribution to the war effort in 1877–78 has left behind a plethora of mutually contradictory sources from which to gauge their path to involvement. On the one hand, state sources describe the Dukhobors as eager assistants who energetically and efficiently volunteered their services, without any orders or influence from tsarist officials, sometimes for payment, sometimes gratis.60 On the other hand, the Dukhobors tell a very different story about the roots of their involvement. These sources, written down in the first half of the 20th century in emigration in Canada are based on the Dukhobors' oral history passed through generations. They have a revisionist feel to them – having been filtered through the dramatic events of the late 19th century that brought the Dukhobors into open opposition with the Russian government – and seem designed to serve contemporary needs. In their version, they entered the fray reluctantly, brought in (even forced in) by the viceroy, Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich, and they participated as much as they could on their own terms.
The viceroy came to visit the Dukhobor leader Luker'ia Vasil'evna Kalmykova (as he did regularly) with an "insistent request" that the Dukhobors render their assistance to the Russian military effort. Kalmykova reminded him that taking part in violence was against the fundamental tenets of the Dukhobors' faith. Sweetening the pot for the Dukhobors, he promised that in return for providing various forms of support they would not be required to carry weapons or be involved in any killing. Although couched as a request for assistance, the Viceroy's proposal was understood by the Dukhobors as a thinly veiled order. Only in response to his intervention, Dukhobors believe, did they enter into non-combatant military service in the Russian-Turkish war.61
Whether willingly or unwillingly, Dukhobor sources indicate a number of other mutually reinforcing factors that also drove their decision to become involved. First, there was the fear of Turkish victory. The horrors of the previous war had made it very clear to the Dukhobors what their fate was likely to be if Turkish troops once again crossed into Russian territory. As one Dukhobor recalled their impetus to help in wartime: "We served like children serving their parents because we expected that the sovereign and government would protect us."62 Another source asserts that Mikhail Nikolaevich vividly laid out these dangers in his meeting with Kalmykova, adding the further threat that the Russian state might not come to the Dukhobors' aid in the case of defeat if they did not pull their weight for the Fatherland.
In an even less covert threat, the Viceroy intimated that he could make the Dukhobors' life unpleasant in other ways if they did not comply. Kalmykova is purported to have raised the specter of this potential fate in a speech to her faithful as she sent them off on their mission, manipulating her status as a woman to suit her rhetorical needs.
As these two passages show, Dukhobor sources underscore how the settlers found themselves caught between two empires and were forced to choose the lesser of two evils.
Yet it was not simply external coercion that brought the Dukhobors to assist the Russian army. On one hand, even the revisionist 20th-century sources note that the group of advisors who surrounded Kalmykova saw the fulfillment of wartime contracts for carting, provisions, and infirmaries as a potential money-making venture. "[They] welcomed the prospect of added income; more gold coins would accrue to the strong box."65
On the other hand, there is evidence to indicate that the Dukhobors, despite their sense of religiously bounded communal distinctiveness, also felt a certain unity of purpose with the Russian state and other ethnic Russian people that motivated them to support the military effort. In wartime, their sense of "otherness" from Orthodox Russian society paled in comparison to that of the Muslim, Turkic world. Sectarians had undergone a profound transformation of individual sense-of-self and communal affiliation following their resettlement to Transcaucasia. In their new role as frontier "colonists," sectarian-settlers found themselves with both a stake in, and an influence on, the Russian state. Moreover, in multicultural Transcaucasia, the sectarians' affiliation with Russian ethnicity was enhanced by day-to-day interactions with ethnically and confessionally distinct neighbors. Their sense of identification as Russians and Russian subjects grew strong alongside their religiously derived self-definitions, and inclined them to assist the Russian military. This wartime assistance then reciprocally further solidified their Russian sense of self.66
Nonetheless, spotlighting a discomfort at having become involved in violence of any form, the later Dukhobor sources assert that Kalmykova set down ground rules for those Dukhobors involved in the war to follow in order to prevent them from completely sacrificing their faith on the altar of the state's needs. Kalmykova sent them off with orders not to kill or hurt anyone, to help wounded from both sides of the fray, to pray to God whenever they were near the front or in danger, and "God forbid you to take any things from a dead or wounded soldier, or take part in theft," even though Turkish subjects had often been involved in stealing from the Dukhobors. Thus, even if they were cajoled into action, more recent Dukhobor oral histories assert that they provided their assistance reluctantly, on their own terms, and with self-defined restrictions and clearly defined boundaries to their activities.67
The Spoils of War
While the sectarians' aid to the Russian forces was a great boon to the Russian military, it proved a mixed blessing for the Russian colonists, although on balance the benefits far outweighed the costs. On one hand, the involvement of Dukhobors, Molokans, and Subbotniks as non-combatants provided them with an unprecedented opportunity to enrich themselves through direct state payments for their services, and their coffers filled dramatically. On the other hand, the sectarian-settlers paid for their contributions with destroyed property, widespread illness, and not infrequent death. When they provided services for the war effort, their self-defined, initial status as disinterested neutral parties was transformed, turning them into justifiable targets for attack. The balance sheet differed somewhat between the two wars. During the Crimean War, the destruction caused by the initial Turkish push into Transcaucasia far outweighed the benefits accrued from throwing their support behind the war effort. In contrast, the sectarians' direct involvement in the 1877–78 military endeavor was a relatively unmitigated success that erased any remaining hardships from 1853–56.
The sectarian-settlers made a handsome profit from the Russo-Turkish war. Dukhobors earned as much as 1.5 million rubles from their contracts with the Russian army and "many rich [Dukhobors] found their beginnings specifically in the war period."68 While there are no comparative figures available for Molokan gains, it is clear that they too were greatly enriched. "[The Vorontsovka Molokans'] wealth was founded on the last war, which gave them the opportunity to earn significant amounts of money from the transportation trade."69 Although they provided some of their support for free, the settlers were paid handsomely for much of their carting work. For instance, during the movement of two grenadier units through the Borzhomi pass during the 1877–78 war, the Dukhobors were richly reimbursed for their loan of 1,200 wagons with drivers. In the spring of 1878, they rented out a similar number of wagons to assist the return of troops, supplies, and equipment, and worked diligently to clear the roads.70 Likewise, the soldier Sergei Studzinskii noted how the Molokans were also making a sizeable profit from wartime transport. "They feed themselves with transport, keep themselves and their families in what they need, and even put some away in the money box. A good wagon in peace time costs approximately 300 rubles, and now the price approaches 400 rubles."71
Many Dukhobors also made their fortune supplying livestock, horses, foodstuffs, and services to the army. One Dukhobor described the scene in his villages during the Russo-Turkish war in the following way:
Indeed, realizing the revenue potential of the wartime situation, "the more enterprising of them" went up into the hills to buy livestock, especially sheep, from their non-Russian neighbors for resale to the army. Quartermasters paid handsomely for these herds, and certain Dukhobors pocketed "legendary amounts of money." Dukhobor livestock traders cut out new swaths of pastureland in the hills where they could fatten up the herds before selling them. Others strove to take advantage of the wartime situation by increasing their sowings in order to sell the excess crops.73 During the Crimean War, the villagers of Elenovka requested permission to open a tavern and supply store in their village in order to take advantage of the profits from the increased traffic of soldiers and other travelers through their village.74
All of these benefits did not come entirely without a price. If the direct attacks of Turks and Azerbaijanis had brought ruination to the Russian settlers during the Crimean War, then in the Russian-Turkish war it was primarily the settlers' own actions – their active engagement in the military process – that brought illness, fatalities, and loss of property on themselves. In terms of property, the constant use of so many wagons and horses caused frequent breakdowns, and the Dukhobors were required to work persistently to maintain their fleet in working order. Despite these sustained repair efforts, their transport system suffered immeasurable damage from the war effort and many horses perished.75
The Russo-Turkish war also brought a measure of human suffering to the settlers' villages. They contracted disease or were wounded, and approximately 140 Dukhobors died. Some sectarians were injured or died by coming too close to the range of rifle and artillery fire. Others were infected by typhus that sectarian drivers carried back from the front into their settlements or that was dispersed through the settler communities by billeting sick Russian soldiers.76 Such was the case of the Dukhobors' future leader, Petr Vasil'evich Verigin, who did not leave his village during the war yet was stricken with typhus for many months. "He tossed and raved so that all his brothers were required to hold him in bed, while his mother and sisters put snow bags on his head."77
Rylkov's memoir, among others, gives certain indications that participation in the wars took a psychological toll on the sectarians, thrusting them face to face with the horrors of war. As they drove near the front, they came periodically under enemy fire, were deafened by artillery, and were overcome with the smell of gunpowder. The wounded groaned from their injuries as they were being carried back to the infirmaries. Rylkov found that the cries of pain from the injured made him wonder ceaselessly if his father had also suffered in such ways. Like a perverse variant of Proust's madeleine, the corpses that filled his wagon mentally conveyed Rylkov to the blood that streamed from his headless grandfather.78
