Notes on Breyfogle's Ph.D. thesis about Molokansby Morris M. Pivovaroff, January 7, 2000
I thank Andy Conovalov for loaning me this manuscript: Heretics and Colonizers: Religious dissent and Russian colonization of Transcausasia, 1830-1890 (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia), by Nicholas Breyfogle, 1998
1 -- Dukhobors, Molokans, Subbotniks
||Tsar Nicholas I gives decree to
colonizing Transcausia, October 20, 1830. Dukhobors, Molokans and
Subbotniks classified as "most pernicious"; [therefore] they were sent
first [to new lands].
||Khlysty and Skoptsy did not
migrate to Transcausia.
||Molokans, Dukhobors and
Krhistovers use the name "Spiritual Christians."
||Yet each group was distinct from
||Molokans say "The word kills,
the spirit gives life." Molokans say "Necessary to bow to God in spirit
and in truth." Yet interpret the Bible allegorically, yet respect Old
and New Testament.
||Molokans say if Jesus kept the
law, so should we. Molokans use the Bible for a guide. Dukhobors say
God is a spirit and his spirit dwells in them and is their guide.
||Subbotniks believe in the Old
Testament and use it for guidance.
||In 1805, Dukhobors from
different exile areas are encouraged to settle by Molochnye Vody [Milky
||Molokans also sent there, but
||4,000 Dukhobors sign petition to
create an exclusive region was "denied."
||Lanskoi said sectarian should be
in small villages, no more than 100 people per village, and at least 25
kilometers from an orthodox order settlement.
||Many times, this writer quotes
Varadinov, who I believe was bias[ed].
||Old Believers claim to be
Dukhobors (or Molokan) to be exempt from the army.
||Dukhobors differ from the
Raskolniki, neither are Molokans.
||By placing Dukhobors and
Molokans in the Caucasian mountains, they felt they would have to
defend themselves, plus rely on Russia for help, that they would lose
the faith or be mass slaughtered, but if that happened that would be a
great loss to the government. And the weather being bad could also wipe
them out -- no loss.
||Plus the language was different;
makes it more of a struggle for the Dukhobors and the Molokans,
resulting in "that they would have to conform in the long run."
||Others migrate to the Caucasus
for various reasons, but land owners were reluctant to let go their
"serfs," wanted to keep them.
||Dukhobors exiled in large
groups; Molokans and Subotniks in small groups or individuals.
||People who helped the Molokans
||[Molokan] Podkovyrov wrote two
songs of such an ordeal.
||Some people were put into
shackles before starting their exile to the Caucasus Mountains. Over
4,000 Dukhobors were transported in five different groups. Lies were
made up by the Orthodox Church to get rid of them.
||Two battalions of infantry
guarded the Dukhobors during the migration.
||Priest -- beat torture, sexual
assault on Molokans, squeezed their head in vices, gnawed to death.
Forced them to bow to icons and kiss cross. Forced to milk pigs, nurse
pedigree dogs, bear cubs with women's breasts.
||Molokan put on cross till he
died from disobeying.
||Marriage between Orthodox and
sectarians were forbidden.
||Some Molokan preachers predicted
Jesus Christ would return 1836.
||In 1843, some Molokans were
given permission to work in Persia.
||Molokan ladies asked to move to
Caucasia where husbands were taken in exile.
||Some Orthodox turn to
Molokanism; some get out of the army.
||The road of migration. Two
routes, Valikdars; and Baku.
||1,147 Molokans arrive from
||Molokans at first suffer, but adapt and prosper.|
||Molokans plead to prince Michael S. Vorontsov for better place.|
||True Christians claimed to be
descendants from early church teachings.
||Felt they were chosen by God.
||Now government started to
appreciate the new settlers.
||Viceroy Vorontsov happy with
||Pryguny first mentioned; also
||Shubin wrote song of praise to
||Molokan wrote prayer for Tsar.
||Molokans not allowed to build
||Dukhobors moved to Canada.
||Manuscript taken from Molokans.
||Russian anthropologist studies
sectarian ???? (Molokans), study height, eye color, hair color, age,
||Some difference in language,
culture, blood. Muslims, Russians and Armenians very distinct
difference. Sharp difference between the groups, do not mix.