Whether experiencing the great benefits of their war efforts, or undergoing some of the costs of servicing the military machine, the settlers increasingly came to feel an attachment to the cause of the Russian state, and a deep pride in their contributions to the war effort. Indeed, over the course of these wars, the settlers began to see their fate as inextricably tied to that of the Russian state. This sense of affiliation with imperial Russia not only lasted beyond the end of the wars but enhanced an ongoing process of identification with Russia and Russians that had begun after resettlement to Transcaucasia. Passing through the Molokan village of Vorontsovka during the 1877–78 war, the soldier Studzinskii found the inhabitants hungry for information from the front. "One female member of the family asked: 'Will we drive away the Turks?' When she heard that the Turks were holding their ground, she was overcome with feelings of regret."79 Dukhobors took pride in their contributions to the Russian military enterprise. Describing their services and exploits, one Dukhobor was "carried away by a … feeling of patriotism," and declared with self-satisfaction that "'Muhtar Pasha, they say, learned about all these services of ours and long grieved, regretting that he did not destroy us all at the beginning.'"80
War's Long Legacy
Diplomats and state leaders could bring on the cessation of hostilities with the signing of a treaty or the shaking of hands. The influences of war on the lives of Russian civilians in the conflict zone, however, were by no means confined to the chronological parameters that high-level negotiations demarcated. These non-combatants' experiences of war – the problems they encountered and the contributions that they made – continued to alter their economies, social structures, religious practices, self-identification, relations to the tsarist state, and the spatial distribution of their settlements for decades after the wars officially ended. Following the Crimean War, they struggled to rebuild their destabilized economies, and to absorb large numbers of army deserters and illegal migrants into their villages. In the wake of the later war, they grappled with the meanings of sudden wealth, social stratification, and fundamental changes in religious belief and practice. After both conflicts, their participation in the war efforts modified the manner in which state agents and Russian elites characterized these religious non-conformists. Shifts in labeling produced significant alterations in policy towards them as well as a series of benefits for their communities, not least of which was the possibility to settle in large numbers in the newly acquired Kars territory after 1878. Throughout, their experiences in the theater of war had lasting implications for their communal lives in a variety of areas far afield from matters purely military.
The effects of the Crimean War continued beyond the cessation of hostilities. For communities like the Molokans of Aleksandropol', the money generated by their wartime transport work brought them crucial economic benefits.81 However, this sort of positive outcome was more the exception than the rule. Five years after the war, the Dukhobors of Orlovka and Bogdanovka continued to petition the state with reports of dire circumstances and an ongoing inability to feed themselves or pay their taxes. Characterizing themselves as loyal and sacrificing subjects, they pleaded with the Viceroy to come to their assistance, to turn his attention to "unhappy people suffering severely from the enemy. We do not look for help for ourselves, we want to be useful to the Tsar and the Fatherland and for that reason we petition. Otherwise many of us will soon live from alms alone."82
The personal experiences of certain Dukhobors also highlight the lasting damage brought to their economies and communities. Novkshchenov petitioned tsarist authorities in 1857 for permission to relocate to the Dukhobor village of Ormashen in Borchalo uezd because of his family's ongoing poverty in Orlovka. The village was more than happy to let him go to their brethren, less affected by the war, in order to reduce their burden.83 Similarly, the story of Rylkov also demonstrates, in very personal and familial (albeit romanticized) terms, the enduring impact of the war's destruction. His family, as I have noted, was ravaged: his father, grandfather, and uncle all died as a result of raids on Orlovka. When his other uncle returned from captivity, the widows and children from the three families merged together under his authority as the only male left of that generation. "Now we burden the soul of uncle Vasilii Timofeevich…. He bought two horses and a cow and with great difficulty he fed us." Later, when their situation had stabilized, Rylkov and his uncle acquired a wagon with which they entered the carting trade. Yet, the author remained sufficiently incapacitated economically from the war that he could find no one willing to marry him. After many years of searching, the only woman who would take him "was sick, occasionally not sound of mind, and already had a daughter." "Driven by need," he felt compelled to marry her anyway.84
The sectarians' villages were transformed by an influx of runaways who clandestinely dispersed into their communities during and after the Crimean war.85 These included army deserters who wanted neither to fight nor to return to their official places of habitation, and peasants from the interior provinces who accompanied military caravans to Transcaucasia, enticed by rumors of a land of milk and honey.86 Some of these latter travelers were given permission to go to Transcaucasia as part of the war effort, while many others took advantage of the size of the caravans, as well as the general disorder of wartime, to make their way surreptitiously to Transcaucasia. With the end of the war, some moved to the Ottoman empire, while "the remainder dispersed through [Transcaucasia] and, working as day laborers, went from place to place and were able to support their existence in that way."87 Through these illegal settlers, the war continued to influence the sectarian communities well after the conflict had officially ended, especially because they ended up in villages all over the region, spreading the impact of the war.
Deserters and vagabonds went directly to the sectarians' villages because, as the only ethnic Russians in the region outside of military personnel and administrators, their settlements provided the sole option for runaways to find lodgings, provisions, and work. As one 19th-century observer noted: "[the runaways] found among them not only safe and secure shelter, but also a full guarantee from any administrative prosecution."88 Indeed, illegal migrants discovered that they could register quasi-legally in a sectarian village. Sectarian-settlers in Transcaucasia compiled the official census registers themselves and, "for an agreed-upon price, [the settlers] began to take vagabonds and deserters into their community in the places on the lists that were not actually filled [because a family member had died or departed], calling them by forged names."89 A commission investigating clandestine settlers commonly found families where a "grandfather" would be younger than his son or grandson, or where family members (such as a husband and wife, or brothers) would not know each other.90
So great was the surge of illegal migrants to Transcaucasia during the Crimean War that the Viceroy of the Caucasus, Prince Aleksandr Ivanovich Bariatinskii, set up a commission in 1858 (and another one later) to investigate and resolve the problem.91 Despite a strong desire to seek out deserters and return them to military service, however, local officials were not always aggressive in this endeavor. By increasing the numbers of Russians in the South Caucasus, military runaways fulfilled important economic and imperialist functions that administrators were loath to disrupt. As one government report stated: "all those Molokans registered under a false name work in the transport trade, in the fields making hay and growing grain, and also work as artisans. Overall, they are a hard-working and beneficial people."92 Another report added: "the deprivation of so sizable a number of good workers would be felt by the economy of the region."93 However, although many sectarian villages benefited from the productivity of this increased manpower, the influx of so many new settlers also generated long-term overpopulation problems, particularly land shortages, for some of these communities.94
In contrast to the Crimean War, as I noted above, the 1877–78 war generated almost unimaginable wealth for the Molokans and Dukhobors. In the Dukhobor case, however, their rapid enrichment transformed their social structures and provoked a cultural and religious crisis. They experienced sudden social stratification, injecting an extremely rich minority into a community that had long been known for its social equality, mutual welfare, and quasi-communalism. The wealth of these nouveaux-riche "dynasties" became visible "in their affable, whitened houses [izby], clean and spacious yards, abundant livestock and full appearance of the Dukhobors themselves." The very presence of this new social elite challenged to the core the traditional foundations of Dukhobor spiritual beliefs and practices.95
To make matters worse, it appears that the newly wealthy embarked on "a debauched and sinful life" that further contradicted the basic tenets of faith to which the Dukhobors had held for generations.96 As one Dukhobor described the transformation of his community:
Frustrations over the newly privileged minority and its lifestyle combined with an increasingly widespread guilt for having taken part in the war at all. As Dukhobors looked back on these events they viewed their non-combatant role as the first step away from the fundamental doctrines of their faith, and other missteps followed down a slippery slope.98 These concerns over the direction of the Dukhobor community worsened over time and eventually contributed to a permanent schism that took place within the Transcaucasian Dukhobor community between 1886 and 1895.99
The war years also left a marked impression on the religious experiences of that branch of the Molokan faith known as the Pryguny ["Jumpers"], although one very different from the Dukhobor case.100 For the Pryguny, wartime events greatly strengthened their spiritual beliefs and practices. Among other tenets, they held that the Holy Spirit regularly descended into the bodies of the faithful, who would then jump, speak in tongues, and prophesy under its influence. One Prygun, Efim Gerasimovich Klubnikin, was particularly well-known for his prophesies as a young boy and has since become one of their most celebrated preceptors. In 1853, at nine years old, he foresaw the Crimean War.