||Mo1okans remained Russian blood
and in spirit.
||Subbotniki consider themselves
Jewish or a branch of Judaism, and not raskolniki, but original chosen
||Are you Russian? Answer, no, I
||Molokans help soldiers, but
||Prince Vorontson viewed Molokans
as a model colony.
||Chapter 4, conflict and
||Molokans given land by Elenovka,
land previously owned by Armenians.
||September 1835, Nomads invade
||Russians settled on land
previously owned by Armenians and Muslims.
||But much of this land had not
been cultivated before.
||Russians pay rent for use of
||Georgians most fair; Armenians
steal and lie; Tartars robbed and killed.
||Tartars hack Molokans and
Dukhobors with ax; kill and rob.
||Dukhobors and Molokans forced to
||Ivanov Baptist story, bias to
||Tartars, steal fruit trees from
||Russia introduces new crops,
potatoes, cabbage, beets to Transcaucasia. Also use horses in farming
rather than oxen.
||Interest rate 20%.
||Tiflis newspaper reports
Molokans' "strict morals, settled life, hard work, economic success,
internal harmony, [and] few crimes..."
||Russians brought in new tools,
livestock, food, ways of life unknown to the region before.
||Molokans learn new languages;
some become bilingual, some trilingual, some quarterlingual. Dukhobors
introduced "Merino sheep."
||New settlers bring in new
vegetable plants, beets, carrots, potatoes.
||Introduced scythes, pitchforks,
harrows, rakes, threshing blades.
||New types of houses, different
roof designs, 4-wheel wagons.
||Locals learn Russian language.
||Different style of dress, but
each stayed with their own.
||Conversion of Georgian or
Muslims to Sectarian, almost unheard of; Pruguny leader Maksim
Rudometkin; Sectarians kept Russian-style clothing like in central
||Author mentioned books Pryguny,
Ruskie Sektanty, Sekta Pryunov.
||Some weak members convert to
other Christian faiths.
||Conversion may be called
denounciational switching (from Christian to Christian). Subbotniki
considered themselves to be Jews.
||Molokans the largest of
||Approximately 250 Molokans join
the Orthodox church in 50-year period.
||In 20-year period, 582 Molokans
join the Baptists.
||Some converted to Orthodox
because of hardship.
||Plus government gave generous
||A very few return to their
||Orthodoxy did not recognize
Molokan marriages, if you returned back to Orthodoxy, you were
considered not married.
||Subbotniki and Jews inter-marry.|
||Molokans forbidden use of tobacco and alcohol, drove some Molokans to Subbotniks.|
||Voronin 1st Baptist in Russia, converted many into Baptism in Transcausia. He learned from German Baptist Kalveit.|
||Voronin left Molokans, repetitious prayer for his own.|
||Baptists preach Christ is God; Molokans say he is the Son.|
||Even some Orthodox ran away and joined the Molokan faith.|
||Baptists like Lutherans, were
closer to Orthodox faith, given more freedom.
||Orthodox, Baptist, evangelizing,
Molokans very little, Subbotniki did not, Pryguny, Dukhobors do not --
only Orthodox had legal permission.
||Major Iurkovski wrote to
dissolve Dukhobors and would have to separate children from parents,
then place one Dukhobor in Orthodox village.
||British Bible Society helped
Ivanov spread Baptism.
||Ivan had prominent Molokan
parents and grandparents, using his parents' name he gained access to
many Molokan villages.
||Pavlov and Rodionov also used
The author's thoughts are fair, realizing they -- the Dukhobors,
Molokans and Subbotniks -- did much for imperialist Russia and in
return did not get much credit. He described their struggles, the high
mortality rate, new neighbors, that it was very difficult for them but
managed to better their lives and their country. The author relied on a
very large bibliography or outside writers, over 570 different authors,
some very biased to Orthodox faith; very little taken from Dukhobor,
Molokan, or Subbotniki writers, which might have shown a different
overall picture; nevertheless, much work was put into this book and it
should be of interest to those who study these groups. This is the
first book where I read so much about this group after their migration
to Transcausia, but I do wish they worked closer to the three groups
themselves to get a more accurate picture.