Similarly, in 1855, Klubnikin foretold the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. He informed those around him that Russia would take Kars this time, and that Pryguny would go to populate the lands around that city. That Klubnikin's prophesies came true, and that they were widely circulated throughout the community, did much to lend credence and authority to their beliefs, and to concretize for the faithful the veracity of their religion.102
The participation of the non-combatant sectarians in Russia's military operations also played a vital role in a long-term transformation of the manner in which Russian officialdom and elite society viewed these religious non-conformist communities. Dukhobors, Molokans, and Subbotniks arrived in Transcaucasia as outcast heretics, purposely banished from the central provinces. Tsarist administrators considered them to be the "most pernicious" of religious movements, who by their "fanatical" nature posed a serious threat not only to the Orthodox Church, but also to the state security and the well-being of the Russian people.103 However, following their resettlement to Transcaucasia, the sectarian-settlers began – wittingly and unwittingly, willingly and unwillingly – to fulfill many of the needs and goals of the tsarist empire-building project in the region, not least of which was in the military arena. In fact, the success of the sectarian-settlers in accomplishing the empire's military agenda far exceeded any expectations that tsarist authorities had previously held. As a result, Russian authorities could not escape the realization that these non-Orthodox Russians could, contrary to prevailing views, be productive, contributing, and loyal subjects of the empire. The categorization of the religious dissenters as political liabilities and untrustworthy subjects was joined by a positive estimation of them as model Russian colonists – a process that began before the wars but was greatly reinforced by their contributions to the Russian military enterprise.104
Perhaps more importantly, this metamorphosis in categorization was not simply a transition of discourse, but also had significant policy ramifications that paved the way for a whole spectrum of benefits and opportunities for the Transcaucasian dissenters. Successive viceroys, chief administrators in the Caucasus, governors and other officials, including Bariatinskii, Mikhail Nikolaevich, and Aleksandr Mikhailovich Dondukov-Korsakov, regularly lauded the contributions that the Molokans, Dukhobors, and Subbotniks made to Russia's Turkish campaigns of 1853–56 and 1877–78. Following the latter war, Mikhail Nikolaevich traveled to Dukhobor villages personally to thank them for their help and to pay honor to the elders who had led them.105 Similarly, Dondukov-Korsakov highlighted "their significance in the process of Russifying the southern borderlands [znacheniia ikh v obruseniia kraia]" to Tsar Alexander III in a report of 1890.
Moreover, it was not simply in official circles that a more positive estimation of the sectarians began to develop, but voices of praise rang out also among Russian non-governmental elites, journalists, and statisticians. The settlers' exploits were entering popular culture and beginning to change the opinions of educated Russians about the place of religious non-conformity in Russia. The statistician V. P. Bochkarev opined in 1897: "with the exception of their religious deviation from Orthodoxy, in all other remaining relations they remain devoted to the interests of the Fatherland to the point of self-sacrifice, which they demonstrated more than once during the wars with Turkey in 1855 and 1878."107 Another commentator wrote in 1878: "In general, the courage, conscientiousness, and meticulous carting of the Dukhobors remains a very good memory in our army."108 In fact, well into the 20th century, "military personnel remember and praise the help given by the Dukhobors during the difficult movements of the Turkish campaign."109
As well as being a heartfelt enunciation of their official appreciation, declarations of praise and appreciation to the sectarians also had a utilitarian component. On one level, by lauding and rewarding their actions, tsarist officials hoped to ensure that these Russian settlers would continue to provide such services in future military engagements. For instance, following the Dukhobors' assistance to the carabineers during the Crimean War, both Viceroy Bariatinskii and the high commander, Lieutenant-General Prince Vasilii Osipovich Bebutov, personally thanked the sectarians for their "zeal" and gratis transportation. They hoped that their official gestures of appreciation "would serve as encouragement for them in the future and also as an example for other Russian settlers."110
Additionally, tsarist officials used the settlers' vaunted service as a selling point in their efforts to secure St. Petersburg's support for various projects they had in mind. For example, Mikhail Nikolaevich utilized the Molokans' important contribution as wagon drivers during the Crimean War in an effort to elicit St. Petersburg's permission to grant a large, interest-free loan to the Vorontsovka Molokans so that they could buy outright land that they had been renting.111 Similarly, Dondukov-Korsakov, who succeeded Mikhail Nikolaevich, also emphasized the sectarians' "invaluable service" during the Russo-Turkish war in his efforts to gain St. Petersburg's backing for the widespread settlement of sectarians in the newly acquired Kars territory.112
However, the state was not the only entity in imperial Russia to use the sectarians' contributions to the Russian military in an instrumental way. Whether the outcomes of the war experience were positive or negative for the particular sectarian community involved, their participation in the conflicts provided Dukhobors, Molokans, and Subbotniks with a valuable bargaining chip in their future interactions with tsarist authorities. On numerous occasions the settlers consciously referenced their wartime efforts when they attempted to elicit certain responses from the Russian state. For instance, when Molokans from Vorontsovka endeavored to have their presviter released from prison in 1913, they petitioned the Viceroy Ilarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov enumerating their contributions to the cause of the Russian state, at the top of which were their services during the 1877–78 war.113 Similarly, Molokans from Orenburg guberniia, who felt themselves to be suffering from a lack of land, wrote to Pavel Nikolaevich Miliukov in 1913 to enlist his intercession on their behalf for permission to resettle out of Orenburg. These Molokans were quick to underscore their co-religionists' contributions to the Russo-Turkish war where they, as "native Russian people," had "helped to make crossings and supply provisions."114
Whether utilitarian or not, the gratitude of tsarist officials, and their increasingly positive estimation of the sectarians' contribution to the Russian imperial enterprise in Transcaucasia, had concrete policy implications that brought benefits and prosperity to the colonists' communities. For instance, Molokans did receive an extremely generous loan to buy land, as Mikhail Nikolaevich had desired. Moreover, following the 1877–78 war, Mikhail Nikolaevich petitioned the Ministry of the Interior to allow him to grant the Dukhobors' starshina, Aleksei Zubkov, "hereditary honored citizen" status as a reward for his community's exemplary contributions during the war. Russian law forbade the awarding of such an honor to the members of any sect designated "most pernicious," but the viceroy appealed fervently for an exception. He described the Dukhobors' assistance to the Russian war effort and argued that the "fulfillment of service demonstrates to the government their exemplary moral qualities – qualities of which I am personally aware." Here, as a result of their efforts on behalf of the Russian military cause, the viceroy was requesting something relatively radical: that the state treat sectarians as equals of Orthodox Russians, if only temporarily. The Ministries of the Interior, Justice, and War all concurred with this plan to reduce the legal barriers between different religious groups. Only the Synod's opposition prevented Zubkov from receiving the award.115
Perhaps the most important benefit generated by the sectarian-settlers' active support of the Russian army, and the state's new estimation of them, was the awarding to their brethren of the choicest land allotments in the newly acquired Kars territory after the Russo-Turkish war.116 An expression of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich's appreciation for their support, the resettlement of Transcaucasian non-conformists to the region was considered beneficial to both sectarian and state. On the one hand, Russian officials were concerned to enhance their hold over the new lands, and to populate them with peoples they considered to be loyal and dependable – including sectarian Russians, Orthodox Russians, Greeks, and Armenians – at the same time that they oversaw the out-migration of the region's Muslims.117 The non-conformists had proven their worth and loyalty in the last war and, consequently, were considered an integral component of any future military actions in the region. Dondukov-Korsakov wrote to Alexander III:
On the other hand, relocation to Kars – with its fertile soil and hospitable climate – offered the sectarians an opportunity for more land, better economic conditions, improved lives, and an outlet for excess population. Particularly for the Dukhobors of Akhalkalaki uezd, these environmental conditions were a drastic improvement from their previous location, where they were forced to scratch out a living in a climate that left snow on the ground often into May.119 In addition, the opening of lands in Kars for settlement was of vital importance to many Molokan and Dukhobor villages that were suffering from population pressures and land shortage.120 The sectarian-settlers who moved to the Kars region succeeded economically and lived very well. As one Dukhobor wrote: "Now our life is happy. I have four wagons, 18 horses, five pairs of bulls, seven cows, and we have built a mill. Our economy has never been better."121
However, the possibility to resettle to Kars, for all of its economic benefits, was not entirely unproblematic for the Dukhobor community. Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich rewarded the Dukhobors with the land, and there was no shortage of Dukhobors who wished to take advantage of his offer. However, a number of Dukhobor memoirs assert that their leaders, Kalmykova and Zubkov, opposed migration on the grounds that it would dilute the community through separation and reduce their direct control over the faithful.122 They downplayed the Viceroy's offer, were reluctant to show the official permission letters, and regularly refused permission to those asking for relocation. In response to one Dukhobor's request to move to Kars, Kalmykova is reputed to have replied: "Fediunia, it would be easier for me if you would carve out caviar from my leg, than to listen to talk about your resettlement. God have mercy on you. Stay where you are now."123 When hundreds of households of Dukhobors did move to Kars, despite the desires of their leaders, a rift apparently opened within the Dukhobor community. Rylkov, who moved with his family to Kars oblast', describes the migrants' conscious exclusion from the Dukhobor community because of their decision to relocate.
Each year they would repeat the same entreaties to be reinstated into the larger community. Only years later were they accepted back into the Dukhobor fold on an equal footing.125 Here then, too, the rewards of the war were ambiguous: ameliorating the economic conditions while injecting cleavages to the community. That said, whether bitter or sweet, the fruits of war long continued to affect the settler communities.
Civilians and Warfare
On one level, the story of the Russian settlers in Transcaucasia during the Crimean and Russo-Turkish wars highlights the varied experiences and enduring implications of civilians caught in a combat zone. Neither simply victims nor victors, their encounters with military conflict were rarely uniform. Not surprisingly, life in the theater of war could be brutal: they lived as quarry who suffered attacks, fatalities, theft, captivity, destruction, and illness. Yet, war could also be extremely rewarding, providing unimaginable riches, land, state support, and communal pride.
The outcomes of their wartime experiences could be long-term and far-reaching: economies alternately disrupted and enriched, hopes and aspirations dashed and fulfilled. Moreover, these wars changed aspects of civilian communities only distantly connected to the military endeavor. Events in the theater of war transformed the sectarians' identification with Russian state power, both self-labeled and externally imposed. In the crucible of inter-imperial war, the settlers sided with the tsarist forces in the face of Ottoman attack, became proud of their contributions to the cause, and identified themselves increasingly as "Russians." At the same time, the war years served to further distance the sectarian-settlers from any regional affiliation, or sense of common cause, with their Turkish and Azerbaijani neighbors.
In parallel fashion, the sectarians' role in the wars led state officials and elite Russians to alter their characterizations of the dissenters. As scholarship examining the "home front" has shown, war expanded the possible roles available to groups in society who were otherwise disenfranchised. Much more than peacetime, the Crimean and Russo-Turkish wars provided opportunities for formerly banished pariahs to transform themselves into praiseworthy state servants who benefited dramatically from wartime contracts. In doing so, the sectarians' efficient conduct of war challenged traditional categorizations and assumptions. Significantly, in contrast to the early 20th century, when the willingness to perform state-sponsored violence became a primary requirement for membership in the Russian polity, at this earlier time the South Caucasian sectarians were able to reap the political benefits of participation in military endeavors without actually themselves taking up arms.126
Similarly, religious policies and practices evolved substantially because of the wars. On one level, their non-combatant activities expanded the parameters of religious "tolerance" towards "sectarians" in official Russia. In part because of their wartime contributions, Russian elites began to see religious sectarianism in terms other than a threat, and to accept that Christian non-conformism did not inherently denote disloyalty or opposition to the interests of the regime. On another level, the experience of war transformed the sectarians' everyday religious practice. It led to a spiritual crisis among the Dukhobors and a religious strengthening among the Pryguny. This case study of wartime experiences also uncovers the degree to which religious ideology could be moderated by practice. The exigencies and demands of a chaotic wartime environment fundamentally tempered the sectarians' (already wavering) doctrine of non-violence.
Throughout these conflagrations, the fluid boundaries between "civilian" and "soldier" were regularly breached. Settlers became both the targets of enemy troops as well as the purveyors of indispensable services to the Russian military effort. Even if they did not pick up weapons, they became a cornerstone of the army's endeavors and champions of Russian success in the fighting. In the combat context, moreover, colonists were forced to choose sides whether they wanted to or not. Neutrality was rarely an option in this frontier region, and ethno-confessional characterizations demarcated the sides.
In wartime, the tsarist empire-building enterprise and the activities and aspirations of Russian borderland colonists became inextricably intertwined. On the one hand, the fate of Russian settlers in Transcaucasia was tied tightly (although not unexpectedly) to St. Petersburg's foreign policy and military choices. Decisions to wage war in 1853 and 1877 initiated many fundamental changes in the settlers' economy, society, and culture. In contrast to peasants in the interior provinces, whose life experience was often entirely unaffected by the machinations of war and diplomacy, the empire's successes and failures immediately became those of the civilians living in precarious frontier regions. Military defeat could entail assaults on their villages and the disruption of their lives; victory could generate land, wealth, and opportunity.
On the other hand, the fate of Russia's control over its peripheral regions, and its expansion into adjacent territory, were equally linked to the presence of Russian colonists in the borderlands and their activities in support of the imperialist project. The settlement of Russian agrarian colonists in the empire's periphery not only "Russified" the region, but it also installed essential support structures that the Russian military could call upon in the absence of necessary infrastructure. Policy-makers certainly did not foresee this systemic function when they originally decided to send sectarians to Transcaucasia, but they grew to be extremely grateful for it in times of war. Whatever the original intent, however, the practice of peopling the frontier regions with Russians contributed directly to the health and achievements of the empire.
That said, the sectarians assert that they rallied to the cause reluctantly, and on their own terms. Only the combination of Turkish threat, tsarist state pressure, the profit-making opportunities, and, to a degree, their sense of common cause with the Russian empire led them to join the fray. St. Petersburg's geopolitical goals were often of little concern to the borderland settlers, who were more worried about economic subsistence and family survival. Nonetheless, their interests and fates overlapped sufficiently when thrust into the theater of war to allow them to work together to mutual benefit. Caught between two empires whose rule was each in its own way unpalatable, wartime circumstances entailed a sufficient degree of commonalty between tsarism and settlers that even banished "heretics" came to support the military effort.
Nicholas B. Breyfogle is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at The Ohio State University. He received his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently completing work on his first book, Heretics and Colonizers: Religious Dissent and Russian Empire-Building in the South Caucasus, and has begun work on his second project, tentatively entitled "Baikal: The Great Lake and its People." His research interests include Russian colonialism, inter-ethnic contact, peasant studies, religious belief and policy, environmental history, and the history and culture of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
A version of this article was presented at the Maryland Workshop on New Approaches to Russian and Soviet History, "Occupations and Liberations from 1812 to World War II," College Park, MD, March 2000. I would like to thank the participants of that workshop, especially Peter Holquist and Michael David-Fox, as well as Eve Levin and two anonymous Kritika reviewers for their extremely useful suggestions and critiques. The research and writing of this article were supported by grants from the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER) under authority of a Title VIII grant from the U.S. Department of State, the International Research and Exchanges Board, with funds provided by the U.S. Department of State (Title VIII program), the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, the Mershon Center, The Ohio State University College of Humanities, and the University of Pennsylvania. None of these people and organizations is responsible for the views expressed within this text.
1. Otdel rukopisei Rossiiskoi gosudarstvennoi biblioteki [hereafter ORRGB] f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 402–03.
2. Beginning in 1830, tsarist legislation ordered that religious sectarians (sektanty) classified as "most pernicious" (including Dukhobors, Molokans, and Subbotniks, but not Old Believers) were to be relocated to Transcaucasia (either by forcible exile or voluntary resettlement) in a conscious effort to utilize the Empire's periphery as a means to segregate sectarian Russians from Orthodox ones. As a result, these non-conformists comprised the majority of non-military ethnic Russians in Transcaucasia until the 1890s. Indeed, they often represented the majority of all Russians there (at times more than three-quarters of the Russian inhabitants, although only a small percentage of the region's total population). For a discussion of the formation of this segregation policy and the process of resettlement, see Nicholas B. Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers: Religious Dissent and Russian Colonization of Transcaucasia, 1830–1890" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1998), 25–131 and Deliara Ibragim kyzy Ismail-Zade, Russkoe krest'ianstvo v Zakavkaz'e: 30-e gody XIX–nachalo XX v. (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Nauka, 1982). For population statistics showing the sectarians' numerical predominance, see Svod statisticheskikh dannykh o naselenii Zakavkazskogo kraia, izvlechennykh iz posemeinykh spiskov 1886 g. (Tiflis: Tipografiia I. Martirosiantsa, 1893).
3. Concerning the implementation of conscription in Transcaucasia in 1887, see Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv [hereafter RGIA] f. 932, op. 1, d. 318, 1889, l. 10ob. On the sectarians' opposition to violence and military service, see my "Swords into Plowshares: Opposition to Military Service Among Religious Sectarians, 1770s to 1874," in The Military and Society in Russian History, 1350–1917, ed. Marshall Poe and Eric Lohr (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, forthcoming).
4. With Russia involved in one war or another for the better part of the 19th century, the intersection of military and civilian spheres is of particular importance for understanding the development of tsarist state and society. However, non-combatants in wartime, and their contributions to the tsarist military enterprise, have long been neglected in the historiography of imperial Russia. Recent interest in the subject has focused either on the "home front" or on the tragic refugee problems that fighting could produce. See, for example, Peter Gatrell, A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia During World War I (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999) and Alfred Meyer, "The Impact of World War I on Russian Women's Lives," in Russia's Women: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation, ed. Barbara Evans Clements, Barbara Alpern Engel, and Christine D. Worobec (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991).
5. As I will underscore, the two wars that will be the focus of this article had their own distinct dynamics and did not produce identical experiences for the sectarian communities involved. For general discussions of the Crimean and Russo-Turkish Wars, see Shamshe Varfalameevich Megrelidze, Zakavkaz'e v Russko-Turetskoi voine, 1877–78 (Tbilisi: Metsniereba, 1972); Liubomir Grigor'evich Beskrovnyi, Russkoe voennoe iskusstvo XIX v. (Moscow: Nauka, 1974), 212–354; John Curtiss, Russia's Crimean War (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1979); Bruce W. Menning, Bayonets Before Bullets: The Imperial Russian Army, 1861–1914 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1992); David Alan Rich, The Tsar's Colonels: Professionalism, Strategy, and Subversion in Late Imperial Russia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998); Khadzhi Murat Ibragimbeili, Kavkaz v Krymskoi voine 1853–1856 gg. i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia (Moscow: Nauka, 1971); Robert Edgerton, Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999); and William C. Fuller, Strategy and Power in Russia, 1600–1914 (New York: Free Press, 1992).
6. Distinctions between civilian and soldier were rarely clearly demarcated in the practice of war, and the blurring that I describe here between combatant and non-combatant is by no means unexpected. That said, the sectarians did see this divide, envisioning themselves as non-military people who stood morally outside the fray because they were not officially in uniform. This was especially the case during the Crimean War, although their experiences in that war led them to hold a slightly different view of their wartime role when the Russo-Turkish war began. Moreover, at the high levels of international law, the boundaries between civilian and soldier, and the rules of deportment expected of each, were being debated and partially codified during the years in which these wars took place. On the development of the rules of war as they pertained to non-combatants, see Geoffrey Best, Humanity in Warfare: The Modern History of the International Law of Armed Conflicts (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980), 63–67, 89–121, and 179–215. I am indebted to Peter Holquist for his illuminating ideas and bibliographic references on this topic.
7. On state-sectarian relations and mutual characterizations, and the shifting notions of sectarian "Russian-ness," see Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 25–78 and 146–207.
8. I discuss these interactions at length elsewhere. See Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 208–70.
9. While the focus of this paper is on the Russian settlers in Transcaucasia, I do not mean to give the impression that they were the only non-combatants to suffer (or benefit) from the vagaries of war. Tsarist records document that all Christian communities in Transcaucasia (be they Armenian, Georgian, or Russian) fell victim to attacks. Moreover, while I do not discuss the sufferings of Ottoman civilians at the hands of the tsarist forces, this is by no means to intimate that they escaped harm during these wars. Sak'art'velos saistorio c'entraluri saxelmcip'o ark'ivi [Central Historical Archive of the Republic of Georgia, hereafter SSC'SA] f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 22–27, 31, 37, 40–41, 88, and passim; Edgerton, Death or Glory; and Mary Neuburger, "The Russo-Turkish War and the 'Eastern Jewish Question': Encounters Between Victims and Victors in Ottoman Bulgaria, 1877–8," East European Jewish Affairs 26: 2 (1996), 53–66.
10. Zakharii Nikitin, "Iz selenii Elenovki, Novobaiazet. uezda (Proiskhozhdenie Elenovki i khoziaistvennyi byt naseleniia)," Kavkazskoe sel'skoe khoziaistvo, no. 126 (6 June 1896), 2170.
11. Tsarist officials used the word "Tatar" as a residual category and catchall designation to label Muslims in Transcaucasia, although its usage was often inconsistent. In some cases, "Tatars" referred very specifically to the Turkic Azerbaijani people. In other cases, its meaning expanded to include a wide diversity of Muslim peoples in Transcaucasia. It is often difficult to discern which meaning of "Tatar" was operative in a given document. Since "Tatar" is an inappropriate description of these people, and causes confusion with the Tatars of Crimea or the Volga, I use the (also problematic) term "Muslim," for lack of a better word, where 19th-century Russians used "Tatar." Whenever possible I will use the more specific name for each ethnicity included under this umbrella term. For a discussion of these issues, with a resolution that differs slightly from my own, see Audrey Altstadt, The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity under Russian Rule (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1992), xix–xx.
12. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 22–27, 31. There are no records indicating that Georgians or Armenians, the Russian settlers' Christian neighbors, attacked them during wartime despite pre- and post-war antagonism. The degree to which the Muslim-Christian divide recorded in tsarist documents reflected Russian cultural constructions of Islam rather than the events on the ground can only be a matter of speculation. Certainly, the blame that these documents place on Islamic peoples, and the cross-ethnic Islamic union they highlight, are indicative of larger Russian conceptions of Muslim people and this region. In addition, attacks on settler villages do not tell the whole story of Azerbaijani involvement in the Crimean and Russo-Turkish wars. In his 1971 study, Khadzhi Murat Ibragimbeili argues that South Caucasian Muslims, equally with other local peoples, played important roles in aiding the tsarist army in the Crimean war. See Ibragimbeili, Kavkaz, 369–70 and Megrelidze, Zakavkaz'e, 77–124.
13. M. N-n, "Dukhobory v Dukhobor'e," Obzor, no. 159 (17 June 1878), 3; "Eshche o Dukhoborakh," Obzor, no. 237 (6 September 1878), 1; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, l. 403; and "Alty-Agach. (Ot nashego korrespondenta)," Kaspii, no. 115 (1 June 1894), 3.
14. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, l. 402; SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61; Vasilii A. Potapov, V plenu u razboinikov: Rasskaz (n.p.: Izdanie stranitsy "Dukhborets," 1936), 22–25; and "Eshche," 1.
15. Of many examples, see SSC'SA f. 5, op. 1, d. 1454, 1870; SSC'SA f. 244, op. 3, d. 100, 1870; RGIA f. 1268, op. 3, d. 438, 1849; and N-n, "Dukhobory," 3.
16. Potapov, V plenu; SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–56; and Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 208–70.
17. Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 146–207.
18. No initials are given in the file.
19. SSC'SA f. 239, op. 1, d. 739, 1857, ll. 1-1ob. Similar petitions and descriptions can be found in SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 1–1ob, 11ob, 77–78ob, 82, 162–63, 177–79; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 403–04; N-n, "Dukhobory," 3; Potapov, V plenu, 6; "Eshche," 1. Although I have corrected the grammar and spelling of Dukhobor-generated sources to ensure comprehension, I have tried as much as possible to retain the original cadence of Dukhobor writing in my translations.
20. For Fadeev's report, see SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 170–73ob.
21. Specifically, Orlovka reported 14 dead (12 male, 2 female), 37 hostages (29 male, 8 female), 315 stolen horses, 643 cattle, 924 sheep, and 4,401 rubles and 60 kopeks in cash, for total deprivations of 31,584 rubles and 28 kopeks. The village of Bogdanovka, in comparison, estimated the following losses: one dead, 19 stolen horses, 296 cattle, 528 sheep, and 55 kopeks in money, for total losses of 11,000 rubles. Spasskoe listed its damages at 2,000 rubles, Efremovka at 2,760 rubles, and Troitskoe at 800 rubles. See SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 11–11ob, 28–30, 162–163, 165, 172. In a later petition (1861), Dukhobors from Orlovka and Bogdanovka provided different, less complete numbers. See ibid., ll. 177–77ob.
22. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 5, 8-9ob, 18-18ob, 20-20ob, 23-23ob, 32-33ob, 71–72, 149–50, 177–79; Potapov, V plenu, 6, 22–32; and N-n, "Dukhobory," 3.
23. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 18-18ob, 20-20ob, 32-33ob, 46-46ob.
24. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 403–04.
25. Ibid., ll. 402, 407. In the midst of the ethnic fighting and various wars that ravaged the South Caucasus in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Russian sectarians also had ample opportunity to hide both Armenians and Azerbaijanis from the attacks of the other. See, for instance, Gosudarstvennyi muzei istorii religii [hereafter GMIR] f. 2, op. 8, d. 295, n.d.
26. Sergei Studzinskii, "U nashikh kavkazskikh raskol'nikov. (Ocherk)," Slovo, no. 1 (February 1878), 122–23. On Dukhobor communities living in fear of attack, see N-n, "Dukhobory," 3.
27. "Alty-Agach," 3.
28. Nikitin, "Iz selenii Elenovki," 2170.
29. "Eshche," 2. However, for all the maltreatment meted out to the colonists by the tsarist armed forces during the Crimean and Russo-Turkish wars, it was much less severe than during Russian military efforts against Caucasian "mountaineers" [gortsy]. From the 1830s through the 1850s, Russian soldiers used sectarian villages as staging points for their engagements, and their presence meant not just theft and enforced service for the military, but bitter religious oppression as well. GMIR f. 14, op. 3, d. 1962, 1902, ll. 1–5.
30. "Eshche," 1.
31. SSC'SA f. 16, op. 1, d. 10631, 1854–58.
32. Nikitin, "Iz selenii Elenovki," 2170.
33. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 13ob-14, 18-18ob, 20-20ob, 32-33ob, 39-39ob, 46-46ob, 77-78ob, 82, 162-162ob, 165, 171-171ob. Armenian and Georgian civilian villages were also granted such tax relief as a way of relieving the burden of wartime losses. See, for instance, ll. 36-36ob, 49, 59, 88, 173.
34. Ibid., ll. 8-9ob, 18-18ob, 23-23ob, 71–72, 149–50, 177.
35. Ibid., ll. 18-18ob, 20-20ob, 32-33ob, 46-46ob.
36. Ibid., ll. 171ob-172.
37. Ibid., ll. 170-173ob.
38. Ibid., ll. 177ob-179.
39. In addition to the specific examples below, see also Akty sobrannye Kavkazskoiu Arkheograficheskoiu Kommissieiu [hereafter AKAK], vol. 12 (1893), chast' 1, dok. 18, 37; and RGIA f. 932, op. 1, d. 319, 1889, l. 5. Whereas Transcaucasian sectarians refused to enlist, Dukhobors and Molokans from other parts of the empire did fight in the Crimean war. See, for example, ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 396–98; Joseph Elkinton, The Doukhobors: Their History in Russia, Their Migration to Canada (Philadelphia: Ferris and Leach, 1903), 58–61; and Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii [hereafter GARF] f. 579, op. 1, d. 2580, 1913, ll. 3-3ob.
40. On the absence of a transportation infrastructure, see, for example, Fuller, Strategy and Power, 276–77, 324; Rich, Tsar's Colonels, 128–30; N-n, "Dukhobory," 2; James Frederick Church Wright, Slava Bohu: The Story of the Doukhobors (New York and Toronto: Farrar & Rinehart, 1940), 33; and RGIA 1268, 9, 367a, 1857–58, l. 1ob. It was often the case that inhabitants in regions close to the front lines were exempted from conscription in return for providing goods and other services. See Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter, From Serf to Russian Soldier (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 15. On the use of civilian contractors to provision the tsarist army, see Menning, Bayonets Before Bullets, 82–83. Moreover, the Mennonites of the Molochna region of southern Ukraine provided transportation, medical, and financial services to the tsarist state during the Crimean War despite their strong pacifist beliefs. James Urry and Lawrence Klippenstein, "Mennonites and the Crimean War, 1854–1856," Journal of Mennonite Studies 7 (1989) and Peter Brock, Freedom From Violence: Sectarian Nonresistance from the Middle Ages to the Great War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 155–56.
41. Following their migration to the Transcaucasus in the 1830s and 1840s, the sectarian-settlers had succeeded in dominating the transportation trade both within Transcaucasia, and also from Russia to Persia and the Ottoman Empire and back. In the absence of a railroad, the sectarians' four-wheeled, German-style wagons were able to carry larger loads more reliably than the two-wheeled carts – arba – traditionally favored by Transcaucasia's inhabitants. As such, the sectarian-settlers were well equipped and extremely well prepared to provide transport services to the Russian army. While many villages became involved in transporting goods and people for the Russian army, certain villages stand out: the Dukhobors of Akhalkalaki uezd, the Molokans of Vorontsovka and Novo-Saratovka, and the Subbotniks of Elenovka.
42. Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 124.
43. Vasilii L'vovich Velichko, Kavkaz: Russkoe delo i mezhduplemennye voprosy (1904; reprint, Baku: Elm, 1990), 203.
44. There are many discussions of the sectarians' contributions. See, for example: RGIA f. 1268, op. 9, d. 367a, 1857–58, l. 1ob; RGIA f. 1268, op. 14, d. 77, 1869–70, ll. 1-1ob; Nikitin, "Iz selenii Elenovki," 2170; I. Ia. Orekhov, "Ocherki iz zhizni zakavkazskikh sektatorov," Kavkaz, no. 136 (17 June 1878), 1; I. E. Petrov, "Seleniia Novo-Saratovka i Novo-Ivanovka Elisavetpol'skogo uezda," Izvestiia Kavkazskogo otdela Imperatorskogo Russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva XIX (1907–1908), otd. 1, 228; and N-n, "Dukhobory," 2–3.
45. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 16-16ob, 57-57ob.
46. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 317, 1860–63, l. 1.
47. In addition to the examples cited below, see also: Orekhov, "Ocherki," 1; N-n, "Dukhobory," 3; I. E. Petrov, "Dukhobory Elizavetpol'skago uezda," Izvestiia Kavkazskogo otdela Imperatorskogo Russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva 18: 3 (1905–06), 178; Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 119, 124; GARF f. 579, op. 1, d. 2580, 1913, l. 3; and Kh. A. Vermishev, "Ekonomicheskii byt gosudarstvennykh krest'ian v Akhaltsikhskom i Akhalkalakskom uezdakh, Tiflisskoi gubernii," in Materialy dlia izucheniia ekonomicheskogo byta gosudarstvennykh krest'ian Zakavkazskogo kraia, vol. 3 (Tiflis, 1886), ch. 2: 41. Molokans and Dukhobors were also instrumental in military transport on the Turkish front during World War I. See S. E. Il'in, Moia Zakavkazskaia Rossiia (Moscow: Institut Etnologii i Antropologii RAN, 1998), 126.
48. N-n, "Dukhobory," 3; RGIA f. 1284, op. 218–1881, d. 34, ll. 8–12; and "Smert' 'Dukhoborcheskogo kantslera,'" Missionerskoe obozrenie 5, nos. 1–6 (January–June 1900), 485.
49. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 8-10ob, 13ob-16ob; ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, l. 40; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 405–07; ORRGB f. 369, k. 43, d. 1, 1950, l. 813; Svetlana A. Inikova, "Istoriia patsifistskogo dvizheniia v sekte dukhoborov (XVII–XX vv.)," in Dolgii put' Rossiiskogo patsifizma, ed. T. A. Pavlova (Moscow: Institut vseobshchei istorii RAN, 1997), 128; Megrelidze, Zakavkaz'e, 101–2; Petr Nikolaevich Malov, Dukhobortsy, ikh istoriia, zhizn' i bor'ba (Thrums, British Columbia: Peter N. Maloff, 1948), 26; N-n, "Dukhobory," 2–3; Potapov, V plenu, 32; Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 124; and Orekhov, "Ocherki," 1.
50. "Eshche," 2; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, l. 402; ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, ll. 40–41; Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 119–24; and Orekhov, "Ocherki," 1.
51. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, l. 15.
52. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, l. 10, 15ob; ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, ll. 40–41; Petrov, "Seleniia Novo-Saratovka," 228; Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 119–24; Orekhov, "Ocherki," 1; and Vladimir Dimitrievich Bonch-Bruevich, ed., Raz″iasnenie zhizni khristian i byl u nas, khristian, sirotskii dom (dve dukhoborcheskie rukopisi), Materialy k istorii i izucheniiu russkogo sektantstva, vol. 2 (Christchurch, Hants, England: A. Tchertkoff, 1901), 21.
53. ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, l. 40.
54. Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 124; Orekhov, "Ocherki," 1; and GARF f. 579, op. 1, d. 2580, 1913, l. 3.
55. On the Russian army's extensive difficulties with sickness and poor hygiene in general, see, for example, Fuller, Strategy and Power, 324 and Edgerton, Death or Glory, 101–36.
56. Of course, 1,000 rubles was a small amount to give in comparison to the few million rubles in profit they made during the war. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 10-10ob; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 406–07; ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, l. 41; "Eshche," 1–2; Inikova, "Istoriia," 128; and Bonch-Bruevich, Raz″iasnenie, 21. Similarly, during World War I, the Molokans of Baku were active in constructing and maintaining infirmaries for the troops, either through their own organizations or through the Red Cross. See RGIA f. 821, op. 133, d. 213, 1915, l. 1; Otchet komiteta po okazaniiu pomoshchi ranenym voinam pri Bakinskoi Obshchine Dukhovnykh Khristian (Molokan) c 7-go sentiabria 1914 g. po 28–oe fevralia 1915 g (Baku: Tip. Bakinskogo T-va Pechatnogo Dela, 1915); and V. V. Ivanov, "Na pomoshch ranenym voinam," Baptist no. 15/16 (1914), 17–18.
57. On the Mennonites, see Brock, Freedom from Violence, 155–56 and Urry and Klippenstein, "Mennonites and the Crimean War, 1854–1856." On the changing relationship to non-violence of Dukhobors and Molokans in Transcaucasia, see Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 230–49.
58. Petrov, "Seleniia Novo-Saratovka," 228.
59. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 16–17.
60. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 8–12.
61. Malov, Dukhobortsy, 26; V. A. Sukhorev, Dokumenty po istorii Dukhobortsev i kratkoe izlozhenie ikh veroispovedaniia (North Kildonan, Manitoba: J. Regehr, 1944), 63; Wright, Slava Bohu, 33–34; Koozma Tarasoff, Plakun Trava: The Doukhobors (Grand Forks, British Columbia: Mir Publication Society, 1982), 13–14; and Vladimir and Anna Chertkov, Dukhobortsy v distsiplinarnom batal'one, Materialy k istorii i izucheniiu russkogo sektantstva, vol. 4 (Christchurch, England: A. Tchertkoff, 1902), x.
62. Bonch-Bruevich, Raz″ iasnenie, 21.
63. Wright, Slava Bohu, 33.
64. Sukhorev, Dokumenty, 63. While Kalmykova almost certainly did not say these exact words, their general sense has been passed on over generations through the Dukhobor oral tradition. Some statement of this sort appears in most Dukhobor self-histories. See Malov, Dukhobortsy, 26.
65. Wright, Slava Bohu, 34 and Inikova, "Istoriia," 127.
66. For a full discussion of this process, see Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 184–203. Inikova provides a somewhat different explanation, although with the same outcome. She locates a primordial notion of Russian-ness lodged deeply in the Dukhobor spirit that led them to support the Russian military cause. Inikova, "Istoriia," 127–28.
67. Malov, Dukhobortsy, 26–27, quotation 27; Wright, Slava Bohu, 35–36; Sukhorev, Dokumenty, 64; and Tarasoff, Plakun Trava, 13.
68. Vermishev, "Ekonomicheskii byt," 41; Inikova, "Istoriia," 128; ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, ll. 40–41; "Smert'," 485; and "Akhalkalakskii uezd (ot nashego korrespondenta)," Kaspii XIV, no. 19 (25 January 1894), 3.
69. A. M. Argutinskii-Dolgorukov, "Borchalinskii uezd, Tiflisskoi gubernii v ekonomicheskom i kommercheskom otnosheniiakh," in Raion Tiflissko-karssko-erivanskoi zheleznoi dorogi v ekonomicheskom i kommercheskom otnosheniiakh (Tiflis: Izd. Zakavkazskoi zheleznoi dorogi, Tip. Ia. I. Libermana, 1897), 39.
70. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 10-10ob.
71. Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 123–24.
72. ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, l. 41.
73. Ibid., l. 40; RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, l. 10; and Vermishev, "Ekonomicheskii byt," 41.
74. SSC'SA f. 239, op. 1, d. 637, 1856–57, ll. 1-1ob.
75. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 9-9ob.
76. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 9-9ob; Vermishev, "Ekonomicheskii byt," 41; ORRGB f. 369, k. 43, d. 1, 1950, l. 813; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, l. 407; Potapov, V plenu, 32; Wright, Slava Bohu, 36; and N-n, "Dukhobory," 2–3.
77. Wright, Slava Bohu, 37.
78. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, l. 407 and N-n, "Dukhobory," 2–3.
79. Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 123.
80. N-n, "Dukhobory," 3.
81. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 317, 1860–63, l. 1.
82. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, l. 178.
83. SSC'SA f. 239, op. 1, d. 739, 1857, ll. 1-1ob.
84. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 404–05.
85. On the process of illegal resettlement to Transcaucasia in general, see Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 110–19; Irina Vladimirovna Dolzhenko, "Russkie begletsy v Zakavkaz'e (k istorii formirovaniia russkoi diaspory v 1830–1850-e gody)," Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, no. 1 (1995), 53–66; and David Moon, Russian Peasants and Tsarist Legislation on the Eve of Reform: Interaction between Peasants and Officialdom, 1825–1855 (London: MacMillan, 1992).
86. Petrov, "Seleniia Novo-Saratovka," 228 and RGIA f. 1268, op. 10, d. 254, 1860. In addition, the rumor spread widely among army reserves during the Crimean war that they were going to be freed from their army status. When they discovered that they were not in fact going to be released from service, many of these reservists ran away to the Transcaucasus to escape any military service. Dolzhenko, "Russkie begletsy," 55.
87. RGIA f. 1268, op. 10, d. 254, 1860, ll. 1-2ob.
88. Petrov, "Seleniia Novo-Saratovka," 228. On the work relationships that developed among runaways and legal sectarian settlers, see Dolzhenko, "Russkie begletsy," 58.
89. RGIA f. 1268, op. 10, d. 254, 1860, l. 5ob, 11ob-12; GMIR, f. K1, op. 8, d. 470, 1925, l. 1; and Petrov, "Seleniia Novo-Saratovka," 229–30.
90. SSC'SA f. 239, op. 1, d. 806, 1858, ll. 31ob-32 and RGIA f. 1268, op. 10, d. 254, 1860, ll. 6-6ob.
91. RGIA f. 1268, op. 10, d. 254, 1860, ll. 1-2ob.
92. SSC'SA f. 239, op. 1, d. 806, 1858, l. 32.
93. RGIA f. 1268, op. 10, d. 254, 1860, ll. 15ob-16.
94. Such was the case in Novo-Ivanovka (Elisavetpol' uezd and guberniia), see SSC'SA f. 240, op. 1, d. 490, 1860–62, ll. 1–4.
95. Vermishev, "Ekonomicheskii byt," 41, and ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 1, 1950, ll. 36–37. The term "dynasties" is from Aleksandr Il'ich Klibanov, History of Religious Sectarianism in Russia (1860s–1917), trans. Ethel Dunn (New York: Pergamon Press, 1982), 119.
96. Aleksei Nikolaevich Kuropatkin, Soobrazheniia nachal'nika Zakaspiiskoi oblasti po voprosu o pereselenii v Zakaspiiskuiu oblast' dukhoborov-postnikov (n.p.: n.p., n.d.), 11; Vladimir Dimitrievich Bonch-Bruevich, Pis'ma dukhoborcheskogo rukovoditelia Petra Vasil'evicha Verigina, Materialy k istorii i izucheniiu russkogo sektantstva, vol. 1 (Christchurch, England: A. Tchertkoff, 1901), 155; and Tarasoff, Plakun Trava, 14.
97. ORRGB f. 369, k. 45, d. 4, 1953, ll. 41–42. For a similar statement, see also "Pis'mo dukhobortsa Vasiliia Potapova k P. I. Biriukova," in Materialy k istorii i izucheniiu russkogo sektantstva i raskola, vol. 1, ed. Vladimir Dimitrievich Bonch-Bruevich (St. Petersburg: Tip. B. M. Vol'fa, 1908), 159.
98. Inikova, "Istoriia," 128; Malov, Dukhobortsy, 25–26; and Sukhorev, Dokumenty, 63–65.
99. On the Dukhobor schism and ensuing "movement" and arms burning, see Nicholas B. Breyfogle, "Rethinking the Origins of the Doukhobor Arms Burning, 1887–1893," in The Doukhobor Centenary in Canada: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective on their Unity and Diversity, ed. Andrew Donskov, John Woodsworth, and Chad Gaffield (Ottawa: Slavic Research Group, 2000), 55–82; GARF f. 102, 3 d-vo, op. 1895, d. 1053, ch. 1; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950; ORRGB f. 369, k. 44, d. 1, 1950; George Woodcock and Ivan Avakumovic, The Doukhobors (London: Faber and Faber, 1968), 84–106.
100. The Pryguny were also known as "Dukhovnye." On the Pryguny in general, see I. G. Samarin, ed., Dukh i Zhizn' – Kniga Solntsa (Los Angeles: I. G. Samarin, 1928); RGIA f. 1268, op. 9, d. 481, 1857; and N. D. Dingel'shtedt, Zakavkazskie sektanty v ikh semeinom i religioznom bytu (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia M. M. Stasiulevicha, 1885).
101. GMIR f. 2, op. 8, d. 299, 1912, ll. 6–8 and Dukh i Zhizn', 635–38.
102. GMIR f. 2, op. 8, d. 299, 1912; GMIR f. 2, op. 8, d. 336, 1910–12, ll. 10-10ob; Dukh i Zhizn'; and Morris Mose Pivovaroff, Moisey: A Russian Christian Molokan (n.p.: n.p., 1989), 19, 73–76. My deepest thanks go to Morris Pivovaroff for kindly lending me a copy of his book. For more on prophesies of the Pryguny, see A. Voskresenskii, "Dukhovnye Molokane v Karsskoi Oblasti," Kars, no. 38 (17 September 1891), 3–4.
103. For more on this issue, see Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 25–78.
104. For a broader discussion of this transformation, see Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 146–207.
105. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 407–08.
106. RGIA f. 932, op. 1, d. 319, 1890, ll. 5-5ob. For similar official acclamations of the sectarians' prominent, even indispensable, role in Russian military efforts, and an accompanying sense of their contributions to Russia's imperialist enterprise in Transcaucasia, see also RGIA f. 1268, op. 9, d. 367a, 1857–58, l. 1ob; RGIA f. 1268, op. 14, d. 77, 1868–70, ll. 1-1ob; Orekhov, "Ocherki," 1; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 407–08; RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 10ob-12, 14–15, 23–30, passim.
107. V. P. Bochkarev, "Karsskaia oblast'," in Raion Tiflissko-karssko-erivanskoi zheleznoi dorogi v ekonomicheskom i kommercheskom otnosheniiakh (Tiflis: Izd. Zakavkazskoi zheleznoi dorogi, Tip. Ia. I. Libermana, 1897), 368.
108. N-n, "Dukhobory," 2.
109. I. P. Iuvachev (Miroliubov), "Zakavkazskie sektanty," Istoricheskii vestnik 95 (February 1904), 597. In this regard, see also Studzinskii, "U nashikh," 124; N-n, "Dukhobory," 2–3; and Velichko, Kavkaz, 203.
110. SSC'SA f. 240, op. 2, d. 233, 1853–61, ll. 16ob-17, 57-57ob. In a similar vein, following the Russo-Turkish war, the viceroy believed that official recognition of the Dukhobor efforts was absolutely necessary because without such praise he feared that "the Dukhobors would in future be disinterested in the needs of the Russian state." RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 10ob-12.
111. RGIA f. 1268, op. 14, d. 77, 1869–70, ll. 1-1ob. For a full discussion, see Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 180–82.
112. RGIA f. 932, op. 1, d. 319, 1890, ll. 5-5ob. For Bariatinskii's efforts to use the sectarians' contributions to justify certain policy goals, see RGIA f. 1268, op. 9, d. 367a, 1857–58, l. 1ob, and AKAK, vol. 12 (1893), chast' 1, dok. 18, 37.
113. GMIR f. 2, op. 8, d. 196, 1913, l. 1.
114. GARF f. 579, op. 1, d. 2580, 1913, ll. 1-3ob.
115. RGIA f. 1284, op. 218-1881, d. 34, ll. 10ob-12, 14–15, 23–30, passim. A law of 13 February 1837 prevented members of the most pernicious sects from receiving public honors or decorations.
116. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 407–08 and Inikova, "Istoriia," 128.
117. For discussions of the colonization of the Kars territory, see RGIA f. 932, op. 1, d. 298, 1882; ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, l. 70; RGIA f. 932, op. 1, d. 333, 1884; RGIA f. 932, op. 1, d. 306, 1882; RGIA f. 796, op. 442, d. 1612, 1896, ll. 78-79ob; and Petrov, "Dukhobortsy," 178.
118. RGIA f. 932, op. 1, d. 319, 1890, ll. 5-5ob.
119. SSC'SA f. 244, op. 3, d. 100, 1869; SSC'SA f. 239, op. 1, d. 85, 1850–57; Vermishev, "Ekonomicheskii byt," 23; and Breyfogle, "Heretics and Colonizers," 137.
120. Vermishev, "Ekonomicheskii byt," 23 and A. I. Masalkin, "Iz istorii zakavkazskikh sektantov. Ch. III, Sektanty, kak kolonizatory Zakavkaz'ia," Kavkaz, no. 333 (16 December 1893), 2–3.
121. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, l. 410 and Bochkarev, "Karsskaia oblast'."
122. There is a lack of agreement in the Dukhobor sources over the actual impact on community relations of the opening of territory in Kars oblast' for the Dukhobors. Some authors assert that Kalmykova happily allowed her brethren to move to the new lands. See Tarasoff, Plakun Trava, 13–14 and Wright, Slava Bohu, 36–37.
123. Simeon F. Rybin, Trud i mirnaia zhizn': Istoriia dukhobortsev bez maski (San Francisco: Delo, 1952), 8.
124. Bowing to one another was a central custom of the Dukhobors, designating respect and brotherhood.
125. ORRGB f. 369, k. 42, d. 2, 1950, ll. 408–10.
126. On the increasing importance of the performance of violence as a defining requirement of membership in the Russian/Soviet polity, see Joshua Sanborn, "Drafting the Nation: Military Conscription and the Formation of a Modern Polity in Tsarist and Soviet Russia, 1905–1925" (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1998).